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My Daughter's Clay Creations & My Bible Study On Sale Thru January!

I'd like to share a link to my FaceBook page where you can take a look at a picture I posted of my daughter's latest clay creation as he was baking in our oven. The response to the picture was a wonderful boost to her self-esteem & I just had to share!


www.myFaceBook.com


If you are interested in having something made from clay by my daughter, leave a comment to this post (or a comment to my FB post) and we will be in touch with you ASAP. She really can make nearly anything out of clay, and she can make items in a variety of sizes. She has even made key chains for family members!

And since it is nearly a new year (and the mid-point for many homeschool families) I am offering my book "The Homeschooling Mother's Bible Study" at a discounted price:

$10 postage paid for the print version
$7.50 for the e-book (sent to you in Adobe reader format via email)


If you could use some encouragement as you get back to homeschooling following the Christmas break, leave a comment…

Christmas Carol Lyrics

Everybody has a favorite Christmas carol. The one they look forward to hearing and/or singing every December. Mine has got to be "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen". Now before you think that sounds a little strange, just read through the lyrics of verse one:

"God rest ye merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay.
Remember Christ our Savior
was born on Christmas Day.
To save us all from Satan's power
when we were gone astray.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy!
O tidings of comfort and joy!"
This is the version I like the best - an early version from the 1760's is slightly different and it's wording undergoes some variation if you are singing it in the UK; whichever version one might prefer, the powerful truth contained in these lyrics is undeniable.

Here are the rest of less well known lyrics:

"In Bethlehem, in Israel
this blessed Babe was born.
And laid within a manger
upon this blessed morn.
To which His mother Mary
did nothing take in scorn.
Refrain

From God…

Tiny Planets Review (TOS Homeschool Crew)

Today's review is for the educational website Tiny Planets (www.tinyplanets.com)that is based upon the television show of the same name. In a space exploration setting, children ages 4 to 12 can discover and create to their hearts content. Parents, rest assured, this is an educational website that will challenge your children as they play along with the characters Bing and Bong. The television program Tiny Planets is the only tv program to be endorsed by Montessori Centre International - just in case you wondered if it was really an educational website!

After signing each of your children up for their own Cadet account, you can access the Tiny Planets universe ~ places like Tiny Planets TV, My Tiny Planets (an online community and virtual world), Tiny Planets Fun, Tiny Planets Books, and Tiny Planets Learning. Some of the things my children did on TinyPlanets.com include adopting and naming their own planets, taking care of said planet (growing plants, releasing oxygen, choosing la…

TOS Product Review ~ Wits & Wagers Family by North Star Games

Doing the "work" for this review was just plain fun ~ and since the weeks before Christmas are often a time when homeschool families take some time off from their usual studies to relax and enjoy the season, this was the perfect time of year to review the board game "Wits and Wagers Family" (from North Star Games). This is a family version of their game "Wits and Wagers".

The game includes a scoreboard, dry erase markers, the game pieces (called Meeples), Question and Answer boards, and the answer cards. It is recommended for ages 8 and up and is aimed at 3 to 10 players, although it could be adapted to use with teams if you had a large group of people.

Playing "Wits and Wagers Family" is simple:
1. Ask a question
2. Answer the question by placing your answer card face down on the table
3. When everyone has answered, flip the boards over and put them in order from smallest to largest
4. Once all guesses have been placed in order, all players (or team…

Clear Play

To all of my readers who do not already know ~ our family uses the Clear Play dvd player. And believe me you, it really does work.

You use it like you use any other dvd player (in fact you can use it to watch any dvd, with or without filtering). Simply download your filters at your Clear Play account, put the "stick" (usb drive) into the Clear Play dvd player, throw in the video you choose to watch and you're ready to enjoy a movie without objectionable content.

Users can adjust the settings on the filter to suit their family's individual preferences. For example, in the film "Over the Hedge" you can actually set the filter to remove the scene wherein Hammy burps his A-B-C's. Our family is okay viewing a cartoon hyperactive rodent belching the alphabet; but it's nice to know we won't see the things our family isn't okay with.

And since the filters remain on your player once they have been downloaded, you don't have to continually reload t…

TOS Crew ALEKS Math Review

The product being covered in this blog post is an online math program called ALEKS - Assessment and Learning and is available at the website www.ALEKS.com. The acronym ALEKS stands for "Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces" and this program does just what it's name implies. Each student is initially assessed and then placed in the appropriate math level. As the student moves through the level they are continually assessed and challenged, moving forward toward completion of each math level.

The program works in a simple manner; each student has their own account and when they log in, any concepts that need to be reviewed will be the first thing they work on. After completing any needed review work, the student can look at their "pie" ~ which is the key tool the ALEKS math program uses to movtivate the students in their work. The "pie" is a simple pie chart that clearly displays the student's progress. At any moment, student (or homeschool mom…

TOS Crew Product Review ~ Master Angle by The Master Ruler

So, you may be wondering, what exactly IS a Master Angle? And what do you use it for?

It's a cool little math tool that I received from the company The Master Ruler along with a 76-page workbook and poster (free of charge for review purposes). The Master Angle itself is round with a red rotating radius on top of a stationary radius and color-coded markings and holes to use with your pencil when marking angles. It's very sturdy - the well-made design lends itself willingly to frequent use.

If the Master Angle were the lock, then the corresponding workbook would be the key. The book begins by laying a foundation for angles: What are they? Where are they found in the real world? The student then proceeds to study five types of angles. Once this foundation has been well laid, the workbook moves on to the actual measurement of angles using the Master Angle tool. The center of the Master Angle rests on the vertex of the angle being measured. Once the stationary red radius and the ro…

Quoting Quotable Quotes & Pondering the Imponderable

This afternoon I heard this quote from Edward R. Murrow (of journalism fame):

"A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves."

While my favorite quotes are, of course, from God's Word, I found myself thinking about this statement and pondering it's truth. If we all just follow-follow-follow will we end up in an oppressed state?

And being a 13-year homeschool veteran, I of course began to consider Murrow's words in relation to homeschooling. Do I choose my curriculum based on what everyone else says they like best? Or am I continuing to seek out each child's natural bent and teach to it? Are my days numbered by the local school district or are they ordered by the Lord? Am I operating on "auto pilot" or am I walking in God's grace day by day? Am I raising sheep that know the voice of their Shepherd Jesus? Or am I raising sheep who are unable to think for themselves?

That concludes the Quoting Quotable Quotes portion of this weblog post...read …

TOS Homeschool Crew Review - Illuminations ~ Year One High School (Bright Ideas Press)

This product review cannot possibly be lengthy enough to cover all that is provided in the Bright Idea Press product Illuminations (Year One ~ high school). It is an all-inclusive curriculum based on the Mystery of History and All American History series. Mystery of History serves as the spine for Illuminations (Year One ~ high school) and includes bible, language arts (grammar, writing, vocabulary), literature, science, humanities (poetry, theater, music, art), geography, history, and life skills. Yes, I meant it when I said it is an all-inclusive curriculum! Add some math and you should be ready to go :)

Some curriculum items you will probably need to go with Illuminations (Year One ~ high school) include Winston Grammar (which I absolutely love!), Mystery of History Volume 1, English from the Roots Up, WriteShop 1, the Ultimate Geography & Timeline Guide, Ruth Beechick's "Genesis: Finding Our Roots", A Young Scholar's Guide to the Humanities, Joshua Harris'…

November is National Diabetes Month

Last spring, I took a drive across town to talk with my doctor(a wonderful DO named Claudia Wendell) about my health. I had begun to feel "icky" on an almost daily basis; chronic headaches, afternoon tiredness, shakiness and cold sweats ~ I could go on and on. I did not feel that these were related to my hypothyroidism, and having an older sister with Type 1 diabetes, I was confident my blood glucose levels were spiking and dropping.

After a couple of four hour blood tests it was confirmed that I was on my way to Type 2 diabetes. But all was not lost ~ I knew the Lord was giving me a blessed opportunity and I decided to stick to Him like glue day by day as I worked to "reverse" my pre-diabetic state. And guess what? In late July Dr. Wendell informed me that I am not a pre-diabetic and if I continue to make wise choices regarding my health and specifically what I eat, I will never become a diabetic. No surprise at all, God delivered when I fully gave my health and m…

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Special Offer

Okay, TOS Magazine is having a special sale on subscriptions. All the info you need to check into the offer can be found below.

Happy homeschool shopping everyone!

Day 54 done :)

Jan L. Burt
www.homeschoolingmothersbiblestudy.com


On Monday, November 15, the price for a one-year U.S. or Canadian print
subscription to
The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is $10.

On Tuesday, November 16, the price goes to $12.
On Wednesday, November 17, the price is $14.

Each day they will add $2 until Saturday and Sunday, when the price is $20. At
midnight PST on Sunday, November 21,
the price goes back to its regular level.

Plus, every 12th customer to purchase a subscription gets a tote bag.
Every 14th customer to purchase a subscription gets a copy of the E-Book: The
2010-2011 Schoolhouse Planner.
Every 16th customer to purchase a subscription gets a $25 gift card to the
Totally TOS category in the Schoolhouse Store.
This excludes Molly Green and Download N Go.

As an added bonus, the highest ticket of the day on…

Train Up a Child in the Way (S)He Should Go?

When Proverbs instructs parents to train up their children in the way they should go, we of course know it is speaking primarily in spiritual terms. Without the "One Thing" in life, none of the "Other Things" in life really matter. That "One Thing" being knowing Jesus and making Him known.

In regards to training my daughter's to be keepers at home, I use this verse to spur me on as I flesh out that training. Sometimes it's much easier to just do the work myself; other times I'm simply so busy with academics and life in general that I fail to plan out how I will implement the training of my daughters. And as all homeschool moms know first hand, what we fail to plan almost always fails to happen. So I'm currently working on being a more active planner!!

Today, for instance, isn't just about Saturday chores. It's about the bigger picture ~ one day each of my 4 daughter's will be running a household of their own, Lord willing (see J…

TOS Homeschool Crew Review The Write Foundation ~ Essay Writing

The Write Foudation has a dedicated focus on improving the writing of young people. This Christian company works toward that goal with a series of products that are thorough and exhaustive. Luke 6:48 is beautifully displayed at www.thewritefoundation.org and I will tell you that I do have a bias toward Christian homeschool companies!

The Write Foundation offers three levels of writing curriculum. Level 1 is "Sentence to Paragraph Writing" geared at ages 11 to 13. Level 2 is "Paragraph Writing" for ages 12 to 15. And Level 3, the product I am reviewing, is "Essay Writing" for ages 14 to 17. You can see all of these products and their prices at the website ~ www.thewritefoundation.org. The website gives a thorough understanding of which level to use with your child or children. The ages for each level are suggestions, and information regarding proper placement can be found at the website by clicking the "Suggested Ages" tab.

I have been using Leve…

More About Michal

So, my last look into Michal's heart was looking at her life in the rear view mirror, so to speak. Seeing what she had chosen to make of her life as it actually was, not as she wanted it to be, I recognized bits of myself in her sad story. You can find that post here.

I've jumped back to Michal's earlier days, found in 1 Samuel chapter 14 and chapter 18. In 1 Samuel 14:49 I read this description of King Saul's children ~ the sons of Saul were Jonathan, Ishvi, and Malki-Shua; his two daughters were Merab, the firstborn, and the younger, Michal. Just that brief description gives me a lot of background information about Michal. She had older brothers, one of whom was Jonathan. And she had an older sister, Merab. Just spend a couple of moments thinking about that in light of what we know about birth order and the way it impacts our relationships with our own siblings and they way we see it play out in our children's relationships. She was probably seen as "chronic…

TOS Homeschool Crew Review of PG Key SafeKey

Okay, let me just begin this review by stating that I have looked around and not found a product comparable to this one ~ read this review with that in mind!

PG Key is a USB external drive (often referred to as a "stick") manufactured by KeyWare, Inc. This product is not only a filter that can be used to protect your family while they use the internet; it not only blocks websites that are inappropriate or obscene; this little device is a portable, multi-functional tool that makes parenting and homeschooling in the internet-age easier than I ever guessed it could be.


Using the external drive is simple.
Step 1.) Remove product from the box
Step 2.) Plug product into your computer
Step 3.) Choose a password
Step 4.) There is no Step 4 - you're already done!!



So, at this point you may be curious as to what all this super-amazing product is capable of. The answer is, a WHOLE LOT!! With this one product, parents can rest assured that websites are blocked, filtering is in place, and…

October is Ministry Appreciation Month

Did I mis-type the title of this blog post? Nope! More commonly known as Pastor Appreciation Month, in our church body we call October Ministry Appreciation Month. Wny, you ask? Because our pastor believes all who work in areas of ministry leadership, in a volunteer or paid position, should be "thanked" this month. It's a blessing to see those who serve week in and week out receiving hugs, notes, and even small gifts as tokens of appreciation for their service.

So, to all you who serve in your church body in any facet or form, a hearty "THANKS" goes out to you!! For all of your service, both seen and unseen, thank you so very, very much. It makes a difference and one day when you are with the Lord, you will see just what a difference your service made. After all, God's Word promises that we should not grow weary in well doing, for we will reap a harvest of righteousness if we do not give up.

Be sure to thank those who serve in your local church ~ it really …

Lindsay's Piano Recital at Cowtown

This video is from a piano recital my daughter Lindsay took part in over the weekend at The Old Cowtown Museum here in Wichita. She has been taking lessons from her wonderful teacher Megan for a few months now and is enjoying it tremendously. She plays part of a duet with her classmate, just in case you wonder who the other lovely young lady is.

Watch it on youtube here.
Congrats, Lindsay - it was so much fun to listen to you play in a "saloon"!!

Day 48 done :)

TOS Review Soli Deo Gloria Resources e-book "William Tyndale: God's Smuggler"

This week's product review is for an e-book published by Soli Deo Gloria Resources "William Tyndale: God's Smuggler". This product is a unit study - but not your typical unit study - trust me, I've done a few unit studies in my 13 years of homeshcooling. This one caught me attention and held it 'til the end. In it's 21 pages, this study covers history, science, geography, character, Bible, art, and language arts. The only thing you need to add is math. I found that each of the above topics is covered thoroughly, but not in an overwhelming-how-can-I-possibly-do-everything-in-this-unit-study way (if you have attempted many unit studies, you know what I mean by that!). Even though the company says that the William Tyndale study is shorter than most of their other unit studies, I found 21 pages to be just about right for a short-term project. AND it's written to work for ALL grades and ages - yup, that means K through 12. Big bonus for the multi-level hom…

Walking Backwards with Michal

Okay, I'm starting my study to see what lessons I can learn from the heart of Michal...and I'm starting at the end and working my way back to the beginning! I don't normally study Bible figures this way; this time, however, I think there is a whole lot that I can learn by looking at where she ended up and slowly examining how she got there.

Today I was reading about her relationship with David in 2 Samuel 6 ~ and the first thing that jumped out at me was that she LET herself become bitter. We've all met bitter women; we've probably all been bitter women at some point. And there's only one way to be a bitter woman - by letting yourself beocome one. Whether it happens quickly or over time, it's always an allowed behavior on our part. This was her choice and she chose bitterness over any of the good things the Lord had for her. What struck me is how terribly sad that is ~ we all know a bitter woman is the not someone we can stand to be around for very long and…

TOS Homeschool Crew Product Review ~ The Digitial Field Trip Series( Digital Frog International)

Today's product review is for the CD curriculum "The Digital Field Trip Series" by Digital Frog International . There are 3 levels included on the CD; The Wetlands, The Rainforest, and The Desert. Using the product is easy - put the disc in your PC and choose a destination! Student and teacher workbook materials are located on the disc - you access them by opening the folder for the corresponding geographical area (wetlands, rainforest, or desert). I also received PDF Review's Guides for each of the 3 options (all products received free of charge for review purposes). An informational/instructional guide is included inside the CD case - very handy for finding info quickly and easily.

The Wetlands digital field trip is the original title in the series; it uses virtual reality technology to explore Cloud Lake (Algonquin Park, Canada). The CD has more than 80 screens and are hybrid (allows you to use the same disc on Windows and Macintosh platforms). QuickTime is require…

Oh, What to Do...

I have been feeling led (gently led, mind you) to begin working on a Biblical study of the life of Michal (King Saul's daughter; King David's wife). This isn't exactly a new idea ~ I've felt the Lord tugging at my heart to invest time studying Michal's heart for quite some time now. I've been "putting it off" because, to be totally honest, I'm super busy! But how on earth can I be too busy to do what He is leading me to do? And if He owns it all, that "all" includes my time, so I actually cannot be too busy to use His time/my time to do His will. I pretty much need to get started with my study of Michal, don't I?!

So I'm asking my blog followers to help keep me accountable - ask me how it's going, remind me to keep doing what He asks me to do and not let the busy life I lead as a homeschool mom crowd out His best for me, give me a stern rebuke if need be! How will you know if I am actually doing this study on Michal; how will …

TOS Homeschool Crew Product Review ~ Foundlings, Book One of The Peleg Chronicles by Matthew Christian Harding

Ah, the joy I have today over the fact that I'm writing a review about a work of fiction! Homeschool moms spend SO MUCH TIME focusing on academia, they can forget the simple pleasure that comes from reading a piece of fiction. This product review has been like a breath of fresh air.

First I'd like to give a brief overview of The Peleg Chronicles and then I'll move on to my thoughts and the thoughts of my 16 year old daughter regarding the book. I'll wrap up with the product information.

The Foundlings is the first book in a series titled The Peleg Chronicles written by Matthew Christian Harding. The author and his wife homeschool their four children. As most homeschooling parents know, it can be tricky to find acceptable fiction reading for our children; Mr. Harding's intent in writing this series of books was to teach children to "align themselves with the Word of God, to not be a hearer only, but a doer" through Scripture-filled fiction. His willingness…

I Think It Might Be Fall

Hopefully most homeschool families are back in the swing of things and enjoying the school year. That's not to say homeschooling families have to follow the public school's schedule - as a very eclectic homeschooling mom, I'd be pretty hypocritical to think that way! But I hope you are feeling good about this school year, whether you're 5 weeks in or just rolling up on day 180. My mantra for this year is "Be Encouraged! Be Encouraged! Be Encouraged!"

Fall is a great time of year for me to spend some time in reflection; this year I'm reflecting on the last 13 years of homeschooling. My oldest is 17 and his senior year is in full swing. He's working hard studying for his upcoming SAT II subject tests, keeping pace in his college Chemistry and Calculus classes,coaching Learn-to-Skate classes at the ice rink, and playing football with a local private Christian high school. (In his last game he had something like 30 tackles - he's really playing when he…

Product Review - New Monic Book's Vocabulary Cartoons, SAT Word Power

Vocabulary Cartoons, SAT Word Power (published by New Monic Books)is a fast-paced, simple to use asset for any highschooler prepping for the SAT. This 347 page book uses menmonics to teach 290 words commonly found on the SAT test. The age range suggested is 7th t 12th grade, but it really could be used from 3rd grade on up through 12th. At $12.95 for the paperback edition, it really is a good deal.

My high school students have used a variety of methods in their SAT and ACT preparations, including HUGE test guides, piles of vocabulary word flashcards, daily emails, and SAT prep websites. This handy little book would have been a real gem - if only I'd discovered it sooner!!

Some "complaints" I have about the resources we used are that the stacks of flashcards can tip over and become disorganized; websites take time access when schedules are full & remembering passwords can use up valuable time; test guides are big, bulky and just plain inconvenient to use. While this r…

Math Tutor DVD Review

Today is an exciting day for me - I GET to review some fantastic products. Notice the emphasis on the word "GET"...I'm not exaggerating in the least; the products I'm writing about today are some of the best I've seen in my 13 years as a homeschooler. Furthermore, this company's resources would be a help to any student studying math on any level (from basic math to physics). Read on to learn more!

I received 2 DVDs from the MathTutorDVD company - The Pre-Algebra Tutor Volume 1 and The Texas Instruments TI-83/TI-84 Calculator Tutor. Of the two DVDs, my family and I have used the Pre-Algebra Tutor discs the most, so my review will focus more on that item than on the TI tutorial. Let me say, however, the Texas Instruments tutorial DVDs will be used in our home and I am certain I will learn a lot about complex calculators & their functions. Both of these resources are of great value to my homeschool - I am very impressed with both products. and each disc is di…

A Short Post Today

This post will be short and sweet - well, hopefully sweet and not sour :)

I'm simply going to share something from God's Word that blessed me today in regard to this blog and it's end goal of encouraging moms who homeschool. So, here it is!

1 Chronicles 16:24 says - "Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does." - New Living Translation

Those few words pretty much sum up all I desire to do via this little blog...publish His glorious deed & tell everyone who'll listen about the amazing things He does. What could possibly be more encouraging to a homeschooling mom than that?!

Lord bless & be encouraged today!

Day 39 done :)

Jan L. Burt

Vantage Learning MY Access! Home Edition Product Review

Today I am reviewing a product called "MY Access! Edition" - a product geared at improving the student's critical thinking skills in all subjects through increased writing skills. The product I received to review (free of charge - as always with items I review as a part of The Old Schoolhouse Crew) do not contain any "physical" items; the home edition I have been using is available online at VantageLearning.com.

There are multiple options available for purchase at the website, including the At School, International, Corporate, and At Home online versions; in the Vantage Online Store they offer resources to improve usage of the English language, graduate courses, assessment and training tools, police and fire practice exams, Excelsior college exams, and much more.

My children's use of the "At Home" edition has been as a supplement to our language arts curriculum; this program is not meant to stand alone, but works best when coupled with a more compl…