Reboot, Refresh, Succeed!

Are you afraid of failing? Don’t be. There are some amazing examples of “beauty for ashes” throughout history–Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein!

You are going to enjoy life and homeschooling so much more if “fear of failure” isn’t such a big deal. It’s totally fine if you fail. It’s really not a big deal if you try something and it doesn’t work. It’s fine if you take a risk and the results are messy. It’s okay to do something that is less than perfect. It’s fine to not be that girl who seems to have it all together. Fear of failure is just going to hold you back from living life to the fullest.

Why do we think it’s a big deal to make mistakes? Because we went to school, and we were shamed by our poor grades and our misspelled words and our test scores. We were taught that the worst thing you can do is…. try and fail. I fail at stuff all the time, but I’m over it. I don’t like messing up, but I try and sometimes things do turn out wonderful.

If you want peace in your mothering- live your life from a place of grace and courage, with love! You don’t need to be driven by fear of failure because failure is totally okay. That’s how we learn! So be okay, don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s better to erase fear of failure from your motivations. Keep trying, pursuing, dreaming!

“If you hear a voice within you saying ‘you cannot paint’ then by all means paint,

and that voice will be silenced.” ~Vincent Van Gogh

When you are feeling stuck because you are afraid to fail, just tell yourself that it’s actually not that big of a deal. You are resilient. Your kids are resilient. Everyone will be fine, and you will be a better example to your children if you are motivated by things like love, curiosity, faith or creativity… even if you don’t like the result EVERY TIME.

Everyone fails…it’s important to show our kids an example of what it looks like to fail well. When something doesn’t work out, it becomes either a stumbling block or a stepping stone. Show them how to step up and forward with courage and grace!

Time for a refreshing reboot? Grab your favorite relaxing drink, one of our Art Logic Therapy journals, and find a cozy corner for a little while. It will do wonders for refocusing your perspective!

The “Why” of Mom-Schooling

Mom-School happens when you remember who you are through your passions, your interests and your needs. You fill a basket with learning tools for yourself, then in your free time you dig into your Mom-School Basket, read a book or watch a tutorial about something you want to learn… instead of watching TV, Netflix, or cruising Facebook.

Mom-School energizes me while the children curiously look into my basket, watch me learn, see me grow… and they discover that I am not just their mom, but a woman with dreams, goals, ideas, needs and desires.

They see me research and join me for an online class, they flip through my Mom-School Journal and see my careful efforts and beautiful handwriting. They see me as someone who is curious, they see me as a detective, an explorer, a creator, a follower, a leader and a friend.

Mom-School is waking up with ideas, and being full of wonder. It’s problem solving and crafting, it’s higher education or a new recipe.

Mom-School is remembering who you are in the midst of the busy season of mothering and holding on to your dreams so your children will be inspired to become who they were created to be, because they are basking in the example of you.

Mom-School is refreshing and calming, and it’s worth your time and mine. Mom-School is empowering to you as a woman and sets the stage for your children to follow your example because you make learning look so delightful.

Join our Mom-Schooling Facebook group here!

Sarah’s Mom Tips: “Important” vs. “Necessary”

This is a very handy tool for mothers.

Just TWO simple definitions:

The problem with being a homeschooling mom is that we feel so driven to accomplish the things that are defined as “Necessary” that we often push the “Important” things off our plates and procrastinate.

We MUST focus some of our time and energy on the things that are important, and therein you will find JOY!

If your life revolves around doing the things that you “HAVE TO GET DONE OR ELSE!” your life will be full of stress and anxiety and this feeling that you are doing SO MUCH but you don’t have time for what matters.

So often the “Necessary” things wear us out and keep stacking up. Tell me what is SO important about the IMPORTANT things and why is it NECESSARY to focus on the IMPORTANT THINGS TOO?

“Don’t sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate”–good words to consider when weighing this question. Ultimately, what is the lasting thing that I should invest in with my energy and focus?

One important thing? Self care. Your making self care a priority teaches them to do the same.

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.

Sarah’s Mom Tips: Learn This Poem!

Getting started with Fun-Schooling? Here’s one important tip:

For every element of FUN that you ADD you must take away something that is boring, or irrelevant or frustrating to you or your child. Just adding Fun-Schooling can feel like eating dessert too quickly after getting over-stuffed with a triple plate of Chinese food. You are going to love Fun-Schooling, it can bring so much peace, joy and delight to your days. 🙂

Don’t forget Mom-School, being an example is your most powerful tool as a homeschool mom.

Memorize this poem…

“For each new element of FUN

Something DULL must be undone!”

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:

Sarah’s Mom Tips — Setting the Example in a Paperless World

With our digital world we surround our children with adult activity that tends to be paperless.  They only see adults who use smart phones and gadgets for everything – so kids no longer see the example of parents reading a variety of publications, writing on a calendar, taking notes in a planner, or putting messages on a family bulletin board. What we ask them to do is no longer modeled in the home, so they have no example to follow.  This may not be the case at your house, but what I have found is that children who slop through their schoolwork need to see an example.

So that is why we developed the Mom-Schooling books  – so kids growing up in a digital world will see something real.

When my children were young, I didn’t use a small personal device.  I wanted my children to always be able to see what I am doing.  When I had a smart phone I could have been reading the Bible and my kids would assume I was playing Tetris!  I could be photo editing and they would assume I was just wasting time on stupid videos.  All they see is a mom on a smartphone ignoring them, in her own personal world.  I have gone back to reading real paperback books too, I want my kids to see me reading.  I have gone back to using a real camera, I want my kids to know I am enjoying my hobby and making memories, not just playing around with my phone.  My husband also stopped using a smart phone for the same reasons. We even chose to travel to 15 countries all over Europe last year with no smartphone, and no GPS so the kids would learn about maps and how to write things down- things like train schedules.   We put down the phone and picked up trail maps and bus schedules just to be an example to the kids of the real things that we are really doing in life. We even bought watches!

I loved all the fun and cool things that can be done with those little devices but all I was teaching my kids was how to be a mom focused on a device. 

I think we just need to be aware and be careful when we expect kids to use paper and books, but we don’t use those things too.  I know that many of you are rediscovering the joy of coloring, journaling and using real books.  If you do choose to use a device I would just encourage you to talk to your kids ALL the time about what you are doing.  If you are on Facebook, tell them I’m talking to Aunt Linda, or I am sharing a picture of you with my friends, and I just found out that Leslie is going to have a new baby, or ask them to pray for Rosie, because her grandma died.   If you are editing photos, videos, writing a blog, or publishing books – include your children in these wonderful creative activities, and snuggle them close so they can see the tiny pictures on your smart phone too. If you need to be on a device, include them.

Your kids have electronics out of balance? Read here: Sarah’s Mom TIps: Digital Devices

Homeschooling Moms CAN and MUST Make Time for Self-Care

I’m a “HAPPY” mom of 15 kids. Five are dyslexic and some are hyper-active. Five of my kids are adopted internationally.

I’m busy. I homeschool. I keep this house running. I’m also a work-at-home mom. I’m currently homeschooling ten.

Since I am constantly giving, leading, and orchestrating around here, I need to be renewed and refreshed!

I make time for what matters! Self care matters! This is why I have a lot of time dedicated to Mom-School, because I can’t pour from an empty cup!

I hear so many of you drowning and struggling with feeling empty and overwhelmed.

It’s often because you don’t take care of your own needs for quiet time with God and personal learning and hobbies. You are running on empty.

Mom-School is one of the most important elements of successful Homeschooling!

It’s the example of BEING a passionate “learner” that SHOWS my kids what it means pursue “self motivated education” in a positive way.

You can say you don’t have time. Truth is, you have priorities. You don’t MAKE time because Mom-Guilt keeps you focused on giving giving giving… without taking care of your own needs. And then complaining that you are unsatisfied with yourself and with your husband… for not doing enough to help you and support you. And you think your kids are failing because you don’t do enough for them. But really, you don’t do enough for you. You are neglecting your own simple needs for nourishment of body, mind and spirit.

Why?

Because homeschooling moms with large families think life is nothing but sacrifice and suffering in silence and the kids look at your frazzled life and style and don’t want it. How do I know this?

Because I lived it. Why? Because none of my peers showed me another way. All my mom-friends were burnt out too, trying to be noble. This is especially true of Christian homeschooling moms.

And I watched a slow burning of all joy and passion darken their lives.

So often homeschooling support groups on Facebook are on fire with the cry of burnt-out moms who are trying so hard to give it all and do it all… for love.

One day, when I was a mom of eight kids under ten years old I realized I AM NOT too busy to enjoy my life and marriage, I just didn’t know how to manage my 16 waking hours well. Isn’t it enough to spend 2 hours cooking and cleaning, and four hours focused on homeschooling? And of course I was wearing a couple of babies!!! But where did the time go? Sixteen hours is a lot!!!! And that still leaves 8 for sleep!!!

What was I doing with my 16 hours??? Being wasteful.

What if I had 14 hours to pour it all out for my kids… and just TWO to spend on myself???? Can I give myself two hours of my day? Yes. Can I give my husband ONE? Yes, that leaves 13 for homemaking! What if I give a half hour of my day to God? That’s more than I was when I didn’t realize I had 16 hours to manage!

So now… 30 minutes for God. One whole hour (at least) for my husband. TWO hours for me! A half hour here and there!!! This is NOT being unrealistic. It’s being intentional!

Yeah… and 5 hours for social media!!!! Just kidding!

I also work a few days a week, and when my kids were little I had to get help to have time in the home-office, because we didn’t have a TV.

Even though I have a house full of high maintenance kids I still spend a lot of time enjoying my passions, studying my interests. My kids are very curious by my example of learning! Seeing me doing Mom-School inspires them in their learning.

I do my own thing, and sometimes they jump in. Always they observe.

I do my hobbies right in the middle of everything, surrounded by my children. They get involved, watch or do their own stuff. My little kids play a lot, and all my kids play with each other. Since they are all a year or two apart they are really good at entertaining each other.

How did I ever get a break when my kids were young?

It was hardest when I had 3 under 3!!!! My husband would give me four hours each Friday for myself. There were times I would also trade childcare with my sister or another mom. During one season in life when I had six little ones, my dear friend, in her 50’s, who missed babies and had no grands, would come play with my kids. Sometimes teens would help me. When my 4th was born, a college girl came over to help a few afternoons each week.

I didn’t always have extra help, so I focused on hobbies and interests I could do in the middle of it all.

If a mom of 15, who also runs a publishing company can make time for self care and Mom-School, anyone can! And yes, even with toddlers and babies. There is a way!

Share your tips for self care in the comments!

Mom School – Show Them How to Dream!

Mom-School is one of the most important elements of successful Fun-Schooling! It’s the example of BEING a passionate “learner” that SHOWS my kids what it means pursue “self motivated education” in a positive way.

I spend a lot more time enjoying my passions, studying my interests, and doing projects than I do trying to compel my kids to do their school work.

I do my own thing, sometimes they jump in, always they observe.

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, but everything to do with being an example to them. They 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 also 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, sails, fixes computers and plays Pac-Man… We do a lot of things that we love, and we have fun. We climb mountains together, and go camping!

The children can join us, copy us, learn from us, or ignore us… and when they are grown we will still have each other and our hobbies and interests! I call the pursuit of my own learning “Mom-School”, and in the middle of homeschooling my children is life, my life, my marriage, my adventures! You can’t see where learning stops and life begins, they always blend!

​There are a lot of things I don’t do to make time for what I love, and what I love the most… family. I am not willing to spend all my precious days fussing over math books and spelling words, when we can spend our days in awe of all the magic, wonder, mystery and truth and makes life amazing.

Since I am preparing my kids for the careers and calling that they dream of I have very little work to do to motivate them to work hard and get serious in their fields. It was much harder when I was giving into pressure to teach things they resisted.

I create an environment and give them the tools. I really feel like true education happens when parents and kids collaborate to do real things. But, since I have so many more children than most people, it is a lot easier for me to live out many of my own dreams, than it might be for parents with just a few kids, because the kids create a big amazing team to run this house and to do important projects and go on adventures..

​SHOW THEM what it looks like to live a dream. Then, with very little effort on my part they dream their dreams, they build businesses, they live their calling they become producers, artists and they bring their dreams to life!