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.

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 – Choosing a Major & Why 13 Is the Magic Number

I have noticed that between age 11 and 14 every child begins to develop a deep interest in one or two specific areas. If we don’t discourage them they can become experts. If they don’t embrace that passion for a specific career at that point they often drift into a season of fog where they don’t feel like they have purpose. At that point many teens drift into rebellion, confusion or a feeling of being aimless and like their lives have no value.
The kids who are encouraged to dig deep into their passion as a young teen develop a healthy and confident perspective. Even if they change “majors” they will never forget the skills they learned.

One of the most important ways we can invest in our children’s talents is by NOT distracting them or diverting their attention when they are focused on a project. I give my kids vast amounts of time to pour into their passions. Even if it means setting aside my preconceived ideas about what a kid should do and learn at their grade level. This is my daughter Susannah, she’s 14, and is focused on art.


Kids forget most of the information that they do not use, but once they learn a skill it is theirs for a lifetime.
What is your child passionate about? What careers relate to it? Is it a topic that other people are interested in? If your child spends a few years becoming an expert in that area they will be able to build a portfolio, and have real life experience in that field.
As an older teen they can volunteer to assist someone who is a professional in that field and get their foot in the door. Once they show their value, they can begin to be an important part of that business, so valuable that they will get a position working in that field.
At this point, as a young teen, they need to focus on people skills, leadership skills, teamwork, and character building.
I have seen many people take this path into the business world, where they end up doing what they love, and getting paid well for it.

Sarah’s Mom Tips – Homeschooling High School Outside the Box

(Note: This information is gleaned from a post in our Facebook Fun-Schooling Mom Support Group, dated 2017)

I don’t force my kids to learn anything that is obviously irrelevant.

I don’t teach toward college.

Naomi (then 11) volunteering as a barista, she is learning to clean the coffee bar right now.

I lead them toward a specific career starting at age 13. All of my kids look forward to turning 13, because they know that it is the big birthday where we buy them professional equipment based on their current passion, hobby or interest. Most kids feel like they don’t need to think about a career until they are choosing a college. It’s a different mindset. At 13 Isaac wanted to be a chef, Anna wanted to be a baker, Esther wanted to be a photographer, Rachel wanted to be a musician. Naomi wants to be a horse trainer. I expect to invest about $750 at that point.

We have more freedom to specialize and build real skills. The biggest obstacle to developing real skills as a teen is an addiction to media. I have limited my teens to about two hours a week on games or entertainment at times. Pull the plug. It’s great that your daughter knows what she wants to do, that is what my oldest son is doing.

Anna, helping with craft clean up, after hosting over 100 kids at an outreach. Great skills! Cleaning!

I am having them build portfolios and major now (this is from a post dated 2017) in the things they would learn in college later. Film, missions, caregiving, music, art, publishing, horsemanship, dog training, cooking, childcare, leadership, teaching, graphic design, editing, administration, baking, volunteering, drama, team building, event planning, entertaining children, photography. At this point (2017) the five oldest are already working professionally or as volunteers in these areas.

Our kids have very rich lives and lack no opportunity to use their skills to be a blessing wherever we go. Just thinking about today they are working as baristas, planning and organizing activities for 100 kids, editing their own film, taking care of their siblings while my husband and I cared for my mom who is in the hospital. They are illustrating books, they are managing their money, they planned a birthday party for their little sister, did all the shopping and baking, they are hosting new missionaries in our home, they are learning Russian. That was just today.

The goal is for each one to be an expert in their field by age 18, and to have an income source to support themselves.

If they need college to further their goals, they can show a great portfolio, and pay for it themselves.

I don’t really want them to go deep in debt over a degree though. Most kids don’t have a chance to develop their skills and become specialized in anything at a young age, because so much time is taken up on irrelevant things. 🙂

Ask God for wisdom for each child, and He will guide you, that could mean teaching toward tests, college, careers, missions, homemaking or anything.

How and Why to Choose a Major for Your Child at a Young Age

When helping your child choose a major, remember, each topic is important and if your child is passionate about a topic set them free to go deep and research all aspects of the topic. The goal is for the child to begin learning in a deep and joyful way, where they will indulge their curiosity through passionate research that leads to creativity and excellence. 

Parents and Educators often allow children to only scratch the surface of the things that interest them, because we want them to be “well rounded and normal”. Perhaps we pull them away from art to force them to focus on memorizing math facts or learn about the Civil War. I challenge you to just choose two themes for your child to “Major” in and go very deep, opening all the doors and windows that lead to deeper discovery and expertise. Don’t raise a well rounded child. Raise a child that is very skilled and an expert in their chosen fields, that is the foundation of a life of learning.  

Twelve Ways to Help Your Child Master their Major:

1. Help your child choose books on the topic they love.  
2. Take your child to the bookstore or Library, and don’t limit them by only visiting the children’s section.  
3. Build a fun-Schooling Basket with items that represent your child’s interest.  
4. Learn about jobs that involve your child’s favorite topic.  
5. Use these topics as a theme when choosing books for the Main Curriculum Journal.  
6. Encourage the student to meet people who are experts in the field your child loves, go on a field trip to a relevant location.
7. Choose films and documentaries about the topic. 
8. Allow your child to take lessons or watch tutorials about the skills involved in the topic. 
9. Find ways to use the skills and knowledge your child is developing in practical ways at home.
10. Allow your child to volunteer in a related field. 
11. Help your child to study the history related to the subject of interest. 
12. Allow your child to study the life and biographies of people who are also passionate about the topic. 

Once the child becomes an expert in one area they will be able to build a future in that area, or use the skills they developed in researching that topic, and apply those skills to ANY topic they want to unlock and master for the rest of their lives. 
When we homeschool we are FREE to spend five years majoring in film-making, fashion, the arts or horsemanship.
Can you think of a topic your child might choose that does not involve history, science, mathematics, politics, social aspects, literature, geography, economics, and art?  You don’t have to study each subject independent of the child’s passion.

To fully engage the child and make the most of their time – let all things spring from the passion of their heart and mind. 

Embrace the Natural Process of Learning:

When a child explores their passion first they will be curious, next they will play, next they will explore, next they will research, Next they will question, next they will copy, next they will communicate, next they will seek mastery, and in mastering they will apply the learning and create. Allow your child the joy of EVERY phase of true learning. when we try to control the learning process we do it out of order, and seek results. Allow the child to spend as much time as they need in each area, and bounce back and forth between the stages. Play (not practice) is actually the most powerful form of learning, creativity is the expression of learning and looks a lot like play. 

Let go of false expectations… and hold on tight to what you know is true. Children are born to learn, just look at how they learned to speak! They are able, we only hold them back with our limiting forms of teaching that seek to mold them into the shape of society, and give them a watered down education that is irrelevant and brings no joy. 

Learning is playful, creative and joyful, and if you have a hard time believing it, you need to listen to a bunch of TED Talks on this topic. If people close to you are being critical, send them the TED Talks. 

Teach your child from a place of rest, through your example, not through guilt. When you fun-school there are no gaps, your child will be equipped to learn everything they need to know when they need it. You don’t need to strive for standardization, there are millions of standardize students, the world needs more creative people. Do not education through fear, have faith in the natural learning process and trust in the way your child is designed. There is need to restrict or limit your child with educational fluff and educational walls.

You are free to equip and empower your child though the careful facilitation, and nurture, that comes only through the love of a mother who truly knows her child.