Amanda of Cincinnati
Marcus is a computer programmer and enjoys learning to play the bass. I, Amanda, teach Nature Study at our homeschool co-op and love to read. Nathan, age 11, is a Lego fanatic (to the demise of my feet!), Luke, age 8, has fun inventing board games. Kevin, age 6, loves animal facts, and Lydia, age 2, has no trouble keeping up with her brothers and is the object of their adoration. As a family we enjoy movie nights and the tickle fights, walks around the neighborhood, and we tend to be pretty loud and silly.
Emily M. of Bryan, Ohio
Children-Bella, Oliver, Henry
Dog- Duke, rooster and 7 hens
Careers- truck driver
Hobbies- crafting, sewing, knitting, crocheting, gardening, camping, cooking/baking
Kara of Cleveland, Ohio
Chet, dad, and librarian extraordinaire! He loves history, nature, and movies.
Ava Grace, second grader on the case. She loves detective stories, Star Wars, and outer space.
Wyatt, four years old going on forty. Our self proclaimed “knower of all things.”
Samantha of Cincinnati, Ohio
I am Samantha. I work for a local hospital switchboard and my husband also works for their server department. We have 4 kids: ages 7, 4, 3 and 1. We do zoo classes and my oldest does Girl Scouts and competitive gymnastics. We have 3 snakes, 2 geckos, 2 bunnies and a fish tank.
How do you Timberdoodle?
Amanda: I first heard of Timberdoodle when Cathy Duffy, homeschool curriculum reviewer, recommended it to me when I described my son to her. It wasn’t until a year later, when our curriculum at the time wasn’t a good fit for our family, that I remembered her recommendation and looked it up. I immediately fell in love. I have very active boys and knew that the materials would not only be something they enjoyed and kept their attention, but would be something *I* would love too! We incorporate Timberdoodle into every part of our homeschool. Sometimes starting with a game together, and sprinkling in things like puzzles when one child is done with independent work and waiting for one on one time with me. My oldest especially loves the Show Me How To Survive book. We have really been happy with Timberdoodle’s choices over the years for different subjects.
Emily: I think I first heard of you online. I now follow you on Facebook/ Instagram and receive the catalog. I always enjoy the extras- meaning the building toys, logic, or art. We used the Draw the USA as part of our US study. My kids have enjoyed building with Plus Plus blocks.
Kara: We love all of the hands-on activities and incorporate them throughout our homeschool day. We leaned heavily on Timberdoodle resources when our kids were in the toddler, preschool, and kindergarten stages of learning.
Samantha: We were introduced 3 years ago by my cousin when we first decided to do homeschool and we have never looked back! We love the kits and challenging our bright 7-year-old. I think her favorite items are all the STEM activities!
Tell us about a typical school day at your house.
Amanda: We start around 10:00 a.m. because we are night owls. We start with a game and some stretches, then move on to group time where we will read a science book or geography/cultural lesson. Then I work with each child one on one starting with the youngest while the older children have independent work. My toddler either plays independently or chimes in and joins in lessons. After lunch we do a short Bible lesson and read part of a novel. Then in the afternoon, once the younger children are done with school and chores, they get some TV or computer time, and I work one on one with my oldest while the toddler naps and the house is quiet. We cover geography, science, reading, grammar, math, history, vocabulary, writing, handwriting, and the wonderful plethora of critical thinking workbooks and activities that Timberdoodle offers. We also use Marie’s Words as a family at dinner time and learn new words together.
Emily: Start at 9:00 -10:00 a.m. depending on the day. Every day we do math, reading, spelling, grammar, handwriting, phonics, history. We do free writing and science twice a week. Coding and piano once a week. Chores are done before and after school. Meals are typically leftovers for lunch and we cook dinner.
Kara: On a perfect day we’re up, dressed and ready to start school by 8:30. We finish up most subjects by lunch time and then have free time to play or explore outside. After dinner we clean up the house and get ready for reading time, the best part of the day! We share read aloud and have quiet independent book time. It’s a perfect way to head to bed. Not all days are perfect though. ;)
Samantha: Each week we have a list of items we need to do and each day we just go with the flow to see what we will tackle that day. We normally start school after lunch at 12:20. Then Daddy picks school back up at 7:00 for history and science while Mommy is at work.
If we peeked inside your home on a random Wednesday afternoon, what would we see?
Amanda: Magnatiles and blocks everywhere, probably some dishes that need done, stacks of books and papers, a tray of almost eaten snacks.
Emily: Us finishing up school- reading history and doing grammar/writing. My daughter feeding her chickens and collecting eggs. Cleaning up an area of the house. Maybe even doing some sort of craft.
Kara: You’d probably find us finished with school and enjoying a hobby or playing outside.
Samantha: Organized chaos! But we do school at a small table in our basement with comfy chairs. We use our bin we received 3 years ago- one side holds what we are working on while the other holds what we have to start later on.
If you could take your family anywhere you wanted for vacation where would you go?
Amanda: On a Disney cruise.
Emily: On a camping trip to Otis, Massachusetts or more locally Oak Openings near Delta, Ohio.
Kara: Great Wolf Lodge or Disney theme park.
What books have you read over and over?
Amanda: Bible, history books (A Child’s Guide to History)
Emily: Tuesdays with Morrie
Kara: Ralph S Mouse series
What dietary challenges does your family face?
Amanda: Lactose intolerance, buy lactose free milk. Used to deal with food allergies but child outgrew them.
Emily: I'm trying to eat more veggies and less carbs. I add veggies on the side for me.
Kara: Picky eaters.
Samantha: Meat aversions, starting to eat more vegetarian and plant based meals.
What tips do you have for surviving a hard day?
Amanda: Focus on what HAS to be done versus the things you hoped would get done. Chat with a friend for a moment. Shake things up with a game or tickle fight! Coffee. And more coffee.
Emily: Breathe and know it's just a day. This too shall pass.
Kara: Breathe in, breathe out, move on
Samantha: Coffee and tea stashes!
What’s something your child has done that thrilled your soul?
Amanda: My 8 year old recently brought a board game to my husband and I. My child made it completely out of paper and has thought about every aspect of the game. We played it for about half an hour with him him! I love seeing his creativity.
Emily: Polite to other little kids at the playground.
Kara: Shown kindness to those in need.
Samantha: Connecting with others no matter their abilities and not seeing them as different.
How does your family celebrate birthdays?
Amanda: Cake, ice cream, pool party in the summer, something fun the child wants to do like Lazer Tag.
Emily: We hold a family birthday party where aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents come for a meal and cake/ ice cream. The child gets presents as well.
Kara: No gifts, experience something together
Samantha: My husband and I take off work and we have the birthday kids favorite meals all day and do whenever adventures they want!
What have you done recently for the first time?
Amanda: First family trip to Disney! It was exhausting and wonderful.
Emily: Sold crafts at a craft show.
Kara: New to officially homeschooling.
Samantha: Spent Christmas away from home.
What’s your favorite school day lunch?
Amanda: Sandwiches or wraps, fruit, a carb like crackers, cheese. For mom, a salad or wrap.
Kara: Anything that someone else makes.
Samantha: Pigs in a blanket!
How would you manage if you had to homeschool without the internet?
Amanda: I would manage pretty well. We use it for math (Teaching Textbooks), and geography quizzes but not for much else.
Emily: We don't use the internet for a whole lot during the day. We'd use the dictionary more. I research and order library books online. I'd have to be at the library to do it.
Kara: I wouldn't.
Samantha: Very well! We don't normally use the internet as is.
What tips do you have for other families?
Amanda: Find what works, even if it’s not your ideal way of doing something.
Emily: Don't compare your family with others. Do what makes you happy and don't worry about others.
Kara: Find what works for your unique family.
Samantha: Don't work yourself up about meeting deadlines. The best part of homeschool is the flexibility and you can take it anywhere!
What is something you appreciate about each of your kids?
- Nathan is very compassionate.
- Luke is thoughtful.
- Kevin is silly and caring.
- Lydia is sweet and nurturing.
- Henry- his personality. How he can say the funniest things.
- Oliver- his ability to analyze before acting.
- Bella- how helpful she can be with everything.
Kara: Their creativity, compassion, and humor
- 7yo- helpfulness
- 4yo- his compassion
- 3yo- his caring
- 1yo- her curiosity
What song is currently in your head?
Amanda: Fix My Eyes by For King and Country
Kara: Hey Jude
Samantha: The Greatest Showman tunes
Tell us about your family’s favorite games.
Amanda: Video games, Monopoly, Life, card games
Emily: Cranium Caddo, Sorry
Kara: Enchanted Forest and Battleship
Samantha: Pass the pigs! We just got a giant set that will be so much fun!
What is your exercise routine and how often do you do it?
Amanda: I walk or workout several times a week. I use Daily Burn, and online subscription that has a new workout everyday.
Emily: Yoga 3 times a week.
Kara: Walking after dinner.
Samantha: Gymnastics, races in the living room, Cosmic Kids yoga
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in your homeschool that you called a “science experiment”?
Amanda: Shortening and gloves, timing how long we can hold hands in cold water with shortening and gloves to simulate the blubber of attic animals. Grease was all over my house by the end of it!
Samantha: Cleaning the poop from the reptile cages.
What hard thing are you planning to do this year?
Amanda: Teaching two kids to read!
Emily: Look to make money.
Samantha: Start homeschooling my son who has sensory processing disorder.
What did you do just for fun with your kids recently?
Amanda: Family movie nights with pizza.
Emily: Went to an indoor play place.
Kara: Made muffins.
Samantha: Bought fake snowballs so we can have snowball fights in the house.
What would you name your boat if you had one?
Amanda: Crummy Choas
If you could learn a new skill, what would it be?
Samantha: Sewing quilts
What’s the last recipe you looked up?
Amanda: Instant Pot recipes
Emily: Oatmeal bread
Kara: Blueberry muffins
Samantha: Goeta gravy
What apps do you use the most?
Amanda: Facebook, YouTube, Netflix
Emily: Facebook, Instagram, email and Pinterest
If you could sum up your homeschool style or philosophy in one phrase what would it be?
Amanda: Chaos with a purpose.
Emily: Laid back traditional.
Samantha: Go with the flow.
What do your kids want to be when they grow up?
Amanda: Video game designer, you tuber, veterinarian
Emily: Farmer, vet
Kara: Astronaut and firefighter
What extracurricular activities is your family involved in?
Amanda: Lego Legion, soccer, Trail Life, art class
Emily: 4H, dance, art club
Kara: Gymnastics and soccer
Samantha: Zoo classes
If you have a moment to yourself what do you like to do?
Amanda: Watch tv, read, workout
What’s your favorite school day breakfast?
Emily: Cocoa Wheats
Samantha: Fun flavored waffles
What’s the best homeschool field trip you’ve ever been on?
Amanda: Trash company
Emily: An animal rescue- we saw a red fox.
Samantha: Boonshoft children's museum
The grocery store cashier asks, “But what about socialization?” What do you say?
Amanda: They interact with many people of all ages all of the time.
Emily: They are children not dogs.
Samantha: We do lots of activities out of the house and with groups!
What’s the funniest thing one of your kids ever said?
Amanda: On a cold day, I couldn’t get into the van until my husband backed up, everyone else was already toasty in the van. Worrying about me, my son said, “Hurry up, Dad! I don’t want to freeze my Mommy off!”
Samantha: You're a silly potato.
What do you do for fun as a family?
Amanda: Games, movie nights, tickle fights.
Emily: Bike riding, walking, Pokemon Go, play games or do crafts.
Samantha: Bake cookies.
How do you continue to educate yourself?
Amanda: Reading and by educating the children I learn a lot!
Emily: I read online or books. I learn alongside my kids.
Samantha: By expanding on what I've taught my kids. How can I teach it if I don't know it all, too.
What are favorite healthy snacks at your house?
Amanda: Apples, bananas, carrots, grapes.
Emily: Fruit, yogurt, cheese sticks.
What’s the best museum you’ve ever gone to?
Amanda: Indianapolis Children’s Museum
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in homeschooling?
Amanda: Sticking to a routine that works, fighting my own selfishness at times, reading challengs.
Emily: Figuring out what works for my kids. How they can learn the best.
Samantha: Not being so rigid with a schedule
What is your favorite thing about having kids?
Amanda: They are funny and sweet, sense of purpose, make me a better person, teach me more about God.
Emily: Spending time with them and enjoying each stage.
Samantha: The love we share
What’s the best vacation you have ever taken as a family?
Emily: Camping at oak openings.
List 3 frivolous things you are enjoying right now.
Amanda: Sudoku, Dove dark chocolate, sweet tea.
Emily: TV, internet, chocolate
Samantha: My Kindle, takeout and expensive hot chocolate
What’s your favorite in-a-pinch dinner option?
Amanda: Rice absolutely taquitos
Emily: veggie stir fry
Samantha: Hamburger Helper
What’s the strangest place you’ve done school?
Amanda: The car dealership.
Emily: Outside on the playset.
Samantha: At a gymnastics competition.
Share a favorite organizational tip.
Amanda: A separate bin for each kid with all school stuff for that day.
Emily: We keep our school books on a metal 3 bin cart.
Samantha: Keep all the school items in one area, have a bin for working on, a bin for finished, and a bin for to do.
What special gifts or talents to your kids have?
Amanda: Inventing things, building things. One of my sons loves chores and cleaning!
Emily: Dancing, artistic.
Tell us something unique or unusual about your family.
Amanda: Grandparents are pig farmers.
Emily: My husband is a truck driver who is gone Monday through Friday each week.
Samantha: We are first generation homeschoolers from a family who disapproves.
What do you do for P.E. in your homeschool?
Amanda: Parks, PE class at co-op, soccer, bike rides, walks.
Emily: Yoga, dancing, running around outside.
Samantha: Indoor and outdoor play gyms.
Share a favorite inspirational quote.
Emily: Life is what you see it as.
Samantha: Do or do not. There is no try.
What’s your best time of day to homeschool?
Amanda: 3:00 p.m., house is quiet and my 6th grader and I can read history and have conversations about it.
Emily: Late morning.
Samantha: After lunch.
Tell us something interesting about your local area.
Amanda: Amazing parks, family oriented.
Emily: Spangler candy is located here.
Samantha: Our zoo does zoo classes for kids.
What dream for your family has come true?
Amanda: House with enough room in a great neighborhood.
Samantha: Being able to homeschool with 2 working parents.
What’s the most useless talent you have?
Amanda: Remembering totally random facts but forgetting important things.
Emily: I can lick my nose.
Samantha: Balloon animals.