Bethany of Lynnwood, Washington
Mom, Dad, Daughter - plus Mister Whiskers (tuxedo cat), Beensie (black cat) and Sapphire (blue goldendoodle). We love Girl Scouts, camping, playing role play games, and enjoying the flexible schedule of homeschool!
Anne F. of Tacoma, Washington
Our family is comprised of:
- M, Husband/Father who is a union electrician forman.
- A, Wife/Mama who is a stay at home mom, teacher & crafter/DIY extraordinaire.
- G, is our oldest child. She is 5.5yrs old and in "kindergarten". She loves reading and drawing and music/dancing.
- E is our middle. She's 3.5 yrs old and in "pre-k". She loves dollies, dancing, and is starting to really enjoy drawing and coloring!
- S is our youngest. He's 1.5 and loves climbing, cars, coloring and snuggling.
Jessica D. of Washington State
My name is Jessa. I’m a single mom of three children - one boy and two girls.
- Nehemiah (Nemo) is 6 years old with a big personality. He loves dragons and building things from his imagination.
- Jubilee is 4 years old and is creative to her core. She loves unicorns and rainbows, and you can find her at the table painting and drawing for hours.
- Elsie is the wild one at 2 years old. She is feisty and adventurous, and I never know what she is going to get into next.
Jennifer of Washington State
Hi, we are the Z family! My name is Jennifer and my husband is in the US Navy. We have one amazing little blessing who is currently in the third grade. We have rescued eight animals from around the country and currently have seven cats and one dog! We love to explore new places and really enjoy the freedom homeschooling gives our family.
How do you Timberdoodle?
Bethany: Found Timberdoodle via online search when we started homeschooling in my daughters 4th grade year (she's now 6th grade).
We love customizing our curriculum kit each year because it allows us to pick different learning styles and preferences for each subject. This year our favorite item has been Solitaire Chess. We love the challenge of solving the puzzles and it makes problem solving a game - which is great because sometimes problem solving can be a bit frustrating for my girl.
Anne: I (A/Mama) was homeschooled myself, and my Mom still blesses us often with fun "curriculum" pieces as birthday and Christmas presents to bless her homeschooled grand-babies.
Jessica: I first experienced Timberdoodle as a homeschooled student myself. I was always fascinated with the activities and workbooks. When I started homeschooling my own kids, I knew Timberdoodle was the place to go to for the creative games and workbooks. We purchased the Three Little Pigs game and since then we were hooked and couldn’t wait to get our next order in. We use Math-U-See and the workbooks every day. And the games are a part of our daily quality time together as a family!
Jennifer: Timberdoodle came into our lives at the perfect time. My father had recently been diagnosed with terminal stage four cancer and I knew I wanted to spend as much time with him as possible. I questioned my ability homeschool so I really gravitated towards a Timberdoodle kit. The convenience of knowing everything I needed would arrive at once was a blessing. Not to mention the amazing scheduler that was included. Because of Timberdoodle we were able to travel the country with my father before he passed away and I knew we were meeting all state requirements. My third graders favorite part is Math-U-See and Gravitrax. I really enjoy how the curriculum for Language Lessons is built and I especially love our quality time with Mosdos Literature. We use Timberdoodle daily and love it.
Tell us about a typical school day at your house.
Bethany: We generally start around 9:00 - 10:00 a.m. after a relaxing start to the day with breakfast. We cover math, current events, and vocabulary (Marie's Words - another favorite) every day. We work on Skill Sharpeners Geography, Spectrum Test Practice, Mosdos literature, Building Blocks of Science, Turing Tumble, A History of US, Critical and Creative, Solitaire Chess, and typing 2-3 days per week each. We also work in a couple Girl Scout badges ;). We tend to take a 1 hour break for lunch and playing with the dog and are done with our day between 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Anne: Our school days are still pretty loosely structured - but we try to eat most meals at home sitting together at our dining room table. We do as many chores together as possible, things like them helping to fold and put away their own laundry, or emptying the dishwasher - because I think that's a really important "subject" for my kiddos to all understand and take with them into their adult lives! We go on lots of "adventures" throughout the week. Sometimes they're real "field trips" like to the zoo or children's museums, and sometimes we just lean into the excitement of going to the grocery store and learning about economics while we shop, or going to the post office and thinking about the processes happening behind closed doors.
Jessica: A typical homeschool day looks like:
- 7:00 a.m. wake up and get dressed.
- breakfast and chores
- 8:00 a.m. Bible time
- 8:30 a.m. memory work
- 9:00 a.m. math
- 9:30 a.m. activities (learning game or workbooks)
- 10:00 a.m. snack break
- 10:30 a.m. reading
- 11:00 a.m. writing
- 11:30 a.m. misc activities
- 12:00 a.m. lunch
- 12:30 a.m. quiet time, outdoor play and other activities.
Jennifer: A typical day for us seems to be much different than most. We are night owls so we start school after breakfast, around 10:00 a.m. We have a wonderful schedule we have tweaked throughout the school year and touch base on every subject at least once each week. We do Daily 6-Trait Writing, spelling, math, and reading daily, and split the other subjects up throughout the week. For example Language Lessons are Monday, Wednesday and Friday, while geography is Monday and Friday.
If we peeked inside your home on a random Wednesday afternoon, what would we see?
Bethany: Some independent studying while mom does some work around the house, or a math lesson under way.
Anne: Kiddos napping, and Mama sitting at the computer filling out a Timberdoodle survey! ;) Or on most common weeks, Mama is sewing or crafting, or doing yard work during naptime, and once everyone wakes up we head into the dinnertime planning and prep.
Jessica: You would see two babies napping (Elsie, my two-year-old, and my 5-month-old niece we watch on Wednesdays). And the older two and I will usually be playing a game and/or creating something that we don’t want the babies to get into.
Jennifer: If you were to step into our classroom on a Wednesday there are many different things you may see. You could see my daughter spending time reading Heidi, to accomplish her 100-year-old book assignment. You could catch us diagramming sentences while working on Language Lessons or practicing dictation with our spelling curriculum. On Wednesdays we also pull out Math-U-See and finish up two worksheets to keep us on track to finish each lesson and math quiz by the end of the week. We also enjoy thirty minutes of STEM after lunch before getting back to Dr. Bonyfide, Daily 6-Trait Writing and Typing Instructor.
If you could take your family anywhere you wanted for vacation where would you go?
Bethany: Disney World.
Anne: Russia! My husband's family immigrated from there when he was an infant, so it would be neat for our children to see where 50% of their heritage comes from!
What books have you read over and over?
Bethany: Harry Potter series
Anne: Gone with the Wind - which is funny because it's huge, but I love it.
The Bible (typically not straight through, but I go back and forth among it often).
What dietary challenges does your family face?
Bethany: For dad - no dairy, gluten or nightshades (potato, peppers, tomato). We cook together and use magazines and cooking shows for inspiration.
Anne: A/Mama is currently part of Weight Watchers to lose baby weight after baby #3 (who is now 20 months old), but that affects mainly her own decisions about what to eat and what to/not to snack on. Luckily the rest of the family is healthy and without food restrictions. We do chose to try to use mainly fresh and whole foods, but I'm not opposed to a box of Annie's mac and cheese here and there! :)
What tips do you have for surviving a hard day?
Bethany: Reminding myself that rough days happen - and tomorrow is a fresh start! And - it's ok to have as many fresh starts as we need...but if the problem is ongoing maybe review if there are changes we can make.
Anne: Have close friends you can lean on. I have two besties and my sister and the 4 of us have group chat/messages where we can vent about the day, share our victories, pray for each other, etc... It's a blessing I know not everyone has!
What’s something your child has done that thrilled your soul?
Bethany: She's so kind to people - smiles at everyone and I love seeing her brighten the days of others.
Anne: I think the things that make my heart swell the most are when they are loving and kind and thoughtful of each other without prompting. It makes me so proud to know that they're learning the things I'm hoping to teach them, and that they'll hopefully carry them through the rest of their lives.
How does your family celebrate birthdays?
Bethany: Usually with a family dinner out.
Anne: It's become a loose tradition that we do birthday pancakes -usually in the shape of their new age #, and often with sprinkles! Then a family birthday dinner with Grandma/Grandpas and aunts/uncles. As they're getting older we're doing a bit more in the way of "friend-parties", but they're still pretty low key!
What have you done recently for the first time?
Anne: Making my house tidiness a priority. Which doesn't seem as exciting as something like "sky diving"... but it means a lot to me and the health of our home as a whole. To feel like we can breath among our "things", and to have a space to invite family and friends over without needing a weeks notice to deep clean first.
What’s your favorite school day lunch?
Bethany: Soup! We recently found some brown rice ramen noodles - so we love cooking that up in some broth with veggies.
Anne: For the kiddos, Mac & Cheese with fruit/veggies and sausage on the side. For Mama, chicken caesar salad. Yum.
How would you manage if you had to homeschool without the internet?
Bethany: For some subjects - just like we do now. But for research, we'd probably spend more time at our local library.
Anne: We'd for sure be at the library more for resources! I'm so spoiled to get fun ideas from places like Pinterest and Instagram. I think if I didn't have those, I'd prioritize more in-person homeschool support. (Which wouldn't be a bad thing, anyway!)
What tips do you have for other families?
Bethany: Homeschool looks different for every family - so find what works for you and don't try to model someone else's approach.
Anne: It's not all or nothing! We're still all pretty young as far as "homeschoolers" go, but I'm learning that an unstructured day centered around play can be SO educational. My kiddos are bright and happy, and learning like little sponges, without us needing to sit and do hours of worksheets during the day.
What is something you appreciate about each of your kids?
Bethany: I just have one - but I love her positive attitude and the way she cares so deeply about other people.
- I love that my oldest, G remembers things well - I have told her before that I love lemons, so when she draws me a picture she almost always includes some yellow - "Lemons, Mama!"
- My middle, E is a wonderful snuggler. When I hug or carry her, she usually pats my back gently, and it's the best.
- My youngest, S is such a good communicator for being 1.5. He still isn't great at reasoning, but he knows how to ask for things that he wants and picks up on new words and signs so quickly!
What song is currently in your head?
Bethany: High Hopes
Anne: "Spirit of the living God, come fall afresh on me, come wake me from sleep - blow through the caverns of my soul, pour in me and make me whole...."
Tell us about your family’s favorite games.
Bethany: We love "resource building" games - so Agricola, Puerto Rico, Photosynthesis...
Anne: My kiddos really like playing active games like "chase", "hide and seek", and have a new appreciation for "the floor is lava". The older girls also really enjoyed when we played "Sorry" for the first time a few weeks ago.
What is your exercise routine and how often do you do it?
Bethany: We walk the dog (2 miles) every day. We go on bike rides weather dependent. We've got a PE and Yoga class we attend 1 time per week each.
Anne: Keeping up with my children - and I do it mostly 24/7. :D
In reality, I haven't done any regular exercise routine in probably 6 years!
What did you do just for fun with your kids recently?
Bethany: Stay up late hanging out, reading and playing.
Anne: My girls and I raided my sticker box and they had fun choosing a bunch to stick on projects they were doing. I had fun reminiscing at my Lisa Frank stickers.
What’s the last recipe you looked up?
Bethany: Gluten free corn bread (found an amazing one!)
Anne: Oatmeal Pancakes! It used to be a staple here, but I hadn't made them in over a year. They were just as delicious as I remembered, and my kiddos loved them.
What apps do you use the most?
Bethany: Calendar! And Band - it's what we use to communicate with our Girl Scout troop parents (my husband is the troop leader).
Anne: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, My camera, and the weather, map, calculator apps.
If you could sum up your homeschool style or philosophy in one phrase what would it be?
Bethany: Kinda like traditional school, but more relaxed with time to dive deeper into specific interests.
Anne: Dipping my toes into the unschooling way of life.
What do your kids want to be when they grow up?
Bethany: Manga artist or pet rescue operator.
Anne: I think both girls would say ballerinas, and my son maybe a truck driver.
What extracurricular activities is your family involved in?
Bethany: Hubz and Daughter play Dungeons and Dragons with a group once a week. And we are heavily involved in our Girl Scout troop that camps, climbs trees, sells cookies, goes skating, learns new things!
Anne: My girls both do ballet, and all 3 are in music theory classes with a friend of ours. The girls working toward learning violin. :)
If you have a moment to yourself what do you like to do?
Anne: Sew! Or create DIY things for decor around our home. If the weather is nice, I'm usually outside in the garden.
What’s your favorite school day breakfast?
Bethany: Egg, fruit and sausage.
Anne: Reheating frozen pancakes (I make a big batch and stick the extras in a freezer ziploc bag.) we usually eat them with yogurt or applesauce and fruit.
What’s the best homeschool field trip you’ve ever been on?
Bethany: Our local history museum.
Anne: We attended the March for Life last week down in the capital city of our state. My girls have gone since they were babies, but I think they're starting to learn more about how our being there helps the cause.
The grocery store cashier asks, “But what about socialization?” What do you say?
Bethany: We take classes at our local school district Homeschool Resource campus (currently writing, yoga and PE - in the past Theatrical Makeup, cooking, spanish and others), she does Girl Scouts - she gets more practice with socializing in "normal" day to day life situations, and with a greater variety of people (adults, peers, younger kids, older kids) than she would dealing with just peers at a traditional school setting.
Anne: "They're socializing right now with you, aren't they? *laugh * We get to spend our weeks out in the real world having real interactions with ALL kinds of people, instead of being limited to a hand full of adults and tons of peers our own age."
What do you do for fun as a family?
Bethany: Play games, play with the dog.
Anne: Going on adventures with some of our family members. Often my husband's sister, her husband, and soon their newborn baby will be ready to come along with us as well. We go to the tulip fields together every year, the state fair, to the beach, etc...
How do you continue to educate yourself?
Bethany: Online research! And talking with other parents.
Anne: I try to keep up on current events - usually just through online sources, and I'll dive into learning about things that I get a random curiosity about on google or wikipedia.
What are favorite healthy snacks at your house?
Bethany: Veggies and hummus.
Anne: Fruit, Veggies (raw), popcorn, cheese and crackers.
What’s the best museum you’ve ever gone to?
Bethany: Museum of History and Industry in Seattle
Anne: The hands-on-children's museum in Olympia, Washington. I, as an adult, could have spent all day in their little farm stand shop organizing fruits and veggies.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in homeschooling?
Bethany: Learning that I often plan too much - let things go a bit and it's less stressful.
Anne: I think it's something I'm STILL working on to overcome - but I want to make sure I'm finding a good balance between structure and flexibility. I don't want to be too lax and have children that aren't learning and thriving, but I don't want them to learn at the expense of growing and having fun as children.
What is your favorite thing about having kids?
Bethany: Watching her grow, learn and change.
Anne: Watching them learn. I love seeing the "light bulb" moments when a new concept clicks!
What’s the best vacation you have ever taken as a family?
Bethany: Disney :D
Anne: Staying at a condo down near the coast. Comforts of home like a full kitchen, and bedrooms for decent baby naps, but with all the fun of a new locale.
List 3 frivolous things you are enjoying right now.
Anne: PBS/Masterpiece TV shows like Sanditon, Spindrift flavored water, and watering my houseplants.
What’s your favorite in-a-pinch dinner option?
Bethany: Curry lentil soup - only takes 5 ingredients and they are all "pantry staple" type things.
Anne: Aside from eating out at somewhere like Chick-fil-A... We usually end up having frozen Russian meat ravioli (Pelmeni) in a pinch. Served with veggies or salad.
What’s the strangest place you’ve done school?
Anne: We do "school" all day every day - so sometimes we're "learning" in the adult incontinence aisle at Target... like this morning.
Share a favorite organizational tip.
Bethany: We keep our supplies pretty minimal - just 1 small rolling cart. Easy to move when needed and hard to get too cluttered. Forces us to clean it out often.
Anne: Keep one big calendar in an easy to see place. Currently I have a large desk calendar up on the side of my fridge - it's made it so much easier to keep track of things like birthday parties for friends and appointments that I often times would forget until right before it happened.
What do you do for P.E. in your homeschool?
Bethany: Take a yoga and PE class at our school district Homeschool Resource campus. We also walk our dog and go on bike rides - and play at the park down the street.
Anne: Lots of walks as a family, and lots of free play/climbing/fun - even sometimes if it means the living room gets a little turned upside down. We also have a swing screwed into the ceiling in our living room, and a balance beam I made out of wood for them to walk on.
Share a favorite inspirational quote.
Anne: "The days are long, but the years are short." (I'm not sure who coined it, but it's sure true!)
What’s your best time of day to homeschool?
Bethany: Morning between 9:00 -11:00 a.m. Freshest minds!
Anne: Morning right after breakfast up until lunch time when things wind down for naps.
Tell us something interesting about your local area.
Bethany: We have access to lakes, rivers, oceans, mountains, nearby rainforest, so many outdoor opportunities to see and experience beauty.
Anne: I think we have some of the prettiest landscape all year long due to the evergreen trees and the rain (oh so much rain) that turns our lawns all lush and green!
What dream for your family has come true?
Bethany: Remodeling our house.
Anne: Owning our own home! Going on 4.5 years, and it has been a wonderful blessing.
What’s the most useless talent you have?
Bethany: Remembering numbers.
Anne: I can twist one arm around pretty far - nothing more than a party trick.