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TOS Crew Product Review ~ R.E.A.L. Homeschool Spanish

Relax. Enjoy. Aspire. Learn Spanish.

This is the motto behind REAL Homeschool Spanish. And yes indeed, they do live up to that motto!

The philosophy behind REAL Homeschool Spanish is that Spanish is best learned through conversation. All new vocabulary is taught first by speaking back and forth with others. This curriculum doesn't focus primarily on exact pronunciation or rules of grammar; rather, it's focus is on actually being able to converse in Spanish. That makes it unique among other Spanish language curriculum. It also makes it necessary for mom (or dad, or older siblings) to participate in the lessons!

The material used in REAL Homeschool Spanish is relevant to a homeschooling environment and is meant to be applied all throughout the day. You can (and should) use Spanish words as you and your child talk - during dinner, saying good-night, etc. It's not typical for Spanish programs to be created specifically for the needs of homeschooling families. That's one more …

It's Almost the End of 2011

Today is the 29th of December. WOW!! A year ago I could not have dreamed all that would happen in 2011. It's a good time to take pause and reflect on what I hoped would be, what actually came to be, and what wasn't meant to be.

Our homeschool met many of my expectations, and failed at others (pretty much like every single year!). My marriage has improved and is stronger than ever after 20 years, and that is a wonderful gift from the Lord! Our finances have taken a hit this year; yet we take comfort in the fact that we are walking a path laid out for us by the Lord Almighty, and obedience is our job - the results are His. I've sent a son off to college and no longer have any kids in elementary grades. We still lead the youth group at our church, and the blessings we receive from our co-workers and the students cannot be counted. Even our pets have had a good year - they are aging well and remain healthy and a blessing to our family. Old friendships have deepened and new one…

Your 100 Day Prayer: The Transforming Power of Actively Waiting on God by John I. Snyder

This book by John I. Snyder is a guided 100 day journey into a deeper prayer life. Each day's reading is concise but engaging, and the book is solidly based on the Word of God. It's easy to use ~ you can and should dive right in as soon as you buy this book! ~ and it truly does grow your faith as you face tough circumstances.

It's a book I thoroughly used and really, strongly, heartily recommend. I did receive this book (in e-book form) free of charge from BookSneeze.com for review purposes, but I am in no way obligated to give a favorable review. With all sincerity, I can say this book is one I will refer to for years to come. As a guide to praying through the hard stuff we all face in life, Your 100 Day Prayer: The Power of Actively Waiting on God was meant to be used again and again.

If you are looking for a book to encourage you in your walk with the Lord as you face any type of difficulty, this is the book for you. And since I'm writing this review in late Decembe…

Homeschooling at Christmastime

How terrific is it to be a homeschool family during the month of December?!

I'll tell ya how terrific it is - fantastically, amazingly, superbly TERRIFIC!!

I love homeschooling. There's not much about it that I don't genuinely love - except grading... And homeschooling at Christmas is just icing on the cake. We end each year together, as a family, focusing on the Advent of our Lord Jesus - and we get to say good-bye to the old year, remember Jesus' coming, and ring in the new year all together as a family for the entire month of December.

So did I mention that I love homeschooling in December??

In December we decorate our house, do lots of baking, choose and wrap presents for friends and family, go caroling at a local nursing home with our church family, have a blast at our youth group's annual Christmas party, celebrate Advent nightly, decorate our yard with lights and blow-ups, enjoy our church dinner and talent show, spend time with family, and new this December i…

TOS Crew Product Review ~ The World's Greatest Stories Volume 1 (The Prophets)

I have often stated that teaching my children God's Word is the most important subject in our homeschool. It is always the first subject assigned in their planners, and every curriculum choice I make revolves around the Bible. So having the opportunity to review The World's Greatest Stories on CD (as told by George W. Sarris) was a perfect fit for my family.

I received Volume 1, The Prophets in the New International Version (free of charge for review purposes) along with a sample CD of Mr. Sarris' other dramatic readings from the Bible. Readings included in this volume are: The Blazing Furnace (Daniel 3), The Handwriting on the Wall (Daniel 5), Daniel in the Lions' Den (Daniel 6), Elijah and the Prophets of Balls (I Kings 17-18), & The Prophecy of Jonah (Jonah 1-4).

George Sarris, a Northwestern graduate who also holds a Master of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, does an excellent job of narrating the Biblical text on this CD. And the best thing ab…

2 Timothy 1:12 Says...

Have you ever believed someone, or believed in someone, and had it turn out poorly? On the converse, have you ever believed someone and had it turn out better than you had dared hope? And have you ever had someone believe in you? Did their belief turn out to be well-founded?

Everyone needs something to believe in; whether or not we want to admit it, that's the truth. Some of us believe in ourselves. Others believe in our spouses. Many people believe in their careers. And a lot of homeschooling mothers believe in - ahem, no flames please! - homeschooling. But in the end, and I mean the literal end, the only thing worth believing fully in is Jesus Christ, Savior of the world.

Homeschooling won't save me, my husband, or my children. It can be an excellent vessel to teach my children from God's Word - but only Jesus can save them. And if we begin homeschooling with the incorrect idea that it can save us, if we place all our hope in our family homeschool, if we believe in homes…

Heroes & Villains Of The Bible - Real Stories, Actual Bible Text (Tommy Nelson)

Heroes & Villains of the Bible - Real Stories, Actual Bible Text (from Tommy Nelson publishing) is a children's book of 50 Bible stories from both the Old and New Testament. The text is taken directly from the Bible (International Children's Bible version). It is a 244 page hard cover book, with an introduction, Old Testament section, New Testament section, and a final "Note to Heroes".

This book holds up well with use and has enough artwork to keep younger readers interested. The text is straight from the Bible, which I absolutely love, and the stories are short enough that children can easily read one each day; they can also keep on reading if they so choose. The unique focus on heroes and villains from God's Word sets the book apart. Each story has a brief introduction about the characters involved, and ends with a wrap up that encourages the reader to be a hero (and not a villain).





On my "Page Turner Scale" of 1 to 5, I am giving this book a 4. …

Our Dog Can Talk!

My daughter's Pug, Mimi, does this when she hears us calling for her "girl" Alexandra (Alex for short). Listen carefully to see if you can hear Mimi try to say "Alex" ~ it sounds something like "Oww-Wes" and a couple of times she seems to say "Ow-Wes-An-Dra". What's hilarious is that Mimi ONLY does this when she hears the name of her owner, Alex.

Happy Pug Watching!



Day 138 done :)

Jan L. Burt
www.HomeschoolingMothersBibleStudy.com
www.SavanasClayCreations.com

Our Family Just Created Our Own TShirt on Zazzle.com

Okay, so our family is forever cracking jokes, spouting one-liners, quoting movies, and in general laughing hysterically at one another. Seriously, we do this ALL THE TIME!

Last night at dinner something struck my daughter's as funny; strike that, it struck them as beyond funny and they could not stop laughing. They decided they wanted to keep this humorous state going and wanted to find a t-shirt to give away as a Christmas gift in honor of this superbly funny event. Since they didn't have much luck finding a shirt that suited them, they decided to make one at Zazzle.com. (Which is a great place to create custom shirts, mugs, mouse pads, etc.) After making their shirt, they decided to create a "store" at Zazzle.com where they could sell their newly created t-shirt.

And next thing ya know - VIOLA!! - they're off and running in yet another creative venture in the true spirit of homeschooling!

To check out their store - called BurtsShirts - click HERE. Keep in mind …

TOS Crew Product Review ~ The Easy Spanish Level I from Great Commission Languages

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.The Easy Spanish Level I (from Great Commission Languages) is a whopper of a book at 414 pages and 2 Cd's. Using this foreign language program for 36 lessons, following each portion of each lesson, WILL give your student the tools they need to speak Spanish (and by that I mean they can actually communicate with those whose native tongue is Spanish).

This curriculum can be parent led, or can be done individually - which is the ideal option for homeschooling parents because it makes it easy to adapt to younger children or easy to "hand off" to older children. I'm using The Easy Spanish with my junior in high school and my 8th grader. Using The Easy Spanish through completion counts as 2 years of high school foreign language. I should also note that this curriculum has a STRONG Christian emphasis (hence the publisher's name Great Commission Languages!) and the end aim of the product is at making and equipping missionaries. Can I just say, very loudly, HOW COOL …

Advent Begins Tomorrow

Acts 15:31 (New Living Translation) reads ~ "And there was great joy throughout the church that day as they read this encouraging message."

Since the purpose behind this blog is to encourage moms who homeschool, the above verse from Acts is fitting to post today. And since tomorrow is the first Sunday of Advent, I thought it was fitting to blog about something truly encouraging - the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ.

I'm often encouraged by articles in homeschool magazines, blog posts from my fellow homeschooling moms, Sunday morning sermons, and weekly small groups. But the most encouraging thing that has ever happened for the whole of mankind was the birth of a tiny baby in a dirty stable, surrounded by animals and wrapped in swaddling clothes.

My prayer for you this Christmas season is that your homeschool days, and every moment you spend with family and friends, will be filled to the brim with understanding of the Lord's great love. The encouraging message, that …

Living Life as the Body of Christ

I've been reading in Ezra, and the Lord has been speaking to my heart about being open not only before Him but also before my brothers and sisters in the local church. I know you may be wondering how I got that from the book of Ezra..hang on, I'll connect the dots.

I think there might be a "trend" in the church today, and maybe it's primarily a trend within the church in America, but the tendency toward "handling things on our own" seems to be increasing.

Now, I'm in total agreement with the practice of total reliance upon God as a demonstration of His faithfulness (as demonstrated in the lives of George and Mary Mueller). I hope I can phrase this in a way that doesn't sound as if I don't believe in total reliance upon God alone. Here goes nothing...

In the Old Testament book of Ezra, we read about the Israelites returning to to Jerusalem following a terrible time of exile. They began the work of rebuilding the Temple, and faced strong opposit…

TOS Crew Product Review ~ Read Naturally - Read Live!

Read Live (from Read Naturally) is a comprehensive set of research-based programs that assess reading while engaging students. It is a motivating curriculum that supports fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and phonics.

The above words can be found online at Read Naturally's description of Read Live, and I must say, the above words are accurate and true. Read Live is a web based reading program that improves students reading ability along with their self-confidence. Yes, it's hard work, but most anything worth doing is.

When I first logged onto the Read Naturally website to set up our family's Read Live account, I thought the set-up process to be a little confusing. It is a multi-step process that is probably better suited to an administrator in a public or private school setting than the average homeschool mom. But I understand why Read Live operates the way that it does; it allows for multiple teachers and students to access the program, and keeps cheating at a low and a…

Don't Over Do It This Thanksgiving

My advice for all homeschooling moms this Thanksgiving is simple: DO NOT FALL INTO THE DO-IT-ALL TRAP!!

It is a trap lying in wait for all homeschoolers. We set our sights too high, plan too much, work ourselves to the point of exhaustion, get snippy with our husbands and children, and end up frustrated and worn out. Wondering how I know this? Or have you already figured out I am a born over-achiever and I've had to learn a few things the hard way?!

This Thanksgiving, take it easy. Slow down and make time for what really matters. Instead of adding an enormous unit study on Thanksgiving to your typical homeschool schedule, why not set aside your current history program and study about the history of this holiday in America? Swap out handwriting workbooks for Bible verses about thankfulness. Keep your Thanksgiving Day menu as simple as possible, and do some of your baking a little early as part of homeschool Home Ec. Don't try and do everything you normally do and host the perfect…

TOS Crew Product Review ~ College Prep Genius

Here I sit, typing away, drinking coffee from a bright orange mug with the words "Wheaton College MOM" emblazoned on the side. With my oldest in an excellent college, I must say I feel pretty confident about the future of my four younger children. During my son's last two years of high school, I thought I'd learned pretty much all there was to know about the college testing process. As a homeschooler, there are often extra hoops to jump through when filling out college applications - and since my son chose to apply at academically strong schools that don't accept a high number of homeschooled students, I found myself working over time in the position of guidance counselor.

I know a lot about standardized tests and understand the application process pretty well. And it's all fresh in my mind, since Gage graduated in May of this year. But I must say, I have learned a TON from College Prep Genius and I truly wish I'd discovered this product earlier. There are…

11-11-11 = A Day to Be Thankful

Today is Veteran's Day; it was previously known as Armistice Day. On November 11th, 1918 at 11am a cease fire fell into place, thus ending the First World War. One year later, President Woodrow Wilson signed into law the federal holiday of Armistice Day, and all business commerce stopped for 2 minutes at 11am. In later years, following World War II, the federal holiday became known as Veteran's Day. It's an excellent thing for a country to honor those who have died to ensure freedom for it's citizens. It's also a good thing to remember the origin of this national holiday. By all means, as the wife of an Army officer, I am thankful that his service is remembered on this day. But as a homeschool mom who loves history, it's also important to me that we remember those who fought in the Great War, and who most immediately benefited at 11am on November 11, 1918.

All who have served in the defense of our country, since the days preceding the Revolutionary War through t…

TOS Crew Product Review ~ First Form Latin from Memoria Press

First impression upon opening the package I received from Memoria Press: WOW!! They sent me the whole shebang!

Second impression upon opening the package I received from Memoria Press: WOW!! They must not know how un-confident I feel about teaching - gulp - Latin!

The set I received from Memoria Press was First Form Latin Plus DVDs and Flashcards (sent to me free of charge for review purposes). This set contains the Teacher Manual, Student Text, Student Workbook, Quizzes & Tests, Pronunciation CD, Flashcards and DVDs. It is a very thorough set, and it does it's job of allowing moms like me to teach Latin to their children :) It's a quality program and provided me with the tools I needed to conquer a foreign language that I did not feel confident about teaching. The only items I needed in addition to the materials included with First Form Latin were a student notebook and a dictionary containing word etymology. (And just in case you happen to be a whiz when it comes to Latin…

Will I REALLY Be Able to Homeschool Through High School?!

Today's post is simply a dose of encouragement for homeschooling mothers considering the looming future idea of homeschooling "all the way through". (Key creepy music and girly shrieks and screams)

Yea, it's a scary concept. But if you take a moment and remember when you first began to considering homeschooling, you'll recognize the same emotions. Remember how you felt about teaching your child to read? Or teaching them to write in cursive? How to form a complete sentence or perhaps a paragraph? The scientific method? How to type and use the Dewey decimal system and the history of Ancient Egypt? All those concepts seemed pretty daunting, and yet you were able to keep your head and teach your children. High school is much the same - I promise!

My oldest graduated last May and is now in college (yes, your homeschooled child can actually get accepted to a college ~ but that's another post altogether!). I have two daughters in high school this year (9th and 11th gr…

TOS Crew Product Review ~ Excellence in Literature - English 1, Introduction to Literature

Reviewing the product "English 1 - Introduction to Literature" from the Excellence in Literature series by Janice Campbell has been an absolute delight for me. Having used her products and subscribed to her e-zine for several years, I can attest to the fact that her products are quality curriculum and her wisdom is invaluable to homeschooling families - particularly those with students in high school.

Excellence in Literature is a college preparatory literature program, an it's important to keep this in the forefront of your mind when using this curriculum. It's not some "easy-cheesy" workbook that demands little from the student and even less from the teacher. On the contrary, "English 1 - Introduction to Literature" is a first-rate product that draws excellence from the student provided said student pours hard work into the assignments. If you're wondering whatever happened to the lady writing this weblog who dislikes grading and favors curri…

TOS Crew Product Review ~ George Washington Carver DVD from Marshall Publihing

George Washington Carver was a man of such character that his life is studied as an example some 68 years after his death. Yes, he was a brilliant scientist. Yes, he was also a wonderful teacher. But the reason we, as human beings made in the image of our Creator, are drawn to George Washington Carver is truly due to his character. And the character of Mr. Carver cannot be separated from his concept of God Almighty.

I say all that to tell you about a product I received (free of charge for review purposes) from Marshall Publishing ~ a DVD entitled "George Washington Carver - His Life and His Work". This 30 minute DVD gives viewers a overview of the unique and fascinating life of George W. Carver beginning in his childhood and continuing until his death in 1943. Of course, 30 minutes is not sufficient to examine all of his life - but 30 minutes is enough to pique a student's interest and is a terrific place to start a study on the life of George Washington Carver.

The DVD it…

It's the Weekend, and I Was Wondering (part 2) ...

Here it is, another weekend filled with errands, youth group events, yard work, church and small groups, and of course homeschool preparation for the coming week.

The response I received to a question I posed in my first "It's the Weekend, and I Was Wondering..." blog post was fabulous! I loved hearing what you all shared about spelling programs, and I've been able to implement some of those things in our family's homeschool. (To read that post, click HERE.)

The question I'm asking this weekend has to do with penmanship. How important is it in your homeschool? What programs, curriculum, or methods do you use? Are some of your children simply neater than others, or have you been able to obtain a standard measure of neatness from all your children?

Let me hear what you have to say about penmanship by leaving a comment. I can hardly wait to read your advice!

Have a wonderful weekend and be sure to enjoy your family in the midst of your busy preparation for next we…

TOS Crew Product Review ~ Always IceCream

Gee, as a homeschooling mom who now has all girls at home after sending our only son off to college, I was shocked when receiving a girls only product to review!
In all seriousness, I was very happy to see a safe, educational website specifically designed with young ladies ,ages 7-12, in mind.

Always Icecream is appealing to me as a homeschooler because of the diverse educational content (language arts, basic & advanced math, geography, history, music, art, foreign languages, computer skills and religious eduction). Using games and videos, Always Icecream is a great supplemental curriculum option. As a mom Always Icecream is appealing to me because it's safe, free of advertising, and blocked to search engines. The site is certified by Privo and is subject to moderation, and user information is never sold; my daughter's safety is taken seriously and that is very important to me as a homeschooling mother.

My 6th grade daughter has been using Always Icecream since we received a…

Has He Proven It to You?

God makes us a spectacular promise when He says that all His promises prove true (see Psalm 18:30, Romans 3:4, and 2 Samuel 22:31). This isn't a promise made only to the Israelites, or one that is found only in the Old Testament. It is a promise that encompasses all of the Bible and all believers, and as such it is one we can take the spiritual bank to cash with full expectation that it will "clear"!

Yes, I realize that in essence I'm claiming that God promises that His promises will prove true. And I get that you may think that's an odd concept, or maybe that I'm talking in circles or have put my thought processes in a blender and what came out what this blog post. But I really do believe that God's amazing promise to us that each and every one of His promises is true and can be counted on is one of the most important spiritual truths we can grasp.

Think of a verse you consider dear to your heart ~ maybe you have prayed it over your children daily, or perh…

Pershing - Commander of the Great War by John Perry (from the Generals series)

General John J. "Black Jack" Pershing was a one-of-a-kind leader who saved Europe in a one-of-a-kind war. The book "Pershing ~ Commander of the Great War" explores the entirety of Pershing's, culminating in an understandable review of his leadership during the First World War. For a man who never intended to become a soldier, it is a great irony that he became the only U.S. General awarded the rank of General of the Armies during his lifetime - the only U.S. General to ever own the rank of 6 stars (though in humility he never wore 6, only 4 gold stars in an adaptation the traditional 4 silver stars of a full general).

I have always felt an understanding of World War II begins with a study of World War I. Mechanized warfare, chemical advances, aircraft and improved weaponry began in the Great War. Those who fought in the Second World War are known as "the Greatest Generation", and there is no doubt they nobly earned said title. I only wish those who ser…

TOS Crew Product Review ~ Scruble Cube

Right about now you might be wondering, "What's a Scruble Cube?". Don't worry, I wondered the same thing when I received one (free of charge for review purposes). Turns out, a Scruble Cube is a fun educational game that is something like Scrabble combined with a Rubix Cube.

The cube itself is 4 inches by 4 inches, and has 16 squares per side. Each square has a sticker representing a letter or other game play information on it (like 2x word score or 4x letter score).

Along with the game cube itself, I received a score pad and a sand timer. And lesson plans encompassing science, language arts, mathematics, English and spelling for grades 3-10 are available at the company website, www.ScrubleCube.com.






When you visit the website, check out "Getting Started Tips & Tricks" - it's a great way to learn all about the Scruble Cube. And should you run out of score sheets, there are more online in a printable pdf format along with replacement directions.

A vari…

Welcome to October!

Today's calendar reads "Monday, October 3rd, 2011". Umm, what?!?! It's already October?? Anyone else a little surprised by the rapidity of this year's passing?

Beginning a new month often leads me to think about what has taken place in the previous month. For our family, September was pretty eventful! And praise the Lord, He was faithful to bless us and sustain us through each and every moment of September.

My son had just begun his freshman year of college when we received a text message telling us he had ruptured his Achilles tendon on his left leg. OUCH!! Since he was in a brand new community 12 hours from home, and is on a campus that doesn't allow freshmen to have cars, I loaded up a rental car and my youngest daughter's homeschool work and headed northeast for Gage's surgery. He did fine and has been making a terrific recovery, praise the Lord. Soon I returned home to Wichita, Kansas and to life as "normal" (whatever that means).

Shortl…