Erin W. of Indiana
We are a fun-loving family of 4.
- Mom, who gets to be a stay-at-home mom (a.k.a. teacher, nurse, cab driver and so much more)
- Dad who is a pilot (and jokes that mom is a married-single mom)
- 2 kids who get along most of the time
- Oh, and of course our curious cat, Gypsy, always up for a good snuggle.
Janis A. of Indiana
We are a family of 5. I homeschool our 3 girls A(8), B(8), and V(6). My husband is a public education music director. He supports our homeschool journey. We have 2 weenie dogs who are total characters.
Candice S. of Indiana
- Mom - a missionary community health consultant
- Dad - a missionary engineer
- J - an eight-year-old and engineer-in-the-making
- M - a six-year-old Police Knight
- W - a one-year-old surprise
140 Joy H of Indiana
- mom (new to sewing, amateur artist)
- programmer dad
- almost teen son into coding
- 8-year-old son acrobat
- toddler daughter who prides herself in making messes, being independent, and taking care of her baby dolls.
- The great gray cat also lives here.
How do you Timberdoodle?
Erin: This is our first year homeschooling and so far we are loving the flexibility. We heard about Timberdoodle through a friend who uses it with her family. Math U See so far seems to be our favorite (aside from doodle vocabulary words, of course).
Janis: My sister started homeschooling before us and highly suggested Timberdoodle to start us on our journey. After looking through everything and emailing back and forth for suggestions, Timberdoodle put together our customized kit. We loved all the curriculum that arrived in that first box!
Candice: We’ve used Timberdoodle from the time our first was in homeschool pre-school. We love the STEM activities and products. We use Timberdoodle items to supplement our literature-based curriculum and find the two mesh together beautifully.
Joy: We first learned of Timberdoodle at our first homeschool convention in Orlando, Florida. I bought a custom preschool kit for my son then and have bought a few supplemental stem items since then. We definitely enjoy Timberdoodle products.
Tell us about a typical school day at your house.
Erin: Typically we start around 8:00 - 8:30 and depending on the how well we focus we are generally finished by 11:00. We make sure to do math every day but the other subjects we typically do every other day and alternate so we don’t have too much piled on one day. When we finish we get to enjoy lunch, finish up some chores and call it a day... well, with all the grown up responsible stuff.
Janis: We have pretty relaxed early morning. Late morning we start our table work. We zip through handwriting, Spelling You See, All About Reading and Math U See. Our afternoon are full of library programs, park programs and mommy-made Waldorf style units.
Candice: Our typical day starts with an hour of reading (covering Bible, history, literature, science, and geography) followed by book work (math, handwriting, spelling, writing, and thinking skills) then piano practice and a bit of free time before lunch. After lunch we do an hour of reading, followed by chores/responsibilities (each child chooses a way to ‘bless the house and family’) and then we have Passion Time - time to work on what you are passionate about (art projects, STEM activities, making Lego stop-action movies, you name it!) then time to play outside. Each week each child decides on a dinner they would like to make and in addition to ensuring the ingredients make it on to the shopping list, they help Mom in the kitchen to prepare it (while the other child babysits the youngest in our family). I qualify these activities as Life Skills class. ;)
Joy: We start school after breakfast, usually beginning with a devotional followed by our read-aloud. Then copy work, language arts, science, and math. We also cover Latin and cursive and recitation with one child and writing with another. Sometimes we add big life journals and hands-on activities where we can. Lunch fits in usually at the demands of the toddler around noon. The older boys play together or do independent work when the toddler needs to go down for a nap.
If we peeked inside your home on a random Wednesday afternoon, what would we see?
Erin: If you peek in on an afternoon I may not be around. I am usually finished with my chores and schoolwork by 11:00 so if the weather is nice, I will most likely be outside hiking or helping Dad in the garage.
Janis: Some learning, some art, a lot of free play and some sort of trip out of the house.
Candice: A lot of books, probably a robot or two, a policeman with a knight’s sword defending the Roman Empire, and maybe some art projects drying.
Joy: A mess. A toddler sleeping. A preteen working on math. And another child working on math or Latin. Mom usually is helping with math and sighing about the mess.
If you could take your family anywhere you wanted for vacation where would you go?
Erin: On a Disney cruise.
Janis: We would go on a Disney Cruise to the Eastern Caribbean.
Joy: Grandma and Grandpa live 17 hours away by car. We love visiting there as it feels like home and other family are close by. We can also go to the beach and play outside any season there.
What books have you read over and over?
- Pride and Prejudice
- Twilight Saga
Janis: To the kids- all of the Spiderwick Chronicles, Serendipity Series (over and over).
- Ramona Quimby series
- Boxcar children books
Joy: The Bible, school read-alouds like Johnny Tremain and Caddie Woodlawn are often read several times.
What dietary challenges does your family face?
Erin: Picky eaters. Have them help me plan meals.
Janis: We avoid high fructose corn syrup, added sugars, and dyes where possible. We just try to shop as aware as possible and make food at home. Sometimes that falls in the ditch and we have to start again.
Candice: None, thankfully.
Joy: Most of us avoid dairy. It is easy now to avoid in our home, more difficult if we go out to eat.
What tips do you have for surviving a hard day?
Erin: Coffee, quiet time, bath time, breathing exercises.
Janis: Coffee, mediation, independent reading or quiet activity time for everyone. Sometimes you just need to get out into nature.
Candice: Switch it up! Toss the schedule to the side and pick something different and go for it! These are the days we dive into an art project, go for an extra long bike ride, scrub the house while listening to music... A change is even better than a rest.
Joy: Take a break. Give grace. Come back to the difficult subject another time or day. It's not worth the stress today.
What’s something your child has done that thrilled your soul?
Erin: Continues to see the world with awe and wonder. Reminds me to stop and take a moment. I hope he can hold onto that innocence and curiosity as long as possible.
Janis: Started reading without being prompted.
Candice: Described their love for books ❤️
Joy: I love when my child is an includer. It can make all the difference to feel included and so we love when our child is the includer.
How does your family celebrate birthdays?
Erin: Since my husband is a pilot and very rarely home on the birthDAY and all our family is out of town, we typically have birthMONTH. We get multiple family parties that usually last all month.
Janis: Low-key most years, special dinner and a treat. Every couple of years a big party.
Candice: By doing something special together. We head to Lego Land, Great Wolf Lodge, or something else equally fantastic. Location is birthday boy’s choice.
Joy: Sometimes we visit family, sometimes family visits us. We have gotten away from the party at a location and try to instead focus on a family celebration.
What have you done recently for the first time?
Erin: Well, homeschool for one! It has been a huge change for us, but a positive one.
Janis: Had my aura photographed.
Candice: Have faced medical challenges in one of our children 💔.
Joy: I have learned to use a sewing machine that was a hand-me-down from my mother-in-law. It felt great to be able to make gifts for Christmas.
What’s your favorite school day lunch?
Erin: For the kids...usually leftovers, or he really likes uncrustables.
Candice: Leftovers! Easy, quick, minimal prep and clean up.
Joy: Leftover curry. My kids however prefer their own favorites, like potato skins, chicken, strawberries, and chips.
How would you manage if you had to homeschool without the internet?
Erin: For my son we don’t use the internet for his actual school. I use it for ideas mainly. But my daughter is in online public school so that would be impossible.
Candice: Fairly well. We choose books over electronics everyday.
Joy: Very well. We typically don't use the internet while homeschooling. Occasionally we use some educational websites to learn more about a topic.
What tips do you have for other families?
Erin: Don’t let your fears stop you. I waited too long to homeschool because I was scared I couldn’t do it. I also try and look for at least one positive thing every day to remind myself that this was the right choice for us.
Candice: Be flexible, have fun. It’s a joy to spend days with the kids. Savor it and have fun.
Joy: Follow your own style. Enjoy your time together.
What is something you appreciate about each of your kids?
- My son’s curiosity will get us going down rabbit trails daily, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.
- My daughter is so artistic that I love seeing what her creativity will bring daily.
- J - his analytical mind
- M - his ability to articulate how he’s feeling
- W - he’s one, so his mere presence is a joy
- My oldest is kind hearted.
- My middle is imaginative and a great brother.
- My littlest is loving and helpful.
Tell us about your family’s favorite games.
Erin: My husband likes to play video games with the kids. I am more of a card player. So my favorite with them is Uno or Skipbo.
Candice: Battleship is the current favorite.
Joy: We love Clank!, Uno, Azul, Ticket to Ride, Zategy, Pandemic, Catan.
What is your exercise routine and how often do you do it?
Erin: Yoga and not as often as I would like.
Candice: The kids have at least an hour outside each day. They spend that riding their bikes, climbing trees, chasing each other, etc. We also do archery, walk to piano practice and enroll in soccer.
Joy: Exercise? What's that? I follow a toddler and do the laundry. One child is in taekwondo, one is gymnastics, one in dance.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in your homeschool that you called a “science experiment”?
Erin: They built a barometer so they can predict the weather. I fear it will forever sit on my counter and I will never get my glass dish back.
Candice: Dissected a pig’s heart.
Joy: We tried to make a Jell-O layered ziggurat. We dropped small rocks into corn flour to represent the craters on a planet from meteors.
What hard thing are you planning to do this year?
Erin: Homeschooling doesn’t count?
Candice: Balance medical appointments that we need to travel for with maintaining structure and routine for the other kids.
Joy: Teach my children to do a few chores cheerfully.
What did you do just for fun with your kids recently?
Erin: Played Jenga.
Candice: Stayed up until midnight on New Years (for their first time).
Joy: Went to a creek and skipped rocks and waded in the frigid water.
What would you name your boat if you had one?
Candice: The Alleluia.
Joy: Reflections, Echo, or Choose Joy
If you could learn a new skill, what would it be?
Erin: I recently just learned how to quilt.
Candice: Small engine repair.
Joy: I would learn to write and illustrate children's books. And then better my sewing skills. I'd love to sew quilts for each of my children.
What’s the last recipe you looked up?
Erin: Enchiladas in the Instant Pot.
Joy: Dairy free Alfredo sauce.
What apps do you use the most?
Joy: Chrome, Yum, Chick-fil-A.
If you could sum up your homeschool style or philosophy in one phrase what would it be?
Erin: One day at a time.
Joy: Style: Unit studies. Philosophy: at our own pace.
What do your kids want to be when they grow up?
Erin: My son wants to be a pilot like Dad. My daughter wants to be either interior designer or habitat specialist.
Joy: Programmer, acrobat, Mommy or doctor. (I'm guessing based on the toddler's interests)
What extracurricular activities is your family involved in?
Erin: They will be taking up horseback riding again soon.
Joy: Taekwondo, gymnastics, dance, trail life, co-op.
If you have a moment to yourself what do you like to do?
Erin: Read in the bath.
Joy: Usually grocery shop, clean, browse Facebook, or bake. I don't sit still much.
What’s your favorite school day breakfast?
Erin: Breakfast burrito.
Joy: Bagel or oatmeal.
What’s the best homeschool field trip you’ve ever been on?
Erin: So far Gettysburg. Creation Museum is coming soon.
Joy: Rescue for large cats (tigers, panthers, etc.).
The grocery store cashier asks, “But what about socialization?” What do you say?
Erin: “Oh I try to avoid people as much as possible. Have you seen our society lately?”
Joy: One of my kids has been in public school. There were few-to-zero opportunities for socialization. The socialization they have now far exceeds that.
What do you do for fun as a family?
Erin: Go hiking.
Joy: Eat out when we can, bike ride, play board games.
How do you continue to educate yourself?
Erin: I learn with the kids and look up videos if I don’t know something.
Joy: I have to complete CMEs for my medical certification. I enjoy researching homeschooling curriculums.
What are favorite healthy snacks at your house?
Joy: Date bars, berries, fruits, nuts.
What’s the best museum you’ve ever gone to?
Joy: Children's Museum in Indianapolis.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in homeschooling?
Joy: Lack of confidence that clouds the ability to take in new information.
What is your favorite thing about having kids?
Joy: They are a joy, pure entertainment daily, I love their beautiful hearts.
What’s the best vacation you have ever taken as a family?
Joy: Our best vacation recently was a trip to a cabin together.
List 3 frivolous things you are enjoying right now.
Joy: My phone (taking this survey) while watching AGT on Hulu, and drinking my soda.
What’s your favorite in-a-pinch dinner option?
Joy: Tacos. It's easy and fast.
What’s the strangest place you’ve done school?
Joy: At taekwondo class for our oldest, my middle child will sometimes complete some school work.
Share a favorite organizational tip.
Joy: The three level Ikea cart is helpful to separate work for each child.
What special gifts or talents to your kids have?
- Oldest is quick to learn programming or tech stuff.
- Middle is strong and picks up gymnastics skills easily.
- Smallest melts our hearts.
Tell us something unique or unusual about your family.
Joy: We don't use only one homeschooling style. Each child enjoys a different style. Classical, unit studies, and Montessori.
What do you do for P.E. in your homeschool?
Joy: Taekwondo, gymnastics, dance. We sometimes visit trampoline parks. Weather allowing we ride bikes or play outside.
Share a favorite inspirational quote.
Joy: Start the echo you want to hear. Share kindness and love and sometime you may hear it return.
What dream for your family has come true?
Joy: Peace and little stress. Just this last Monday, my middle child said he had a great day and he really did. In the past, he would only report negative things even on a great day.