Reading Is Fundamental

Not sure how it happened that my baby girl is to be reading, but she’s 5 1/2 and so very smart and has the desire to learn which is so vital to success. She LOVES our one-on-one time together with our Phonics book and honing in on those skills with some resources I’ve made for her to use and interact with in a way that fosters a love of learning! I will share about those resources as well as some other learning tools we use in our kindergarten reading adventures. I chose the title for this post, because I do believe with all of my heart that if we as teachers nurture the love of learning through developing good readers they sky truly is the limit! If you can read, you can learn anything really!

While I don’t employ the use of screens for very long periods of time, we do use screens everyday in our classroom. It is where we find ourselves today as a society, and if I’m being completely honest and why not … I need to use the screens to keep the proverbial wheels of progress turning with six students grades 11 down to kindergarten.


Li’l Bit loves to watch these videos from time to time. Now they are for review purposes only as she has a solid grasp of letter sounds for both the consonants and vowels. I highly recommend this little series because the videos are 30 minutes or less in length and they are engaging without adding unnecessary fluff to them. I purchased ours with a groupon code about a year ago, and they are well worth the $35 I paid for the entire set. Continue reading


Mourn WITH Those Who Mourn

I’m so tired of stories, REAL stories involving REAL, LIVE human beings where Christian brothers and sisters PERSECUTE the very brothers and sisters who need LOVE the most. What is wrong with us???

We’ve lived this in our own family, the SHARP PIERCING, DEEP WOUND of persecution in the midst of unimaginable suffering within our family. When we need love and support the most, those whom we expect to provide and offer it are often the very ones who TURN AWAY and worse you SHUN and attack and isolate us. WHY???? You throw stones and you make us feel as if the world is even crueler than we’re already realizing it to be.

I don’t think most people realize the DEPTHS that adoptive families in particular go to FOR THEIR CHILDREN. When a tragedy such as suicide by a child strikes, DON’T YOU KNOW THE FAMILY MAY HAVE ALREADY WALKED OUT EVERY COURSE OF HELP IMAGINABLE.

“If only they had sought counseling … ” THEY’VE LIKELY BEEN TO TOO MANY THERAPISTS TO COUNT THEM ALL.

“If only they hadn’t left him alone … ” MAYBE THEY NEVER DID! Have you ever been in a position where you simply can’t leave your child(ten) alone or even in the care of other siblings? THIS IS LIFE FOR MANY.


As another adoptive family faces the heartbreak of the loss of a child, not even yet a teen, it GRIEVES my heart to read the words of the father who speaks of the “sharp words” of some, undoubtedly other Christians. STOP. JUST STOP. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

If you’ve never adopted for GOD’S PRECIOUS SAKE, just STOP and KEEP QUIET and PRAY and let those of us who get it in some very real ways come alongside. And if you haven’t adopted and truly want to be supportive, then say that. Say I want to help but I don’t know how. HOW CAN I HELP YOU? If you truly mean it, they will know it.

I am weary. So very weary. Just this week, yet again, the Prez had to filter out IGNORANT TALK by a woman, who has said the very same things to me IN FRONT OF OUR SON WHO WAS ADOPTED. She goes on these UNEDUCATED (and she is in every sense of the word) tirades of why they can’t adopt a child even though they’d love to adopt one. LORD, PLEASE don’t ever allow that to happen. She doesn’t have what it takes. Truly, she doesn’t. If money is her greatest worry about international adoption, well then as those who’ve walked it out can attest she has no business considering it anyway.

She went ON AND ON AND ON about how it costs $30,000 “up-front” and why does it cost so much? Now mind you, her husband manages a local, fast-food chain restaurant, and she stays home with their high-school-aged daughter, who is in school all day 5 days a week. But anywho, she said “we’ve got to pay off the thousands we spent on Janie’s off-road vehicle for her Christmas gift (who in the world spends thousands on a Christmas gift for a child???), we’ve got a $500+ monthly payment on my brand-new blah, blah car, and we just don’t make a fortune like THOSE PEOPLE who adopt all these kids.” WHAT THE WHAT? Did I mention she was talking to my husband and she knows we’ve “adopted all those kids.”

To my fellow Tennesseans, I apologize in advance, but if there ever was a person who fits the persona many in our great nation think of as Tennessean, this lady is IT. I would share some reasons, but in an effort to keep her identify protected, I will refrain. My point is, NO ONE would do such a thing about a biological child. They just wouldn’t. And they don’t. But when it is an adopted child, all bets are off and filters apparently as well.

As for the adoptive family whose tweenage son took his own life this week, I cannot imagine their grief. And to those who would actually have the audacity to persecute them in the midst of this unimaginable pain and grief and LOSS, SHAME ON YOU. You WILL answer for your actions. NO DOUBT. For those who persecuted our adopted son, YOU WILL TOO. Jesus came to seek and to save those who are lost. His Word gives us SPECIFIC INSTRUCTIONS for how to walk out MINISTRY.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:14-21)




Classroom Reveal 2015-2016

Before I take you on a tour of our schoolroom, which I prefer to refer to as “the library” I will introduce you to the cast of characters here at CandL HomeLearning.

  • Curly, our oldest son, will soon be 17 years old. He’s a Junior this year, but he’s also enrolled in a class at the nearby Community College for Dual Enrollment.
  • Larry, our second oldest son, is 15 years old. He’s a Freshman this year, and he’s excited to rise to the challenge of taking accelerated courses.
  • Mo, our third oldest son, just turned 13 years old this summer, and he’s looking forward to tackling 7th grade head-on and so far he’s risen to the challenge.
  • Li’l Bro, our youngest son, turned 10 years old this summer, and he’s ready to be a 4th grader. He’s still trying to figure out where he fits in best, whether tagging along with his almost-twin sister or wanting to be with the big boys too.
  • Li’l Miss, our oldest daughter, is 9 years old but just 4 months younger than Li’l Bro, and she’s excited to continue learning in 4th grade this year.
  • Li’l Bit, our youngest daughter and the baby of the family, is 5 years old, and she couldn’t be more excited about being a Kindergartner this year and being “in real school” with her brothers and sister.


These wonderful T-shirts were designed by Mo and Li’l Miss, and we’re really happy with the way they turned out after ordering them custom on-line. Some of the biggest kids decided they’d rather not wear them on the “same day” as their siblings, but they were gracious enough to pose for a photo for me.

As my students enter our library, which is where 75% of our bookwork, as I like to call it, is done, they can see our rules at the top of the door. They are as follows: Continue reading


Bucket Filling at Home

I am often late to the party, but it’s never too late to make a change for the better as they say. I have been reading for more than a year on various teacher blogs about bucket filling. I try to foster this type of environment in our homeschool and in our home, but I will admit the last 21 months and if I’m being completely honest even before that, the Prez and I have often been surviving and picking up the pieces instead of laying down a solid foundation.


After several very tough battles within our family, various children in various therapies, and just a general feeling of hopelessness mixed with sadness over all that’s been lost, the Prez and I are determined to foster a much more positive vibe in our home. One of the ways we are doing that is with a bucket system. Continue reading


Disney World 2014: On Our Way

I never blogged about our trip to Disney World in February 2014. Now that my blog is all spruced up, I am going to blog … about whatever I want. Since the Prez and I have been talking about going back to Disney World next February, I have been perusing our photos. So, on February 5 and 6, we finished up the packing and loading of the camper for an afternoon departure on February 7. All Disney trips require some staging of the camper: past photos on the walls; Disney-themed toothpaste; band-aids, and spaghettios; and of course Disney movies!Disney2014.1We knew we would stay overnight halfway down, and we found that Georgia rest areas have designated camping spots WITH dump stations and electricity! Continue reading


Keeping Busy with Baby Chicks

We raise chickens. We didn’t plan to really. We fell into it through a program called the Chick Chain with a local 4H Club. Our then 9-year-old son received 25 one-day-old chicks to raise for about 4 months with the agreement he’d bring his 5 best to the local County Fair. These chicks would then be auctioned to the highest bidder, and those funds used to buy chicks the following year for the program. What we didn’t expect is our son Mo received the Reserve Grand Champion award, which meant his chickens were the 2nd best of the show.


And from that moment on we were all hooked! I’m sad to say Mo’s affection for the chickens has worn off, but me and our three Littles love to care for them and they offer me a form of therapy honestly. There is just something therapeutic about watching them interact and to learn their language. They actually DO have different clucks and calls that mean different things. Now I’m not a chicken nor do I speak chicken, but I do understand a lot of their language. I come running out the back door for instance if I hear our rooster sending out a distress call, and I now know why our grandmas used to say “Now don’t go getting your feathers all ruffled” because I’m here to tell you the ladies most definitely DO ruffle those feathers at a certain time … or rather, after a certain event involving the rooster. Continue reading


Hands-On Math

One thing our Pre-Kindergartner loves is to sort. I used to wonder if she was “too old” for this type of activity, but then I reminded myself her finger muscles are still developing strength and sorting is a form of recognizing differences and similarities. Recently I’ve begun to make the sorting more challenging for her, and she asks to do this again and again. I also realized that I can tailor this easy-to-implement activity to her own unique level.

Here she is sorting objects by color. She asked for the various manipulatives and then decided on her own the best way to sort them would be by color. While it wasn’t challenging for her, she had fun and it kept her busy and using that brain and those fingers for a good half an hour while I worked with her bigger siblings. After she finished, we talked about which muffin tin had the most and which had the least items, and we worked in some adding and subtracting until she was done.


IMG_0465 Continue reading


Turns Out I Don’t Have the Friendless Gene


Read that again. It packs a lot of power in 16 rather simple words, doesn’t it? How often though do we find ourselves trying to go it alone. Trying to be strong. Trying to look like we have it all figured out. Or have it all together. Or know what the heck we’re doing. Or we tell ourselves we should have it all figured out or know what the heck we’re doing, because after all, we reason, we must be really messed up if we don’t have it all figured out or can’t go it alone or can’t put on the image of being strong.






A Repost: Three Years Later! (Part 2)

**Three years ago today, February 5, 2012, our whole family met our Li’l Bit in Guizhou, China. I can’t believe it has been 3 YEARS! Here is another post I had on my original blog. Too many precious pictures to not post this one too. If you missed part 1 recap, it is HERE.**



God is so great!!!


I was admittedly worried this little girl would be so overwhelmed with all of us. I mean we are quite the crew here. Continue reading