A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers

A Blog Devoted to Encouraging Homeschooling Mothers
The Burts in 2013

Friday, August 22, 2014

My Pampered Chef Party

So, this isn't exactly my "typical" blog post...but I am hosting a Facebook/catalog Pampered Chef party. I seriously love Pampered Chef products - A LOT. And I use them - A LOT. So I am having a party to, of course, earn some free and discounted stuff (may as well be brutally honest - I mean, that's why we have these kinds of parties, right?!?!?). And I would really love, love, love it if you would make a purchase.

If you place an order of $60 or more, you can choose a free item (the link to my online party is http://new.pamperedchef.com/pws/kathyperry/guest-landing/8867277913243).  Either the Bar Board (item # RK98) or the set of 3 Small Flexible Cutting Mats (item # RK99). The Bar Board is just the right size for making one sandwich - so you can instruct your sandwich devouring children to make their snack on the Bar Board, and clean up will be easy. As for the Small Flexible Cutting Mats, I will tell you how we use those in our home...my daughter has a small business making custom polymer clay charms (and larger items, like the Marvel vs DC chess set). She uses these mats to work with her clay. It makes clean up easy for her, she has measurements right at her work station, she can use her tools for cutting and shaping without doing any damage to her desk or the kitchen island, and they are flexible so she takes them with her when we travel (she cannot go on our family vacations without her clay, and these mats allow her to craft in the car and in the hotel).  You can check out her Etsy shop here ~ www.etsy.com/shop.SavanasClayCreations.com

Some of the Pampered Chef items I use the most include the Bamboo Spatulas (item #2042), the Chef's Tongs (#2955), the Large Micro-Cooker (#2778), the Tomato Knife (#1037) & the Hold 'N Slice (#1101), the Classic Batter Bowl (#2431), the All-Purpose Spreaders (#1642), Classic Scrapers (#1655) and the Scoop & Spread (#1679), the Egg Separator (#1187), the Ice Cream Scoop (#2731),  the Twixit! Clips (#2651) and of course the Mix 'N Chop (#2583). I really do use all of these items all the time!! Oh, I almost forgot the Can Strainer (#2495). I can't imagine opening a can of fruit or tuna and not having that handy dandy little thing!

I am certainly not a salesman (or saleswoman) and I have no reason to exaggerate how great these products are. I promise you, as much as I love to bake and to cook, I would not waste my time on things that don't work or aren't worth the money. The things I listed above really do work, and really are worth the money. So if you need any Pampered Chef stuff, or have never tried it before, please consider ordering via my Facebook/Catalog party. I'd be super blessed by your order :)

Here's the link once more ~ http://new.pamperedchef.com/pws/kathyperry/guest-landing/8867277913243

Thanks for reading my abnormal post - and have a fabulous day!

Day 322 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Friday, August 15, 2014

Get Serious

Okay, is everyone ready for a blunt weblog post? If you're not, then just stop reading right now...

As August rolls ever closer to September, and another year of homeschooling dawns, let me ask you a serious question:  Why on earth do you homeschool, anyway?

Seriously!!  What is your reason for choosing this lifestyle of home education?  Peer pressure from within your church? Or from your spouse? All-consuming anxiety about what the world might do to your child? In order to maintain a firm hand of control over your family?

Those are all lousy reasons to homeschool.

First, peer pressure is not God's way of accomplishing His good and perfect and pleasing will. Open up your Bible and start reading those words in red, and very quickly you will see He intends freedom for His disciples. So if you homeschool because everyone in your peer group wants you to homeschool, you need to step back and spend some time in prayer about the entire situation. It's not my job to tell you whether or not you should homeschool, but it is also not the job of people you attend church with. Get with your spouse and your God and just talk to both of them about homeschooling. And you'll know what God's will is soon enough.

Second, if you homeschool because your spouse pushed you into it, then you must pray pray and pray a whole lot more. There is no easy answer for this, but God specializes in things that are difficult. Pray and pray and pray - and move toward a conversation when He leads you to. Keep praying even while you are having the conversation. Be willing to hear His direction for your life, and for your children....even if it is not what you want to hear.

Third, if you have anxiety about every terrible thing out there in the world that might harm your child, you will end up putting a strangle-hold on their life. The same God who is your personal Father desires to be their personal Father ~ He has no grandchildren. Anxiety has a way of keeping us moms from letting our children let go of our hand in order to grab hold of His hand. It's so very dangerous to live an anxious life. If this is the reason you homeschool, you truly must spend a concentrated amount of time in prayer seeking the Lord's freedom. And then you need to see if He has called you to home educate...because if He truly has called you to it, He does not want you to have anxiety about it.

Lastly, I have to address an issue that I see far too often within the homeschool community. Wives and mothers who claim to be submissive to their husbands and to their Lord are mired in a mess I simply call Reverse Feminism. It's a term I coined to describe the families and homes that are under the pretense of the husband/father's authority, but in actuality are under the complete and total control of a quietly domineering wife/mother. Mom decides what food every member of the family eats, even dad when he is at work, and no one has any say in the matter...except Mom. Every activity each member partakes in is chosen by Mom....and Mom alone. Where the money is spent is decided by Mom. Where the family lives and attends church (or doesn't attend church, in many cases) is a decision Mom makes. All homeschool curriculum choices are in the hands of Mom...and no one had better dare to question her decisions! Anything the Lord has for a family, whether a word of encouragement or a blessing or discipline, is all "deciphered" by Mom. Dad isn't leading this family - Mom is. And it is sin, ladies. Outright sin. It has to be addressed, so I am addressing it. As an 18-year veteran homeschooler, I have a little bit of a platform and a little credibility to speak out on this subject. If you are a wife, a mother, who is running your family and home under the guise of "submission", you need to repent. To your God, to your spouse, to your children. And then turn away from this grievous sin, give the reigns of control back to your husband.

So, this is my very serious blog post...and if you want to leave a comment, then you certainly can. I'm probably not going to get into any "arguments" to defend my stance, because I don't need to defend myself. I've seen Reverse Feminism so often in the homeschool world, I'm just not going to leave any room for excuses or denial. If you do this, stop doing it. You're out of God's will, and that is a very dangerous place to be. End of discussion.

Now, if you want to know how I have kept homeschooling through thick and thin for nearly two decades...I will tell you. I have a call from God to homeschool. That's it. Nothing more than that, no additional reasons why I do this all-encompassing thing called home education. Just a call from the Lord. He said to homeschool, I choose to obey.

Share this post with your homeschooling friends, talk about it frankly. Pray about it. And be encouraged to be serious about your family and your homeschool. Because I can promise you, God takes it seriously.

Day 321 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Enjoying August While Readying for September

August is busy month around here. My two oldest are preparing to head back to their respective colleges (Wheaton & Taylor, each about 12 hours away). The three girls still enrolled in our family homeschool are making decisions about fall activities and dual enrollment classes, while hoping to somehow delay the start of school. And I am busy, as always, with what seems to be a million different things.

But I want my kids to each take some time to reflect on this summer and enjoy it just a little longer. Be in the moment, not just thinking about what is coming next.

Moms, the same applies to us. We need to daily decide that we will live in the now and not bemoan the past or focus only on what comes next. Life can only be lived right now, it cannot be relived nor lived in advance. So wherever life finds you today, be fully there. I know it's old advice that you've heard many times before, but it is sage advice and is worth repeating.

And do take some time to get away with the Lord to pray about your homeschool's future. If He has called you to this task, it only makes sense that you need to spend time with Him, asking Him what His perfect will is and seeking His strength to complete the task. Homeschooling is not for chumps - it's hard work and requires much from us moms. But if it is His work for us, then there is no where else we should want to be.

Have a wonderful day enjoying August - September is coming soon but it's not here yet so enjoy this season before it changes.

Day 320 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study
& the upcoming ebook The Christians Guide to All Things Homeschool

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Praying About Next Year's Homeschool Plans

Christian families of course ought to be praying families, just as individual followers of Christ ought to of course be praying people. And homeschooling mothers ought to be praying women.

If you have not yet set apart some time this summer to pray over the upcoming academic year, let me encourage you to do so. If we feel led to homeschool due to our Christian faith, then it seems pretty silly to fail in praying over each homeschool year before it starts.

I could give you a list of things to pray for, and sharply reprimand you for failing to thoroughly cover prior years in prayer...but that really isn't what I am called to do via this blog. I am all about encouraging homeschooling mothers, so I sincerely hope you are only ever encouraged by reading my posts.

Pray any way that works for you. By that I mean pray for a few minutes in the morning, or set aside an hour one afternoon when the little ones are taking a nap. While waiting for the kids at swim lessons, you could devote that time to asking the Lord to lead, guide and bless the next school year. Pray with your husband, or pray with a fellow homeschooling mom. Talk to God about your children, seek His direction and will for all aspects of your homeschool, and then trust Him to reveal to you what needs to be revealed. It really can be that simple, and I really do believe our loving Father will answer those prayers.

Give Him your worries, thank Him for His sovereignty and faithfulness, and trust Him for the next school year. You will be blessed by spending time in prayer, and so will your children.

Lord bless you and your family this summer!!

Day 319 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

PS - I have started a new blog that I hope will be a source of encouragement to women in all walks of life ~ you can find me at www.OpeningUpAWholeNewCanO'Worms.com

PPS - If any homeschooling mother reading this is in need of some Biblical encouragement, leave me a comment that includes your email address and I will gift you a copy of my book, The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study (thru July 31st, 2014).

Monday, July 7, 2014

2014 Big Giveaway # 1

Okay, so that's a weird title for a blog post. But it's an accurate title, and it rightly conveys what needs to be conveyed...so I'm sticking with it. This post contains details about my first Big Giveaway this year. And while it is July, which is kind of late for my first giveaway of 2014, I'm still sticking with that title. (Now, this may not be the world's largest homeschool blog giveaway, but it is "big" for me, and I hope it's a blessing for one lucky homeschooling mother!)

Here is a list of what the winner will receive:

One copy of The Homeschool Mom's Bible (NIV). This is a hardcover Bible, which means it will hold up well for daily use, and I have to say the daily devotions are really, really good. My purpose with this blog is to encourage homeschooling mothers, and this Bible is a great source of encouragement.







One copy of the book Amos Fortune, Free Man (by Elizabeth Yates). This book is one of my absolute favorites! It's the true story of a remarkable man, and the impact he had on so many others despite his less-than ideal circumstances. I try to read this book once every year or so, as it always deeply impacts me. Really, I love this book and am so excited to give a copy to some lucky lady! (While it is technically a book for the pre-teen years, grown-ups would enjoy it too!)







One copy of the 2014 Print Book edition of The Old Schoolhouse Magazine. This 288-page whopper of a magazine has loads of encouragement for homeschoolers! It's a resource you will reference over and over again. And I was blessed to write an article for this year's print book; it may sound like small potatoes but to me it was a very humbling opportunity.







One copy of the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.  Many know Ann for this book, but I remember using her geography resources years before she became so well-known. Every mom needs to be encouraged, and Ann's book leads us to a place of encouragement via giving thanks. This hardcover book will be a treasure for the giveaway winner.




One copy of Gordon Korman's Book # 1 from the Island series - Shipwreck. One of my daughter's devoured this series several years ago, and she has recommended them many, many times. So I thought it would be fun to add this book to my giveaway!




And the last book in this giveaway is my all-time, absolute favorite piece of fiction...a book I read at least once a year...my personal copy is so tattered and worn, and it has it's own permanent spot on my bedside book shelf...The Four Feathers by A.E.W. Mason. Now don't assume the book is like the movie, because it's not. The book is a treasure that continues to surprise me with it's unflinching, enormous story of redemption. It's a great, great book. You might not think so based on the first couple of paragraphs, but give it a chance, keep reading, and I think you'll find it is one book worth reading.






Those are the six items that comprise this 2014 Big Giveaway # 1 - enter below and find out who wins on July 14th!



a Rafflecopter giveaway




Thanks for entering my giveaway!

Day 318 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July

Today is July the first, 2014.

I can hardly believe it is now the seventh month of this year...it's as if I blink and another week flies right by.

Our family is in full-on summer mode, with projects and family time abounding. A short list of things we've done (or will do) this summer include:

finishing adding a 6th bedroom to our home
stripping & repainting a chifferobe
a youth group trip to Arkansas (in just a few weeks! yikes!)
my husband's transition to his new job
wrestling camp for my son (gotta practice in the off-season when it's college wrestling!)
my daughter is a photographer, so she has lots of shoots to do when she's home for the summer
selling curriculum/books I no longer need for our homeschool (I have close to 500 amazon listings...)
a fun jet-ski weekend @ the lake to celebrate my daughter's 16th birthday
our annual scavenger hunt to welcome new students into the youth group
and of course took a crazy-fun vacation to Florida...

Here are some pictures of our Florida craziness.













So what have you been up to this summer? Did you get absolutely soaked on a water ride? Or maybe got an enormous hug from Chewbacca? Get a picture with a giant Incredible Hulk make entirely out of Lego's? Or get your Hamm (from Toy Story) autographed by John Ratzenberger (the voice of Hamm)? Maybe someone sent a text to let you know that an Instagram featured pic was none other than three of your own children while waiting in line for a theme park to open!

Whatever you've been up to, and whatever you still have planned for summer, enjoy it. There is nothing wrong with truly enjoying the time we have together. It's a gift from the Lord, and it's good to be thankful for His gifts.

Have a fantastic summer!!

Day 317 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

PS - I am about to have the first of several GIVEAWAYS on my blog...sometime this week I should start the first one and trust me when I say I have some really, really good stuff to give away!!


Thursday, June 12, 2014

American History by James P. Stobaugh


The American History series by James P. Stobaugh - this curriculum can speak for itself, so it most certainly does not need me to speak for it. There has not been any other book or curriculum that I have been so excited to review. My fellow homeschooling mothers, if you are in need of a high school history curriculum that is college preparatory in nature, then this is what you've been searching for.

The physical description of American History is as such: the set of two books contains the Teacher Edition and the Student Book. The How-To-Use page is excellent, and the Preface clearly explains the author's attitude toward teaching history along with some personal background information that is insightful. It's pretty clear what this text requires of both parent and student, and while the work load may seem a bit overwhelming if you will give it a chance and be willing to invest a little good old-fashioned hard work then I promise you will see results!

Chapter 1 focuses on Native Americans. The chapter opens with "First Thoughts" and Learning Objectives (you'll find these for each new chapter). There are answers to each lesson's questions in the Teacher Edition, along with an Exam Key to guide you in grading the discussion questions. The textbook spans Native Americans through the War on Terrorism as well as contemporary issues. It touches upon many "taboo" topics that, quite frankly, are actually very appropriate to address with your high school student.  Slavery, women's rights, philosophers and their worldviews, immigration, social welfare, the Holocaust, racism, abortion, global warming, and even homeschooling are covered in American History. At some point in time, somebody is going to talk to your child about these issues...and it ought to be you doing the talking. This curriculum is a great way to address these sensitive subjects from a Christian point of view.

James Stobaugh is a proponent of citing primary source work. He expects the student to conduct extensive research in order to write essay-type answers for each lesson's questions. I've read some other reviews of American History that reveal many homeschooling mothers have been irked by this. Yet I honestly think it's what makes this curriculum stand apart from other homeschool history books. It makes for excellent preparation for college coursework and even for the essay portion of the SAT. Constant research and writing causes the student to grow their reasoning and thinking skills. As a mom with 3 kids in high school and 2 in college, I can tell you this is the type of history program to use if your child intends to pursue higher academia. I cannot speak highly enough of these resources. I am thankful Mr. Stobaugh has created them.

I hope this review has been helpful for those looking at high school history options, and I thank you for taking the time to read my review. As this is the last review I plan to write, I was very pleased that is was for one of James Stobaugh's books.

I received this curriculum at no charge from the publisher; my honest review and personal opinions are solely my own.

Day 316 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

P.S. - This product review is the final book review of any type that I will write. I have very much enjoyed reading, perusing, and writing reviews of books and curricula, and will miss the process very much, but I have decided it is time for me to re-focus my blog on encouraging homeschooling mothers and focus more of my time and energy on my last 4 years of homeschooling. It has been a blessing to have so many people read my reviews, and I am thankful for each person who has visited my blog.  



Monday, May 19, 2014

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus - A Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity ~ by Nabeel Qureshi






 The book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi is an unbelievable insightful account of Islam from the perspective of one person who grew up in an Islamic home...and forsook all he knew when he found Jesus.

Nabeel grew up in an American Navy household; a household that was also devoutly Muslim. In some respects he lived a typical American military kid's life, but in many ways his adolescence was drastically different than his non-Muslim counterparts. When reading this book I was amazed at his ability to treat his parents with the utmost of respect even as he explained his experience within the Islamic community as one who has walked away from that community. It would be difficult to read this book and not feel some level of emotion for Nabeel and his plight. After all, he truly has forsaken father and mother and sister to follow Christ. That is much more than the average Christian in America will ever have to sacrifice for their faith. In that light, this is a book that should be read with a respectful attitude, rather than the all-too-common "I hate all things Muslim" that many American believers convey by their attitude, words, and (ah-hem) Facebook posts.

If you have a desire to know more about those who do not know Jesus because they were born into a Muslim family, you ought to read Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus. And if you have some sort of bigotry against Muslims (perhaps you watch a little too much Fox News and don't read your Bible enough) then you really need to read this book. We will never bring Muslims out of the darkness and into Christ's saving light with our prejudices and our hatred. This book can open your heart and allow the Lord to move you toward ministering to them and praying for them.




On my "Page Turner Scale" of 1 to 5, I gave this book a 5.

Disclaimer ~ I received this book free of charge for review purposes from BookLook Bloggers (formerly BookSneeze). All opinions shared here are solely my own.


Day 315 done :)


Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Friday, May 16, 2014

Out of the Depths - by Edward Harrell, USMC






The sinking of the USS Indianapolis is a well-known story to most every student of the second World War, and many who know little about those dark years have still heard of the Indy.  It's one of the great tragedies of America's war history, and reading about it is never easy. But the book Out of the Depths, written by USS Indianapolis survivor Edward Harrell (United States Marine Core) brings a distinctly Christian perspective to this heart-wrenching tale.

Out of the Depths is a very well-written book, and the author does a terrific job of recognizing God's hand in the events detailed throughout each chapter. The facts are laid out in combination with Mr. Harrell's own personal perspective, and the incident along with it's after-effects are described with enough detail to give the reader a clear understanding of what took place, but with no extra "gore" added for drama's sake. It's clear the author has opted to glorify the Lord through this book, and that is refreshing for a military/historical work.

Reading this book reminded me once again of the grave cost of war, which is actually a grave cost of sin. The way Mr. Harrell weaves his faith into his book is a wonderful reminder of the hope we have in Christ, even in the darkest hours of our lives. I really enjoyed reading Out of the Depths...although it does not "feel" correct to use the word enjoyed when sharing about a book detailing the sinking of the USS Indianapolis.

In fact, I have decided to make Out of the Depths a part of homeschool's high school history coursework. It's one small piece of American and world history, but it's an important piece. This book does the tragedy justice.

On my "Page Turner Scale" of 1 to 5, I gave this book a 5

Disclaimer ~ I received this book for free from Bethany House for review purposes. All opinions shared here are solely my own.

 Day 314 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Where the Wind Leads - a memoir by Vinh Chung (with Tim Downs)






Wow. Just...wow.

That is the first thought that comes to mind when pondering exactly how to write a review for the book Where the Wind Leads. To find a memoir that grabs such hold of the reader that you move seamlessly through it's pages and almost forget that the book will actually have an end is a rarity. I loved this book from the very first page. And while it is most certainly very Christian in nature, it is not primarily focused on the Christian faith of the Chung family. Where the Wind Leads is truly a memoir in the truest sense of the word; it is a historical account given from a personal perspective.

Each chapter is just a few pages in length, which makes it easy to grab the book and read when you have a few extra moments. And the writing is truly top-notch. To some degree, at least in my mind, one mark of a good book is the ability to read without the overt sense that you are reading...and Where the Wind Leads allowed me to sort of "fall" into the Chung family's story. And what a story it is.

While I really don't want to give any of the book away in my review, I do feel I should share some of their story. As a brief overview, I can tell you that the Chung family was Chinese in ethnicity and their family had resided in Vietnam for the last several generations. The book covers the rise of their enormously successful company, through the Vietnam war, their subsequent demise into abject poverty, and their bold attempt to escape their homeland, which was truly no longer a place they could call home. I don't want to give away any details about their escape attempt, but one glance at the book cover will tell you it involved a very small boat on a very large body of water. You'll have to read the book to find out more!

If you are looking for a good read to begin your summer, Where the Wind Leads is an excellent choice. I recommend it highly!

On my "Page Turner Scale" of 1 to 5, I gave this book a 5.

Disclaimer ~ I received this book free of charge for review purposes from BookLook Bloggers (formerly BookSneeze). All opinions shared here are solely my own.

Day 313 done :)

Jan L. Burt
author of The Homeschooling Mothers Bible Study