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.

Tea Therapy

My kids used to do anything to get my attention–often naughty and annoying things. We have a big family and it takes a little extra effort to be noticed. The kids that get the most one-on-one are often the ones needing the most discipline and training. I often stop everything to focus on helping the children who are making trouble. But I’ve noticed that they often create drama and trouble just to be the center of attention.

I’ve stumbled upon a new and more positive outlet for my attention seekers.

I used to be really into tea, and had bought lots of different boxes of tea bags. You could read the box and know exactly what that blend was for. The pre-packaged teas were getting expensive, and I knew that the tea bags were not as fresh and strong as loose leaf.

At the end of last summer I harvested lots of herbs and began making delicious infusions from the garden. I began to get books about creating my own tea blends, and began to create teas far superior and more unique than anything in the stores.

How does this relate to the issue with my kids seeking negative attention?

Well, when I would make myself a cup of loose leaf tea I would offer every child within ear shot of s cup too. And I would ask them what kind of mood they are in.

Do you need a calming tea? Something to give you more energy? A brain booster? Something for your cough? Something for those teen girl hormones?

They would begin to open up to me. “I need something for stress and cramps!” Or “I stayed up too late last night…” or “Do you have anything to help with bad dreams?”

As I would make their special blend we would also start talking about their issues and struggles and how different plants can help our bodies feel their best.

Now when they want attention they just say “Mom, can you make me a cup of tea, I’m feeling kinda…” and as I make a fragrant blend, add local honey, and let it steep for at least 3 minutes, we talk, and then sometimes we sit down and have tea together.

The more tea they seek, the less behavior issues they throw at me… and I don’t think it’s just the chamomile, lemon balm and mint.

It’s the life that is poured out each time I give a child or teen a cup of tea.

Watch me create three different blends in this new video: Morning Spice Blend, an ImmuniTEA Blend, and a Woman’s Good Night & Good Moods Blend. All of these blends use fresh white pine needles that grow right on our acreage at Olive Branch Farm! Recipes in the comments at the link.

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.

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?

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!

Intentional Motherhood: The Fulfillment

Children are the fulfillment of my dream because I have faith that we are raising them to be voices of hope in this crazy world. Sometimes we need courage to trust that we don’t have to give our children the same lifestyle our parents gave us. We can look at what our parents did wrong and be different. My husband grew up with a dad who overcame addictions and was married three times. My husband came from a broken home, and through his trauma he decided to fight for the opposite, by the grace of God. I know in my family the calling is very unique in these modern times. Very few will have what it takes to raise 15 kids, but if it’s your dream, it is possible! If God calls you to, have a big family!

Josh and I love raising children. We have built a really sweet life and joyful marriage. What we have is rare, and people like us should be raising kids, lots of them! And people like us should be the ones adopting! If you have a heart for children don’t be afraid to follow the calling and find ways to fill your life with children who need love, hope and healing. Children are the greatest investment we could ever make in this world. They have the potential to lead this world out of darkness and into the light! But not if the Christians raise their few children to shun the idea of nurturing the future generations, because it’s so stressful or whatever.

Mothers! Show your children what a treasure they are to you! Speak joy! Let them see your delight. My children know that I think they are gifts to planet Earth! Why are we kinda different?

Josh and I read the Bible together (through the Bible in a year) when we were teens. We met when we were 13 and 14. We had a calling on our lives to surrender everything for the high calling of the gospel! We saw over and over that children are called a gift, an honor, and joy. We saw the darkness of the world, growing darker. We felt like we were nearing the end times and had a call upon our marriage to raise up children who would be well prepared to go out into the darkness to be a light for the gospel. We wanted to raise them without fear of evil, but confidence in the power of God to rescue, love, heal, and bring forgiveness to the hurting.

We didn’t just want to raise up kids that would be missionaries and Sunday school teachers or worship leaders – like working in the church is the only Christian calling. We wanted to raise them to be leaders in the Arts, in science, in politics, in social media, in education, entertainment, music, business, and in the gifting of the Holy Spirit to shine like stars in the darkness and to show the way of love, kindness and peace where there is pain.

We considered each of the children to have a unique and precious calling, talent set, and unique individuality that would need to be respected. Each child would grow up to have something to bring into the world to show the glory of the Creator. This is not a common passion I see in very many couples planning their families. But we do know quite a few other families doing the same. And we are eager to teach others from what we have discovered. But unfortunately you just don’t hear it taught in church that it is a high calling and worthy sacrifice to raise up children intentionally for the Kingdom.

And as a teen I sought to choose a husband specifically for his heart for children, Jesus and the Arts. I had a wish list. I knew I wanted a big family, so I didn’t just fall in love with some random cutie–I chose my husband because I saw great qualities of a future father, and I saw his heart for Jesus and his unique pursuits in the Arts and science. I wasn’t lucky, I was intentional. I wasn’t lucky, I was blessed! I wasn’t lucky, I worked hard! I wasn’t lucky, I believed God’s words!

What vision are you passing along to the next generation? Your life is a testimony and witness to our youth. If they become like you, if they listen to you, if they catch your vision — will they bring light into this darkness?

Intentional Motherhood: The Vision

At church this evening my teen daughters were learning about the calling of Mary to bring Jesus into the world. In the discussion after the Bible Study my daughters learned that most of the other girls in their group think that motherhood is a poor choice, not worth the sacrifice to the woman’s body, and having a family is an unrealistic goal in this dark and miserable world.

My daughters tried to share a different perspective but informed about “the real world”. Nothing new here. When I was a teen who wanted to be a “stay at home mom” and an artist with a home-based business, my friends made fun of me, and said motherhood is a waste and it’s stupid to bring children into this horrible world. I longed to have children who would make this world more beautiful.

Having children was no sacrifice at all. It can be a lot of work at times; but from my perspective, giving life was the fulfillment of a beautiful dream. Having each child was like receiving a beautiful chest full of precious treasure every time. After our ten children were born (and for the first time ever our income was more than we needed to survive), we answered the call to adopt five more children. I was not an overwhelmed unhappy mother. I thought of the calling as the biggest privilege!

Adoption wasn’t easy, but after all the gifts God has given me, He was so generous to trust me with even more souls to care for. And though it was really hard, I see such beautiful fruit! These girls in our community have learned a lot in school and social media about life goals. From the outside you see the ideal, picture-perfect suburban life that their parents worked very hard to give them. Others come from broken homes, though they live in picture- perfect neighborhoods. They complain of the darkness and evil in the world, yet live in one of the most prosperous and safe places on this rocky earth! They have the best the world has to offer, and they are stressed and discouraged about the future. (Click here to continue reading.)

Experience Homeschooling Joy Show!

Sarah is excited to be a part of the Experience Homeschooling Joy Show on December 6th and would love to see your lovely faces there.

This is a free, live event, hosted by Christine Owens.

We have secured a seat for you at experiencehomeschoolingjoy.com/brown . We can’t wait to see you there!