Heather of Rochester, New York
Ethan is my 4.5-year-old and Emma is 2.5 years old. We have 2 dogs, love the outdoors, reading, playing, museums and vacations.
Bekki H. of New York
Josh owns a plumbing business and supports our homeschool. Bekki wrangles and teaches the kids and supports the business in the office. Evelyn is in 5th grade, and aspires to be a veterinarian. Jacob is in 4th grade and aspires to be a LEGO Master Builder. Coralie is in Kindergarten and aspires to build with Magnatiles all day. Poe, the chocolate lab aspires to eat and snuggle all day long.
Tara Sophia of Long Island, New York
Mom, Young Drip, and Tea are the members of our household. We are an outdoor loving, holistic health embodying, Disney fan family.
Amy W of Larchmonth, New York
- Jim - dad & finance professional
- Amy - mom & former law librarian
- Alex - 13-year-old gamer who loves science and history
- Nick - 9-year-old who loves science and all types of games
- Lucky - 6-year-old dog who loves walking to the Long Island Sound every day
How do you Timberdoodle?
Heather: I first heard through a homeschooling group. I love all the hands-on activities and Usborne books! We use the kits and read the books several times a week.
Bekki: We first heard about Timberdoodle from a friend who loves your program. We still haven’t pulled the trigger on ordering a kit, but we’ve been looking at them and dreaming about them for years!
Tara Sophia: We love to use all the hands-on workbooks, puzzles and build the robots.
Amy: Another homeschool parent mentioned Timberdoodle to me several years ago. We were trying to make an all-in-one box curriculum work for our 7-year-old, and it was not working at all.
Timberdoodle is great because we can mix and match the curriculum that works for each kid. We can also spend a full day on science or language arts or math. No need to do 15 to 30 minute chunks on each subject every day. We like to wallow in a subject if it’s sparked an interest.
Tell us about a typical school day at your house.
Heather: For us every day is different. We do a lot of play dates and field trips. So some days we just get ready for those and are out all day. When we are home we read, cook, etc.
Bekki: The kids typically make themselves a quick breakfast, and start a couple morning chores (cleaning up the kitchen and bathroom). School usually starts around 8:00 - 9:00 a.m., or earlier when Evelyn decides that she wants to be done early. The big kids do math, language arts, spelling, vocabulary, handwriting, geography, writing, Bible, and science every day. Coralie does math some days, phonics some days, and lots of playing and building.
Tara Sophia: We start around 10:00 a.m., cover two subjects, eat lunch, and attend enrichment groups. Chores are something everyone grumbles about but get done eventually.
Amy: It’s always a struggle. The kids have free time after breakfast while I walk the dog, then it’s math and language arts. We alternate other subjects in different days. Monday and Wednesday for history/geography. Tuesday and Thursday for science.
If we peeked inside your home on a random Wednesday afternoon, what would we see?
Heather: The house a disaster with toys and projects everywhere.
Bekki: School books strewn about the table, baskets of laundry waiting to be folded (probably for the 5th day in a row), and a great big dog running up for pets. By afternoon, the kids are making movies on their iPads, or building LEGO sets.
Tara Sophia: You would see two studying kids, a drooling dog, and then everyone getting ready to go to archery.
Amy: Mess and the kids either at a laptop or reading a book or playing a video game.
If you could take your family anywhere you wanted for vacation where would you go?
Heather: Italy, Greece, Ireland
Bekki: Misquamicut Beach - Atlantic Ocean
Tara Sophia: Ireland
What books have you read over and over?
Heather: Books about marine biology
Bekki: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
- Wuthering Heights
- Why Does the Pigeon Drive a Bus
- Alice in Wonderland
- Rumble in the Jungle
- All of the Harry Potter books
- Henry Huggins books
- Ramona Quincy books
- Encyclopedia Brown books
What dietary challenges does your family face?
Heather: We just love sugar to much.
Bekki: We have to avoid synthetic folic acid, and do so by avoiding conventionally processed grains.
Tara Sophia: Mom is gluten free, and egg free. We try to find ways to adapt classic recipes to fit the requirements.
Amy: It’s hard to not snack on junk food all day. I want to have treats available, but the kids will eat the Oreos first then not want any fruit.
What tips do you have for surviving a hard day?
Heather: Wine and chocolate!
Bekki: Put the school books away for a while. Snuggle up and read a book, take a walk, or bake something fun. The books will still be there tomorrow.
Tara Sophia: Watch a funny movie. Laughter is the best medicine.
Amy: Dog walks and also a treadmill has been invaluable for all of us to get bits of exercise here and there.
What’s something your child has done that thrilled your soul?
Heather: Given me a hug.
Bekki: All three of my kids follow Jesus, which is the greatest thrill for my soul.
Tara Sophia: Offered to plan me a birthday party because I plan such awesome ones for her. Made my heart sing to know she loves her parties that much.
Amy: My boys still hold hands sometimes even at the ages of 13 and 9.
How does your family celebrate birthdays?
Bekki: Grandpa comes over for dinner and cake.
Tara Sophia: Lots of balloons, ice cream cake, friends and family.
Amy: Special dessert and sometimes a trip (Disney Cruise, trip to Universal Studios, Disney World).
What have you done recently for the first time?
Heather: Climbed a mountain.
Bekki: We took the kids to NYC to see a Broadway show for the first time.
Tara Sophia: Gone ice skating.
Amy: Played the guitar.
What’s your favorite school day lunch?
Heather: PBJ and fruit.
Tara Sophia: Pizza.
Amy: Soup and salad for me. Sandwich and chips and fruit salad for kids.
How would you manage if you had to homeschool without the internet?
Heather: Books, field trips.
Bekki: We would need to buy an encyclopedia.
Tara Sophia: A lot of time at the library.
Amy: It would be very hard. I think we would live part-time at the public library.
What tips do you have for other families?
Heather: Do what works best for your family.
Bekki: Put relationships before academics every day.
Tara Sophia: Be patient and fluid. Sometimes changes and tweaks need to be made.
Amy: Don’t jump into an all-in-one curriculum (including online). First, just relax, play, read books, visit every local museum. Then find a language arts curriculum your kids like, then math, etc..
What is something you appreciate about each of your kids?
Heather: How kind and loving they are.
- Evelyn is creative, and always trying to find ways to create something beautiful out of whatever she sees.
- Jacob is extremely smart and loves to learn.
- Coralie supplies me with endless hugs and cuddles.
- My son is loyal and steady.
- My daughter is a force of nature with a huge heart.
- I appreciate my eldest’s patience and love for his younger brother. He’s so gentle and kind when his younger brother is sad. No one can console better.
- I appreciate my youngest’s zest for life. He loves people and is always up for an adventure. He reminds me to say “yes” more.
What song is currently in your head?
Heather: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
Bekki: Let It Go from Frozen
Tara Sophia: Timber by Kesha
Amy: Saturday in the Park by Chicago
Tell us about your family’s favorite games.
Heather: Anything Mario and Go Away Monster
Bekki: The big kids love Minecraft.
Tara Sophia: Rummikub
- King of Tokyo - kind of like a more advanced Yahtzee but with monsters trying to take over Tokyo
- Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza - so silly and funny
- Ghost Fightin’ Treasure Hunters - great cooperative game. It’s good when we need to reconnect.
What is your exercise routine and how often do you do it?
Bekki: I take the dog for a walk every day, and try to do some strength training at home.
Tara Sophia: Walking the dog. 2 times a day for a half hour each.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in your homeschool that you called a “science experiment”?
Heather: Tried to make paint.
Bekki: We cracked an egg for breakfast and out came a chicken embryo! We kept it in the fridge for a couple days so we could study it later.
Tara Sophia: Blew up marshmallows.
What hard thing are you planning to do this year?
Heather: Teach my son to focus better and read.
Bekki: Preparing and giving a 40 minute talk about raising kids with special needs.
Tara Sophia: Teach my daughter script.
What did you do just for fun with your kids recently?
Heather: Trampoline park.
Bekki: We took the kids to see Frozen on Broadway.
Tara Sophia: Went to see Jumanji in the movies.
What would you name your boat if you had one?
Heather: Hmmmm, if only I had a boat.
Tara Sophia: Souls Journey
If you could learn a new skill, what would it be?
Bekki: Reading music.
Tara Sophia: Kayaking.
What’s the last recipe you looked up?
Heather: 3 bean soup.
Bekki: Instant pot orange chicken.
What apps do you use the most?
- Teachers Pay Teachers
- The Weather Channel
If you could sum up your homeschool style or philosophy in one phrase what would it be?
Heather: Relaxed. We are still young but I can't wait to learn new things with them!
Bekki: We’re just trying our best over here.
What do your kids want to be when they grow up?
Heather: Astronaut and princess.
Bekki: A veterinarian, a LEGO Master Builder, and a Doctor.
What extracurricular activities is your family involved in?
Bekki: The girls take ballet and dance lessons.
If you have a moment to yourself what do you like to do?
Bekki: Walk the dog, or enjoy a quiet cup of coffee.