Sarah of Pennsylvania
My name is Sarah, and I’m mama (and teacher) to C, age 6, and M, age 4. O, age 1, loves to watch us do school while Mr. C works as an engineer. We love to travel as a family. Cooking together is fun, too!
Glenda of Morgantown, Pennsylvania
Lee and Glenda have 5 children; Caleb, Thomas, Emma, Quinn and Sage. We have a small black dog named Lucy. And everyone loves Lucy. ;)
Christina G. of Pennsylvania
We have two elementary aged children, Em and Ellie. I am a veteran public school teacher turned homeschool teacher and master gardener, and my husband is an engineer. Our hobbies include hiking, karate, gardening, and imaginative play.
Tracey of Western Pennsylvania
My husband Joe is a teacher. I am a stay-at-home mom. We have 2 boys. Kaleb is 6 and doing the Timberdoodle curriculum and Gauge is 4 months old! Kaleb loves to hunt and lift with his dad and play spiderman! Gauge loves to eat. We have 2 dogs: Nala and Branch. We also have egg-laying chickens!
How do you Timberdoodle?
Sarah: We found Timberdoodle when we were first considering teaching our kids at home. It’s been a blessing! We love how hands-on the products are. Some of our favorites are Spelling You See, Story of the World, and miniLUK. We customized our kit, and love to weave our schoolwork throughout the day. The handy check-boxes are great for tracking our weekly work!
Glenda: We do not use the curriculum kits, just random items. I've been using the catalog to do some Christmas shopping, though, because educational doesn't have to just be about school, but fun too!
Christina: Our favorite Timberdoodle products have been the Thinkplay Gears, miniLuk, Smart Games, and Geopuzzles. We stumbled upon Timberdoodle googling for curriculum at the start of our homeschooling journey.
Tracey: A friend directed me to Timberdoodle curriculum. I love the kits and games but have also bought toys from the website for my nieces. We used the entire preschool set for our first year and are using most of the Kindergarten set this year. We love All About Reading, Spelling You See, and the Geography books.
Tell us about a typical school day at your house.
Sarah: We start each day around 10:00 a.m. Mornings are usually reserved for math, language arts, and art. After lunch, we dive into history, science, and thinking skills. After dinner, we work together on chores and spend some time reading aloud together. We love saving our STEM projects for weekends when Mr. C is home.
Glenda: Our school 'bell' rings at 9:00. We gather round and watch CNN10. Then we do 'school ' till around 12:00.
Christina: We start at 8:30 a.m. and cover four core classes of math, reading, spelling and writing daily, and add in many other subjects including science, history, Spanish, and philosophy to round out our days. We take one break for snack and try to finish up before lunch. As a former teacher, the most incredible realization is how much material you can truly cover quickly with just one or two students versus how little you can cover in comparison to a classroom full of students.
Tracey: We try to start in the mornings around 10:00 a.m. but we are also very flexible with when we start. Once we get started, though, we work for 1-2 hours until we are finished. We do reading, math and spelling daily then rotate other subjects in throughout the week. Monday's history, Tuesday Anatomy, Wednesday Science, Thursday Geography and Fridays are reserved for make up days! We also do art books, logic and Developing the Early Learner. Kaleb has a chore chart that he works through before we start. This includes getting ready for the day, giving the dogs water, letting the chickens out. Then in the afternoon he needs to put silverware away and collect eggs. We have breakfast before we start our day and try to have school done before lunch. Sometimes my husband will do spelling and reading with him at Starbucks to switch things up. Or we will go to the library and work.
If we peeked inside your home on a random Wednesday afternoon, what would we see?
Sarah: On Wednesday afternoons, we finish up our schoolwork and head to church. I lead a group of high schoolers, while the kiddos spend time in band rehearsal with Mr. C.
Glenda: I'd be on the computer scrapbooking, folding laundry or scrubbing toilets. The kids would be outside most likely jumping on the trampoline.
Christina: Imaginative play.
Tracey: Craziness! Mornings are active here. Dogs want to go out and have water. Kaleb wants to watch TV. Chickens need to be let out, fed and watered. Baby wants to breastfeed after sleeping 10 hours, and Mom is hungry and trying to get dishes done and coffee in! LOL. Once things settle down we try to have fun but efficient school time. Once school is over we relax, play and get the rest of our housework done or run errands.
If you could take your family anywhere you wanted for vacation where would you go?
Sarah: Italy! It’s been our favorite to learn about so far.
Glenda: A road trip to somewhere warm!
Christina: Spain and Ireland.
Tracey: On a camping trip to Treasure Lake, Dubois, PA
What books have you read over and over?
Sarah: Llamas in Pajamas for the kids. The Giver for me.
Glenda: Caps for Sale! Currently my 4-year-old's favorite.
Christina: Crinkleroot’s Guides
Tracey: A lot of shorter books. But also Billy and the Mini Monsters (Usborne books), Brown Bear, What Do You See?
What dietary challenges does your family face?
Sarah: We are gluten free. Because of this, we plan ahead and research restaurants in detail before we go out.
Glenda: They always want to eat! And that means I have to cook. *sigh*
Christina: True Red Dye allergy. We read every label.
What tips do you have for surviving a hard day?
Sarah: Dance breaks! They can fix almost anything.
Glenda: Believe that Jesus is enough! He's bigger than the mistakes you've made.
Christina: Lots and lots of herbal stress tea and kundalini fists.
Tracey: Relax. Try not to lose your cool or yell. Take a deep breath and know it's normal. If you have to take a day off, then do it!
What’s something your child has done that thrilled your soul?
Sarah: Learning to read has made my heart burst. It opens so many doors.
Glenda: Their gratitude for being homeschooled is encouraging.
Christina: Shown tolerance and understanding of others at a young age.
Tracey: He is constantly professing his love for me. He also loves to "sneak" out of bed in the mornings and surprise me with breakfast in bed.
How does your family celebrate birthdays?
Sarah: We let each child pick their own fun activity, within reason of course.
Glenda: Small gift, an ice cream caken and the restaurant of their choice for the meal of their choice with the parent of their choice.
Christina: Cake, presents, friends, family, and fun.
Tracey: For Mom, Dad and Pap we just have dinner at home and a cake. For the kids we have a small family party.
What have you done recently for the first time?
Sarah: We visited the Statue of Liberty for the first time this October.
Glenda: Potty trained a child young! She's not quite 2 and her siblings were 3.
Christina: Built a house and started a shade moss and fern garden.
What’s your favorite school day lunch?
Glenda: Things hastily thrown into my Instant Pot.
Christina: Broth soup with mai fun noodles.
Tracey: Salads, PBJ, or leftovers.
How would you manage if you had to homeschool without the internet?
Glenda: I have no idea! Facebook groups have so much info and support.
Christina: We would be fine as long as I could still make copies on my printer.
Tracey: We do not have the internet and we do just fine! LOL.
What tips do you have for other families?
Glenda: You don't have to be perfect!
Christina: Do not rush to “finish book,” the work and stress is worth nothing if the learning is not retained.
Tracey: Relax, have fun and know that each child learns differently.
What is something you appreciate about each of your kids?
- Caleb -- works well
- Thomas -- caring
- Emma -- kind
- Quinn --funny
- Sage -- sweet; she's my baby
- Em is incredibly observant and has a descriptive imagination.
- Ellie has deep love and caring like no other preschool aged child I have met, counterbalanced with a ferocity not to be trifled with.
Tracey: The love they have for God and family.
What song is currently in your head?
Glenda: All My Ways are Known to You by CityAlight
Christina: My sons original “Dirt.”
Tracey: Amazing Grace. I sing it to the kids often and we read a book about why and which wrote it today!
Tell us about your family’s favorite games.
Glenda: We're not gamers, give us a good movie instead.
Christina: We love cooperative games and games of logic.
Tracey: My son is into circuit boards right now. But he also likes Mr. Mouth and Guess Who...or pillow fights!
What is your exercise routine and how often do you do it?
Christina: In winter three times per week we do fun dance or exercise videos. And at least twice per week we have an ultimate snowball fight. If the weather is warm enough we hike and play outside.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in your homeschool that you called a “science experiment”?
Christina: Make pew stew, which is basically a muddy mess.
What hard thing are you planning to do this year?
Christina: Teaching my writing resistant child cursive. Amusingly, we also do things like chess and complex history and math with no problem.
What did you do just for fun with your kids recently?
Christina: Visited their great grandfather, my favorite weekly visit.