When You Don’t Fit In

Just wondering? Do you ever feel like you don’t fit in with other homeschooling families? Why?

For years I felt like I had to put my girls in long skirts to be accepted at our homeschool food co-op. I felt bad that we were just faking the Amish look, but I wanted to show respect to the other families… turns out a bunch of them were dressing their kids in long dresses cause I was…

No more! Let’s just be who were are. It took a while to embrace the idea that homeschooling doesn’t have a dress code… unless PJs count.

I also thought that to be in the homeschool cool-club I had to grind my own grain, milk my own goat, grow my own watermelon and sew my kids clothing. I also noticed that most of my homeschooling friends had four kids… I only had three… then I had seven, now fifteen! It doesn’t matter what your family size is! It’s all good!

As a family we did some of these things just for the joy of it, and for health reasons, but we don’t all have to grind wheat to be friends. Here is the truth… a lot of homeschoolers eat Lucky Charms and go to Wendy’s.

I thought that “good homeschool moms” teach their kids to read at age 4. That worked with Isaac. But most of my kids are reading around age 9. Isaac never learned multiplication facts! Here is the truth, a lot of homeschoolers have kids that struggle with math or reading.

It was a hard lesson to learn that we don’t have to dress, eat, sew, skin rabbits, and have a zoo pass to be good homeschooling moms. Here’s the truth, a lot of homeschoolers shop at Walmart, and don’t always eat organic. Some do, cool.

Here’s another one: Good homeschool moms have clean houses and wake up before the sun. I make my appearance at 9:30am on most days, and my house looks like a work in progress.

Another tough one to swallow was the idea that unschoolers can’t be Christians. What the heck? I was a closet unschooler!

Do you need to “hang up” any of your hang ups? Hang ’em in the comments, and support each other!

Welcome to Fun-Schooling where it’s okay to try, fail, make a mess, focus on self-care, dump the mom guilt, let kids make mistakes, overlook our flaws, be content to not be perfect, give grace, drink a lot of coffee, hide the chocolate, hack homeschooling, and drop your kid’s phone off a bridge. Whatever, since we will never measure up to the imaginary standards can we just have a good time trying???? We ARE enough!

You can read more of my journey to joy and freedom in my book – Windows to Our World. Click the image below to grab it!

Sarah’s Mom Tips: Two Questions to Jump Start Your Fun-Schooling

Do you have kids who don’t want anything to do with “FUN-school”?

MOM TIP: Some kids blank out, show resistance and roll their eyes when you say “What do you want to learn about?”

I have found that you will get a lot farther with a difficult child when you ask these 2 questions instead:

1. What do you want to DO?

2. What do you want to KNOW?

Learning is just the journey to reach the end goals of “knowing and doing.” Kids WANT to DO and KNOW.

To learn is HOW we find out the way to DO & to KNOW.

The idea of learning makes kids miserable because so much of traditional learning is irrelevant to their goals of DOING and KNOWING.

Every child wants to KNOW STUFF.

Every Child wants to DO STUFF.

Even my five new kids who spent 4 years in an orphanage want to KNOW and DO… but ask them what they want to “Learn for School” and they meltdown or shutdown or reject the whole idea of learning. They were so excited to talk about what they want to KNOW and DO.

Once I knew what they were interested in actually accomplishing, I started giving them tools to reach their goals, and they don’t even think it is “education” because this looks nothing like the “school” they had in mind.

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.

Sara’s Mom Tips: Top 12 Beauty Tips for Busy Moms!

Busy mom, are you so busy taking care of your family that you have forgotten to take care of yourself? Did you wake up feeling beautiful, energetic and peaceful this morning? No? Did you know that tomorrow can be different? Here are some of my favorite beauty tips to help you thrive again. 

1. There are two things you can start doing this moment that will help you look and feel more beautiful.

  • Smile 
  • Improve your posture.

2. There are two things that you can do that will make all the other beauty efforts fade:

  • Put a frown on your beautiful face.
  • Slouch.  

3. I use organic coconut oil for everything.  Cover yourself in it from head to toe after a hot shower at night then sleep. This oil will renew your skin and does not make you greasy or clog pores, it also heals skin problems.

4. Change a few eating habits.  Eat more whole grains, fresh fruits, and natural meats and veggies instead of processed and packaged foods. Read labels. If you can not understand the list of ingredients, don’t buy the food–it might be packed with chemicals.  It is best to put good food into your body, as your body is constructed from the food you eat.  If you want to be beautiful, eat beautiful, colorful and natural foods.

5. Do not poison your body. Avoid high fructose corn syrup and white sugar. These things cause countless problems and make you look and feel zapped!  Say “No” to sugary drinks and soda. Avoid fake sweeteners. Scientists keep finding out that fake sugars cause cancer, and who wants cancer?

6.  If you love ice-cream, cheese cake, lattes and chocolate as much as I do, don’t deprive yourself 100%. That is not fun.  Limit treats to 2 or 3 times per week, but never 3 days in a row. Save treats for special occasions. When you indulge in sugary snacks three days in a row it is easy to start a sugar addiction, and day 4 will be one of irresistible sugar cravings. So just limit your treats, and enjoy them occasionally.

6. I drink fresh, unprocessed whole milk from grass-fed cows and use lots of Kerry-Gold Butter.  These amazing dairy products are pure and rich in nutrients.  These are the nutrients that will rejuvenate your body and help you recover from the weight gain and stretching of childbirth. If you have the nutrition your body longs for, the cravings will stop, and you will not need to over eat. People often feel hungry, and have cravings because they lack the vitamins, healthy fats, minerals, and enzymes that are found in raw milk.  When I am enjoying fresh milk and real butter I feel my best, and my energy is very consistent. I started drinking fresh milk right after the birth of my 3rd child, and my recovery and weight loss was rapid. Recovery was much harder with my first two children, because I had a normal American diet. 

7. When you wake up tired and cranky you are not going to shine.  If you are not getting enough rest, do this before bed: Drink about 10 ounces of water mixed with 2 Tablespoons of Liquid Chlorophyll and take 4 Wild Salmon Oil Capsules right before bed.  This combination will renew your body overnight. It also helps with weight loss after the baby, and is the best fertility booster I know of.  The nutrients restore the whole body and also helps to heal the reproductive system from harm caused by birth control or poor nutrition. 

8. If you eat nutritious foods, don’t worry about wearing out your body through pregnancy and breastfeeding. God’s design is perfect and babies are a blessing.  When you are nurturing new life, your body produces beneficial hormones to help your baby thrive and at the same time your body is rejuvenated and revived in the process. Most of the women I know who have large families are fit, youthful and vibrant. 

9. Don’t do the things that are proven to ruin your body: smoking, drinking more than one cup of coffee or wine per day, eating too much sugar, taking unnecessary medications, and using hormone altering birth control.  All these things damage your body. Find something better to do. Don’t settle for less than the best. You are worth it!

10. Drink a lot of water.  You know this, so do it.

11. Spend time in the sunlight and in the moonlight. Watch the stars, spend time in nature, plant a garden, camp, go outside without shoes on. Do all these things with someone you love, and the benefits are double! 

12. Live a life worth living! Ask yourself these important questions, and give yourself honest answers:

  • Am I where I belong in life? That means: Am I following my calling? Am I becoming who I was meant to be? Am I close to God? Am I being wise and loving in my relationships? 
  • What are my goals? If married – what are our common goals? 
  • What am I doing right now to reach those goals?
  • Have most of my life decisions been fear-based or hope-based?
  • Is my life headed in the right direction? If not, should I get off at the next stop and catch a different train that will take me to the right destination?
  • If I start over, change direction, start something new, or begin now to work toward my calling, dream or goals:
  • What is the WORST that could happen? Is the WORST worth risking?
  • What is the BEST that could happen? Is the BEST worth risking?
  • If I know I need to turn my life around or make an important change, what will I lose by not taking action?
  • What could my life look like in five years if I make the changes and work toward my goals, dream or calling.
  • What could my life look like in five years if everyday was basically a repeat of everything that happened last week?
  • What is holding you back from fulfilling your calling, living your dream or pursuing your goal? Is the thing holding you back more precious that your dreams, goals and calling.
  • Use the Mom-Schooling journals to record your thoughtful answers, and enjoy the relaxing benefits of Art & Logic therapy!

Sarah’s Mom Tips – How to Outsmart the Hurrier

Do you have a child who rushes through their schoolwork?  Here’s what I say to mine when they have a habit of rushing and being sloppy: “Take as much time as you need on your Journal today, but when you finish we will be cleaning out the garage.” 

Plan a less fun activity to follow the schoolwork, if the child rushes through it. 

If Minecraft, TV, or snack time comes after they finish schoolwork, they will rush. 

Work with human nature. 

If you have a child who is slow, you may need to do the opposite.

I’ve had great success in using rewards to motivate my kids to do excellent work in their journals. Anyone else?

If they are in a funk or a sloppy season I might tell them that they will get a prize at the end of the week if they do 30 perfect pages in their core journal. Or they might get a chance to get a $15 gift card for Amazon when they finish a Core Journal, if it’s beautiful. I’ve done that 2 or 3 times over the years.

For example we might have a movie night and that child picks the movie, maybe they get to pick out the ice cream flavor, get a new book of their choice, a special time with me, and I’ve even given cash rewards or extra game time.

I have found that these motivation tools can get a child into the habit of doing better work.

Some kids just need extra motivation, especially Followers and Explorers.

Sarah’s Mom Tips – How to Inspire Your Child to Learn to Read

My girls 7, 9 and 10 are all using the same Reading and Research book. It works great for all of them because the ten year old recently learned English, the nine year old has symptoms of Dyslexia and the seven year old just wants to do what the bigger sisters are doing. So she tries to keep up.

I don’t worry much about reading before age 9. The longer they play the better! When my children start asking me “Mom, how do you spell…?” That’s when I know they are ready for reading. When a child is ready to learn to read it’s so easy to help them.

When it comes to learning to read there shouldn’t be a struggle. Dyslexic children and creative kids struggle because we are trying to teach them too soon. Dyslexia Games helps prepare the mind for reading and writing without stress, and helps to teach reading in a self directed way that works for creative kids.

Still, sometimes the brain just isn’t ready for the job of reading before age 9 (for some it may be age 11, kids who learn to read late tend to be very artistic and creative.)

Sarah’s Mom Tips – Digital Devices

Q. How do you keep your kids from misusing digital devices?

A. When kids have Tablets and Kindles they often disappear into their own digital world.

We use devices like these as educational tools, but the kids use them together, not alone.

My kids have learned to snuggle, bond and share their Kindle. They are encouraged to use it in the Family Room, and play together. If they misuse the device it goes away.

-Sarah Janisse Brown