Erica of PEI, Canada
Mom, Dad, and two kids. We have chickens, goats, and our dog!
Sandra of British Columbia, Canada
We are a family of 4 plus one Labradoodle. I homeschooled both my kids but at Grade 8 my son entered the local high school in order to attend the hockey academy there (currently in Grade 10). I continue to exclusively homeschool my daughter (Grade 5/6). My son spending most of his free time playing hockey. My daughter enjoys piano, gymnastics and competitive swimming. Our weekends are spent on the road travelling to tournaments or swim meets. My husband enjoys running. I prefer quiet hikes with our dog, gardening or cleaning/organizing our home.
Ijabo S of Ottawa, Canada
Our family consists of Mommy, Daddy, Ibrahim (4) and Ismail (2).
The Clueless Homeschooler from Ontario, Canada
Big blended family! Instagram: @the_cluelesshomeschooler
How do you Timberdoodle?
Erica: We learned about Timberdoodle when doing research about open-and-go homeschool curriculums. We love the hands on games and activities. We use them throughout the day as free choice activities, as well as a planned time each morning.
Sandra: My sister, also a homeschooler, introduced me to Timberdoodle. It is difficult being a Canadian to be able to afford to order from American companies due to the exchange and shipping costs, however my sister has gifted me some of the games and manipulatives recommended on your site.
Clueless Homeschooler: I found Timberdoodle on Instagram! I love seeing all the repost photos of homeschoolers!
Tell us about a typical school day at your house.
Erica: We start around 10:00 a.m. We eat a snack and lunch and end around 1:00 p.m. We do literature study, reading, math, science, thinking skills, geography and gross motor skills.
Sandra: We start early...often by 7:00 a.m. Depending on the time of year we may be back and forth to the hockey arena so that interrupts our day. We usually finish up around 2:30 regardless. My daughter directs the bulk of her learning by following a schedule. She tends to like to complete a week's worth of work in one sitting if possible. So we may or may not do all subjects in one day. She prepares her own breakfast and lunch and I try to have supper prepped or cooking by noon. Chores are continuous. I get the bulk of my scheduled chores done prior to my daughter needing help in school.
Ijabo: We start at about 9:00 a.m. We cover whatever subjects is on our online scheduler. We generally do our homeschooling through out the day and fit everything else that needs to be done in between
Clueless Homeschooler: We are on our first year. I call it playschool! It happens everywhere. :)
If we peeked inside your home on a random Wednesday afternoon, what would we see?
Erica: Sometimes calm, organized, enthusiastic intentional learning. Other times, chaos, or free play.
Sandra: We would likely be finishing up school, eating snack around 3:00 in order to go to swimming practice for 4:00 p.m.
Ijabo: Toys, toys, and more toys. LOL.
Clueless Homeschooler: A jungle of monkeys, LOL. but I wouldn't change a thing.
If you could take your family anywhere you wanted for vacation where would you go?
Erica: To the ocean.
Sandra: Disney World.
Clueless Homeschooler: I would love to experience Disney World for the first time with my children.
What books have you read over and over?
- The Usborne Illustrated Alphabet
- Little Blue Truck
- Dinosaur Roar
- Narnia Series
- The Boxcar Children
- Sonlight readers
- George Mueller
- Harry Potter
- Shel Silverstein
What dietary challenges does your family face?
Erica: We are partially vegetarian. We only eat meat we raise ourselves.
Sandra: Recently switched to a plant based diet. Winter provides some challenges for us to find fresh, diverse, organic produce.
Ijabo: No dietary challenges.
Clueless Homeschooler: Lactose issues. LOL. Easy to avoid now that they sell so many other options.
What tips do you have for surviving a hard day?
Erica: We put on pjs earlier than usual, turn on a movie and cuddle on the couch with some popcorn.
Ijabo: Drink lots of coffee! Haha.
Clueless Homeschooler: At the end you have a birth date and a death date. Make the best out of the little dash in the middle!
What’s something your child has done that thrilled your soul?
Erica: My son is incredibly inquisitive, and desires so much information. He never stops asking questions, and it gives me so much joy to be a facilitator to his understanding of the world.
Sandra: Volunteering in the kitchen at church without being asked.
Ijabo: Wrote all of our names in a heart he made himself
Clueless Homeschooler: Farm school. Watching him feed the baby animals was precious
How does your family celebrate birthdays?
Erica: We hide a gift to find in the morning. We have a special birthday ring that sits on the table, and we purchase and add a new item to it each year that is special to our child. We then discuss their day of birth during breakfast, and what they’ve added to our family. We then spend the day doing and eating what the child loves most.
Sandra: We are pretty low key. For the kids we usually try and do a cake and dinner of their choice and sometimes choose an activity for them to do with one or two of their friends.
Ijabo: Cake and gifts.
Clueless Homeschooler: Family dinner and cake, and a themed party or special day out!
What have you done recently for the first time?
Erica: We went swimming as a family for the first time, as my daughter hadn’t been yet.
Sandra: Helped my son in an online course which required learning how to use various technology in order to submit and do his work.
Ijabo: Travelled to a new country
Clueless Homeschooler: Started a blog!
What’s your favorite school day lunch?
Erica: Cheese, crackers, and apples.
Sandra: Raspberries, coconut yoghurt (plain), chia, granola and a drizzle of honey.
Ijabo: Tuna sandwiches with a side of fruits.
Clueless Homeschooler: Bento style.
How would you manage if you had to homeschool without the internet?
Erica: Use the library a lot more.
Sandra: We would do just fine. I am a Luddite and prefer using books to online learning.
Ijabo: Write everything down instead.
Clueless Homeschooler: It would be harder but we have many new local homeschool programs.
What tips do you have for other families?
Sandra: Make a schedule and try and stick to it. It gives you perspective when you fall behind and motivation to catch up on the days that things don't go well.
Ijabo: Take it day by day. It takes some shuffling around to find your own groove
Clueless Homeschooler: Don't compare your journey with someone else's.
What is something you appreciate about each of your kids?
Erica: My son is incredibly inquisitive and wants to know the how and why about the world. My daughter is incredibly loving and is a cuddle bug.
Sandra: My daughter never gives up, she is not afraid to try new things and is always up for learning.
Ijabo: Their different personalities
- My eldest daughter, 10, has taught me the most. We grew up together!
- My son, 3, I appreciate his love on the daily.
- My youngest daughter is a miracle. And I appreciate her smile.
What song is currently in your head?
Erica: Bad Guy
Sandra: Lord, I Need You
Ijabo: No song. LOL.
Clueless Homeschooler: PJ Masks, PJ Masks
Tell us about your family’s favorite games.
Erica: Paw Patrol On a Roll, Mario games, and any board games.
Sandra: Game of Things, Apples to Apples
Ijabo: Alphabet Bingo!
Clueless Homeschooler: Simple games for us..for now. LOL.
What is your exercise routine and how often do you do it?
Sandra: I get most of my exercise from doing chores (snow shoveling, weed pulling, gardening, cleaning) or walking/hiking with the dog. This happens daily. Occasionally, I will be able to go to a gym (when we are on vacation).
Ijabo: Long walks. Every day.
Clueless Homeschooler: I chase after children. LOL.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in your homeschool that you called a “science experiment”?
Sandra: When we tried to hatch triops.
Ijabo: Attempted to make slime.
Clueless Homeschooler: LOL. A slime kit that was an epic fail.
What hard thing are you planning to do this year?
Erica: Plan wedding events as a maid of honour.
Sandra: Possibly go back to school. I am a nurse but may try and get my education degree.
Ijabo: Adding a new child to the homeschool routine.
Clueless Homeschooler: Balance appointments.
What did you do just for fun with your kids recently?
Erica: Went swimming.
Sandra: Went out for breakfast and shopping.
Ijabo: Go to an indoor play place.
Clueless Homeschooler: Redid the play room.
What would you name your boat if you had one?
Ijabo: The Cruiser.
If you could learn a new skill, what would it be?
Erica: Funnily enough, learn how to sew better.
Sandra: Mechanic - I would like to have confidence that I could fix my car if I ever had a problem.
Ijabo: To knit.
Clueless Homeschooler: Sewing!
What’s the last recipe you looked up?
Sandra: One Pan Mexican Quinoa.
Clueless Homeschooler: Buffalo Chicken.
What apps do you use the most?
- Team Snap
If you could sum up your homeschool style or philosophy in one phrase what would it be?
Erica: Secular, eclectic, academic.
Ijabo: Laid back.
Clueless Homeschooler: Freedom.
What do your kids want to be when they grow up?
Erica: a firefighter and undecided.
Sandra: NHL hockey player, Olympic swimmer.
Ijabo: a dinosaur and a pilot.
Clueless Homeschooler: My son wants to be a doctor and volunteer firefighter.
What extracurricular activities is your family involved in?
Clueless Homeschooler: Library groups until spring
If you have a moment to yourself what do you like to do?
Erica: Play games.
Sandra: Watch a show on Netflix.
Ijabo: Take a warm bath and read a book.
Clueless Homeschooler: Shower. LOL.
What’s your favorite school day breakfast?
Sandra: Toasted bagel
Clueless Homeschooler: Homemade waffles
What’s the best homeschool field trip you’ve ever been on?
Sandra: Vet Clinic tour
Ijabo: Science Centre
Clueless Homeschooler: The farm
The grocery store cashier asks, “But what about socialization?” What do you say?
Erica: People have been socialized for millennia before mandated schooling. Such a weird concern.
Sandra: My kids are comfortable interacting with people of all ages and backgrounds. They attend groups that have kids of various ages, are involved in extracurriculars, and are comfortable shopping independently and managing their own money. They are being socialized to be productive adults not just to survive within their own peer group.
Ijabo: My kids have enough cousins to socialize with. (22 of them. LOL.)
Clueless Homeschooler: Socialize This.
What’s the funniest thing one of your kids ever said?
Sandra: My daughter told me that one of the 10 Commandments was "Thou shalt not do school."
Ijabo: "Pants are annoying. Can’t we leave them at home?"
Clueless Homeschooler: My daughter says I'm old. I'm 27. LOL.
What do you do for fun as a family?
Erica: Play games.
Sandra: Go to the lake, watch movies, hike.
Ijabo: Go to the park.
Clueless Homeschooler: Family games or movies.
How do you continue to educate yourself?
Erica: All the research.
Sandra: I spend time researching various teaching methods or products online. If I have a question about anything I look for reputable sources to find an answer.
Ijabo: Constantly reading new material.
Clueless Homeschooler: Online courses. YouTube videos.
What are favorite healthy snacks at your house?
Erica: Apples, bananas, seeds and nuts.
Sandra: Fresh fruit, nuts, Kind bars, Kashi bars, pumpkin smoothies.
Ijabo: Strawberries and blueberries.
Clueless Homeschooler: Veg and dip.
What’s the best museum you’ve ever gone to?
Erica: Toronto Science Centre
Sandra: Museum of Science in Boston
Ijabo: Shoe Museum
Clueless Homeschooler: Toronto
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in homeschooling?
Sandra: Dealing with the constant feeling that I am not teaching them enough.
Ijabo: Being confident in myself.
Clueless Homeschooler: Things not going as planned.
What is your favorite thing about having kids?
Erica: The joy of watching babies become little people.
Sandra: How hard it is and how it forces you to rely on God as you have so little control over everything.
Ijabo: The joy and light they bring into our home.
Clueless Homeschooler: All of it. I love becoming a new mom.
What’s the best vacation you have ever taken as a family?
Sandra: Caribbean cruise.
Clueless Homeschooler: Staycations for us.
List 3 frivolous things you are enjoying right now.
- essential oils
- Starbucks coffee
- eating donuts when kids are asleep
- reading uninterrupted
- sleeping in on the weekend
What’s your favorite in-a-pinch dinner option?
Sandra: black bean salsa salad
Ijabo: burger and fries
Clueless Homeschooler: spaghetti and meatballs
What’s the strangest place you’ve done school?
Sandra: at the pool
Ijabo: no strange place yet
Clueless Homeschooler: waiting room
Share a favorite organizational tip.
Erica: Baskets on kallax shelf.
Sandra: Box each year's curriculum and label it when the child finishes so it is easy to find when the next child needs it.
Ijabo: Putting everything on a bookshelf.
Clueless Homeschooler: Dollar Tree has so much for storage options!
What special gifts or talents to your kids have?
Sandra: Both my kids are kind and loving. They have a sense of humor and a deep respect for their Creator.
Ijabo: Beautiful singing voices.
Clueless Homeschooler: My daughter knows sign language.
Tell us something unique or unusual about your family.
Sandra: I am related to John McCrae, who wrote the poem "In Flanders Fields."
Ijabo: After 30 years of living in a one city, we packed up and moved to a completely new one where we have no family.
Clueless Homeschooler: The first time I met my hubby was at church. I was 5 and he was 19!
What’s making you laugh these days?
Sandra: The little felt board messages that come up on Pinterest.
Ijabo: The relationship between our two sons.
Clueless Homeschooler: The news. LOL
What do you do for P.E. in your homeschool?
- play outside
- dog walking
- occasionally skiing
Ijabo: They are in local sports programs and spend at least an hour out in the back yard.
Share a favorite inspirational quote.
What’s your best time of day to homeschool?
Sandra: First thing in the morning
Clueless Homeschooler: Afternoon. Baby's sleeping. We get more done.
Tell us something interesting about your local area.
Erica: It’s an island.
Sandra: We live at the top of a mountain (dormant volcano) surrounded by ski hills, bears, cougars and other wildlife.
Ijabo: We live near a large lake and renowned park
Clueless Homeschooler: I live in a very small town. 500 people. 1 corner store.
What dream for your family has come true?
Erica: To have beautiful children.
Sandra: That I have 2 children is a miracle.
Ijabo: Living and loving the life that we want and love.
Clueless Homeschooler: Homeschooling.
What’s the most useless talent you have?
Sandra: I am double jointed.
Ijabo: Money management. LOL.
Clueless Homeschooler: I can gurgle the national anthem with water. LOL.