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Showing posts from April, 2012

Don't Despise the Day of Small Things

So I have started something totally new, and while it's not a "big" thing, it's still pretty big to me. I have created a new website to promote my new career as a (drum roll, please!) homeschool consultant!

Since I have about 15 years of experience with this whole homeschooling thing, and I have a real desire to encourage my fellow homeschooling mothers, and most importantly I strive to follow the Lord's leading in all areas of my life - well, this was the next step for me.

It's a small start, but it is a start, and I'm happy to begin this new thing God has led me to.

If you would like to see my new website for my new little business, you can find me at:

Let me know what you think; I'd love to hear what you have to say!

Lord bless you as you the life All Things Homeschool!!

Day 183 done :)

Jan L. Burt

April Evaluations

In the local public schools, April is the month of "testing, testing, testing". The entire year's work is condensed into a couple of weeks worth of assessments. Is there anything homeschoolers can learn from this annual occurance in the public school system?

I think that April is an excellent month for homeschool families to do a little assessing of their own. What has been the best curriculum choice this academic year? What weighed your family down? Is there anything you really, really wanted to study, but now here it is April and you never got around to it? Any activities that are keepers? Or any that simply must go? Is your system for grading working well? What about updating transcripts for your high school students? Does you method of assigning household chores work well, or could it use a little retooling? April (and into May) is the perfect time to assess your home and your homeschool and fix whatever needs fixing. Everything is fresh in your mind right now; come…

SWIPE by Evan Angler (Booksneeze review)

Evan Angler's book for middle-school aged readers entitled SWIPE surprised me. The subject matter has been covered so often in Christian fiction, and I have read so much poor quality fiction, I found myself happily shocked that Angler's book was pretty darn good. He has taken the Biblical revelation of the mark of the best for obtaining food and created a believable world for young readers.

The main character, Logan Langly, is about to turn 13 and receive the mark. But Logan is a twitchy, nervous boy and he has serious doubts about being marked. Friendships develop, mystery ensues, and drama abounds. Middle schoolers (and even those a little older) will enjoy this well-written book.

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

(Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge from BookSneeze for review purposes.)

Day 181 done :)

Jan L. Burt

TOS Crew Product Review ~ Amazing Science! DVD (Volume 1)

Amazing Science!(Volume 1) is a DVD containing 23 experiments the teach fundamental principles of science in a fun and easy-to-do manner. While using Amazing Science! you will learn abut electricity, magnetism, heat, temperature, pressure, surface tension, buoyancy and a whole lot more. Every experiment is explained step-by step, and a complete materials list is provided so you can do the experiments right at home.

The experiments proved easy to implement into our homeschool day. Most of them required basic supplies we already had around the house. They were also fun, which is a big plus! (I've learned the hard way that science experiments work best when they are fun!)

The teacher on the DVD, Jason Gibson, has advanced degrees in Engineering and Physics, and has worked for NASA. My children were already comfortable with Mr. Gibson as a "teacher" since we have used some of the math DVDs offered at I have always been very pleased with the results of thes…

Here I Go Again! PLUS A Giveaway

If you follow my blog, you may have read a couple of my posts titled "A Homeschool Mom's Devotional #1 & #2". That was the beginning of a new project, and I'm now ready to jump in feet first and put some hard work into said project. So my not-so-big announcement is...I am writing my second book. My first book was a 6-week Bible study for homeschooling mothers, available as an e-book or in print edition. This book will be a devotional for women who homeschool, and I hope to make it available in print and for the Kindle.

Now that I have officially made the announcement via my blog that I am writing another book, I should probably ask myself if I have misplaced my mind. After all, I'm a busy homeschool mom who will have 3 high school daughters and 1 middle school daughter next year (plus my son will be a college sophomore). Oh, and did I mention my husband and I head up our church's youth group...and next summer the youth will take a mission trip to Mexico..…

TOS Crew Product Review ~ God's Great Covenant, New Testament 1 (Classical Academic Press)

Classical Academic Press has created a top-notch Bible resource called "God's Great Covenant". There are both Old and New Testament components available, and I was blessed to receive the New Testament 1 set to review.

If I were to give a one-word review of God's Great Covenant, it would simply be W-O-W!! I absolutely love this curriculum! And my 6th grade daughter absolutely loves it, too. It's good stuff. Strike that; it's fantastic stuff.

I received the Student Book (346 pages), the Teacher's Edition (346 pages), and Audio Files (as a download). Aimed at students in the 4th grade on up, God's Great Covenant is thorough enough to be used into the high school years. The text has 4 units which contain 36 weekly chapters, covers all 4 Gospels, and has a strong emphasis on the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy in the life of Christ. The student book is consumable, which is something to keep in mind while planning where to spend your homeschool budget.…

My Preferred Bible Reading Plan

We all know that reading our Bibles is a key part of living a healthy life as a follower of Jesus. But busy homeschool moms may, at times, struggle to know what part of the Bible to read on any given day.

Some people read the Bible through, Genesis to Revelation, and when they finish simply start over. Others have reading plans that follow along with the sermons their pastor is currently preaching. And yet others find themselves "stuck in the Psalms", since they're not quite sure what to read.

I'm not going to tell you how many chapters a day you should read, or that you need to do exactly what I do. I'm just going to share what has worked for me, and hopefully encourage you to get into the Word using some type of plan ~ because every homeschool mom knows what happens to our plans when we fail to create a plan, right?!

I use a prayer and Bible reading guide called "Prayer Point", published by Samaritan's Purse. About every 8 weeks, I receive a new i…

TOS Crew Product Review - Looking At Lines, Algebraic Thinking Series (AIMS Education Foundation)

If you are not a math person, or you feel a little intimidated about teaching higher math as a homeschooler, then Looking at Lines (Algebraic Thinking Series, AIMS Education Foundation) could be just the resource you need.

I'm not exactly a math person, and not all of my kids are math people. In addition to that, my kids have unique learning styles, and I have my own teaching style. Mix all those ingredients together and you end up with a recipe for math that is, at times, less than tasty. Sometimes the solution is as simple as trying something new - and the new thing I was able to try was Looking at Lines.

Looking at Lines is a 298 page book that comes with a CDrom, published by AIMS Education Foundation (a non-profit organization aimed at helping students succeed in math & science). Geared toward students in grades 6-9, Looking at Lines is an algebra course that teaches linear function concepts in a hands-on, activity laden manner while meeting benchmarks and standards. It pr…

How Do I Avoid Homeschool Burnout?!?!

As a mother who has been homeschooling for 14 years, I have learned a thing or two about avoiding burnout...and most of the time, I apply what I have learned BEFORE burnout sets in!

We cook, we clean, we teach, we shuttle kids from point A to point B and back again, some of us help out at church, some of us keep a weblog, and don't forget about the spouse. S-I-G-H...we can find ourselves feeling overwhelmed and headed for burnout just looking at the calendar. It's best to plan ahead to try and offset burnout, and sometimes it's best to simply admit we're in a season of "burnout" because the Lord may be using it to allow Him to do some pruning in our lives.

The first thing I must do in order to avoid burnout is to spend time with the Lord daily. That means I have to get up before my children, which means I must go to bed at a reasonable time. And in order to go to bed on time, I need to follow a schedule for things like meals, laundry, dishes, grading, and all t…

TOS Crew Product Review ~ Write With World (Middle School Edition)

The publishers of WORLD Magazine and God's World News have created a terrific new writing program called Write With WORLD. This curriculum is primarily aimed at 6th-9th grade students, comes with a Parent/Teacher book and a Student book, and can be used with God's World Publications magazines (but the use of WORLD or God's World News is not required).

The introduction in the Parent/Teacher book says, "Write With WORLD aims to produce young writers who love writing, can write effectively, and intelligently share ideas, beliefs, and their worldview." Without gushing and ooh-ing and ahh-ing too much, I can tell you that Write With WORLD does exactly what it sets out to do.

Write With WORLD contains 16 key lessons, which are divided into 4 separate units. Here are some examples:
Unit 1/Lesson 1 - Reading Images and Advertisements
Unit 1/Lesson 4 - Developing Critical Readers: Essays
Unit 3/Lesson 1 - Writing Autobiography: Reporting Facts
Unit 4/Lesson 4 - Crafting Narr…

The Promise of Easter

Easter Sunday truly is the most important holiday on the Christian calendar. This is the "big day" each year for followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. No other day can compare.

What makes it so important has nothing to do with the trappings of the westernized version of this day. Not a large bunny delivering candy to children, of course; but also not new clothes, family dinners, flowers or anything else. It's not even simply about attending a church service (although I believe the gathering of the saints together is extremely important for every believer). This day is all about the Resurrection, because without the Resurrection of Jesus we would have no hope, no assurance, no future in heaven with Him. Everything we do to celebrate Easter ought to point us toward Jesus and His Resurrection; we live because He lives. The tomb is empty. He is risen indeed!

So enjoy your family today, be blessed by the fellowship you share with your church family (and by all means, attend chur…

TOS Crew Product Review - TruthQuest History Renaissance/Reformation/Exploration (1400-1600)

When given the option of choosing which of the nine available history guides I wanted to use for this review, I was beyond excited! Reviewing a terrific history product from a fabulous company like TruthQuest was pretty terrific; add to that terrific-ness the fact that I got to pick which era in history I wanted to use was the icing on the cake!

After much deliberation, I chose TruthQuest History's guide to the Renaissance/Reformation/Exploration (1400-1600) . And for our family's little homeschool, I think it was the perfect choice!

Let me tell you a little bit about TruthQuest History - how the program works, what makes it unique, etc.

TruthQuest History makes it's history guides available in print or pdf form, which means that any and every homeschool can find an option that is perfect for their family's needs. The guides are literature-based history studies - which simply means they use solid literature, that's interesting and of the highest quality, to teach his…

Great Day Every Day by Max Lucado (BookSneeze review)

Max Lucado does it again. He's a down-to-earth guy who writes up-toward-heaven books, and Great Day Every Day is no exception. Easy to read, a source of Biblical encouragement, and worth the time spent reading it and the money spent to buy it.

Like most modern day American Christians, I have a few Max Lucado books upon my shelves. So it wasn't hard for me to be excited about reading one of his books for this BookSneeze review. But as much as I anticipated enjoying the book, I wasn't prepared for the way it would bless me as I think about the way I live every single day of my life. Not only is it an encouraging book, but it can be a life changing book if the reader applies what Max is teaching them.

On my 'Page Turner Scale' of 1 to 5, I am giving this book a 5. Buy it. Read it. Enjoy a great day every day!

(Disclaimer: I received this book free of charge from BookSneeze for review purposes.)

Day 171 done :)

Jan L. Burt