A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers

A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers
The Burts in 2013

Thursday, April 29, 2010

What's In Your Homeschool?

So, here it is almost the end of April. As I reflect on the school year, I am awed and blessed by all that the Lord has done in my family. He has gently and lovingly handled every concern, each struggle, all of the emotions that come with 4 daughters and a 17 year old son sharing the same "space" day in and day out - and He has done it while drawing me to Him with cords of kindness. My God is a good God indeed.

What's in my homeschool? What's in your homeschool? Is the joy of the Lord there? Is His Holy Spirit leading and guiding you through the day? Is there respect for your husband in your homeschool? Plenty of love and grace and mercy shown to your "students"? Is the Ancient of Days the ruler of all your minutes and hours? Does the Great I AM have all authority over your homeschool - from curriculum choices to character building to sick days? Are you talking to Him and seeking Him all throughout the day? Can you say along with Job, "The Lord giveth; the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." and "Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him." (also quoting Job)? Is all of your life and all of your homeschool laid upon His altar - or is some of your life and some of your homeschool trying to squirm off the altar?

When we teach, let us remember that the very same God Who told Moses that He would give him the ability to speak (after all, He made man from dust - he can give that dust-man words to speak) - this is the very same God Who will give you words to speak to your children as you go throughout your homeschool day. Remember this God is the very same God gave Samson strength to slay a lion with his bare hands - and to tie the tails of hundreds of foxes together with torches between them - and the last surge of strength to push down the pillars in order to honor the Lord with his last breath. Will He not give us all that we need as we pour out of ourselves and into our children day after day after day?

He truly does give us all that we need for life and godliness each and every day. This week I spent all (and I do mean ALL!!) of Monday morning, Tuesday morning, and Wednesday morning at doctor's offices. Monday - I was at the doctor. Tuesday - I was at the doctor again (learning all about glucose intolerance and how to use my brand new glucose meter). Wednesday - I took my oldest daughter to the doctor. (She has a terrible case of poison ivy, which she got while working with LOVE Wichita, a local ministry to serve those in our community who need help with projects, yard work, etc.) Today I had to run to the grocery store before one of my daughter's online cooking class - she can't cook if she doesn't have anything TO cook, right?! But guess what? Even through all of that, we got every bit of our school work done on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and today. Of course, I'm not at all surprised. My God is the same God Who kept the Israelites shoes from wearing out for 40 years of desert walking. My God is the same God Who carried Elijah to heaven on a chariot of fire. My God is the very same God Who struck Saul blind and then changed him into Paul, a man set apart and set afire to do the Lord's bidding. It's nothing at all for Him to maximize the time we had this week, to bless the work of my hands, and to give us peace instead of frustration over the strange events that altered our carefully planned schedule. And guess what is even better? I spent an hour or more with the Lord each morning this week; I didn't have to sacrifice even one minute of the most important hour of my day.

He has provided me with an abundance of praying, loving and supportive friends in addition to all His loving care. Not only has He taken good care of my family this week, He gave me real live, in-the-flesh friends to shore me up and encourage me. He has given exceedingly, abundantly more than I can think or imagine. And He loves you so very much, He'll bless you beyond your wildest imaginations, too. 'Cuz He's good like that!

So, may your home be filled with His aroma and may your homeschool bring much glory to His Name. Be blessed and happy homeschooling!

Day 29 done :)

Jan L. Burt

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday with Mimi

Wow! It's been a while since I've posted! Has my life been busy or have I just neglected this blog? Hmmm...I think my life has been pretty busy and while I may have neglected my blog I don't think I've been neglecting my family, so I guess I'm doing okay, right?!

I won't give you a blow-by-blow of what's been keeping me so busy - but some of it is pretty important to our homeschool so I will likely blog about it in the future. Today I'm posting about our lovely female Pug named Mimi. She is a small dog with a big personality, and she brings a whole lot of fun into our lives. Mimi has had some eye problems over the last year and a half, and has been seeing a specialist on a regular basis. Each time Mimi has an appointment with "Dr. B" he puts some numbing drops in her eyes and then measures her pressure in each eye. Now, what's interesting about all of this is that Mimi really loves "Dr. B". I don't mean a little - she thinks this fella is all that and more! When she sees her harness (which she wears rather than a traditional collar - the harness actually helps keep her eye pressures down) she begins to bounce around and make happy growling noises. She jumps into the front seat with my daughter Alexandra and waits very impatiently as we drive. Once we have been driving long enough to ensure we are not going to her regular vet, she gets a little more excited. When we pull into the parking lot and she jumps out of the front seat (dragging Alex along behind her!) she is more excited. By the time we walk into the building, she's nearly bursting at the seams. Then we are taken into the patient room to wait for "Dr. B". She moans. She cries. She rubs her harness against our legs. She looks at the exam table and looks at the doctor's chair. And whines some more. And then, every single time, she sits down right at the door, listening and watching intently for any movement or sound that might be the good doctor. The entire time her little tail is waving like a flag in the wind.

Finally, the moment arrives and "Dr. B" opens the door. Mimi can barely contain herself as she leaps up on him and gives him kisses and sits in his lap while he just loves on her. And then she keeps loving on him while he puts medicine in her eyes, and while the nurse holds her down so that the doctor can measure the pressure in each eye over and over again. And then finally, he gives her a treat and more love. Then while he fills us in on the health of her eyes, she sits quietly near his feet, watching him and wagging her tail. Then "Dr. B" says good-bye to Mimi and Alex takes her to the car while I pay the bill. Once we get home, our two other Pugs (Roly and Jack) will check Mimi over and make sure she is okay. (It sounds silly, but they stand at the door and cry when one of them goes to the vet - they're such babies!) Mimi will spend the rest of the day happily content, lying on the couch or moving from one spot to another to get the best sunshine. It's all good in her world; she got to see "Dr. B".

Today, however, was a bittersweet day. For the past year, Mimi's pressures have been really good - no glaucoma, no blindness setting in - just good numbers if she has her medicines every day. Now that her numbers have been so good for so long, "Dr. B" doesn't need to see her again unless problems develop. I'm so happy Mimi is doing well - and Alex doesn't miss a single day of her medicine. And I'm so sad for Mimi, because she won't be seeing her dear "Dr. B" any longer.

I have found I can learn a few things from Mimi. I can take great joy in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, even when my "eyes are being poked", so to speak. I can anticipate His presence and rest fully in His care for me, even when the only thing I can feel is a poke in the eye. I can be content to sit at His feet, just like Mimi sits quietly at her eye doctor's feet. And I can spend the rest of my day content and at peace, because I've spent time with Him each morning.

This isn't always easy for me - sometimes I am totally insecure about what's happening in my life. But instead I ought to feel totally "secure in His treasure pouch" (1 Samuel 25:29). Mimi doesn't have a worry in sight - neither should I. Mimi doesn't fear that "Dr. B" might harm her - neither should I fear. Mimi isn't afraid of what might happen in the future - I should not fear the future, either.

I realize I might be extreme in that I draw encouragement from a trip to the vet...and I hope I don't sound flippant or appear to have a lack of reverence. I'm not at all flippant about the Lord and I revere Him as King of kings and Lord of lords. Perhaps I'm just simple minded and He uses daily life to speak to my heart. I'm certainly glad He does :)

Enjoy your homeschool day as you rest safe and secure in the Lord's treasure pouch!

Day 28 done :)

Jan L. Burt

Saturday, April 10, 2010

E-Book Review ~ "Help, Lord, I'm Getting Ready to Start Homeschooling My Highschooler!"

This post has been a long while in the making ~ I've spent the last 6 weeks or so working my way through this e-book & am now ready to share my thoughts...but my goal is to stick to the content of the e-book as much as possible and not veer too much toward my own experiences as a homeschooling mother of 2 highschoolers. This may be a little hard for me, because I found myself relating to so many of the articles in this compilation that it may be hard for me to share about the book without sharing about myself.

I'll start with a brief overview of this e-book's content. The e-book is 122 pages long and is published by The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. It is a compilation of articles written by veteran homeschooling mothers who have A) graduated children from their homeschool B) are currently homeschooling high school students or C) both of the above. The introduction was written by Amanda Bennett (anyone who has ever used a unit study probably recognizes her name & if you don't know who she is you can find out at There are 13 articles written by women who have loads of experience, wisdom and encouragement to share on the topic of managing a high school at home. The epilogue is written by TOS's own Deborah Wuehler (if you haven't read any of her writings, you really need to - everything she writes blesses me). The e-book closes with a list of recommended resources and a resource list.

Let me say that there is no way I can mention every article in this e-book, and honestly, it's pretty tough for me to choose which ones to mention ~ I kept thinking "Oooh, this is my favorite article!" And then I would read further and think, "Now, this is my favorite for sure!" ETC. ETC. ETC. By the end of last page, I realized there was no way to have a "favorite". So many of the words written spoke to me right where I am in my homeschool journey; several things were shared that made me "remember when"; and the advice and counsel I gleaned the most encouragement from were about the things I have yet to face. This book is a real gem for the mother who has high school students in her homeschool. And if you are unsure about homeschooling all the way through 12th grade, this e-book is for you. I have a daughter finishing up her 9th grade year and a son who has completed his education at home and will spend all of next year taking dual enrollment classes at Friends University ( ~ while that may make me a "seasoned pro" in some sense, I learned a whole lot by reading this book. It's a good read for all who teach the higher grade levels at home.

Now, on to the articles!!

Ladonna Beals shared a great reminder to evaluate all other books by the Bible (p.17). These are words we cannot hear often enough! Pay attention to what your children read, for school work and for pleasure. Talk about the content, compare it to the Bible, and decide to take God at His Word. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom - if we forget to impart that to our children, the rest of our time spent homeschooling is a wash. Ladonna also says, "Homeschool moms keep working and adjusting as needed to get the desired results." (p. 15) When I read that, I thought, "That's the story of my life! That is exactly what I do ~ sometimes daily!" I am blessed when I can relate to other homeschooling moms :)

Phyllis Sather's article was chock full of Bible verses. She really strengthened me with God's Word via her article! Phyllis offered a great reminder that there is no need to be intimidated by real life vs. homeschool - waiting rooms are a great place to practice your child's reading skills (albeit not your high school student - unless he was reading with his younger sibling). This could be applied in many ways - review some SAT questions while waiting, or bring a page of Algebra problems to work on. After all, since all your child's work is technically "home work", this could bring a nice change! She also offers a reminder that it can be hard to teach at home and be involved in too many outside activities. Continually work to maintain balance in this area.

Marcia Wilson's article reminded me of the importance of keeping up with the grading during the senior high years, even when it tends to be "squeezed out" by all the other things that need to be done. If you've read some of my previous posts then you already know I've struggled with grading quite a bit this year. I've made great improvements, however, and Marcia's words encouraged me to keep up with the "grade pile".

Kelly Rotenberry passed on a wonderful nugget of wisdom when she mentioned the "extra work" she had to do to keep her youngest interested and passionate about learning. This is something homeschool moms need to hear! There is a lot of work involved at the high school level - "extra work" describes these years perfectly! She closes her article by saying, "Make your expectations of them realistic..." Excellent advice!

In Lynn Foote's article on finishing well, she says, "It felt like our wiggle room had disappeared." I can relate to this sentiment! I remember the days of homeschooling with babies and toddlers...and the days of homeschooling in and around doctor's appointments and my husband's Army lifestyle...then there were the days of elementary and middle school, with field trips we could all enjoy and productive school days that seemed to be almost "easy"...and then came high school. The challenges are different then the baby and toddler days, but having children in 4th, 6th, 7th, 9th and 11th grade has kept me on my toes in any number of ways. Whether it's been driving a student to his classes at Friends (when he was 15 - now he drives himself) or getting them to early a.m. ice skating lessons (early a.m. as in between 5 and 6) to working on science labs and foreign language for mandatory state requirements, it's been tricky to keep my home up and running while I educated five children. It's a balancing act that I continue to work on day by day - high school can be all consuming, but it doesn't have to be the ONLY thing you do. The rest of your life, and your younger students, can thrive as you homeschool your high school age children. Beyond this, Lynn shares too much great wisdom and encouragement than I can quote here. This article is a must read for one about to begin high school at home, one in the middle of high school, or in the last days prior to graduation.

Laeatrice Lanier shares some advice about sending your student to dual enrollment college classes at a young age (her son tested into college during his sophomore year, just as my son did). She urges parents to pray long and hard about sending their child on to the college environment at an "early" age. I could not agree with her more! She also says, "Don't be afraid to change your course if God puts up a red flag." She's right! Don't fear where God is leading - rather, be concerned if you are afraid to follow Him!

In Donna Rees's article, she takes on the sometimes touch opinion that homeschooling is the "only" choice. She says that for her family, homeschooling was the best choice. I was blessed by Donna's wise choice of words and her encouragement for each family to seek out God's best for them. She mentions Daniel and Moses, both educated in places and by people who did not know the Lord God. She urges parents to diligently seek God's will for their children. On page 83 she writes about not condemning friends if they aren't led to homeschool through high school - and she takes us to Luke 6:37 where Jesus clearly tells us not to condemn others. We can be so quick to lump people in categories, and homeschoolers can push people away with our "my way or the highway" attitude about certain things. This article is a wonderful reminder that condemnation has no place in the body of Christ. While we may be "fruit inspectors" we are no one's judge and jury. Donna's quote, "The financial part was an opportunity to trust God." is 100% true. What a fabulous attitude regarding the expense of home educating through high school! She also shares that she was not as concerned about finishing high school at home as she was about what lay beyond high school. I completely understand what she means - we aren't in the least nervous about whether or not we will be able to finish...but we are a little curious about what is next for each of our children. I think it's natural to wonder, "What's next?" but it's unhealthy to fret and worry about it. I gleaned quite a lot from Donna's wisdom and found encouragement and hope to press on toward the finish line.

There are several more authors who contributed to this e-book, and I don't want to lengthen this post or "give away" any more of the treasure to be found by reading it for yourself. It's worth both the money to purchase and the time taken to read it - and you will probably read it more than once. This e-book is available for sale in The Schoolhouse Store Check it out and pick up a copy - remember, e-books are instant downloads and The Schoolhouse Store allows 20 downloads for each e-book purchased, so you can save a copy to your desktop and your laptop and even access your account away from home and read it anywhere.

Happy High School Homeschooling!

Day 26 done :)

Jan L. Burt