Tracy M. of East Texas
We have a unique family: 4 sons- 3 of them grown with their own families. One son is still at home and happily homeschooling. 6 of our grandchildren are in traditional school and 3 are homeschooled. We also have 2 precious pups who enjoy being read to. My husband has worked with the same company for over 40 years and I am a nurse who works from home as a consultant.
Emmily R. of Fort Worth, Texas
Hi All! We are a homeschool family of 4! We have 2 daughters in kindergarten and first grade, who aspire to have STEM careers! Our First Grader Jessie wants to be an astronaut and aviation technician and our Kindergartener Juliet aspires to work on airplanes and be a veterinarian! I come from an aviation family and my husband works on military airplanes.
We also LOVE animals. Before homeschooling I was an animal control officer and veterinarian technician and now we love having our pets do school with us. We have a multitude of fish, 3 dogs, 2 cats, and a bearded dragon. Our other hobbies include camping, hiking, and art.
Sandra of Texas
Myself, my husband and our two sons. We enjoy drawing and painting as well as making recycled crafts.
Mo of Houston, Texas
Homeschool mom of three boys and two dogs. We homeschool from an RV. We have been traveling full time for the past six months. We have no plans of stopping anytime soon.
How do you Timberdoodle?
Tracy: We started using Timberdoodle years ago because of the geography puzzles- they are wonderful. My tip would be to open only one continent puzzle box at a time and code the bottom of the pieces... just in case they get mixed up.
Emmily: I first heard of Timerbdoodle from a past coworker who homeschooled her child. I loved the idea of a curriculum that focuses on play and STEM . We absolutely love the logic games, bambinoLUK, etc. we spend a lot of time during the day playing games.
Sandra: I first heard about Timberdoodle several years ago through my local homeschool group.
Mo: I found Timberdoodle through homeschool curriculum YouTube reviews. So far we have used the Elite Kindergarten Timberdoodle kit. We are a play-based learning family and we love Timberdoodle's hands-on approach for the little ones.
Tell us about a typical school day at your house.
Tracy: I have always thought it best not to play school or try and mimic a school house. Life is school and play is worthy. All activities are centered around learning .
Emmily: We start “school” at 2:00 p.m. or thereabout. My husband works 2nd shift so we start our day when he leaves for work. Mornings are for spending time with dad! The afternoons involve All About Reading, games, math, history, science, etc. We love the Aquellarium art kits.
Sandra: We start our lessons after lunch since everyone has chores in the morning. We cover phonics, reading, math, social studies and art. The kids help with cooking and some household chores as part of their life skills.
Mo: We begin school immediately after breakfast. Each day we do language arts, math, and art. We alternate science and social Studies each day. We do chores as they need to be done. We clean as we use things to avoid busy cleaning days. We eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner with one snack between lunch and dinner.
If we peeked inside your home on a random Wednesday afternoon, what would we see?
Tracy: Wednesday is a busy day with piano lessons, choir practice, dog groomers and church...
Emmily: Play, and lots of it. My kids go from room to room inventing, creating, doing puzzles, IQ games, work books. Books and stories on the couch.
Sandra: You would see the kids working on their workboxes.
Mo: We would be most likely playing board games. That is how we spend our afternoons after lunch.
If you could take your family anywhere you wanted for vacation where would you go?
Tracy: On a cruise to New Zealand.
Emmily: I would love to take a tour of the UK and Europe, I would also love to visit Israel and Jordan. The list is endless of the places I would love to take my family.
Sandra: To Fiesta Texas theme park in San Antonio.
What books have you read over and over?
- The Hobbit
- The Bible
- Island of Blue Dolphins
- My Father's Dragon
- Chronicles of Narnia
- The Boxcar Children
- Winnie the Pooh
- Ready Freddy
- Flat Stanley
Sandra: The Boxcar Children
- Teen Titans Go
- Pippi Longstocking
What dietary challenges does your family face?
Tracy: We like food a lot and need to restrict but we do not.
Emmily: None, except eating too much. LOL.
Mo: We have a child allergic to dairy. As a family we don't bring dairy into the house. We only eat it if we are out, lowering the chance my allergy child will ingest it accidentally.
What tips do you have for surviving a hard day?
Tracy: Prayer, friends that will listen and calendars
Emmily: Relax and take a break. It’s ok to play, it’s ok to sit or go to the park or whatever is needed to just refresh.
Sandra: Unwinding with exercise (yoga).
Mo: Coffee, coffee, and more coffee. Also don't be afraid to stop the day in it's tracks and pick up tomorrow when everyone is in a better mood.
What’s something your child has done that thrilled your soul?
Tracy: Been born. I am amazed the Lord has allowed me to be a mother
Emmily: Their kindness and outgoing personalities amaze me! I’m an introvert but both my kids are amazingly extroverted and find friends everywhere. They are always inclusive and love when other kids join them.
Sandra: Giving their time to help someone in need.
Mo: My son opened his piggy bank and brought me three dimes. He said I get to keep his treasure because I am the greatest mom in the world. I still have those dimes in my jewelry box.
How does your family celebrate birthdays?
Tracy: Cake, gifts and family.
Emmily: Birthday parties, trips, or special dinners.
Sandra: We spend the day together as a family.
Mo: The birthday boy/girl gets to choose the restaurant. Afterwards we come home and enjoy a cake as a family.
What have you done recently for the first time?
Emmily: Tried Greek Food! And loved it!
Sandra: We played in the snow.
Mo: Learned to golf.
What’s your favorite school day lunch?
Emmily: We love to learn geography through cooking, so my favorites are new recipes from other countries and cultures.
Sandra: Parmesan chicken bites.
Mo: Sandwich with a veggie and fruit on the side.
How would you manage if you had to homeschool without the internet?
Tracy: Quite well.
Emmily: Just fine. We don’t really use the internet much. It would be hard to print, though, because we use a WiFi printer. But we would use the library or Office Max instead.
Sandra: My older sister showed me how she did it before the internet. I think it could be done.
Mo: We almost always homeschool from books with the exception of a few YouTube videos here and there. We rarely use the internet in our homeschool.
What tips do you have for other families?
Tracy: Do not compare!
Emmily: Take your time. Learn your kids. Learn your teaching style. HAVE FUN. Don’t stress.
Sandra: The key to a strong family is good communication between parents and children. With regards to homeschooling, know your child's needs so you can tailor your child's education.
What is something you appreciate about each of your kids?
Tracy: I appreciate the gifts each child has. Music, kindness, inquisitiveness and love for each other.
Emmily: I love that my youngest is always joyful. She can de-stress any situation. She makes everyone smile, and she is always happy. My oldest is strong-willed, stubborn, and intent on getting things accomplished. She’s a driving force, motivation, and an amazing helper.
Sandra: I love my oldest son's love for others and I love my youngest son's enthusiasm in learning.
Mo: They are all different, but very special in their own ways.
What song is currently in your head?
Mo: Somebody to Love.
Tell us about your family’s favorite games.
Emmily: We recently discovered Catan Jr and it was a major hit for kids and adults. We absolutely loved it. We played for hours the first time we opened the box. We also love Sorry, Uno, Count Your Chickens, and many others.
Sandra: Tetris, Blink, board games. We have a family board game night every Friday.
Mo: Right now it's Ticket to Ride. We buy a new board game every week so it changes often.
What is your exercise routine and how often do you do it?
Emmily: I wouldn’t say we have a routine, but we make sure to get outside time every day, long hikes at least once a week, and swimming when the weather is good. My kids also play basketball
Mo: We workout as a family 3- 5 days a week.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in your homeschool that you called a “science experiment”?
Emmily: I don’t think we have any weird ones, but when we go to the veterinarian my kids beg to see the jars of parasites and other things there and love talking with the vet about parasites.
Mo: We swabbed our television remotes and grew bacteria from it.
What hard thing are you planning to do this year?
Emmily: Keeping to a schedule, and making sure we accomplish a set amount of work for the year.
Mo: Teaching multiplication and division.
What did you do just for fun with your kids recently?
Emmily: We went to the park this morning and just played, and last week we went fishing.
Mo: Played Uno.
What would you name your boat if you had one?
Emmily: The Crimson Rose
Mo: Charlie Brown
If you could learn a new skill, what would it be?
Emmily: Mechanic work.
What’s the last recipe you looked up?
Emmily: Phyllo meat rolls.
Mo: Instapot chicken soup.
What apps do you use the most?
Emmily: My bank apps.
If you could sum up your homeschool style or philosophy in one phrase what would it be?
Emmily: Life is the best educational resource.
What extracurricular activities is your family involved in?
Emmily: Basketball, Wild and Free.
Mo: Baseball, football, tae kwon do.
If you have a moment to yourself what do you like to do?
What’s your favorite school day breakfast?
Mo: Pancakes, bacon, eggs.
What’s the best homeschool field trip you’ve ever been on?
Emmily: Road trip to Mt Rushmore.
Mo: Exploring the helicopters at a military base.
What’s the funniest thing one of your kids ever said?
Emmily: When my daughter was 2 she woke up and told us she didn’t want to be called by her name, she wanted to be called “Creaky the Gangster.”
Mo: They wanted to be an arpatect (architect).
What do you do for fun as a family?
Emmily: Camp, hike, bowl, fish, art, swim, rock out to music.
Mo: Play games.
How do you continue to educate yourself?
Emmily: By researching and reading with my kids, expanding on topics, etc.
Mo: I take only college courses, I read a lot of books, and I am currently studying Arabic.
What are favorite healthy snacks at your house?
Emmily: Apples, hard boiled eggs, cheese.
Mo: Apples, oranges, raw carrots.
What’s the best museum you’ve ever gone to?
Emmily: Field Museum in Chicago.
Mo: Natural Science Muesum.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in homeschooling?
Mo: Learning that my children don't need to homeschool 8 hours every day to receive a full education.
What’s the best vacation you have ever taken as a family?
Emmily: Road trip across country.
Mo: We spent spring break in the Smokey Mountains.
What’s your favorite in-a-pinch dinner option?
Mo: Spaghetti with pasta sauce from a jar.
What’s the strangest place you’ve done school?
Emmily: The airport.
Mo: At the park.
Tell us something unique or unusual about your family.
Emmily: Both my husband and I moved a lot growing up and moved to Texas the same year to the same area.
Mo: We are a family of 5 with 2 large dogs (Lab and German Shepherd). We live in an RV and travel full time.
What do you do for P.E. in your homeschool?
Emmily: Hiking, swimming, basketball.
Mo: We have the children play sports. We work out as a family 3-5 days a week. We play Simon says and focus and moving during the game.