Everything You Always Wanted to Ask About Fun-Schooling!

 

What do I need to Fun-School besides journals?
Some- especially math and spelling- are open and go with nothing other than writing and coloring utensils needed. Others need library books, podcasts/documentaries, music, and other research materials. You can include games, craft projects, and other activities on the subject(s) your child is studying if you’d like but they’re not required to Fun-School.

 How many pages per day should students complete?
We suggest the same number of pages per day as your child’s age. For example, a 10-year-old would complete 10 pages per day in a core journal. Or they might complete 2 pages in a math journal, 2 pages of spelling, 2 pages of nature study, 2 pages history, and 2 pages Bible. A page is one single side of paper, not both sides. 


What should I do if there isn’t a journal for what my student wants to study?
While many of our journals are themed, we have dozens of journals that can be used to study anything. The seasonal core journals are especially popular, any core journal can be used along with books and documentaries/podcasts on the subject your child wants to study. Master Class- 30 Day Portfolio is another option to study anything your child wants. 

What are Learning Languages?

Learning Languages are five unique learning styles.  Think of these as like The Five Love Languages. The Languages are Creator, Detective, Explorer, Friend, and Follower. You’ll find more info here.  These can be helpful in selecting journals and troubleshooting issues in your homeschool. 

 What are Dyslexia Games?

Dyslexia Games is our one-of-a-kind Language Arts curriculum.  It’s excellent for all students as it helps build problem-solving, creative thinking, right/left brain integration and more.  Children with Dyslexia, Aspergers, ADHD/ADD and Autism especially benefit.  

You can find more information in this document. 

 Can you help me with record keeping and compliance?

Laws vary by state/country as to what records and subjects are required.  We are happy to offer suggestions, you need to verify they are compliant with your local laws. Many families choose to use the 10 Subject Portfolio or the 12 Subject Portfolio for record-keeping.  The HSLDA is a great source for homeschool compliance information by state.

What about High School Credits?
We have a comprehensive guide to Fun-Schooling High School here

 Can I purchase materials with charter funds? 

Yes! Most charter schools allow you to use your charter school funds for Fun-Schooling materials.  Find more information here. We also put together the bundles with Charter Schools in mind. 

 How do I schedule a school day with these materials?
We are happy to help you with a plan and offer suggestions.  Our bundles come with a suggested lesson plan for your schedule.  PM us here or email us here for help.  You’ll find lots of sample schedules by searching for “schedule” or “scheduling” here in the group.  

Some families use only a core journal while others use multiple journals per day. The beauty of Fun-Schooling is you can adapt to what works best for your family! There are thousands of Fun-Schoolers and no two families have the same schedule.

Here are a few popular options for scheduling but you can truly do whatever works best for your family-

(This mentions loop scheduling. In case you’re not familiar with a loop schedule- stack up all your “loop” journals up. Whatever is on the top is what you start with. No need to assign certain journals to certain days or worry about a specific schedule. When you’re done w/ the journal for the day, it goes on the bottom of the pile.)

Option 1-Pure loop- Stick everything in a pile- including the core journal. Let your child decide how many pages to complete in each journal as they work their way through the loop. Some days they may decide to do all pages in one journal. On other days they may decide to do a few pages from each journal. This is the most child-led and relaxed method.

Option 2-  Half pages per day from a core journal. Half pages per day from 2-4 loop journals. 

Option 3- Rotate core day/ single subject journals day. For example, Monday they would do all pages/day in her core. Tuesday would be 2+ single subject journals. Wednesday would be all pages in the core again. Etc.

Option 4- Half pages from a core journal, and the rest of the pages from only one single subject journal. Stick with this single subject journal until it is done and move on to a new one once it’s done. 

You can also look at our bundles – they all have suggested lesson plans in the bundle description. Look at the bundle that’s closest to your child’s grade level and you can plan in the same way as our lesson plan with the journals that you already have. https://www.funschooling.com/all-curriculum-bundles

Fun-Schooling FAQ: Proceeding, Picking, Programs & Peeking!

Fun-Schooling Journals

First of all, remember, there is no wrong way to Fun-School. We have thousands of Fun-Schooling families and every home is different. Your homeschool schedule, materials, and plans are uniquely yours. These are general suggestions but tinker to make it your own!

Proceed! 

How do I get started Fun-Schooling?
Check out this post first and/or watch this video. This post on the Facebook group will also help.

Next, read through this blog post, and the upcoming Part 2!  

Last, PM us here or email us here if you need more help selecting journals or have other questions.

Our bundles are the easiest way to get started. Bundles come with a suggested lesson plan in the bundle description and are the most “open and go” method. https://www.funschooling.com/all-curriculum-bundles

Picking 

How do I select journals?

There are several ways to choose journals:

  • Look on our website
    • You can view journals based on grade level, academic subject, and theme/interest.  
    • Choose a bundle to cover all the basic subjects for an entire school year, complete with lesson plans! 

Programs

What programs are available?
We have four programs:

Fun-schooling Books https://www.funschooling.com/  

Dyslexia Games http://www.dyslexiagames.com/

Teach Yourself to Draw http://www.teachyourselftodraw.com/

Math Craft (Dyscalculia Therapy) https://www.funschooling.com/dyscalculia-games-math-craft

Fun-Schooling core journals cover eight to 20+ subjects in one. Subjects include the standard school subjects as well as unique subjects like nature study, classical literature, music, and more. Single-subject journals give students a chance to go more in-depth into a subject of their interest.

Peeking!

How do I see inside Journals?
Almost all our journals have flip-through videos on Amazon. They also are on YouTube, search the title of the journal + The Thinking Tree. We also have flip through videos on our Facebook group- you can find them here

The easiest way to browse our materials is through our website- https://www.funschooling.com/  

Click a journal to go to the Amazon listing. The videos are about halfway down, people often overlook them because they look like ads.

This should get you off to a good start! Click here for Part 2!

Fun-Schooling Printed Journals vs PDF Questions

Where can I find PDFs and why are they so expensive? 

PDFs are available here. We also post free PDFs from time-to-time in the group files. Dyslexia Games and Math Craft PDFs are also available.  A full list of all available PDFs in alphabetical order can be found here.


Generally, PDFs are more expensive compared to print.  This is because we are giving you permission to print as many copies as you want for single-family use.  We also have to make sure the appropriate contributors get royalties.  Royalties are different for PDFs than for print journals, we’re not able to make all journals PDFs due to these royalties.

 How do I download and save PDFs?
You will be emailed a download link for your PDFs. These links expire so download right away. We suggest backing up downloads on cloud-based storage like Google Drive or a flash drive or an external hard drive.

Why isn’t my PDF printing correctly?
Make sure to download the PDF, open the downloaded file, and print from the most updated version of Adobe. The most common printing error we see is from printing from the file preview vs the downloaded file itself. An old version of Adobe will also result in irregular printing as will (sometimes) printing from a phone vs a computer.

Where are print journals sold? 

Most of our materials are available via Amazon. The easiest way to find them is to search Sarah Janisse Brown. You’ll be directed to the Amazon listing from our website as well.  We also have select materials available from Barnes & Noble as well as Rainbow Resources. 

 How do I find sales?

We post sales within the Facebook group and over on the main Facebook page.   

Important note about Amazon sales

Amazon sales change frequently.  These are sales that Amazon decides to do on their own.  A sale may last a few hours or a few weeks.  We never know for sure.  If you see a book that has the price marked down like this:

It means it is an Amazon sale.  Grab these while you can, they can change fast!

 Can I make copies?

You are welcome to make copies of most of our materials for single-family use.  There are a few exceptions.  Please check the title page in your journal before making copies.  If you’re interested in licensing information for co-ops, schools, churches, camps, etc. please contact us at info@dyslexiagames.com

NOTE: if you live in South Africa you can buy printed journals from www.funschoolingsa.co.za . This store is independent of Amazon, so it can’t run the same sales as they do. Royalties are paid to Sarah for the license to print the journals.

Dyslexia Games FAQs

 

Dyslexia Games Level A

What are Dyslexia Games?

Dyslexia Games is a method of dyslexia therapy created by Sarah Janisse Brown to help children who struggle with symptoms of dyslexia, as well as ADHD, ASD, and other learning issues. The books use art and logic to “reprogram the brain” by gradually helping children shift from using the right side to the left to process letters, numbers, and finally, words.

 Which Series of Dyslexia Games should I order?

Choose the correct series based on your child’s age and reading level:

Series A: Ages 5-8 (for new and non-readers)
Series B: Ages 8-12 (for struggling readers)
Series C: Ages 10-adult (for spelling, speed, focus, and comprehension)

**For more details, please see the “Order” page at www.dyslexiagames.com

 Does my child need to do the books in order?

Yes. It’s important to start with Book 1 of the Series your child is using and to finish each book before starting the next.

 Can my child skip around in the book?

No. The pages should be done in the order in which they appear in the book as they “build on” the previous page.

 How many pages should my child do every day?

Your child should complete 2-4 pages a day. Start with 2-3 pages and add a 4th if they request it. Cut back if they become visually overstimulated.

 What should my child use to complete the puzzles?

It’s recommended that your child use a smooth, black pen, preferably a gel pen, to create a smooth transition between the printed logic puzzle and the child’s work.

 How does my child complete the puzzles?

Your child will use logic to determine what’s missing in each puzzle, then use a gel pen to draw in the missing parts or complete the patterns.

 Should I point out mistakes my child makes while working the puzzles?

Yes. Ask your child to look over the page carefully and see if they notice anything that needs to be done differently. This will encourage your child to look for their own mistakes. If they don’t seem to recognize that the puzzle(s) are incorrect, gently correct them by asking, “Do you think you should try doing it this way instead?” or something similar. If possible, print out a copy of the puzzle to work yourself (two if your child wants to redo theirs) and have your child follow your example.

 My child wants to erase and correct mistakes. How do they do this using a gel pen?

There are erasable gel pens now if there are concerns that your child will want to erase and correct mistakes. 5B pencils also work well.

 Should my child color the puzzles?

Once the puzzles are completed and missing parts are drawn, your child can color them if they would like.

 When should my child do Dyslexia Games?

While Dyslexia Games can be completed at any point during the day, many parents have their children do the games before beginning other school work as the puzzles help with focus and concentration.

 What subject is Dyslexia Games?

Language Arts primarily. It also includes art, math, creative thinking, problem-solving, and handwriting. 

 Should my child continue their current Language Arts curriculum while using Dyslexia Games?

If your child is using Series A, it is recommended they discontinue using all other Language Arts materials, including reading. Parents should read to their children often and if the child wants to try to read, allow them, but stop if it’s causing any stress or anxiety. 

If your child is using Series B, stop other Language Arts curriculum, but they may read for other subjects as necessary. With Series C there is no need to stop other curricula; however, since Spelling is included in each series, there is no need for any additional Spelling curriculum.

 If I purchase the printed books, do I also receive the PDFs?

No, PDFs should be purchased separately.

 Are there printed instructions?

Basic instructions are printed near the front of every book and PDF.

 Will I need to help my child with Dyslexia Games?

Sit with your child and give guidance for the first few pages if necessary. After that, your child should be able to easily complete the pages on their own as they tap into their creativity and problem solving skills. The puzzles are logic based, intuitive, and creative, so most children are able to work on them independently.

 What do I do if my child resists doing Dyslexia Games?

One of the best ways to get children to cooperate with school work is to be an example. Print out your own copies of the puzzles and sit down beside your child to work the pages with them.

 Are Dyslexia Games only for children with dyslexia?

Dyslexia Games are great for children of all ages (and adults) with dyslexia, ADHD, ASD, and other learning issues, as well as those without. We’ve had thousands of children with all kinds of educational needs use Dyslexia Games. 

 What skills does Dyslexia Games help with?

Dyslexia Games help with multiple skills including: letter recognition; reading; tracking; distinguishing left, right, up, and down; memory; focus; attention to detail; problem-solving; handwriting and fine motor skills; spelling; art; logic; and help to “wake up the brain.”

 How does my child complete the Word Hunt book?

Your child will go on a “scavenger hunt” and look through books, magazines, or around the house on cereal boxes, etc., to find words with the specified number of letters. If your child is struggling to find words or needs more creative ways to hunt for words, try taking the book along as you go for a walk, in the car, or to the grocery store or other shopping excursions!

Fun-Schooling in 3 Easy Steps for Your Younger Kids

Fun-Schooling basket

So often people imagine Fun-Schooling must be as difficult as every other method. But now that I’ve been doing it for years I find it’s soooo easy. Let me explain in three simple steps how to Fun-School the most stress-free way for ages 5 to 13.

1. Plan your semester by putting five Fun-Schooling Journals into a cute basket with fresh art and school supplies. Add in some mini games. Have a computer or iPad set up for educational videos, an online math program and research sites. You can block everything else. Get an assortment of books that focus on the child’s passion and career goals. Your child is set!

2. Set up your Mom-School. Make a Mom-School Basket with your mom Journal, planners, and books about things you want learn. Use your Mom-School stuff to enrich your heart and mind, and be an example to your child. Use your Mom-School a few times each week while your child is aware of your learning activities. Teach by example.

3. Daily you will need to remind the child to get their Fun-Schooling Basket and go to a favorite place to do… ten pages, or whatever. I let my kids choose what Journals to use on most days. I am available for questions and some collaboration. I don’t teach much. I collaborate and show an example. I only teach reading (but sometimes I don’t).  I let them learn to read with Starfall.com, Dyslexia Games, or readingeggs.com, and if I teach I use Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. They learn to spell with Fun-Schooling Journals.)

I do projects with the kids using their passions. Or I just give them permission and supplies.

If kids rush and are sloppy, they don’t get computer time–they get chores after learning time. I check all their Fun-Schooling Journals every Friday. If they do awesome they get to some new art or school supplies from my little prize shelf.

For tips on Fun-Schooling your teens:

Let Them Be Bored

(excerpted from advice offered via a Facebook post in 2016)

let your child be bored

Mom Tip: Boredom is not a bad thing.  When a child is bored don’t look for a way to entertain them. They need a little time everyday when they don’t feel like doing all the normal things they usually do. They need time to think, ponder, reflect, tinker, wander, and think some more.   Modern parents don’t realize that boredom is essential to childhood development and parents are quick to feed the child’s first desire: To be ENTERTAINED. 

What is your child’s DEFAULT MODE when they have a moment of boredom?  Some kids turn to a device, a game, TV, a book, a coloring book, go climb trees, start drawing, or of course they start whining, picking fights and complaining.

I will take a little time now to think of every person in my family and see if I can answer that question: What is the first thing they want to do when they have a moment of boredom or free-time?

Me:  I default to cleaning… or nit-picking everyone else for leaving messes.

My Husband: He defaults to… me… He wants to have time with me, if I am busy he thinks of some errand to run.

Isaac (16): Music.  He wants to go do something related to music.

Anna (15): Hmmmmm… 1st she wants to talk or play with her sisters. If they are busy she goes to her room and dumps out her creative stuff, or bakes or asks for the password for the computer, or bickers with her sister. She always finds something to do, and there is a lot of variety in her choices.  She is the child who is NEVER bored.

Esther (14): Guitar practice and reading.

Rachel (13): Piano and Journaling.

Naomi (11): She wants to play Minecraft, but usually she takes the dog for a walk. If the weather is bad she rearranges all her stuff in her room.

Susie (9): She asks to use the computer, but usually ends up getting out an animal encyclopedia and makes tiny animals out of paper, then she cuts them out and gives them as gifts.  She made a zillion little paper birds recently, I showed her how to create a book with them.

Laura (7): Wants to watch Dogs 101, over and over and over. If I say no, she finds someone to play with or fight with.

Joseph(6): Just started playing Minecraft a month ago.  So first he asks to do that. When I say no he plays with Legos or draws Minecraft pictures.

Ember(3): Dumps her clothing drawer and puts on something that is her “favorite color” of the day. Once she changes her clothes she joins in on whatever Laura or Joe are doing. (click here to continue reading)

Sarah’s Mom Tips — Setting the Example in a Paperless World

With our digital world we surround our children with adult activity that tends to be paperless.  They only see adults who use smart phones and gadgets for everything – so kids no longer see the example of parents reading a variety of publications, writing on a calendar, taking notes in a planner, or putting messages on a family bulletin board. What we ask them to do is no longer modeled in the home, so they have no example to follow.  This may not be the case at your house, but what I have found is that children who slop through their schoolwork need to see an example.

So that is why we developed the Mom-Schooling books  – so kids growing up in a digital world will see something real.

When my children were young, I didn’t use a small personal device.  I wanted my children to always be able to see what I am doing.  When I had a smart phone I could have been reading the Bible and my kids would assume I was playing Tetris!  I could be photo editing and they would assume I was just wasting time on stupid videos.  All they see is a mom on a smartphone ignoring them, in her own personal world.  I have gone back to reading real paperback books too, I want my kids to see me reading.  I have gone back to using a real camera, I want my kids to know I am enjoying my hobby and making memories, not just playing around with my phone.  My husband also stopped using a smart phone for the same reasons. We even chose to travel to 15 countries all over Europe last year with no smartphone, and no GPS so the kids would learn about maps and how to write things down- things like train schedules.   We put down the phone and picked up trail maps and bus schedules just to be an example to the kids of the real things that we are really doing in life. We even bought watches!

I loved all the fun and cool things that can be done with those little devices but all I was teaching my kids was how to be a mom focused on a device. 

I think we just need to be aware and be careful when we expect kids to use paper and books, but we don’t use those things too.  I know that many of you are rediscovering the joy of coloring, journaling and using real books.  If you do choose to use a device I would just encourage you to talk to your kids ALL the time about what you are doing.  If you are on Facebook, tell them I’m talking to Aunt Linda, or I am sharing a picture of you with my friends, and I just found out that Leslie is going to have a new baby, or ask them to pray for Rosie, because her grandma died.   If you are editing photos, videos, writing a blog, or publishing books – include your children in these wonderful creative activities, and snuggle them close so they can see the tiny pictures on your smart phone too. If you need to be on a device, include them.

Your kids have electronics out of balance? Read here: Sarah’s Mom TIps: Digital Devices

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.

“How can I get my kids to help around the house?”

(post originally dated 11/19/14–migrated from Sarah’s old blog)

A homeschooling mom of four just wrote to me to ask how to get kids to do chores with a cheerful attitude. (I am a homeschooling mom of ten, ages 2 to 15, and one due in Feb.) I have had a lot of success in raising my kids to be happy helpers with a strong work ethic. So here is my advice.

The best way to get children to do chores with a happy and willing heart is to model for them the behavior you want to see. Sing and smile and dance and be cheerful when doing the housework, turn on the happy music, make it look fun. They will copy you. The most important thing is being a model of the smiles and work ethic you want them to have.

See your own work as a privilege and invite them to be part of doing things that you do. With my young ones I will say “I’m not sure if you are big enough to wash dishes.” And the reply will be “I’m big enough!” And they will set out to prove it, with pride. 

I also reward the kids for excellent work, even a smile from mom, or a handful of berries can be a reward. I want to teach them that quality work is rewarded. I don’t have extra money to pay them every time they do an extra job, so instead of buying them everything they need and want, I give them a chance to earn these things. Maybe you plan to buy new bikes for the kids in the future – don’t just buy them the bikes, let them help earn the money you are going to spend on the bikes so they will see the results of their labor. Maybe you are going to yard sales this weekend and expect to spend 3 or 4 dollars on toys, let them earn their garage sale money, even 25 cents can go pretty far at a yard sale! (click here to continue reading)

11 Simple Games for Mixed Groups of Children, Ages 2 and Up

QUESTION: “We have 14 children in our small group and we try to come up with different games or activities for them when we get together at parks or at homes. You have worked with a lot of children throughout your life. Are there any fun games you can share with us? 

ANSWER: I love games that can be played anytime you need a fun and spontaneous activity for little ones. I also love games that build skills, character, and relationships.  Here are 11 of our favorite “Anywhere Games” that children Ages 2.5 and up really love. None of these games require much planning, reading, or small game pieces, so you can play them anywhere and anytime you need to entertain children of all ages.  The most you will need is a pencil, paper, and stuffed animal or toys that you already have.  A few of these games can be played with no props at all, just imagination and conversation.

1.     What do you like best?
Little Children love to ask questions, and they love to answer questions too.  So we made up a game where we take turns asking questions that help us get to know each child better, and we laugh a lot! 

To Play:  I ask the first question: “Joseph, what do you like best: Bubbles or Squirt Guns?” 

He will give his answer, and then it is his turn, and he will ask someone else in the group his question: “Anna, what do you like best planets or watermelons?”  Then Anna will ask another child “What do you like best lunch or breakfast?”  Then that child will ask another child a question: “What do you like best cookies or cake?”   “Green or Blue?”  “Trees of Flowers?”  “Snow or Sand?”  This game is endless. You may need to tell the kids the rules, we only have on: No Potty Talk.

2.     Should We?
 I made up this game for Joseph to help him to learn right and wrong, and to make good choices in a variety of unexpected situations. This game can also bring lots of laughs! Once again it is a game of questions. My kids love to come up to me and say “Let’s play Should We!”

To Play: Just ask questions to make your child think about the right thing to do in an interesting or everyday situation. Sometimes the kids will enjoy making up their own questions.

“Joseph should eat someone else’s cookie?”

“Should we play in the road?”

“Should we eat dirt?”

“Should we eat carrots?”

“Should we put the cat in the bathtub?”

“Should we hit little babies?”

“Should we help mommy sweep the floor?”

“Should we make cookies with grandma?”

“Should we put cookie dough on grandma’s windows?”

3.     Family Questions (You can play this with any group, the kids love hearing the answers that the adults give too!)

We usually play this conversational game at the dinner table.  With a family of 11 this one can take a lot of time.  It also helps everyone to get to know each other.  Once again it is a Questions Games. 

To Play: Mom or dad usually asks the first question, and everyone takes turns giving their answer.  We usually only get through 3 questions at a meal.  One Rule: No “Yes or No” questions.

We ask questions like these:

“What would you buy if you had $20?”

“What country would you go to if you could go anywhere?”

“What is the most beautiful animal?”

“What do you think we should have for dinner tomorrow?”

“Name one important thing you should think about before you marry someone?”

“If you could have any super power what would it be?”

“What is something you like about the person to your right?”

4.     Drawing on the Ceiling
My husband plays this game when he tucks in the kids at night.  He points to the ceiling with his finger and draws a picture or writes a letter.  The kids try to guess what he is drawing.  They all take turns drawing a picture.  They can give clues like “This is an animal.”

5.     What Animal is It?
My kids love learning about animals, and happen to know the sounds of many interesting and exotic creatures.  All we do is take turns making an animal’s sound and the first one to guess the animal correctly gets to go next.

6.     What Comes Next?
Like most parents, we read the same stories, sing the same songs, and repeat the same rhymes and Bible verses over and over with each child.  Once the words of the story or verse are familiar to the child I will  give the child a chance to finish each line. Children ages 2 to 5 love this. When you are teaching or entertaining a group of children use this activity when telling a story or memorizing a verse.  With older children you can increase the number of words for them to fill in until the child can recite the entire verse alone. This works well for groups, because the children can all shout out the missing words together. 

“For God so loved the _____________.”

“Mary had a little _________.”

“How much is that doggie in the ______________.”

“In the great green room there was a telephone and a red _______________.”

“Jesus Loves ____ This I ________.” (click here to continue reading)