Start With the End Goal

Think about this… what is the END goal for having kids strong in Math and Language Arts? These skills are not an end in themselves, but tools to be successful in other things. With Fun-Schooling you often start with the end goal, you don’t just teach Language Arts and Math, you USE it doing meaningful projects.

What do you want your children to be able to do with Language Arts NOW?

What do you want them to be able to do with Math NOW?

What are they capable of TODAY?

We are not talking about filling out endless worksheets. Those worksheets do not relate to real life (and kids KNOW it). They only prepare kids for successful test taking, so they can move onto the next level of education.

Kids learn when they USE their skills in a meaningful way.

We only remember what we love, what we need and what we use in a meaningful way. All real learning is driven by curiosity and need.

What do you want your children to be able to DO with their language skills when they are finished with ALL formal education? Imagine all the things that can be done when someone is awesome with written and spoken language!

Consider my 18 year old daughter, Anna, she published a dozen bestsellers and wrote His Story: The Musical, which premiers next month! She has never used tests or traditional workbooks, and has been declared by some of the world’s great musicians (Dove Award Winners) to be on track to be among them. She is a Fun-Schooler all the way.

I have another daughter, who as a teen booked 2 or 3 photo-shoots almost every day back in 2019, where she usually earned $300+ on each one. She was more of an unschooler, she had to turn down jobs.

My oldest son was able to move into his own home, build his business, work part time in missions,and get married and support his household by age 19, and he manages his own taxes and business investments.He didn’t ONLY learn to do the fun stuff.

Fun-Schoolers don’t wait to start life and work after their education is over. They live life to the fullest and are PRODUCTIVE in the NOW.

What do you want them to DO with their calculating skills once they are finished with all formal education? We often think that our productive life starts after education, but most kids really want to start doing REAL stuff NOW. It’s why we focus on determining a major.

Start with the END GOAL, and begin with the ending.

Like Arrows…

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.

The harvest is great. The laborers are few. Pray therefore that the Lord of the Harvest sends our laborers into the fields!

Why We Love Fun-Schooling

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!

It wasn’t just the kids pursuing their passions.

I also was able to pursue mine, and somehow I found time in the past 8 years to create, collaborate and publish over 400 books!

From Anna: “Start Your 10,000-hour Journey”

From Anna’s Instagram:

When I was seven my mom said I could major in the arts. Why wait for college? My mom believes in the 10,000 hour rule. If you want to become “World Class” truly legendary and super skilled at anything you need to immerse in your passion for 10,000 hours.

All the Brown kids pick a passion, calling, career or even a hobby to “major” in at a really young age. Then each kid gets a stack of books, access to tutorials, internships, volunteer opportunities, shadowing or personal trainers, online classes, tools, supplies, whatever.

At around age thirteen our parents invest a serious $1000 – $5000 into our first venture. For Naomi is was a horse and eventually a farm. For Alex it was a professional flight simulator. For Joe is was all things Jazz piano and music production. For Esther it was high quality equipment and a move to Kauai with the whole family. Her dream was to be a photographer in Hawaii.

You may think this is over-the-top when it comes to investing in teen entrepreneurs. My parents actually do this so they can save money on college. They would rather pay $3000 to launch a teen’s career than spend $80,000 or more to help them get a degree. The other option college debt! The goal is for each child in the family to be financially independent before they are 20, with no debt.

So, what does this have to do with my $10 sale? Besides wanting to be a playwright I wanted to create curriculum for teens who are following the Fun-Schooling path and majoring in their passions now!

So spend the $10 and start your 10,000-hour journey! Go here to see all of the books (discount good for at least 7 more days!): https://bit.ly/3JPXytn or use this QR code:

A Mother’s Calling

I’m at a cafe today

Flipping through the pages

Of a journal I filled

When Anna was seven

I read the prayers

Of a discouraged mother

Who had hope

That someday

This little girl would read and write

But most of all,

I poured out my heart

That I could be devoted

to preparing Anna

To serve and follow God

In the calling He had for her

Not my plan

But His.

March 2, 2008 (Anna age seven)

Oh Lord I come to you and pray that Anna’s heart would be so fervent for you. Open her eyes to see you, give her ears to hear. Let her be hungry for your word and thirsty for more of your presence.

Help me to be full of wisdom to show her your path. Help me to teach her what YOU want her to know.

Help her to read very well soon.

I will trust you to show me how to help her. Give her a strong desire to learn. Let her mind be strong to grasp the things that will help her to be fluent in her reading. Let her develop a great love for reading even now.

Help me to devote myself to prepare her to serve and follow you in the calling that you have for her.

In Jesus name, Amen.

————-

As I read my prayer from 15 years ago I remember feeling God impressing upon me to NOT raise her to reflect the teaching of the current culture or the standardized path that so many were pressuring me to take. I saw an anointing upon her, and I felt so strongly not to try to conform to the ways of the world in raising her, to block out the well-meaning voices of concerned relatives and friends because this child was chosen to do things in this world that a person with a standardized education could never have the time or creativity to do. “Let her be an artist,” God spoke to my heart. “Let her major in the Arts now”, my heart demanded.

If there were two things I knew about my call to raise Anna, they were: Empower her in creativity and plant the most beautiful seeds of Art and God’s word into the garden of her heart. It was obvious that she was an artist and a storyteller and she assured me that she didn’t need to learn to read to become an artist. I assured her that God would not have put the Bible in written form if He wasn’t going to give her the power to read it.

The Arts, Travel, History of Fashion, and the Bible became her entire curriculum throughout her homeschooling years from age 6 to 15. At 15 she wanted to add singing and songwriting to the plan and I hired Christine Dente to be her coach. At age 17 she completed the writing of an audio musical about the life of Jesus. It was her senior project, bringing forth all of her learning from her childhood. That year I didn’t require any other schoolwork — “Just write your musical” — and she did!

Learn what has become of her talents, her hunger for God’s word, her thirst for His presence and her devotion to serve Jesus and follow His calling to reveal His heart to this world… see how He answered the prayers of a discouraged mother who sought God’s will and not the world’s for one little girl. Anna’s faith is beautiful, free, passionate, and alive. She is a bright light in the darkness and brings me so much joy.

HisStoryTheMusical.com

Anna today.

Become a Facilitator!

Taken from a 2018 Facebook post…almost exactly 4 years ago…still so much here to encourage parents!

I have found that with Fun-Schooling, or Delight Directed Learning, and intentional unschooling, many children rise to a much higher level of focused learning and accomplishment… sooner than kids in school, and seem to be ready to start their careers at much younger ages. I notice that by about age 14, once they get through the “brain dead stage” the young adult is ready to start trying out their careers in the real world from the safety and support of home. It’s no longer about LEARNING, but DOING!

Let me explain:

When my oldest son was 16 he scared me. He said, “Mom I want to study music, film and create documentaries, be a sound engineer, do voice acting and a little bit of publishing. I don’t want to do any math that is not related to my goals…”

He was sort of asking permission, and sort of letting me know he was ready to take charge of his life, mind, learning and goals.

So, I did all I could to equip him to reach HIS goals and I let go of mine. He spent two years (at home) focused on the things he needed to become great in HIS field, not some random set of educational goals drawn out in 1955 (or whatever) by people who wanted more obedient citizens and good employees in the workforce.

Once a young man or woman has their heart and mind set on what he or she wants to become, get everything out of the way that could be a distraction. Empower him or her with every tool they need to become the best at what they want to do. If what they want to do requires college, they will be motivated to study for that track and build a portfolio. If they want to start a business or trade, they can just do it.

What if he had the option of dropping everything else and focusing entirely on being an expert in Social Media Marketing and Travel Vlogging? Just think of all the debt he can avoid if he builds a business now, rather than paying for a degree.

I set my son free and told him that if he decided later that he needed college he would be entirely responsible for all the entrance requirements, and I washed my hands of it. He is no longer one bit my responsibility. I put his education into his hands at 16. He was able to start doing everything he wanted to do with his life. And he did it well. He did it without distraction. He did it without me forcing him to take calculus and biology. He had two full years of living at home and starting his career before needing to have an income to support himself… and future family.

He’s enjoyed his life on his own, and now with his wife, and is just fine at generating income, he has no debt. He is a traveler and volunteer, does music, film making, and makes stupid Jazz Memes. He and his wife are happy, and when they needed more income they did what they needed to do, and fell back on the skills that make money.

Parented, directed education ends when the child knows that they want to become and is willing to start doing it. At that point we become facilitators.

I have older children now that are no longer “schooling” and have already embraced their own futures and are living them out. They are not just preparing to “someday” become something. They have all started their careers and are actively working at becoming great, while still at home. I know that my teens need time to perfect their skills, and now they may be only earning a few hundred dollars a week at their trades, but it is something, and they can learn to reinvest it. At this time they don’t need to put that money into rent and food, so a little becomes a lot. Imagine having $300 a week, no expenses and no debt! How would you use or invest that money? Mine put it back into their trades and invested in their own businesses. At times some of my kids have made hundreds of dollars per day. They are not bogged down by education, they are DOING their dreams now, and doing it from home.

I respond to their needs so that nothing will hold them back. My daughter seemed to have one or two big clients coming to the island every week to do photography with her because she was so good. She made her work affordable and was attracting many new clients, and she’s nice and showed up on time, even without a car.

My other two spent time in many different parts of the world doing music professionally, and were overseeing a recording project that about 30 – 40 music artists were working on. It was so good that some very well known musicians got involved and contributed to the work. My daughter Rachel taught harmony parts to people who have graduated from theater and music school. My kids are confident and don’t feel limited.

I really believe that when a child is ready to become who they want to be, they are willing to pour their hearts, minds, energy and effort into that passion. I am becoming more and more fearless as I trust the way my children were designed, as all children, to thrive. Every one of them works hard to learn everything they need to do their meaningful work very very well, and I am not going to fight it, I’m going to encourage it, and get all the nonsense out of the way.

If any one my kids decided that they do want to go to college and need high school credits, I’ll work with them to get it done, I’ll buy the books and sign them up for online courses, send them to a tutor… but the motivation, responsibility, results, and work is THEIRS.

His Story: The Musical

Most people didn’t believe me when I told them my teenage daughter wrote, composed, and professionally produced a full-length musical. Now I tell them that as a young adult, she’s seen her music workshopped and produced in New York City by a Broadway Production Team.

This child was profoundly dyslexic as a little girl- we thought she might never be able to read

Overcoming Dyslexia and Pursuing Her Passions

How does a child with severe Dyslexia go on to write a musical? I need to rewind a bit and tell you about the life of Anna Miriam Brown. She is my second of 15 children. Even before I had children I knew would homeschool. Anna’s older brother started reading with ease at age three. I figured she would follow suit and teaching her to read would be quick and easy. Learning to read was anything but easy for her.

We tried reading program after reading program. Nothing stuck. One day in frustration Anna said she was never going to learn to read and she didn’t need to anyway. She wanted to be an artist and a mommy so she wouldn’t need to read much. We came to realize she had Dyslexia and would not learn in the same way as my oldest. I started to come up with a way to help her learn to read. I created art games for her that incorporated letters and basic reading. You can read more of the story in the article about Dyslexia Games. 

These games worked and my eight-year-old was able to read. My husband and I like to say that Anna was born dancing. She’s always loved music and watching musicals. Her primary focus in school has been music and she began composing songs at a young age. This passion for music has grown as Anna has become a young woman. (click here to read the story of His Story!)

Teen Boys: What’s a Homeschool Mom to Do?

(In this post, we’ll go back in time to a Facebook post from 2015 and look at the model we followed (and still do) for homeschooling our teens. Sometimes it helps to see what it “looks like”!)

People often ask me what I do with my teens for school.  Here is a question that must be answered to start going in the right direction:

If you knew what your child was going to be when he (or she) grows up what kind of education would you provide?

Public educators expect kids to choose a “minor and major” when they go to college.  I expect my kids to study specific “minors and a major” starting in elementary school, and getting very serious at age 13.  For their 13th birthday we have a themed party based on their “career dreams” at the time.  Isaac wanted to be a chef at age 13, Anna wanted to be a baker, Estera wanted to be a photographer.  So you can imagine their parties!

Isaac, age 14

This is what my 16 year old son is studying this year–everything is relevant to his life and goals:

#1 Creative Online Marketing

#2 Publishing

#3 Personal Money Management

#4 Project Management (He is building a Minecraft server for homeschoolers with a history and inventions theme. He has a couple nerds working for him.)

#5 Music & Video Production (click here to see a documentary video he created!)

#6 Cats – He wants to breed and sell show cats, and make coloring books, an online community and a website for cat lovers.

#7 Bible, Missions, Evangelism and Teaching Students

#8 History (This is his passion, he loves Uncle Eric Books)

#9 Family, Relationships – Preparation for being a dad and husband.  He jokes about how taking care of his cats is prep for parenting, and he does want to get married and have a family of his own, and he knows that he will need to provide for that family.

#10 Cooking – in the past he wanted to be a chef, so we spent a couple years to help him train, he had two jobs as a personal chef at age 14 and 15.  Now he isn’t as interested, but could easily get a job as a chef at any point, and has great references. We invested a lot of time and resources in his previous passion for cooking – now he doesn’t want to be a cook.  Was that a waste of investment?  NO!  His family will be thankful, and he has something to fall back on… and he’s only 16.  The boy has skills. 

#11 Voice Acting.. Why not? Someone has to do it!

As you can see he has no time for a typical learning plan. We don’t do any formal math just practical math.  I am not worried about higher education, credits, testing, college.  He isn’t going to need a diploma to get a job.  He will be an entrepreneur; he will be the one hiring.  I have talked to him about higher education and the things he would need to do to take that path in the future. He knows that if he wants to go to college later he can prepare for the testing on his own and do it. He has plenty of time for hobbies and is very good at sports.

I started allowing my children to choose majors and minor when Anna (my 1st dyslexic child) was seven. She couldn’t read and write, so art, gardening and cooking were everything for two years until I invented Dyslexia Games

When people ask me about homeschooling and what the kids are doing I might talk might sound like I am talking about a college student, not a 7 year old.

I am not at all worried about higher education, I start giving them a higher education at age 13.

What would each of your children like to major in this year if they had the choice?

If your child wants to be an artist and mommy – take her seriously! Help her to become the best artist and mommy ever! That’s what I wanted to be my whole life… and that is what I have become.

Today, our son is 23, married, finishing Bible College this May, and is a composer. He’s running a recording studio as well. He has been supporting himself for five years.

Our son Isaac and his beautiful wife, Margarita

Transitioning Toward Adult Life

Here are some books that are very important for my 12 to 15 year-olds.  At this age, we are transitioning them from mainly studying what they love, to requiring some things that we believe they really need to master, to do well in adult life.

They will study their preferred majors and minors most of the time, but at least once a week, they need to spend a couple hours with some of these books.

At ages 12 to 15 I want my children to study leadership, economics and grammar while I expose them to many options for a future calling or career.  If they already have chosen an occupation, we get specific. For example, you can’t just major in horses. You need to choose one or two horse-related career options to train in.  You can’t just focus on general photography. You need a specific market. You can’t just major in the Arts. You need to focus your skill building in one main area, maybe two…like producing a musical. You can’t just keep playing around with lots of different artistic mediums, you need to master the one you love the most.

By age 14, they need to make a serious choice about what calling or career they want to pursue so we can focus on training, gaining experience, skills, providing equipment, volunteering or internships in the area they choose.

From age 14 to 18 we will help them turn their dream into an income source, or help them get involved with others who are living out the calling they want to pursue. They will gain 4 years of practical experience in the field. I will also ONLY require them to learn the math specialized to their future occupation.  If they change careers, they will have something to fall back on. And, they might just have a source of passive income to help them take the next step.

“Ready to Pop!”

(This series of blog posts is excerpted from Sarah’s book, Windows to Our World: Sarah’s Journal – Growing Up, Crossing Oceans, Finding Love & Giving Life to 10 Children)

“You look about ready to pop! When are you due?” a stranger asked me one day in the checkout aisle of the supermarket near our home in Fortville.

“Oh, last Saturday,” I said, smiling.

Her eyes got big, her mouth dropped open, and she didn’t know quite what to say. I could tell she was afraid that my water would break any second and the baby would drop out, right in front of her.

“Don’t worry,” I replied. “My last three were over a week late.”

“Uhhh, how many more do you have?” she asked, her eyes still big.

“This will be number six.”

“So . . . and then are you done?” she asked.

I smiled. “On no, we are just getting started!” I joked.

She laughed, but a concerned look remained on her face.

“How many do you want?” she asked, as if I were collecting snakes. It’s funny the things complete strangers want to know right there in the grocery store.

“We’d like to have as many as we can get,” I replied, as if I were collecting treasures.

“Goodness! I have two, and they drive me crazy!” she said. “Two is enough for me!”

“The first two were a challenge for me, too,” I agreed. “With the first couple, you are getting all your practice. You are learning to be a parent, and every phase is new. But just like anything else, the more experience you have the easier it gets. I think it’s sad that so many people stop at one or two. I’ve been able to enjoy my last three so much. I have all the joy of parenting, and not as much of the stress. And now that my oldest children are big, I’ve got some wonderful helpers. I think that many people imagine that having six kids is like having six two-year-olds all at once.”

“You look too young to have so many,” she said.

“Well they keep me in shape. I don’t have time to sit around eating Twinkies and watching soaps,” I said.

“So how old are they?” she asked.

“My oldest, Isaac, is seven. Anna is six. Estera is five. Rachel is three, and Naomi is one and a half,” I told her, as if rehearsing a poem.

“I bet you are hoping for a boy this time!” she said, keeping a tally of girls versus boys.

“Isaac would love to have a little brother, but I don’t mind having a house full of little girls! So I’ll be happy no matter what I get.”

“Just wait until they are teenagers!” she said.

“I’m really looking forward to that!” I told her. And once again, her eyes got big, her mouth dropped open, and she didn’t know quite what to say.

“I had wonderful teenage years!” I continued. “I think my kids will too. Those were the most fun years of my childhood— camping with my family, learning to sew, starting a business, making Thanksgiving dinner, falling in love with my husband . . .”

“Teens are so troubled and sassy these days!” she said. “I guess there’s not much you can do about that.” (click here to continue reading)