Meet Zara

Hi there!  I’m Zara.Zara, PhD

I’m a research scientist who turned into a minimalist homeschooling mom of 4, wife, and business-owner.  I am minimalist with my time and energy, so I’ll be the first to tell you that life balance is a sham; and I’ll be the last to glorify burning the candle at both ends.  I am a solar-powered introvert, and recovering perfectionist.  I may not survive without sunshine, something nourishing to drink (fresh juice or protein shakes, please), and some occasional silence.

How I ended up writing the book on Minimalist Homeschooling

I developed a system for minimalist homeschooling because I was tired of being overwhelmed, busy, and doubtful.  When I realized that the same minimalism principles I had been using for our finances could be applied to my time and energy, the world opened up.  By changing my mindset and focus, not only was I able to achieve great results, but I also gained confidence, space, and time.

In short, I maximized homeschooling while minimizing stress.

So, I wrote a book explaining the system that saved my sanity in order to help others struggling with how to “do it all.”  The book is a step-by-step guide (with worksheets), because I believe that anyone can change their mindset to find peace, space, confidence, and focus in their life and homeschool.  I love to encourage people to be awesome instead of being “it all.”


How do you pronounce your name?

I pronounce my name like Sarah (but with a Z at the beginning, obviously).

In what field did you receive your PhD?

I have a PhD in Neurobiology from the University of Chicago, and I am a science geek at heart.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE science!  But nobody calls me Dr. Fagen; it’s always Zara… or Mom.

What did you study when you were doing research?

Ironically, my research was on chronic stress.  Specifically, I was looking at its effects on the brain, and potentially, the effects of chronic stress on vulnerability to drug addiction.  I did publish in prestigious biomedical journals (here’s one).

Why do you focus so much on natural health?

I’m halfway to hippie.  I birth my babies at home, am governor-appointed to Indiana’s Committee for homebirth midwifery, follow the latest research on natural health options over at this other blog, and feed my kids seeds and berries.  As a young student, I interned at the National Institutes of Health in their Office of Alternative Medicine (now the NCCIH), and I credit that experience with morphing me into this scientist swimming against the mainstream.

What is your business?

My husband and I do everything together, and I love it.  Well, kinda everything – we do have separate roles.  We partner in a wholesale flooring business, and a real estate business.  I typically manage financial and operations aspects.  My favorite is flipping houses together – I do the design, and we try to include the kids.

How can I connect with you?

I’d love to connect and share ideas.  You can find me at the following links or by email:

Minimalist Homeschooling with Zara, PhD on Facebook

Zara, PhD on Pinterest

Zara, PhD on Facebook


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In the meantime, go ahead and browse the topics here:

Minimalist Homeschooling

Science of Natural Health

Healthy Recipes

Living Happily


Or, try starting with some of the best articles…

Minimalist Homeschooling Resources

Breakfast Cookies

Grass-fed Beef Nutrition versus Grain-fed

Why “Life Balance” is a Sham

25 Best Foods to Replace your Vitamin Supplements

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Wishing you all of the simple things,

FREE Space-Simplifying Quick-Guide

Zara, PhD - Minimalist Homeschooling Author and Speaker