Justine of Oklahoma
We are the Jacksons. We have three children and one due in July. Our oldest is in the first grade, middle child does preschool, and youngest thinks he does school too! Always learning though! Mostly through play and interaction. My husband is a pastor and runs his own construction/remodel business. We are minimalist and natural minded.
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Katie of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
My sweet kiddos' nicknames are one, two, three, and four. Their favorite hobbies are Legos and painting. We are always covered in art supplies. Our giant dog is a Great Labrodane.
Janice in Oklahoma
We have three kids left at home, ages 13, 16, and 21. Of the other four, one works in a distribution center, one is a police officer, one is in retail, and one is self-employed. Our pet population consists of two friendly kitties and one not-so-friendly kitty.
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Stacy in Oklahoma
A growing family with dogs and cats and we all love Legos.
How do you Timberdoodle?
Justine: I learned about Timberdoodle in a homeschool magazine. I looked in to many different programs but kept coming back to Timberdoodle and knew it was the one for our family. All of my children are still younger so we love playing with the Plus-Plus and reading books daily together. My oldest loves the Smart Games and Around the World Mazes.
Katie: We started homeschooling three years ago and use Timberdoodle as our go-to for most of our curriculum. It is all very well thought out. The first time I was looking for school supplies I was so overwhelmed with all of the choices. It was terrifying. I stumbled onto Timberdoodle just searching the web. I went with it and ordered the first grade curriculum. It was exactly what I needed to get started! Everything was so beautifully organized and I could customize the schedule to fit our needs. Now that I’m a few years in, I can really customize my orders to fit each kid. I love how many options there are for each subject. Oh! And the graphic novels! I would have never tried them if I wouldn’t have gotten one as a free gift. My kids LOVE them! Such a great way to teach heavy concepts or historical events.
Janice: I discovered the Timberdoodle catalog years ago and love perusing it to find fun and educational products and ideas. While I don’t officially “Timberdoodle” at the moment, I know it’s a great company with wonderful products and service.
Stacy: We love all things hands-on from Timberdoodle.
Tell us about a typical school day at your house.
Justine: We are pretty easy-going with our homeschool since all 3 are still pretty young. They wake up, make their beds, eat breakfast, get ready for the day and usually everyone wants to sit around and read, then they all play or go outside. We have lunch and then do some book work, art, learning games/building. We do travel quite a bit so we will often do the books I downloaded on the Kindle app and bring some book work as well. Rooms must be clean before bed or they don't get to play outside the next day. Everyone cleans their plates and loads them in the dishwasher and cleans up after supper. Oldest feeds the dog daily and puts away her laundry. The boys collect the trash from the bathrooms.
Katie: Ok! What homeschool mom doesn’t love talking about their schedule and hearing about other families schedules? We start out every morning with chalk board time. We write down the schedule for the day and each kid knows what they have to do for the day. As each subjects done, they get to check it off. I used to try to do every subject every day and found that did not work for us. We just didn’t have enough time in the day to truly dive into every subject. So… here it is, my beloved schedule…
We do those subjects every day.
We have other subjects that we do, but they are split up during the week.
- Monday- history
- Tuesday- geography
- Wednesday- critical thinking
- Thursday- science
- Friday- art
We have a lot of different ways that we do each subject but the majority of what we use is provided in the Timberdoodle curriculum kit. Subjects overlap a lot in the Timberdoodle kits- for example: one day in geography, our geography book assignment was to paint a globe. Geography combined with art class and sparked a lesson in science about planets orbiting and why we have different seasons.
With all that super fun learning it can be hard to fit all the other stuff in. As far as chores go, we work on them after we eat.
- Breakfast- clean your room and get ready for the day
- Lunch- laundry
- Snack time- clean up common areas, take out the trash
- Dinner- clean the kitchen
Now, all that said, I have little kiddos. We have to work around nap times, melt-downs and grandparent visits. Most days, school is as smooth as butter… other days… I feel blessed to have my hair by the end. I start out with a schedule every day with the realization that everything is fluid. My goal is to teach with kindness, respect and love, and to teach my kids to treat others the same way. Some days, everything just works and other days, my house looks like it exploded. As long as I can teach them something with love in my heart, for me, that is a success.
Janice: The last few years have a been a struggle in the consistency department because I have been caring for my elderly mother, as well as some medical issues of my own.
Stacy: We start by 8:00 and finish when everything is done. We learn the entire year. We cover all subjects and we take breaks for snacks. We love crock pot meals!
If we peeked inside your home on a random Wednesday afternoon, what would we see?
Justine: Probably all 3 children building something, reading, or you wouldn't see them at all because they are outside!
Katie: Wednesday is critical thinking day at our house. The dining room table is covered in stations - puzzles, Q-bitz, Circuit Maze, Smart Cookies… we love our brain games! Timberdoodle has a huge, wonderful selection of Smart Games for all ages. Wednesday is my kiddos' favorite day!
Janice: Me taking a nap.
Stacy: Someone at a computer, someone practicing an instrument, someone gone to sport practice, someone reading a book... and so on.
If you could take your family anywhere you wanted for vacation where would you go?
Katie: Staycation. Library for sure!
Janice: To the northeastern US to see the historic points of interest as well as the lighthouses.
Stacy: Many places around the world.
What books have you read over and over?
- Me personally - the Bible
- Children - Look Inside Your Body
Katie: Rosie Revere, Engineer
- all of Laura Frantz’s historical fiction
- Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion series
- The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas.
Stacy: The Chronicles of Narnia
What dietary challenges does your family face?
Justine: We all have dairy allergies or intolerance so we use almond or cashew milk. My youngest, and maybe my husband too, have issues with bread(ed) products. We don't do sugar or processed food. We mostly make things from scratch at home, just eating real food. A typical meal is beef or deer meat and 2 vegetables at least. Snacks are usually fruit and meat.
Janice: Some have some apparent gluten sensitivity, some are picky, and some are not interested in eating healthy. I just keep offering healthy food.
Stacy: We stay mostly sugar free and avoid soda/bread/dyes.
What tips do you have for surviving a hard day?
Justine: Calm yourself, explain to the kids that it's a hard day for you and that you need their help. Children are usually compassionate and loving. It's something they can do and they will usually do whatever they can. It's often something really sweet.
Katie: Pray often. Pause before you speak. Remember why you are homeschooling- write it down and look at it all the time.
Janice: Rest, break, focus on the big picture and higher purpose. Preaching to myself right now...
Stacy: Text a friend who will pray with you/encourage you and maybe even come over. Go for a walk!
What’s something your child has done that thrilled your soul?
- Oldest, age 6, writes everyone little notes with pictures telling them that she loves them and reads to her little brothers.
- My middle child, age 3, makes things out of Plus-Plus and leaves them as gifts on our night stands.
- My youngest, almost age 2, will go give a hug to someone who is hurt and picks up trash if he sees it and throws it away.
Katie: When one of my kids lovingly teaches someone else what they have learned! That is the best thing ever!
Janice: Became more cheerful rather than angry most of the time.
How does your family celebrate birthdays?
Justine: We take the birthday child out on an adventure of their choice with their best friend. Last birthday we went to the gathering place in Tulsa and to Chick-fil-A after. On the day of their actual birthday we made a cake together and gave my daughter a new bike since she outgrew her last one and loves to ride her bike.
Janice: Birthday person chooses the meal and what kind of cake and we usually just have family dinners.
What have you done recently for the first time?
Janice: Had brain surgery a year ago.
Stacy: Jury duty.
What’s your favorite school day lunch?
Justine: If not leftovers from dinner the night before, than baby spinach salad with hard boiled eggs, bacon bits, dried cranberries,and dairy free ranch with apple slices on the side.
Janice: Something I’ve planned ahead for so that it’s done at lunchtime. My husband leaves for work at 1:00 so lunch is the meal I cook...if I cook. 😊
Stacy: Rotisserie chicken/cauli rice and choice of sauce - bbq/Alfredo/basil pesto.
How would you manage if you had to homeschool without the internet?
Justine: Fine so far. We only use it for learning purposes, to find out how something works or when we discover something like a bug, animal or plant and look up a video about it.
Janice: Books and encyclopedias, videos, library.
Stacy: Probably a whole lot better - less distractions!
What tips do you have for other families?
Justine: Find what works for your family and schedule. You don't have to adhere to the typical public school schedule.
Janice: Year 22 of homeschooling here...not an expert but I can look back and see I tried to make homeschooling too much like public school and I just needed to adjust my view of what true education is.
Stacy: Read, hike, plan ahead.
What is something you appreciate about each of your kids?
Justine: I appreciate the helpfulness of my oldest, the sweetness of my middle child and the thoughtfulness of my youngest.
Janice: They’re funny and entertaining.
What song is currently in your head?
Janice: Unfortunately “Break My Stride” from the '80s because my 16-year-old recently discovered it.
Stacy: Great God by Carman
Tell us about your family’s favorite games.
Justine: In general their favorite game is hide and seek. Board games, they love the puzzles and Smart Games.
Janice: My fellow word nerd 24-year-old daughter and I love to play Banagrams. But my two youngest and I recently discovered Quirkle that was a lot of fun.
Stacy: Mexican Train/Skip Bo/Catan
What is your exercise routine and how often do you do it?
Justine: Running, climbing, hiking, riding bikes. We believe in natural everyday exercise and activity.
Janice: I try to walk on the treadmill for at least 30-45 minutes daily, approximately 2.5 miles.
What hard thing are you planning to do this year?
Justine: Possibly get and live in an RV and travel.
Janice: Get my 16-year-old to do her math.
Stacy: Pay off college loans.
What did you do just for fun with your kids recently?
Justine: Made a fire in the fire pit and cooked our dinner over it.
Janice: My two youngest and I drove to another city to visit my younger brother and he took the girls flying. I couldn’t make myself watch but I saw the pictures.
Stacy: Bathroom remodel.
If you could learn a new skill, what would it be?
Janice: How to use a spreadsheet.
What’s the last recipe you looked up?
Janice: Grilled chicken marinade.
Stacy: Keto pancakes.
What apps do you use the most?
- Pages Manager
- RightNow Media
- Revive Our Hearts
- Guitar Tuner
If you could sum up your homeschool style or philosophy in one phrase what would it be?
Janice: Sporadic and bipolar in the sense that some days I wish everything was scheduled out and other days I hate schedules.
Stacy: Trust God.
If you have a moment to yourself what do you like to do?
Janice: Read and sleep.
Stacy: Plan, read and sleep.
What’s your favorite school day breakfast?
Janice: Currently on a special eating plan, so protein, veggies, and fruit.
Stacy: Bacon avocado omelette.
What’s the best homeschool field trip you’ve ever been on?
Janice: Glass blowing factory.
Stacy: San Diego Zoo.
What’s the funniest thing one of your kids ever said?
Janice: Oh goodness, there are too many to count. But when my 16-year-old was 4, I was getting her out of the van and told her to bring in her books to read. Very seriously, she said, “Ahem. Lady. I can’t read.” We still laugh about that.
How do you continue to educate yourself?
Stacy: Read, audiobooks, watch YouTube, podcasts.
What are favorite healthy snacks at your house?
Janice: Fruits, veggies.
Stacy: Avocados, cheese, nuts, berries, sparkling water and okra brownies.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in homeschooling?
Janice: Teaching the kids to read.
Stacy: Letting go of unrealistic expectations.
What’s your favorite in-a-pinch dinner option?
Janice: Sloppy Joes or tacos.
Stacy: Rotisserie chicken, diced cauliflower and basil pesto.
Share a favorite organizational tip.
Janice: Shelf extenders inside my cabinets to use the vertical space.
Stacy: Use a planner.