Sarah’s Survival Tips!

Bad Days. We all have them.

Here are some ideas for how I try to turn a bad day into a good day.

1. Turn on “Just Dance” for the kids on YouTube.

2. Don’t try to do school as planned. Find a funny way to repurpose a page in a workbook or Fun-Schooling Journal. Let your kids turn the Nature Study page into a Zombie Study page.

3. Take a break from everything that is stressing anyone out.

4. Get out of the house, with or without kids. Preferably without. Haha!

5. Get out a board game or UNO. If you want the older kids to be busy for a long time offer a nice prize to the winner of the Monopoly game.

6. Turn on Secret Garden – White Stones.

7. Assign each big kid to play with each little kid, and escape.

8. Let the kids bake something.

9. Light candles and ask one of the older girls to make tea for two.

10. Sit in the corner and cry. And then find the chocolate. And then color in a Mom-School Journal.

12. Read a blog post by an inspiring person, like deeprootsathome.com

13. Ask husband to take a bunch of kids to a park. (If you are a single mom, reach out to grandparents or fellow mom friends for a swap play date…and then return the favor!)

14. Get everyone outside for Nature Study.

15. Make an early dinner.

16. Tell the kids that we will have a movie night if they get the house clean, and turn on the happy music while they work.

17. Snuggle on the couch with littles and read Goodnight Moon. Or read “Christian Heroes – Then & Now” in the living room while kids work in their Fun-Schooling journals.

18. Send a group of older kids to the corner market to get ice cream for everyone.

19. Figure out how to turn tonight into a date night.

20. If all else fails, ask husband to put the kids to bed early. Then clean your room really nice, set out a treat, light a candle, turn on peaceful music, ask husband to bring the wine, lattes, or fresh squeezed orange juice. Be sure to sweetly ask husband to get the kids to bed while while you take a long hot shower. In this case HE WILL do what it takes to get the kids to bed early!

What works for YOU? Share in the comments!

Embracing Your Calling

This is me, “living my worst nightmare” (just kidding) speaking in front of 500+ people. Why does God call us to do things that make us so deeply uncomfortable, yet are such a blessing to others?

Let’s talk. What is holding you back from fully embracing your calling?

And FEAR doesn’t count.

If fear was your answer, in any way, shape, or form, give me a better reason why you are not totally living what you believe. You were put on this earth for a specific purpose and anything less is not acceptable. If you were called by God to accomplish something you will need to answer to Him alone for not doing it.

I promise, answering me is easier, and may be a first step toward living out your calling, because I’m going to pray for you to have everything it takes, especially the courage, to move forward!

If nothing else, get a book about someone with a similar calling who overcame all the odds and did it. Also, some dreams are not “realistic” and you gotta know when to let go and accept your limitations. But a calling is different from dream because when you take a step out into obedience to God, and start to take risks of faith HE WILL do everything within HIS power to provide, equip and protect you in this calling.

Maybe you are not a leader. Then get behind someone who is already carrying out a similar calling. What do you have to lose?

Is the problem “no support from your family”? Get down to the root of this issue. If you are married you should develop one vision for your purpose, and do the thing you both agree on! Don’t stay focused on the parts you don’t agree on. Build on common ground.

Are your parents holding you back because of their personal fears and failures? Are they trying to keep you SAFE in THEIR comfort zone for their “peace of mind”? Are they keeping you from fulfilling YOUR calling because it’s not quite what they had in mind, because you are all they have and they don’t want you to take any risks???? Honor them by fulfilling God’s calling. Go in faith.

After the event in 2019 in the photo at the top of this post, I heard many many stories about how hope was given, lives were changed, families were empowered to make brave choices… I stepped out of my comfort zone, and God blessed. And by faith, I’ve done it again since.

What’s holding you back?

Best Tip for Busy, Unromantic Moms

I have 15 kids and own a Publishing Company. I’m busy!

But not too busy for investing in marriage! Here is a bit of advice that will light up your love life. I try to keep our bedroom as a peaceful and romantic retreat.

By making the bed every morning and not letting our nest become a laundry pile or stowaway zone… we can have a place of relaxation and comfort at the beginning and ending of each day. Store laundry and kid-junk somewhere else. Sweep and vacuum often.

Only keep what inspires peace and delight in your special place.

Moms, make your room as uncluttered and beautiful as can be; you will be much more in the mood to enjoy your space with your husband if it’s pretty.

Even if the whole house is a kid-mess, make your room amazing. This room should be a first priority, but most woman make it the last. It’s easier to just shut the door.

Husbands will be more peaceful and content with the condition of the whole home, if he can count on the bedroom being a place of rest and romance.

Don’t let your bedroom become the place where all the junk is tossed when we clean the rest of the house. Make it beautiful today. You will find so much peace in this. When you go to a beautiful room at the end of the day, you might even feel like your work is done because your room speaks beauty and rest to your heart and mind.

Your might actually feel more romantic at the end if the day if your room is a place or peace. At the end of the day turn on peaceful music, light a candle, and enjoy the evening.

The Fun-Schooling Story: The Branches of The Thinking Tree Spread Out!

What The Thinking Tree Offers

As we’ve grown our tree has branched into several different offerings. Today we have six “branches” on our Thinking Tree. 

Fun-Schooling Journals consist of our core journals, the first journals we created. We also have dozens of smaller “single subject” journals on standard school subjects like Language Arts, History, Math, Science, Art, and Geography. Single-subject journals on “elective” topics have also been created such as Dance, Foreign Language, Animals, Sports, and even Minecraft! There are about 300 Fun-Schooling Journals.

Dyslexia Games is our art-based Dyslexia therapy program. It was created a few years before the first Fun-Schooling journal. There are three series for different age groups. Throughout the years we have found it helpful for students with ADHD/ADD, Asperger’s, and other learning challenges too. Interestingly, we’ve also found children without learning challenges or disabilities benefit too. It helps children with creative thinking, problem-solving, handwriting, spelling, art skills, math, and more.

Click here to continue reading.

The Fun-Schooling Story: A Homeschooling Shift

The COVID Homeschooling Shift

Before the outbreak of COVID-19, approximately 3% of American children were homeschooled. In 2020 amid lockdowns, limited and frustrating results of online learning, and ongoing mandates, parents began to bring their children home.  As of the time of this writing in 2022, roughly 20% of American children are homeschooled. 

The Thinking Tree saw massive growth between March 2020-March 2022. Our Facebook group grew by over 20,000 and our social media accounts gained tens of thousands of new followers. Sales jumped and we had several journals make it into the top 500 of all books on Amazon during this period. This is a feat that is difficult to achieve, especially for the homeschool market. One of our Brain Games journals even made it to the top 200. 

This journal made the Top 200 Amazon list!

Families continue to pull their children from school in record numbers. It is expected a substantial amount of kids will remain homeschooled throughout the majority of, if not the entirety, of their education. The Thinking Tree has continued to add in new journals to meet the interests and needs of students. We even worked to incorporate COVID-19 into a journal so children could begin to understand the impact it has had on the world in a familiar way.

Also during this time, our collection of Art & Logic Therapy journals grew! They have helped so many kids and moms deal with Covid brain fog and other mental clarity challenges. Something good that has come out of this season of challenges, and we are very grateful!

The Fun-Schooling Story: The Thinking Tree Grows!

The Thinking Tree Grows

At first, we weren’t sure any of “this” would catch on beyond our circle of friends. As we were contacted by families asking for journals with different themes, we knew something special had come. I got to work creating more journals. Each was based on the same concept with different covers and interior artwork to appeal to kids’ interests. These core journals became the foundational journal for Fun-Schooling families.

 

We named our new company The Thinking Tree when we published Dyslexia Games. My kids got involved in creating journals based on themes they were interested in and subjects they wanted to cover. I created smaller journals to use as an in-depth study on a single topic.

A Facebook page and group were started. We got the attention of a few Mom Bloggers who shared our journals with their audience. I added in Math and Spelling journals. Thinking Tree was invited to homeschool conferences. A few of our journals became available through Barnes and Noble. I created a series of Mom School journals so moms could pursue their interests and be a good example. Word kept spreading about our Fun-Schooling journals and I became an unintentional entrepreneur! 

The Thinking Tree grew by leaps and bounds during the Covid 19 lockdowns…read about it in this post!

Read the beginning of the story here!

The Beautiful World of Art & Logic Therapy (and Green Lemonade!)

Click for more flip-through videos.

Wondering what to buy for Mom for Mother’s Day? Wonder no more! The beautiful family of Art & Logic Therapy journals is continually growing!

Wind and Rain

Fire Light

Morning Light

Breakthrough

Lost & Found

Candlelight

Little Things (a brand new, 5×7, on-the-go, purse-sized journal!)

Brain Sharpening Therapy for All Ages! The newest journal, Candlelight, includes Psalms hidden and woven into the artwork and puzzles. Strengthen your faith and your mind!

Inspired by Dyslexia Games Therapy to renew and refocus the minds of individuals suffering from brain fog, ADHD, and anxiety. Puzzles and artwork by Sarah Janisse Brown, creator of Dyslexia Games.

These journals are the fruit of a research project for women with symptoms of “Brain Fog” related to Covid-19, pregnancy, aging, declining mental health, stress, and learning challenges. Over 800 mothers are participating with interesting and hopeful results!

Read Art & Logic testimonials!

Sip some green lemonade while you enjoy your journals!

Feast your eyes on these beautiful books!

Dyslexia Games and the Fight Against Brain Fog (Part 2)

(Guest post by Ferne Hood)

The final week of the first month of the trial saw more and more positive and unexpected outcomes. Moms were feeling less overwhelmed, more organized, more in control, more creative and even remembering where they left their phone and what that person’s name was who they just met! One mom said, “It has been helping me remember things, like names. I’ve been getting increasingly worse at remembering names for the past couple years. I’ve surprised myself a few times lately!”

            At the end of the first month of the trial, Sarah conducted a little poll to see what areas of people’s lives were improving the most as a result. There were an astounding eighteen areas nominated! The area with the most votes being focus, shortly followed by organization, cleaning more and feeling less scatterbrained. Brain fog reduction was fifth on the list, which shows that these other fantastic areas of improvement were wonderfully unexpected by-products of the experiment. Moms reported an increase in concentration, patience, mood and memory. Some moms also discovered that they had some wonderful hidden artistic skills and their creativity was allowed to come to the surface once again. They found themselves bonding with their kids more and making precious time for themselves, sometimes for the first time in a long time. A month of Dyslexia Games also seemed to be helping to calm anxiety and improve mental health, as well as inspire moms to cook and clean more and finish the jobs they start.

            Because of Dyslexia Games, many moms are now feeling more in control of their lives, while also finding new ways to spend time with their kids, reconnecting over puzzles and pictures. Sarah has since created a range of Mom Brain Games specific for this purpose, to help mothers everywhere reclaim their lives, harness their thoughts, own their day-to-day and even clean a garage or two.

            “I felt exhausted, depressed, frustrated and nothing seemed to get accomplished. By the time I was halfway through the first book in this series I had retrained my brain to completely focus and complete one small task at a time. Now, I am able to get things accomplished. My anxiety and depression is no longer an issue. I am not overwhelmed–I can look at things and break it down into small chunks that are doable… This would not have happened without doing these brain fog series. I don’t know how it works but I am proof it does work !!!” – Krista.

            So many moms who have done this trial have had such fantastic results and are now a part of an ever-growing community. They have found a way to find themselves again, with a little daily focus, some time and dedication, some pretty pens, and maybe a green lemonade or two along the way.  

(Read Part 1 by clicking here)

Sarah Janisse Brown - Morning Light
Sarah Janisse Brown, Creator of Dyslexia Games/Art & Logic Therapy

Dyslexia Games and the Fight Against Brain Fog (Part 1)

(Guest post by Ferne Hood)

When Sarah Janisse Brown’s daughter Anna was struggling with dyslexia and finding it hard to read, Sarah began creating patterns and pictures in sequences and doing these “games” with Anna again and again! The result was incredible as Anna soon began to read comics and recipes, and then moved on to novels and the Bible. Anna didn’t realize she was actually learning to read when she was doing these puzzles with her mom, she just thought she was having fun. But her success led to Sarah creating a series of workbooks containing her Brain puzzles called Dyslexia Games, to help countless other kids and their parents who were having the same struggles.

            As some moms began going through the games with their children, and inadvertently doing them themselves, they soon realized that the games were having a significant impact on them too. It seemed as though the Dyslexia Games were helping these moms in their struggle with brain fog! So Sarah decided to conduct a little experiment. She launched a Facebook group and asked moms struggling with brain fog to commit to intentionally using Dyslexia Games to see if they could improve their brain function. Around 800 moms committed to the trial, keeping notes of their progress along the way. And the results have been astounding. Not only have these moms discovered a passion (or aversion!) to designing t-shirts and drinking green lemonade, and maybe a newly formed addiction to stationary, but they are happier, more focused, more present and feeling less scatterbrained as a result of committing to doing just a few pages a day.

            In the first week alone, participants were already starting to notice a difference. Melanie said, “I definitely noticed a clearer mind and was able to get more done each day. Doing two pages each day has opened a desire up in me to be more creative and to take up doing art with my daughter!” And Janice said, “I look forward to it every day! My brain feels good and likes working on the puzzles. Afterwards I feel more focused and refreshed.”

            Even after just a handful of days, the positive affect of Dyslexia Games was noticeable. Many moms mentioned how it was even helping to ease their anxiety. Elina commented, “I have had way less anxiety since I started the brain games. I’ve been more motivated and have come up with many new solutions for problems I’ve had for a while.” And Michelle said, “I got the best sleep last night that I have had in a pretty long time. I have also found that I’m less anxious if I do these. I am prone to panic attacks and have found that if I feel anxious and I focus on doing these I don’t do my regular nervous habits and the feeling doesn’t escalate at all. It is a fabulous coping tool for me!”

            An easing in anxiety, increase in creativity and focus, and more bonding with their children – it seemed like week 1 was impacting for so many moms. (click here to continue reading)

Fun-Schooling in 3 Easy Steps for Your Younger Kids

Fun-Schooling basket

So often people imagine Fun-Schooling must be as difficult as every other method. But now that I’ve been doing it for years I find it’s soooo easy. Let me explain in three simple steps how to Fun-School the most stress-free way for ages 5 to 13.

1. Plan your semester by putting five Fun-Schooling Journals into a cute basket with fresh art and school supplies. Add in some mini games. Have a computer or iPad set up for educational videos, an online math program and research sites. You can block everything else. Get an assortment of books that focus on the child’s passion and career goals. Your child is set!

2. Set up your Mom-School. Make a Mom-School Basket with your mom Journal, planners, and books about things you want learn. Use your Mom-School stuff to enrich your heart and mind, and be an example to your child. Use your Mom-School a few times each week while your child is aware of your learning activities. Teach by example.

3. Daily you will need to remind the child to get their Fun-Schooling Basket and go to a favorite place to do… ten pages, or whatever. I let my kids choose what Journals to use on most days. I am available for questions and some collaboration. I don’t teach much. I collaborate and show an example. I only teach reading (but sometimes I don’t).  I let them learn to read with Starfall.com, Dyslexia Games, or readingeggs.com, and if I teach I use Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. They learn to spell with Fun-Schooling Journals.)

I do projects with the kids using their passions. Or I just give them permission and supplies.

If kids rush and are sloppy, they don’t get computer time–they get chores after learning time. I check all their Fun-Schooling Journals every Friday. If they do awesome they get to some new art or school supplies from my little prize shelf.

For tips on Fun-Schooling your teens: