From failing to passing!

From failing to passing!2

Let me just tell you that our journey with our 8 year old foster son has been one of the hardest things we have been through, ever.  He came to us with a lot of a anger, unresolved issues, and lack of love and affection.  He has been through so much in such a short amount of time, that no child ever deserves to happen to them.  He needed love, nurturing, and lot of affection to heal his wounded heart.

When he first came and started school with us, he was failing his reading class, and the ones that he wasn’t failing, but he wasn’t doing as well as he had previously done in his other school.

When foster children first come into your house, you only know what is given to you, and what the schools have transferred over.  When he was in his other schools, it didn’t seem like he was having any major learning difficulties and did really well in school.

We couldn’t pin point what exactly he needed to help him flourish and thrive in school, so basically we tried all learning difficulty techniques and it seemed to have little to no effect on his comprehension ability.

We knew that consistency is key, and we kept speaking positive encouragement to him,  and kept trying different ways to help him understand what he was reading and truly what the questions on his tests were asking him.

I will let you know five strategies that we used to help him learn and start to comprehend a lot of what he was learning:

  1. We started making flash cards with his vocabulary words.  He makes them himself and cuts them out on Monday night, and studies them all week to prepare himself for his test on Friday.
  2. We practice his spelling words and he tries to find him in his “story of the week” required from school.  We do this daily.
  3. We do a “mad minutes” game at home which mimics what he is doing in school with learning how to do fast math, by memory, in a short amount of time (less than 3 minutes).
  4. Myself or Shane will read to him, and he has to draw out his version of what we are reading on a piece of paper and re-tell us his understanding of the story.
  5. We ask him the questions at the end of his required reading books he gets from the library (if they come with a set, or we make up our own questions from what we remember reading from the book).

Those are just a few tips that we use weekly to get him to where he needs to be, and he has loved the encouragement and one on one time he gets from these activities!

Plus he is finally PASSING all of his classes for the 4th 6wks report card!! In just two 6 weeks, he has gone from failing and barely passing, to literally shocking all of us with putting in the hard work, time, and dedication each week to now passing! We are beyond proud of him, and we see his love for learning and school and know that he will go very far in life!


©2017 Sheridan Johnson @Journey with the Johnsons. All Rights Reserved.


Which is best? Public Vs. Home Schooling

Now that Brielle is two, and school is definitely around the corner, I definitely wanted to write myself a little comparison of home schooling vs. public schooling. I have friends/family on both sides of the spectrum, and as of right now, Shane and I haven’t quite decided what is best for Brielle yet.

I like to research both sides of things when we are considering what is really best for a certain situation, and what we know is best in our heart.  I reached out to a couple of my friends who are currently living in the situation (one is a stay at home mom to her three kids– Courtney, and one is a teacher at a public school–Christy).  I asked each of them to give me 5 benefits to their style of teaching.

For homeschooling and getting to learn a lot of the facts, I spent a good amount of time on the Texas Home School Coalition Association.  One of the things that struck me the most, was that Academic testing was not a requirement to testing your knowledge when you are taught at home, like it is every year in public schools. “Home schoolers do have the option of using different types of testing to determine grade placement and to assess their child’s academic progress throughout the years”, which could be a simple review over the material they have learned.

Courtney’s 5 benefits to home schooling are:

-One on one time (which allows you to give your child extra attention)

-Go at your own pace (instead of being pushed to go faster at a public school)

-The goal is complete mastery of the subject

-Tests are different (they aren’t required, you can just check your childs comprehension of the subject by asking questions and reviewing the topic.)

-Curriculum (You can choose your curriculum based on your childs learning needs visual, auditory, etc.) The core subjects are a must (spelling, writing, social studies, etc) but the additional languages (spanish, french, etc) are a personal preference.

I also asked for a Sample daily schedule and this was her response:

7:30A-8:30A Awake and breakfast time



10:15A-11:15A-P.E (30 mins of activity, 30 mins of free play)

11:15A-11:35A- Reading on own while mom makes lunch

11:35A-12:35P- Mom reads to them

12:35P-12:45P- they have to narrate back to mom what their understanding of the book was

12:45P-1:15P- Spanish

Public schools have been opened for a VERY long time. One of the first American schools opened in the 17th century.  By 1870, all states offered free elementary schooling and encouraged parents to put them in school.  By 1910, most states offered free education through high school.  Public schools allow statistical data to be drawn and show the improvement, or decline, over a period of time.  This website here, shows how much the graduation rate has increased over a 7 year period. This website shows the top public schools in Texas, based on the academic testing and funding provided.

Christy stated 5 benefits for public school are:


-Special Needs Requirements (The children are integrated with everyone else and always have an extra teacher or helper in the class to give the child extra attention)

-Accountability (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills tells the teachers what to teach, and allows the principal and others to come and assess them in their class to make sure the knowledge is being taught)

-Funding (Access to more technology and offer more resources to the children)

-Learn how to work with others (learn conflict resolution)

I also asked Christy to provide me with an example of a daily schedule:

8:00A-8:45A- ELAR(english/language arts) MWF GT(gifted and talented), M-F Special ED ELAR Pull Out

8:45A-9:00A- Character Education (Anti-Bully Lesson)

9:00A-10:00A- Small Group Work and Tier Pull Out (Reading, Math)


11:00A-11:45A Lunch

11:45A-1:15P Math

1:45P-2:15P- MWF Specials TTH Science and Social Studies

2:15P-2:45P- TTH Specials MWF  Science and Social Studies

2:45P-3:15P Study Hall

While Shane and I still have a couple of more years before we have to make a final decision, I am glad to have researched all of the information, and I hope this may help someone else out as well.  Both are great, and I truly thank you Courtney and Christy for providing me with such great input! 🙂


High five for Friday!

I have been wanting to do something fun for Fridays, since it really is such a fun day for us (considering I have to usually work the weekends so this is my last day off, and Shane’s start to the weekend!).  I figured this week I would do five things Brielle has been wanting to play with this week! She is such a smart little girl and I always try to find new and fun ways for her to challenge herself with mentally.

  • Our first on the list this week is liquid chalk.  I have recently heard about them when I was shopping in a little boutique and I asked them what they used to write on their chalk board since it was so clean and pretty! She stated liquid chalk.  I found some at the Wal-Mart in Lockhart and I bought a little board to go along with it, and it has been a hit ever since!

    Liquid chalk! I love them so much more than regular chalk!
    Liquid chalk! I love them so much more than regular chalk!
  • Tracing has been big in our household lately, because I truly feel like the better she can get at this, the better she can get at hand-writing, coloring within the lines, practicing straight lines and diagonals, etc.  She sometimes get the shape just right, but other times she likes to draw big circles around it.  Either way, she is engaging in the activity and that is what this momma is proud of! 🙂

    We have been using these stencils to practice with!
    We have been using these stencils to practice with!
  • She has been loving to carry around her purse these days.  She got a cute (but definitely too expensive for me) new little purse when we were shopping at a boutique in Lockhart, before we started to head back to Yoakum.  It was SO adorable and it was a momma and baby shop and so it had cute things all around, and it was hard for me to say no to so many cute things! Brielle loves to carry around her little “my little pony”, her lip gloss, her coin purse (with some coins she has collected), and a chapstick.  She is so adorable with it, and wants to bring it everywhere, but I make her leave it in the car.

    This cute little expensive purse! haha
    This cute little expensive purse! haha
  • Building blocks has been an interest to her lately again as well.  She has been practicing building up to 10 or more blocks at one time, and trying to make a “princess castle” all by herself without it falling down.  I think it’s so cute how independent she is being and I love to see what she comes up with.

    Block time!
    Block time!
  • Since completing the alphabet this past week, I knew I wanted for her to start to try to put the letters together and make words.  I started with two-three letter words this week and I want to see how much she could comprehend.  She got the two letter words pretty good and had a bit harder time putting the three letter words together.  I am so proud of her, and I can’t wait to keep teaching her! 🙂

    trying to draw an arrow for up!
    trying to draw an arrow for up!