Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Watch Your Words

I'm participating in the Mindful Mothering Carnival today, but over on my new website.

I've written about how I want my words to match my intentions and I've had to learn to STOP saying certain common expression.

Please join me there!

http://www.canadianunschooler.com/watch-your-words/ ‎

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The One Where I'm Shamelessly Self-Promoting....

My new website is LIVE!

I'm still working on uploading more content and getting my e-books and audios linked to their graphics.

I would be SO THRILLED if you would head over and take a look around?


While you're there, will you leave your email?  You'll instantly receive an AUDIO and a PDF Report...FREE!!

I'm planning to ask a few of my blogging-mommy friends if you would be willing to promote my new site during the week of my launch:  around April 1.  Let me know if you'd like a guest post or a little blurb to put on your FB page.  Thanks, friends!  I love you all so much and I look forward to serving you with more Unschooling information over on my new site.

Freedom and joy to you all!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ending the Bully-Victim Paradigm

Today the East York Mirror (a free weekly newspaper for the little pocket of Toronto where I live) published a  piece on bullying under the title "Parents play a key role in mediation".

The article describes how the mother of a "mercilessly" bullied 10-year-old boy did everything she could to work with the school to solve the problem but that eventually she pulled her son out of public school and sent him to a private school.

Apparently her attempts to work with the school and the other parents were not accepted, as the parents of the other children refused to participate.  I was pleased to see that a representative of the school board, someone described as "a gender-based violence prevention co-ordinator", was quoted as saying, "That's sad, because the support for the perpetrator is as important as the support for the victim--perhaps even more so."

Friends, let's get very clear about bullies.  A person acting as a bully is a scared, lonely, hurting, sad, insecure and immature person, no matter their age.  All the rules and interventions and education in the world are not going to stop the bully because bullying is not a behaviour problem:  it's a relationship problem.

Bullying is not a behaviour problem:  it's a relationship problem.

And it's not about the bully's relationship with the victim--it's about the bully's relationship with him or her SELF.  A confident young person who is in total integrity with his or her self will never act as a bully.  That's because we act on the outside the way we feel on the inside.  A sad and broken person knows only how to create more sadness and brokenness.

Certainly, both the victim and the bully need support and counselling, and so do their parents.  Their parents need to learn how to empower their children with confidence and integrity.  The school cannot truly solve the problem, but they can be instrumental in providing the assistance.  Perhaps there have to be sanctions in place to force parents to get involved in a committed and serious way--long term suspensions of their child unless the parent complies, or a fine or even the threat of removing the child from the home.  It's sad that taking responsibility would have to be mandated, but the current system is clearly not working.

Maybe a proactive approach would be that all children in Kindergarten and Grade 1, along with their parents, would be required to attend workshops that teach confidence building, conflict resolution skills and self-awareness.  We can't blame parents for not teaching these skills at home when they might not even know how! The school system could be instrumental in solving the bully-victim paradigm by mandating participation, and all children and their parents would benefit.  Attendance at a series of workshops is a pretty small price to pay for 13 years of schooling, no?
I've prepared a FREE AUDIO that addresses this topic, which will soon be available on my new website, www.canadianunschooler.com.  (It's not up and running yet, as my web designer is still putting on the final touches.)  To make sure you don't miss out on my free offers, you can LIKE my new Facebook page:  CanadianUnschooler.  (Eventually, the Jazzy Mama blog will cease to exist, but I hope to better serve my readers on the topics of Homeschooling and Unschooling over at my new site.  See you there in about a month!)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Are we even asking the right questions yet?

The public education system.
Brought to you by the same people who thought Residential Schools were a good idea.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Our Family Size

Welcome to the first Family Size Blog Carnival!
This post was written for inclusion in the Family Size Blog Carnival hosted by Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling and Patti at Jazzy Mama. Today our participants share their decisions on family size and whether or not to grow their families. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
There has always always been only one consideration in our family when it comes to adding another child:  Do we want to?

And the answer has always been a resounding YES.

We operate on the theory that more love is better than less and that no child of ours will ever have a reason to wish he or she had never been born.  We have embraced the spiritual concept of Abundance;  we believe that our needs will always be met, that our hearts will always be full of love and that we are capable of handling whatever comes our way.

I love being the mother of 4 children, and I look forward to being the mother of more.  I love everything about conception (blush), pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding.  I feel confident that my body can continue to grow and nourish more babes.  I want another baby and the day is coming when another one will join our family.

New Parents!  Baby Anna, 2 weeks old, May 2004
One day old baby Holly with 20 month old Anna

Jasmine, 2 weeks old, January 2008

The older, wiser parents with Julian, 6 days old, July 2010
Would you believe me if I tell you that the more babies I have, the easier it gets?  The more I get into my groove as a mother, the more confident I feel that I could keep adding to our family until my time runs out.  Umm, that's my fertility, not my life! The excitement and anticipation involved in pregnancy is by far the most fun I've ever had.  The thrill of creating a new person and then getting to live in a deeply connected relationship with that person and getting to find out all the nuances of his or her uniqueness--Oh, the joy!  I get a rush of pleasure just thinking about it.

Are you waiting for the drum roll and the announcement that Baby #5 is on the way?  Alas, not this year.  And not even next year.  Beginning in 2014 we are planning on travelling for 14 months and we have decided that we don't want to do it with a toddler or baby.  So although it seems like EONS from now, we have decided not to grow our family until 2015.  And since I'm not getting any younger, we'll just have to see what happens from there!
Visit City Kids Homeschooling and Jazzy Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Family Size Blog Carnival!
Please take some time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants below:
  • The Perfect Family The family at Living Peacefully With Children isn't perfect, but the size is just right for them...at least for now.
  • Family Size Carnival Zoie at TouchstoneZ discusses how she loves the extremes of being happily child-free for life to being a mom of several. And on knowing when her family is just the right size.
  • Is Adoption for Me? Christine at African Babies Don't Cry shares why she would consider adoption as the socially responsible way to have a large family.
  • Getting Used to Having Kids Lauren at Hobo Mama went from "probably one, maybe two" to wanting a handful, but not without some major struggles and soul searching along the way.
  • Magic Number For a while, Phoebe at Little Tinker Tales has wondered what the magic number will be for their family, but now thinks she's finally settled on an answer.
  • How Did You Get That Size Jorje explains how she "chose" her family size and why they aren't planning to grow again on Momma Jorje.com.
  • Family Size On A Per Kid Basis Sarah at Parenting God's Children shares how plans change as families grow.
  • More Babies: How, When, Why Joella at Fine and Fair writes to her daughter about when, how, and why she might get a sibling.
  • Family Size Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares how she has no idea what size her family will end up being; though she used to be sure, a few factors have recently come up to change everything.
  • Thy Will Be Done CatholicMommy hasn't decided how many children she'll have. And she never will. Because, you know, she's Catholic.
  • Sanity and Health Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment talks about sanity and health considerations when deciding on her family's size.
  • Love Comes In All Sizes Melissa at Mothers of Change shares her family's journey to becoming a family of six!
  • Family Size Liz at Homeschooling in Buffalo discusses how this carnival occurs less than two weeks after "closing up shop" by way of vasectomy.
  • Family Size Blog Carnival Billy, a single mother by choice, writes about the size of her family at My Pathway to Motherhood.
  • Creating Your Perfect Family Size Dr. Alan Singer shares insights from his new book, Creating Your Perfect Family Size.
  • Our Family Size You might not be surprised to learn that Patti at Jazzy Mama can't find any reasons NOT to have more babies.
  • Economics of Family Size Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling uses an economic cost-benefit analysis to determine her family's optimal size.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Your Child. Stress-Free Learning. Right now.

Assuming that the school system knows what’s best for your child is like saying that the bank knows what’s best for your money.

Friday, February 3, 2012

How to go from SAHM to WAHM: Part 3

Part 1:  Getting READY to Get Started
Part 2:  Finding the Time

Today:  What is a Wellness Business?  (And BTW, you are totally Awesome!)

It has been an amazing discovery for me that many of the people online whose advice I pay for or whose products I buy are NOT trained professionals with degrees and other credentials.  I have bought e-books and mp3 files from parenting coaches who never went to university, simply because I liked what they had to say.  I have bought natural wellness products on the advice of non-medically trained practioners, simply because I trusted them.  I have paid for phone coaching and in-person coaching with women who were intuitively able to bring me to my deepest understanding of myself, and they were not psychologists or psychiatrists or even trained therapists.

The point is:  Some people have amazing innate skills and talents that they are able to share with others and they make a living doing so.  And the even BIGGER point is:  So can I and so can you.

Did you know that the biggest THING you have to sell is your own experience?  This is what a Wellness Business is all about.  You take your experience with a product or a process that has enriched or transformed your life and you teach it to other people in exchange for money.  There are thousands and thousands of people making hundreds of thousands of dollars who do just that.

They are not better than you or me.
They are not smarter than you or me.
They are not more deserving than you or me.
They are not luckier than you or me.

They just figured out what they needed to do to market their messages and they had the courage to GO FOR IT.

I have a message, and I've discovered that there are parents who want to hear it and who will pay for my help.  My message is that children are wired to learn and they require very little outside influence to learn all that they need to in order to live a fulfilling life and become mature adults.  I teach parents how to create a family culture in which children can thrive as they learn.  I help them to stop fighting with their kids about school and to stop fighting with the school about their kids.  I teach them to rethink everything they thought was good about schools and to instead focus on what is good for their child.  I offer solutions to the social, emotional, academic and behaviour problems that their child might be exhibiting at school so that the child can learn in freedom and joy.

I bet you have a message, too.  Maybe you've been through a divorce that brought you to your knees but you found courage and consciousness on the other side and you could teach other women how to be empowered.  Maybe you are really good at recycling and re-purposing things that other people would put in the garbage and you can teach how to live in a more sustainable, affordable way.  Maybe you are the mother of a special-needs child and you know how to teach other mothers how to practice self-care so that they don't become burnt out.  Maybe you're a child abuse survivor and you know how to unload all that baggage and love your own kids unconditionally.

I read so many blogs that make me think, "Wow.  You have an awesome message.  You could totally be making money here!"  And I know that lots of mom-bloggers believe that there is something cathartic and healing and unselfish about offering their experiences and wisdom for free.  But I think that you gain credibility and confidence when you earn money for what you offer. There is no prize for earning LESS than your potential.  Poverty is not morally superior to wealth.  Money is completely amoral;  it is just a tool we use for the fulfilment of our life's purpose.  Because you know, it's really hard to live up to your full potential when all you can think about is your very meagre budget.

If you are in a situation where you want to stop worrying about money and start earning money, I want to hear from you.  Because I already know that you are worthy and important and totally awesome.  And I already know that there has never been a better time to bring YOUR message of healing to the world.

Next post:  How Clarity comes from Creation

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How to go from SAHM to WAHM: Part 2

Today I'm going to answer that crazy, crazy question:  How does she do it all?

Well, I don't.

Last fall when I decided to enrol in a business course, I was really nervous that I couldn't handle adding anything new to my list of daily activities and responsibilities. The training is offered through live teleconferences and webinars and they are at times when I am generally home alone with my 4 children, so I wasn't sure how that would work.  Also, it seemed prudent to actually start to DO the tasks we were taught about, since talking about making money is one thing, but actually doing things that produce an income is quite another!

As it turned out, the training calls are recorded, so I download them to my iPod and listen to them at night before I fall asleep.  Sometimes it takes me 5 nights to listen to a 90-minute training, but I love that I can go back and listen as often as I want.  Many of the trainings involve coaching in Belief Breakthrough, so I am often repeating the words of the meditations as I lie in bed with my sleeping babes around me.

Getting started on product creation was actually been really easy to find time for.  You see, when you find something you love to do then it doesn't feel like work.  In other words, we easily make time for our priorities.  Like most people, I had never really thought about the possibility of getting paid for something that I love to do, so it has been a most pleasant experience to discover all the different ways that I can use my skills and knowledge and experience to make money.

Finding time is really all about changing the way you think:  If you believe that you never have enough time, you won't have enough time.  Instead, if you change your thoughts to a belief that you always have time for everything that you love to do, you will find the time.  It seems so simple, and it really works.

In the fall, I hired Partner-Guy's teenage niece to come over for 5 consecutive Saturdays so that I could participate in a live training call.  She folded the laundry and cleaned up the kitchen and played with the kids.  I loved the help, and I highly recommend finding a way to get involved in some LIVE training and coaching if you possibly can.  Since Christmas, I've arranged for Partner-Guy to take the kids out every Saturday for a few hours so that I can focus on product creation.  I also occasionally do my work when all the children are asleep at night.

So I haven't had to take much time away from my family at all.  In fact, I consider it to be a GIFT to my children that they are getting more time with their dad than they would if I were not trying to start a business.

But my family is YOUNG, and Julian is still nursing about 12 times/day and even the older children are not interested in being sent here and there on a regular basis so that Mommy can sit at the computer.  And I get that.  It really is a balance and I'm not one to put my agenda ahead of my children's needs.

If you come to my home you will see that my floors are not clean enough to eat off of (although that doesn't always stop us!) and there are probably toys and books all over.  But the kids are always fed and happy and doing their own thing.  I pick up toys and books just once per day (at bedtime) and I cook just one hot meal per day.  We eat homemade bread and fruit and raw vegetables for our other meals and snacks.  I admit that there has been some complaining from my older daughters about the lack of food selection, but they are not malnourished by any stretch, and they are even learning to make some food for themselves.  (Last week my 7.5 yo made muffins all by herself and even put them in the oven!)

Here are my suggestions for finding time for a new business when you are home with young children:

  1. Let go of any schedules.  Be flexible and never worry about not finishing something that you are working on.  Whenever you put your children ahead of your 'work' you will be rewarded with peace and freedom.
  2. Realize that change happens.  You can't add 30 hours of business-related work to your life every week and still meet all your old obligations.  This is a great time to EDIT things from your life that don't bring freedom and joy to your life or to your family.
  3. Lower your standards.  (My mom is probably laughing about this--like, how much lower can MY standards get??!!)  But seriously, do you HAVE to vacuum every day or clean the bathroom every week?  I don't.  And we survive.
  4. Rejoice and be glad!!  Life is AWESOME and you are exactly where you need to be and you are worthy and enough RIGHT NOW.  Embrace every part of your day, every day.  Whatever happens is exactly what you need right now to move you to where you want to be.
Next post:  What it means to start a 'wellness' business and why you are totally amazing!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How to go from SAHM to WAHM: Part 1

So I mentioned in my last post that I'm going to let go of the safety-net that I've been holding on to by resigning from my position as a teacher here in Toronto.  I'm a little SCARED, but it's the kind of fear that MOTIVATES me, not the kind that IMMOBILIZES me.  You know what I meant?

And yes, I'm going to be launching a business this spring.  I've been taking a couple of courses for the past 4 months and I have learned SO MUCH and I will soon be ready to take the plunge and put myself and my ideas OUT THERE for everybody to see and talk about... and BUY, presumably.

I know that many of my readers are WAHM-wannabes.  You love being home with your kid(s) but you also really want to contribute to the family income.  You know there are things that you are good at, but you don't know how to market your skills and knowledge to make some money.

Well, lucky you!  Because I'm going to share with you some of what I've been learning.  Of course, it might mean more to you to hear it from someone who has actually MADE MONEY already working from home!  But perhaps you'll benefit from hearing about my journey so far...

  1. Know WHY you want to make money.  You want to pay for private school for your child.  Or you want to move to a better neighbourhood.  Or you want to buy a farm.  Or you want your partner to be able to retire (that's my reason!).  Keeping your REASON really clear will help you to stay focussed and not give up.  It is NOT materialistic or immoral to want more money so that you can provide a better life for your family and so that you can all live up to your full potentials and be who you were born to be.  
  2. Begin with ONE idea.  Examples:  You want to empower moms who have suffered post-partum depression because you've been through it and you know what really helps.  You want to make and sell gender-neutral baby clothes so that parents don't have to buy two different wardrobes for their boy-and-girl children.  You want to sell the totally awesome homeschool package on Geography for 4-8 year olds that you created last year for your own family.   You want to help parents whose children aren't being served by the one-size-fits-all model of public education.   (Yup, that's my idea.)
  3. Start somewhere.  You don't have to have lots of products and a whole marketing program in place to launch a business.  You only have NOW, so use it.  Don't put enormous pressure on yourself because it is really hard to focus and to attract the right kind of customer when you are coming from a place of desperation.
  4. Make sure your partner is on board.  If you are spending a lot of time at the computer or at the sewing machine or with your nose in a book, it really helps your partner to want to help you carve out time to do those things if he understands that you are moving towards an income.  
  5. Get help to learn what you don't know.

Learn to Make 6 Figures in Your Wellness Business!
I enrolled in a business course in the fall and it has been, without a trace of irony, the best learning experience of my life.  This course teaches not only how to get online and market and create drip-campaigns and search engine optimization and freemiums (yeah, seriously!), it also teaches how to clear your negative energy about selling to people or about not believing that you are good enough or smart enough or deserving enough to really make money using your skill or knowledge.  It's awesome.  I am a totally changed woman from everything I have learned in this course.

Just FYI:  it costs $497 to enrol, and then $97/month after that for as long as you want.  Once you enrol, you have access to ALL the recordings of all the training calls since October and all the PDF files for templates and additional training.  The coach's name is Heather Madder, and you can find her information and some free downloads by clicking on the graphic above.  (Email me if you want to find out how to get your enrolment for FREE!)

Tomorrow I'm going to tell you how I find time to work on starting a business, take a course and be a mom to 4 unschooled kids under the age of 7 while also making all our food from scratch and not letting the house turn into a pigsty.  Yup, it's possible, and you can do it too!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Natural Treatment for Severe Childhood Eczema

When my daughter Jasmine was 18 months old, eczema covered half of her little body.  Doctors had told me that it was a benign childhood condition, but she scratched sometimes until blood and tissue were under her fingernails. At night she couldn't sleep unless she was 'sedated' with Benadryl and Tylenol.

An allergist had told us her condition was not caused by food or environmental factors.   I was beside myself with frustration and deep, deep sadness that my baby was so miserable and I was powerless to help her.

Her eczema had begun at just 6 weeks old with red spots on her cheeks.  By 3 months old, she had oozing red patches bigger than the palm of her hand.  She was given antibiotics and a huge assortment of prescription creams.  Absolutely no medical intervention helped.

We sought help from a naturopathic doctor (Dr. Peter Klassen in Waterloo) who ordered an IgG test which examines food sensitivities for over 100 different foods using only 3 tiny drops of blood. While we waited for the results he put both me and Jasmine on a G-I cleanse: no red meat, no dairy, no acids or citrus.

 The IgG test results revealed that Jasmine had an extreme sensitivity to eggs and a high sensitivity to dairy, gluten, soy, peanuts, sesame and citrus. Immediately those foods were eliminated from her diet and mine, along with preservatives, yeast and sugar. It was essential that I follow the restricted diet strictly, since at that time Jasmine was still nursing up to 20 times/ day. She began a regimen of homeopathic treatments and other supplements including vitamins C and D, calcium/magnesium, acidophilus, fish oil and flax oil.

Within a month Jasmine's eczema was completely gone. GONE. She began to eat and eat and eat and to nurse less. She slept through the night. I recovered my sanity. I fell in love with Dr. Peter....no, no, no, not really. But I sure was impressed!

Now Jasmine is 4 years old.  We control her eczema by avoiding most of the foods that trigger the bright red popcorn-looking spots that erupt behind her knees, on her ankles, inside her elbows and sometimes on her cheek bones that itch like crazy.

To take away the itch I apply Melaleuca, commonly called Tea Tree Oil.  But not all tea tree oil is created equal!  I once purchased a bottle of tea tree oil at a health food store that was so strong I could only use it in the laundry because just the scent of it stung my eyes.

Melaleuca as a Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil is the perfect topical treatment for the horrible burning and itching of eczema.  When I apply it directly to Jasmine's skin it is instantly soothed and moisturized and she doesn't scratch at all.  The MDs all told me to put cortisone cream on her, but knowing the harmful side effects made me seek a safe alternative.

If your child has eczema, I strongly recommend getting an IgG test.  I paid $220 for it and it has been worth every dime.  If you learn how to control your child's eczema through diet, then when an outbreak occurs, you can treat it with Melaleuca Essential Oil to take away the itch.

Jasmine, age 3.5 years, virtually eczema-free
I'm not a doctor, just a mom who's been through the frustration of childhood eczema.  If you have any questions, please contact me.