A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers

A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers
The Burts in 2013

Monday, January 31, 2011

TOS Crew Product Review - Times Alive by City Creek Press


Learning times tables can be tedious, frustrating and even boring...for homeschooling moms! Who knows, even your children might struggle as they memorize their math facts.

Every child learns a little bit differently and while many children pick up the facts quickly and easily, many others struggle to memorize them. Times Alive! (from City Creek Press) is a simple to use program designed to help students of all ages master all of their multiplication facts with ease. It uses a variety of methods which incorporate different learning styles in order to help each student achieve complete mastery of the times tables.

City Creek Press offers this curriculum in different formats, but the product I received was a download for use on my personal computer. It was quick and easy to install and simple enough to begin using right away. The company website offers a variety of products for use in different settings, and they have a specific program for homeschool use. Prices vary for the products offered; the cost of the Times Deluxe Kit 808 (recommended for homeschool families) is $96.48 and includes several books, student workbooks, sets of flashcards, audio CDs and a magnetic story board. It is a pretty thorough program. If you are interested in seeing all they have to offer, you can browse their site by clicking here: www.CityCreek.com

The product I used for this review allowed each student their own login. After logging into their account, the student sees a "lesson list". Each lesson has multiple learning options which may include "Movie", "Song", "Paint", "Quiz", or "Test". A small circle next to each lesson component shows the child (or parent) at a glance what they have been working on (or not working on!). When a circle is halfway filled in with the color yellow, it means the student has viewed that portion of the lesson. A completely yellow circle with a check mark next to it shows that lesson has been completed. As I've said before, I like grading to be simple so you can imagine how much I loved this at-a-glance system of checking my children's work!

Tabs are located at the bottom of the screen with "Teacher's Directions" marked by a blue button. It's easy to spot and eliminates any time-wasting hunting around for mom. Times Alive! has done an excellent job of making their program simple to utilize for busy homeschooling mothers.

There are a total of 18 lessons for your child to work through as they master their multiplication facts. Each set of facts has unique stories that aim at helping the child use memory techniques to recall the answers to certain math facts. I found this method to be helpful for my 5th grade daughter; although she has, of course, already spent plenty of time working on her math facts, she liked the stories (especially the ones that covered the "oddball" facts).

The times practice sheets are one of my favorite aspects of the curriculum. Each one is graded instantly and the amount of time it took the student to complete the practice sheet is displayed along with their grade. This is WAY more fun than a worksheet! And a lot easier for mom than worksheets, too.

The first time my 5th grader sat down to try out Times Alive!, she worked through about 1/3 of the lessons. Again, she has already mastered her facts so she worked quickly through the lessons as they were more like review for her. However, for children just learning their facts, this program is very appealing. Each aspect of the lesson reinforces the facts being learned and I appreciate the way every learning style is taken advantage of. Some kids don't learn well via flashcards; Times Alive! makes certain each child has the chance to learn in whatever way works best for them.

And on a final note, I must add that I never heard one complaint from my daughter about working on her math facts with this program. After homeschooling for 13 years, I can tell you that's not always the case! Working on math facts is usually dreaded by moms and kids alike. This program really does eliminate the stress of math fact mastery.

Mastery = 100%

Complaints = 0%

What more could a homeschool mom ask for?!?!

Check out Times Alive! today by visiting www.CityCreek.com

Have a blessed homeschool day!

Day 74 done :)

Jan L. Burt
www.homeschoolingmothersbiblestudy.com

Friday, January 28, 2011

TOS Crew Product Review ~ TenMarks Math!


TenMarks is an online math program for students in grades 3 through high school. It's able to used by homeschoolers, as well as educators, parents and public or private school students. It's a breeze to use; each student works at their own pace doing the weekly assignments. The tutorial video makes using TenMarks very "underwhelming" but the long and short of it is that it's simple, it's self-grading, and it works.

From the very first time I looked at the website, I liked TenMarks. The login process is easy. The workspace for the worksheet assignments is "clear". As I mentioned previously, student's work is instantly graded and incorrect problems can be reworked right away while the concept is fresh in the child's mind. The entire layout of this website is uncluttered and tidy. I just plain like the way TenMarks does things!

My 10th grade daughter and my 7th grade daughter both tried TenMarks for this review. While my 7th grader loves the program, my 10th grader had a little trouble understanding the teacher's accent. It took her a little more time to grasp what he was teaching when she watched the lessons. (By the way, the videos are not mandatory; if your child understands a worksheets concepts, they can simply answer the 10 assigned questions w/o watching the video lessons.) I think my older daughter's ADD/ADHD tendancies made the fast-talking teacher hard to follow. This might not be an issue for other children.

The curriculum teaches concepts in groups while working to cover all major branches of mathematics. For instance, my 7th grade daughter might have two worksheets focused on geometry and two worksheets about decimals. Each math topic is given a "character shape" which can be found at the bottom of the student's home page; the "character shapes" are filled in with the color red & once the student has mastered a topic, that "character shape" is filled in completely. It's nice to see what each child is learning at a glance and my daughter loved being able to see her progress. Several times she worked ahead in order to finish an entire week's worksheets so that she could see her progress.

TenMarks also has a reward system that allows parents to give the child rewards upon milestone achievements. This can be as simple or as complex as Mom and Dad feel like making it. Of course, parents can also use the rewards provided by TenMarks. When students complete a given number or assignments, they unlock games. And the games are fun! Children and parents can easily see how many assignments must be completed in order to unlock the next game. Even if you aren't a parent who normally uses rewards, many of the games provided at www.TenMarks.com are math based and increase the child's knowledge.

Parents receive email reminders about assignments and grades. I really liked the fact that my daughter's weekly worksheet info was sent to me. I didn't have to create a lesson plan or decide how much she needed to do each week - I just checked my inbox and TenMarks did the rest. She did an average of 40 problems a week, and could also take tests at the website. Often, however, she did more than that. And she really has learned a lot using the program.

I liked the fact that my 13-year-old was challenged by this math program. There were worksheets that were pretty easy for her; but honestly, she had to stretch her brain and really think in order to complete her "homework". She is very motivated by the instant grading; as soon as she submits her 10th answer, the worksheet is graded and she has the opportunity to correct her mistakes. And don't forget the "character shapes", which are basically little people drawn in different positions that fill up with the color red as concepts are mastered. She is pretty proud of what she has accomplished using TenMarks. But I would have to say she is even more pleased with the stiff challenges this program presents. When she works to grasp a new concept and masters it without blood, sweat and tears, that's something that makes her day.

My 10th grade daughter already uses a very thorough math program and she wasn't really able to simply stop using it to jump feet first into TenMarks (my 7th grader did stop using her other math program and switched solely to TenMarks for the review period). Due to the current workload of her math program, it became stressful for my oldest daughter to try and keep up with both math programs. While her use of TenMarks was limited, I can tell you that she found it challenging and truly enjoyed it. If I were choosing a math curriculum for the elementary, middle or high school years, I would lean pretty heavily toward TenMarks. And if you happen to be looking for a solid high school program that is college preparatory, this fits the bill. Of course, if you NEED to make a change in your child's math curriculum, whether it's a change you plan to implement right away or at the beginning of the next school year, TenMarks is one I would change to.

I am very, very likely to use it in the future, for the long term, with my 7th grade daughter. I can see her growing in leaps and bounds with TenMarks and this subject which she typically dreads hs become one of her favorites. In case you need me to spell it out for you, that, my friends, is a hearty product endorsement.

Now for the specifics: you can visit their website (www.TenMarks.com) to see an explanatory video and sign up for a free trial. There is plenty of information for homeschoolers at the website, as well as information for teachers and parents within the public education sector. The price per student is $10/month OR $49/6 months OR $89/12 months. They offer family discounts when 3 or more members use the program. (I received a trial subscription to TenMarks for review purposes).

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Day 73 done :)

Jan L. Burt
www.homeschoolingmothersbiblestudy.com

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

TOS Review ~ Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids from Lifeway Christian Stores


My first impression of the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids was that it is much larger than I expected it to be. I have no idea why, but I assumed it would be about the size of a Bible. It's actually closer to 8 inches by 11 inches. The more I used the book, the more I like the size Holman made it; it lies flat when it's open, no matter what segment of the book you are using. The binding is well done - I don't foresee this book falling apart as we continue to use it. And the slightly larger size allows it to sit well on the bookshelf without tipping over.

The youth in our church have used Holman products in the past, primarily when we participated in Bible Drill. I have always been very impressed with their products and their commitment to advancing young people's knowledge and understanding of God's Word. So I was not at all surprised by the quality of the content in the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids.

In addition to being a homeschooling mother, and partnering with my husband in leading the youth group in our church, I also teach J-Kids on Sunday mornings (something like Sunday School) and for the past few years have been the sole teacher for our annual VBS. (Each class is taken from center to center, and at my center each class hears an age appropriate Bible lesson.) That means I work with young people from age 2 through 18. And in the summer months, our youth group grows as the college students home on break join us; for 3 months of the year I work with young adults in addition to children. I say all that to make the point that this product is one I will use for years to come as I teach children from all age groups. I have already used it in planning lessons for the youth group and in my homeschool. There is no age limit on the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids. Yes, it says "Kids" in the title, but this is a great resource even for adults (especially adults who work with kids!).

The colorful cover is appealing to kids; it looks like a book they will want to pick up and flip through. It isn't intimidating and "grown-up" looking, which makes kids much more likely to use it as a resource. Holman has done a great job in making it aesthetically pleasing. For children, pleasant to look at = more likely to be perused!

The Holman Illustrated Bible for Kids seems to have a goal of making the Bible more understandable to younger readers. This book can easily be used with any version or translation of the Bible. It contains charts, reconstructions, photographs, and much more.

This is a very thorough book. For example, on the second page of "A's" there is a map of the migration of Abraham. Recently in our youth group we have taught on Genesis and had some trouble finding maps to use with our lessons. This would have been the PERFECT map for our time spent studying Abraham.

The page on the Apostles (page 8) is one of my favorite parts of the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. All of the disciples on the same page with individual descriptions. What a great teaching tool!

Being a student of the Bible, I do not like to see inaccurate renderings pertaining to God's Word or His chosen people. I am pleased to say this book is as accurate as most any I have seen. Noah's Ark is shown as it most likely was; the Ark of the Covenant is drawn per the Bible's description rather than to man's interpretation; Jesus is not shown with blond hair and bright blue eyes. Biblical accuracy was a priority when Holman put this resource together.

My husband was out of town when I received this product in the mail. I have had to keep it "hidden" from him while working on it's review. Now that the review is posted on my blog, I am certain I will have to track this book down when I need it because he will "steal" it! It's really THAT GOOD.

Of course, if you don't know your Bible well enough to understand the full value of this resource, or you aren't studying your Bible as you use this book, it won't be of nearly as much value. It's a text to accompany your Bible reading and to enhance your child's Bible literacy. Open your Bible - and then open your copy of the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids!

I'm not the only one enjoying this product. When my 8th grade daughter finished her Bible curriculum she strongly urged me to let her use this for her next curriculum. She's my middle child, which means she isn't my most vocal child; when she says she likes something, she really likes it! Homeschool moms, don't hesitate to buy this book if you're concerned it won't work for older children.

Lifeway Christian Stores sell this product and you can take a look around their website here ~ www.lifewaystores.com

Click on this link to be taken directly to the product page for the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary for Kids ~ www.lifewaystores.com/holmanbibledictionary It is available for purchase online or in LifeWay Christian Stores and sells for $14.99.

A final word from me about this resource ~ the more I use it, the more I love it. This is a keeper and will remain on my homeschool bookshelf ready for me to grab at any moment (that is, if I can keep it away from my husband!) I received this product free of charge for review purposes.

Have a wonderful homeschool day & don't forget to take time to get into your Bible today!

Day 72 done :)

Jan L. Burt
www.homeschoolingmothersbiblestudy.com

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Study of Michal ~ Part 3

Wow - I haven't posted anything on this topic in quite a while! Perhaps I haven't WANTED to learn any lessons from the life of Michal as of late? Or maybe I just let this sit on the back burner while I've been working on other things? It's neither here nor there, since I am posting about Michal today, LOL!

When David wrote Psalm 18, it was meant to be sung as a song of gratitude. What was he grateful for? Many things, I'm sure; specifically, David was grateful for God's help and deliverance from King Saul's raging fury.

I'd like to look at David's heart expressed in this Psalm in contrast to his wife Michal's heart. In verse 2 David refers to God as his stronghold. We typically use the word stronghold to imply a negative; here David uses it as a positive. How would the word "stronghold" have been used to describe Michal's life? She had an idol at the ready to place in bed disguised as David (see 1 Samuel 19). I'm assuming it was a LARGE idol if it truly appeared to be a full grown man asleep in bed. Could this idol, and any idol worship she was involved in, have been a stronghold in her life? We don't know how many other physical idols Michal may have had - but most of us know that a woman who has room for one idol in her life has room for many idols.

In verses 4-6 David pulls no punches as he describes his great distress. He didn't see any need to hide his struggles or sugar-coat them. It's harder for something to become a stronghold in our lives when we are open and honest, laid bare before the Lord and before our fellow sojourners. Risky? Oh, sure - it's a very risky way to live. But it's a whole lot more secure then living a life full of strongholds! Jesus is always worth the risk.

Verses 7-24 describe the Lord's awesome "rescue" of David. I wonder if Michal ever experienced God as her "Rescuer" - her knight-in-shining-armor so to speak. Or had Michal become accustomed to taking care of her problems by herself? Did she know how to rely on others? If she didn't, it may have been very hard for her to lean on and lean into God. I imagine the self-sufficient women of the '60's, '70's, and '80's had NUTHIN' on Michal!

In verses 25-29 we see David revealing God's character to us. God always gives more than we give. Michal wasn't on the receiving end of God's blessings, but she could have been. She should have been. Something in her life held her back from receiving God's best. What holds us back from receiving God's best?

As an aside, let me share that Psalm 18:25 is a wonderful verse to pray over our children. In the NLT it reads, "to the faithful you show yourself faithful; to those with integrity you show integrity." Seeking God's favor on your children's behalf by requesting they be faithful followers of Him whose lives are earmarked with integrity is one of the most prudent things you can do as a mom. No one has more reason to pray for your children than you do! God hears those prayers - remember Hannah's prayer? What about Hagar's prayer? He'll hear your heart-cry for your children, just as he heard theirs.

David finishes Psalm 18 by greatly exalting the Lord in verses 46-50. Michal probably began and ended each day of her adult life with grumbling, complaining, bitterness. do you know what that leads to? A miserable woman who feels as if her future is hopeless and her life bears no meaning.

As homeschooling moms, let's try and start our days, end our days, and fill our days with words like David's ~ "The Lord lives! Blessed be my rock! May the God of my salvation be exalted!" ~ Psalm 18:46 NLT

Lord bless you today as you abandon Michal's heart & trade it for a heart like David's!

Day 71 done :)

Jan L. Burt

www.homeschoolingmothersbiblestudy.com
Click on the link above to see the changes to my website!

Monday, January 17, 2011

My Daughter's Clay Creations are Now Available on the World Wide Web!



My about-to-turn-13-year-old-daughter had taken a giant leap into the world of cyber-commerce. Her custom made clay creations are now available for purchase and I am super proud of her hard work and creativity.

To place an order or see what Savanna's Clay Creations has to offer, click here:

www.SavannasClayCreations.com

Keep up the good work Savanna and may the Lord bless your brand new small business venture!

Day 70 done :)

Jan L. Burt
www.homeschoolingmothersbiblestudy.com

BTW, my website has also been upgraded (see link above). While Savanna's announcement is much more exicting than mine, I'd love it if you'd take a minute to check out the changes I've made. More changes, and a new book, coming (hopefully and prayerfully!) very soon!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bad Attitudes or Beattitudes?

Jesus has laid out for us a lifetime worth of widsom and guidance, as well as a very personal look into God's heart toward us, in Matthew 5, 6, & 7. If I only had these 3 chapters of the Bible, I would have what is needed to follow after Christ and glorify Him with my life (as I yeild to the Holy Spirit, of course).

We receive God's clear promise of blessing when we are in certain circumstances ~ but sometimes I feel it is too easy to forget these promises in the midst of said circumstances. It's just one of many reasons to get into God's Word daily. How can we remember His promises to us if we fail to take the time to read them? How can we expect the Holy Spirit to lead us in our day to day lives, to help us in our struggles and to guide us as we pray, if we aren't reading the love letter He left us?

Blessed are you when:

you realize your need for Him

you mourn

you are gentle and lowly

you are hungry and thirsty for justice

you are merciful

you are pure in heart


you work for peace

you are persecuted



Spend some time reading your Bible today and believe Him for His promises to you. Not one of them is too good to be true and not one of us is too troubled to receive His blessings. Why not exchange our bad attitude for His wonderful gift of peace? Why not make that trade today, and then every day for the rest of our lives?


Day 69 done :)

Jan L. Burt

www.homeschoolingmothersbiblestudy.com

Website Update:
My humble little website, which worked well enough many years ago when it launched, is just plain out of date and corny. I am working on building a new and improved website, which will also feature some of my daughter's clay creations (she custom creates pieces of clay art for a very reasonable price). More details will come soon but my goal is to have some changes in place by this coming Monday (Janaury 17th). I am also working on a new study geared at Simplifying Our Homeschools ~ my prayer is that this will be a book that is usable, applicable, and affordable while encouraging homeschooling mothers in their personal walk with the Lord.

And remember my book "The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study" is on sale through the month of January ~ $10 for the print edition OR $7.50 for the e-book edition.

Thank you for your support of my ministry!

Friday, January 14, 2011

TOS Product Review ~ Positive Action for Christ ~ The Life of Christ from the Gospel of John



Writing a review for a product this comprehensive and just plain F-a-N-t-A-s-T-i-C can seem a bit intimidating. Positive Action for Christ has created a Bible curriculum that can definitely be described as both comprehensive and fantastic ~ intimidated or not, here goes my review of "The Life of Christ from the Gospel of John"!

You have three options for teaching the lessons; 3 days, 4 days, or 5 days each week. Perfect for a homeschool mom! Some of us do Bible lessons each day, and some of us do family devotions a few times a week. Positive Action for Christ will work well no matter how you teach the Bible in your homeschool. And if you teach the Bible as history, then "The Life of Christ from the Gospel of John" is exactly what you're looking for.

One brief example of the kind of in-depth lesson you can expect from this product can be taken from p. 15 of the Teacher's Guide. Here is compares John to the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke). Matthew was written to the Jews; Mark was written to the Romans; Luke was written to the Greeks. John, however, was written to ALL people ~ including you, me, and our homeschooled children. The lessons take your student step by step through John's Gospel, and don't worry if you aren't a theologian; you can still teach a thorough year of Bible using Positive Action for Christ. In fact, you will learn so much as you teach you may feel like a theologian by the end of the school year!

Each lesson has a specific focus and the questions to be answered by students (using their own student book) work toward that specific focus. The student is being moved closer and closer to a full understanding of each lesson's end goal. This requires the student to dig into Bible to find the answers. This is a very meaty curriculum - students end up feeling very satisfied when they find the answers. In the sidebars of the soft-cover student book is interesting information to glance at as the lesson is being worked through. And for those children who always want more than the text divulges, Positive Actions for Christ includes an excellent Recommended Reading list in the teacher's guide.

It is also very easy to teach; but extremely thorough. These two attributes are not always found in combination in homeschool curriculum. I am drawn to things that are simple to teach, so this is a perfect fit for my homeschool.

I received (at no cost for review purposes) the student book, teacher's guide (3-ring bound) and a cd of transparencies. The cd is mainly for use on overhead projectors or video equipment, but you can certainly find plenty of use for the transparencies in your homeschool. They are great visuals to aid you in your teaching, and many children are visual learners. Positive Action for Christ feels that what the student visualizes, they will be better able to grasp and retain. Quizzes and tests are provided - but the forward recommends grading these by your own standard and grading scale. Not all homeschool families use traditional grading systems and not all homeschool families grade their Bible lessons or devotional time. Use the resources in ways that benefit your homeschool and help your children grow in their knowledge of God's Word. The Holy Spirit will guide you as to just what that looks like in your family.

A mom could even use this in her own quiet time before the kids wake up and then teach the lesson to them later in the school day. I can see the potential for large amounts of growth occurring using this method. You can check it out for yourself at www.PositiveAction.org.

Positive Action for Christ's study of John's Gospel contains 35 lessons - opening with an introduction to and the purpose of the Book of John and ending with the post-resurrection fishing trip. I found that the notes in the teacher's manual are well worth the price of this product. It's of a lasting value that far exceeds the purchase price (listed below). Getting all the way to Lesson 35 will, of course, require hard work and commitment - the trademark of a homeschool family!

>"The Life of Christ from the Gospel of John" is available for purchase at www.PositiveAction.org ~ Student Manual(35 lessons) is $17.95 (or $8.95 for a basic version) ~ Teacher's Manual(342 pages) is $41.95 and includes the cd of transparencies. At the website you can also download a free Scope & Sequence of their product line, which makes it very easy to determine which items would work best for your family. The items I have reviewed are geared at high school age students.

I have enjoyed this product so much that I am certain I will purchase from them in the future. As the leaders of our church youth group, I am excited to use their church resources. A HUGE thanks to Positive Action for Christ for allowing me the opportunity to use and enjoy such a terrific product.

God bless you as you study the Gospel of John, written to ALL people, including you and me.

Day 68 done :)

Jan L. Burt
www.homeschoolingmothersbiblestudy.com

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

TOS Crew Review ~ Virtual Nerd



Virtual Nerd is an online learning program with video-based tutorial lessons aimed to help students in math and science. Courses covered are Pre-Algebra, Algebra 1, Algebra 2 and Physics and they teach using a simple format of WATCH...LEARN...UNDERSTAND! If it sounds simple, that's because it is simple; simple to use with quick results.

At the Virtual Nerd website (www.virtualnerd.com)you can look around and see how the program works. The basic run-down is you choose one of the subjects, pick a topic from the menu of choices for that subject, and then watch the video lessons. Once you have watched the video, you can watch it again in "steps", focusing on any area that you may need to review. The virtual whiteboard feature allows students to follow along step-by-step as the tutor teaches the lesson. This is a unique feature the likes of which I have not seen elsewhere, and it is hands-down my favorite aspect of Virtual Nerd.

You can also search by keyword or topic - every math program is different and finding a specific topic could seem confusing. But Virtual Nerd allows the student to search by keyword and find exactly what is needed with ease.

The video lessons can be paused at any time to allow the student time to ensure they grasp the subject matter or to work a sample problem, or maybe to take notes (each of my children keeps a binder filled with math notes for future reference). The diagrams are drawn in multi-color as the lesson progresses, which eases confusion on the learner's part. And any steps learned previously so the student can build upon what he/she already knows.

For example, to find the volume of a triangular prism, students will learn to use the formula V = B h 2 (or V = 1/2 Bh2). Each step of the formula is taught, and reviewed as put into practice in a problem. The student solves the problem along with the teacher. They grasp the formula and it's purpose, and by the end of the lesson feel comfortable simply "plugging in" the necessary data and then solving the problem. All of the teacher's are engaging and well spoken, by the way. They seem very comfortable in front of the camera and teach their subject matter clearly and thoroughly. After finishing the video lesson, there is an immediate option to leave "feedback" or to start a "new search". No need to go back to previously viewed pages - just use the search option right there in front of you!

If I had to sum up Virtual Nerd in just a few words, I would say "Very Thorough Tutorial Program".

I would like to add a few notes on each level of the program, starting with Pre-Algebra. My 7th and 8th grade daughters have watched lessons on Virtual Nerd prior to doing their regular math assignments and both of them felt they had a much stronger grasp of the subject matter. They retained what they learned from Virtual Nerd and both said it helped their math make more sense to them.

My 10th grade daughter used the Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 levels of Virtual Nerd. Her sophomore year is pretty intense, jam-packed with academics, work and extracurricular activities (primarily ice skating). Her schoolwork includes a fairly rigorous math curriculum that can take up a good sized chunk of her school day. Needless to say, she doesn't have much free time to spend on confusing and hard-to-use online programs. Virtual Nerd is neither. She is able to sit down, watch as much (or as little) as she needs to, and then go on with her assignments or head off to work of the ice rink. And she does it without stress. This program allows my teenage daughter to learn what she needs to know so that she can master what she has already been assigned in her regular curriculum. Short videos that move at a steady pace - each step is grasped without wasting time with what Charlotte Mason deemed "twaddle" (otherwise known as busy work).

My 12th grade son looked over the Physics lessons. He is self-proclaimed math nerd, and enjoys Physics (but not Chemistry). He stated that while this is certainly not a stand-alone Physics program (which it is not intended to be) it is an excellent alternative to hiring a tutor. The student can easily watch multiple lessons at one sitting and not get overwhelmed, which is key when thinking in tutoring terms. An overwhelmed student is not a learning student, and often having subject matter presented in bite-sized, attainable chunks eliminates the stress of math or science.

I would recommend this program to any homeschool family looking for supplemental math and science materials. It is hands-down one of the most user-friendly websites I have encountered, and that's saying something, trust me! Look it over at www.virtualnerd.com and see if it's a good fit for your homeschooling needs. And if you happen to have younger children, mark Virtual Nerd in your favorites to look at when they get a little older. It really is good stuff.

Prices and other information can be found at the company website ~ www.virtualnerd.com

As always, let me say that I received this product free of charge for review purposes.

Thanks for looking at my review & don't forget to check out their website!

Day 67 done :)

Jan L. Burt

And remember, my book "The Homeschooling Mother's Bible Study" is on sale through the end of January 2011 at the discounted price of $7.50 for the e-book OR $10 for the bound version. Leave a comment to any of my posts to order your copy!

Hmmm...

Have you ever had one of those "Hmmm..." moments when you wish you knew what someone was thinking? I've had a few of those this week in regard to our being a homeschool family. You would think that after 13 years, I would have seen and heard it all and would have the perfect answer for every questioner of homeschooling. But sometimes people don't actually ask any questions; sometimes they don't say anything at all. They just sort of pretend you and your homeschool decision don't exist in their world.

So I could pretty easily become upset or discouraged or angry or fill-in-the-blank with some other emotion. Or I can take a deep breath and trust that the Lord knows exactly what I'm feeling and He knows exactly how I ought to respond in order to honor Him and bring Him glory. And since that is the ultimate end goal of my entire homeschool career, that's the option I need to choose every time I deal with someone who doesn't really "get it" when it comes to the whole homeschool thing.

Each scenario brings a different set of circumstances. Sometimes the person doesn't know Jesus as their own Savior and my response to them must be in relation to their greatest need. Other times the person may have had some sort of negative experience with a homeschooling family and they may need to see for themselves that some homeschoolers are totally "normal" and can educate their children with competence and maintain functional relationships with others. Perhaps the person may work for a private or public school and they may have never heard anything positive about homeschooling; the unknown has a way of leading people to draw conclusions that simply are untrue.

Recently my experiences have been with people I knew from "way-back-when" - many of them haven't spoken to me in more than 20 years. I am sure there may be some shock that I am now a born-again follower of Jesus Christ who homeschools her 5 children. Couple that with the reality that many of my high school acquaintances work for public or private schools and you have the perfect breeding ground for tension regarding the topic of homeschooling.

It's funny, though - if I could show people what my life is like on a day to day basis, if they could meet my kids and see what kind of people they are growing up to be, if they only knew the public school teachers whom I count among my dearest friends, they would probably feel differently about homeschooling. The reality is that we don't really get the opportunity to share all of that with people. And if I do have the chance to share with them, I really want to share about the Lord's great love for them and His plan of salvation. That's so much bigger than my desire to "justify" my decision to home educate!

So, all of that to say - HANG IN THERE homeschooling moms!!! Don't let yourself become weary of well doing. You will reap a harvest in due time if you do not give up! And don't feel inferior to anyone because you homeschool and they think that's just plain nuts. That's no reason to feel inferior at all! After all, we know full well there are some homeschooling moms who aren't really teaching their kids - and we also know there are some public school teachers who also aren't really teaching the kids entrusted to them. It's okay to admit there are some "bad apples" out there. Honest teachers have to admit the same thing about their peers. It's not our job to make right what others have made wrong - it's our job to do what the Lord has called us to do as individuals. And if we are able to do that in a way that draws outsiders to Jesus somehow, then we will have truly made an impact that matters.

Be encouraged as you continue to teach your brood at home & point others to Jesus when they pause to take a look at your choice to homeschool.

Day 66 done :)

Jan L. Burt

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sharing Some A.M. Spurgeon

Based on 2 Peter 3:18, in today's devotional reading Spurgeon shares his perspective on grace. Here are a few quotes:

"Grow in the root of all grace, which is faith. Believe God's promises more firmly than ever. Allow your faith to increase in its fullness, firmness, and simplicity."


"Ask God to stretch your love and make it more intense and practical, to the point of influencing your every thought, word, and action."


"If you are not growing in the knowledge of Jesus, you are refusing to be blessed."


"Seek to know more of Him, to know more of His divine nature, His humanity, His finished work, His death, His resurrection, His ever-present glorious intercessin on your behalf, and His future return as 'Kind of kings'."


Be encouraged to grow in grace today as you homeschool your children and serve your family for His glory!

Day 65 done :)
Jan L. Burt

"Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ." - 2 Peter 3:18