A Typical Day at the Timberdoodle in 1991

Originally printed in a 1991 catalog.

Many moms have called and written asking for a schedule of what a typical day is like at the Timberdoodle. I hope they haven’t been too disappointed to discover that there are few average days here at the Timberdoodle. None-the-less, here is a thumb-nail sketch of what we try to accomplish every day.

6:00 AM Rise and shine!

Well, better make that just rise. As in all families, there are morning people and there are those who don’t do mornings. Fortunately for me, and unfortunately for the majority of the rest of the family, I am a morning person. Before breakfast everyone is responsible to be dressed and do their own personal devotions. Breakfast ends promptly at 7 AM to discourage those who tend to linger long over meals.

7:00 – 8:00 Chore time!

Everyone has their assigned chores. Those chores not completed by 8:00 are contracted out. In other words, get your jobs done on time or be forced to pay someone else to do them! At first this seemed like a great option to the girls as they hired others to do their chores. Until the day of accounting when they realized the bikes they were saving so diligently for were about to become nothing but pipe-dreams! Now everyone cringes at the thought of contract labor.

8:00 – 11:00 Unit studies and the activity-of-the-day.

Unit studies are the highlights to our days, and morale takes a real dip around here when time pressures squeeze them out. The activity-of-the-day may vary from month to month, but generally we have one geography day, for working on puzzles and Geosafari. One day is for science, meaning experiments, Lego, or Fischertechnik. Another day is for music, and so forth. What alters this routine is when a unit study consists of one of these topics. For example, this spring we are doing two unit studies concurrently, art and music. So those days have left holes in them to be filled with other topics. Is this too confusing?! While we’re having all this fun, Dan is working in the warehouse. Sometimes Abe will opt to go out with him, but most days he’s involved with us.

11:00 – 12:00 Dinnertime!

We eat dinner at lunch to give us the necessary energy for the most grueling part of the day. Our evening meal is typically much lighter.

12:00 – 2:00 Abel naps while the girls are involved in self-directed learning times.

Many days this consists of nothing more than the “grunt work” of workbooks. But this is also the time to tackle art projects, practice musical instruments, and so forth. This is not a playing time, but is supposed to be a time devoted to learning something. Some days are better than others! Meanwhile, Dan and I are busy working on business related projects.

2:00 – 4:00 Abe is up and everyone who wasn’t before, is now at the warehouse.

Each child apprentices, even Abe. Our business couldn’t survive without them. After achieving their set tasks for the day, the kids enjoy some time to bike-ride, explore, and dream.

4:00 – 5:00 Baths and what we refer to as the library hour.

A time for reading or for quiet play. The quiet part is harder to achieve on rainy days, but worth the effort.

5:00 – 6:00 Lunch and final chores.

6:00 – 7:30 Devotions and a family read-aloud time.

This must be the best time of the day. Sometimes I think it is the best just because the end is in sight!

7:30 Bedtime for some, others follow in an hour.

Again, the “rule” is quiet pursuits, reading, hand-crafts, and letter-writing. Mom and Dad need this break! When the kids are in bed we hash out business details, schedule the next day, and maybe take time for some personal reading.

Well, that in a nutshell is our day. Nothing is in concrete around here as we flex for unexpected truck shipments, snow days, potty training, and all the other opportunities God has given us to develop character. Being a family is a time for loads of personal growth and change, and that includes schedule!

Notes from 1997:

Six years later, what a hoot this article is! Home schooling younger children was so much fun, I’m thankful God has blessed us with Pearl. I am amazed about how full we thought our lives were, yet how little we did. Now that our business has grown to include a dozen or more employees, just supervising has become a full-time job. The four oldest continue to work for The Timberdoodle but now about 20 hours a week. Add to that the never-ending farm chores, bi-weekly youth group and our hospital and therapeutic riding volunteers, not to mention the ever essential home education, and I remember fondly of the days of 1991!