Traci from Southern California
- adult boy
- 14-year-old boy
- 10-year-old girl
- 6-year-old boy
We love theater, football, rock climbing, and church. We have 2 dogs, 1 hamster, and a fish.
Denise from California
- and our dog Thomas
Our family hobbies are painting, Play-doh, and LEGOs.
Follow us on Instagram: building_wonder_school
Jordan of Los Angeles
Dad is an engineer. Mom works from home and gardens. We have a cat, a dog, and 10 chickens.
Aria of Northern California
We are a family of 6. There is Mom, who does EVERYTHING and Dad, who works as a heavy equipment operator and plays in the dirt all day (and sometimes all night!). The kids are:
- 8-year-old Wyatt, a computer wiz who dreams of becoming a Lego Master Builder
- 6-year-old Cami, the tiny ballerina with a heart of gold and sense of humor guaranteed to make anyone smile
- twins, Tripp and Morgan. Sure they may only be 2 years old and look adorable and identical but they are as wild and as different as can be!
How do you Timberdoodle?
Traci: When I first started homeschooling Timberdoodle was a lifeline, showing me standouts among the hundreds of curriculum choices bombarding me. I also recommend Timberdoodle to new homeschool moms, and I still make many purchases myself!
Jordan: We spend 6 hours a week homeschooling, and homeschool year round. We love the variety the kit offers. We heard about you in a homeschool group on facebook.
Aria: Timberdoodle has been a great resource for our family! We love how our school year planning goes from feeling overwhelming to handled in just minutes! The convenience of the curriculum kits and the ease of customizing for each child, has been invaluable. Timberdoodle has also transformed playtime for the little ones too young to 'do school'.
Tell us about a typical school day at your house.
Traci: With a wide age range of kids our days vary. We don't start school until about 10:00 a.m., with the 8th grader spending most of the day working. Some days we do outside activities like horseback riding and piano. Basically, all of the kids have different styles and ways of learning and I do my best to help their education fit that. That's the beauty of homeschooling.
Denise: We start school around 10:00 a.m. We cover reading, math, geography, science, art, and Spanish. Chores get done in the morning before we start school and at night while the kids are asleep. Meals happen ALL DAY.
Jordan: We get up, have a lazy morning, then breakfast, morning chores and start homeschool by 11:00 a.m. every morning. We get the most important stuff done by 12:00, and depending on the day we either have lunch, then get back to school work, or we head outside for free time.
Aria: For our family the best part of homeschooling is that there is no typical day! Sometimes we start at 10:00 a.m. after breakfast and chores and sometimes we start at 2:00 p.m. after lunch and a trip to the park. We do math and we read every day but otherwise we take advantage of the freedom homeschool has given us to have experiences.
If we peeked inside your home on a random Wednesday afternoon, what would we see?
Traci: Daughter dancing (but supposed to be working 🤦♀️), 8th grader working on Algebra 1, 1st grader is eating lunch and we'll be leaving for science co-op in about an hour.
Denise: You would see a brother and sister playing together.
Jordan: Quiet time. Kids are either napping or playing educational apps. Mom is working.
Aria: On a random Wednesday afternoon we may be cuddled up on the couch, taking turns reading our favorite books aloud and eating snacks and surrounded by a floor full of toys. Or we may be sitting at the martial arts dojo and cheering on Wyatt as he practices Karate. Or Wyatt and Cami may be working on a math fluency program online while the twins nap and mom uses the quiet down time to vaccuum and wash dishes.
If you could take your family anywhere you wanted for vacation where would you go?
Denise: On an Alaskan cruise.
Jordan: To a beach in Hawaii.
Aria: We would love to go anywhere and everywhere! We all enjoy learning about and participating in other cultures way of life and traditions. Every inch of this Earth has so much beauty that there is not just one place to be picked! Cami would love to visit France or Russia, while Wyatt has China and Peru at the top of his bucket list.
What books have you read over and over?
Traci: The Mission of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson.
- Big Dog Little Dog
- A Fish Out of Water
- Green Eggs and Ham
- Frog and Toad
- Go Dog Go
Jordan: Pete the Cat
Aria: Pouch! by David Ezra Stein is the house favorite. We have read our copy so frequently that it has been taped many times in the last 8 years! Like the mama kangaroo in the book, we strive to give our children the strength and confidence to go out and explore and reach new heights but with the knowledge that they always have a safe and comfortable spot to come back to if needed.
What dietary challenges does your family face?
Denise: It’s easy to fall into having sandwiches every day because they are so easy to make. I try to avoid this by not purchasing bread when we grocery shop.
Jordan: Kids are picky. We eat mac-and-cheese once a week as a compromise.
Aria: Cami is anaphylactic to peanuts and it has definitely added some challenges to our family. At home it is easy to guarantee safe food but we work hard to make sure she is able to advocate for herself and to ensure the other people she is in contact with understand the severity of her allergy.
What tips do you have for surviving a hard day?
Traci: Lots of coffee and prayer. Also, give yourself and the kids grace. Take breaks, if needed.
Denise: There’s different levels to this question. Most days coffee is enough to get me through the day. If the day is going downhill for everybody, we stop what we are doing and head outside for a walk or just to play in the yard. If the day is going bad only for me, I set the kids up with an activity and I head to the kitchen to listen to music or podcasts while I clean.
Jordan: Outside time helps.
Aria: Tips for surviving a hard day? Does coffee count as an answer? I am still trying to figure out how to best manage difficult days. I try to take a deep breath and put myself in the moment. I find that for me my biggest stressors are things that are out of my control.
What’s something your child has done that thrilled your soul?
Traci: Donated all his saved video game money to a family whose house burned down.
Denise: They both have so much love in them, they melt my heart every day. Their dad and I stare at them every day and talk about how lucky we are to have gotten such amazing kids.
Jordan: Orion remade my garden path yesterday.
Aria: Everything! Almost every day my children say or do something that leaves me in awe with how incredible they are. When my twins try new foods, when my 8-year-old creates a complicated creation from Legos or when my 6-year-old choreographs her own dances- I feel so touched by how wonderful these little people are!
How does your family celebrate birthdays?
Traci: Usually with a family dinner, and lots of balloons. Always balloons.
Denise: I decorate the room while they are sleeping, so that they can wake up to it in the morning. Then they help me make their birthday cake. I try to pick activities that they would enjoy to do that day.
Jordan: Cake and dinner with extended family.
What have you done recently for the first time?
Denise: We tried our hand at making Mexican sweet bread for the first time. It came out better than the store bought ones!
Jordan: Went to Red Rock Canyon state park.
What’s your favorite school day lunch?
Traci: Bacon grilled cheese!
Denise: Smorgasbord lunch. Cut up celery, bell peppers, berries, oranges, bananas, cucumbers, edamame....
How would you manage if you had to homeschool without the internet?
Traci: Oh goodness. Lots more time at the library, I guess.
What tips do you have for other families?
Denise: I’m just starting out, so I don’t know if I’m qualified to answer that question. I’m still trying to figure that out. But the Timberdoodle kit really helps to keep things easy and fun.
What is something you appreciate about each of your kids?
Denise: They are both so thankful. All day I hear "thank you" coming out of their mouths, to me, their dad, each other, and others when we are out and about. The thank yous never stop.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in your homeschool that you called a “science experiment”?
Denise: We call everything that involves mixing, a science project. Jell-o, pancakes, pudding...
What do your kids want to be when they grow up?
Denise: My daughter wants to be a doctor that delivers babies. My son is 3 so he doesn’t think he has to plan anything other than where his next snack is coming from.
What’s the funniest thing one of your kids ever said?
Denise: My daughter woke up from a bad dream about the vacuum cleaner standing up by itself. While she was telling me about it, her dad started snoring. She said, "That’s the noise that the vacuum cleaner was making, that’s why I dreamt that.”
What is your favorite thing about having kids?
Denise: That they make me a better person. I’ve never thought so much about my actions and words as I do now that I have kids.