Who They Were Meant To Be

My girls were busy painting yesterday. Rachel, 19, did the one with the yellow background. Susie, 16, did the one with the green background. This is Susie’s first oil painting.

I’m in awe of their giftings, but it’s not just raw talent. The girls have devoted thousands of hours to growing in their artistic skills. Both decided to major in the fine arts while homeschooling. The process of finding who they were meant to be includes all of this.

I don’t know who you were made to be

But I will trust in the One who gave you to me

Because every child is a promise and a mystery

And every little smile shows us what is meant to be

As you play and dream and just have fun

I stand in wonder of the life that has begun

As you laugh and sing, jump and run

I stand in wonder of who you will become

Little hints of genius and artful poetry

You awaken promises and dance with mystery

I watch, I wait, I wonder, as I give you liberty

Just be you, as you become, who you were made to be.

Freedom, and patience, and grace always rising

Can I capture this moment, as I’m realizing

That you’re only mine for a matter of time

As your story unfolds and your light now shines

I’ll hold you close, I’ll hold your hand, and I’ll set you free

To be, everything that you were made to be

Because every child is a promise and a mystery

And every little smile shows us what is meant to be

For my children – By: Sarah Janisse Brown

Become a Facilitator!

Taken from a 2018 Facebook post…almost exactly 4 years ago…still so much here to encourage parents!

I have found that with Fun-Schooling, or Delight Directed Learning, and intentional unschooling, many children rise to a much higher level of focused learning and accomplishment… sooner than kids in school, and seem to be ready to start their careers at much younger ages. I notice that by about age 14, once they get through the “brain dead stage” the young adult is ready to start trying out their careers in the real world from the safety and support of home. It’s no longer about LEARNING, but DOING!

Let me explain:

When my oldest son was 16 he scared me. He said, “Mom I want to study music, film and create documentaries, be a sound engineer, do voice acting and a little bit of publishing. I don’t want to do any math that is not related to my goals…”

He was sort of asking permission, and sort of letting me know he was ready to take charge of his life, mind, learning and goals.

So, I did all I could to equip him to reach HIS goals and I let go of mine. He spent two years (at home) focused on the things he needed to become great in HIS field, not some random set of educational goals drawn out in 1955 (or whatever) by people who wanted more obedient citizens and good employees in the workforce.

Once a young man or woman has their heart and mind set on what he or she wants to become, get everything out of the way that could be a distraction. Empower him or her with every tool they need to become the best at what they want to do. If what they want to do requires college, they will be motivated to study for that track and build a portfolio. If they want to start a business or trade, they can just do it.

What if he had the option of dropping everything else and focusing entirely on being an expert in Social Media Marketing and Travel Vlogging? Just think of all the debt he can avoid if he builds a business now, rather than paying for a degree.

I set my son free and told him that if he decided later that he needed college he would be entirely responsible for all the entrance requirements, and I washed my hands of it. He is no longer one bit my responsibility. I put his education into his hands at 16. He was able to start doing everything he wanted to do with his life. And he did it well. He did it without distraction. He did it without me forcing him to take calculus and biology. He had two full years of living at home and starting his career before needing to have an income to support himself… and future family.

He’s enjoyed his life on his own, and now with his wife, and is just fine at generating income, he has no debt. He is a traveler and volunteer, does music, film making, and makes stupid Jazz Memes. He and his wife are happy, and when they needed more income they did what they needed to do, and fell back on the skills that make money.

Parented, directed education ends when the child knows that they want to become and is willing to start doing it. At that point we become facilitators.

I have older children now that are no longer “schooling” and have already embraced their own futures and are living them out. They are not just preparing to “someday” become something. They have all started their careers and are actively working at becoming great, while still at home. I know that my teens need time to perfect their skills, and now they may be only earning a few hundred dollars a week at their trades, but it is something, and they can learn to reinvest it. At this time they don’t need to put that money into rent and food, so a little becomes a lot. Imagine having $300 a week, no expenses and no debt! How would you use or invest that money? Mine put it back into their trades and invested in their own businesses. At times some of my kids have made hundreds of dollars per day. They are not bogged down by education, they are DOING their dreams now, and doing it from home.

I respond to their needs so that nothing will hold them back. My daughter seemed to have one or two big clients coming to the island every week to do photography with her because she was so good. She made her work affordable and was attracting many new clients, and she’s nice and showed up on time, even without a car.

My other two spent time in many different parts of the world doing music professionally, and were overseeing a recording project that about 30 – 40 music artists were working on. It was so good that some very well known musicians got involved and contributed to the work. My daughter Rachel taught harmony parts to people who have graduated from theater and music school. My kids are confident and don’t feel limited.

I really believe that when a child is ready to become who they want to be, they are willing to pour their hearts, minds, energy and effort into that passion. I am becoming more and more fearless as I trust the way my children were designed, as all children, to thrive. Every one of them works hard to learn everything they need to do their meaningful work very very well, and I am not going to fight it, I’m going to encourage it, and get all the nonsense out of the way.

If any one my kids decided that they do want to go to college and need high school credits, I’ll work with them to get it done, I’ll buy the books and sign them up for online courses, send them to a tutor… but the motivation, responsibility, results, and work is THEIRS.

Do You Have a Super-Creator?

Two of my kids are Super-Creators. They seem incapable of learning anything directed by another person, unless they need the information to help them in their creative pursuit.

SUPER-CREATORS have a powerful mental image of what they want to create and their life quest is to create it. Anything that gets in the way of the creative process turns into a struggle and is seen as a threat to the Super-Creator’s quest. Some have projects that will be completed in a day, while some take years and never lose focus.

They imagine the end result in great detail, and they seem to work backwards to bring the concept into reality to match the vision. Often the imagined creation is something far beyond their skills and abilities. If they are leaders, they will enlist others to fill in their gaps or show them how to overcome obstacles. They are not intimidated by the dream as long as they feel supported.

Super-Creators have no time or energy for anything they feel is irrelevant to their quest. They are very focused on the task and very distracted and even slothful when a parent or teacher tries to divert their attention. If the parent gets on board with the project and just responds to the needs of the child… and does not try to take over…results can be out of this world!

We have a habit in our culture of trying to make Super-Creators into respectful and obedient students, thinking we are teaching “discipline”, and we destroy who God created them to be. Super-Creators are rare and, if you have one, consider yourself to be entrusted with a rainbow unicorn!

Who else has a Super-Creator?

What questions do you have? What victories have you experienced?

Here are some journals to help inspire your Super-Creator!

Raising Employees?

Joe does passion-based homeschooling. He is in charge of his education and uses Fun-Schooling Journals, Tuttle Twins Books and a lot of Usborne books.

Real life has no instructions. All children grow into adults who encounter situations and opportunities where no one explains what to do. We want our children to think and be innovative. Almost all normal schoolwork is based on following instructions and memorizing information. At our house we don’t do that.

When I created all of my homeschooling books I created them for my kids. I am specifically designing a method of learning to inspire thinking, problem solving and innovation. Because my kids have dyslexia and Asperger’s (like me), we are not going to follow a normal path. My kids would never make good employees so I don’t expect any of my children to be employees. I expect them all to have an awesome work ethic and to be business owners and managers of their own families and homes. The public system is training millions of children to be employees – who have a very watered down work ethic. I would never choose to hire common core kids. That’s not our goal, so we are traveling a unique path. Each child is unique and so we focus on their gifts and interests.

Now, they will learn to be good workers because I am giving them all opportunities to learn by working in the home and the family business, and they serve with missionaries and in church. When they volunteer, they really shine.

I never actually expected so many other people jump in and use my books, but I think that your children will really be blessed and your families will enjoy homeschooling with these methods.

I wasn’t creating school books that will help the children to fit into a mold that prepares them for “higher education”. SORRY! My goal is for my children to be innovative business owners with steady incomes by age 20, who do not need “higher education or an extended adolescence” to prepare for real life. If your child needs that, go for it! No shame! It’s all good! We need all kinds of people in the world. Just don’t plan your child’s education based on an antiquated view of what education should be.

Knowing our goals, I try not to waste my children’s time, brain space, and energy on schoolwork that doesn’t prepare them for real life. I am a bit of a rebel, and sometimes I worry that my kids might miss something… but they are proving me wrong. Whenever my teens need to learn something simple or complex, they get it done! They rarely ask for help anymore (unless they are trying to open a bank account, need a new computer, need an investor, or are filling out forms to become Amazon Associates).

Our kids are all excelling in their own way, developing their own talents and starting their own businesses – often before I even have a chance to show them how. They all have strong faith and family values.

One thing I have them do is read popular adult level books on marketing, business, and leadership. I also have them building websites and creating real books at a young age – check out our “Notebooks for Creative People” on Amazon. We don’t use textbooks, we always use well-written and interesting REAL books by passionate experts on every subject we want to study. We don’t just unschool, (though it works on many levels) because I really want to pass on my favorite books, family values, faith and traditions.

Sometimes I wonder what will become of all these creative thinkers and innovative children who adore my books. I would like to know what your children are passionate about, and how you are helping them to learn!

Sarah’s Mom Tips: Is Math Your Homeschool Nemesis?

🧐The PROBLEM with math is that the way it is normally taught! Conventional math lessons are boring, hard to understand, seem irrelevant to real life, and are no fun. 😔

😉My books are like a reset button, kind of like comfort therapy. 😌

My math books are not designed to prepare your child to take a standardized test. Instead they bring math concepts down to earth.

My books make math practical, fun, creative, useful, and easy to apply to real life problems and projects.

What I do is have my children learn basic math with Fun-Schooling Books, and real life projects involving MONEY, time, calculating, and measurements. They become very confident and unintimidated by math. They don’t see it as a subject, but as a super valuable skill for getting things done.

If I were you and wanted to raise kids to be able to confidently use real math in real life… Work through the Thinking Tree Books, then add the math you need for testing, credits or grade level learning.

I would suggest Khan Academy, Life of Fred, Math-U-See, Prodigy…

My kids focus on learning the math that is relevant to their career goals.

Teen Boys: What’s a Homeschool Mom to Do?

(In this post, we’ll go back in time to a Facebook post from 2015 and look at the model we followed (and still do) for homeschooling our teens. Sometimes it helps to see what it “looks like”!)

People often ask me what I do with my teens for school.  Here is a question that must be answered to start going in the right direction:

If you knew what your child was going to be when he (or she) grows up what kind of education would you provide?

Public educators expect kids to choose a “minor and major” when they go to college.  I expect my kids to study specific “minors and a major” starting in elementary school, and getting very serious at age 13.  For their 13th birthday we have a themed party based on their “career dreams” at the time.  Isaac wanted to be a chef at age 13, Anna wanted to be a baker, Estera wanted to be a photographer.  So you can imagine their parties!

Isaac, age 14

This is what my 16 year old son is studying this year–everything is relevant to his life and goals:

#1 Creative Online Marketing

#2 Publishing

#3 Personal Money Management

#4 Project Management (He is building a Minecraft server for homeschoolers with a history and inventions theme. He has a couple nerds working for him.)

#5 Music & Video Production (click here to see a documentary video he created!)

#6 Cats – He wants to breed and sell show cats, and make coloring books, an online community and a website for cat lovers.

#7 Bible, Missions, Evangelism and Teaching Students

#8 History (This is his passion, he loves Uncle Eric Books)

#9 Family, Relationships – Preparation for being a dad and husband.  He jokes about how taking care of his cats is prep for parenting, and he does want to get married and have a family of his own, and he knows that he will need to provide for that family.

#10 Cooking – in the past he wanted to be a chef, so we spent a couple years to help him train, he had two jobs as a personal chef at age 14 and 15.  Now he isn’t as interested, but could easily get a job as a chef at any point, and has great references. We invested a lot of time and resources in his previous passion for cooking – now he doesn’t want to be a cook.  Was that a waste of investment?  NO!  His family will be thankful, and he has something to fall back on… and he’s only 16.  The boy has skills. 

#11 Voice Acting.. Why not? Someone has to do it!

As you can see he has no time for a typical learning plan. We don’t do any formal math just practical math.  I am not worried about higher education, credits, testing, college.  He isn’t going to need a diploma to get a job.  He will be an entrepreneur; he will be the one hiring.  I have talked to him about higher education and the things he would need to do to take that path in the future. He knows that if he wants to go to college later he can prepare for the testing on his own and do it. He has plenty of time for hobbies and is very good at sports.

I started allowing my children to choose majors and minor when Anna (my 1st dyslexic child) was seven. She couldn’t read and write, so art, gardening and cooking were everything for two years until I invented Dyslexia Games

When people ask me about homeschooling and what the kids are doing I might talk might sound like I am talking about a college student, not a 7 year old.

I am not at all worried about higher education, I start giving them a higher education at age 13.

What would each of your children like to major in this year if they had the choice?

If your child wants to be an artist and mommy – take her seriously! Help her to become the best artist and mommy ever! That’s what I wanted to be my whole life… and that is what I have become.

Today, our son is 23, married, finishing Bible College this May, and is a composer. He’s running a recording studio as well. He has been supporting himself for five years.

Our son Isaac and his beautiful wife, Margarita

Transitioning Toward Adult Life

Here are some books that are very important for my 12 to 15 year-olds.  At this age, we are transitioning them from mainly studying what they love, to requiring some things that we believe they really need to master, to do well in adult life.

They will study their preferred majors and minors most of the time, but at least once a week, they need to spend a couple hours with some of these books.

At ages 12 to 15 I want my children to study leadership, economics and grammar while I expose them to many options for a future calling or career.  If they already have chosen an occupation, we get specific. For example, you can’t just major in horses. You need to choose one or two horse-related career options to train in.  You can’t just focus on general photography. You need a specific market. You can’t just major in the Arts. You need to focus your skill building in one main area, maybe two…like producing a musical. You can’t just keep playing around with lots of different artistic mediums, you need to master the one you love the most.

By age 14, they need to make a serious choice about what calling or career they want to pursue so we can focus on training, gaining experience, skills, providing equipment, volunteering or internships in the area they choose.

From age 14 to 18 we will help them turn their dream into an income source, or help them get involved with others who are living out the calling they want to pursue. They will gain 4 years of practical experience in the field. I will also ONLY require them to learn the math specialized to their future occupation.  If they change careers, they will have something to fall back on. And, they might just have a source of passive income to help them take the next step.

Why Do We Homeschool?

homeschool learning requires no desk

We love homeschooling because it gives us the freedom to customize each child’s education according to their strengths, weaknesses, interests, talents, needs, aspirations, hobbies, individual life callings, disabilities & careers plans. Not only that, it gives the family freedom to travel, see the world and put our family first. We can spend our days learning and living as a family.

Education is not the highest priority in the life of our family–love is. We don’t want school to be the main focus of the child’s life during these precious years of childhood. We want each child to have time to experience all the joys of growing up with freedom to play, explore, and learn through real life.

Because we homeschool, learning happens naturally in real life. In normal school kids learn how to live on paper, or on a computer, before applying that knowledge to real life.

Much of what kids learn in school is now irrelevant to real life. With homeschooling we allow learning to happen first in real life, and if needed we apply that learning to paper so the child can master the knowledge and research it further. When a child discovers their dreams, their callings or their desires to start a career, the training can begin…NOW.

Our children learn through Thinking Tree Books, YouTube, books they choose on Amazon, the library, and so much more. They spend lots of time traveling, volunteering, playing, creating, and engaging in music projects, art projects, animal care and research.

Thinking Tree Journals allow us to create beautiful portfolios of each child’s work and research to document their eclectic learning journeys.

Giving Your Children the Gift of Time

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These paintings are by my daughter Rachel, age 16. How did she get so good? How can you help your children develop their talents at a young age?

Give your children the gift of TIME, and invest in their passions.

One beautiful thing about being home with our families is the chance we have to let our children totally immerse in their passions. Embrace the unique opportunity of TODAY. Because of Covid-19 we are all living more home-centered lives. Let this extra time at home be a time in your family when talents bloom and grow.

1. Chill. Stop pushing them in the direction you want them to go in.  Let go of anything, including irrelevant schoolwork, that stresses your children, or brings contention between you and your children. Stop focusing on the child’s weaknesses and total invest in their gifts instead. Let your child focus on becoming who they want to become. Take your child’s hobbies and interests seriously.

2. Allow Boredom. We don’t need to entertain our children. We need to empower them. What an incredible opportunity we have to set aside all the clutter, business, non-essentials and immerse in our talents. Let your children become bored without immediately feeding their boredom with a screen, an activity, a plan, a game, or worksheets. Let them learn to muse, have ideas, become thinkers, inventors, artists, dreamers and creators.

3. Give. When your child shows interest in something, give them the time they need to explore that interest. If possible provide books, tutorials and supplies to help them learn more. Let them go beyond learning about it to actually DOING it themselves.

4. Leave them alone. When you see that your child is truly immerses in their passion, don’t interrupt them. To become great at anything a person needs to get into the FLOW. They need to lose themselves in their passion while they work on their project. It’s like they are in another world. They can focus deeply and pour their mind and imagination into learning and creating. When your child is in the FLOW and totally losing track of time, really focused, that’s when talent is taking over. Respect your child’s focus.

5. Celebrate their work. Don’t expect perfection to develop quickly. Praise progress, creativity, and focus. Display their work in the home and on social media. Show others how proud you are of your child’s efforts and talents.

In our normal rushed and busy life children are burdened with so many things they must do. Let it all fall away, and let them become who the were meant to be.

Fun-Schooling for High School Credit

Parents often feel overwhelmed homeschooling high school and assigning credits. Remember, homeschoolers have a lot of flexibility. You don’t have to “school at home.” Your teen is preparing to launch into the world and doesn’t need to sit in a classroom with boring textbooks to thrive! Below is guidance on credits and some options for planning the high school years.

Remember-

Each country and state has different legal requirements. These suggestions should meet the requirements of most places. Please verify requirements where you live.

The HSLDA or your local homeschool support organization are good resources. Check to see if your area requires detailed record-keeping, transcripts, portfolios, testing, evaluation by a certified teacher, or any other records. Some states require in-depth and detailed transcripts while others are very laid back.

HIGH SCHOOL CREDITS

Most states require 15-25 credits for High School Graduation. For example:

Language Arts/English: 4 credits
Math: 3 credits
Science: 3 credits
Social Studies (U..S History): 1 credit
Social Studies (Any other Social Studies): 1 credit
Electives (physical education, home economics, foreign language, music, etc): 9 credits

Total: 21 credits

College-bound students will need a more specific record of courses based on their desired University requirements. The University admissions department will provide those details.

For example, specific science credits needed might be: Biology, Chemistry, Physics, & a Science Elective.
Social Studies might be: U.S. History, World History, American Government .5/Economics .5, Social Studies elective.

College-bound students will also need grades assigned to each completed credit.
Some areas require a more detailed description of courses taken. This can be anything from a short sentence to an entire portfolio of completed work. This is why it’s important to understand your regional laws.

How much work equals one credit?

In most places is 120 hours = 1 credit.
This is time working on journals as well as projects, field trips, interviews, etc. An easy way to track time is for your teen to write the start and end times when they work in a journal. This will also give you an idea of how much time is spent on that subject.

If you don’t have to track time, Fun-Schoolers usually give shorter single-subject journals ½ credit, longer single-subject journals 1 credit, and completed core journals 3-5 credits depending on their size. (click Page 2 to learn about selecting journals and assigning credits with Fun-Schooling)