Danielle of Seattle, Washington
Hello! We are a family of five living in Seattle, Washington. J is a longshoreman, D is a stay at home/homeschooling mama,T is 8 and loves Kickboxing/MMA, A is 7 and loves piano & swimming, and F is 2 and loves to sing and dance! We have 7 pets! 2 dogs and 4 cats...sometimes it feels like we live in a zoo!
Mandy of Washington State
My husband works for the Navy. He’s an amazing man! We’ve been married for 20 years and are high school sweethearts!
Our oldest, Mikie, is a freshmen at college and playing basketball this year for his school! He wants to be a pilot!
Our second son, Tyler, is a junior in high school. He wants to be a scientist! He wrestles and plays football and wrestling!
Kailey, our only daughter, is a freshmen in high school. She’s on her JV basketball team and loves ceramics and glass art! She wants to be a veterinarian!
Our youngest, Ollie, is in 4th grade this year using the Timberdoodle curriculum for the first time! He loves basketball, jumping on the trampoline and cuddles from mom!
I’m Mandy (mom) and homeschool Oliver, teach our local co-op, manage our household and work 30-40 hours a week at Kitsap Mental Health services.
We have 3 pups: DOG, Buddy (both Italian greyhounds) and Sushi (Japanese chin/poodle cross). We also have 3 cats: Toby (orange mix breed) and Stella and Bella (Siamese twin kittens).
Brianna of Washington State
Mom, Dad, Ella, and baby. Dad paints houses and Ella paints pictures of houses.
Bianca of Deer Park, Washington
We are made up of Dad, Mom, six amazing kids ranging from ages 14 to 4, a dog, four cats, an apiary, and a few dozen chickens. We are brand-new farmers. Our first blackberry harvest will happen this year! Our whole family loves fly fishing, camping, and hiking. The kids have interests ranging from ballet to track and field and swimming and baseball to movie making and story-writing. We can’t wait for spring and warm weather so we can sit outside and do our schoolwork with the sun beaming down on us!
How do you Timberdoodle?
Danielle: I heard about Timeberdoodle through Google when I was first researching homeschool resources. Now, over half way through our first year and I am grateful for the variety of products and easy ordering process this site offers. The detailed descriptions of materials makes it so much easier to make curriculum decisions!
Mandy: We LOVE Year 4 Timberdoodle!! I’ve always loved the curriculum but was nervous to use it, so this is our first year! Oliver has been a reluctant reader, speller and writer coming into this school year. With Timberdoodle’s help, he’s grown leaps and bounds! With First Language Lessons he’s learning all the parts of speech, how to write good sentences and paragraphs! And he actually loves language arts!! Spelling using Timberdoodle has been a game changer! Coming into this year he was not a confident speller! He’s already up to 4 letter words and is doing amazing!! Oliver’s reading has grown leaps and bounds! He loves the Mosdos literature readings and activities! It’s his favorite part of the day! The stories are all very interesting and keep him entertained! His comprehension has shot through the roof this year as well! Thank you, Timberdoodle!
Brianna: My mom used Timberdoodle products when she homeschooled me. My favorite it is the "baby battleship" peg game I use with my daughter to teach her colors and shapes and filling in.
Bianca: It’s been so long that I can’t quite remember when I heard about you. We love a lot of the things you sell. My favorite ever is Math-U-See. My kids might not LOVE math, but they understand it. And, I have to do very little 1-1 math tutoring, which is a blessing with a large family. They typically do math 4-5 days per week. We school year round, so the schedule varies based on what we are currently up to.
My four year old recently received Alphabet Bingo for Christmas and she’s in LOVE. Best game ever!! She pulls it out several times a week, and typically asks a big sibling to play with her.
Tell us about a typical school day at your house.
Danielle: We typically start out day once everyone is up and the daily chores are done, around 9:30 or 10:00 a.m. We like to take an easy start to the day, reviewing the week's work over oatmeal or eggs. We do math individually, and then take a break for lunch. Usually we do an art project while/after we eat and then do individual reading lessons. At the end of the day we cuddle up on the couch and share some read aloud time.
Mandy: We try to start school around 9:00 a.m. but usually it’s closer to 10:00 a.m. We cover all subjects everyday! Math, language arts, spelling, flash cards, reading, science (Dr. Bonyfide is fantastic), and My Crazy Inventions Sketchbook!
We do literature and history 2-3 times a week! We then do lunch. After lunch is chores. Then usually Mom’s off to work and dad helps take over for the evening!
Brianna: She's 3 so everything is a learning opportunity throughout the day.
Bianca: I don’t do mornings, so I start by drinking coffee--all the coffee. For breakfast, they will either make themselves eggs or oatmeal, or eat bagels/toast/English muffin. Lunches vary depending on the day--sometimes PBJ, sometimes leftovers, sometimes soup, occasionally chicken nuggets. Dad often helps prep dinner as I’m running to and from sports.
They all have assigned chores, mainly in the kitchen and laundry department. I could never survive by doing it all myself, but many hands truly do make light work.
My kids have a daily checklist, which might say for each day:
- 2 pages math
- 2 pages handwriting
- IEW writing daily lesson
- IEW grammar daily lesson
- IEW spelling memorization
They choose two days a week for science and history, and they read for hours every day, so that’s not really formally assigned until they are in high school. Because they have a checklist, it’s very easy to see what has and has not been completed without me chasing them down and nagging-“Did you do your math yet?”😆 We don’t start at a particular time, but their electronic devices have a 2 hour limit for the day, so if they start the day with a screen it won’t last long-and then, time to work! The younger kids need more supervision and 1-1, of course, and the older ones rotate through as they finish their assignments and need grading, etc. The checklist ensures they are doing regular work in each subject area. My oldest does her writing with an English teacher, who I am immensely grateful for. She provides the classroom setting and feedback that I can’t quite give at home, and I think for a high school student that’s important.
If we peeked inside your home on a random Wednesday afternoon, what would we see?
Danielle: Art supplies all over the table. The baby coloring on the easel in the middle of the kitchen. T and A working in their workbooks, a Netflix documentary relating to something we’ve learned recently in the background. Snacks....so many snacks.
Mandy: Wednesday’s are a slower, relaxing day for us. We get school started, do some cleaning, and go shopping as needed. It’s also catch up on laundry day.
Brianna: Octonauts, books, crafts, and puzzles, and my toddler circulating between them all day.
Bianca: Depends! Sometimes Wednesday is homeschool movie day, so we might not be there at all...😂 If the weather is nice we love to be outdoors. You may find four of them spending hours working together to model clay figures for their claymation movies, or laying on the floor listening to audio books. We might be sitting at the kitchen table doing a chemistry lab, or playing cards. (These kids are card sharks and game whizzes, it’s a tough go for old Mom and Dad!) We are currently studying Asia, so we are breaking out the Chinese watercolors--every day is different and it’s always surprising.
If you could take your family anywhere you wanted for vacation where would you go?
Danielle: We love Seaside, Oregon for a local trip, but we’d also love to take the kids to Hawaii or Jamaica (a favorite of mine and my husband).
Brianna: A cruise to Alaska, Carribean, or through Europe... Or all 3.
Bianca: Ack! This question is too hard! One boy wants to visit Israel. I want to see all of Europe. We all want to walk on the Great Wall of China. Between the eight of us we’d see the entire planet if we got to everybody’s wish list.😬
What books have you read over and over?
- The Harry Potter Series
- A Series of Unfortunate Events
- Dog Man Series
- The Chronicles of Narnia
Mandy: Are You My Mother? by Dr Seuss
- A Voice in the Wind
- Violet Eyes
- Of Mice and Men
- Where the Red Fern Grows
- Pride and Prejudice
What dietary challenges does your family face?
Danielle: We just try really hard to have a healthy, balanced diet and encourage our kiddos to try new flavors from different cultures!
Mandy: We don’t have any. We are super lucky!
Bianca: We’ve had go dairy-free for several babies who reacted to cow's milk protein in my milk. (MSPI.) It was awful, because all of our favorite foods include dairy. I’m allergic to almonds and coconut gives me migraines, so a lot of the dairy alternatives are out. Butter. And coffee with cream. Those were the two hardest to give up. But seriously, a life with no cheese, it stinks. I existed on single source proteins and pretty plain sides and waited anxiously for my babies to outgrow their sensitive tummies. Plus side, I lost a lot of weight...😳
What tips do you have for surviving a hard day?
Danielle: Coffee. Lots of coffee.
Mandy: Tea, a good book, and cuddles from my kiddos and pups!
Brianna: Bad moms don't worry about if they're a bad mom. You're doing fine.
Bianca: If it’s one younger kid having a hard time, I send them to the bath. They often emerge a little less crazy and more calm. If it’s really bad and we are all just losing it and the kids are bickering, we bundle into the car and go for a drive. (Cabin fever in January! It’s real!) Sometimes it’s $1 ice cream cones at the local coffee stand, other times it’s a trip to the park or the beach! Or we’ll have an impromptu get together with friends. I’ve never been a slave to the schedule, and I think there’s a lot of freedom in being able to recognize that today just isn’t working for us and take a break. Sometimes we just need a couple hours and then we can return refreshed and ready to go. School year round helps to accommodate hard days without any deficits.👍
What’s something your child has done that thrilled your soul?
Danielle: Any time I hear them playing kindly with each other. At this age, they are fighting with each other a lot, so anytime I hear kindness between them it makes my heart happy!
Brianna: Every time she asks me to play with her.
Bianca: They go out of their way to be KIND to people who are younger, or elderly, or intellectually disabled.
How does your family celebrate birthdays?
Danielle: We do a special celebration (either a party or a one on one day) and then a dinner out/cake at home.
Mandy: Lots of family, cake, and parties!!
Brianna: Pretty traditionally. Growing up, mom would also make a coffee cake of our flavor choice for breakfast. My husband's family did it where you make the whole menu of food you want.
Bianca: Small celebrations with grandparents, cake, ice cream, balloons and gifts. We tried the big party thing, it’s too overwhelming for us all.
What have you done recently for the first time?
Danielle: Family road trip! 9 hours to Idaho and we had a blast!
Brianna: Watch the Indiana Jones movies.
Bianca: I am learning to quilt and I made a quilt for my baby niece--my first one for someone outside the immediate family!