Charley from Nebraska
We have 2 boys. JJ is 8. He loves video games, especially Minecraft! He would spend all day every day outside if he could but in Nebraska it's too cold in the winter so video games it is! Hank is 2. He loves dinosaurs and hot wheels! We call him Hanky so he tells people his name is Hanky. So cute! Charley (that's me!) is a stay at home Momma while Daddy protects our beautiful country in the Air Force.
Lisa from Nebraska
My family consists of 2 grown children and 1 young elementary aged child. My youngest is homeschooled. He has disabilities that delay his readiness for achieving milestones.
We also are the current guardians of the family cats. The cats are almost 12 years old and were the pets of my grown children. They moved out with my oldest and returned when she was unable to have them in her new apartment.
How do you Timberdoodle?
Charley: We first heard of Timberdoodle from searching Google at the beginning of our homeschool journey! We haven't bought a whole curriculum but we use bits and pieces. Our boys love activity so of course we love Tenzi! We like to mix a lot of fun with some work!
Lisa: I honestly don't remember how I first heard of Timberdoodle. My favorite parts have been some of the puzzle/game offerings. For example, the MiniLUK gives us a chance to work on thinking skills without being held back by a lack of writing skills.
Tell us about a typical school day at your house.
Charley: First off... our schedule is a bit different from the "norm". We tend to stay up until midnight (or later). So Daddy gets up to go to work but the rest of us sleep in. We don't usually start our school day until 11:00 a.m. or so. We cover math, science, history/geography and language arts every day. We throw in some art and Spanish whenever we feel like! Chores are hit or miss. We don't have a set schedule for chores. Lunch time is usually hot dogs or fish sticks or mac and cheese. We keep it simple around here!
Lisa: We do household activities interrupted by school rather than school interrupted by household activities. Life skills are just as important for him as academic skills. With that in mind, including him in the daily chores and meal prep is school too.
If we peeked inside your home on a random Wednesday afternoon, what would we see?
Charley: You'd see a mess!! Haha! You'd see us either playing or relaxing. If the weather is nice then you'd definitely catch us outside or at the zoo. By afternoon we are always done with school so you just never know what we'd be up to!
Lisa: On a random Wednesday afternoon visit, we'd probably look like we were on summer vacation. My son would be playing. After supper, you'd find us reading aloud while my son finished eating. Somewhere in the day, he will spend a little bit of time working on learning to read or on math. You might find him in the kitchen helping to peel and chop vegetables or emptying the dishwasher.
If you could take your family anywhere you wanted for vacation where would you go?
Charley: We would go coast to coast! Next year we actually plan to road school... meaning we are selling everything, buying a motorhome and hitting the road!
Lisa: Start off on the interstate and flip a coin to decide East or West and drive until something catches our eye.
What books have you read over and over?
Charley: All of Dr. Seuss!
Lisa: My son's favorites to read over and over are Goodnight Construction Site, and Mighty, Mighty Construction Site. My favorite to read and re-read is Charlotte's Web.
What tips do you have for surviving a hard day?
Charley: Just relax... enjoy the moment. Some days are rough but that just means to take a break and breath! I live by the motto "the days are long but the years are short" so we try to enjoy every moment. Being a military family, I feel like this means a little more to us. Daddy is gone a lot so we truly soak up and enjoy every second together!
Lisa: Put school away and break out a game or go to a park.
What’s something your child has done that thrilled your soul?
Charley: JJ (who is 8) loves to randomly leave me homemade cards. I will find them under my pillow or one slipped under the bathroom door. If I'm having a rough day he always draws and writes me a card saying how much he loves me!
Lisa: Started learning how to speak.
How does your family celebrate birthdays?
Charley: Balloons, presents, cake and family!!
Lisa: Very quietly, family only. Birthday person chooses menu for family dinner and then sits back while the family prepares and cleans up after.
What’s your favorite school day lunch?
Charley: We like to keep it simple! I'm a good cook. However, I don't enjoy it so I'm perfectly fine with hot dogs and sandwiches!
Lisa: Leftovers from the day before.
How would you manage if you had to homeschool without the internet?
Charley: We don't use the internet for our homeschool so it would be a normal say for us!
Lisa: Already doing this for the most part. Internet is only used for entertainment outside of schooling.
What tips do you have for other families?
Charley: I'd tell other homeschool families to just relax. You don't always have to do everything you have scheduled. Break it up or save it for another day!
Lisa: Take your time easing into schoolwork. If you stumble upon something that works, go for it, even if it doesn't look like public school.
What is something you appreciate about each of your kids?
Charley: I appreciate that JJ is kind. He is always helpful. He loves school so he makes it easy! I appreciate Hank's independence so I can get school work done with JJ. I appreciate that even at 2 he is very helpful. I love that both of our boys love each other so much!
Lisa: I appreciate that my older ones are independent and out of the house. I appreciate how helpful my youngest tries to be.
What song is currently in your head?
Charley: London Bridge is Falling Down! Thanks, YouTube Kids!
Lisa: Well, since my youngest is listening to Old MacDonald Had a Farm....that one.
Tell us about your family’s favorite games.
Charley: We love board games! We have hundreds! Some of our favorites are Catan, Ticket to Ride, Fear of the Wild, MegaLand... we love strategy games!
We also love card games like Phase 10, Uno, matching games, Skip Bo.... the list goes on and on!
Lisa: Ball games.
What is your exercise routine and how often do you do it?
Charley: My exercise routine is chasing a toddler! We love playing outside so that's about as much exercise as I get!
Lisa: My exercise routine consists of running my son to therapy, chasing after him when he runs off, and climbing the stairs to get to the washer and dryer in the basement.....and lifting my son when needed.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in your homeschool that you called a “science experiment”?
Charley: I don't think it's weird but we put a cup of water outside and waited to see how long it froze. We put it in a solo cup and it busted out the bottom so that was fascinating.
What hard thing are you planning to do this year?
Charley: We are going to start downsizing to get ready for our future of living on the road!
Lisa: Sell our house and move.
What did you do just for fun with your kids recently?
Charley: We went to an arcade and we are going again today!
Lisa: Play ball in the house.
What would you name your boat if you had one?
If you could learn a new skill, what would it be?
Charley: I would love to learn sign language! I will one day!
Lisa: Sign language.
What’s the last recipe you looked up?
Charley: Lasagna and it was delicious!
What apps do you use the most?
Charley: I use Facebook the most. Along with Gmail and we play Battle Royale as a family.
Lisa: The one for connecting to my son's medical information.
If you could sum up your homeschool style or philosophy in one phrase what would it be?
Lisa: At my son's pace.
What do your kids want to be when they grow up?
Charley: JJ wants to be a veterinarian! Hank would be a dinosaur if he could!
Lisa: An adult.
What extracurricular activities is your family involved in?
Charley: We play video games as a family. Lots of board games. We do a lot of traveling so we do everything together! Daddy curls (curling like they play in the Olympics) every Sunday.
Lisa: All play Miracle League Baseball.
If you have a moment to yourself what do you like to do?
Charley: I like to read!
Lisa: Play around on the internet.
What’s your favorite school day breakfast?
Charley: We don't eat breakfast but my favorite would be biscuits and gravy!
Lisa: Pancakes with coffee for the adults.
What’s the best homeschool field trip you’ve ever been on?
Charley: We traveled back home to visit family and we went hiking at a state park. It was great!
The grocery store cashier asks, “But what about socialization?” What do you say?
Charley: I would first roll my eyes because that question drives me nuts! Hank is 2 and he loves playing with everyone but also enjoys his independence. JJ is 8 and absolutely loves people! He would talk your ear off.
Lisa: That's what we're working on here.
What’s the funniest thing one of your kids ever said?
Charley: Big brother tooted so little brother looks at me and says "Momma, you poop?" Hahaha! No sweet child, I did NOT poop my pants!
Lisa: My oldest teasing my middle about mispronouncing battalion (bat-a-lon) by mispronouncing it a different way herself (ba-til-ion)
What do you do for fun as a family?
Charley: We are all homebodies so we like staying home and playing. Both outside and inside. We do love going to the zoo and out to the wildlife safari!
How do you continue to educate yourself?
Charley: Oh, I learn stuff everyday! We are currently learning about states and, wow... I've learned a lot! I'm also learning about today's lingo. JJ watches YouYube Kids and picks up on some new lingo. Thankfully with a quick search on Google I can understand what he's meaning!
Lisa: Pay attention as I'm teaching my son.
What are favorite healthy snacks at your house?
Charley: We love fruit! Grapes, apples, strawberries! Some of us also love salad! By some of us I mean ME!
Lisa: Raw veggies.
What’s the best museum you’ve ever gone to?
Charley: Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, Texas! We also love the Louvre in Paris!
Lisa: Children's Museum.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in homeschooling?
Charley: When we started I had everything set up like a public school classroom. I learned really quick that that is not how we wanted to function. Now we are more relaxed and still get everything done in no time!
Lisa: Frustration of dealing with the school.
What is your favorite thing about having kids?
Charley: Hugs and kisses, for sure!! I love watching them play! I love watching them learn!
Lisa: My favorite thing about having kids is having an excuse for playing.
What’s the best vacation you have ever taken as a family?
Charley: Last year we took a cruise to the Caribbean! It was perfect!
Lisa: So far the best family vacation my husband and I have taken with my youngest is a trip to Mt. Rushmore.
List 3 frivolous things you are enjoying right now.
Charley: Amazon, frosted coffee and Amazon!
Lisa: My smartphone, being a stay-at-home-mom.
What’s your favorite in-a-pinch dinner option?
Lisa: Prepared meals that my husband has frozen ahead.
What’s the strangest place you’ve done school?
Charley: On a cruise ship or airplane or.... we went to Great Wolf Lodge and everyone waited in their bathing suits for JJ and I to finish school before we could go have fun!!
Share a favorite organizational tip.
Charley: I recently bought an art cart from Michael's and it has worked beautifully! We homeschool all over the house so we just push the cart along with us!
Lisa: Box up extra supplies, but keep in a handy place to retrieve when needed.
Tell us something unique or unusual about your family.
Charley: Daddy is gone a lot and sometimes travels stateside. We travel with him every chance we can! It's so nice to be able to hop in the car and take school with us!
Lisa: My husband is stepfather to my older children and he was 58 when his only biological child was born.
What’s making you laugh these days?
Charley: Hanky learning new phrases! I love how his little mind puts words together to make sentences!
Lisa: Watching my youngest play.
What do you do for P.E. in your homeschool?
Charley: We play outside! JJ also has some back issues so he has exercises he has to do for physical therapy.
Lisa: Physical Therapy
Share a favorite inspirational quote.
What’s your best time of day to homeschool?
Charley: We get it done as soon as we wake up!
Tell us something interesting about your local area.
Charley: Nebraska probably seems boring to most (and they're kinda right) but we have the most AMAZING zoo!!! We absolutely LOVE it!
Lisa: The Henry Doorley Zoo is close by.
What dream for your family has come true?
Charley: Just the fact of having kids. Against all odds we have two beautiful healthy boys! Never stop trying! Go against the odds!
Lisa: My older kids matured and became independent.