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Showing posts from July, 2012

Schoolhouse Review Crew ~

Since I write product reviews as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew (associated with The Old Schoolhouse Magazine), I probably am a bit biased about (also associated with The Old Schoolhouse Magazine). But I am going to work really hard to keep this review unbiased! So my official unbiased opinion is that SchoolhouseTeachers is terrific.

Here's why I feel that way:

     At, you have access to a huge variety of homeschool lessons, first-class teachers, awesome planners for your every need, digital issues of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, daily items (called Schoolhouse Dailies), monthly themes, encouraging and useful resources galore (Schoolhouse Libraries), and much, much more. In fact, there is so much available at SchoolhouseTeachers that you simply cannot use it all. But that's one of it's selling points; you have plenty to choose from, so you can pick what you want to use in your homeschool.

Some ideas of what I use…

Schoolhouse Review Crew ~ Zane Education

This product review for the Schoolhouse Crew has been a real treat. Zane Education provided me with a 12-month online Gold membership to their educational website, As soon as I logged in and set up my family's account, I pretty much loved what Zane Education has to offer. My mind started buzzing with ideas about all the ways I could use this massive resource in our homeschool!

Zane Education offers the only library of online education videos, which were developed to teach a variety of school subjects. 260 + topics are covered, with lesson plans, quizzes and more. It is an exhaustive, thorough resource. And they offer excellent customer service, too!

When you log into your Zane Education account you will see tabs for "Videos", "Study Centre", and "Quizzes". These are the three tabs my family has used primarily. There are also tabs toward the left side of the screen that say "Classroom", "Home Education", "…

Love Does by Bob Goff (BookSneeze review)

The book Love Does by Bob Goff is interesting. Really, it is. Just not that interesting to me. I really wanted to love this book, and I tried, but it simply isn't really my kind of a read. I suppose I'm just too Type A to enjoy a book like this.

Having said that, let me encourage you to check out some other reviews before you decide against this book. It's a terrific life story and is probably very inspirational to most people (ya know, those who aren't quite as odd as I am...).

Bob's tales about his very interesting life, and his walk of faith, could be just what you're looking for in your next book. Overall I'm glad I had the chance to read it, even if it isn't a book I would ever read a second time. Maybe you'll find it to be a book you read over and over again! Good luck :)

On my 'Page Turner Scale' of 1 to 5, I give this book a 3.

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

Day 205 done :)

Jan …

A Word of Encouragement for Today

The entire purpose of my blog is to encourage homeschooling mothers. And the most encouraging book I know is the Bible. So it stands to reason that I often share verses from God's Word via my posts in the hope that someone, somewhere might be encouraged. Here are a few verses I wanted to share today ~

Jeremiah 17:7-8 - "The man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence indeed is the Lord, is blessed. He will be like a tree planted by water: it sends out it's roots toward a stream, it doesn't fear when heat comes, and it's foliage remains green. It will not worry in a year of drought of cease producing fruit."

Job 23:10 - "But He knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold."

Psalm 9:10 - "Those who know Your name will trust in You."

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..."

Numbers 23:19 - "Does He speak and not act? …

Schoolhouse Review Crew ~ Geometry & No-Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials

High school math. Three words that many a homeschool mother never wants to utter! Geometry and algebra can be intimidating, frustrating, even nauseating. But Math Essentials offers a solution for the math weary homeschool mom!

The Geometry book in the Mastering Essential Math Skills series is an 80-page softcover book that packs quite a big punch for it's small size. This is a quality resource in that each lesson reviews skills previously learned, and it begins with the basics (addition, subtraction, multiplication & division). Each lesson is laid out in the same manner; Review Exercises, Helpful Hints, and Student Mastery. There is space at the back of the book to take notes - which is perfect for our family since I am notorious for having my kids keep a binder of "math notes". A solution key and a glossary (with diagrams!) are also included. The books says this about the method: "Not just a math book, but system of teaching math."  I would have to say tha…

Carnival Of Homeschooling

When you were a kid, didn't you just love it when a carnival came to town and set up shop in a parking lot or field on the edge of town? You had to enjoy it while it lasted, because it was only there for a short time before moving on to it's next temporary location.

The Carnival of Homeschooling is a little like old-time carnivals in that it changes it's location on the world wide web. But the fun, educational, insightful and encouraging blog posts shared at the Carnival of Homeschooling never grow stale (like, say, popcorn from the state fair).

To see what the Carnival of Homeschooling is all about, you can visit the current carnival HERE.

Why not enjoy a fun carnival for homeschooling moms in the comfort of you home on a hot summer afternoon? Sounds pretty great to me!

Day 202 done :)

Jan L. Burt

Schoolhouse Review Crew ~ Knowledge Quest TimeMaps (for PC)

Before I get into all the reasons I loveTimeMaps (from Knowledge Quest), let me give you all the basic information. The best way to describe this terrific product is straight from their website:

“TimeMaps are computer software files that use Flash – a free program from Adobe. Maps are shown in chronological order at the click of a button and progress at your timing, showing how civilizations, countries and continents have changed over time. Quizzes and encyclopedic entries are included and can be turned on and off at your discretion. TimeMaps are a work in progress with many Ancient and Medieval civilizations having reached completion with more historical topics on the way."

The subjects covered in the TimeMaps bundle I received are Ancient China, The Rise of the Roman Empire, The Fall of the Roman Empire, The Rise of Islam,  The Black Death,European Exploration, and Atlantic Slave Trade. Each of these titles can be purchased individually or as a complete set. (Prices and …

So, Why Do You Homeschool Anyway???

My answer to this question varies, often with my mood. My "funny" answer is, "I homeschool because I'm pretty much insane." or "I love the sound of chaos in the morning."  My "if-one-more-person-asks-me-about-socialization" answer is, "If the behavior of kids on class field trips is an indicator of acceptable social behavior, then the system works just great. However, if you prefer well-behaved children who show respect toward their elders and use words like please and thank you, then you may want to rethink the whole socialization question." But if I'm answering the why do you homeschool question from my heart, I'll tell you it's because the Lord called me to homeschool. I homeschool, in essence, out of obedience to Him. At it's core, it really is that simple.

I have always said that I would stop homeschooling any time the Lord wanted me to, for any one of my five children. And I really mean that - because through …

Schoolhouse Review Crew ~ Apologia's "Who Is My Neighbor?" (Volume 3 of the What We Believe series)

This blog post/product review for the Schoolhouse Review Crew (part of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine) covers the third in a terrific series from Apologia Educational Ministries titles "Who Is My Neighbor? And Why Does He Need Me?"(volume 3 in the Biblical Worldview series What We Believe).  My family has been able to review the first two books in this series (click HERE to read my first review and HERE to read my second review) and we were very excited to receive the third book for review.

If I could, I would give an Apologia disclaimer  that reads something like this: "As always, this product from Apologia Ministries is a off-the-chain, A+++ resource. If you want the best, buy Apologia". Yeah, I really love these books!

The first thing I looked at when starting to use "Who Is My Neighbor?" was the Intro: How To Use This Book section. It clearly lays out the purpose of this worldview curriculum and makes using it in your homeschool a snap. It's easy t…

Planning During July Makes Life Easier in September

If you're like me, you don't homeschool year-round. I like to end our homeschool year some time in May and start up again in late August. That, however, is our full-time schedule. I am always thinking about homeschooling ~ combing through our curriculum bookshelves, updating transcripts, reading books to encourage me as a homeschool get the idea. And this summer I have been busy reviewing lots of terrific products as a part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew, which has been a switch-up for us!

As a long-term homeschooler ~ as in 15 years! ~ I can tell you that the time spent focused on your homeschool in July pays big dividends come September. First off, mom won't feel nearly so overwhelmed when facing the advent of the new academic year. Second, your kids will have a better year if they know everything is ready to go before the school year starts. Third, your home will run more efficiently if you are totally prepared for the school year (by totally prepared, I mean…

Schoolhouse Review Crew ~ Hewitt Homeschooling Lightning Lit & Comp (American Lit: Mid-Late 19th Century)

Having used Hewitt Homeschooling products in our homeschool for several years, you can imagine how excited I was to receive Lightning Lit (American Lit Mid-Lat 19th Century) to review for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. I LOVEHewitt's products, in particular their Lightning Lit line!

Here are the basics regarding Lightning Lit. I received both a Teacher's Guide and the Student Guide. The Student Guide is written directly to the student, but parents should be familiar with it. The introduction explains why reading and writing are important elements in a well-rounded education, has suggestions and instructions, and extras ideas to expand student learning. Students should refer back to the introduction frequently.

There are 8 lessons in Hewitt's Lightning Lit American Lit: Mid-Late 19th Century. Each lesson has an intro, comprehension questions, literary lesson, and writing exercises. Comprehension questions can be used as tests if you so choose. There are also shorter reading…

The Day After the Fourth of July

Fireworks have been exploded, driveway has been swept, trash is at the curb - and the Fourth of July has come and gone for yet another year.

This time of year we pause to remember the freedoms we enjoy as Americans, and the bravery of those colonists 236 years ago. Their David vs Goliath story is inspirational and inspiring.

I am reminded of the freedom we have in Christ, and the abundant life He has promised to us. Yes, this life is filled with heartache and pain. Yes, living in a fallen world is difficult. But we have His great and precious promises, His favor lavished upon us, His love to hold us secure, His Spirit to guide us each and every day. And we have all these things in jars of clay to reveal to the world just how good our God is.

Keep that freedom in mind as you enjoy the summer months and make preparations for the upcoming school year ~ unless you school year-round, in which case I encourage you to keep the faith and work as unto the Lord, knowing that He sees all you do …

A Schoolhouse Crew Review ~ Homeschool Spanish Academy

Homeschool Spanish Academy described in a single word ~ WOW!!!

Okay, now that I've pretty much summed up how our family feels about Homeschool Spanish Academy, let me give you some reasons for the "WOW" factor.

Right from the start, the process was a breeze. Working with tech support was fantastic; they made all the set up/prep/techie stuff easy.  Once it was determined that our laptop was good to hook, my daughter logged into her Skype account and answered a call from her teacher, Elda. And let me tell you, Elda is terrific. In fact, everyone we have had the pleasure of working with has been terrific. I could boast all day about the caliber of the people at Homeschool Spanish Academy...but again I can sum it up with the word WOW!!!

Live video chat lessons are done via Skype - if you don't have a Skype account you can set one up for free. The teacher from Homeschool Spanish Academy will "call" your child; once your child "answers" the call the tea…