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Showing posts from August, 2012

How's It Going?

My question to you today is this: How are things going in your house? How is homeschooling going for you? How about for your kids? How are things for your husband? What about your homeschooling friends ~ how are things going for them?

We've all heard the saying, "Things are rough all over." And some seasons in life prove that saying to be true. If you are going through one of those seasons, chances are those around you are, too. And they could probably use some encouragement.

It may be the very last thing you feel like doing when you are going through your own rough patch, but it's the right thing to do. In fact, it's more the right thing to do when you don't feel like doing it than it is when everything in your world is peachy-keen.

Take a few moments to pray about this, asking the Lord to lay someone on your heart that you can encourage today. Do the same thing tomorrow. And again on the day after that.

You will be amazed at the myriad of ways that God will…

Schoolhouse Review Crew ~ I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist (Apologia Press)

I am blessed to review products for TOS. And when I receive a product from Apologia I consider myself doubly blessed! Now, when the book I receive is a TOS review item, from Apologia Press, co-authored by a Wheaton College graduate (Norman L. Geisler, class of 1960) then I am just about screaming with delight! Believe it or not, all of this took place before I began reading the book I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist

This book, combined with it's companion workbook ~ I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist Curriculum ~ makes a solid high school worldview course. Fifteen chapters, 3 appendices, additional notes and indexes of quality information are included in this 447-page wealth of a resource. And the companion workbook is high-quality, spiral bound, 279-pages; it has a "How To Use This Book" section, an introduction, 14 chapters, a conclusion, 3 appendices, and a handy glossary.  Students will be presented with study questions, supplemental materi…

Umm, Seriously??

The title of this blog post seems to summarize my life in all it's different facets as of late! Ever have days (or weeks...or months...) that cause you to face-palm and say, "Umm, seriously?!?!?"

Now if I were to remain in the place, spiritually speaking, where I felt sudden shock and at times even despair, then I would be living a very defeated life. But having God's Word as my guide, my ABBA Father to call out to, my Savior Jesus interceding for me day and night, and the Holy Spirit as my personal and perfect Counselor for any and every situation ~ well, that's how I live a victorious Christian life!

When things confound me and I just don't understand what God's purpose is, I pray. A lot. I spend time in the Word. A lot of time. I sit quietly and say, "Speak, Lord - your servant is listening." I find specific Bible verses that fit my particular dilemma ( multiple dilemmas as of right now!) and I carry those verses around with me on note cards …

Schoolhouse Review Crew ~ Vocabulary Spelling

Sometimes you are blessed to be able to review a product that makes you enormously happy. This is one of those times!!

Vocabulary Spelling is an online spelling and vocabulary resource that is, honestly, one of my favorite products...EVER!

As soon as I registered and set up my account, I started digging around the website. I was pleased as punch with what I discovered, and that pleased as punch feeling has only grown the more I've used this resource!

I received the Premium Membership, which allows up to five students to have their own accounts (in addition to my teacher account). They simply log in using their own user name and password, and then view and complete their assignments - which I assign from the "Premium Teacher Toolbox" on my homepage. I can create my own customized word lists, or I can opt to use any of the word lists available at Vocabulary Spelling

I can also choose activities for them to do that reinforce their weekly spelling words in…

Like Oxygen

God's Word is all we need for life and godliness. That's what it says, and that's what I believe. There is no need in my life for which the Word lacks the answer. It has it all.

It's like oxygen - if I don't have it, I will perish. My "oxygen" currently is from the Old Testament.

Isaiah 43:2-3 - 
     "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
     "When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
     "For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior."

That right there is my oxygen. It keeps me moving forward. It sustains me. It is my very life.

Take a deep breath of God's Word today, and be thankful for it - your life depends on it!

Lord bless you today!

Day 216 done :)

Jan L. Burt

Schoolhouse Review Crew ~ Vocab Videos

My son is a college student. He worked hard to get where he is today. And he would tell you that preparation for the SAT is enormously important, sometimes more so for homeschooled students than for their public or private schooled peers. He not only had to take the SAT in order to be able to apply to the colleges of his choice, he also took the ACT, and several SAT II subject tests. And he didn't just take the SAT with a "one-and-done" attitude; he took it as often as he could in order to attain the best possible score. The result? Google Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois...

Done scoping out my son's college on the world wide web? If so, then you discovered it is widely considered to be the only Christian college that is ranked as an Ivy. My son's freshmen micro-econ class included lectures from econ profs from Harvard. He is receiving an education from people who attended and/or taught at places like MIT, Oxford, Yale, Princeton, and Harvard. Even staunch no…

Schoolhouse Review Crew ~ A Thomas Jefferson Education (This Week in History)

Rachel DeMille, of Thomas Jefferson Education, promotes a fascinating educational philosophy (based on The Seven Keys of Great Teaching). Her website,, provides a thorough explanation of this philosophy. It's also an excellent history resource that I hope my blog readers will consider using in their homeschools. I really love what Rachel is doing!

I am not reviewing everything available at the website - trust me, there is quite a bit to be found there! What I am reviewing is "This Week in History", a resource that covers a wide variety of subjects and topics on a daily basis in an engaging and interesting manner. I have used this as a part of our history curriculum, but it really is so much more than history. 

Each week I receive an email with the current week's "This Week in History". I am also able to access this information at the website, along an archive that covers the current year. And I also receive daily emails, called "Daily Insp…

What's Your Choice?

As we begin a brand-new homeschool year, we all have a large number of choices to make. Which science curriculum will we use for our middle-school student? Is phonics the best way to teach early reading skills? How many extra-curricular activities should our children participate in? And all this must, of course, fit within the family budget!

Really, the most important question to ask regarding any and all of our choices is simply, "What is God's will in this matter?"  That can be a scary question to ask! His answer could well be the exact opposite of what we're hoping for. But doing His will, His way, in His timing, trusting Him fully is truly abundant life.

In Genesis 13, verse 11, then back to verse 10, ending with verse 13 we read, "Lot chose for himself the whole plain of the Jordan...(it) was well watered, like the garden of the Lord...The men of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the Lord."

Are you seeing what I am seeing? Lot's ch…

Grant - Savior of the Union by Mitchell Yockelson (BookSneeze Review)

The Generals series from Thomas Nelson publishers is an excellent collection for any history lover's bookshelf. And the book Grant - Savior of the Union is one book you won't want to miss out on.

From the early days of the one-day Civil War hero and President of the nation he fought to preserve, to his death in July of 1885, the life of U.S. Grant is weaves a complex - but somehow also simple- tale. It seems as if even the choosing of his name as an infant was an indication that he was destined for great things.

More than the preservation of the Union, as if anything could be more fascinating than that, this book recounts a life of General Grant while focusing primarily on his role as a general in the United States Civil War. I consider it a must read, and is one book I look forward to reading again and again.

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

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

Day 212 done :)

Schoolhouse Review Crew ~ King Alfred's English

The book King Alfred's English - A History of the Language We Speak and Why We Should Be Glad We Do by Laurie J. White is 171 pages of the most interesting non-fiction reading I've done in a while.

This book opens with a map of Europe and a timeline (Ancient Times thru Modern Times) and a chart that has an overview of our language as it transitioned from Old English to Middle English and finally to Modern English. Having the maps and charts in the front of the book makes for easy reference while reading. I found this to be a nice feature that I used frequently.

King Alfred's English has six parts ~ Pre-English Britain, Old English, Middle English, A Time of Transition, The Making of the English Bible, & Shakespeare and Modern English. Contained in these six parts are 15 well-written chapters. Right from the start this book grabbed my attention. Yes, it's actually a book about the English language...and yes, it's actually very interesting. But it's not just …

To Plan or Not to Plan?

Proverbs 19:21 reads ~ "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails."

I've been at this homeschooling/mothering thing for a while now. I've also been in the role of a wife for a while. And I consider the way I fulfill those roles in my day-to-day to be a direct reflection of my relationship with the Lord. And because I am a human being living in a fallen world, my personal strengths and weaknesses at times collide with my desire to honor God as a wife, mom, homeschooler.

So what's a type-A, strong-willed, Irish girl to do???

Learn how to balance, that's what I must do. And the older I get, the better I become at this delicate balancing act. The verse I opened this post with mentions man's plans versus the Lord's purposes. That verse holds the key to my ability to maintain my balance in life.

I certainly want to fulfill the Lord's purposes for my life; I want to do His will, and do it His way. But my type…

Schoolhouse Crew Review ~ Create Better Writers

Create Better Writers provided me with three products for this review:  How to Write a Paragraph, How to Teach the Five Paragraph Essay, & The Home School Writing Action Plan. The intro to these products describes this curriculum as either part of a complete writing system, and it's aim is to break writing down into it's simplest form for both teacher and student. That's a pretty basic, but fitting, overview of all that Create Better Writers has to offer.

The first ebook we used was "How to Write a Paragraph". It is the first step in the program and can be used beginning in 3rd grade (around age 8) and should be taught first. It contains one "trick" that gets students writing. This is the foundation of the program. The rest of the system falls into place after this "trick" is learned. They build on this until the process of writing research reports is mastered.

The website ( has a page where you can see the ent…

A Word to My Fellow People Pleasers...

Stop the insanity!!

That's my semi-humorous way of conveying a thought that in all actuality is anything but funny. People pleasing is a serious problem, and it wreaks havoc in the lives of those it plagues. Before you wonder if my words are too harsh, let me lay out some evidence in support of my position.

Looking at the issue of people pleasing through the lens of God's Word, we find that it doesn't produce any lasting fruit. Don't just read that and continue on - think about it for a moment. People pleasing produces no lasting fruit! It just doesn't, and it never will. You will not be the one person in all history to generate lasting fruit by working to please people!

People pleasing hasn't yielded fruit in the past, it isn't yielding fruit right now, and it will not yield fruit in the future. What it does do, it does consistently and very well. It leaves you worn out, weary and resentful. Hmmm, doesn't remind me of the fruit of the Spirit in the lea…