Beth of Minneapolis, Minnesota
K is 6 years old with Autism, H is 2.5 years old. My husband works outside the home and I work from home as an entrepreneur. We love spending time together outside winter or summer. We are expecting a new puppy this summer to train as a service dog.
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Tanya M. from Virginia, Minnesota
I am Tanya. I am a homemaker and homeschool mom. I love singing along to Christian music and reading. My husband is Mike. He works in IT and loves coding and playing video games. Then we have 5 beautiful children.
- Amelia is 9. She is creative and energetic. She loves art.
- Allen is 7. He loves minecraft and math.
- Aiden is 5. He is a small kid with big emotions. He loves books and math.
- Alec is 4. He is a busy little guy who loves to play super heroes and with his cars.
- Aliza is 1 week old. She likes to eat and sleep.
Jamie of Minnesota
We are a small family of three. Just me, my husband and our daughter. I’m a stay-at-home mom. My husband is an electrician. Our daughter will be 9 soon and loves unicorns, horses, magic. We all love crafts.
Renee of Goodland, Minnesota
Mom, Dad, Jack (called Jackie by his younger brother), and Seth. We have 2 Golden Retrievers and we love, as my 4-year-old says ,”restaurants and hotels.” You’d think because he loves them so much we go often, which is definitely not the case. But once a year we travel for 2 weeks.😊
How do you Timberdoodle?
Beth: This is our first year using Timberdoodle and we are off to a slow start but really enjoy the curriculum. I heard about Timberdoodle through social media and a blog that recommended the curriculum for kiddos with Autism.
Tanya: I think we first heard about Timberdoodle from a Youtube family. My kids all have their favorite Timberdoodle items but I would definitely say stuff like Mad Mattr and the coding toys have been a big hit in our house. I often have a kiddo use those favs to keep a kiddo busy while I work one-on-one with another.
Jamie: We started using Timberdoodle over a year ago as our homeschool curriculum. I found it when I was looking for new options instead of online school. We had hit too many road blocks with online school and needed something new. Timberdoodle was exactly what I needed. It has been great.
Renee: I became a Timberdoodler through a friend of ours in Wisconsin. I love the idea I can garner just by looking at the catalog. And I’m excited about the many resources as I start homeschooling.
Tell us about a typical school day at your house.
Beth: We try to homeschool in the mornings while incorporating play. We start with worksheets or math. Chores are done throughout the day and we follow a typical 3 meals a day for the kids.
Tanya: We start our day with breakfast and getting ready. Then we do a few chores. School starts around 9:00 a.m. and runs until close to lunch depending on the kid and the day. We generally are able to finish by lunch time and then enjoy the afternoons exploring our different interests and spending time together.
Jamie: Our typical day starts after breakfast around 9:00. We have 4-5 subjects a day. Usually they are small assignments. We try to hit each subject each day Monday through Thursday and art on Friday. That way it’s less stressful and she can take her time. We are usually done with everything by 1:00. With a 30 minute break for lunch.
Renee: My oldest just turned 4 so a typical school day I for us happens about 2-3 days a week for an hour or so. It also happens outside as we are shoveling a neighbor's walk, or catching monarch caterpillars and feeding them everyday until metamorphosis happens and we feed the butterfly and let him free. And many other ways we teach our children. Learning happens all day!
If we peeked inside your home on a random Wednesday afternoon, what would we see?
Beth: Moving parts. Afternoon K goes to his treatment program and H and I work on the alphabet, and lately we are playing kitchen and grocery shopping.
Tanya: Seeing as school work is usually done by lunchtime I am guessing probably lots of crafting and games going on.
Jamie: Wednesday afternoon we would be done with school for the day and more than likely doing crafts or playing. Sometimes we watch movies or run to the library to get new books.
Renee: No one at home. 😊 This is daycare day and Awana in the evening.
If you could take your family anywhere you wanted for vacation where would you go?
Beth: Sesame Place.
Tanya: We go to a beach at a mine pit. But we would really like to take the kids to see the ocean some day.
Jamie: Any beach near the Pacific Ocean. We love to travel and the west coast is our favorite.
Renee: A beach anywhere on the west coast. Washington, Oregone or northern California.
What books have you read over and over?
- Goodnight Moon
- Goodnight Train
- Nibbles the Book Monster
- Tell Me the Secrets
- Cheeky Monkey
- all of the Llama Llama books
- There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly
- Hunger Games
- If I Stay
- Where She Went
- 13 Reasons Why
- any thing by Bella Forrest
- Where Do My Trucks Sleep at Night?
- Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
- Little Blue Truck
What dietary challenges does your family face?
Beth: H has FPIES so she is severely allergic to majority processed/convenience foods. All her food comes from Whole Foods. K has a severely restricted diet due to Autism and gut issues. We make everyone their own meals and keep trying to introduce new foods.
Tanya: Our family really doesn't have a whole lot of dietary challenges. We do have a child with some sensory issues that doesn't care for some textures. We have just tried to excitement with different ways to prepare food to give it a texture he can handle.
Jamie: My daughter has celiac, so we eat gluten free as well as vegan due to other allergies. It’s not that hard for us as I have been a vegan all my life, now just had to omit gluten.
Renee: Dairy intolerance so we limit dairy. And no soft serve on road trips or we have a mess in the car.
What tips do you have for surviving a hard day?
Beth: It's ok to turn on a movie and make yourself a cup of coffee to give everyone a break. Give it 10-20 minutes and then try again. Make sure you are taking care of yourself when your spouse is around or after kids are in bed.
Tanya: Take time for self care. I recommend having a quiet time in the afternoon so that if you have a rough day you can get a much needed break. But starting and ending your day with self care can really make an overall difference in your ability to handle life.
Jamie: Keep a calm mind.
Renee: Take a break and go for a walk or stretch or have the kids take a rest and go outside.
What’s something your child has done that thrilled your soul?
Beth: Oh boy, there are a lot. First time my son said "I love you" or "Mom." It was not until he was 4 years old.
Tanya: My kids are always surprising me with their thoughtfulness and kindness. They are the type of kids who won't accept one sucker (sticker, mint, etc) unless they can get one for each of their siblings too.
Jamie: Helps me when I have a migraine. She is so patient with me.
Renee: Recited 4 verses at Awana one night.
How does your family celebrate birthdays?
Beth: Parties with families and friends.
Tanya: We usually celebrate with a big pool party with all of the family.
Jamie: We have cake and do gifts together. Then parties for our daughters.
Renee: I make them a cake any shape they want and we sing and play a game.
What have you done recently for the first time?
Beth: Wow, cannot think of anything. Homeschooling is a first for us.
Tanya: We recently learned how to make potica and leftse. It is so much fun to learn together as a family!!
Jamie: I recently stopped working.
Renee: Had an ambulance ride with our youngest? Educationally speaking took my kids to work with me and they played in my office at school.
What’s your favorite school day lunch?
Tanya: My kids love peanut butter and nutella sandwiches with apples slices and carrots or broccoli raw.
Renee: Picnic outside. Sandwiches and fruit and juice boxes.
How would you manage if you had to homeschool without the internet?
Tanya: We would probably be just fine. My kids seem to like workbooks and hands on work better than online. As for research we have a pretty good library 5mins away as well as a decent collection of books of our own.
Renee: Easily right now because everything we do is not on the internet.
What tips do you have for other families?
Tanya: My biggest tip would to be flexible and give yourself grace. You can't always predict what life is going to throw your way. So plan for everything and expect nothing to go to plan.
Renee: Use the outdoors as much as you can! There is so much to learn! And play games with your children, it teaches some great life skills.
What is something you appreciate about each of your kids?
- Amelia loves to teach the younger kids new things.
- Allen is so helpful and generous.
- Aiden is intelligent way beyond his years.
- Alec is extremely kind and funny.
- Aliza is only 1 week but already is able to make everyone smile with her quirky sounds.
Renee: Jack has such a memory and reminds me constantly on how fast the young ones learn! Seth is a little echo and he reminds me daily of things people say regularly and don’t realize.
What song is currently in your head?
Tanya: Little Liza Jane.
Renee: Junior Bells cuz my kids are still singing it from Christmas.
Tell us about your family’s favorite games.
Tanya: Our family's favorite games has been Uno for a few years running now. We even have neighborhood kids that will stop by to play with us.
Renee: Suspend, Jenga, Uno, Hi-Ho Cheerio and Candy Land
What is your exercise routine and how often do you do it?
Tanya: We don't have a really good routine right now. The weather makes going outside not a good option but we did find a fun family workout video online that we started recently. Our goal for now is to do it at least 3 times a week.
What hard thing are you planning to do this year?
Tanya: Homeschool with a newborn. Haha. Can't get more challenging than that.