A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers

A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers
The Burts in 2013

Monday, March 29, 2010

Good Friends

Today's post will be short and to the point.

And what's the point? Well, just to do a quick shout out to some true friends.

There is no order to this listing - like any good homeschool mom knows, NEVER play favorites!!

Janette - hard-working, diligent in prayer, shoots it to ya straight - one amazing lady - she's one of the best and I can call her my friend!

Kimberly - loyal, loyal, loyal and always incredibly supportive - one who makes me stronger as a homeschooling mother - and one who openly loves my kiddos & let's me love her kiddos too!

Jeannie - never ceases to make me feel great about my kids & is able to push me to be better w/o being pushy in the least! A friend for life.

Miriam - will lend you a hand at a moment's notice & makes everyone's day a whole lot brighter! Also the mother of 2 really wonderful tykes - she's awesome!

Kym - a pillar of strength and a source of courage that emboldens me as I watch her walk through a dark valley - she's a tough broad who loves Jesus!

Mary - an "old" friend from high school who feels like a "new" friend to me now!

Kim - this Kim is a worker & she defines the Proverb "Go to the ant, thou sluggard." In the midst of a busy and joyful time in her life she keeps serving those around her and moves the rest of us to sacrificial service, too!

Jodi - generous beyond measure to my family - always spurring me on in my parenting and ministry - and setting an example of how to love my husband!

Lacey - a source of information, talent and pizazz that bless my life week in and week out!

Tonnya - someone who is dedicated to young ladies - and this from a lady who does not have any young ladies of her own - she serves not out of the abundance of time, but out of her lack of it, even when she must be a little bit tired!

Rebecca - a friend who lives 2 states away, but will always live right next door to my heart - someone who can make me smile on my very worst day - and someone who has borne great loss with great trust in Jesus!

Kari - she has moved in and out of our city many times, but she has never moved out of my heart - she is like a good book that you enjoy always - a friend I can talk to about anything w/o altering her opinion of me!

Kim - a friend who has drawn me deeper into God's Word, walked paths with me that were long and hard, and has allowed me to pray for her and speak into her life even as I have cried with her.

Lisa - someone I knew is grade school/middle school/high school - but someone who is now my sister in Christ - she keeps me praying for my high school friends who don't know Christ - a truly neat woman of God!

Linda - from our bowling days of total chaos, to our current days of homeschooling high schoolers - Linda is true to herself and true to her Lord - a good mom, a good daughter, a good wife, and a good friend!

Tonya - to my friend who makes raising a dozen kids look easy - WOW! - she juggles it all so well, and still has time to help others in any way she can - a homeschooling machine - and an avid reader of HUGE books (hilarious little story she shared with me recently - maybe I'll blog about it if she gives me permission).

Lora - I may not see her too much & we don't talk all that often, but this is one lady I know I could call upon at any time with any need and she would be there for me without any hesitation. She's wonderful!

Ashley - a busy mom of 2 lovely young ladies who never, ever thinks I'm off my nut by a mile and a half, no matter what I do or what ridiculous thing I say - she's always been there to spur me on in ministry and parenting - and she is also very hilarious, so she can always put me in a good mood!

Okay, I know I am forgetting loads of wonderful women friends - but let me just call this a good start. Thanks to all those who make my life better just by being there...you guys are awesome!

Thank a friend for their role in your life sometime soon!

Day 26 done :)

Jan L. Burt
www.homeschoolingmothersbiblestudy.com

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Dinner, Anyone?

So, it's a wonderful Sunday afternoon. We have had a great day at church, enjoyed celebrating Palm Sunday, enjoyed fun and fellowship with church family, and plan to relax this evening. But alas, it is dinner time. Okay, in our house, it is past dinner time! And here I sit, typing away, no where near the kitchen... So, does this make me a bad wife and mother?

I know that I will spend a good part of the evening working on next week's school plans. I am certain I will get up early in the morning and make my husband's lunch, do some laundry and maybe some dishes, after spending time with the Lord, and start our Monday morning strong. Tomorrow I will know what we will have for dinner before we have lunch. The rest of the week will follow suit. But today, I've just been enjoying life with my family so much that I haven't planned dinner. And since I have failed to plan, I have planned to fail.

This holds true of me in many areas of life. Once I decided to L-I-K-E doing the dishes multiple times each day, and made a consistent plan to be sure I got them done, I no longer failed in that area. Same for laundry - we are not always all caught up on laundry, but we are not behind - and I don't dread it or avoid it. My plans have paid off with success! We have a plan for our library books, and we never fail to return them on time or even early. My husband and I have a plan for our bill payments, and we never fail to pay our bills because the plan works.

Now, I'm not saying you should become a works oriented do-er and forget all about God's grace and His government over your day to day life. That would be a sinful trajedy! But since we know that our God is a God of order and not of disorder, we can trust Him to guide us and bless our attempts at ordering our days aright so that we might gain a heart of wisdom. And, as I am sure you know full well, my "plans" only work when I put the Lord first and make certain I am spending the first fruits of my day with Him. Nothing is more important than my time with my Savior.

The good news for me this evening is that I can always put together a quick dinner of soup and sandwiches with some fresh fruit on the side. It won't take long, the family won't go to bed hungry, and we will end our Sunday together as a family enjoying dinner and conversation. And maybe next weeekend I will work a little harder to plan NOT to fail!

Lord bless you on this Palm Sunday!

Day 25 done :)

Jan L. Burt
www.homeschoolingmothersbiblestudy.com

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Homeschooling in the Spring

Wow, the weather outside just keeps on getting better and better - albeit a little bit at a time! In the afternoon, when the school day is done, my kids have been playing outside again - and they haven't come in with blue lips and red noses! Spring weather...I just love it.

So, spring has finally sprung - does that mean it's time to put away the books and make a break for summer? Does that mean we have to keep plugging along, missing the chance to enjoy the wonderful spring weather (which will soon enough turn into long, hot summer days)? Well, yes...and yes.

Yup, we should put away SOME of the school books and spend some time outdoors. Take a field trip, walk to the library, have a picnic lunch in the back yard, plant some flowers or raise butterflies.

Yup, we should also keep plugging along with our school work. While it may be okay to put aside the cursive workbook or the typing program to enjoy an afternoon out of doors, it may not be okay to start skipping math lessons or skip your family Bible study.

Now, only you know what is truly vital to each of your children at this point in time, and it just might be cursive or typing! Perhaps you are finished with math for the year (if you are, I want to hear about it, because that's fantastic and you deserve a big "Way To Go!"). You may not have much more science to work on (ahem, not the case in our house...) but maybe you would like to spend some extra time reading with your 7 year old, or undertake that craft project you've been putting off. Whatever your family needs, and whatever the Lord would have you to do, by all means, stay busy doing it in the vein of Titus 2. But don't lose an opportunity to spend time together as a family. Because right now it seems like summer is approaching and we have all the time in the world to relax and kick back and spend time together...but the reality often is that summer months fly by, filled with activities and teenager's work schedules, visits to potential college campuses, youth trips and events, and all the fixer-upper projects that have been piling up over the school year. Blink, and it's gone! Time to plan next year's school. Don't let this spring slip by on the assumption that you will have plenty of time to enjoy your family's company during the warm summer months. Make time this spring; I promise you will not regret it!

As a good friend reminded me just last night, give your kids a hug tonight - they really do grow up quickly. She ought to know - her "baby" is serving our country in Afghanistan as we speak. I'll take her advice and make the most of this spring day with my family and friends. I hope you do, too!

Day 24 done :)

Jan L. Burt
www.homeschoolingmothersbiblestudy.com

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Grateful for Taking a Spring Break

I have to tell you, as a Type-A personality and somewhat diligent homeschooling mother, this year marks only the third time our family has taken an "official" spring break. The first year we took a week off while my husband spent a week in the hospital to repair his severly broken femur and to ensure he no longer had a terrible staph infection that threatened his life the summer previous. Our second spring break was taken in February of last year - we traveled to Arizona following my grandfather's death. Although it certainly wasn't a typical spring break, it was a needed break during a very emotional time. And just this past week our family enjoyed a spring break that coordinated with the local school district - my kids played outside with their friends and enjoyed the wonderful weather...which changed back to winter weather and snow on the ground at the end of the week :(

During this week's break from homeschool I enjoyed working on some projects around the house, spending a day antique store shopping with my girls, NOT planning any homeschool lessons BUT INSTEAD looking over all of the curriculum we've been using this school year & making decisions about next year, and getting some much needed dr. appointments out of the way. There were fun birthday parties to attend, play dates and movie outings, shopping trips to the mall (and online shopping, too!), a visit to Grandma's house, and even a house full of teenage boys enjoying their version "the perfect day"...I'd say the week was relaxing while still accomplishing some important tasks. The kids wardrobes are ready for Easter and a friend's upcoming wedding; the homeschool cabinet is tidy and organized; homeschool catalogs have been pored over and choices made for next year; and I am continuing to learn more and more about hypothyroidism and my long-term health! I'm pretty happy with this year's spring break, and I'm also ready to get back to work next week.

Spring brings with it a unique set of feelings for most homeschool moms that I know. We are ready to open the windows, greet the sunshine each morning, and knock out the last of the year's school work. I find the new growth outside, the sunshine, the warm breeze and the "longer" days great motivators as I work to finish up the year. March is the month when we begin to "send down the books". As we finish up with something, the book (or resource of any media type) is moved downstairs where the homeschool curriculum is kept. When we finish with something, we set it near the stairs and "send it down". Our days become lighter as we have less book work to do ~ the kids and I look forward to spending time outside in the afternoons and taking more field trips. We don't finish up every subject as quickly as we possibly can, because we have learned from past experience what it feels like to be "bored" by the time late May rolls around...now we stretch things out a little more over March/April/May and take the time to do more art projects, read more good books, try something new, do a little baking or spend time visiting an older family member.

I'm really glad we took this week off - and I'm really glad that today is the first day of Spring, even if the view out my window is all white :) And I would encourage all homeschool moms to consider taking a spring break - or a winter break - or a fall break - some kind of break at some point during the year to pause and regroup. You may find everyone ready to jump back into their school work after some time off, and you might get a few things taken care of that have been pushed to the back burner. Of course, most homeschooling moms already know how and when to take a break during the course of their school year, so I'm not telling them anything they don't already know! I guess the end of the matter for me is that I was able to enjoy my children in a non-academic way for one whole week, and that is the primary reason I am grateful for taking a spring break.

Happy First Day of Spring!

Day 23 done :)

Jan L. Burt
www.homeschoolingmothersbiblestudy.com

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Review - Molly's Money Saving Digest

If you homeschool, you have probably heard of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. Great publication - I truly enjoy reading and re-reading every issue (I don't throw them away; I categorize them by season for future reference). And I'm not saying I love their magazine just because my Bible study is available for purchase at their online store. I loved TOS well before the Lord ever laid it on my heart to write a Bible study for homeschooling mothers. So, if you haven't read an issue, it's time to check them out at www.thehomeschoolmagazine.com. You won't be sorry!

TOS has an awesome resource known as The Homeschool Crew. Again, another terrific resource. You really should check it out if you are considering a curriculum purchase of any kind. Real vendors send their real products to real homeschoolers who then offer a real review. It's a win/win for everyone ~ especially all the homeschoolers who benefit from the reviews before they make a purchase. Seriously, I'm beating a dead horse here I know, but you won't be sorry if you look into this resource!

Today I'm posting a review of a resource available in The Schoolhouse Store (again, see their website). You may already have heard of Molly's Money-Saving Digest. If not, there's no time like the present to check it out! It's a perfect addition to any homeschool, but even if you don't homeschool you have a lot to gain by looking into Molly's resources. You can learn all about Molly and her frugal ways at her website - www.Econobusters.com - great website, BTW. Her Freebie Fridays posts are chock full of good stuff. So, back to the review...

I've recently finished reading Molly's January Money-Saving Digest (I know, it's March & I'm just working on January's digest? Good thing her tips are timeless!). The theme of the January 2010 digest is "Evaluate, Prioritize, Organize". What mom couldn't benefit from a little more organization? Or a LOT more, in my case! I won't spoil the digest for you by telling you what's on every single page - but I will tell you that every single page has solid information. You really do get your money's worth from Molly's products (this isn't the first item of Molly's that I've used and I have no complaints about any of her products).

In the January issue, Molly talks about pies. Now, I don't bake a whole lot, probably because my mom owned a bakery and we always had baked goods around the house and we were always "helping out" with the business...you get the idea. I love to cook, and cook I do, but baking? My kids don't eat as many baked goods as I did growing up, that's for sure! So I was hesitant to try out any of the pie crusts or pie ideas...what more could I possibly need to know? Molly took something I truly dread doing and made it fun - and if something is fun for the homeschooling mom, it's much more likely to be fun for the homeschooled kids. The tapioca tip is easy and it works - no more runny fruit pies. The "In-A-Pinch" pie crusts are simple and they work! And the "Pies Don't Have to be Round!" article had some fun ideas. I'll be making the "Mother's Strawberry Pie" recipe this week and I doubt I'll receive any complaints about it at all...

Molly's digests also have printable forms (her resources come as e-books) that are very useful. They get the job done without a bunch of extra "fluff", if you get my meaning. I've used printable forms before that aren't very useful, at least not for my lifestyle. I don't need 5 different papers to do the same job...I don't need a HUGE binder to drag around with pages and pages I'll never use...but I do need a daily to-do list, a calendar with room to write, and recipes...Molly provides just what I need and very little of what I don't. Her "Daily To-Do List" from the January digest has room for the day's priorities (let's face it, they won't get done if they aren't given priority status), calls to make (I'm terrible about making phone calls), errands and appointments, meal plans (a HUGE part of a homeschooling mom's day!) and a place for a memory verse (you'll learn the verse if you have it in front of your nose all day!). I LOVE this to-do list. LOVE it. Love it as in I actually use it - and that's the real test in my house.

In the "Feather Your Nest - Frugally" section Molly shares some useful and do-able home decorating ideas. And guess what? You can really do them! I've attempted a few Martha Stewart projects that didn't turn out quite like I'd hoped...Molly's crafts are frugal, easy to complete, and they turn out, well, cute! One of her projects turned out to be a really neat homeschool art project. And if I can do it, anyone can, because I am not naturally crafty...at all.

Molly also includes menu ideas - and these aren't your same-old same-old type of menus. These are good meals made simple and frugal - again, exactly what a homeschooling mom needs. No fluff, just down to business with what works. Her chocolate chip angel food cake is really good, as is the pork tenderloin recipe. She even has a recipe to make grilled cheese pretty special - and of course, it's easy. No need to wear yourself out making dinner after a full day of homeschooling. These are recipes you will use.

In the Kid's Corner section she has a fun craft making a piggy bank out of a 2-liter bottle. It just so happens I have a daughter who loves pigs, so this made a perfect arts and crafts activity for her. It wasn't too hard, either - and it was, of course, cheap.

And then, there are all the articles in each digest. There are guest writers who offer encouragement and helpful ideas; there are email tips sent in by digest readers; and in this digest there was an excerpt from an essay about homemaking from a book published in 1891 - and the words penned so many years ago are still applicable for me today. I can't wait to read more from that essay, it inspired me so much! In fact I may look for a copy of the book the essay came from...and I never would have known about it except for Molly's Digest.

Check out Molly at www.Econobusters.com and enjoy gleaning from all her frugal and useful tips!

Day 22 done :)

Jan
www.homeschoolingmothersbiblestudy.com

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Proverbs 17:22

I haven't been feeling too well lately. I'm not exactly sure what's up, but I feel a bit "off" - perhaps more than a bit off, maybe a whole lot off! - which may mean something serious or may mean nothing serious. You see, I have hypothyroidism and sometimes an adjustment simply needs to be made in my dosage - other times, I may need more than just a simple adjustment.

This feeling "off" problem has been bothering me for a while now, I'm I think I've grown weary. My attitude has become steadily worse - I don't stay "peppy" for long with my hypothyroidism, and when I sleep poorly, my "peppiness" is pretty short lived! You could say I'm downright grumpy, and when I get stressed or worried, my grumpy attitude increases. Round and round I go on the merry-go-round of life with my bad attitude and my "off" feeling keeping me on the merry-go-round. I should know by now to just get off the silly merry-go-round, call the doctor for some routine blood work, and take God seriously when He tells me in His Word not to worry - about anything - ever.

So, this verse (Provers 17:22) is speaking loudly to my heart today. It reads, " A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." That is so true! The more I fret and focus on how I "feel" and wonder if there is something more serious than my thyroid problems going on, the more quickly I find myself with a crushed spirit. And it does dry up my bones...ugh, it's exhausting to be so consumed with worry. BUT the good news for me in this verse is that a cheerful heart is good medicine! If I will let the cheerful attitudes of others influence me, if I will listen to encouragement and take it to heart, if I will choose to have a good attitude instead of a fretful one, then things will turn around for me and I'll be under the influence of God's good medicine.

Well, I'm going to see my doctor, of course, so as not to be irresponsible or foolish, but I am also going to change my attitude and give all my frets and fears to the only One who can handle them - my Lord Jesus. And by leaning hard on the Holy Spirit, I can cast away those fears each time they rear their ugly heads. And I would do well to remember this for the future - just take my medicine without complaining. It's so much better than the alternative!

Day 21 done :)

Lord bless each of you today with good health and a good attitude!
Jan
www.homeschoolingmothersbiblestudy.com

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Short Post

Well, it's been a long time since I've posted. I suppose that reveals just how busy things have been around here lately! That's not surprising news to those of you who homeschool. The January/February/March stretch can make or break a homeschool year, academically speaking. We tend to use this time during the cold months when we spend more time indoors working hard to "get ahead" in our school work. Then, hopefully!, when warmer weather arrives, we'll be able to get outside and enjoy it! I'm looking forward to taking a few field trips this spring, getting back to my walking routine, and having fewer school subjects to finish each day.

So, now you know why I've been MIA from the world of blogging...

Since it's Tuesday morning, and not yet spring around here, I'd better get back to our school work. Hang in there, all you homeschool moms! We're in March now, green grass, flowers and birds are just around the corner. Keep loving those kids, serve the Lord, and finish this long winter well!

Day 20 done :)

Lord bless your day,
Jan L. Burt
www.homeschoolingmothersbiblestudy.com