Are Your Kids Learning Enough in Homeschool?

One of the great problems homeschool educators face is a lack of confidence in asking, "Are my kids learning enough?" In this video, I will explain what your students really need to know for college readiness. This simple conviction can be a game-changer for most of us!

​I’d love to hear your comments or answer your questions.

Off to learn,

Fred Ray Lybrand

How the Procrastination Myth Hurts Kids

Having a misunderstanding about procrastination can easily create a lot of conflict and stress in parenting, especially in the day-to-day challenge of homeschooling. Identifying the issue and making a specially kind of LIST can help change everything for the better.

Video Transcription

Is the procrastination myth hurting your child? Well, I know we’re all concerned about things hurting our child but you may not even be aware that procrastination is really a myth and what I mean by that is there’s no such thing. Now, wait a minute, I know you can look it up in the dictionary and it says putting off something that you want to do or something like that; how it needs to be done. Well, everything could be considered procrastination that way whatever you’re not doing right now you’re watching this video and you’re not doing something else. Is that procrastination or is that a great use of your time?

I’ve got a son right now who is a sophomore in college and he wants to get married someday. Is he procrastinating marriage? And the answer is no.

He doesn’t want to get married. And you know, the funny thing about procrastination is that the problem is not putting off. The problem is motivation.

You don’t want to. Your child doesn’t want to. Let me tell you if you don’t mind me sharing this, I am still to this day, as a grown fellow, rumored and understood in my family among the remaining siblings that I’m... I’m the king of procrastination. I have all the kids growing up that never was doing what supposed to be doing. I was the procrastinator in the family. And yet as it turned out I’ve still been able and god’s kindness to get a lot done. Including successfully with my wife homeschooling five kids to college. I’ve got an earned doctorate and master’s degree and undergraduate degree. I spent sometime in law school of written. Eight or nine books. It’s tough, as a procrastinator. See, we’re all procrastinators, that’s why it’s a myth. We are all engaged in doing things we want to do and don’t want to do. That’s my story once I figured it out. I could stop being weird and guilty and inducing guilt and shame and problems on the kids.

So look, just be honest. What is it that you want? You want to do the things you wanna do. What is it that your child wants? He or she wants to do the things she wants to do.

That would not be a problem. As long as long the both of you wanted the exact things. And that’s why it hurts. There’s pain that comes from that. There is a conflict that comes from it and there’s a loss of energy. The amount of time you spend trying to get yourself to do something you don’t want to do. The amount of energy you try to spend getting a child to do something he or she doesn’t want to do is exhausting. That’s what you want. You want everybody to be doing what they want to do and what they want to do to be the right thing. So, the solution seems to be really obvious to me and it's not to give up. It’s not to say they should learn math if they don’t want to or they shouldn’t go to their youth group if they don’t want to or they shouldn’t be involved in physical activity if they don’t want to and they shouldn’t eat whatever they want to. I’m not saying that at all. I’m saying this, what you want to do is come up with more reasons why. For yourself, if you have something you really want to do in your fine hesitation. Spend some time on thinking through reasons why.

There’s more to it than that. But there’s so much leverage just there. Make a list of reasons why you want to do something. Don’t do your taxes? Why don’t you sit down and make a list of all the reasons you want to have your taxes completed and what it would mean positive to you. Your child doesn’t want to learn his math tables? Why don’t you work on thinking through all the reasons, it’s going to be great to do that. And some of them may have to do with his or her own time. And how once they learn them, they get to do something else. This is where some basic parental common sense come into play. Many times we give our children reasons to do things in the way of reward and consequences. Sometimes, they just need to know what we want but that’s the key.

Recognize it’s a myth is just about one two’s and then do the thing. Sit down and work out some clear reasons why you or they should want to do it. And you’ll see things change.

Off to learn,

Fred Ray Lybrand


Succeed in Homeschool the Lazy Way

Here I share why 'lazy' leads you in a better direction when combined with cleverness. Often homeschools are working too hard and getting too little accomplished. Learning to improve the Lazy Way is a game-changer.

Fred LybrandVideo Transcription

So, are you homeschooling the lazy way? Now, most people think homeschooling is the lazy way but that’s not quite right, in fact sadly homeschoolers often try to do as much as regular schools do which is crazy because they have all those teachers and all those resources, there’s no way to compete that way. What I want to offer you is that if you can grasp what I’m sharing about doing it the lazy way, your homeschool will be phenomenal. In fact I call this number one secret of the best home schools in the world when they grasp this issue.

Now let me just explain what the problem is first. The problem is your philosophy of homeschooling. It’s not how you set it up, it’s not actually the curriculum you have it etcetera. It’s the way you think about it because as a rule of thumb, it’s hard to think dumb and do smart and what you want to do is think smart about homeschool before you even set it up or as you re-calibrate it in the course of life. Because the problem we have is we’re overwhelmed. We’re so busy and so exhausted. We’re trying to do so much to get the kids ready for college and make sure that they know everything they need to do so people will understand that you’ve done at least as good as job as the school system and so you do the job for people.

Would it be okay if I just share with you a little of my story and that story is that we have five kids they’ve all been homeschooled from birth to college. Now my wife has a masters in Education and I have a doctoral degree along with some other degrees and none of that really matters because we had to unlearn some things in order to do what we did. Everyday for the bulk of our children’s homeschooling especially in later years combined, my wife and I would spend thirty minutes a day on homeschooling for all five children. Now they’ve all gone to college. They’ve all done phenomenally well! They all are doing phenomenally well academically and intellectually and I’m gonna tell you it’s because of the power of lazy that’s the solution.

I want to explain just really quickly, here is what lazy is all about in the dictionary it would say it’s unwilling to work or use energy, there you go. I’m unwilling to work or use energy at least more than I need to. I’m constantly wrestling with how can I do less effort and get better results; and that’s where it comes back to a philosophy because what happened and what you’ve got to decide is are you going to be someone who teaches your children to get them prepared or you’re gonna be someone who facilitates then learning how to teach themselves. We were lazy, when you combine lazy and clever you get creative and that’s what I’m suggesting that when you take an approach that says this kids can teach themselves: and we want them to learn how to be self-taught then the entire system is designed to encourage them to wrestle with their math and wrestle with the reading and wrestle with their writing and then give them facilitation tools and they need to get better and better because they’ve learned it themselves and then they’re ready for the rest of their lives; whenever a job in or something new happens they just teach themselves the new jobs. And that’s what our kids do and that’s what I love your kids to do and it’s all about the power of lazy. You gotta start with not wanting to exhaust yourself but to be clever in it. If you look on this page you’re gonna see a link and you get about two hours of us just walking through how we homeschool and it’s free; it’s for you. We certainly have things we offer but we want to do more than anything is to create an army of lazy, clever homeschool moms and dads who were saying and put kids out there who can make a really big difference in this world.

Off to learn,

Fred Ray Lybrand

How Do You Discover Your Child’s Special Talent

Video Transcription 

So how do you discover your child’s special talent?

Wouldn’t it be great to know if your child had a superpower and where she could direct it? What would that mean in life? 

Well let me say first why you might consider my thoughts on this. My name is Dr. Fred Ray Lybrand and ‘talent’ is among the things that I’ve worked on feverishly over the past 40+ years. I actually have numerous certifications related to personality and talent, and in the pursuit of self-discovery I’ve found that there is a simple way to understand talent. What we’re looking for is what your child (or you) can do better than 10,000 others. The problem is you might not value talent or this advice, but what I’m sharing is incredibly powerful if you’ll take a moment and consider what I am going to suggest You might find it hugely helpful for you, for your kids, and for your own life as well.

Now, the reason you want to know a talent is because you have a guiding star to direct your child on her path. It’s such a joy in my life to be able to affirm or confirm my children’s move into a college curriculum they should pursue (or avoid). They’ve all been very respectful of the thoughts I’ve shared because I made sense (it was not because they deferred to me ;-). I didn’t tell them what to do, but I showed them why the way they were made was such a match for certain career fields. You want to notice what your child loves to do and finds it easier to do than most anyone you know.

Knowing talent will help your child succeed. If you put left-handed child into a right-handed job, what do you think is going to happen?

So let me share with you really quickly how to avoid that. There is a very simple three-step process I want to offer you:

  1. Get Smart, Ask & Observe

  2. Look for a Pattern

  3. Confirm it with Practice

This is going to be for children who are I’d say you’re getting toward 16 to 18 years old. I mean, you know a three year old or four year old is still catching on to life. Obviously teens are much better to work with, because they are on their way towards settling into their personality and maturity in life.

(1) You want to ask them to name three situations in which they felt like everything worked right for them and they succeeded. Whatever it was three situations, you might come up with it for them because you’ve seen it, but aim for three times they felt like everything was happening right; kind of like they could not miss and everything worked. You write down those three situations down and then you go to step two.

(2) Step two is to look for a pattern. Look for what is consistently happening. It’s quite striking sometimes when you see that you get insight when looking at a pattern. Of course your child can help you, but looking for a consistent thing that in each of the examples the same general action or knack showed up. You’re not looking for something as specific as x-ray vision, but maybe you are looking for something as powerful as the ability to notice things out of place.

(3) Once you see this pattern and speculate it might be it, then you’ll want to test it; give them opportunities to go see if that ability really works. Sometimes it’s obvious --- a math thing or an athletic thing, but it may be something odd as in my life:

I got a 50% raise when I was in seminary working for a catering business because I was about to quit and the owner asked me to stay. Instead of passing out hors d'oeuvres (etc.), she asked me to come to any parties I wanted to and I didn’t have to carry food or do anything for anybody. She just wanted me to show up, work as long as I wanted to, and she was going to pay me 50% more than everybody else is was being paid. I asked here, “What in the world do you want me to do?” She said “I have never seen anybody that can see everything that is out of place like you can.” I was paid literally to be critical, to notice their shirts are untucked, the flowers are in the wrong place, the hors d'oeuvres are sitting on the plate wrong, blah blah blah. I suddenly realized I had this ability to notice patterns and notice what didn’t fit, and that is what I’m doing here - I’m encouraging you to look and discover your child’s special talent. All you have to notice is what your child can do uniquely that no one else you know can do it. It may not look like much but once it’s applied in a field, it’s worth a fortune to their self-esteem, to their sense of purpose, to their contribution, to their finances. So that’s the way to go, that’s how you discover your child's special talent, you get smart, you start paying attention, look for a pattern when things really work for them...and let them try it out. That’s the game. Hope that helps.

Off to learn,

Fred Ray Lybrand

Let me know what you think!

How to Fix Your Child’s ADHD

​Video Transcription

So let's talk about how to fix your child's ADHD or ADD. We have these terms that described a condition that has plagued us for many years. There is a fair amount of controversy on the topic, but I'm not worried about controversy; I'm worried about you being in a situation with a child who can't focus. It's incredibly frustrating, and I get it from my own personal experience, and with our kids, and through personally working with hundreds and hundreds of people around this country. I guess what I want to do is to tell you how to fix your child's ADD or ADHD.

First, if you don’t mind, I’d like to share why you should trust me. I am a valid ADHD, distractible, Attention Deficit Oh Squirrel kind of person. I was talking to parent recently who was describing their 10 year old child as a great procrastinator. I shared that children don't really procrastinated at ten years old. What they do is they don't obey; they aren’t motivated. Young children don't have choice or the ability to really procrastinate. The simply need to follow your directions (I have a crazy way of thinking, but you're the parent and you're responsible for your own give them direction and they follow them or not. Well, ADHD and ADD as focus problems are different than disobedience and they often present a dramatic sense of helpless to us as parents. We give them medication, but the medication doesn’t quite work, like we're finding is true about most of these neurochemical cocktails. They do something, but it's unclear how much they help because there is a game in play where the individual has to contribute to the medicines effectiveness.

What I know that you want is for your child to have some measure of self-mastery; not a great focus-king or queen, but the ability to grab their own soul and bring their attention on something long enough to do what they need to do. That’s what you need and I'm going to tell you quickly how to do it.

What you need are 4 simple things to start out.

(1) One is Neuroplasticity, another's

(2) Motivation, another's

(3) Uniqueness, and the last is

(4) Expectations.

Neuroplasticity means the brain still can grow and develop. It's not locked in. It can improve. This is how we learn skills and when we a learn skill, we're laying down new ‘paths’ in the brain. Neurons are growing, dendrites are connecting, and it's really cool because it means there's hope. We had this hope with our cerebral palsy child. We hoped that he could make new connections to operate his body in fresh ways ---that's exactly what the neurologist the specialist told us. So your child's brain can change, hold onto that.

Next is motivation. A lot of focus is just about motivation folks and it's not about much else. Have you noticed that when your child is motivated she actually can concentrate? Even children who work on learning to focus are motivated to learn to focus. It’s important to catch on to the fact that motivation brings energy into the game which can then overcome this distractibility tendency. In fact, the distractibility means they're motivated towards other things... often the work is boring. I can attest to this as a former /recovering ADHD.

The third thing to consdier is your child’s uniqueness. Some of the focus issue is merely a uniqueness issue. You know, if God put in your child to wiggle and you tell them to sit, then who's going to win that debate? You know some people are made dramatically and powerfully to notice things going on around them, to interrupt themselves, to be able to rush outside and run,or to be athletic. Some people are made for emergency rooms where they can see in a moment that an exception is going they can interrupt everyone to save a life. Some people are made for incredible focus, but that is their uniqueness. As parents, a lot of this is concerning the uniqueness of your child is about helping him or her find their place in this world.

Lastly, consider your expectations, which matches with uniqueness, goes with motivation, and hopes in neuroplasticity. If your expectations are merely what the world has been telling you that every child, rather than being on a bell curve in terms of focus, that your child should focus as well as anybody on the planet, then you're missing the uniqueness of your child. You expectations are out-of-line with reality. Your child’s uniqueness is a special gift, and you want to bring that challenge in a range where it's not hurting their life. You don't want to turn them into an incredibly (but perhaps medicated to do it) focused person. You want that blossoming person, that child, to thrive in this world. He or she can do it when you start learning the game of how to ‘set up’ a world around them that encourages their uniqueness (and better focus). That's where you want to start thinking this through. Search for expectations you can have to match their uniqueness. Learn about motivation and count on this neuroplasticity. If you and your doctor think the medicine is a help, then stick with it. But know that you can begin to transform the world for your child by simply starting to hope in a different way.

Video Transcription

Off to learn,

Fred Ray Lybrand


We have more help available at mastering focus course

Are You Homeschooling the Stupid Way?

A key leverage point is often missed by those of us who homeschool. Why not change everything in learning with wisdom today?

Are you doing home school the stupid way?

Well it’s easy to do and I’m going to share exactly what that means in a moment; but first, let me admit, mother would be very upset with me if she was still on the planet for using the word stupid. I had many people in the old days while pastoring who did not like me to use that word, but I’m using a word from a verse in the bible that’s about wisdom and about doing things the stupid way.

So I’m Fred Lybrand, I have homeschooled with my wife Jody, five children from birth all the way to college, and we have seen those kids prosper and do incredibly well in wonderful ways ---that would be my experience.

Now I’ve taught for a long time and helped a lot of families over the years, but honestly that laboratory of my home is the key, and I think we weren’t stupid (maybe we were lucky or maybe it’s something else) but I’m going to show you - if you’ll understand this one thing, you can start avoiding all kinds of problems. I don’t know what problems you have but they are probably about time and management of the house, about making sure the kids are academically okay, or you may have kids that are challenged that you are struggling with, or your kids that are gifted and it is a struggle to keep them engaged and the list really goes on - about people’s emotions, about socialization, about friendships, about readiness for college, well we deal with all that but we don’t deal with it all unless someone is willing to become unstupid.

So look, here’s the trick. There’s a verse in the bible in proverbs chapter 12 and verse 1, it says this “whoever loves discipline, loves knowledge but he who hates reproof is stupid”.

So what does it mean to hate reproof?

You know what it means, it means that you hate advice, you hate people challenging you, you hate finding out you did something wrong. That’s called a fixed mindset rather than a growth mindset. And what you want is to start tracking down people you can trust, finding people in your area that you can trust, find others so that you’re not isolating yourself and pretending you have it all figured out.

There’s an incredible opportunity with homeschoolers to touch this world dramatically because of the way in which we develop kids who can think for themselves. We need that in this weird world and, I’m going to tell you if you stay stupid and don’t listen to reproof, aren’t open to correction, aren’t interested in finding a better way to do it or in seeking out those opportunities and people who will tell you the truth; then good luck…. it’s not way to go

Video Transcription

Hope this helps,

Dr. Fred Ray Lybrand Jr.

Please share your comments below. Thank you! 

Good Essay for a Homeschooler? 6 Questions that Help


Hi, Firstly, thank you for answering all of my questions. After a careful look I was able to find all the downloads and have listened to the first 3 lessons. The Essay Course is quite different from your Writing Course.

How would you advise a homeschool mum who has very limited experience with essay writing? I have a reluctant 15 year old daughter who understands the importance of learning how to write clearly but has a fear when it comes to writing essays.Does this program give a step by step guide on how to write a great essay and give essay tasks or do I need to come up with writing tasks? I read that you suggest that my daughter re-write her essay until it is great, do you have some information for me on how I can help guide her or mark the essay? I'm not sure I could even tell her what a good essay or what isn't.​

Homeschool Mom (Nadia)                 


Yes, I do think the Essay Course will give her plenty of direction to become good at essays. I'm assuming she can already write pretty well...if not, she needs to go through The Writing Course and practice some more. There isn't much of a point of working on something formal like essays if the student can't yet manage 'made up' sentences and paragraphs (The Writing Course)

Given what you've told me, I think I might first begin with getting her to do a number of book reports until she gets good at them (at least 5). Of course, I mean book reports done the way we recommend:


From there she will be getting more comfortable sharing her view about something in writing.

Next, move to writing 5 different essays, with one re-write on each.

Finally, make one essay the object of writing and re-writing until it is great and she knows what is needed.

This isn't a 'single day' process for any of the things I mention above (unless she just wants to spend a whole day on something). You are growing a skill which takes a little time.

In evaluating an essay, think about these things and give feedback accordingly.

1. Do I know the author's opinion now that I've read the essay?
2. Is the language and grammar fine or is it distracting?
3. Do I understand the aim of the essay from the beginning?
4. Is the essay organized and easy to follow (using major points)?
5. Does the essay make sense?
6. Is there a good review/summary at the end of the essay?

REMEMBER: Always ask,
"Would this sound a little better with ____________________________?"
when you are making a suggestion or giving feedback (as we teach in our Writing Course).

Well, that should be a good start!

Hope that helps,

Dr. Fred Ray Lybrand Jr.

Get The Writing Course + The Essay Course (Click)

At Least Don’t Teach Grammar Before Age 11

As you may well know, I have been an almost-lone-voice in how rediculously useless teaching grammar (to grow writers) is as homeschoolers. Honestly, it's the same with mass education as well. Happily, or sadly, the Brits are figuring this out as well 🙂

​In an article in THE ECONOMIST entitled Rue the Rules, the author (Johnson) is strikingly honest about the problem with grammar instruction at earlier ages:

Explicit and overly abstract grammar teaching before the age of 11 is a bit like throwing seeds, that one hopes will turn into healthy plants, onto thawing early-spring ground yet to be ploughed. At this young age, spelling and punctuation—which are necessary but straightforward memorisable drudgery—can be introduced. But to expect the teaching of the modal verb and the determiner to make good writers out of young students is not “raising standards”. It is making a category error: writing and explaining syntax are related but not identical. Young children should read, then they should write, write and read again. The formal terms can wait for a later age.

Frankly, grammar is only effective for analysis of a text (as in Bible or Literature scholarship). It is all-but-never helpful for encouraging writing. Rudolph Flesch took (the author of Why Johnny Can't Read) us to task about this years ago.

Youngs students need to read and write and read and write. This very approach improves motivation and connects the student to the instinct everyone has for language.

If you are a parent and think doing grammar correctly is the key, please re-think this view. Language is an evolving thing & no Grammarian ever won a Nobel Prize for Literature. We need inventiveness and freshness in writing.

Please help bring about a fresh generation of writers. Please stop with the obsession on grammar. If grammar was the key and given to absolutes, then we'd all still sound like Shakespeare (or Chaucer) wouldn't we?


Dr. Fred Ray Lybrand

P.S. We have a writing curriculum that is built on this very idea of instinct over grammar. Check it out:​

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