I’m the creator of the Fun-Schooling books. We are Unschoolers most of the time, but I am always introducing my kids to all sorts of content and we do projects and adventures together a lot. We also enjoy casual Charlotte Mason style learning in seasons where we need more structure. So I have been setting up a buffet of learning through the environment I create for my children to grow up in.
I created these books so the children could create portfolios of research, art, thoughts and discoveries about their passions, while incorporating some academic skill building at the same time. In my books I always focus on the spark of curiosity, the quest for knowledge, the joy of discovery, the adventure of going deeper, and the delight of sharing and using the knowledge and skills we have embraced. I also focus on collaboration and the natural process of nurturing the child’s drive to learn by example.
My role is mostly fulfilled by my example of being a curious, creative, peaceful presence as I pursue my own interests and create a wonderful family environment. We use our Thinking Tree Books after breakfast, chores and family devotions. Our daily time with Fun-Schooling books being open and used as a resource and guide for a learning journey is usually less than two hours, and most of the time the child is following learning prompts related to their passions and then coming back to the journal to document the learning in a way that feels more like journaling and scrapbooking.
Some of my books focus on specific academic skill building in areas of math, language arts and geography, for example. But I always reframe academics as an adventure in discovery or creativity. My math books are all therapeutic, (and fun), and are designed to give children joy and confidence with numbers, while healing some of the trauma. What trauma? All the trauma inflicted by the soul-destroying experiences in early childhood related to typical math problems that 90% of kids probably hate and dread. Most kids grow up thinking they are bad at math and writing. They feel ashamed, bored, and have this cloud of irrelevance surrounding all the monotony of standardized learning.
Typical learning focused almost completely on highlighting what the children missed, messed up, and failed in. They are always judged by the seven mistakes rather than the 1000 things they did well. Standardization in education creates a world of failing perfectionists who feel they will never be enough, never achieve their goals, never satisfy the people they love and respect. This is a sad cycle and our society pays the price, because “perfect” is an impossible illusion that we began striving for at such a young age. Women cry into their pillows every night all over the USA cause they can never be good enough… and it started with their first C- in first grade. They tried so hard and were so excited and curious about learning until they began to experience all the shame of small failures.
I failed 3rd grade, with a report card and little heart stained by Ds and Fs. At age 8 I felt doomed to failure and humiliation forever. I began to dream of a different world where kids like me could just play with animals, do school in the woods, build forts, bake cookies, make fairy villages, create museums, sell art, earn money, publish a newspaper and live in a giant cardboard box painted with daisies in the corner of the living room… and of course go to work with dad at the Space Center or help mom in her art studio. I dreamed a lot about a better way to learn and enjoy every moment of my childhood and my life. I decided I wanted to be a mom, and artist and run maybe a space camp where kids can pretty much go to space at the end of the experience.
The Thinking Tree books are a small part of my vision for creating an incredible life around my kids. But they help us dig deeper and document our learning journey while studying what we love, and a few things that we need. Thinking Tree Books also help a lot of people who live in restrictive states to build an impressive portfolio in an easy and joyful way to satisfy requirements. All our bundles are designed around the needs for grade level learning in charter schools in the state of California, so that even kids in that environment can Fun-School. I hope this gives you a little vision and understanding of what Fun-Schooling is and how it came to be. I wanted to give my 15 kids what I dreamed of when I was stuck in a desk doing third grade…again, imagining a different world. The good news is that I got to homeschool at age 13 and basically enjoyed a path of self directed learning based on my passions, projects and career goals! My parents let me do unit studies about ANYTHING I was interested in, and that was school!