Name: Lisa Collum

Where did you grow up: Jupiter, Florida (Jupiter Farms to be exact)

 Town you live in now: Palm Beach Gardens

 Why you love living there: I love Gardens because it is close to everything. I have the mall, the beach, sports gyms and fields for the kids, tons of restaurants, etc. It’s such a great place to raise a family and tons to do for the kids.

 Tell me about your kids: I have four kids. Ages 13,11,7 and 3

Ray-Ray (13): He is going into 8th grade at Duncan Middle School. He is not only a straight A honor roll student, but an athlete! He made the school basketball team as a 6th grader. He plays competitive travel basketball year round, soccer and flag football. He’s such a sweet kid and is friends with everyone!

Brandon (11): He is going into 6th grade next year and will be joining his brother at Duncan Middle School. Brandon is also very athletic and plays travel basketball, soccer and flag football. He is also an amazing student, excels in school, and is always busy with sports. He has a great group of friends and loves playing Fortnite!

Bryson (7): He is going into 3rd grade at Trinity Christian. Bryson is my kid that never wants to sit still and is very active. He is definitely my hands-on learner, loves to work outside, and is always making something. He also does well in school and is the best at making his little sister giggle. Bryson plays travel basketball, soccer, flag football and is starting tackle football this year.

Jazlyn (3): She is starting pre school two days a week next year at Trinity Christian. She is the princess of the family! She is always smiling, is very easy going and loves her brothers. She spends half her life at practices and games watching her brothers and is always on the go! She’s also an awesome swimmer and super smart!

 Favorite things to do with the kids locally: When we are not at practices or games, we love to go to the beach. We have a beach club membership at the Hilton on Singer Island and love using the pool and hanging out by the beach. For my younger two, we like going to Triumph kids to let them run around and play. We also go bowling at Bowlero, love watching movies at Cobb theater and the Rapids! We always have our kids and their friends…so we are definitely always finding something to do.

 What’s your ‘day job’?  How did you get started with it? I am the founder and owner of Top Score Writing and the owner and principal of Coastal Middle and High School.

Top Score Writing is a writing curriculum company. I am the author of the curriculum for 2nd-12th grade. My story starts 14 years ago when I first started teaching. I was working with a low performing school and there was not any curriculum available to teach writing. After years of teaching in the classroom and serving as a writing coach and specialist, I started writing my own curriculum to teach students writing. In 2011, Top Score Writing, Inc. was founded. I started off with a handful of schools and now have thousands of schools nationwide. It is a simple and effective way to teach students how to write. It is easy for the teacher to teach and easy for the student to understand. Not only do I work with schools, but we also have homeschool curriculum, an entire online program for students to use from anywhere at anytime, and we offer tutoring.

In the midst of my journey writing curriculum, I purchased Coastal Middle and High School. Coastal Middle and High School is a small private school designated for students that struggle in school, have dropped out or just needed something different. This school is not your normal traditional school. It offer lots of flexibility, frequent breaks, various curriculum choices and lots of small group and one-on-one teaching. We have about 15-20 students in 6th-12th grade and are located in Lake Park. The great things about us is we are fully accredited, but have no state testing and can tailor a learning plan that works for each student.

 What is your best parenting advise.  Lay it on us.  Keep things structured and organized, be honest, and be the parent ALL the time. Let me explain…..

Kids need structure. They need some sort of routine to keep day to day. Simple things like the mornings before school. My kids know they get up, brush their teeth, get dressed, eat breakfast, make their lunch and then head to the car. That’s the routine we stick to every morning. They know it and it works. They know when they get home their backpacks go in a certain spot in the closet, they know their shoes go in the basket by the door, they know all papers that need to be signed go in the kitchen. Things like this help make everything flow better throughout the day and the kids learn responsibility. Once they are in 2nd grade, I don’t make their lunch anymore. I have the sandwiches made and snacks bought, but they have to get it all together in the lunch box in the morning. And once they are in middle school, I don’t make their breakfast anymore. They are responsible for doing that in the mornings. It’s like a mini army in the morning time..lol!

At the same time, I am pretty relaxed about other things. I don’t care about bed times on the weekends or during the summer. My toddler sleeps in my room and never falls asleep before midnight. My kids eat junk sometimes, we order pizza a lot, I door dash chick fil a at least once a week and my house is not always perfectly clean. So when I say I keep things structured, it is with certain things that happen daily. It makes it easier for them and me. It also slowly puts responsibility on them and then as they get older they have more and more of that responsibility. If you don’t have a spot for backpacks or shoes….they’re going to walk in from school and throw it all on the floor. But if there’s a spot, they know exactly where to put everything.

Same thing with chores. I don’ have set chores, but I do make lists quite frequently and they know those chores have to be completed that day. For example, I do their laundry, but they have to work together and organize it and then put it away. Everything has a “spot” and they know where their shirts go and their shorts go and their socks go and so on.

Now….being honest. What I mean is, show them your human. If I get really angry and yell at them (when it’s not called for), I will apologize and explain that I am just tired and stressed out and I shouldn’t have yelled at them like that. This happens a lot as a mom. But I want them to see that this happens, it’s okay and just apologize. Sometimes I slip up with a curse word (come on…I think every mom does..lol), again….I apologize and tell them I shouldn’t have said that. I just think it is so important for kids to know that they are not expected to be perfect all of the time, but they do need to recognize when they are wrong. I think a lot of parents forget how important this is.

And last, be the parent ALL the time. I’m an educator and I can’t tell you how many parents act like they can’t look at their 12 year old’s phone. Excuse me? Ummm…they are 12 and it’s your phone?!?! I go through my 13 year old’s phone all the time. I go through Snap Chat, text messages, Instagram…everything. Anytime I want! I am the parent! Yes, you can be sweet and nurturing…but you’re not their friend. I talk to my teenager all of the time about snap chat and vaping and all the crazy stuff kids are doing. He knows he can talk to me about anything. We have a great relationship. But I am also very clear….if you ever touch a vape pen or get caught vaping or smoking anything….say goodbye to your phone, xbox, friends and be ready for punishment. You have to have a balance as a mom of loving and open so they will come to you, but also as the disciplinarian. They need to know you care enough about them to make sure they are not doing anything bad. I see so many kids that I work with who are getting into trouble daily and tell me they don’t care because they know their parents won’t do anything. It’s a hard balance, but you have to stick to it. Especially as they get older.

 

What do you do for self care? As busy as I am, I get my nails done twice a month and my hair blow dried once a week. That’s my little hair secret I share with everyone. Once a week I get a wash and a blowout at Blowtox…and that’s it! I just go over pieces in the morning real quick with the flat iron or curl the ends, but I don’t do anything else. I don’t even own any hair products except dry shampoo and hair spray. I also try and do a girl’s night once a month and go dancing. That is probably my number one tip for moms who are busy. Make time for a girl’s night! It is like a recharge for me and I need my time with my girls. Nothing is better than a night of eating and dancing. I love going to Cucina Cabana and Blue Martini!

 

Anything else you want to share? I love sharing my story because none of this was part of my plan in life. I had no clue how to run a business and no one in my family had ever run a business. I have learned everything along the way. I did all of this while getting a Master’s degree and having four kids. So I just want other moms to know that it can all be done. It’s definitely not easy, but it can be done. There is no “right” time. Just go for it and figure it out along the way. I have four kids all different ages/stages in life, I run two educational companies, I’ve been married for 14 years, my kids play competitive travel sports and there are 2-3 practices/games EVERY DAY of the week…..and somehow I still get some sleep and make it all work. So if you have an idea…go for it and be ready to fail and face challenges. That is just part of it. It will all be worth it though. This has been a journey for me and I am still learning and loving every minute of it.

 

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