Today is the First Day….

….that I have felt settled in the homeschool arena with my two little boys.  My kids, normally, work independently beginning in about 4th grade and becoming solely independent (with help, of course) by the time they are in middle school.  I do not stand over them and dictate…they have their schedules, they have their curriculum and they work at their own pace.  They do so with the understanding that there is a beginning, middle and end.  They know what I want done by the end of the year.  We begin state testing about Mid-May and then we are done….till August :/

With my little boys, well, they are a different set of kiddoes.  Catfish has MMD (mild mental deficiency), severe dyslexia, FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) and a lot of other stuff.  Little Man has some memory lags due to malnutrition and he is completely deaf in one ear.  We have mainly been focusing on math, reading, and spelling.  Catfish has therapy 2 hours per week in a town that is a half hour away.  They work on his speech, reading, handwriting, comprehension, etc.  It truly throws a ginormous kink in my day, but it has gotten him an official diagnosis and his therapists have been wonderful.

I spent this past week mourning the results of the testing.  I know that sounds dramatic, but it is what it is and no one wants their children to be delayed, have any type of dx, or have any issues, whatsoever.  We want our children to be okay, normal, and be able to function in this world…a parent wants their children to leave the nest and fly.  Catfish will probably not leave the nest and that is okay…well, it is okay now.  It wasn’t for about a week and a half.

In our efforts to help him, we have found audio books that are recorded by people and not machine.  He has been listening to 4th grade (his grade level) audio books (free books) that are classic novels.  He listens to them because his reading is so bad because of the dyslexia.  He is listening to books, on his grade level, to help improve his severely delayed vocabulary.  This will all help him and he loves listening to books.  He is reading, however, books on the 2nd grade level.  He is doing well and reads one or two stories a day that include comprehension questions.  His memory is affected so we are trying to build those memory muscles the best that we can.

In therapy, Catfish uses an FM system.  It is a headphone that is attached to a system with a microphone.  The therapist speaks clearly and the microphone magnifies the sound in his ears to help him HEAR the words being said properly.  He has a type of phonetical processing problem where he can not hear the words said properly therefore he says them incorrectly and has a speech impediment.  Well, there is no financial assistance or program that can assist in us purchasing an FM system, so we did a knock off called the Pocketalker.  It is similar to the FM system and it drowns out the outside sound and simply magnifies my voice.  We are currently working on our “r” sounds…those are a booger!

So, this weekend, I sat down and realized that Catfish, though he should be in 4th grade…is probably more like 1-2nd grade.  Okay.  So I deal with that.  LM is supposed to be in 1st grade but can pull some 2nd grade out of his hat, but only when his brain is working (sometimes we have to run around the house to get our brain warmed up).  I came up with a doable schedule, will be adding in math worksheets and possibly science, and lots of memorization of facts.  I will be working with both boys, in tandem on the same set of books.  Today went really really well.  It will not be easy and Catfish will eventually catch onto what I’m doing, but I feel like if I can bump Catfish up in math (he is excellent in math) and keep LM on his grade level in math, that will be a huge boost of confidence even though the other books are 2 grades below what he is working on.  We really don’t do grade levels anyway and there is no  GRADE 2 marked on any curriculum that I use, so the visual is not there for him to be discouraged on.

This is working…it keeps me accountable and not flying by the seat of my pants.  The boys are learning.  I’m not frazzled.  The big kids can help when I am at therapy with Catfish and they know exactly where we stopped and where to pick up.  It really is a win win for me.

Here is a copy of our November schedule, to give you an example.  I started with November 10th (the schedule is new), so there are 12 teaching days left in this month.

November 10-14; 17-21; 24-25 (12 days)




8-17 46-53 72-81
19-25 54-60 82-90
26-33 61-67 91-101
35-45 70-71 103-115


            OUR AMERICA


5-9 35-43 59-63
13-23 45-49 65-69
25-29 50-54 70-75
30-34 55-58 76-81


  • Name Continents
  • Name Oceans
  • Name Seas
  • Match states to map
  • Draw flag and identify how many stars/stripes and why
  • Begin Timeline




4-7 22-25 40-45
8-11 26-29 46-49
12-17 32-35 50-53
18-21 36-39 54-57


Vocabulary:     share                            Senses                         city



Spell – alphabetize – define – sentences – test

~some, her, would, make, duck, luck, suck, stuck, like, him, into, time, pet, get, wet, let, has, look, two, more, red, bed, fed, sled~

~write, go, see, number, men, hen, pen, ten, no, way, could, people, tell, fell, sell, well, my, than, first, water, bad, hat, glad, mad~

~been, called, who, oil, win, lip, kid, ship, sit, now, find, long, mom, fox, chop, shop, down, day, did, get, bus, truck, must, cut~


Week 2

  • I can sit with the man.
  • I have a big pig.
  • His thin skin had a pin in it.
  • He can kick the stick but not the brick.

Week 3

  • We all have a lot of hot pots.
  • You can hop when you drop your mop.
  • There is a job for each man.
  • Which rock do you have?

Week 4

  • Their hut is shut, but I will do in.
  • He will hug many bugs on the rug.
  • It is so fun to run in the sun!
  • With some luck the duck will not get stuck.


 Worksheets (6 per day) on different areas of 2nd grade


Fact families

Begin division

Simple fractions

Online Reading: (only for Catfish)

The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Huckleberry Finn

Tablet Work:

10 min. starfall

10 min. 2nd grade math



Well, I got the results back from Catfish’s 4 hour testing.

It was worse than I had expected.

Now, I mull over the results.

I cry.

I eat cheese.

I cry more.

I drank a coke.

Then my sister called….and I cried more.

It isn’t really the dyslexia (okay, so that is a huge part of it).

It is all the other alphabetical letters he has because of the choices of his birthmom.

I just wasn’t as prepared for all of this.

I was hoping against all hopes that he would outgrow his labels.

Tomorrow I will be over it and I will find ways to help him.

Or, I could just stay under the covers and be very very quiet in hopes that the children don’t find me.


Dealing with Special Needs

I am a hard-headed person.  I know that.  I embrace that.  I hate that about myself.  Growing up, I had (have) wonderful parents.  I was blessed with Martha and Pop.  Pop’s work ethic was amazing.  He knew that he needed to do what he needed to do to provide for his family.  By being dedicated to his job, that meant, giving up a lot of ball games, band concerts, and awards ceremonies.  My mom made up for his absence because she was always there…she is everywhere….even when you don’t realize it!  I also am a privileged kid because I had an extra set of parents; Susie and Frank.  They lived across the street from us and my mom and Susie are the best of the best of friends….my siblings and I would flit between houses and we were held to a high standard by both sets of parents.

I, too, have high standards.

I set the bar really high for my kids.  I do so because I believe in their abilities to reach for the stars and to achieve the goals that they have set for themselves.  I do not want perfection out of my kids.  That is unattainable…only One perfect Person walked on the face of the planet and that Person is my Jesus.  I do, however, expect my kids to work hard and to do what I know they are capable of.  I do not believe in using bad beginnings (for my kids born in the heart) as a crutch to get by in life.  Overcome, forgive and move on.  I live by that and I want that for my kids.

One of my children had a bad beginning….full of prenatal abuse and post-natal abuse.  The problems that this particular child has was not so evident when this child was younger.  There was a speech issue, but pretty much a happy, inventive, creative, chubby little piece of work.  As the years have moved on….the differences between this child and other children the same age is like an ocean.  I see my child in a little dingy riding the waves of the ocean, while his peers are on yachts zooming to a private island.  There is a huge gap between this child and the children that he has grown up with.

It hurts my heart to know that he will struggle every day of his life when it comes to academics, reading, learning, remembering small details.  I wonder what he will do…will he ever be able to function outside the walls of our home and away from the bubble that we keep him in.  He has been picked on because of his speech impediment.  He has cried many tears because he just can’t remember and he says that he can’t do things because his brain doesn’t work or that he is lase (he spells using phonetics….the word is “lazy”).

Today, as I was sitting in the dark room watching him in speech/reading therapy….I felt weepy.  He went through a battery of testing that was to determine if he had dyslexia.  Dyslexia is the developmental reading disorder is a reading disability that occurs when the brain does not properly recognize and process certain symbols.  He has been in therapy for a while now…we started him in PT, OT, SLP when he moved in with us.  He has been in some sort of therapy ever since.

We have been blessed with an amazing “overseer” and some fantastic people who work with him.  They have been so patient with him and so loving.  This testing was hard on him.  He sat through 4 hours of testing over the course of a couple of weeks.  His “results” will be in on Thursday.  Today, I have been informed that he is EXTREMELY dyslexic and that we really need to focus on his strengths because his weaknesses are so bad.  It is something that I needed to hear, but didn’t want too.  I have to face the truths and I have to get over it so I can help him be the best that he can be.

And I will.


But today, I’m pissed. (sorry mom…I know you hate that word but I didn’t say dyslexia sucks…which it does cause I know you hate the word sucks too).

I’ll accept it tomorrow.


Then again, tomorrow I may just drink chicken broth and play a game.


Welcome To Peach’s Restaurant

Let’s just say…Peach isn’t overly thrilled about her new job at “McPeach’s”.  Her overall assessment, based on the owner’s of the restaurant (Pam and me) were that she did a good job of organizing her menu items.  Her menu was clear.  Her space was clear and she wore gloves.  She needed to work on her communication skills and her friendliness factor, though.  She wasn’t has “high paced” as she should have been and we have got to work on counting back money.  That is a hard one, but I have confidence that once she gets the hang of it, she will move much faster and with much more confidence.

While McPeach’s was getting ready for the lunch crowd…one by one, the kids came to the banker and they received their monthly paychecks, as well as a copy of their monthly bills.  They had to pay their bills before they could eat lunch because sometimes, there just isn’t enough leftover.  It’s all about choices, sacrifices, and maturity level!  We had one in tears because her paycheck didn’t cover her monthly bills.  Once we all talked out how adults make sacrifices and learn to do without, we were able to trim her monthly bills down to an affordable amount, based on her hourly wages.  She also took on a “part time” job of cleaning houses on Saturday to make some extra money.  That was not, necessarily, time spent away from her children because while she cleaned 4 houses (at $10/hour), she was able to take her kids with her.  That gave her some time with them and it eliminated a babysitter/daycare fee.  Most kids opted to haul their own trash off, instead of paying for pickup.  We also had some kids cancel their landline and opt for a cellphone only.  Some took away their internet, opting to go to the library; while others trimmed down insurance options and downsized their vehicles to cut down on gas. It was cool watching their minds work and problem solve.


Thoughts on Lifeskills Class

Please, chime in if you have any comments or suggests!!!!!!!!

Peach (works at McDonald’s):  We *sort of* have this ironed out.  She will be doing daily lunches, at my house.  She will have to make sure the bathrooms, during the lunch hour, are clean.  She will also have to keep the dining area clean and, of course, the kitchen clean.  She will create menus with prices.  She will pull that hair back and slap on those rubber gloves.  She will cook, serve, collect money, and clean.  One day a week, she will be cooking McD type items (burgers, cheeseburgers, McChickens, fries) for our two families.  She will have to create fry holders and wrap all items appropriately.  She will be accepting checks, debits, and cash…she must learn how to count cash back.  We would like to get a field trip to a fast food place (or any restaurant) to see how things really work.  Pizza Hut is usually really good at doing this.

Gigi (farmer):  She has had to clean out the meat chicken’s coops and the laying hen coops.  She has had to feed and water all farm animals.  She has had to transfer the horse poop and work it through the garden area to prepare it for planting next year.  She is weeding flower gardens and soon will be planting fall flowers.  She will learn how to feed horses/cows properly, any “how-tos” with horse maintenance.  We will planning a field trip to a local farmer and learn how to milk cows and work tobacco farms.  She will work the yards of both families.

Boo (stay at home dad):  We have that pretty much covered. Whatever I have to do, he does.  He will also be spending at least one day a week with Pam and her family being a stay at home dad to them…cleaning/cooking/chauffering, etc.

Catfish (army):  He will do exercise drills, hiking, learning how to live in the woods, shoot guns…he will teach a couple of times to all the kids and everyday do drills with my children.  We are going to try and plan a field trip to Ft. Campbell…we shall see on that one.  We will also be planning a field trip to the police station, ambulance service and fire department.  In doing that, we will bake these people cookies and create cards to show our respect and appreciation for all they do.

Little Man (doctor):  He will take blood pressures, pulses, and blood sugars from everyone in the family, as well as Pam’s family.  He will learn how to clean out cuts, what types of creams to use on burns or cuts, how to bandage properly.  We would like to go on a field trip to a local doctors office.  We will also try to get a field trip to the health department.  They will talk about nutrition, staying healthy, how to do examines (hearing and vision), etc.

Precious (engineer):  She will build us things, but first she has to design it.  We need a place for a field trip, but I’m sort of at a loss….

Muffin (factory worker):  She will organize closets, make lists, and learn how to make life a bit simpler.  We are trying to plan a field trip to a window making company and a paper company.  She will do this for both families.

Norman (lawyer):  He has going to have to defend a case of our choosing between two other children.  He will prepare witnesses, interview, and do all the legwork for this case and present it in front of a judge.  We will be attending felony court, plea court and sentencing.  He will be required to dress the part.  He will also interview (hopefully) a judge, a lawyer and a probation/parole officer.


The Experimental Egg

Peach is taking Biology with a Lab, this semester.  She enjoys experiments, but sadly, they don’t always turn out the way she needs them too.

This experiment, however, exceeded our expectations!  She had place a raw egg in a glass and cover it with vinegar.  That had to sit, covered, for a few days.  In that time, the outer shell began to flake off.  Once the outer shell was completely gone (the egg is raw, mind you), she had to pour out the vinegar and then cover the egg with syrup.  That had to set covered, for a few days.

In the midst of the egg hanging out in either vinegar or syrup, she had to measure the egg each time.  Once the process was complete, the egg had shrunk considerably.  When she pulled it out of the syrup, this is what she found…a gelatinous egg where you could bing the yolk around and you could see the yolk.  It was squishy and awesome!  I’m so proud of her!



Meet Boo: Lifeskills Class

Boo is my 4th child and he is 13.  He drew high school drop out (pursuing his GED) and being a stay at home dad.  His wife makes $13/hour.  He has drawn out a small 2 bedroom/1 bath home and he wants 1 child (because that is easier).

We began his training on Monday afternoon.  We started off by going to the pharmacy (I wish I had taken a picture…will do better).  He had to walk in, talk clearly and concisely to the staff, hand them my prescription, as well as, getting 3 other filled.  We talked about why they only stock one item, at a time, of bathroom products (think cost).  What the difference is between Walmart and a drugstore.  Why people buy “expensive” things at the drugstore…what is the best thing to buy at the drugstore.  How to look for deals.  Also, just being polite and speaking up when talking to other people.

After that, we headed to the grocery store.  Had I been brilliant, I would have let him create the menu for the next couple of weeks, but I did that and made my list.  He, however, took the list, a pen and did his thing,  We talked about branding and how sometimes you pay more the brand name or the packaging.  We compared prices on the same item, 3 different brands.  I taught him how to shop for produce and fresh vegetables.

We set a limit of $200 for a 2 week period.  That includes paper products, cleaning supplies, dog food, food, etc.  He came in at $166.60.  I totally would have made him put something up if he went over budget.  Gotta learn to live within means!  It too FOREVER to get through the grocery, but it was time I got to spend with him…one on one!

As we were loading the groceries on the belt thing…I explained to him that there are good cashiers (separate your items properly and don’t overload your bags) and then there are the struggling cashiers (those that suck and smash your bread).  I told him that it was our job to make their job a bit easier….especially when I normally shop a month at a time. I can be an overwhelming presence in the grocery store.  I taught him how to group cold stuff together, freezer stuff, canned goods, boxes and always…always….load the squishy stuff last.  It makes everything go much more smoothly.

When we went to check out, I used my debit card.  He was in shock because he *thought* it was a credit card.  I explained the differences (while the little girl was checking our groceries) between the two.  Debit (or used as credit) goes directly out of my bank account…instantly…no money in account, it will decline my card.  I then asked him what I had taught him about credit cards and he gently replied “they are from the devil!”  Well done…son….well done!!!!!!

We got home and he had to hurry to put everything up.  After he got everything put up, he had to hussle to get Little Man prepared for soccer and we can’t forget his water!  He was soccer dad because every kid likes to be involved in something.  After 2 hours of waiting, he had to come home, feed LM and then put the rest of the groceries (pantry items) up.  He will take my menu list and he will separate out each meal and put the recipe items (as well as the recipe) in the boxes.  He will then place those in the pantry…when it is time to make that particular meal, he will have everything at his fingertips.

DSCN6455 DSCN6456 DSCN6457

Yes, he will be cooking (pray for me).  He made Corn Chowder and Broccoli/Cheese Soup.  Both were delicious.


Tuesday, he attended speech therapy with Catfish.  He had to come in, sign him in, meet the therapist and shake her hand.  He had to properly introduce himself to the head of the department, as well as, an undergrad student who was taking notes.  My boy took 2 pages of notes AND he asked many questions to the head of the dept. and the grad student therapist.  He loved it!


Wednesday, he will be going with 4 of the other children to the doctor, as well as, making sure everyone is bathed and ready for church.  Thursday is therapy and soccer again….he will do everything that I do and I will shadow him.  He was exhausted, yesterday…maybe he will have an appreciation for me 🙂 Friday, we have a down day and will probably pay bills (he will write checks, as well). Saturday, is a full day of soccer in another town about 2 hours away.  He will have to prepare snacks for everyone, make sure they are properly dressed, make sure LM has all he needs to play, get blankets and chairs and be ready to cheer!  Then everyone needs showers because Sunday is church!  Then it starts all over again 🙂

We will be going to the bank, doing some couponing, reading recipes, making phone calls, attending therapies, doctoring boo boos and he has to clean the house from top to bottom….good times people, good times.

My goal is to teach him to look people in the eyes, have a firm handshake, be prepared, be polite and to be efficient.

I will keep this blog updated as each kid represents their chosen field and I promise to add pictures!


Lifeskills Class

My friend, Pam, came up with an extraordinary idea for our little homeschool people.  I know that they do similar things in public school, but the intensity of what we will be doing was created out of her experience as a teen mom, who took her daughter to school everyday.

Life is hard.  There is no way around that and in the world we live in, giving our children everything is not doing them any good.  We are setting them up for failure.  My son, 13, asked me if he could have his own room when he was 16.  Ideally, I would *love* for each of my kids to have their own space.  Realistically, the Lord has met our needs.  Do kids share rooms?  Yes, they do.  We have 3 boys in one room, 2 girls in another and then my oldest has the smallest room of the house.  It is what it is.  My kids need to learn to be grateful for what the Lord has given us…and they are, for the most part….but they do still dream big.

There is nothing wrong with dreaming!!!!!!!!!  Dreams can, one day, be turned into attainable goals and goals are a great thing to have.  Goals keep us in a place of constantly growing and changing.  There are families with way less than what we have and then there are families who have way more than we have.  The point is….is that our needs are met by the only One who can meet them!

My kids went over to Pam’s house, on Monday, and that is when she went into more detail of what they would be doing.  She had different educational options printed out on paper and thrown in a bowl.  In another bowl, she had jobs listed.  Each child randomly selected their educational status, their salary, and their jobs.  They could decide how many children they want, their type of home, etc. based on what they drew.  They jobs that they chose from were engineer, lawyer, McDonald’s worker, farmer, stay at home parent, doctor, army, and factory worker.

These are some of the things that they have to do in this class:

  • Draw their homes to scale
  • Decide on how many children they want
  • Create a budget for their bills (they will be given amounts for everyday bills like electricity, water, phone, gas, etc.)
  • We have printed out checks so they will have to learn how to write them properly (this will also teach the younger kids how to write in cursive)
  • They have check registers because Pam and I are the bank and if they overdraw their accounts, then that means more money they have to come up with.
  • They will go to a bank, for a field trip, and they will learn about savings accounts, IRAs, checking accounts, safety deposit boxes, debit cards, ATMs
  • They will learn how to save….tithe first, then (ideally) 1/2 a paycheck to savings and 1/2 to checking
  • They will learn about vehicle maintenance
  • How to go to the grocery
  • Meal planning
  • Organizational skills
  • We will have them switch jobs, in 2 weeks, but they will have to interview for it.
  • They will learn how to properly fill out job applications
  • Some kids will get to go experience court
  • The engineer will design/build things
  • At the end of the two weeks, they will write a paper about their experiences

There are so many things that we are going to have them do, that I will try and document it with posts and photos.  In a month or so, we will receive our “baby” and each child be solely responsible for that baby for 2 weeks.  We will probably continue this type of class each semester and they will have to keep the baby each semester to keep things fresh.  Our goal is to raise children who love the Lord, who love others and are responsible.

If you have any ideas on what we can incorporate, please feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can email me at or find me on facebook under “The Barefoothomeschooler.”


Good Grief

This is my convo with a certain child…

**Me noticing that child had stacked books up, as in saying “I’m done” and getting in the shower to take the hour it takes to get ready for church…all without saying a word to me**

Me:  Go get all your books and let me make sure that you are done since you have proven that you struggle with truth in the completion department.

Child:  Okay.

Me:  If any work has been purposefully skipped, not done or ignored…I reserve the right to discipline you by not allowing you to go to church tonight.  You not only have to finish said work, but you must go to bed early for the next 2 nights.

Child:  Okay

Me:  Is it safe to say that your work is not completed or skipped over.

C:  Yes.

M:  Why is your work not done

C:  i-dont-know***worst answer EVER***

M:  That is not an acceptable answer…why is your work not done.

C:  I don’t like school and I don’t want to do it.

M:  Well, you have 5 more years of it and then you can decide whether or not you want to go to college or just get a job.  As long as you can support yourself.  Why is your history not done?

C:  I don’t like the questions at the end of the chapter.  I just don’t like book work.

M: **face palm**  Well, you have proven that you cannot handle computer work and you don’t like bookwork, so what do you propose that we do?

C:  I just want to go to PS, it will be SO much easier because the teacher stands over you and gives you the answer.

M:  What would happen if you handed in your work and it wasn’t done?

C:  I’d get an F.

M:  What do you think would happen if you told your teacher that you didn’t like the questions at the end of the chapter?

C:  She would tell me to do it anyway.

M:  How is that different than from here?

C:  It will be FUNNER at school.

M:  Let’s call Jojo…a seasoned teacher and you can ask her these questions to see what her answers would be

**insert calling Jojo and her saying “that student would get a zero, I don’t care if you don’t like the book, do it anyway; no I do not stand over my students because it is 30 to 1; suck it up and get it done because if God meant for you to be an adult, you would have come out of the womb as an 18 year old”**

Cue tears.

Cue stomping.

Cue finishing schoolwork while sobbing at her desk.

Add this into another child not doing his work because “he didn’t want to try.” Then the dog peed in the floor while another dog let a poop storm hit…In.  My.  House. because she was scared non existent thunderstorm.  Not to mention the hearing aids that have to be sent back because they are not “communicating” with each other and a raging headache.

This mama is D.O.N.E. for the day.  Stick a fork in me…I am DONE!