Meet our Mentor of the Month, Amanda

Hi! My name is Amanda, and I am Mentor of the Month for October. It is fitting that I get October since “Spooky Season” is my family’s favorite time of year!

My husband Christopher, our son Jacob, and I live with our two cats and three dogs in my hometown in beautiful NW Montana. 

We are a neurodivergent and chronic illness family. Christopher has ADHD & Cystic Fibrosis. Jacob, who will be 14 this Winter, has ADHD and Dysgraphia. I have ADHD, Dyscalculia & an autoimmune disease that leaves me with chronic pain and fatigue.

Before we adopted Jacob, I had thought I would prefer to Unschool but my husband wasn’t 100% on board. Especially since he (and I to a certain extent) are products of the public school system. Then, when Jacob was school age, Christopher’s health took a sharp decline and the decision was made for us. We spent months on end living in the hospital (often in cities hundreds of miles away from our home) and I became my husband’s full time caregiver basically overnight. Unschooling fit our needs perfectly at the time and “schooling” happened naturally through life and play just as it had when Jacob was little. Leaving me able to focus on both of my guy’s needs.

But when Jacob was about 8 years old, Christopher started the process of being listed for a double lung transplant and was dealing with a hole in his heart and uncontrolled Cystic Fibrosis Related Diabetes, leaving him hospitalized more than he was home. That’s when we noticed that the constant uncertainty that comes along with a dying parent and never knowing where you might be from one day to the next had taken its toll on Jacob’s mental health. It quickly became evident that he needed some structure, routine, and normalcy somewhere in his life. The only solution I could come up with was that we needed to add a curriculum.

The problem was that I don’t believe in boxed curriculum. I had already seen with Jacob what I knew in my heart to be true since I was a child myself, and that is that we devour and retain what we are interested in. And that’s when a simple Google search, “is there an Unschooling curriculum”, led me to Fun-Schooling!

Our transition wasn’t as smooth as I wish it had been. We started with one Core Journal, Monkey Doodle because it was on sale on Amazon. Jacob could read well above grade level but writing was a huge struggle. I was overwhelmed with my husband’s failing health and while Jacob desired to be able to use the journal we purchased, I just couldn’t figure out how to make it work if he couldn’t write and didn’t like to draw or color. Thankfully, the mothers and Mentors in the Fun-Schooling with The Thinking Tree Facebook group came to the rescue and recommended having him tested for Dysgraphia and suggested I scribe for him and utilize technology such as speak-to-text to get him started, they also suggested using stickers, magazines and pictures for the art pages. And most importantly they suggested we add Dyslexia Games.

We took all of their suggestions to heart and it made all the difference. That first journal saved Jacob in the beginning when we were all on the verge of breaking and now we can’t imagine any other way except Fun-Schooling. Dyslexia Games gave him the ability to write. He is never going to hand write a book and will likely never have beautiful handwriting, but he can hand write a handful of paragraphs at one time when he needs to. He uses the Internet, podcasts, videos, audiobooks, and digital books as resources more than physical ones because we always have a mobile device with us. And the journals guide him and give him structure while still letting him be a Delight Directed Learner, and somewhere along the way he started enjoying drawing and coloring some too.

In November of 2019, Christopher received the life changing drug, Trikafta, and our lives completely changed again. He has almost 50% lung function (which is amazing since he was down to 20% before) and we haven’t spent even one night in the hospital since. He still gets depressed that he is unable to work, and has to be extra careful around people and germs, but he is so so grateful to be alive! Jacob is thriving thanks to Fun-Schooling and therapy. And I’m happy because I’m back to being a wife and provider for my family.

Jacob is old enough to work mostly independently now. He gets most of his “book work” done while I’m at work. In the evenings that he doesn’t have an extracurricular activity happening we look over his discoveries together, or we turn on a podcast and do chores or pull out our favorite journals and take notes. At night when I’m winding down or on my days off I take the time to do some Mom-School. I’m currently working on Brain Games: Morning Light, Animal Lovers Journal, & the All About Dogs Journal. And of course I purposefully practice self care and have a creative outlet. Because the one thing I have learned above all others over these past few years is that everyone suffers when I drain my cup completely dry.

My favorite part, our favorite part, of Fun-Schooling we have been able to utilize it to fit our families needs every step along the way! From the scariest moments of our lives to the thriving ones Fun-Schooling has been there. 

Struggling Homeschooler to Delighting in Marine Biology

Today Heather P. shares with us how Fun-Schooling transformed her daughter’s homeschooling. Her daughter went from an unmotivated learner to diving into studying Marine Biology. She wouldn’t write a sentence and now she’s making her own book!

We had homeschooled for almost 3 years before trying out Fun-Schooling books in February. My oldest has always been incredibly bright, but school was a struggle every day. She loves to read but always hated writing. It was a fight every day to try to get her to write anything for school.

For the last 3 years, she has dreamed of becoming a marine biologist. When I surprised her with the marine biology Fun-Schooling book she had such a look of joy on her face. Soon she was wanting to write down her findings about the different marine animals.

Now she will even write her own stories, poems, etc outside of the Fun-Schooling books. 1 year ago she would fight me to write one sentence. Now she is writing her own graphic novel. After seeing how much she loved the marine biology book I also got her the all about sharks and all about dolphins books. She loves all 3 and is working through all of them right now.

We use a membership to the aquarium, documentaries on curiosity stream, a podcast called big deep, and just about every ocean book our local library has lol.


Thanks, Heather for sharing your daughter’s journey with us.

Find the journals her daughter is using below as well as our other Fun-Schooling Marine Biology journals.

Find more tips for Fun-Schooling reluctant learners in these posts-

Sarah’s Mom Tips: Two Questions to Jump Start Your Fun-Schooling
Start With the End Goal
How to Inspire Your Children to Read

Rodrigo Gains the Childhood He Was Missing–Thanks to Dyslexia Games

Case Study by Heather Vaught

Name(s): Ten-year-old Rodrigo Astor – parents, Yessenia and Andy, and sister, Ciara

Location: Dundee, FL

Challenge(s): Rodrigo struggled in school due to dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, ADHD, and unspecified anxiety disorder.

How they discovered Thinking Tree Books: Yessenia searched “dyslexia curriculum” online.

Favorite Thinking Tree workbooks: Dyslexia Games, Series A, Book 2 (where Rodrigo experienced his first big breakthrough) and Book 6 (where Rodrigo is becoming a more independent reader).

“I’m really happy,” Rodrigo says. “I think Fun-Schooling is fun. One day we met Sarah Janisse Brown at a Barnes and Noble. She was so nice to me. She saw the work I was doing and said I was doing a good job. Sarah told me I was going to start reading in 3 months and I started reading. The first book I read all by myself, I told my mom, ‘I’ll do the easy words, you do the hard ones.’ I READ IT ALL BY MYSELF! My mom says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, and I believe.”

“This says ‘ap-ple t-r-ee,’” sounded Rodrigo Astor.

“What?!” asked his mother, Yessenia.

“It says ‘apple tree,’” he repeated.

“Rod, you’re reading!” Yessenia exclaimed, and the tears began to flow.

Rodrigo gasped. He had read without mom’s help. “I can read!” he cried. “Sarah said I would be able to read!”

Most parents cheer the first time their child reads without help, but for Yessenia, this moment was a long time coming, and for Rodrigo, it was a major win.

A Rough Start

Rodrigo spent his first month of life in and out of the hospital. He experienced complications at birth, and at 20 days old, doctors gave him only 48 hours to live. 

Fortunately, Rodrigo beat those odds, but he was diagnosed with Hirschprung’s disease, a congenital disability in which nerves are missing from the intestine. Rodrigo underwent several biopsies, and at 30 days old, had a colostomy. 

Later, his appendix ruptured, requiring more hospital time. 

As a result of Rodrigo’s rough start, he suffered many developmental delays, including digestion and elimination issues and speech and language problems.

Choppy Waters Ahead

The early years  were filled with doctors’ appointments. Yet Rodrigo was able to start preschool in a mainstream classroom with an IEP (individualized education plan). However, the teachers were not able to give him the time and attention he needed, and he started to backslide. 

Kindergarten and first grade brought similar challenges. Rodrigo and his mom spent several hours daily on homework. Yessenia was concerned Rodrigo might have dyslexia. Teachers reassured her that many children struggle at his age and he’d hit his stride.

Rodrigo is STRONG, but he was reaching his breaking point.

“Mom, I’m frustrated! I can’t do this,” he cried. “My friends read. My friends are fast. I can’t. I don’t have time to play. I don’t have time to watch TV. I don’t have time to do anything.” 

Yessenia’s heart broke for her hard-working son. She hugged him and assured him that he didn’t need to compare himself to his friends. 

Then she had the idea to ask him what he saw while he was trying to read.

“The words are jumping. They just keep moving,” he replied. 

She reached out to school psychologist Gretchen Cabranes, who had been involved in Rodrigo’s IEP, to help navigate a new path. They researched homeschooling and how to transition in a way that would best support his needs.

Covid’s Silver Lining

Then Covid hit and suddenly everyone was homeschooling, including the Astors. Yessenia worked with Rodrigo throughout the day, and at last they had their evenings back.

When local schools reopened for in-person instruction, they were given a virtual option, which Yessenia gladly embraced. But school took all their time, and Rodrigo didn’t have time for a childhood.

Neurologist Dr. Avi Domintz-Gebet referred him for a neuropsychological evaluation at Bay Area Neuropsychology in Tampa. Rodrigo was diagnosed with ADHD-combined type, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, and unspecified anxiety disorder. Finally, they had diagnoses to work with.

Yessenia and Gretchen Cabranes found many homeschooling resources they liked. They zeroed in on Dyslexia Games from Thinking Tree Books, created by Sarah Janisse Brown for her dyslexic daughter.

The Final Straw

Meanwhile, virtual school included daily meetings with Rodrigo’s teacher and classmates. When the teacher called on Rodrigo and he didn’t answer right away, she called on another student to help. He motioned to his mom to come turn the camera off, and then he burst into tears.

“I knew the answer!” he cried. “I just needed more time.”

Yessenia comforted Rodrigo, but in her heart, she was done. “That’s it,” she said to herself, “it’s time.” She began withdrawing Rodrigo from school and purchased Dyslexia Games to start their homeschooling journey.

“It was scary,” she says, “but deep down, I had confidence it would work. It worked for Sarah’s daughter, and I knew it would work for Rodrigo too.”

Her husband wasn’t so sure. He was born and raised in Puerto Rico and hadn’t heard of homeschooling. “Kids need to be in school,” he said. “They need socialization.”

Smooth Sailing at Last

Yessenia reassured her husband and plowed ahead. She loved the feeling she no longer had to rush, and Rodrigo loved Dyslexia Games. Peace filled their hearts and home.

When Sarah Janisse Brown was in Florida, she met with the Astors. Rodrigo was so excited to meet Sarah and tell her what he loved about her books. There was only one thing . . .

“I can’t read,” he confessed.

“Well, Rodrigo,” she replied, “I give you three months, and you will be able to read this note that I’m going to write for you.” She also gifted him the next level of Dyslexia Games.

Buoyed by Sarah’s encouragement and generosity, he continued to work hard. He surprised himself when he read without help for the first time. And then he remembered Sarah’s note. He was able to read that too!

Encouragement left in the back of Rodrigo’s Dyslexia Games journal for when he could read it himself one day!

A Day in the Life

These days, Rod does a few pages each day in his various Thinking Tree Books – Dyslexia Games, Brain Games, Math Craft, and a couple of Fun-Schooling journals. He also watches educational videos, and he loves to go to the library and get books.

Rodrigo is 5’3” at ten years old, “But, he feels even bigger,” Yessenia chuckles. “He’s so proud to tell everyone he meets that he can read.”

Big sister Ciara is happy to see that both her mom and Rodrigo are less stressed. “I see a difference in him, I mean he even read over me once,” she says. “He read my text messages. I couldn’t believe him. I was like ROD, OH NO!” 

He’s good with numbers too. Recently, he offered to help Ciara with her calculus homework. “I’m slow, but I’m good!” he says.

Rodrigo’s dad Andy doesn’t worry as much as he used to. He’s seen Rodrigo is less stressed and has improved in his expressions and focus. He was impressed when Rodrigo helped him fix something he was working on. He sees many families homeschooling nowadays. “I say to myself, ‘this is good,’” he smiles.

Finally, Rodrigo has time to do fun things–like horseback riding, participating on a swim team with his sister, playing baseball, playing drums, connecting with other kids in his Funschooling Co-op, and taking lots of field trips. He gets more socialization now than when he was in public school.

Yessenia’s Tips for Parents

  • “Believe in yourself and your child. My faith is huge. God gave us the abilities and tools we need to teach our children.”
  • “Do the research. Dig in and don’t be afraid. Find something that works for you. For us,  it was Dyslexia Games.”
  • “Ask for help. There was someone in your place before, and if not, you will be that person for someone else.”


Buy One Get one FREE Dyslexia Games
until October 12th with code
OR 25% off with code DyslexiaMonth2023 until October 31st

Buy One Get one FREE on all PDFs
until October 12th with code

Learn more about the program that helped Rodrigo
How Dyslexia Games came to exist
Learn more about Dyslexia Games
Dyslexia Games FAQs
After Dyslexia Games, What Next?!?

Mom of 15: I Followed My Passions and Discovered This…

Before the kids came along, I considered myself an artist, a writer, and a traveler. I was filling my life with art, creativity, and wonder. I used to travel Europe selling jewelry and art to fund my passions.

After becoming a mother, my passion became my children. Around 3 years into motherhood, I began to remember how much I loved art and poetry. I started to add a few of my passions back into my life. My husband started working four days a week. I took Fridays to dive back into my passions.

I began reading, writing, and small art projects. I purchased paintbrushes and acrylic paint and covered my home with murals. That turned into a small business decorating other’s homes. Then I started teaching moms homemaking, homesteading, and creative skills. We let our little ones play while we learned together.

There was one thing I didn’t do lots and lots of moms my age were doing. Spending time on TV and the Internet. I found when you have little kids, you’re going to be exhausted. The default can be turning on a show and putting them in front of a TV. We didn’t have a TV so that was never an option. I didn’t want that to be the example I set for my kids of adulthood. As parents, we are our children’s greatest teachers. The life we model for them is what their perception of adulthood is. Do we really want them to think being an adult is about working so much you’re exhausted and then starting at a screen watching other people live their lives the rest of the time?

As my kids reached school age, I started customizing their education around their passions. They take their passions seriously and become experts in their fields of interest. All of my kids start businesses in their early teens. Creativity and beauty has kept my children from becoming addicted to screens and technology.

Well-meaning family and friends have expressed concern my kids are missing out on aspects of “standardized” education. Yet my children have skills and talents kids in traditional school don’t have or have to wait until their 20s, 30s, or 40s to develop. I let them let go of things that are irrelevant and they’ll never need to know.

When a child’s education revolves around what they love, there’s no struggle or fight.

Our modern day workforce is all about skills, talents, and ability more than degrees and head knowledge. My children will be able to have specialized careers in their fields of passion. They’ve been studying since they were young and most of my children are making their own income before they ever move out as legal adults.

The way I raise my children looks very different from what you would see in a schoolroom because the childhood happening in our house looked like a lot of fun, adventure, exploring, creating, community, and more. Everyone is contributing their own gifts.

This is all because I set the model for them of pursuing my passions and letting it fuel my actions and career path. I want my children to look at the model I set of adulthood and be excited.

Today I have 15 children age 8-24. I delight in my teens and we have so much fun together. You have one life to live and it shouldn’t be boring. This is what I want my children to know and how I want their education to look. What about you?

Find my whole talk on this subject in the video below. And subscribe to my YouTube channel for more videos like this.

Get a FREE Mom School bundle so you can dive into your passions.

Buy 2, get 1 free Mom-Schooling Bundles with the promo code B2G1MomSchoolBundles at

Learn more-

Sarah’s Mom Tips – Choosing a Major & Why 13 Is the Magic Number
From Anna: “Start Your 10,000-hour Journey”
One Day There Was A Mom

One Day There Was A Mom

One day, there was a young mom with eight children under ten years old, she was serving as a town council Vice President and was organizing festivals for Main Street. Homeschooling the kids and always searching for strategies to help her struggle learners to thrive, and to help her struggling neighbors to become a community, and helping at church and building her home-based ministries. She contributed to the family income by teaching classes every weekend for IUPUI. She cooked a feast every night. She was helping to run a farm store and all her children were starting their own businesses… she was up at night with a nursing baby and had a car seat under her desk at town hall.

And everything she did was fueled by self care and a little time at the feet of Jesus.

She made an effort to carve out time to recharge and to put her own passions and creativity on a pedestal, to always start and end her days with a time of focus on the things that brought her joy. One day she had realized that she was awake for over 16 hours a day and it was no crime to take one or two of those hours each day to focus on filling her own heart, and investing in her own needs, passions and pursuits. She gave 14 hours away to everyone and everything else, but held precious her space to thrive.

Some people send a message that mothers should never for a moment put themselves first, never for a moment do one thing for the joy of it… if there is a dish in the sink or laundry to be done. She learned to let the children entertain themselves, she helped her husband understand that if he didn’t give her a break she would have no energy for him at the end of the day, so she stopped listening to the voice of guilt and picked up a paint brush, a crochet hook, and a good book. As the children grew, her talents and hobbies developed and grew as well.

She was an example to her children of a parent who didn’t loose herself to parenting.

As her hobbies grew along side her children they became so well developed that they eventually became an income source that allowed her husband to become a stay-at-home dad who could focus on his own calling to serve others on the mission field, in the community, and be at home with the children. All the children were thriving so they had another baby and adopted five more kids.

The family didn’t thrive because she sacrificed everything to meet the needs and demands of others, the family thrived because she knew how to fill her own tank, and she knew of to give herself rest and space to be who she was meant to be, and by taking care of herself she was able to accomplish so many more things for others than she would if she lost herself to motherhood. She would tell you that there is nothing more precious to her than her family, but she knows that a family thrives when the mother thrives. And by the grace of God, and through the compassion and encouragement of a loving husband she took care of herself too.

When all my kids were little I used 49cent craft paints from Walmart and a couple of cheap paintbrushes to over our walls with murals…

Sarah’s Birthday Blessings

I really thought I’d be older and feel older and look older by now. I’m starting to think that 47 is a perfectly good time when you take care of yourself.

How do I take care of myself? I’ll share. I feel like women who have learned to manage stress and life need to speak up and share about it. I’ll go first. Maybe there’s one little thing that will spark an idea for a better way, so you can start feeling your best if you don’t yet. Share a life tip, healthy habit, or hack you love in the comments!

So here’s to my body, mind, soul and spirit:

Coconut oil and raw honey for everything – including skin care.

My own herbal tea blends to treat everything, no need for medications 99% of the time.

7 hours of sleep. Early to bed early to rise, unless I go to bed late and want to sleep in.

Apple Watch says I usually get 4-7 miles a day on these feet.

Less than 1400 calories a day this year- I seriously don’t need more. I went from 165 to 147 after Pastor Danny’s New Year’s sermon about counting calories and steps. Yeah, at church I learned to get an Apple Watch and My Fitness Pal. 🤔🙄 I gained 30 pounds I didn’t need after turning 40. When I stopped nursing my last baby, had some miscarriages, and kept visiting Cheese Cake Factory (and the family dinner table) with no understanding that just one typical meal was 2000 calories. 🤣

Skin care products from the Dead Sea, with no artificial ingredients.

Raw milk


A house full of love

15 pregnancies – blessing me with 10 healthy babies and six in heaven- all pregnancies provide regeneration to the well nourished mother’s body – through an infusion of stem cells that renew the moms body at a cellular level.

Jesus above all

I read good books

I read to my little girls

I garden and crochet

I keep my hands busy and my mind active

I never watch movies or shows alone

I never eat desserts alone, unless it’s chocolate

I light candles often, almost daily

I play peaceful music all the time in my house

Bible time and prayer with my husband every single night.

Date nights weekly, travel often (click here to read more great birthday tips from Sarah!)

Dear Inquisitive Unschooling Mom…

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!

Back to School Shopping–$10, $15, $20 Sale!

This great sale has been extended until August 15th! Something for littles all the way through teens…and some beautiful journals for Mom School, too!

$10 Sale Journals

$15 Sale Journals

$20 Sale Journals

Please note that we request for Amazon to mark down journals to a specific price for a certain length of time but they don’t always get marked down/ stay marked down the whole time. If there’s something you really want, make sure to grab it soon!

ADHD Kids: What is Their Passion?

Children with symptoms of ADHD often need less sugar, more time climbing trees, digging, running, and playing with Legos. They often need more B vitamins, more fish oil, more compassion, more dancing or jumping, more citrus, less screen time and less time in a seat or desk. These solutions usually help a lot!

It’s hard to parent a Hyper-Active child! I could have NEVER sent Anna to school–she got our family “kicked” out of two churches. But I trusted that she should be free to be who she was, and not try to force change.

Now that she is older she is funneling all that amazing acrobatic energy into bold, productive and amazing efforts. I am so glad I never tried to make her adapt or be someone I could manage better. She was very very very hard to handle as a 2 – 10 year old. Now that she is grown and I see who she is becoming I am so thankful for the wisdom that was shared with me by a few wise women, who encouraged me to trust my heart, and let Anna be Anna. If it weren’t for Anna there would be no Dyslexia Games or Thinking Tree – All my books and methods are the result of never giving up when faced with the challenges of raising and homeschooling a Hyper-Active Dyslexic.

I talk about Anna a lot. She is the one who has created many of your favorite Fun-Schooling Books!

One thing to pay attention to is what your child loves. Kids who seem to have attention disorders can often focus for long periods of time on the things that fascinate them or tap into their talents. Our Fun-Schooling Journals are a good match for your child’s talents and interests. The Journals are organized to keep kids from having to sit still for long periods of time. Children should move around with their Journals – taking them to different parts of the house and outside for nature study everyday.

School Teachers (and in our case Sunday School Teachers) can’t deal with the kind of energy and talent bottled up in these active children. They take up so much of the teachers efforts just to try to get them to sit still and be quiet. Hyper-Active kids can not be part of a group of 30 children their own age, managed by one poor woman. Kids labeled with ADHD are more than most teachers can handle because they can’t fit in. Medication is often the only way to keep the teacher sane – so either the teacher will go on anti-depressants or the children will be medicated to keep the class under control.

When Anna was 8 or 9 I watched this a Ted Talk by Sir Ken Robinson – I realized that Anna was an artist – and I needed to set her free to be who she was meant to be… so I did! Enjoy these videos for some inspiration…

Animal School (My Favorite YouTube Video!)

One Year Of Fun-Schooling Completed (Testimonial + THE PLAN)

(submitted in the Fun-Schooling Moms group in 2017 by M.L.)


I was the mother who reached out to you about my sons.

I followed your plan for the last year. (See the THE PLAN posted at the end of this story).

We have occasionally had some things change a bit, but this plan was (and is) the core of our homeschooling. We left our traditional pathways behind, and we pursued education the fun-schooling way. A year in the life, I am now ready to report.

Last January I had my 4th child. I would like to say that the reason my homeschooling method stopped working was just due to the new baby, but that would be a lie. The truth was that I had two young men who were hating school. I tried to bribe them, I tried motivational speeches, I tried buying new books. Nothing worked. They hated school, and if I was being completely honest, I hated homeschooling. It was not leading to the peaceful family life I had pictured. I cried often. They cried often. It was so hard.

I came across the Library Homeschool Journal in a Facebook ad, and the ad specifically mentioned the book being good for families with a new baby. I knew I would need to step back from our current (and 5+ year old) homeschooling routine and materials for a time- new babies are hard work! But my love of the library and the idea of a library-based journal that incorporated library-learning made me give it a go. It was a 60 day journal, and I thought I would be “all better” by the end of it, and we could resume our same old homeschooling routine.

I quickly realized that the Library journal would not work the way I intended. I reached out to you for ideas, and you – in a way I never expected – changed our lives. You responded with with an earnest desire to help my family. You changed our curriculum completely- not just the materials but the time as well. In our email correspondence you addressed some issues regarding where I had placed our chores during the school day (I had them at the beginning, you suggested putting them at the end), rotating subjects between days (giving the kids a chance to look forward to their favorite ones), and using *time* as the measure instead of number of pages- in a desire to enhance the quality of their work and cut down on rushing. You created an entire curriculum plan, and you provided the means for us to try it.

It has now been a year.

We used your method. I incorporated the changes and materials and we just did it. I am going to admit something- I didn’t really expect much to happen. I mean, the materials are SO adorable, surely they wouldn’t be as effective as my much-more-expensive textbooks. I also didn’t expect much by making the curriculum changes you suggested. How could moving chores to the end of the day help? I mean, in theory it may help, but won’t the quality of the cores suffer, or wont it throw off the entire day? If they are doing something for a set time instead of a set number of pages, surely that would just make them do less and get more sloppy, right? But because you had been so generous, you worked with me on such a personal level, and you have so many children of your own, (and maybe because I had a new baby and the recovery was the most difficult of any of my 4 children…) I decided to completely go with your suggestions. I figured I would give it a few months while I recovered.

I can say, without ANY exaggeration- this has been the BEST year of homeschooling EVER. My spouse and all of my children would agree- hands down!!! In fact, homeschooling and the atmosphere of learning changed so greatly that my then-3-year-old begged to start homeschool kindergarten so she could spend more time doing homeschool activities too! We allowed her to start and included her in our plan (modified to fit her level, of course) but now, a year later- she is STILL going strong in her education, and it is fueled with HER desire. Last year if you had told me I would have happily agreed to homeschool *3* eager little learners, I would have laughed!

I not only use your materials, I use the plan you outline on this post. The two are a PERFECT homeschooling match. This curriculum guide saved our school and our sanity. It brought peace back into our homes and our hearts! School is now something that is not feared, tolerated, or despised. No, school is seen as being FUN! The kids adapted to the change beautifully, and so did I. These “adorable” books have helped my children’s handwriting, reading, math, logic, critical thinking, note-taking, planning, science, and other skills SO greatly- an educator wouldn’t recognize them as being the same students. Moving chores to the end of the day made them stop rushing through school, as instead of looking ahead to play they only saw chores, so they saw the school as being more fun and focused more joyfully on their learning. That still baffles me- the chores are only 10-15 minutes, HOW can that make such a difference??! I don’t know- but it was a game changer in their attitudes!

Rotating the subjects instead of doing the same set daily was brilliant! The children no longer fear their least favorite subjects… in fact, they HAVE NO least favorite subjects!!! What!?! I know, right! HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?! I have no idea!!!! They voluntarily do math, reading, research, spelling- I mean, they actually CHOOSE it. Mind blowing! The final structural change was to use time blocks instead of pages. I seriously do not know how this works- but it does. I now have beautiful, brilliantly, carefully done schoolwork that makes my heart leap for joy, and makes them rush to me to show with pride. Pages that were once pencil only are now leaping with color- even from my eldest, who *never* liked to color or do any type of art. Miracle, I tell you.

I love the books. The books in this plan were SO perfect for this age!!! There are also SO many pages, and the workbooks are totally treasures we will keep to show the grandchildren! The Dyslexia games is fantastic. I love that we were able to easily print another set for my daughter to do- so she has her own “schoolbooks” too! What a totally perfect item for EVERY family!! I found myself asking if I could do a page here and there- there is something stimulating yet relaxing about them. They are truly a family favorite! None of us have Dyslexia, but we all benefit from your Dyslexia games!

Math Genius is brilliant- what a unique approach to math! The book passively teaches in such a fundamentally different way- at first I was not sure about replacing their old math program, but now see they have made HUGE leaps with this book!!! The book has had them voluntarily doing addition, subtraction, multiplication, division- but because they see it as building inventions, and they aren’t being drilled- they see this as FUN! This is truly a genius of a book!

Making Money. HOW PERFECT! Kids in the US are surrounded by materialism. One of the things on so many minds (of adults) in the US is money. This book is FANTASTIC. The book goes through various professions, and we researched (kids learning HOW to research without realizing it!) each job and wrote about them. The kids learned SO much about so many different professions, and I love that you incorporated such a diverse range of options- from laboratory research scientists to vloggers and dog walkers! BRILLIANT! There are sections that discuss amounts of education necessary as well- which passively gave the kids motivation to work harder in school. Seriously, this is a brilliant idea!

10 Subject Portfolio, oh how I love thee. Let me count the ways! 1) This thing is massive. GIANT. So many pages. What a super investment! 2) 10 subjects! This book is perfect for everything! 3) This book allows the kids space to journal, record, plan, and dream. This – in my opinion- should be a staple for all homeschooling families. It keeps everything all together in one beautiful book. 4) There is space where space is needed, and not when space is not. This book was designed perfectly for us. 5) In states where record keeping is necessary, here is ONE book that can do it perfectly- this makes record keeping easy and ideal!!!

Spelling- can kids learn spelling from a “Fun-School” book? Honestly I didn’t think so- but my kids loved your spelling books so much I wasn’t about to fight them on it. I figured we would finish out the spelling and go try the next thing (spelling was never one of our best subjects). A few weeks ago my son wrote a letter. In an ENTIRE page, he misspelled one word, and the word was phonetically written correctly (it was one of those strange English words that follows no rules whatsoever). I was shocked. Between his copywork, his find-words, his journals, notes, and your spelling books- his spelling had grown by leaps and bounds!!!! I no longer cringe when he has to write in front of other people, fearing I will be judged by his lack of spelling. Nope- he is a GOOD speller!!! How. Did. This. Happen? Answer: Your spelling books work. Shocked, but SO pleased. Spelling can be effective while being fun!!!

Thank you so much, Sarah. Thank you for taking the time to talk with me, and to troubleshoot my homeschooling. Thank you for creating these amazing homeschool tools, materials that allow young minds to flourish like I never thought possible. I am in tears of gratitude for your creative homeschooling approaches. I never thought such progress in my children was possible. I didn’t think such dedication and motivation was possible. I didn’t think “fun” schooling – for us- was possible. It IS!!!! THANK YOU!

*The Library journal is STILL one of my very favorites. When I say it wouldn’t work the way I intended, it was because I had serious flaws in my homeschooling approach. Flaws that your plan eliminated and which I had never been able to diagnose. Upon remedying the flaws, the Library Journal fit in perfectly and was used happily!!! (click here for THE PLAN)