PDF Journals–All You Need to Know!

Click this image to take you to our bookstore for a complete list of PDFs!

Special thanks to Amanda Osenga for writing this guest post to help all of our lovely Fun-Schoolers during this season of change!

When you think of PDFs, I bet your first thought goes to a pile of printed pages. What if I told you there are dozens of options for using PDFs? Including options involving zero printing at all. You can even get them printed into a physical book! I hope these tips will help you find new ways to use PDFs.

Binding and printing options-

Yes, you can go the standard route of print and staple. There’s nothing wrong with this! It’s a tried and true binding technique. Here are a few other options-

  • “Booklet” style.
                This is a setting in Adobe. This will print the size of a standard book. You can fold them in half, staple them, or even hand-stitch them. We find printing about 48 pages at once easiest to work with. Otherwise, it gets too thick.
  • Bookbinding
                Most local print shops can print PDFs as a book for you. Lots of Fun-School moms tell us Barnes & Noble Press does a beautiful job for close to the price of having individual pages printed through a print shop. https://press.barnesandnoble.com/print-on-demand/
  • Disc-bound binding
                These are most well known through the “Happy Planner.” A benefit is the ability to move pages around. Moms love this method for rearranging journals and/or combining multiple journals. You can purchase disc-bound punches at craft stores and office supply stores. This option functions similarly to a spiral notebook and can be folded back or laid flat.  This also allows you to reuse the same rings- saving money and resources!
  • File folder
                Use expandable or hanging file folders to sort, organize, and file PDFs. Print with your desired number of pages per sheet and organize to your heart’s content! Some moms organize by day, others by journal- and others by type of page (Reading Time, Screen Time, Math, etc.)
  • Multiple pages per sheet
                Consider printing two or four pages per sheet. This will save paper and money! It is also a great option for kids overwhelmed by writing because it reduces the space to write on. Moms with kids who love to color often choose to print the coloring pages full-size.
  • Three-ring binders
                Similar to the disc-bound method, this allows you a lot of flexibility. Fun-Schooling families often recommend the Five Star Flex binders because the cover bends backward and lays flat. Any binder will do!
  • Spiral bind
                Spiral binding is another classic printing method. Local shops and box stores can bind for you. Binding machines are also available for purchase, including some with reusable spines. Sometimes churches, schools, or community centers will allow families to use their binding machines.
  • Combine methods!
                Print a PDF booklet style and use it with disc-bound disks. Or print multiple pages/sheets and stick them in a binder. Play around with different methods until you find what you and your children like best. Remember, each kid may like a different method!

Making Family Count is a homeschool printing company operated by a Fun-Schooling family. There are also several other homeschool-based printing companies out there.

Your Local Print Shop

If you haven’t dropped into a local print shop lately, I encourage you to do so. One shop I visited had over 20 different ways they could print and bind PDFs! It’s worth it to head in and ask for their ideas.

Printing Considerations and Tips

Here are a few tips and considerations-

  • Ask your local library
                Many libraries have printing allowances for those with a library card. Some will do discounted or free printing for homeschoolers.
  • Reach out to local churches– especially those with homeschool programs
                We’ve heard from many moms who can print free or cheap this way!
  • Community centers sometimes have free or cheap printing available too
  • Do you, a spouse, or a relative have a printer at work? Ask about paying a small fee or providing your own paper to use printer
  • The Epson Eco Tank printer seems to be the lowest-cost option for an at-home printer This one is on sale at the time of this posting for $169.00 (discounted from $249.99!!)
  • Subscribe to email newsletters from box store office supply companies. They do deeply discounted paper a few times a year.
  • If money is extremely tight- ask your neighborhood Buy Nothing, Freecycle, or Neighbors Helping Neighbors group to see if anyone would be willing to print for you if you provide the paper.
  • Some moms combine multiple journals for an entire week, month, semester, or school year. You can rearrange journal pages with some of the flexible binding methods mentioned above. There are also programs available online to merge and reorganize PDFs!
  • If your print shop has any concerns regarding printing copyrighted material, you can email contact@funschooling.com and request a printing release.

Skip Printing and Use PDFs Digitally

You can use PDFs digitally with the following apps/programs- tutorials can be found on YouTube for using them

Goodnotes

Kami

Notability

Liquid Text

PDF Expert

Krita

Microsoft Edge has a built-in PDF editor

You can also get the paid version of Adobe and edit directly on the PDF.


*Note- these are programs Fun-School Moms have suggested. We have yet to test all of them. This is not considered an endorsement of these programs. Do your research to verify their privacy rules, advertising, etc.

We hope these tips help you to get the most out of your PDFs! Let us know if you do something else unique with your PDFs.

Fun-Schooling Fans, We Need Your Help!

Hi Friends, could you pray for a quick resolution of a serious problem? We publish our books through Amazon and over 50% of our family income comes from Amazon sales, along with royalties we pay out to many other authors including several missionaries.

Amazon has glitches because it is managed by robots and algorithms and they mistakenly deleted our entire publishing account and say they will not pay us our royalties for all the books sold over the past 60 days.

This kind of thing has happened before and creates serious issues. And it’s very unethical.

So please pray it gets resolved. Last time it happened we didn’t get it resolved until the concern got to Jeff Bezos desk. But it did because so many of our customers complained.

You can still get our books through Rainbow Resources and PDFs through FunSchooling.com

If you are one of our customers who orders through Amazon you can help us by writing to Jeff and telling him that you love our Thinking Tree Books by Sarah Janisse Brown.

Email jeff@amazon.com for direct attention from Bezos or his Executive Team.

It actually worked last time.

Dyslexia and ASD and ADHD–Oh Yes!

Who else is homeschooling a child with symptoms of ASD, ADHD or Dyslexia? Did you know that the whole idea of Fun-Schooling was started to make homeschooling work for these kids? Kids who learn differently are the driving force behind all our books. I started designing “Do-It-Yourself Homeschooling Journals” because my kids could not do traditional schoolwork.

ASD kids love the built in schedule provided by the Core Journal. They LOVE how they get to study their special interests. They love the look and feel of the Journals. They love how the journals are logic based, and include puzzle type activities. They often want to work independently and focus on their “research”. Thinking Tree Books encourage this depth of learning.

ADHD kids love how they get to move from one activity to the next with lots of variety. Our journals are designed to rotate activities: Academic – Creative – Academic – Passive – Academic – Active – Academic – Playful! ADHD kids are not bored when Fun-schooling! They get to learn about things they love, and when ADHD kids focus on what they LOVE they are so much easier to homeschool.

Kids with Dyslexia thrive because the books are created with the Dyslexie Font and include games that help with dyslexia. Thinking Tree Books include a lot of room for creativity and imagination, and they have just enough structure to keep kids learning without squelching their drive to learn through play, curiosity and adventure. We also don’t teach through memorization, but through meaningful experience and research. It’s so hard for dyslexic kids to memorize information. There is a better way!

FunSchooling.com

DyslexiaGames.com

The Modeling Mom

In my earlier years, I spent some time modeling. You can read about it in my biography, Windows to Our World. Now, I spend a lot more time modeling in a different way, enjoying my passions and studying my interests and doing my projects. I invest more time in modeling than I do trying to compel my kids to do their school work. I just model a love for learning, a passion for projects and show them what it looks like to live life to the fullest.

I am fully alive and totally focused on pursuing things that I am excited about. I invite them in to be part of my interest, and they invite me to be part of their learning. Anything I want to encourage them to do more of, I do myself in relation to my own interests.

I have a life, and I have adventures, and I enjoy projects and activities that have nothing to do with my kids. This is the essence of Mom-Schooling! My children see that I am a very passionate learner and I am living dreams right in the middle of raising a family. I share my accomplishments and struggles, and they share theirs.

I am curious about their learning and pursuits and they are just as interested in mine. Because I am enjoying life as a learner, they do too. I have done so many things in my life that my kids can learn from. I entered an election and became vice president of the town council. I wrote for newspapers and magazines. I made new kinds of foods and put on parties. I read books and listened to audio books. I tried to build a village, and failed. I invested, I won, and lost. I show them what fun it is to be a wife and mom. I teach them that it’s okay to eat chocolate in the morning and fill up journals with poems. I make tea for myself and some for them, and they make tea for me. I plant trees and research strange animals. I travel. My husband makes music and fixes computers and plays Pacman… We do a lot of things that we love, and we have fun. They can join us, copy us, learn from us, ignore us… and when they are gone we will still have each other and our hobbies and interests! This is Mom School!

There are a lot of things I don’t do to make time for what I love, and what I love the most… family.

Spelling Strategies

Back in 2018, four of my kids (ages 9-12) were using Spelling Time – Master the top 150 misspelled words. They had so much fun with the silly sentence sections. I was reading their stories and was laughing so hard. The funny thing is that the prompt asks for a silly sentence and my kids are writing as tiny as they can to make really long silly stories. A couple of these kids were my biggest “do-nothing-whiners-i-hate-writing-can’t-think-of-anything” kids.

When Susie and Laura were 8 and 9 they really froze up when asked to write creatively or do copywork. But I just kept up, knowing that it is normal at those ages to not want to write. Since they are dyslexic they really needed to master reading before writing. Now they are having so much fun writing.

It was exciting to see the transformation. If your 8-10 year old is resistant to writing, just be patient. I actually focused on things they loved and didn’t push writing when they were really fighting it. I did require minimal copywork. I would often repurpose writing prompt pages in their journals.

Both girls finished Dyslexia Games B for the second time. They are both dyslexic, and their writing abilities have really jumped. The first time they did Series B they got good at reading, now after doing it twice their writing abilities are moving forward. I was going to give them Series C after finishing B the first time, but they wanted to repeat B because their new sisters were using B.

This is what spelling strategy has looked like at our house. What has worked best for you?

Check out more spelling options here!

Tea for Two…or Twelve?

This past week, we hosted a Medicinal Tea Workshop at Olive Branch Farm. Our next event will be in February…follow me on Facebook for that announcement.

Creating tea blends is a new favorite hobby of mine. I love learning about and creating these beautiful and empowering blends.

“Mommy, I think you are actually a doctor. A tea doctor. Cause whenever anyone is sick with anything you know what tea to make to fix them. Whatever is wrong- sore throat, coughing, puking, headaches! You really are the Tea Doctor!” said Leah, age 7, while she was helping me mix up a remedy in the kitchen for a friend who needed another batch of healing balm for a skin condition.

What happens when you model healing behavior? This. These four little sweeties organized their own tea party without any help from mom. They made the tea and hot chocolate. They got all dressed up. They set the table. They planned a game. They lit candles.

About a year ago, I mentioned to my kids that I was going to incorporate poetry tea time. I came home from work to my 10 year old having set this up. She was even dressed up. ❤ We each read a poem and then grabbed a handful of our magnetic poetry words and made silly little poems out of what we had. So fun! Tell us about your poetry tea time in the comments!

One of our many books featuring poetry!

Sarah’s 2023 Mom-Schooling Basket!

Today I took an hour
To rearrange my things
To think about my goals
And to reignite my dreams
I went from shelf to shelf
To gaze upon each book
As if to stop and ask myself
To take a deeper look
To think of who I want to be
The skills I hope to learn
To set imagination free
To love, to grow to yearn.
I found my favorite basket
Full of other people’s things
I dumped it out, and asked it
To be the keeper of new dreams.
I start fresh from empty
And held it with one hand
Without hesitation we
Set off to make new plans.
I found my favorite books again
And promised to begin
To treat them as my dear friends,
And then I found some pens
I found my father’s Bible
Filled with his notes and lines
I’ll take his thoughts once more to heart and try to make them mine.
I have a little journal, for each and every child
I fill the pages with my prayers
Through times of tears and smiles
I have some colored pencils
Some photos and memories
I’ll add a story book of course
For my little girls to read.
My basket is almost ready
My heart and mind feel full
Now I just need a cup of tea
And a journal for my soul
Today I took an hour
To rearrange my things
I’m ready now to grow and learn
And to reignite my dreams

Passport of Blessing

Here’s an idea that you might like to add to your life.

I made a “Passport of Blessing” for each member of my family where I add quotes, songs, prayers, encouragement, doodles, memories, and dreams for each of my children and my husband.

The books are little and I add something to a few of the books on most days. I keep the books in my room and the kids are able to pick them up and read what is written in any of them whenever they want to. When the book is full they can have it, and I will start a new one.

This is the type of notebook I used, but most of you don’t need to buy to bulk packages like I did! I love the size of these, the same size as a passport.

I believe it is so important to understand how to nurture a child’s growing mind. I have a passion to teach them to be curious, to love learning, to research wisely and to grow in wisdom, understanding and knowledge. It’s been my lifework to understand why some children struggle to learn, read and focus, and I dig deep into these matters sorting through vast amounts of research of the human mind to understand how to unlock the potential of each child. I work hard to find the answers and tap into the child’s gifts, no matter what their natural strengths and weaknesses may be. And I test these ideas and solutions and share them with the world, and many thousands of children have been able to overcome struggles related to ADHD, Autism and Dyslexia.

I also believe that it’s vastly important to nurture the child’s growing body, to give the child the best foods, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, the right balance of proteins, fats and carbs. I research and learn what is good and what is poison and ensure the child has sunshine and exercise. Because what good is a strong mind inside a weak and sick body? You can not care for one and neglect the other. Mothers and fathers everywhere make it a priority to care for the mind and body of the child, hoping that the child will grow, thrive and be strong and wise.

But this is not enough. We must also nourish the soul and spirit and character of the child as well, and even more so. How often is the care of the spirit the last thing we even consider at the end of the day. To nourish the spirit of the child is of greater value than all the efforts we could ever make to feed the mind and the body. How many of us have children who are starving spiritually?

Parent, you reap what you sow. If you plant in your child the seeds of the spirit your child will grow in the spirit. If you build him up in character, he will become a man of honor. If your daughter is nurtured in the things of the spirit she will grow in grace, glory and faith. But if a parent neglects the nourishment of the spirit, the soul and the character of the child, the impact in the life of the child will be more devastating than if you failed to nourish the body and the mind.

So I ask you, loving mother, how will you tend to the garden of your child’s soul today?

Who They Were Meant To Be

My girls were busy painting yesterday. Rachel, 19, did the one with the yellow background. Susie, 16, did the one with the green background. This is Susie’s first oil painting.

I’m in awe of their giftings, but it’s not just raw talent. The girls have devoted thousands of hours to growing in their artistic skills. Both decided to major in the fine arts while homeschooling. The process of finding who they were meant to be includes all of this.

I don’t know who you were made to be

But I will trust in the One who gave you to me

Because every child is a promise and a mystery

And every little smile shows us what is meant to be

As you play and dream and just have fun

I stand in wonder of the life that has begun

As you laugh and sing, jump and run

I stand in wonder of who you will become

Little hints of genius and artful poetry

You awaken promises and dance with mystery

I watch, I wait, I wonder, as I give you liberty

Just be you, as you become, who you were made to be.

Freedom, and patience, and grace always rising

Can I capture this moment, as I’m realizing

That you’re only mine for a matter of time

As your story unfolds and your light now shines

I’ll hold you close, I’ll hold your hand, and I’ll set you free

To be, everything that you were made to be

Because every child is a promise and a mystery

And every little smile shows us what is meant to be

For my children – By: Sarah Janisse Brown

A “Little” Survival Kit

Do you need a Mom School Survival Kit?

These little books help so much because they give you a realistic perspective on how to accomplish the most meaningful things. We grow to be intentional about how we spend our precious time. We learn to invest in the things that make a lasting difference and make everyday life sweet and memorable. These little books help you let go of the things that hold you back, while seeking what truly matters. You will learn to evaluate the demands upon your life, and take a simple, yet mighty step into your dreams, purpose and passion.

As women we feel like we can’t give in to the joys of life if the demands of life are screaming at us. We deny ourselves fun, joy, peace and harmony in life because we are focused on our failures… and the failures of the people around us.

We have to learn to give up on the things that steal our joy, those thoughts that tell us we are falling behind. We need to set aside that vision of what everyone else thinks we ought to be, and be who we were born to be. We need to find true joy in serving others, in caring for our homes, in bringing laughter and smiles to the table… even when things are far from perfect.

We need to learn to find joy in the mud puddles of life. Raising a child is hard. Homeschooling is demanding. Meeting the needs of a husband is challenging. Putting away leftovers and remembering to eat them… ugh who really cares, when what is really needed is more smiles and hugs and passion.

How do we focus on the important things without neglecting the rest? I made these little books to help you discover how. And it only takes 4 minutes a day. You can just keep this book, and a pen, by the toilet, if nothing else.

Need some specific encouragement from other moms? Aside from joining our Facebook support group (and there is also this group if you are new to homeschooling!), grab a copy of The Homeschool Letters! In this book over 35 homeschooling moms share their hearts, explaining what they wish they knew when they first started. The art and logic activities in this book are borrowed from the book “Lost & Found” it’s a brain fog therapy for women who need to sharpen their minds.

Or maybe you need a secret weapon for the “littles” in your life?

The Littlest Kindergarten Workbook is all about animals, and its 4.5″ x 6″ size is perfect for tiny hands.

It has over 100 pages of do-it-yourself beginner learning, covering everything from letters, numbers, weather, shapes, colors, poetry, animals, handwriting and more. Includes a poem that talks about God’s gifts to us.

Just a “little” encouragement to help you begin the new year well!