One day, there was a young mom with eight children under ten years old, she was serving as a town council Vice President and was organizing festivals for Main Street. Homeschooling the kids and always searching for strategies to help her struggle learners to thrive, and to help her struggling neighbors to become a community, and helping at church and building her home-based ministries. She contributed to the family income by teaching classes every weekend for IUPUI. She cooked a feast every night. She was helping to run a farm store and all her children were starting their own businesses… she was up at night with a nursing baby and had a car seat under her desk at town hall.
And everything she did was fueled by self care and a little time at the feet of Jesus.
She made an effort to carve out time to recharge and to put her own passions and creativity on a pedestal, to always start and end her days with a time of focus on the things that brought her joy. One day she had realized that she was awake for over 16 hours a day and it was no crime to take one or two of those hours each day to focus on filling her own heart, and investing in her own needs, passions and pursuits. She gave 14 hours away to everyone and everything else, but held precious her space to thrive.
Some people send a message that mothers should never for a moment put themselves first, never for a moment do one thing for the joy of it… if there is a dish in the sink or laundry to be done. She learned to let the children entertain themselves, she helped her husband understand that if he didn’t give her a break she would have no energy for him at the end of the day, so she stopped listening to the voice of guilt and picked up a paint brush, a crochet hook, and a good book. As the children grew, her talents and hobbies developed and grew as well.
She was an example to her children of a parent who didn’t loose herself to parenting.
As her hobbies grew along side her children they became so well developed that they eventually became an income source that allowed her husband to become a stay-at-home dad who could focus on his own calling to serve others on the mission field, in the community, and be at home with the children. All the children were thriving so they had another baby and adopted five more kids.
The family didn’t thrive because she sacrificed everything to meet the needs and demands of others, the family thrived because she knew how to fill her own tank, and she knew of to give herself rest and space to be who she was meant to be, and by taking care of herself she was able to accomplish so many more things for others than she would if she lost herself to motherhood. She would tell you that there is nothing more precious to her than her family, but she knows that a family thrives when the mother thrives. And by the grace of God, and through the compassion and encouragement of a loving husband she took care of herself too.
I really thought I’d be older and feel older and look older by now. I’m starting to think that 47 is a perfectly good time when you take care of yourself.
How do I take care of myself? I’ll share. I feel like women who have learned to manage stress and life need to speak up and share about it. I’ll go first. Maybe there’s one little thing that will spark an idea for a better way, so you can start feeling your best if you don’t yet. Share a life tip, healthy habit, or hack you love in the comments!
So here’s to my body, mind, soul and spirit:
Coconut oil and raw honey for everything – including skin care.
7 hours of sleep. Early to bed early to rise, unless I go to bed late and want to sleep in.
Apple Watch says I usually get 4-7 miles a day on these feet.
Less than 1400 calories a day this year- I seriously don’t need more. I went from 165 to 147 after Pastor Danny’s New Year’s sermon about counting calories and steps. Yeah, at church I learned to get an Apple Watch and My Fitness Pal. I gained 30 pounds I didn’t need after turning 40. When I stopped nursing my last baby, had some miscarriages, and kept visiting Cheese Cake Factory (and the family dinner table) with no understanding that just one typical meal was 2000 calories.
Skin care products from the Dead Sea, with no artificial ingredients.
A house full of love
15 pregnancies – blessing me with 10 healthy babies and six in heaven- all pregnancies provide regeneration to the well nourished mother’s body – through an infusion of stem cells that renew the moms body at a cellular level.
Jesus above all
I read good books
I read to my little girls
I garden and crochet
I keep my hands busy and my mind active
I never watch movies or shows alone
I never eat desserts alone, unless it’s chocolate
I light candles often, almost daily
I play peaceful music all the time in my house
Bible time and prayer with my husband every single night.
Date nights weekly, travel often (click here to read more great birthday tips from Sarah!)
I’m the creator of the Fun-Schooling books. We are Unschoolers most of the time, but I am always introducing my kids to all sorts of content and we do projects and adventures together a lot. We also enjoy casual Charlotte Mason style learning in seasons where we need more structure. So I have been setting up a buffet of learning through the environment I create for my children to grow up in.
I created these books so the children could create portfolios of research, art, thoughts and discoveries about their passions, while incorporating some academic skill building at the same time. In my books I always focus on the spark of curiosity, the quest for knowledge, the joy of discovery, the adventure of going deeper, and the delight of sharing and using the knowledge and skills we have embraced. I also focus on collaboration and the natural process of nurturing the child’s drive to learn by example.
Some of my books focus on specific academic skill building in areas of math, language arts and geography, for example. But I always reframe academics as an adventure in discovery or creativity. My math books are all therapeutic, (and fun), and are designed to give children joy and confidence with numbers, while healing some of the trauma. What trauma? All the trauma inflicted by the soul-destroying experiences in early childhood related to typical math problems that 90% of kids probably hate and dread. Most kids grow up thinking they are bad at math and writing. They feel ashamed, bored, and have this cloud of irrelevance surrounding all the monotony of standardized learning.
Typical learning focused almost completely on highlighting what the children missed, messed up, and failed in. They are always judged by the seven mistakes rather than the 1000 things they did well. Standardization in education creates a world of failing perfectionists who feel they will never be enough, never achieve their goals, never satisfy the people they love and respect. This is a sad cycle and our society pays the price, because “perfect” is an impossible illusion that we began striving for at such a young age. Women cry into their pillows every night all over the USA cause they can never be good enough… and it started with their first C- in first grade. They tried so hard and were so excited and curious about learning until they began to experience all the shame of small failures.
I failed 3rd grade, with a report card and little heart stained by Ds and Fs. At age 8 I felt doomed to failure and humiliation forever. I began to dream of a different world where kids like me could just play with animals, do school in the woods, build forts, bake cookies, make fairy villages, create museums, sell art, earn money, publish a newspaper and live in a giant cardboard box painted with daisies in the corner of the living room… and of course go to work with dad at the Space Center or help mom in her art studio. I dreamed a lot about a better way to learn and enjoy every moment of my childhood and my life. I decided I wanted to be a mom, and artist and run maybe a space camp where kids can pretty much go to space at the end of the experience.
The Thinking Tree books are a small part of my vision for creating an incredible life around my kids. But they help us dig deeper and document our learning journey while studying what we love, and a few things that we need. Thinking Tree Books also help a lot of people who live in restrictive states to build an impressive portfolio in an easy and joyful way to satisfy requirements. All our bundles are designed around the needs for grade level learning in charter schools in the state of California, so that even kids in that environment can Fun-School. I hope this gives you a little vision and understanding of what Fun-Schooling is and how it came to be. I wanted to give my 15 kids what I dreamed of when I was stuck in a desk doing third grade…again, imagining a different world. The good news is that I got to homeschool at age 13 and basically enjoyed a path of self directed learning based on my passions, projects and career goals! My parents let me do unit studies about ANYTHING I was interested in, and that was school!
Children with symptoms of ADHD often need less sugar, more time climbing trees, digging, running, and playing with Legos. They often need more B vitamins, more fish oil, more compassion, more dancing or jumping, more citrus, less screen time and less time in a seat or desk. These solutions usually help a lot!
It’s hard to parent a Hyper-Active child! I could have NEVER sent Anna to school–she got our family “kicked” out of two churches. But I trusted that she should be free to be who she was, and not try to force change.
Now that she is older she is funneling all that amazing acrobatic energy into bold, productive and amazing efforts. I am so glad I never tried to make her adapt or be someone I could manage better. She was very very very hard to handle as a 2 – 10 year old. Now that she is grown and I see who she is becoming I am so thankful for the wisdom that was shared with me by a few wise women, who encouraged me to trust my heart, and let Anna be Anna. If it weren’t for Anna there would be no Dyslexia Games or Thinking Tree – All my books and methods are the result of never giving up when faced with the challenges of raising and homeschooling a Hyper-Active Dyslexic.
One thing to pay attention to is what your child loves. Kids who seem to have attention disorders can often focus for long periods of time on the things that fascinate them or tap into their talents. Our Fun-Schooling Journals are a good match for your child’s talents and interests. The Journals are organized to keep kids from having to sit still for long periods of time. Children should move around with their Journals – taking them to different parts of the house and outside for nature study everyday.
School Teachers (and in our case Sunday School Teachers) can’t deal with the kind of energy and talent bottled up in these active children. They take up so much of the teachers efforts just to try to get them to sit still and be quiet. Hyper-Active kids can not be part of a group of 30 children their own age, managed by one poor woman. Kids labeled with ADHD are more than most teachers can handle because they can’t fit in. Medication is often the only way to keep the teacher sane – so either the teacher will go on anti-depressants or the children will be medicated to keep the class under control.
When Anna was 8 or 9 I watched this a Ted Talk by Sir Ken Robinson – I realized that Anna was an artist – and I needed to set her free to be who she was meant to be… so I did! Enjoy these videos for some inspiration…
We are celebrating 30 years since the day two young teens admitted they were falling in love and agreed it was a lifetime kinda love.
Josh and I were only 15 and 16. It was July 3, 1993.
Today we got out the old letters and read them to each other. Next we loaded ten kids into the van and went to the fire pit where it happened.
We showed the kids a handful of letters from our teen years, and read them some exerts. Josh told the kids the entire love story from his point of view.
After visiting the beautiful wooded campus, at Horizon Christian Fellowship where we began our journey as a couple, we took the kids to Skyline Chili. This was the first restaurant we went to together (though that happened in Cincinnati). Every kid got a hat.
We finished the adventure at Trader Joe’s where we let each kid choose a treat to share during the Fourth of July fireworks.
What a beautiful celebration of the goodness and faithfulness of God.
Below you’ll find some great video content from our main Mom’s Fun-Schooling Group on Facebook–be sure to join so you don’t miss any important announcements, sales, discounts and more! Click here to read about our very busy daughter, for whom Unschooling was the perfect fit!
This is the story of my call to dedicate each of my children to the quest of the kingdom of heaven.
A couple weeks ago I woke up before the sun with a gentle voice whispering to my spirit “Give me Leah, as Hannah gave Samuel to me to be a prophet…”
So I grabbed my journal and started writing down the calling that was revealed to my heart for each of my children. I’m a mom of 15 kids. After having ten beautiful babies, my husband and I were called to adopt five more. So we did.
It was really something special to wake up to the sound of the Spirit within me speaking to me a calling over every one of my children.
This experience happened the day after visiting the Asbury Revival and after watching the movie Jesus Revolution.
I believe that God is on the move in a powerful way, and He is raising up a generation of royalty. I believe we are going to see a revival like never before spread across oceans and nations, and it will bring life, healing, deliverance, reconciliation, empowering, and a longing for truth and purity to millions and billions of souls. This revival will break out all over the world and bring people of every language, tribe, nation, race, religion, culture and creed into the revelation of the truth, hope and way of the Messiah. Light is shining!
If you have it on your heart to dedicate your children to the fulfillment of their heavenly callings this might be an inspiration to you…
My dedications are inspired by the Prayers of Paul the Apostles in his letters to the churches, they are also inspired by the Psalms of David, and the visions of Daniel, John the Apostle and Ezekiel. I especially treasure the dedication of Samuel, by Hannah, and the prayers and declarations of Mary and Zacharias in the New Testament concerning their promised children.
“As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.” Psalm 127:4
Your mission field may not be a distant city, town or country.
Your calling may not be to far off nations.
You may not need to reach your destination by train or boat or plane. You may already be where you belong, or on the path that leads you to your place of influence. The unreached people group that you are called to serve may speak your language already!
I am a mother, with a mission mindset, raising up children for the Kingdom of Heaven… One by one, or two by two, I send them into their unique mission fields to fulfill the great commission.
But it’s not all about geography anymore…
I send my children as missionaries into the fields of science and medicine.
I send my children as missionaries into the fields of art and music.
I send my children as missionaries into the fields of politics, economics and business.
My children, I send you forth into the fields of education and social justice.
I send you into the harvest by way of theater, film, photography, dance, and cinematography.
I send you out as light into the darkness of prison, war, religion and natural disasters.
I send you now to take up your cross in families, foster care, adoption, elder care, and public service.
I send you, my children, into the marketplaces, the campgrounds, the Main Streets, the homesteads, the coffeehouses, the parks, the libraries, the offices, hospitals and schools.
I send you into your field, into your element, into your passion, with your skill set, whatever that may be. Go forth by the power of the Holy Spirit, by the Blood of the Lamb, by the Word of the Father, for his glory, honor and praise!
I send you out as light into the darkness, until the darkness is no more. I send you out into your field of influence until the glory of the Lord infuses every facet of society upon the Earth.
Josh and Sarah met at 13 & 14. Sarah fell in love instantly, Josh figured out that she was his destiny a few years later.
Sarah was an Unschooler and Josh was an over achiever in a public school, but spent all his spare time studying aviation and technology. He considers himself a weekend “unschooler”. Date nights for Josh and Sarah often included an airplane and a dinner in a neighboring state!
After high school Sarah moved to Hungary, Austria and Russia. Josh went to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University to study his passion.
They had a long distance relationship for most of the seven years before getting married at ages 20 & 21. They spent their first three months of marriage backpacking in Europe. Ten months after the wedding Isaac was born and the parenting experiment began.
Fourteen months later Anna joined the party, and started throwing monkey wrenches into every ordinary occasion. At age 8 her parents found out she had Dyslexia and that’s when Sarah created DyslexiaGames.com – Anna is a “Super Creator” Here’s Anna’s latest project, scroll down for her “Red Chair Interview: HisStoryTheMusical.com
Fourteen months later Estera graced the world with her presence, and has been lighting up the lives around her ever since. Here’s Esther’s instagram account. She’s 21 now, a photographer living in Hawaii: https://instagram.com/estherscanon
Eighteen months passed before the “Negotiator” came on the scene. At first it was assumed she would become a political figure or criminal defense attorney. Nope. Rachel is an artist and figure skater. Check out her art and adventures: https://instagram.com/rach.charity.brown
Almost two years passed before Naomi joined the Girl Gang. Her first word was probably “Horse” her first phrase was probably “I want a puppy”. She now runs a dog hotel, dog accessories shop, and has a few horses.
Another little sister filled the world with wonder, and made her genius status obvious to all by age three. A mastermind, world traveler and deep thinker who hides behind paint and canvas. She recently became the family’s chef. At age 16 she occasionally posts a thing or two on Instagram. Looks like she has a store on Instagram: https://instagram.com/autumns.brush
Lovely Laura arrived with the spring flowers and became a very naughty little instigator as soon as she could walk and talk. She was one of those kids who preferred animals over people until about age 12. She’s the expert on endangered species and tropical birds. Today she has more “best friends” than we can count, suddenly a “people person” with a big heart. She’s not on Instagram yet. Maybe she will be when she’s 16. But here are all her books on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=laura%20janisse%20brown…
Joe came next. A ten pound baby brother who wanted to be a YouTuber at age 3. So he started YouTubing as “The Littlest Blogger” in preschool. If you met Joe at age four he would have been wearing a suit, holding a calculator. He would tell you that he’s a scientist and Math-Man. He’s 13 now. He added many videos to my channel. Here’s one of his early videos about HOW to TEACH MATH to kids: https://youtu.be/xJBLH9aE6-8
Ember was her daddy’s idea. After Joe turned two Josh started wishing for another baby. Little Ember Rose was born in Italy in 2012. She is a lover of the great outdoors, a naturalist, always researching the plants and animals in her environment.
Leah was God’s idea. Surprise! The best gift that could ever be given. She came along two years later. It was during the last couple months of her pregnancy that Sarah decided it would be a good time to take a break from homeschooling. At age 39 Sarah just wanted to take time to treasure her youngest baby. She had a feeling Leah might be her last baby. So Sarah created a collection of Homeschooling Curriculum Journals that would provide six weeks to a full semester of homeschooling prompts, with minimal effort from mom. Fun-Schooling journals have been rolling out ever since. And Leah, now 8, is the family’s storyteller and comedian.
When Leah was six weeks old the whole family moved to Ukraine. It was while volunteering at a local orphanage that the family met a sibling group and felt a calling to adopt. A year and a half later five more kids joined the Brown Tribe, and Isaac, the oldest son, now 19, was married to Rita, his Ukrainian sweetheart.
The adopted children were ages 6 to 16. They didn’t speak English, but quickly learned. The oldest sister moved back to Ukraine the day she turned 18, after assuring us from day one of the adoption that returning to her village was her dream. The four younger children, Lilly, Alex, Abby and Christina bonded beautifully with their new siblings, and have been taking their time adjusting to the idea of having parents.
Eventually Chrissy learned to read English and discovered her passion for books, especially historical fiction and all things Amish, and Hobby #2, volley ball.
Abigail developed a love for crafting, pottery and jewelry making.
Alex picked up a guitar, a skateboard, and a camera and developed a passion for extreme sports.
Lilly is simply everyone’s best friend, engaging in anything and everything her big sisters are doing.
The family loves to free-range around the planet. The world is their classroom. It’s not uncommon for Brown teens to hop on a plane to go after adventure, a mission or a dream overseas- with or without parents or siblings.
The family now lives on 22 acres in Indiana and have turned the property into a homeschooling campus where each member of the family is free to craft a dream, start a business, tap a maple tree, sharpen a skill, plant a garden, raise a critter, spark a romance, toss a ball, or follow a butterfly.
I thought I just chime in and share why I love fun-schooling so much.
When my kids were little, I was trying to do a lot of Charlotte Mason learning, some Montessori schooling at home, classical learning and a lot of Unschooling. It was exhausting! Our whole life style revolved around me being a worn out teacher-mom.
I have so many children with such diverse needs and passions, I wanted to give each one their own path. I gathered tons of different curriculum from conventions and it was overwhelming to create all these custom plans for each child!
And so I had the idea to make the Fun-Schooling journals when my oldest child was 16. I created ONE do-it-yourself homeschooling journal that guides each unique child through the experience of studying their passion, their hobby or their career goals – while still focusing on all the required subjects!
The first DIY journal could be adapted to any child age 7-17. I created a different cover for each child and put the first Journal on Amazon with a bunch of different covers, and bought them from Amazon for my own kids. I was just using Amazon for print-on-demand book making for my own kids. But I had the books up for sale just in case other families wanted a copy.
So when I created the first DIY homeschool journal I was expecting my 10th child and I really just wanted to take a break for six weeks so I could focus on the new baby.
So I thought I’d make a six week curriculum where the kids use 10 pages a day, without much help from me. I would build myself into the book!
The idea is that they would get a stack of library books and a bunch of documentaries about anything they were interested in, and they were to use those resources along with the journal while getting in all those academics.
My idea was that they could do everything independently with one journal and I would just have to add a math curriculum.
It worked great! After the kids finish their first DIY journal they asked for themed journals. One wanted to study horses. One wanted to focus on travel and fashion. One wanted Minecraft theme. One wanted to focus on dogs. Another was really into nature. My son Joe was crazy about space. I said yes to my kids and we started collaborating on making Fun-Schooling journals together- based on each of my kids’ passions.
The whole idea was an amazing success. My kids started earning royalties and were doing their homeschooling independently!
One thing I really love about Fun-Schooling is that it frees me up to be mom, and it gave me time to enjoy my preschooler and baby.
So instead of spending my day struggling over their schoolwork and trying to make sure that everything is organized in a really boring way… I started focusing more on pursuing my passions and reading to my kids more.
I thought it would be great to be an example to my kids of the learning I want to see in them. Down the rabbit trail I go… I started making Mom-School journals that look a lot like their DIY Fun-Schooling journals!
Not only did the kids love Fun-Schooling – I do too.
When we first started Fun-Schooling, I had 10 kids. Before Fun-Schooling, our homeschooling days were really stressful and I always felt like I wasn’t doing enough, yet I was going non-stop.
Our home just became so much more peaceful, full of wonder, and just more harmonious with Fun-Schooling. Best of all – lots of other families started discovering Fun-Schooling too!
Within two years of making the first DIY journal we sold so many Fun-Schooling books that we were able to do things we never thought possible.
We were able to support ourselves as volunteers in Ukraine, and eventually we were able to adopt five more kids because we had the extra income and I didn’t feel like I was overwhelmed by the ten kids I already had.
As more of my kids became teenagers, we helped them to focus on pursuing their careers, instead of focusing on high school credits, and now five of our kids are adults and have started their own successful businesses and are able to be independent.
Fun-Schooling made such a huge difference in our every day life and empowered us to really become who we were meant to be!