Samantha of Connecticut
- Dad - all things computers
- Mom - manager of all
- Ladybug - our snake-loving, sensitive, caring daughter
- Bug King - our bug and dinosaur expert
- Monkey - the mischievous toddler
- pets with paws and scales
Follow us on Instagram: peaceful_journeys
Vanessa H. of Connecticut
We are a family of four and the children’s grandparent live with us. Family is super important. Dad just completed law school and is preparing for the bar exam. Our son, 5, and daughter, 2, love books, reading/being read to, everything Disney and Star Wars, and playing on swings. Everything is a learning opportunity and love being hands-on. We take lots of educational (fun) trips around our state.
Sara of Connecticut
It is myself, my husband and our amazing 6 year old son. We have a cat and a dog. Our family loves crafts and sports. Our son wants to be a train engineer when he grows up.
Lauren of Connecticut
We’re a military family of four that loves being outside hiking or inside playing games! We love to explore new places together as we move around the globe with our service member. We spend a lot of time checking out Science Museums around the nation alongside Nature Centers!
How do you Timberdoodle?
Samantha: I found Timberdoodle a long time ago exploring homeschool opportunities. We have bits and bobs we use from the site. I think my favorite thing is it makes learning fun. The littles love the Squigz and the bigs love Mad Mattr.
Vanessa: My son’s favorite is the science kit and map puzzles. He’s very hands on and likes playing with things that complement our reading. He likes the books and stories coming alive to him.
Sara: Timberdoodle is our life. We love everything that comes in the curriculum kits. My son loves the games and I love how easy All About Reading has made teaching reading.
Lauren: We found Timberdoodle through a recommendation when our oldest was preschool age. We purchased the preschool curriculum and fell in love! We love that all the kit items are perfectly curated to give our children a complete education with art, games, and so many other types of learning styles included. Timberdoodle kits are so simple to use and easy to start, it was the perfect first homeschool introduction because it came completely ready to use and all we had to do was start. We giggled through games, nursery rhymes, and worked hard on math. The first year using Timberdoodle was enchanting. Now the levels progress and challenge my kids, but the enchantment is still there with beautiful art style workbooks and fun learning games.
Tell us about a typical school day at your house.
Samantha: We typically wake up and have breakfast. Kids help with chores along the way then we get into an hour or so of school work together. Each kiddo works on their own thing and I run between as needed while keeping the toddler occupied. Then we are out for play or appointments, we have a sort of working lunch and then the afternoon is time to learn through play or exploring. We have a weekly co-op we do, as well as evening activities.
Vanessa: Our typical day is us all waking up for breakfast and get ready. Grandma watches baby sister while we get going with school by 9. We do math, reading and handwriting daily. Then either supplement workbooks, lots of reading stories and lots special play. (We save some of our educational toys, motor skill toys just for school time so they really appreciate them.)
Sara: In our household, we start schooling after breakfast. We usually cover language arts and math first, then take a break with one of the fantastic game choices you offer. After this, we finish with the rest of our subjects like geography and history.
Lauren: I’ve always been a very scheduled mom. I love a good schedule. But I like to have room for flexibility because, let’s be honest, it’s very needed when you have kids! I love that the Timberdoodle curriculum gives so much flexibility. We can mix and match what we do each day and each week looks a little different than the last. Some days we do science projects and reading and others we pull out our favorite workbooks and paint away the afternoon with crafts! We usually have an easy morning and after breakfast we do story time around 9 a.m. followed by workbooks and activities for the day. We have some free play or activities then enjoy lunch together while listening to our favorite podcasts or audiobook! I usually save reading lessons for after lunch and quiet time, because it works for us, and then we spend our afternoons at the nature center, going for walks, playing our favorite board games, cooking in the kitchen, or just enjoying books and playing together. Our homeschool is scheduled but laid back. It works for us!
If we peeked inside your home on a random Wednesday afternoon, what would we see?
Samantha: Organized chaos is typical at my house. One at the desk working, one on top of a shelf learning through play, and the last dumping toy bins upside-down.
Vanessa: Play! We try to finish our school plans in the morning. Afternoons are filled with playtime, snacks, and chores/errands.
Sara: You would see Timberdoodle materials sprawled out across the kitchen table, an energetic 6-year-old asking to play outside and an exhausted momma on her 5th cup of coffee.
Lauren: Puzzles, books, someone doing a craft. If we aren’t actively doing school work we’re all usually creating or enjoying dancing, reading, or imaginative play.
Samantha also answered the following questions:
If you could take your family anywhere you wanted for vacation where would you go?
Do I have to pick one? France, Greece, Australia, everywhere!!
What books have you read over and over?
Harry Potter has been read countless times in my house but kids and adults.
What dietary challenges does your family face?
Right now we have no restrictions. However, we have dealt with food allergies, both anaphylactic and FPIES. It makes sharing food difficult but we work on trying new things together and making sure everyone feels included.
What tips do you have for surviving a hard day?
Tea and a warm bath solve many issues!
What’s something your child has done that thrilled your soul?
Being kind to each other and those around them warm my soul. My middle came with us to clean out my oldest daughter’s locker the day we withdrew her from public school. He was so happy to have Big Sister home more. But the thing that warmed my heart about that day was him asking the security guard to hold his hand as they walked the halls. You could tell this is not something this middle school security guard hears often and the two walked hand-in-hand as if they were old friends. The contrast in age, in background, in race, in upbringing all faded and there was just kindness.
How does your family celebrate birthdays?
Birthday always involves cake, that person’s favorite dinner, some off-key singing, and a few presents.
What have you done recently for the first time?
I pulled my oldest from a toxic school environment to school at home!
What’s your favorite school day lunch?
I love a quick and easy lunch platter the kids can all grab from. The family favorite is ham, cheese, homemade trail mix, and some cut up fruit.
How would you manage if you had to homeschool without the internet?
I wouldn’t! Ok,I would, but the library might start charging us rent if we didn’t have the internet.
What tips do you have for other families?
Follow your gut. Don’t let fear stop you. I let fear control my desire to homeschool for too long, fear of not being enough for my kids, fear of others reactions...but watching what change I saw in my kids just days after our change to homeschooling melts all the fear.
What is something you appreciate about each of your kids?
- Ladybug: I love her compassion.
- Bug King: I love his imagination.
- Monkey: I love his persistence.
What song is currently in your head?
Into the Unknown from Frozen 2 (or Into the Ungnome as Bug King calls it)
Tell us about your family’s favorite games.
One loves Uno, one loves Sneaky Snacky Squirrels, and the other loves tag.
What is your exercise routine and how often do you do it?
I don’t have a routine. We get out to parks often and just run around or walk together. Some nights is family bounce on the trampoline, other nights we do a walk. I would like to add yoga to my days.
What hard thing are you planning to do this year?
I think the hardest thing is worrying about becoming a one income family and making everything work out.
What did you do just for fun with your kids recently?
We went to the park and played in the snow!
What would you name your boat if you had one?
The SS Floatie.
If you could learn a new skill, what would it be?
I would learn to make wooden toys!
What’s the last recipe you looked up?
I made a tortolini casserole! New family favorite!
What apps do you use the most?
- Google docs
If you could sum up your homeschool style or philosophy in one phrase what would it be?
A work in progress!
What do your kids want to be when they grow up?
- Ladybug wants to work with animals, preferably snakes.
- Bug King wants to be a paleontologist.
- Monkey cannot verbalize his job preference but I bet it involves climbing.
What extracurricular activities is your family involved in?
Swimming and scouts.
If you have a moment to yourself what do you like to do?
Mom and Dad play World of Warcraft online with their friends!
What’s your favorite school day breakfast?
Cereal, quick and easy.
What’s the best homeschool field trip you’ve ever been on?
We haven’t been on many field trips as a whole homeschooling family, but Dragons Love Tacos play was good.
The grocery store cashier asks, “But what about socialization?” What do you say?
Ever time we leave the house is an opportunity to socialize. Ladybug actually has a more active social life homeschooled than she did in public school
What’s the funniest thing one of your kids ever said?
When asked to stop putting his finger up his nose, Bug Kong replied with, “But it’s just the right size!”
What do you do for fun as a family?
We go to Six Flags weekly when it is open!
How do you continue to educate yourself?
Keeping up with the kids work helps my mind stay fresh but I also try to remember to grab a book for myself when we visit the library.
What are favorite healthy snacks at your house?
Trail mix is one of our favorites...mixed nuts, chocolate chips, coconut flakes, peanut butter chips, raisins...yum!
What’s the best museum you’ve ever gone to?
I have been to all the museums in DC and can’t wait to take the kids! I can’t pick just one!
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in homeschooling?
My biggest challenge so far was actually just taking the first step and withdrawing from public school.
What is your favorite thing about having kids?
I love watching each one come into their own personalities.
What’s the best vacation you have ever taken as a family?
I think our trip to Universal was one of my favorites!
List 3 frivolous things you are enjoying right now.
- a Starbucks
- my iPhone
- this over-priced pastry
What’s your favorite in-a-pinch dinner option?
Pasta and garlic bread!
What’s the strangest place you’ve done school?
In a doctor's office.
Share a favorite organizational tip.
Bins! We have bins or baskets for everything. I also have a hanging wall organizer that comes in handy.
What special gifts or talents to your kids have?
- Ladybug is insanely flexible, like contortionist flexible!
- Bug King is only 4, but knows nearly all the dinosaurs and their features.
Tell us something unique or unusual about your family.
We are a blended family, dealing with various needs for parents and kids alike! From hearing loss to FPIES to anxiety. Homeschooling allows all the kids to fit in school, fun, and appointments without being overwhelmed.
What do you do for P.E. in your homeschool?
We don’t have a formal PE set up. Sometimes the kids workout with dad who loves weight training, sometimes we bounce on the trampoline, family walks, just getting outside every day!
Share a favorite inspirational quote.
“Don’t be discouraged. It’s often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock.”
– Author Unknown
What’s your best time of day to homeschool?
9:30 a.m. I like to sleep in and have a full belly before we get going.
Tell us something interesting about your local area.
Our town is know as “The First Town.”
What dream for your family has come true?
Homeschool was a dream for so long that is finally our reality.
What’s the most useless talent you have?
I am really good at folding that annoying fitted sheet.