Janine of Tennessee State
We are a family of three. Mom, Dad, and Shi. We live in the suburbs in a neighborhood surrounded by two large farms. We hear roosters crowing in the morning and watch the cows in the pastures in the afternoon. Our hobbies include having family game nights and going on hikes.
Adrienne of Cleveland, Tennessee
- Adrienne-Mom: I grew up in Michigan and was homeschooled myself K-10th grade. I was a public school counselor until this school year when I "came home" to be a full-time homeschool mom.
- Daniel-Dad: Also grew up in Michigan. Works as a grocery store deli manager.
- Archer: Four years old, loves to learn, and has been naturally picking things up from a very young age. He says he always wants to do "homeschool." He especially loves everything to do with outer space and maps and different countries.
- Jack is our special furry family member, a 12-year-old coonhound that we adopted seven years ago, who spends most of his day lying around the house.
Angella of Tennessee
Hi! Our family consists of:
- Dad, Kent, works hard as the Maintenance Manager.
- Mom, Angella, works equally as hard as homeschool teacher, full-time student, and mom.
- AJ, oldest (26)
- Kolten, second oldest (22)
- Sienna, oldest daughter (21)
- Izzi, homeschool student extraordinaire (6)
- Sunny, awesome rescue princess dog (5)
- Boots, rescue cat that thinks she’s a dog (1)
Amy R. of Memphis, Tennessee
There are 4 of us: my husband, Dan; our son, Aidan; our dobie, Rex and me, Amy. Dan works in downtown Memphis at a marketing/branding firm. I am a homeschool mom that works part-time from home as a paralegal. We love spending time together as a family.
How do you Timberdoodle?
Janine: I first heard about Timberdoodle from a friend. She introduced by showing me the pre-k kit. Which we ended up getting. We love the All About Reading program. Ziggy the Zebra is now a family member.
Adrienne: I first learned about Timberdoodle when my son was a young toddler, and I was looking for ways to support his natural curiosity and learning. We love using the products to make learning more fun throughout the day. We have especially loved many of the Usborne Books, the Kumon workbooks, and learning/thinking games.
Angella: I first heard of Timberdoodle when I decided that homeschool was the right choice for our family. Timberdoodle appeared in many of my exhaustive “homeschool” Google searches. We love the products that you have. We have purchased (or received as gifts) many singular items to enrich our school experience.
Amy: I first heard about Timberdoodle from my mother-in-law. I bought the complete kindergarten kit and have loved it! It is so fun and easy to use. Aidan and I don't even feel like we are doing school - we just feel like we are having fun together!
Tell us about a typical school day at your house.
Janine: We start usually around 8:30 a.m. and end by 10:30 - 11:00 a.m. We do the All About Reading program, followed by math. We read for 20 minutes usually from the What Your Preschooler Needs to Know book. We also do a science project once a month.
Adrienne: We have a really laid back schedule. We usually wake up around 8:00 a.m. and have an easy-going morning grabbing some breakfast, some free play or coloring, etc. Usually we've officially started school by 10:00 a.m. We do some basic Bible and reading/writing every day. Math is a few days a week, and we mix in science/STEM/nature study, social studies/geography, art, music, and miscellaneous thinking and learning skills throughout the week. Depending on the day, we are usually done with our planned "school" by lunchtime, but sometimes we take more breaks and spread throughout the day. Some activities we save until Daddy is home or on one of his days off. Chores we just fit in as needed. Archer likes to help with dishes and cleaning his room. Sometimes he'll help with making dinner.
Angella: Izzi is a late riser. So our school day starts with chores to get us warmed up. Traditionally we try to cover math, science, and reading each day. For fun, we add in history and games that teach (that’s where Timberdoodle has helped!). Izzi is helpful in the kitchen. She really prefers to create her own concoctions. :) Some even taste good! 🤣
Amy: Lol - a typical day? There are no typical days at our house. That's why this works so well for us. We can sleep in and have lunch then do school in the afternoon or even in the evening if that works best. My son enjoys it so much he will just go grabs his books off the bookshelf at any time of day and want to do a page because he thinks they are fun.
If we peeked inside your home on a random Wednesday afternoon, what would we see?
Janine: Us at our family table doing our subjects, maybe a game of Three Little Pigs on the table.
Adrienne: Books and activities piled on either the kitchen table or Archer's bedroom floor. Lots of playing and learning going on. Toys spread out everywhere as part of Archer's latest "game" creation.
Angella: Clean, disorganized, peaceful, chaos! We are a contradiction in action.
Amy: You would see us sitting around the dining room table with crayons, pencils, markers, scattered all over, all of our books on that schedule for the day smiling, laughing and learning.
If you could take your family anywhere you wanted for vacation where would you go?
Janine: Disney World.
Adrienne: The United Kingdom, Japan, Austria, Germany, Australia, and many other countries!
Angella: Our next adventure is to the an ocean beach in Florida. We want to see the manatees.
Amy: A European River cruise.
What books have you read over and over?
- The Monster at the End of the Book
- Otis the Tractor book series
- Star Wars books
- The Chronicles of Narnia
- Also, so many different children's picture books:
- Berenstain Bears
- and whatever happens to be my son's favorite at the moment!
- ABC mysteries
- The Pigeon Books (the whole series)
- The Tale of Peter Rabbit
- Star Wars kids book
What dietary challenges does your family face?
Janine: We have none but we eat mostly fresh fruit and follow Trim Healthy Mama.
Adrienne: Thankfully we don't have any major dietary restrictions. We are just working on eating more healthy foods as a family.
Angella: Izzi has texture issues. I can’t complain much since she likes most veggies and fruits. However, meat is our challenge. We aid her by providing supplements for iron.
Amy: Eating too many snacks.
What tips do you have for surviving a hard day?
Adrienne: Take a break if you can. Find the fun and change your focus to something else. Realize that not everything has to get done in one day, and that there are some things that just don't need to be done at all. Go to God. Take a deep breath. And a nice hot bath and cup of tea when you can "get away" always helps.
Angella: Coffee! Coffee! Oh, and more Coffee!!!
Amy: Taking a hot bath, drinking a glass of wine, reading, exercise, going for a walk
What’s something your child has done that thrilled your soul?
Janine: Getting excited about doing our once-a-month science projects.
Adrienne: I just love how much he loves to learn. Every time he says or reads something that I don't expect him to know, I am thrilled. I also love the moments when I can see his emotional intelligence starting to grow, like "teaching" his stuffed animals to talk about their feelings and use calming strategies (even if he's still not to the point of being able to do so "in the moment" when he's upset yet). I love how much he loves to learn about the Bible and when he talks about Jesus or the things we've learned.
Angella: This answer could be endless. Izzi is inquisitive and smart. However, what I enjoy most about her is that she does not see difference. People are people to her. She likes them based on how they make her feel when she is around them. So proud of her for that!
Amy: He does so many things - but one thing is that he colors me pictures of hearts and bouquets and recently he scolded his dad for not doing the same.
How does your family celebrate birthdays?
Janine: We have a party typically.
Adrienne: Lots of fun and celebrations! I'm really big on celebrating holidays and special occasions, and birthdays are high on that list. For my son we always have a birthday party with friends and family. On his actual birthday, we try to go out and do something special that he enjoys, have cake and presents, etc. For my husband's and my birthdays, we also try to do something fun together as a family, and, of course, there always has to be cake.
Angella: They choose their favorite meal and dessert for me to make. Presents are not the main theme. It’s about family time.
Amy: We do not celebrate birthdays.
What have you done recently for the first time?
Janine: Started having my son help me cook dinner.
Adrienne: We took my son on his first trip out of your country. It was just a short day trip to Canada while we were in Michigan visiting family, but he was so excited about it!
Angella: Learn to play softball.
Amy: Recently I finished my first 100 day workout program from start to finish. I usually quit before I finish.
What’s your favorite school day lunch?
Janine: Ham sandwich, strawberries, and blueberries.
Adrienne: Probably peanut butter and jelly for my son. Right now, I've been having a lot of cottage cheese and pineapple for my own lunch.
Angella: Toast pizza (toasted bread with pizza sauce.) It’s an Izzi creation.
Amy: We like to eat brunch - pancakes, bacon, eggs, fruit.
How would you manage if you had to homeschool without the internet?
Janine: We would visit the library a lot more. We would probably be fine.
Adrienne: I would hate not having the access to easy and fast resources, quick ways to research topics of interest, and information about products for homeschooling. We would probably be spending even more time at the library than we already do!
Angella: We would do just fine. I only recently added in the computer so she can stay relevant.
Amy: I would manage just fine. We rarely use the internet.
What tips do you have for other families?
Janine: It takes patience but it totally worth it to homeschool.
Adrienne: Be flexible! Find what works best for your own family and individual children. Make it fun! Don't push formal academics so early, go at your child's pace. On those hard days, choose your battles. Find support and encouragement from others.
Angella: It’s not a race or competition. Each child is different. Celebrate their difference, focus on their interests, and add in the harder stuff with things they enjoy. Never give up!
Amy: Be patient, make it fun, understand they are kids with lots of energy so don't get too upset with they act like kids, be flexible.
What is something you appreciate about each of your kids?
Janine: My sons imagination, his kindness, and love.
Adrienne: We only have our one son right now. I love his curiosity and love of learning. I love that he shares his knowledge with others. I love his sensitive spirit.
- AJ is charismatic.
- Kolten has a great laugh.
- Sienna never gives up.
- Izzi views life as an adventure.
Amy: I only have one child but I appreciate his kindness, sweetness and funniness.
What song is currently in your head?
Janine: Three Little Birds
Adrienne: Earlier it was the Cleanup Song.
Angella: Baby Shark!!!! Get it out!!! LOL.
Amy: My Friends - Head and the Heart
Tell us about your family’s favorite games.
Janine: Disney Trivia.
Adrienne: We love all kinds of games! Board games and video games. We play a lots of classic children's board games (Hi Ho Cherry O, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Monopoly Jr, etc) and newer games (Ticket to Ride) and fun learning and cooperative games (Cariboo, How Does Your Garden Grow). As far as video games, we all love Mario and Yoshi games, anything Nintendo.
Angella: Scrabble and Don’t Rock the Boat.
Amy: We love dominos, card games, Guess Who, Stratego.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in your homeschool that you called a “science experiment”?
Adrienne: We played around (safely) with dry ice the other day.
Angella: We made ice cream. Totally for an experiment. Not so we could eat it... Yep, so we could eat it! LOL.
Amy: Made slime.
What hard thing are you planning to do this year?
Adrienne: Get healthy and organized!
Angella: Writing better. She struggles with writing.
Amy: Have Aidan feel comfortable reading.
What did you do just for fun with your kids recently?
Adrienne: Just play with my son and his toys.
Angella: We go for a nature walk on most weekends.
Amy: Went to the jump park.
What would you name your boat if you had one?
Adrienne: The Dawn Treader.
Angella: Family Time.
Amy: Aidan's Glory.
If you could learn a new skill, what would it be?
Adrienne: I'd love to learn a new language or how to sew or crochet better.
Angella: I would love to learn to play guitar or piano with Izzi.
Amy: Learn a new language.
What’s the last recipe you looked up?
Adrienne: Several recipes when planning our grocery shopping the other day. Most recent one we made was chocolate banana "ice cream." Yum!
Angella: Keto pudding. Worth. It!
Amy: How to make chicken wings in the air fryer.
If you could sum up your homeschool style or philosophy in one phrase what would it be?
Adrienne: Learning is more fun and flexible at home.
Angella: Loving to learn.
Amy: Flexible and Fun.
What extracurricular activities is your family involved in?
Adrienne: Church. Open Gym at the gymnastics center. Various homeschool group field trips and events.
Angella: Art, baseball, and dance.
Amy: Art class, gardening class, music (keyboarding) class, volunteering, Bible study
What’s your favorite school day breakfast?
Adrienne: Yogurt or cereal
Angella: What’s breakfast? Lol
Amy: We usually eat don't eat breakfast - but when we do, its pancakes.
What do you do for fun as a family?
Adrienne: Play games, read, go to the park.
Angella: Nature walks.
Amy: Play games, go out to eat, watch movies, entertain and go to friend's houses.
How do you continue to educate yourself?
Adrienne: I'm always reading something new, checking in to new research and developments online. I learn a lot of things along with my son.
Angella: I am a full-time psychology student (almost finished). Psychological theories help a lot! Otherwise, I scan Pinterest, belong to homeschool groups, and read blogs.
Amy: Read books, look up articles on the internet about subjects.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in homeschooling?
Adrienne: Finding balance in what needs to be done and what isn't necessary, when to push and when to let go, etc. Following my child's lead as much as possible.
Angella: Teaching her to read. I was scared. How does a person do that? I did!
Amy: Feeling unqualified.
What’s your favorite in-a-pinch dinner option?
Adrienne: Pasta or Mexican food.
Angella: Salad or scrambled eggs.
Amy: Pizza and tacos.
What’s the strangest place you’ve done school?
Adrienne: In the car while traveling out of state.
Angella: In the car on the way to Michigan in a snowstorm.
Amy: While in the car traveling.
Share a favorite organizational tip.
Adrienne: We have a school bookshelf where each subject has its own label and shelf/area.
Angella: Baskets. Purging. Inventory lists.
Amy: I use lots of baskets and bins.
Tell us something interesting about your local area.
Adrienne: We are surrounded by the Smoky Mountains and about two hours from multiple big cities in each direction (Nashville, Atlanta, Knoxville, Asheville)
Angella: We live in a large city (Nashville) with lots of culture and music influences. However, all of the state parks are free! So great
Amy: We have an NBA team, the Memphis Grizzlies that we like to go watch the games.