Tag Archives: dyslexic

Go outside and play.


My husband and I had a visit to the ER yesterday. We knew this one was coming . It was only a matter of time. When you encourage your kids to “get off their butts and live”( that means go outside) . Something is going to happen. If something is going to happen it’s going to happen to Joel.

Winter all around has been extremely frigid. I don’t mind snow. I don’t mind cold. I do mind temps. below 20 degrees. It has been brutal. The kids go out for ten minutes and they come right back in ,of course that leads to the most ridiculous fighting you have ever heard. If it’s not a fight, they make one up. Thank God for winter activities (indoors.) Anyway usually when one of our children pulls a really dumb stunt, we the parents get scrutinized. You know it’s better to allow your child to sit and eat chips while playing Grand Theft Auto ,than let them climb a tree. ( I don’t recommend jumping off bridges into snow piles, on frozen ponds. BAD IDEA). I was pleasantly surprised yesterday.

I walked into the room and the doctor told me his name. I took a deep breath. My husband was still parking the car. He said, “so Joel how did you hurt your foot?” Joel’s smile is infectious. It makes me smile. He says, “I jumped off a bridge”. The doctor looks at me. I smile. It’s a nervous habit. I know he’s picturing the George Washington Bridge,George_Washington_Bridge_NY but really it’s just a little bridge on a country road. So Joel tells him he was jumping in the snow with friends. He’s the only one who hurts his foot.The doctor says,(with kind eyes) “Well I am sorry your foot is hurt but kids should be outside in the snow. We see a lot of kids who play outside regularly. That’s how it should be. Let’s get an X-ray.” His foot ended up being broken in two places. He’s pretty tough when it comes to things like falling from trees, being chased by bulls, making a goal running full speed on a 95 degree day . Joel just has endurance. If he can’t walk. He broke it.

I think back to a conversation and a video. We were watching this :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYw4meRWGd4
Joel watched this and said “I want to be the first one to break his record.” Thinking about that now I don’t know if he was serious or not, but I’m thinking I might be on a first name basis with the ER doctors. It’s going to be a long 8 weeks. Long enough for him to finally sit and take the photography class I tried to get him to take. Yes, that means no pictures hanging upside down from trees, or in the middle of the swamp, but I’m sure he can find something to film on crutches…..Joel Barker 2014 029

All credit goes to Joel. Who sees beauty in everything.



I wonder if when a person hits the “post” button they have actually let those words filter through their brain. Are people so desperate for recognition that they have let the whole world know that they are clearly superior intellectually or can they just let it slip?( which I clearly am not) I see the posts everyday. People telling other people the different types of there’s. People telling others how and when to use commas.( what a badge of honor. Thank you so much!!!) The person let’s you know that they have the awful burden to notice every grammar mistake on a sign at a grocery store. People seriously we all know auto correct messes up half of what we say and others are human errors. Then I’ll see one that grabs my heart because I have taught one his whole life. The spelling errors are all over the place. People will tear this one up. I think to myself how did he slip through the cracks?
dyslexia bubble
I know how people slip through because I just heard another story. My husband was talking to someone Who said the first key words” “I hate reading”. He actually has been through college and is now in a good paying job. Your thinking so he hates reading.He has a job, the worst you can say is that? He was asking my husband” how do you spell..this, and this.?” My husband finally started asking questions. He struggled all through school. Spelling was not his best subject. He hated reading. Of course the public school assigns you remedial reading because obviously when you already can’t read you should read more? It’s the same old broken system that has never worked. He got pushed through. He found a way . To get where he is today he had to struggle , work twice as hard and rely on friends. His teachers thought he was dumb. His word problems in math looked like hieroglyphics. No one knew to call it dyslexia.
With the introduction of the Common Core and all of its assessments I can’t imagine a dyslexic student in the public school. The race to the top initiative is leaving people behind. Students like this. I guess though the public school is set up that way. That is why we homeschool. My son is not going to be left behind while others race to the top. The President may have sounded good with his eloquent speech but his children get their education paid for. Most dyslexic students need very expensive tutoring. The intervention required in the public school is usually not adequate. Most parents turn to private tutoring. I myself love it when homeschoolers say “let the children educate themselves.” I’m sure that will work very well for my son who is dyslexic. There is an element of independence, but to completely allow unmonitored schooling is hogwash.

I used to really worry that we were not doing the right thing. Progress was slow. My son was struggling so bad. Every dyslexia specialist has a different technique they prefer and it’s crazy trying to discern what works best for your child. I was told by someone who was an expert that certain things we were doing would not work. Only their program worked. Their program was thousands! We were already spending that much. We just slowly plodded along because our son liked what he was doing and fought us on the experts program. Guess what? We are seeing tremendous progress. The new spelling curriculum we got has also helped. It’s slow, tedious, repetitive. He actually loves it. He’s gone up a grade level in reading and comprehension. I’m more excited about the comprehension part. He actually is reading the King James Bible with his Dad every night ( if you have ever seen a King James Bible, please clap with me now).I also love, love the immersion narration from Kindle . It’s an option with some of their books and replaces the robotic like reading my son HATED. He would not even bother trying to read along with those TERRIBLE narrations. He was last heard reading along with Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer on some adventure. Who would have thought that possible? In case you are wondering about my title. He spelled that.He will never be “cured” of dyslexia. He is always going to have an element of struggle.He most likely will be a poor speller his whole life. Aside from his dyslexia I’m more proud of him for something else. I told him about this korean pastor who started this box in Korea so that people could come and bring orphans. The people came they dropped babies off in the box and the Pastor and his wife took care of them. My son said to me” Mom when I grow up I want to go there and adopt those children and help that Pastor. Why doesn’t anyone want those babies? I was telling him about the Pastor and the good he was doing, he was focused on the need of the children to have parents. That’s my son. Always seeing the hurt in others. Struggles only become a handicap if you let them.

Just as I am.


We all sat around the table drinking coffee, sharing in holiday goodies and chatted.I listened to an all too familiar story. I can see his face, feel his shame. I’m so stupid.( I want to go back, go back andtell him. You are not stupid.You are created with a wonderful gift. You do not have a learning disability. You have a reading and spelling disability.Jesus does not care if you read the Bible out loud. Find your gift. Excel in it.) That’s what he knows though. That’s what they have told him. No-one spoke it. They did not say it out-loud. No words are needed. He sat in class. He had to read out loud. Because of course what would happen if he just sat there and listened ? I mean we are the church, we could not possibly come along side the struggling and help them. Do we see the need and stop the shame or enforce our control and insist, no demand perfect obedience? Because we all know every child is disobedient who does not want to participate, right?Did they consider how he would feel reading in front of his peers? Now it’s too late. The damage done. Facing them is worse than reading. Now his parents take the hit. ” Why is Dyslexia so strong in our family? We had him come out of that class. He was so embarrassed.” I brushed away the tear and shook my head. “I am so sorry. This happened to us too.“I sure wish I had the answer to that one. I know it’s hereditary, but really? To watch certain children struggle is so hard. . We didn’t know that it would affect all areas of life. People are so ignorant. Dyslexia is real. I will always fight for my kids. I will always teach my kids to also endure hardness. People will be ignorant and I can’t help the way they respond. I honestly don’t need my kids to be under the influence of controlling, ignorant individuals. I’ve taught my son it’s never going away. Allow them their ignorance. Be better. Love better. Rise above them.I think back on our struggles and I watch my son ,just when I want to give up on people (and I think some people should spend a little more time trying to use Google) an older fellow comes over to my son at church. He puts his arm around him and says, “I wanted you to know I’ve missed you.” He smiles. Someone misses him. (and that’s all he needs to know.) That’s all it takes. There is no shame in Dyslexia. Only shame in Church leaders who can’t see past their pride in taking in the least of these. eeyore http:



It’s cold here in northwestern PA. . I know Polar Vortex, as if this is a sci-fi movie. Please. It’s cold. We feel it. Some of my chickens died and my Linemen husband is frozen when he actually comes home. This cold does go right through to your bones.The bleakness of winter can consume you if you let it. My kids of course are driving me crazy. If we don’t get above 1 degree soon I am seriously going to reevaluate my mental health. We’ve acquired a talking Amazon Parrot , conure, kitten and a dog since I last posted. I don’t have enough chaos in here, I’m opting for an indoor zoo! So I haven’t posted in over a year. I wasn’t able to sit at my computer. I have these disks that seem to pop like popcorn. This is the third time it has happened to me. I thought for sure I was done. I don’t know if you have ever experienced nerve pain, but it is not like anything I can describe.It is relentless and pursuing. I could not escape it. I did finally get surgery. I am not a fan of chiropractors and please refrain from telling me how wonderful they are for you. So I know this is not like my usual posts. I want you to know that God does hear the prayers of the Homeschooling Mom. He heard me say” God I can’t do this. If you don’t help me I quit. I am sending these kids to the public school and I just give up. The pain is too much( and it was)”. My friends forgot me, some family thought I was addicted to the pain meds( I don’t know why, they didn’t help much) . I told Him in no uncertain terms that I was done with Him and with everyone. Now if you don’t know God you will say” some God you have there” I know . You see this is not the worst thing I have ever been through, Maybe as far as pain level, but not the worst thing. He did help me through this and compensated for the lack of schooling I was not able to do. My kids are so much better now. I could just weep to think of it.I ditched my old schooling. I have so much better results now. I have more help for my dyslexic son. God used this time when I could not even sit, to do some great things in my kids lives. I have come out of this thing called suffering so much better. You see when you suffer no-one can go through this with you. You have no companion. It is not meant to be shared. I am not out of pain and probably never will be. I’m okay with that. I’ll be okay, someday. It has been awful. It has been painful and hard. Lonely nights. One thing I can say is trite things like this” You have not suffered as much as Job or as much as….” are just so ridiculous. So glad I have a great God who does reach down in my pain, because I have suffered as much as ME. He made me and knows my pain. My Creator fashioned me. No matter where I am. In a lonely dark place( which I have been before).no pitHe’s been there for me. This lesson isn’t learned breezing through life. It’s learned on the road less traveled. God knows our pain. No matter how deep the pit. Take heart. Homeschooling can be hard. I know. I’ve weathered the storms, the comments, the scrutiny, the struggles. They’re worth it. Don’t give up. I’m not perfect. I’ve been unorganized, my house messy, freaked out, lost my patience, lost my mind, please don’t ever think that you have lost your God. He’s here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQnBvUiAGsI#!

“Life is so urgent it necessitates living slow.”Ann Voskamp


I watched the sun rise this morning. All the colors rose slowly until they met in one burst of brightness. It felt like an eternity. I was sitting there alone doing what people call devotions. It didn’t feel like devotion , it felt like wonder. God was speaking to me. I’m always in a hurry. It might be just my natural inclination or being raised in CT. I’m not sure. Most times I don’t even know why the hurry. It’s just. hurry to get school done, hurry to prepare supper, hurry to church. It’s so exhausting. I am not in a position to hurry right now. I guess God is trying to slow me down. You could say I wrestled with God. I hate admitting that I’m in pain, so here it is. I’m in pain. I read this morning. “Life is not an Emergency. Life is brief and is fleeting but it is not an Emergency.” Ann Voskamp I think of yesterday. The moments I want to take time to remember. All of us standing behind Joel praying he finally beats the boss on Timez attack. He had tried 32 times. We all feel his pain. Failure is not an option for him. He finally got those last three facts. We all cheered. I could have missed that moment. I had so much to do. In this moment I decided to stop. I joined in the struggle. It felt like my victory. Dyslexia has many aspects to it. Memory is really affected by it. Sequencing, memorizing steps in math, all affected. I know that the Dyslexia movement keeps saying it’s a gift. I wonder if they ask a child who has it. In hind sight one can always say it was a gift, but in the struggle, sometimes all you see is the struggle. I told my husband yesterday as we watched Joel build a fort in the front yard ” you would never know he is the same kid who took 32 times to beat a level on his Timez attack. He is happy, confident hammering away( with my husbands tools he is sure to lose.) I know why he built it in the front yard and not on the rest of our 60 acres. He wanted his dad to come home and see his fort. He was super proud. Today I just wanted to remember the moment. Each tiny, little moment. Haste makes waste people say. I know why, we are in such a hurry to get to the next moment we miss the magic of the one we are in.
racing to the next moment
Gotta go. I’m missing the sunshine and many magical moments.
IPAD 332

Plan B


Okay I wasn’t sure if this quite home educating but it is for me. I am reading a devotional by Ann Voskamp, called One thousand gifts. I started off reading on her site online. Probably a couple of months ago. My sister showed me. Then I forgot about it and My daughters piano teacher posted and I was like, “oh yeah.” So I bought her devotional, So it would be in my hands. Tuesday I read something so profound . I shared it Grandma Barker. I have been thinking on this one paragraph all week. It resonates with me because of Joel(with his dyslexia) and something in my past I have struggled with. I Listen to others home educating stories and think, I want that to be MY story. Here’s what she writes;
No, God? No, God, we won’t take what You give. No, God Your plans are a gutted, bleeding mess, and I didn’t sign up for this and You really thought I’d go for this? No,God, this is ugly and this is a mess and can’t You get anything right and just haul all this pain out of here and I’ll take it from here,thanks. And God? Thanks for Nothing.
Isn’t this how we feel. Can you not hear yourself in this anguish of spirit? No thanks God. I’ll take plan B. I mean I don’t think it gets more raw than that .If I stopped there it would be blasphemy . So the part I want to continue with is here:

I open a Bible, and His plans, startling,lie there barefaced. It’s hard to believe it, when I read it, and I have to come back to it many times, feel long across those words, make sure they are real. His love letter forever silences any doubts. He means to rename us-to return us to our true names, our true selves. He means to heal our soul holes.

Can you just picture it? The Creator reaching in and like a careful surgeon, repairing those soul holes. Oh ,how I know I need that. I picture a Father comforting His child. I see my husband holding my tired children.
2009 cleveland air show 207

So that’s a glimpse of why I get up early. To know this God who wants to heal our soul holes. Grandma Barker and I both agreed what a startling revelation that was. As you home educate today I hope it is for you too.
ann voskamp winter 011

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.TE


“Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Accordingly a genius is often merely a talented person who has done all of his or her homework.”Thomas Edison maple tour 024
This past weekend Northwest PA had its Maple taste and tour. It always amazes us the fascinating people who live right around the corner from us, and we never even knew it! I was talking to my kids yesterday and like most kids they have there favorite actors and people in life they admire. Frankly Hollywood doesn’t impress me much. I actually ran into a Hollywood star at age 16( I mean literally) he asked me if I’d like his autograph. I asked him what for? It did not go well for his inflated ego. I began to think what really merits success. Is one successful because they have money? Is that all we raise these home educated kids for. Now you have attained knowledge, go to college to become rich. You’re life is complete.( You have to say this with a sophisticated voice to get a good feel for it:O) Sad picture. How about knowledge itself. Do we push our kids for that. Make them stay up late studying, striving for perfection so they will become the perfect student, the doctor whatever we deem this success looks like? I have seen these lifeless, tired kids. No thanks.
At this particular maple tour was a man maybe in his 30’s who had a love affair with steam. He knew all about it. He could tell you Psi’s and all different kinds of things.( which I can’t) He had his entire Maple system run from this old steam tractor, in a cabin by the creek. He was not wealthy. By the worlds definition he was not successful. He told us he had been interested in steam his whole life. He loved it. We walked up the hill into his garage. His mom and fiance were in their selling syrup and maple cheese cake( which was a success. I tried it) His mom said” Isn’t he so smart, He did that all himself.” His fiancée was smiling from ear to ear. They didn’t have to convince me. I already thought he was amazing. My husband and I got into a lengthy discussion on what this world honors. The media show all of the “beautiful” people. Yet this man by pure ingenuity and hard work is doing something no one else is. He is the Thomas Edison’s and Ben Franklin’s of our time. The men people won’t care about until they are no more. The value of hard work has been replaced for a handout. Children are disgusted by people who get dirty. The skill of a laborer is not seen as “amazing”.
My husbands grandmother teases us a lot because we constantly make friends with older people. There is something to be said from a generation of people who lived and worked. You should meet my husbands Papa, who also has Dyslexia. He has taught my husband everything he knows. My husband thinks he is the most amazing man in the world.We just wish he would believe it too. We learn from them. We listen. These folks truly are AMAZING. This is what success is. Finding what you love and working hard at it. I want my kids to find God’s will for their lives. Not what this world tells them is supposed to be His will. If Success means riches, their name in the spot light, so be it. If success means a cabin by the creek then that is just as amazing as the spot light. Who would have thought Thomas Edison , A dyslexic kid who said this” My teachers say I’m addled . . . my father thought I was stupid, and I almost decided I must be a dunce.” would be so Successful!
Thomas edison

I know that You are for me.


Today I rise from the wounds of a friend. When I started this blog. It was to prevent my mind from becoming stagnant. I actually write all the time. The words never make it out of my mind. I keep them there for safe storage. I have written whole novels. This blog was my beginning.I decided I was sick of keeping them trapped. This weekend My son again discovered how hard it was for him to struggle with this monster of Dyslexia. Yes, sometimes he brings it upon himself. This weekend it was a combination of this. It was a disaster in the making. So I woke up today and stared at the screen. I can’t write about this. I have been up since 4:30 am. I decided I have to. My friend crossed the line with my son. I called her and told her. She did not understand (at all) Dyslexia. People most times only see what they want to. I find I can say it. I can tell them of my day, but they already have this preconceived notion. Joel must be lazy and rebellious.(Trust me Joel can be both. In this circumstance, the issue wasn’t rebellion but lack of focus and Joel not being able to sit still.) I must not be disciplining him.(Yes, I regularly feed him cake and ice cream as a reward for bad behavior)This is why I write on this topic frequently. Now you’re wondering, Are you still friends? Yes. I don’t let things go anymore. My son is more important than that. I just went home feeling broken. Actually so did Joel. He was off all day. He has a heart. He was causing fights and tearing up all day. He knows. I don’t want to make Joel a victim. Poor little Joel. He has it so bad. Which is why I did not do any of this in public. However I do stand up for Joel when the need arises, and I will stand up for my parenting. We have home educators need to realize the things we say can hurt others.I do it too. I realize you are Homeschooling mom of the year, but I have done that threes table six times and my son is crying. I don’t care if you know trig. I want to cry with him. I sigh every time a Homeschooling mom says “I have been homeschooling since birth because isn’t that what we do.” Actually I just wanted oldest my son to stop crying. He still talks too much :O) I came away from yesterday listening to one of my favorite songs. You are for me. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbSMfL5LuSo
I am so thankful when it feels like everything is against me. My God is for me. you are for me

Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school. Albert Einstein


Happy Birthday Albert Einstein!!! I was talking to someone last night also struggling with Dyslexia. So what does the famous genius have to do with it? He was Dyslexic!!! Albert Einstein We privately talked about our struggles. I want to go back to Wed. I want to give you a glimpse of my day with my kids. Here I was sitting on our couch reading Joel’s Geography with him. If you let him read it alone by the time he’s done he will have no idea what he just read. Cheyenne my youngest asked me what this word was. she spells it. q.u.i.e.t. I say quiet and move on. Daniel comes over and says mom I need help with this math problem. Joel and I stop.( now understand stopping with Joel means two things : one he’s going to lose his place and two he’s going to escape!) I sit back down Cheyenne now frustrated says “Mom I asked you for help and all you told me was QUIET!” HAHA. Now I’m laughing. I say ” Cheyenne QUIET IS the word.” She giggles. Everyone is now laughing. I get back to Joel. We took about an hour or more just to do Social Studies. I am on my third cup of coffee. Later in the day I had to pick up a friend for teen group. I come back and Joel has rearranged my living room. Daniel looks at me and says” hey I told him not to.” I smile. You know one of those smiles. I’m actually thinking,”God please let spring come early.”
Dyslexia for us is more than just a language processing disorder. Dyslexia is a way of life. Dyslexia is actually hereditary. I have a family member who has it. Looking back I can see it so clearly. When Joel loses his pencil (every five minutes) when I have searched our sixty acres for his shoes(and bought three pairs), when we have done the same multiplication problem three days in a row and he still can’t remember the sequence , I know it is all part of this monster called Dyslexia. I read a book a few years back called The Gift of Dyslexia. Try asking Joel if he thinks it’s a gift. He came to me on Wed. and said “Mom, I hate Dyslexia.”
Me too, Joel.
I watched this video though and I wanted you to see it. It gives all of us hope no matter what our kids struggle with. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_qGJ9svUbM It’s called the Power of Dyslexia. I think what happens is while in the struggle a dyslexic child learns to overcome. These kids certainly did. I am writing this post today because Albert Einstein was a genius. I’m not. My friend was struggling. I don’t have all the answers but I know what it’s like to struggle. I know God knows our struggle. Don’t lose hope. We do have a great God who endured the struggle for us. Become a mom who knows this God well. He will hold your hand in the struggle. I have gone to him many nights. I get up early and ask him to help me be patient . Joel has the ability to drive me crazy. Yes, I have four kids, but if you know someone with Dyslexia you know what I mean. One minute you feel bad the next you are ready for that fourth cup of coffee and a very exotic chocolate bar( actually scratch that, just give me the Costa Rica vacation:O) As I type …Got up late today, Joel is driving someone crazy about a pencil. You know what though, He has the biggest heart of anyone in this house. If you tell anyone a crazy story about him they all smile and laugh and just the mention of his name can make Grandma and Papa grin from ear to ear. So hopefully he can manage not to kill himself before he reaches adulthood.IPAD 525
I’ll keep lots of coffee and chocolate bars on hand( especially in Feb.). To my Friend I say. God is there. Smile today. Shake your head a little. Sigh. Grab Gods hand and give it your best. That’s all we can do. So Thank You Albert Einstein for showing us that “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” Our kids certainly have enough of that!