Sherry M. of Snover, Michigan
We are a moving and grooving family of five. We are blessed with three wonderful human children and mixture of furry children 😁. We are a crew that loves to be outside and being involved in many different adventures in the community. We feel extremely blessed that we have the privilege to be a family that homeschools!
Jen of Sault Ste. Marie
Myself (Jen), my husband (Jeff), our 3-year-old Foster, Buddy the tiny chihuahua and Dexter the tabby cat.
Brandi from Michigan
My husband Ben and I have three kids. Chloe, Walter, and Henry. We also have two dogs, Chubbsalina and Bandit. Outside includes 6 ducks and 12 chickens. My husband is a pipefitter while I stay at home to raise and teach our children. I was in public school my whole life while my husband was homeschooled until Junior year. That is when we met.
How do you Timberdoodle?
Sherry: My family was introduced to Timberdoodle after many nights researching and trying to make the best decision for our little ones. Once we looked through all the learning resources and choices that Timberdoodle provides we felt very confident in our choice to purchase a full curriculum kit. It was relieving to have a bundle of great educational tools that we felt super excited and confident in.
Jen: I've researching curriculum options for our son. I feel strongly that homeschooling is the way for us. I love that Timberdoodle offers quality hands-on products for our littles.
Brandi: Well, I was researching to find the best fit 5 years ago when my daughter started school. I saw Timberdoodle through the internet and saw they utilized Usbourne books. I was recently a consultant so I had many of the books needed already. This made me happy. In turn, I fell in love with Timberdoodle. Now, my two boys 4 and 6 are learning to read together with the All About Reading program. My 6-year-old went from refusing to learn to reading in 16 weeks. They are both on level 1 after completing PreReading with ease. Pre-K and K. I'm so proud of them and LOVE what it has done for my boys!
Tell us about a typical school day at your house.
Sherry: Our learning days begin with full bellies after breakfast. We like to start off with math and language arts. Then dive into to reading and writing. We take breaks to move around and get our creative ideas flowing. Some days we breeze right through things and are done by late morning. Some days we enjoy learning about a new subjects and maybe even find ourselves losing track of time, which is always such a wonderful feeling. The kiddos always end their day eager for Daddy to get home so they can show him all the new things they discovered and achieved in their lessons. The flexibility to allow them to really learn something before pushing to the next big thing gives everyone a sense confidence when in their new learned skills.
Jen: We have just started to introduce him to "learning" at home although we have focused on learning and educational activities in our play. We currently mix play and "sheet work" after breakfast we talk about a new letter daily, painting it, exploring its sound etc. Fost loves pretend play so we use a lot of peg people to make up stories and read a ton of books. Foster also gets to use Kahn academy and Hopster for learning with Mom and Dad's help.
Brandi: We start around 10:00 a.m. We cover math with Math-U-See, critical thinking, history, reading, spelling, zoology, literature, geography, mazes, differences, spatial reasonings...the list goes on! Boys are done by lunch and my oldest is done by 3:00 p.m. Meals are when they wake, noon, and 6:00 p.m. Chores are typically done prior to school or right after lunch. It depends on what is needed per day.
If we peeked inside your home on a random Wednesday afternoon, what would we see?
Sherry: A sneak peak into a afternoon one would find my kiddos fully engulfed in pretend play or sitting at a table with every kind of art supplies sprawled out. They would be busy creating their own masterpieces to proudly present to my husband and me.
Jen: A lot of play, some fresh paintings hung up to dry and a fresh baked snack on the counter .
Brandi: My daughter in her room, at her desk doing solo work until I am needed. I would be doing dishes or laundry while my boys use Legos to build and create. My 6-year-old wants to be an inventor!
If you could take your family anywhere you wanted for vacation where would you go?
Sherry: We would travel the smaller country roads and see what we might discover.
Jen: I'd want to head to the east coast.
Brandi: No clue! I would love to see the Grand Canyon!
What books have you read over and over?
Sherry: Heartwood Hotel.
- Poppy and Sam Camping Out
- Where the Wild Things Are
- Puff the Magic Dragon
- What a Wonderful World
Brandi: A Time Traveler's Wife. I am not a HUGE reader because they really need to draw me in.
What dietary challenges does your family face?
Sherry: We focus on high protein foods to keep our kiddos' brains healthy.
Brandi: Honestly, none. I have issues with egg yolk and milk but nothing major so far! I have not had milk of any kind in 3 years (unless it is in ice cream!) But my family enjoys it. I also use egg whites only from our backyard chickens.
What tips do you have for surviving a hard day?
Sherry: When faced with a hard day we always take a step back and focus on topics that we know we like and are successful at.
Jen: Deep breaths, hot tea and a reflection on the positive.
Brandi: Working out and CBD oil for anxiety.
What’s something your child has done that thrilled your soul?
Sherry: Every morning I get a note or picture that reminds me of how special being with my kiddos really is.❤️
Jen: He has become really excited about going to his room to learn and often asks to go there together.
Brandi: Finally understanding math! Learned to read so quickly!!! Started drawing out of nowhere! (3 kids, 3 answers)
How does your family celebrate birthdays?
Sherry: We celebrate birthdays with adventures. We talk about it many, many times as their birthday’s approach to get ideas of what they would like to do. Then we set sail!
Jen: Family get-together, cake and delicious food!
Brandi: We do one big family party and on the actual day, say it is on a weekday, we celebrate with just us. My son's birthday is in December so we wait until the night of to put up our tree. He wanted that as a tradition.
What have you done recently for the first time?
Sherry: We went to a ice sculpture event!
Jen: Career change!
Brandi: Took the kids on a hike in the snow.
What’s your favorite school day lunch?
Jen: We love making BLTs together.
Brandi: Shakeology. Kids would say PB&J with homemade applesauce and BBQ chips.
How would you manage if you had to homeschool without the internet?
Jen: Library!! We love the library and there are hubs around town.
Brandi: I basically do. We utilize it very little in our home. We are slowly introducing it. We use all books and look up what we need to know in a dictionary if possible. Use our globes, etc.
What tips do you have for other families?
Jen: Enjoy the time you have and let them be little. Childhood goes so fast, it can be challenging and exhausting but it is worth every minute.
Brandi: Each kid learns differently. Choose books accordingly. But know, it can be trial and error.
What is something you appreciate about each of your kids?
Jen: I appreciate that he truly feels empathy and compassion, that he reminds me to slow down and enjoy the little things. I appreciate that he has returned wonder to my life.
- C-ability to help take charge
- W- ability to think on his feet
- H- sweet snuggles
Tell us about your family’s favorite games.
Jen: We currently LOVE Sneaky Snacky Squirrel and Silly Fish Bingo
Brandi: We love Yatzee. However, my daughter and I enjoy Monopoly.
What is your exercise routine and how often do you do it?
Jen: I just recently became a personal trainer. I workout at the gym 4-6 times a week. We get Foster outside as much as possible. We do yoga and small workouts at home and he has a mini trampoline.
Brandi: Depends on my day. It is usually weights, cardio, and core. I workout 7 days a week. At least 30 minutes a day.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in your homeschool that you called a “science experiment”?
Jen: We have yet to get into any actual experiments. We will be trying a volcano soon!
Brandi: It is not weird just interesting. Corn starch and water.
What hard thing are you planning to do this year?
Jen: I'd like Foster to be reading the phonics books by the time he is in Senior Kindergarten.
Brandi: Fix up our house.
What did you do just for fun with your kids recently?
Jen: We played outside and built a big snow fort. We attended an open gymnastics class, then went swimming.
Brandi: Went for a hike in the snow at the local Nature Center and walked three trails. Trying to earn a badge for our walking sticks.
What would you name your boat if you had one?
If you could learn a new skill, what would it be?
Jen: Crocheting or felting.
What’s the last recipe you looked up?
Jen: Banana muffins.
Brandi: Homemade dog treats.
What apps do you use the most?
Jen: Google Chrome
Brandi: My Fitness Pal and Instagram
If you could sum up your homeschool style or philosophy in one phrase what would it be?
Brandi: Organized Chaos
What do your kids want to be when they grow up?
Jen: He says a bus driver. :)
Brandi: Doctor, astronaut, and football player.
What extracurricular activities is your family involved in?
Jen: I coach preschool soccer. We often attend swimming lessons and the gymnastics open classes.
Brandi: Girls on the Run, Nature Center, and soon to be skateboarding lessons.
If you have a moment to yourself what do you like to do?
Jen: Read, watch a show and drink a tea.
Brandi: Stretch or close my eyes.
What’s your favorite school day breakfast?
Jen: Scrambled eggs and toast.
Brandi: Homemade oatmeal and egg whites.
What’s the best homeschool field trip you’ve ever been on?
Jen: We took Foster to a small zoo with a ton of interactive opportunities and he loved it.
Brandi: We have not done many yet! We enjoy berry picking and making jams.
The grocery store cashier asks, “But what about socialization?” What do you say?
Jen: We are socializing right now. We attend community events, extracurricular activities, and community hubs.
Brandi: We have play dates, they go to outside activities, and we have other homeschooled friends.
What do you do for fun as a family?
Jen: Hike, play in the backyard, visit grandparents, camp, beach, movie nights, baking.
Brandi: Park, zoo, hockey games, shopping, 5k runs, and pumpkin patches.
How do you continue to educate yourself?
Jen: I LOVE learning. I research everything, read books and watch documentaries.
Brandi: Personal development, also relearning through Timberdoodle.
What are favorite healthy snacks at your house?
What’s the best museum you’ve ever gone to?
Jen: Royal Ontario Museum.
Brandi: In Chicago.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in homeschooling?
Jen: Because we are new just making the decision final.
Brandi: My daughter not understanding why we use X,Y, Z to stand in for a missing number. I told her to imagine its a door and you are figuring out what is behind it. The letter changing all the time made it hard for her but when I said that she understood.
What’s the best vacation you have ever taken as a family?
Jen: Exploring Algonquin park!
Brandi: Tennessee. Smokey Mountains. But as a family of 5, Florida. We went to our timeshare and Disney Springs.
List 3 frivolous things you are enjoying right now.
Jen: Personally: Brandon Ferris videos. Foster loves watching YouTube videos of Genevieve's Play House. My husband: video games.
- Watching TV.
- My phone.
- My fan.
What’s your favorite in-a-pinch dinner option?
What’s the strangest place you’ve done school?
Jen: The car. Haha. We frequently learn in the car.
Brandi: We keep books at home. Learning in the world... Nowhere crazy.
Share a favorite organizational tip.
Jen: I'm still working on that aspect. Haha.
Brandi: Bins for markers, crayons, glue sticks, etc.
What special gifts or talents to your kids have?
Jen: He has an incredible ear for music. He loves the drums, guitar and piano. He is just good at messing around and keeping rhythm.
Brandi: Great runner, amazing at skateboarding, riding a bike, and inventing/creating.
What do you do for P.E. in your homeschool?
Jen: Soccer, baseball, dancing, yoga, "workouts" , trampoline
Brandi: We so 5ks, we use my workout programs, lift light weights, play outside, go for hikes.
Share a favorite inspirational quote.
Jen: "Cinderella didn't get her happy ending without lifting a finger. She had to show up at the ball, be charming and smooth, and win over the prince. Of course she had help along the way, but ultimately it was up to her to make the fairy-tale ending happen." Michael Oher
"In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart." Anne Frank
Brandi: "Live life on purpose." Brittany Crosby