JS of Boise, Idaho
- MS the dad
- JS the son
- RS the daughter
- JS the mom
Zoe M. of Meridian, Idaho
We are a family of four people and four animals. My husband is a firefighter out of state. So he flies back and fourth. I am a mom and am almost finished with my teaching degree. We have two small children: O, who will be going into kindergarten this summer, and H, just turned 3. We have four pets: a dog, two cats and a fish
Joanna A. of Idaho
- Zak - the maker of money, the maker of films, teacher of scripture (AKA bivocational pastor, and film editor).
- Joanna - the keeper of children and stuff, photography dabbler, avid reader, who pretends to be a seamstress.
- Charis - firstborn, Lego loving, light-saber wielding, book nerdy, scientist/artist.
- Nora - Mighty Mouse, lives life with wild abandon while wielding Squigs in one hand and Tegus in the other, and singing The Greatest Showman or Mama Mia while doing everything.
Follow us on Instagram: joannaleigha
Katy A. of Idaho
- Amelia, 9
- Lily, 7
- Noah, 2
We are a homesteading family with horses, goats and chickens.
Follow us on Instagram: lifewiththefultons
How do you Timberdoodle?
JS: I found Timberdoodle through an online Google search when looking for curriculum. We really enjoyed Mosdos. We used the 4th grade book for our reading comprehension curriculum. The stories taught great morals and were beautifully illustrated.
Zoe: I stumbled upon Timberdoodle while I was doing curriculum research for my daughter's kindergarten year. I am so excited to hopefully try this curriculum kit because it really helps a first time homeschooling mama who is a bit intimidated and lost in this brand new world of homeschooling.
Joanna: My mother-in-law turned me to Timberdoodle in my preschool teaching days before I had kids of my own. Been a fan ever since.
Katy: I heard about Timberdoodle after doing a YouTube search for homeschool curriculum when my oldest was entering kindergarten. We love to get a custom kit every year and really enjoy adding more logic games to our growing stash.
Tell us about a typical school day at your house.
JS: We school four days a week for about 3 hours a day. We include one elective and chores in the afternoon.
Zoe: Right now I am doing basic preschool skills with my daughter. It is not daily yet. However, we are doing a nature study, learning our shapes, letters, how to write her name. It’s been great.
- 8:00ish - morning chores followed by breakfast.
- 9:30 - morning time (devotions, read aloud, Tegu/Lego building, history reader, artist study) followed by a brain break.
- 10:30- snack followed by math ( Life of Fred for my oldest, and Math-U-See or a math game like Tiny Polka Dot)
- 11:00 - science (Apologia for my oldest, a book on a subject of science or our journey westward nature class for my youngest)
- 11:30 - language arts (phonics and letter writing for my youngest, Brave Writer Boomerang for my oldest).
- Noonish- lunch with an audiobook, read aloud or learning video.
- After lunch we work on thinking skill games, The Fallacy Detective with my oldest, finish up anything that’s undone, get ready for extracurriculars, writing stories, art, music, dance parties and just play
Katy: We usually start schoolwork after all the morning chores have been done. Morning chores includes self care and animal care, feeding everyone and milking goats. We are usually doing school by mid morning and start with group topics like history. Then we move on to independent work while mom does household chores and gets lunch ready. After lunch is the time when the kids can get my one-on-one attention for anything they’ve needed help with during the day. Then we dismiss school for free time followed by afternoon chores before dinner.
If we peeked inside your home on a random Wednesday afternoon, what would we see?
JS: I would be working from home, and my son would be playing Legos.
Zoe: If you came on a random Wednesday you would likely catch us outdoors looking for leaves and flowers. Or find us inside coloring.
Joanna: Finishing school. Wednesdays are our extracurricular day with Women’s Cohort in the mix. After a morning out, it’s just the basics on Wednesdays.
Katy: Everyone gathered around the dining room table finishing up schoolwork.
If you could take your family anywhere you wanted for vacation where would you go?
JS: To the Legoland theme park.
Zoe: On a camping trip. Zion National Park is gorgeous.
Joanna: To another country. Uganda is my top choice.
Katy: New Zealand.
What books have you read over and over?
JS: The Bible.
Zoe: Our favorite book is Llama Llama Red Pajama.
Joanna: All of the Chronicles of Narnia series, The House at Pooh Corner, and for just me: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.
Katy: We like to keep a good variety flowing through the house so we utilize our own book collection and weekly trips to the library to always be reading something new.
What dietary challenges does your family face?
JS: Picky eaters.
Zoe: We are dairy and gluten free. Luckily there are many “look alike” products on the market so it’s not that hard to survive.
Joanna: We all have a wheat/gluten intolerance. My youngest is allergic to all nuts, coconut, blue cheese, legumes, and many grains and seeds. I am allergic to almost everything. I make and morph meals for each meal. If my family is having chili, I make it without beans with rice on the side. My meal rarely matches my family, but we still make a point to eat together.
What tips do you have for surviving a hard day?
JS: Prayer, alone time.
Zoe: Take a breath, go outside and relax.
Joanna: Prayer, refocusing on what matters, Marco Polo a bestie, or text my hubby for encouragement. I remind our girls that we’re all on the same team, and teammates forgive, encourage, and help one another.
Katy: Sometimes it’s ok to call it a “recess day” and just let it be. Start again tomorrow with a fresh outlook and attitude.
What’s something your child has done that thrilled your soul?
JS: Made a nice card.
Zoe: My daughter is one of the sweetest kids I met. When she was just two years old she saved all of the pennies she found to buy our dog a toy. It was so so sweet.
Joanna: After reading A Long Walk to Water, she set out on her own to have a bake sale to raise money for clean water in Africa. Between what she raised at the bake sale and grants she found through Food for the Hungry, it turned into thousands of dollars in aid for clean water. All from my then 10-year-old and a few friends who joined her. Totally a loaves and fish moment with my girl’s big faith. We didn’t know it them, but few months later she had to undergo a heart surgery that would be successful. Another big faith moment for my oldest.
Katy: Lily, our 7-year-old, was so concerned about her baby brother being sick that she tucked him into bed with his favorite stuffed animal and made sure he had a glass of water before she went to bed herself. Seeing the bond and love between them is priceless.
How does your family celebrate birthdays?
Zoe: We have a special day and for the kiddos we even throw a party.
Joanna: Sometimes it’s a day of surprises, sometimes it’s a party, or a trip. The main thing is that person feeling special. Oddly enough, today is my birthday.😉
Katy: For birthdays we have a few traditions. They wake up to streamers covering their door that they have to break through. We let them choose the menu for the day and we bake a cake together.
What have you done recently for the first time?
Zoe: We went on our first National Park road trip.
Joanna: This summer I was invited to speak at a women’s retreat. It was terrifying and exciting at the same time.
What’s your favorite school day lunch?
Zoe: My favorite school day lunch is a salad or a sandwich. Easy to pack. Can be made a million different ways and is old school.
Joanna: Bentos for my girls, zucchini-potato hash for me.
Katy: Apples with graham crackers and peanut butter! 😋
How would you manage if you had to homeschool without the internet?
Zoe: We are very minimal internet users right now. So I think it would only be a little bit harder. It’s awesome to find answers to our questions in a quick way.
Joanna: A library card, a tub of Lego, and lots of audiobooks.
Katy: We don’t have the most reliable internet connection as we live out in the country so during inclement weather or during peak times we have to utilize our local library. We are on a first name basis with most of the librarians and see them regularly.
What tips do you have for other families?
Joanna: It’s okay to stick with something that works for you and your kids. It’s okay to try something new if what you’re using isn’t working. There’s freedom in homeschool. Don’t let social media rob you of that.
Katy: The biggest tip I would have is to not push something that isn’t working. If your 5-year-old isn’t ready to read, it’s ok to wait. If your 8-year-old hates math, it’s ok to try a different program. In addition to that, it’s going to take time to fall into your groove. Allow it to happen and don’t beat yourself up when you’re not a pro homeschooler that first year, or second or... The secret is, none of us are experts but we all know what’s best for our families
What is something you appreciate about each of your kids?
- O is sweet and gentle. She is a calm soul and I appreciate her for it.
- H is outgoing and loves to try new things. She is the center of all she does and I admire that.
- My little one never gives up.
- My big one is very compassionate.
- Amelia, 9, is so smart and really seems to understand things very quickly.
- Lily, 7, is a very diligent student that likes to stay focused and get things done.
What song is currently in your head?
Zoe: Baby shark.... doo doo dodododo.
Tell us about your family’s favorite games.
Zoe: We love a good round of Monopoly or Uno.
Joanna: Right now, Ticket to Ride, and Professor Noggins have been favorites. Also Tiny Polka Dot.
Katy: We LOVE Colorku and Squirrels Gone Nuts. They are two of the logic games we added to our collection this year. The importance of critical thinking and logic are something we really like to foster in our children.