The Friday Bucket

How we use our Friday Bucket:

1.When the kids finish an activity I call 2 or 3 to each take two activities from the Friday Bucket.

2.They each decide on their favorite of the two.

3. Next they get to see what the other kids choose.

4. They have the choice to use their card, or join the other child in the activity they choose.

5. Anything that is not used goes back into the bucket, the used ones go into the other bucket.

What kinds of activities will you put in your bucket? How about trying it this week? Let us know what fun things your kids enjoyed!

Meet the Brown Family!

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.

Here is Isaac’s YouTube channel:

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 – Anna is a “Super Creator” Here’s Anna’s latest project, scroll down for her “Red Chair Interview:

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:

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:

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.

Welcome to Seeking Hound Dog Shop:

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:

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:…

Laura loves acting and plays Alexander Hamilton in this skit:

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:

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.

Let’s Play “What Will Happen Next?”

How to play:
1. Set up an interesting activity and take the first creative step.
2. Leave everything out. Take a photo of the set up.
3. Don’t tell the kids what to do. Just tell them what not to do…. ” No school until after lunch today. No computer time.”
4. Go have a smoothie or cup of tea. Do Mom School.
5. Come back in an hour and take a picture of the results.
6. Post both pictures in our Fun-Schooling with Thinking Tree Books – Mom’s Homeschooling Support Group under the blog post in the group!
The photo above is my “before”. Here is “after”. It took five minutes for 2 of the girls to notice the table. Even an hour later, Susie was still at it!

12 Tips for Raising Great Teens in a Dysfunctional World

People used to tell me “Just wait until they are all teenagers, you won’t be smiling no more!!!”  I’m still Smiling! I have currently (article dated November 2020) have nine kids ages 13 and up! Each one has been a JOY to me. We just don’t have much of the typical rebellion and drama. It’s mostly fun! Why???

#1 Perspective
We took them to live in countries where they saw a lot of poverty, conflict, loss, orphans and need. They have seen the world and they know how blessed they are. They grew up serving others.

#2 Purpose
They grew up Industrious. They homeschool with a focus on their career goals.
The focus of teen years is VERY meaningful.
During teen years we invest in their first business. They are producing something of value, they have purpose, they have income, losses, prosperity, taxes, and make mistakes. They are welcome to make mistakes.

#3 Family Meals
We have meals together. We have wonderful conversations. Every meal we ask a “Family Question” like the questions I always ask on Facebook. Every child gets to have a turn answering. Each child has a voice, an opinion, an answer. They are heard.

#4 Responsibility
They are all responsible for major roles around the house.
They are serious contributors to the home running smoothly. If they don’t contribute no one steps in and the results have a negative impact. (For Example – if a teenager is supposed to make breakfast, and they don’t, there is no breakfast. Every child attacks the kitchen and makes their own, along with the mess of 15 people fending for themselves. That teen has to clean up a huge mess and it’s their fault.)

#5 Independence and Freedom
I don’t usually tell them when to wake up r when to go to bed as teens. I do expect EVERYONE to be at breakfast at 9am.
I don’t tell them what to wear. I say “yes” whenever possible. Most of them are up before me reading their bibles, chatting, having coffee and getting started on cooking or projects or pet care.

#6 Sibling Bond
They have each other for best friends. I’m glad I had kids close in age. They don’t need to seek close friendships with children with different morals as young children.
My girls act exactly like the sisters in Little Women, and we all just have a blessed and meaningful life.

#7 Parent Control of Technology
They don’t have phones until their business needs it and can fund it. WiFi goes off in the house at 8pm and comes on at 8am. We have filters on our internet and devices to protect their innocence. We do care about what music and media they engage in. We do have rules about that.

#9 Mutual Respect
My teens probably see themselves as adults, because I respect them to live as an equal in the home, they all do more housework than me.
Sometimes ministry leaders complain about my children for acting like little adults, and for being “disrespectful” or doing things their own way in Sunday School. My kids are usually bored by typical Sunday School classes, and end up sitting with us in the adult service. My kids question authority, because at home they are allowed to speak their minds. Some people think my kids are rude. Sorry.

#10 Solid Foundation
Our biological kids have grown up in a stable loving family. They don’t have trauma issues.
It was only in the case of one adopted teen was there much trouble. I have two other adopted teenagers who are doing awesome, and are just like the biological kids in their behavior.
We had a lot of trouble when we adopted a 16 year-old, who had deep trauma.
It took 2 and a half years of unconditional love, and a surprise pregnancy, for her to decide to be one of the “Brown Girls” but now she is living at home and is learning to be one of us. She’s doing well.

#11 Don’t focus on mistakes.
The struggles are small in my home with the kids, most problems are handled and resolved in a day, usually in minutes.
Many parents make a big deal out of the small stuff. We are actually okay with kids making mistakes.
Even with schoolwork, mistakes are not the focus of learning. Learning is a joy. Most homeschooling parents and teachers focus on what a child is doing WRONG and that makes kids miserable when it comes to learning. We focus on making sure the kids learn skills, and look for progress not perfection.

#12 They Love God
I asked my girls this morning why they don’t do all the stupid rebellious stuff most teens do. My daughter Esther quickly replied, “We actually LOVE GOD. And you raised us right. And we are never bored.”
They love God. My husband teaches the Bible to the children almost every morning. Good seeds are planted. I am a pretty good example to my girls about what a woman of faith should be, but I’m not perfect.