Sarah’s Mom Tips: Don’t Fear a “Learning Gap”

Don’t be afraid of learning gaps.

Kids don’t need to learn everything.

Kids need to know HOW to learn what they need when they need it.

Sometimes we fear learning gaps, but if a child knows HOW to research there will be no permanent holes because the child will be capable of learning on the go.

There is no way to prepare a child for what life and the economy will look like when they are adults.

Today’s standardized education is already behind.

It is research skills, creativity, character and resourcefulness that will insure potential for successful adult life.

Thinking Tree focuses on life skills, thinking skills, planning skills, being innovative, being creative, being resourceful, great character development, having excellent research skills, reading and writing skills and a strong work ethic. These things are NOT usually part of a standardized curriculum plan. You may worry that your kids will not be on grade level; but the skills that matter most are often overlooked and undervalued.

Sarah’s Mom Tips: How to Triage

Triage: A process in which things are ranked in terms of importance or priority.

Being a mom of 15, I’ve learned a thing or two about triaging life for our kids. Play, chores, reading, quiet time, research, exploration…all of them are rearranged pretty fluidly for each child. Just as medical professionals triage their patients, evaluating their needs in terms of urgency and precedence, so we homeschooling moms are continually evaluating our kids and what their needs are not only educationally, but also emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Here are some tips that have worked well for us.

As you plan to Fun-School a child under 10, don’t feel like you need to do everything on your list every day.

Listen to your child and watch for what brings them joy -You will learn what subjects and topics your child is passionate about, and those are the ones you should do every day and spend more time on (if the child wants to spend extra time researching their favorite topics).

Many teachers focus the most on the child’s weakness and problem areas. I do not focus more than 20 minutes a day on the problem areas if the lesson or activity burns them out. If reading is a struggle, I use Dyslexia Games, but only 15 minutes a day – unless they want to do more. Usually they like Dyslexia Games, so it isn’t a struggle.

If math is a struggle, use games and calculators, and our book 100 Numbers.

If they seem confused when trying to learn math – stop using a memory approach and teach them the WHY and HOW of numbers. They may need time to mature to be able to grasp new concepts. Children need to understand, not just memorize.

Make a lot of time for play, curiosity and discovery.

Children who are entertained constantly, over scheduled, or are addicted to gaming have a lot of issues. You can avoid MANY problems by making sure your child has time to use their imagination and PLAY without constant electronic stimulation. Kids often opt to be entertained. Boredom is okay and leads to innovation!

Healthy children often can’t sit still for more than 20 minutes at a time. They are wiggly by design, children need to move their bodies while learning.

If there is a topic or book that you want to use that they don’t enjoy, you can let it go OR do the work together OR you do it while the child watches you do it.

Make sure your child watches you write – in print and cursive. That’s what the Mom-School books are for.

Feel free to use audio books in place of reading, so the child can learn on a higher level.

Throw out anything that makes your child miserable when trying to learn. Try the fun and joyful methods. If there is no fun and joyful way to learn, you may be dealing with a maturity issue.

Kids on sugar may seem crazy and out of control.

Kids who do not sleep enough may seem moody and out of control.

Kids who see adults fighting or are exposed to violence on games and movies may seem depressed and unmotivated to learn.

Kids who text all night are often lazy all day. Is your child sleeping with a phone?

Find your child’s passion, and feed it.

It is good for kids to learn to research. Research is an awesome skill, that is learned best when a child studies their passion.

Some of most important things to teach your children involve:

1. Reading

2. Research

3. Relationships

4. Responsibility

5. Resourcefulness

6. Rest & Reflection

Put first things first. Outline your goals for each child and help them grow in the things that really matter.

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.

Sarah’s Mom Tips: “Important” vs. “Necessary”

This is a very handy tool for mothers.

Just TWO simple definitions:

The problem with being a homeschooling mom is that we feel so driven to accomplish the things that are defined as “Necessary” that we often push the “Important” things off our plates and procrastinate.

We MUST focus some of our time and energy on the things that are important, and therein you will find JOY!

If your life revolves around doing the things that you “HAVE TO GET DONE OR ELSE!” your life will be full of stress and anxiety and this feeling that you are doing SO MUCH but you don’t have time for what matters.

So often the “Necessary” things wear us out and keep stacking up. Tell me what is SO important about the IMPORTANT things and why is it NECESSARY to focus on the IMPORTANT THINGS TOO?

“Don’t sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate”–good words to consider when weighing this question. Ultimately, what is the lasting thing that I should invest in with my energy and focus?

One important thing? Self care. Your making self care a priority teaches them to do the same.

Sarah’s Survival Tips!

Bad Days. We all have them.

Here are some ideas for how I try to turn a bad day into a good day.

1. Turn on “Just Dance” for the kids on YouTube.

2. Don’t try to do school as planned. Find a funny way to repurpose a page in a workbook or Fun-Schooling Journal. Let your kids turn the Nature Study page into a Zombie Study page.

3. Take a break from everything that is stressing anyone out.

4. Get out of the house, with or without kids. Preferably without. Haha!

5. Get out a board game or UNO. If you want the older kids to be busy for a long time offer a nice prize to the winner of the Monopoly game.

6. Turn on Secret Garden – White Stones.

7. Assign each big kid to play with each little kid, and escape.

8. Let the kids bake something.

9. Light candles and ask one of the older girls to make tea for two.

10. Sit in the corner and cry. And then find the chocolate. And then color in a Mom-School Journal.

12. Read a blog post by an inspiring person, like deeprootsathome.com

13. Ask husband to take a bunch of kids to a park. (If you are a single mom, reach out to grandparents or fellow mom friends for a swap play date…and then return the favor!)

14. Get everyone outside for Nature Study.

15. Make an early dinner.

16. Tell the kids that we will have a movie night if they get the house clean, and turn on the happy music while they work.

17. Snuggle on the couch with littles and read Goodnight Moon. Or read “Christian Heroes – Then & Now” in the living room while kids work in their Fun-Schooling journals.

18. Send a group of older kids to the corner market to get ice cream for everyone.

19. Figure out how to turn tonight into a date night.

20. If all else fails, ask husband to put the kids to bed early. Then clean your room really nice, set out a treat, light a candle, turn on peaceful music, ask husband to bring the wine, lattes, or fresh squeezed orange juice. Be sure to sweetly ask husband to get the kids to bed while while you take a long hot shower. In this case HE WILL do what it takes to get the kids to bed early!

What works for YOU? Share in the comments!

Best Tip for Busy, Unromantic Moms

I have 15 kids and own a Publishing Company. I’m busy!

But not too busy for investing in marriage! Here is a bit of advice that will light up your love life. I try to keep our bedroom as a peaceful and romantic retreat.

By making the bed every morning and not letting our nest become a laundry pile or stowaway zone… we can have a place of relaxation and comfort at the beginning and ending of each day. Store laundry and kid-junk somewhere else. Sweep and vacuum often.

Only keep what inspires peace and delight in your special place.

Moms, make your room as uncluttered and beautiful as can be; you will be much more in the mood to enjoy your space with your husband if it’s pretty.

Even if the whole house is a kid-mess, make your room amazing. This room should be a first priority, but most woman make it the last. It’s easier to just shut the door.

Husbands will be more peaceful and content with the condition of the whole home, if he can count on the bedroom being a place of rest and romance.

Don’t let your bedroom become the place where all the junk is tossed when we clean the rest of the house. Make it beautiful today. You will find so much peace in this. When you go to a beautiful room at the end of the day, you might even feel like your work is done because your room speaks beauty and rest to your heart and mind.

Your might actually feel more romantic at the end if the day if your room is a place or peace. At the end of the day turn on peaceful music, light a candle, and enjoy the evening.

Fun-Schooling 101: Counting the Cost

If we look strictly at the “ledger”, comparing the costs of pubic education to a Fun-Schooling education, there are lots of things to consider.

First, it is of interest to note this statement:

…per pupil spending for elementary and secondary public education (pre-K through 12th grade) for all 50 states and the District of Columbia increased by 5.0% to $13,187 per pupil during the 2019 fiscal year…public elementary and secondary schools received $751.7 billion from all revenue sources, up 4.5% from $719.0 billion in 2018.

https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2021/public-school-spending-per-pupil.html

Public schooling is big business, and each time a parent decides to homeschool their child, part of their revenue is lost.

Practically speaking, the costs for sending your child to receive a “free public education” are considerable. Lists of required school supplies are now provided to each parent. There are expenditures for lunches, activity fees, extracurricular supplies, uniforms and athletics fees, field trips, technology and textbook fees, and more.

Families will pay an average of $577 on supplies for elementary students this year, which marks a 5.3% increase over last year. Those with middle school students can plan on paying an average of $763 and high school students can expect to spend around $1,223 on supplies. Those figures mark 5.3% and 9.5% increases, respectively.

https://www.publicschoolreview.com/blog/the-hidden-costs-of-public-education

And most importantly, there is the “cost” of your child’s innocence while being exposed to many social and political agendas. There is the “cost” of their having an understanding of their true worth and establishing their identity in light of things that are lasting and eternal instead of in standardized test scores and the attainment of artificial “bench marks”. There is also the “cost” of being taught a humanistic philosophy, a skewed account of history, and science which eliminates the role of the Creator of all things and Master of all laws of nature. Indeed, God is subtracted from all aspects of their “education” for about seven hours each week day. Seven. Hours. (continued on Page 2)

Fun-Schooling 101: Transitioning from Public School

I started out in the public school system. I failed third grade because I couldn’t really read, and couldn’t memorize math facts. I guess I turned out okay. I was always failing when I was in public school. When I was nine, I understood one thing–I was not as smart as all the other kids my age. I was being measured by a standard that totally ignored my strengths, and revolved around my immaturity and learning delays.

I’m the girl who could not handle structured schooling. It’s because I’m too much of a leader. In the 1980s, when I was in school, it was common for girls to be more easily manipulated by an authoritative system. It was expected of girls to give in, and learn in silence.

Traditional school works so hard to create submissive students. It crushes leaders.

Many boys are also natural leaders and don’t submit quickly to a authoritative system. It’s actually a good quality! Many kids, like me, resist submission, more and more these days. But schools tend to squelch individuality.

Schools don’t raise up leaders. We often are trying to push our kids into submissive learning, and that’s the main idea of socialized public schools. Get all kids to conform, make them good employees and obedient citizens. What are they trying to REALLY do? Create a population that doesn’t ask hard questions.

Fun-Schooling is a very joyful way to homeschool. We engage in fun research and logic based learning quests that focus on the individual child’s strengths, talents, career dreams, faith, family values and nature exploration. Kids learn through projects and journaling, with library books and educational videos! Much of the learning is focused on doing unit studies revolving around the child’s passion. There are Fun-Schooling Journals that focus on lots of different topics and subjects that kids love, like horses, travel, baking, gardening, survival, nature, art, writing and so much more. You don’t need “more curriculum” just any stack of books that you and the kids enjoy today along with the journals. Or just get Fun-Schooling Math, Fun-Schooling Spelling, and Fun-Schooling Nature Study and Geography. You will not need to use other materials to make this way of doing it complete. Look at our bundles here.

Click here to learn about how to Flip to Fun-Schooling!

THINKING moms want to nurture THINKERS and LEADERS. May your homeschooling style reflect the truest of your values and the most precious of your goals.

Sarah’s Mom Tips: Learn This Poem!

Getting started with Fun-Schooling? Here’s one important tip:

For every element of FUN that you ADD you must take away something that is boring, or irrelevant or frustrating to you or your child. Just adding Fun-Schooling can feel like eating dessert too quickly after getting over-stuffed with a triple plate of Chinese food. You are going to love Fun-Schooling, it can bring so much peace, joy and delight to your days. 🙂

Don’t forget Mom-School, being an example is your most powerful tool as a homeschool mom.

Memorize this poem…

“For each new element of FUN

Something DULL must be undone!”

Never Judge a Child by His Ability to Sit Still and Be Quiet!

Do you have a child who can’t sit still and be quiet? GOOD!  This may be a problem at school, but not in the real world. In today’s world you need a little ADHD just to get by.We must NEVER judge a child by his ability to be passive.  Passive children often turn into passive adults, and that is a problem.  Did you know that classrooms and desks were invented for the convenience of teachers, not for the best interests of the child? 

Every child development specialist (and wise parent) knows that children need lots of time to play, imagine and invent. Children NEED to learn about the world around them by asking questions and experimenting. Children are naturally ACTIVE, ENERGETIC, IMAGINATIVE, CREATIVE, and NOISY.  They were NEVER meant to sit still for hours on end and be passive.  Why train up a generation of couch potatoes?  Children were designed to learn through PLAY, DISCOVERY and by IMITATING their parents and the people around them.  Do you realize that your child was smart enough to figure out how to walk, sing, turn on the computer, and learn a language by age two and a half?  With NO lessons!  He wanted to be like you, so he figured it out on his own.  How is it that we live in a society where passive children are rewarded, but creative and active children are punished.  Real life does not work this way.  Not anymore.

 Contemporary schooling is all about controlling the child and training him to be a good student.  A good student is expected to be silent, to stop asking questions, and to stop being active.   The highest praise goes to the students who can follow a teacher’s instructions… instead of their own hearts.  The applaud goes to the child who can fill in the blank and memorize facts, not to the child who would prefer to explore his own interests.  

Why? Because schools are designed to train people for institutional jobs. Schools were invented during the industrial revolution, at a time when the best job you could get was in a factory.  Schools follow a model that require individuals to let go of all of their individuality.  The child is trained from a young age to be a good employee who will work for the boss, no questions asked.  the goal is to train them to complete assignments and be dependent on an authority figure to control the their time and activities. 

During the 20th century almost all parents expected children to get a good education and a good job.  The good education was expected to be the golden ticket to a good job.  All the parent had to do was put the kid on the big yellow bus, no worries.  The government would take care of everything, mom and dad could go to work, junior would spend all day in a nice school and get educated for free.  The world has changed.  People who want to live the “good life” are no longer finding good jobs.  Many highly educated people are living on unemployment or living with mom at age 35.  Many people who own businesses are no longer looking for employees, taxes are high, risk is high, minimum wage is more than they want to pay, minimum wage is less than an educated person is willing to work for anyway.   (click Page 2 below to continue reading)