Meet JMandes of Hillsboro, Oregon
My family is made up of me and my littles. ☺
Meet Tai B. of Oregon State
Family of 5
- Big sister: 9 years and a huge unicorn fan
- Big brother: 6 years old on Valentine's day.
- New baby: 1-year-old who loves to dance.
- Mom: the first year gardener
- Dad: the traveling surfer dude
We have 2 Chihuahuas in our hearts, German Shepherd, kitty friend who is turning possibly 20 this year and a fluffy white Lionhead bunny!!
How do you Timberdoodle?
JM: My pastor's wife told me about Timberdoodle when I mentioned wanting to homeschooled.
Tai: I've heard of Timberdoodle through the YouTube family Tim and Dana Schmoyer when I was researching homeschool curriculum.
As for products I've been enjoying the STEM items. They are great to use alongside the books. Things I'd never think of trying or pairing with. It makes the homeschool day or week fun and engaging. Gravity Maze and Traffic Jam are our go to for breaktime. Gravitrax is our new STEM that we haven't opened yet this year but we plan a science day with some family and cousins who are visiting next month. We are excited to show them how we homeschool and some fun things we can do.
Tell us about a typical school day at your house.
JM: We start school at 10:00 a.m., right after breakfast and chores. We cover all of the subjects in the curriculum kits, but only do four classes a day. We are usually done by lunch.
Tai: We start our day between 9:00 and 10:00 after we sleep in, get ready, eat, feed the pets and tidy up. We function better once we do all this first. Then we have the rest of the day for free time and sports. We do break for lunch. The day is split. So we do ELA, math, etc. first half and after lunch we come back and do group history and science. We flip every 2 days for afternoon subjects.
If we peeked inside your home on a random Wednesday afternoon, what would we see?
JM: Kids at their desks enjoying the activities that they are unaware are teaching them. LOL.
Tai: A lot of mess and chaos. Wednesday we do most our artsy projects to break up the week and errands. Any co-op meet-ups or library trips.
If you could take your family anywhere you wanted for vacation where would you go?
JM: To Europe.
Tai: On a road trip to the Midwest! Yosemite! Across the upper United States, to Upstate NY to see my family and end in Cape Cod for warm beach fun.
What books have you read over and over?
JM: Freckle Juice.
Tai: Usborne books. So much information and each time we gather something new. Lift-the-flap are great.
What dietary challenges does your family face?
JM: We have kids with different food restrictions, so as a family, nobody eats anything someone else cannot have.
Tai: We eat all organic. It's hard now living in a small town. Not a lot of superstore options. We are going to garden this year.
What tips do you have for surviving a hard day?
JM: Coffee. LOL. And field trips! Getting out of the house helps, and is still educational so we don't even miss school.
Tai: Patience, hugs and more patience .... Secret weapon: chocolate.
What’s something your child has done that thrilled your soul?
JM: Taught himself to read at 5.
Tai: My son will tell out randomly, usually when I'm overwhelmed, "I love you, Mommy." Always brings me back down to Earth.
How does your family celebrate birthdays?
JM: With cake.
Tai: Small celebration at dinner, favorite meal, CAKE, and a few gifts the kids have been wanting forever that they may find useful for school. We tend to buy STEM learning items. They are early spring babies and I feel like we're still recovering from Christmas so we will do like tickets to a movie or go and visit a shop or museum that weekend.
What have you done recently for the first time?
Tai: I ordered my first set of garden seeds for our summer-winter garden.
What’s your favorite school day lunch?
JM: Bagels with cream cheese and turkey with OJ.
Tai: Leftover lasagna.
How would you manage if you had to homeschool without the internet?
JM: I would be fine. That's something I love about Timberdoodle, I have hard copies of everything.
Tai: We do most offline. But for research for videos, tips and etc. it would be very hard for me to gather extra things to teach with.
What tips do you have for other families?
JM: Adjust the curriculum kit to meet each child's needs, and order extra. The stuff is fun so the kids fly through it.
Tai: Enjoy and go slow.
What is something you appreciate about each of your kids?
JM: Their individuality.
- 9 year old ... Art creativity
- 5 year old ... Sincerity
- 1 year old ... Love of music
What song is currently in your head?
JM: Strong Tower.
Tai: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star... My daughter's recital number.
Tell us about your family’s favorite games.
JM: Minecraft. They even learn while they play!
Tai: Mario Cart. A plain deck of cards. Go Fish!
What is your exercise routine and how often do you do it?
JM: I run up and down the stairs all day. LOL.
Tai: Chasing my 1-year-old. Walking the beach or braving the store with everyone.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in your homeschool that you called a “science experiment”?
JM: Evaporated the shell off a raw egg and then bounced it.
Tai: Made a sugar cube Great Wall of China and the sun melted it.
What hard thing are you planning to do this year?
Tai: Incorporate another student.
What did you do just for fun with your kids recently?
Tai: Played Nerf tag in our new empty house.
What would you name your boat if you had one?
Tai: Unit 87. It's been our family nickname. It's the house number we started our family in and will always remember where we came and started from.
If you could learn a new skill, what would it be?
Tai: Drums. I have bad rhythm. That would be fun to straighten out and hold a beat.
What’s the last recipe you looked up?
Tai: Pumpkin bread.
What apps do you use the most?
Tai: Lightning Tracker the past 3 nights. Yikes!!
If you could sum up your homeschool style or philosophy in one phrase what would it be?
JM: Understanding and relating.
Tai: Relaxed, but structured.
What do your kids want to be when they grow up?
Tai: They don't know. I believe that is good... Not ruling out anything. Right?! LOL.
What extracurricular activities is your family involved in?
Tai: Soccer, surfing, theater.
If you have a moment to yourself what do you like to do?
Tai: Shower and eat cookies. Not at the same time.
What’s your favorite school day breakfast?
Tai: Waffles, scrambled eggs and apple sauce.
What’s the best homeschool field trip you’ve ever been on?
Tai: Hiking to explore and identify mushrooms in the PNW.
The grocery store cashier asks, “But what about socialization?” What do you say?
JM: They do sports, go to church, go to additional activities.
Tai: Well, I'm sure they would be talking to my kids. They are the social butterflies. I'm more introverted. They strike conversations everywhere. My 5-year-old had a whole conversation with an elderly woman about how avocados were their favorite! LOL.
What’s the funniest thing one of your kids ever said?
JM: I can't even narrow it down to one.
Tai: Of course, I'm blanking. Darn.
What do you do for fun as a family?
Tai: Make and eat baked goods. So yummy.
How do you continue to educate yourself?
JM: By educating them.
Tai: Trying to think of myself as "myself" as in I'm a parent, but me, too. I can still have wonders, questions and curiosity. I try and let myself follow those interests and dive in to more to find out.
What are favorite healthy snacks at your house?
JM: Apples and pears.
Tai: Bananas, almonds, our Granny Smith apple tree in the fall.
What’s the best museum you’ve ever gone to?
JM: Portland Children's Museum.
Tai: Science Academy of Art in San Francisco.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in homeschooling?
JM: Actually doing it.
Tai: Being consistent.
What is your favorite thing about having kids?
JM: Playing with their toys and watching cartoons.
Tai: Their love and innocent take on life.
What’s the best vacation you have ever taken as a family?
JM: Redwoods and Six Flags.
Tai: Haven't really been on a big trip but the ones we have been on to family out of state has been adventurous. Redwood trees in California.
List 3 frivolous things you are enjoying right now.
Tai: My new journaling pens, new fluffy sweatshirt, and a giant oversized mug.
What’s your favorite in-a-pinch dinner option?
JM: Famous Star burgers.
What’s the strangest place you’ve done school?
JM: At a burger place.
Tai: On the soccer field during a soccer game.
Share a favorite organizational tip.
JM: Book bins and IKEA cube shelves
Tai: Library. I feel like we always need to be prepared to go so we can contain our wild personalities in tow. Haha.
What special gifts or talents to your kids have?
JM: Very artistic.
Tai: Daughter just landed a part in the local play Mary Poppins. Son has Daddy's hand-eye coordination for sports.
Tell us something unique or unusual about your family.
JM: We are weird. LOL.
Tai: We don't mind time together. At least during the kids younger years. Hope it lasts forever. Time together is a blessing. We cook a lot together.
What’s making you laugh these days?
JM: My kids.
Tai: My 1-year-old's babble. He has such a funny little voice right now. And his eyebrow expression.
What do you do for P.E. in your homeschool?
JM: Swimming and sports
Tai: Our new big back yard!!! I call it track and field. Haha. Soccer in spring/fall.
Share a favorite inspirational quote.
I always try and do the challenging tasks first and then enjoy the rest. It also means hard work pays off.
What’s your best time of day to homeschool?
JM: 10:00 - 2:00.
Tai: Afternoon. We're not morning people.
Tell us something interesting about your local area.
JM: We have the coolest animals!
Tai: We have lots of wildlife: black bears, mountain lions, bobcats, coyote, elk, and recently grey wolf.
What dream for your family has come true?
JM: Being able to homeschool and get out if the failing brick and mortar ideal.
Tai: A home in the country.
What’s the most useless talent you have?
JM: I can do the worm.
Tai: I can recite tongue twisters really well and can repeat rap lyrics. And I don't enjoy either on a normal basis. I'm a country music fan and a calm slow person.