A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers

A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers
The Burts in 2013

Friday, May 25, 2012

Pray for Your Friends

Have you ever wondered whether or not your prayers make a difference? Do you want to pray more for others, but aren't sure where to begin? Or are you more like so many Christians; taking the time to pray for your own needs, but failing to cover others in prayer?

In the book of Luke (chapter 5, verses 17-26) we read about four loyal friends who carried their paralyzed friend on a mat to see Jesus. They were seeking healing on their friends behalf, and when they encountered difficulty in getting to Jesus, they persevered and found another way. In the end, Jesus healed the paralytic. And the Word says Jesus healed him because of the faith of his four friends.

With regard to your prayer life, let's think about these four friends. They were not like Job's friends, questioning the cause of the situation and attempting to cajole a confession of sin from their friend. Instead they were his friend in and through his need, and when they heard about Jesus they took their friend to Him. And they persisted in finding a way to get their friend to Jesus, even in an embarrassing way. (When is the last time you ripped a hole in someone's roof and "dropped in"?)

We can, and we should, pray for the needs of our friends, bringing those needs before the Lord with persistence and faith. One day, in eternity, we may well find out how many miracles were due to the prayers of friends...and how many miracles were not. Don't miss out on an opportunity to do good when you have the chance; this applies to all of life, including your prayer life.

So let me encourage you to spend time in prayer for the needs of your friends, the needs of your family, your own personal needs, and even the needs of your enemies. And thank the Lord for friends who have labored in prayer on your behalf. What a blessing godly friends are!

Lord bless you today!

Day 189 done :)

Jan L. Burt

Friday, May 18, 2012

TOS Crew Product Review ~ Heritage History British Empire

Teaching history doesn't require a textbook, or tests that consist of memorized names and dates. Believe it or not, you can enjoy teaching history. And your children can enjoy learning about history. The key is to make it an interesting subject. Heritage History seeks to do just that.

Heritage History provides history resources covering many different periods of time, including Ancient Rome, Ancient Greece, British Middle Ages, British Empire (which I am reviewing in this post) and even a special curriculum for Young Readers. The program consists of a large variety of interesting literature relating to the time period being studied, along with teaching aids and study guides that help students get the most out of the books they read.

Before I go into more detail about Heritage History's British Empire program, let me share a little about why I prefer to use quality literature in our homeschool to aid in our study of history. Do you remember reading the Little House books when you were young? Perhaps your children have read some of the Landmark books, and they could not wait to tell you all the things they learned as they were reading. Maybe as an adult you have read Tolstoy's Anna Karenina or The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. Maybe you have even read my all-time favorite piece of fiction ~ The Four Feathers by A.E.W. Mason. More than just enjoying a well written story, these books actually contain a wealth of historical information. We know a tremendous amount about the short-lived period of expansion in the mid to late-1800's thanks to Laura Ingalls Wilder's terrific children's books. And Tolstoy's work gives us insight into Russia in ways we might otherwise never have known. The Jungle paints a picture of the early 1900's meat-packing industry in Chicago that impacted immigration and child-labor laws in our country. And of course you've heard what President Lincoln had to say about the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin! My point is that good books are a valid option when it comes to teaching history. Heritage History aims to provide a variety of good books for different eras in history, in the hope that history will be much more than a boring subject that simply has to be endured.

I received a CDrom from Heritage History covering the British Empire from the Hanoverian dynasty through the First World War. It contained 57 books, which I easily downloaded to my Kindle and to my Mobi ereader on my laptop. I had three of my daughters each pick a different book to read; they just took turns with the Kindle. They all three enjoyed the books they chose, and each of them learned more about British history than they would have using a traditional textbook. Of course, we have almost always study history in this manner, so it wasn't a new concept for them!

In addition to the wonderful array of books included on the CDrom, I was pleasantly surprised to find an excellent variety of additional resources that made our study of the British Empire all the more interesting. Maps and outlines, reading logs and additional images, unique resources such as British geographical terms and charts of major British war battles all enhanced our reading. These "extras" really were the icing on the cake for my family, and as a woman of Irish descent I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about Ireland during this era in history.

The British Empire series can easily count as high school credit for both history and literature. Remember that one Carnegie unit is earned for 120 hours of class time (some sources cite up to 150 hours per Carnegie unit, but most public high schools use the 120 hour measure). If you were to use Heritage History for an entire academic year, you could give your student one full credit hour in World History; or you could give 1/2 a credit hour in World History and 1/2 a credit hour in World Literature. Say you used the program for half the academic year ~ then the student would receive either 1/2 credit in World History or 1/4 World History and 1/4 World Literature. And if your child is in middle school and uses Heritage History, go ahead and count that for high school credit. On their transcript, you would simply list the subject, a course description, their grade level, and a final grade along with the earned credit. (If you have questions about this, see my website where I offer homeschool consulting services.)

I would recommend giving Heritage History a try if you are looking for something new for next year's history classes. It's very affordable at $24.99 per CDrom. You can also save $25 by purchasing the entire collection. And if you would like to try it out first, you can buy any of their individual titles for $1.99 each. See their website at for more info, including the chance to win a Kindle Fire!

HERE is what others have to say about Heritage History.

The only other thing I feel I ought to mention is that this is not an exclusively Christian company. You can find Moslem history resources here, but they also have a section of Christian resources including Bible stories, Christian heroes, biographies, Biblical geography and more. As a devoted follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, I felt I had to mention this in my review.

Lord bless you as you continue to homeschool for His glory!

Day 188 done :)

Jan L. Burt

Thursday, May 17, 2012

And the Winner Is...

Today is the day I announce the winner of my giveaway for Ann VosKamp's book "One Thousand Gifts".

The winner is...Sassy Sasha!

Congratulations to her and thanks to all who entered!

An update on my second book ~ things are coming along nicely and I have about 35 days worth of devotions ready to go, and am plugging away to get the book finished by early September! I would greatly appreciate your prayers as I continue to work on this book!

Also, I'd like to ask for prayer regarding my wonderful hubby's work situation. The company he worked for has filed for bankruptcy and he was given a lay off notice last Friday. The Lord has a perfect plan for our family, and we are excited to find out what He has in store for us next! Thank you in advance for your prayers :)

Don't forget to check out my new website, offering my Bible study as well as homeschool consulting services.
Find it here at

Sassy Sasha, look for your book to arrive in your mailbox very soon!!

Lord bless you and your family today!

Day 187done :)

Jan L. Burt

Saturday, May 12, 2012

TOS Crew Product Review ~ Judah Bible Curriculum

If I had to give a concise description of Judah Bible Curriculum, I would say it is a wealth of a resource.

Attempting to give a not-so-concise description of Judah Bible might prove to be a challenge for me; as it is a wealth of a resource, I doubt I can provide a complete picture of all it has to offer. So, before I dive into this review, let me point you to the website ~ ~ and suggest you take a look at the info under the tab "Why is the JBC Unique?". That should aid in any questions you might have!

The typical homeschooling mom is ridiculously busy. I get that; I'm ridiculously busy myself. In that vein, let me say that Judah Bible Curriculum can be adapted and used in a homeschool setting. They key for the homeschool mom, however, is to not become overwhelmed when looking at this Bible curriculum. Just keep in mind that the Bible is the most important topic our children will study in our homeschool and an in-depth curriculum could be exactly what we need to help us in our teaching. And since JBC is a one-time purchase that can be used from K-12, it could be a great value for your family! So take a deep breath, finish reading my review (and my Crew mates reviews HERE) and then jump over to their website ( to see if JBC is a good fit for your family.

Judah Bible Curriculum follows the Principle Approach to develop a deep understanding of the Bible. It's not so much a workbook, fill-in-the-blank type of curriculum; it's more like a guided way of drawing a deeper grasp of God's Word out of the heart of the students. To help with teaching JBC, and to help students get the most out of the curriculum, there are 8 lectures included with purchase. These lectures can be downloaded and saved on your pc, or listened to using a media player once you've accessed them at the website. I found these lectures to have a relaxed, conversational feel to them, while at the same time being interesting and informative. They vary in length from 46 to 76 minutes each, and you could listen to each lecture in smaller "bite sized" segments.

One vital component of JBC is something called a "Key Sheet". It is used by the student to take notes about individuals,, events, institutions, and documents as the student works through a Bible passage. These sheets aid in drawing the information from each portion of Scripture. Students can create a notebook for each years Biblical studies containing these "Key Sheets" and other work (following the Notebooking Method). It's a good habit to keep track of what we learn as we read God's Word and personally feel that any curriculum that encourages this spiritual discipline is a solid one to use in a Christian homeschool.

Student's study one key topic each week. The Bible itself is the textbook. Any translation of the Bible can be used with JBC, but it is recommended you use a translation and not a paraphrase. Scripture memory is an important part of this Bible curriculum ~ which really goes without saying :)

There are also writing exercises that teach children to analyze the material with reasoning skills. Testing is included, but the tests are typically essays.

The Judah Bible Curriculum Philosophy of Education (found on Page 1 of Manual) states that they seek to make the Bible the center of all education. They state that Christian school is not enough; we must have Christian education. They list several educational goals that all aim to move our children toward spiritual maturity.

Other reference materials you will need are: a concordance, a commentary, a Bible dictionary, and perhaps some maps and timelines too. Many of these are already available in a quality study Bible; check there before making any pricey purchases!

A Scope & Sequence can be found at their website under the "Why is the JBC Unique" tab on their home page.

The entire curriculum is available for $44 (download version) or $69 (hard copy version) and includes the JBC K-12 Manual or e-book, Elementary Notebook Ideas Booklet (as a download or view online), Eight-lecture Teacher Training Seminars (on CD, download, or listen online).

Thanks for reading this product review and be sure to keep Christ at the center of your home, while keeping the study of His Word at the center of your homeschool!

Day 186 done :)

Jan L. Burt

Friday, May 11, 2012

Some Encouraging Verses & A Reminder to Enter My Giveaway!!

Can you think of a day when you don't need any encouragement from God's Word?

Maybe I'm some kind of lame, totally uncool homeschool mom; perhaps you can't relate to me at all. But I need to be encouraged every single day, and the first and last place I look for that is encouragement is the Bible. Whatever situation each new day brings, I want to know what God has to say about it. He is The Only Solution for my every problem, for every single need, for all things big or small.

In addition to that, He is the Only One worth praising. We will be praising Him for all eternity; I think it's pretty much a given that we ought to be praising Him in the here and now. God's Word has some great examples of godly men and women who were careful to praise Him while they walked on this earth.

Here are a few verses that have encouraged me as of late and have spurred me on to give praise to the LORD God Almighty. I hope they bring you some encouragement today, too!

Exodus 15:2 - "The Lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation. This is my God, and I will praise Him..."

Deuteronomy 33:12 - "Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him, for He shields him all day long."

Romans 8:6 - "The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace."

John 10:3b-4 - "He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. When He has brought out all His own, he goes ahead of them, and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice."

Psalm 112:7 - "He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord."

Isaiah 62:6 - "You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest."

Psalms 60:4 - "But for those who fear You, You have raised a baner to be unfurled against the bow."

Luke 1:37 - "For no word from God will ever fail."

Psalm 139:5 - "You hem me in behind and before, and You lay Your hand upon me."

That's not just news - it is very good news for us who believe! Jesus never failed us when He lived as a man among us, and He never will fail us. He can't; it's simply not in His nature to do so. Be encouraged by His Word as you trust Him all the more today!

Also, I wanted to remind you about my contest that ends next week, on Thursday May 17th. Read that post HERE and leave a comment telling me about something or someone that is a source of encouragement to you. All comments are entered for a chance to win a hardcover edition of Ann Voskamp's book "One Thousand Gifts". This is an astounding book, and I know the winner will be blessed by it. In fact, a friend of mine going all the way back to elementary school calls this book "UNBELIEVABLE" and says, "I could read it a million times". (She's no slouch, either: take her word for it, this book is one you want to get your hands on!)

So be encouraged today, enter my giveaway, and enjoy your weekend!

PS - Take note that my old website is no longer online; you can find me at my new website -

Day 185 done :)

Jan L. Burt

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

TOS Crew Review ~ Homeschool Library Builder

Typically the things I review as a member of the TOS Crew are products - books, curriculum, educational websites, get the idea. Recently, however, I got the opportunity to review something a little bit different. It's this fantastic website called Homeschool Library Builder, and wow, is it ever a book loving homeschooling mama's kind of site!

Homeschool Library Builder's company motto reads: "Fill Your Bookshelves without Emptying Your Wallet". I'm sure you've already deduced that they sell books at good prices. But hold on to your hat, it gets even better!

Homeschool Library Builde
r is co-owned by two veteran homeschool families that desire to promote Christ-centered education. They work hard to help homeschooling families build their personal libraries, and they provide some excellent deals so as not to break the bank in the process! Selling both new and used books, they are a great resource for curricula, homeschool helps, and literature choices to support unit studies. The books they sell are rated by their condition and are priced accordingly, so you can rest assured that you're getting a fair deal when you buy from them. All the books available are categorized in a variety of ways in order to make finding the book you need a snap.

For example, you can search new arrivals, fiction or non-fiction, activity books, award winners, classic literature, holidays & seasons, inspirational, science, story books, vintage & hard to find, by age, by curriculum or even by geographical location!

Say you use Tapestry of Grace, or Five In A Row, and you need a specific book. Clicking on "Search By Curriculum" takes you to a menu of unit study choices, and from there you click on TOG or FIAR and look through the available books. Isn't that a great idea? In addition to TOG and FIAR, they have books for Beautiful Feet, Sonlight, Ambleside, and Heart of Dakota. One-stop shopping for your unit study and living books needs!

Homeschool Library Builder
also has some terrific sales at different times throughout the year, and they make it easy to keep up with their bargains via their monthly newsletter. Signing up to receive the newsletter is easy - just visit their website to sign up. Once you sign up and get your free membership started, you'll receive their monthly newsletters in your inbox. The newsletter has sales, promotions, lesson plans, and a whole lot more. To check out the May 2012 newsletter, click HERE.

Your free membership also includes access to their book rewards program, which allows you to earn free books. You can ask them to do a book search for you - they do their very best to locate hard-to-find books. And you'll have access to Homeschool Library Builder's Marketplace, where homeschool families who have a small business for the homeschool community can share what they offer at a discount. And one really awesome thing available at Homeschool Library Builder is the "Helping Hand" option. When you make a purchase from the "Helping Hand" category, you support the child they adopted through Compassion International. This is a very giving company with a heart for the homeschool community, and I'm certain you will be blessed when you visit their site.

You can also find more info about homeschooling in general at their website (, and during the month of May you can get a free book with a $25 purchase. During their May 2012 sale, you can take 25% off your purchase (through May 31st) and have access to free e-books along with some fun May & June activities. Here's the link to the flier once again: MAY 2012

To read what the other TOS Crew mates had to say about Homeschool Library Builder, click this LINK


Disclaimer: I reviewed this website with no compensation; all opinions shared are my own.

Lord bless you as you homeschool for His glory!

Day 184 done :)

Jan L. Burt