Loreen G. of North Cascades, Washington
Lambie, Papa, Connor, Kara, Kady, and Paislee.
Teacher, retired aircraft mechanic and grandkids from teens to 2! Lots of hobbies and interests, but favorites of everyone include raising vegetables and fruit, chickens and ducks who all have names, drawing and artwork, books, and road trips. We have a cat named Mitzi and a hamster named Cuddles
Cate of Washington State
Mom, Dad, Bear (14), and Bug (10) have homeschooled since kindergarten. They enjoy reading and spoiling the family pet, a bearded dragon named Houdini.
Angela S. of Washington State
In our family there is 2 boys, Harrison and Roryck, and 1 sweet baby girl, Elianna. We also have 2 dogs, Balthazar and Daisy. I am a stay-at-home mom and my husband is in the navy. We live on in island in Washington. We love exploring and hiking.
Shelley in Spokane Valley, Washington
Shelley (Mom), Steve (Dad), Asa 17 and in a welding program, Eli 15 with high-functioning autism who loves screens, and 4 older siblings who have graduated homeschool. Shelley is a hospice nurse, and combines a 30-hour work week with homeschooling Asa and Eli.
How do you Timberdoodle?
Loreen: I think I was doing an online search for curriculum when I came across Timberdoodle. I loved that it was a family company in the state in which I reside. I’ve been buying the curriculum for years and really love the logic games and educational toys for the younger kids. I’ve used your curriculum from preschool through high school and have loved it all. I have a bin with the baby and preschool items that our little one takes out when it’s time for her older sister’s “school”. She loves having her own school and I love how she’s always learning something, even through play. I appreciate how you take the time to choose the best curriculum and a variety of items for each grade/age level. It always feels complete.
Cate: Timberdoodle was recommended to us by a co-op member with over 20 years of homeschooling experience. We enjoyed the math and science curriculum right away!
Angela: Timberdoodle was first mentioned to me in a homeschooling group on Facebook. I love the hands-on activities for my very active boys. My 2-year-old loves to play with the baby to toddler kit this year. He loves the circle puzzle the most. I use parts of the kindergarten kit to add enrichment and hands-on activities to my 5-year-old's kindergarten curriculum. After using a few items from the kindergarten curriculum we are excited to make the switch to the full kindergarten curriculum.
Shelley: I am on year 28 of homeschooling, and have consulted the Timberdoodle catalog for great ideas and products for most of those years.
Tell us about a typical school day at your house.
Loreen: Right now I’m schooling a 2nd grader and 2-year-old. We generally start school lessons around 10:00. I start laundry and dinner between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. While we do lessons, the 2-year-old gets her bucket of learning toys and activities out and Grandpa plays along with her. I have zones for cleaning, so I just concentrate on that zone each day, as well as spot clean and tidy up where needed. I usually take a well deserved rest around 2:00 - 3:00. If it’s nice outside we adjust our schedule for outside play and learning.
Cate: We use our mornings for appointments and chores, usually we get to homeschooling some time after lunch. The goal is a lesson per day, and the day stops when dinner is done.
Angela: We start our day with breakfast and morning chores. Then we settle in for a Bible lesson followed by history and geography. This lesson is normally started around 10:00 a.m. We follow that lesson with language arts and science. We end our hour of school with math. We also add in art and hands-on projects when he is able to focus for longer than an hour. After we finish our homeschooling for the day, we move on to lunch and quiet time. The great thing about homeschooling is if we have to go somewhere for the day. The hour of learning can be pushed to after dinner time if the boys are playing well together or need to burn steam, our schedule is flexible enough to allow for this.
Shelley: We homeschool Monday - Thursday, and often start late morning, because teenagers, plus Eli, like many on the autism spectrum, has an erratic sleep schedule. We start when he is up and awake. We do Bible, history, and geometry daily, as well as cursive (late, l know) and keyboarding. Writing and literature are done intermittently. We are taking a break from textbook science this year, instead watching videos and using YouTube to explore areas of interest in the sciences.
If we peeked inside your home on a random Wednesday afternoon, what would we see?
Loreen: We are generally done with school work by early afternoon and the rest of the afternoon is devoted to reading, games, play, and rest.
Cate: Bear working on spelling and grammar. Bug would be doing a science experiment or working in math.
Angela: You would see one 2-year-old napping in his bed and his 5-year-old brother relaxing/napping in his bed. You would find a sleeping baby girl and a momma finishing up some chores around the house. Afternoons (1:00 - 3:00) are quiet time for us. After 3:00 p.m. we will be found outside, at the park, or on a run.
Shelley: Eli, sprawled on the living room rug with his geometry materials spread out around him, working away with a protractor, or on his way to take out the recycle bin, or watching a YouYube video and calling out, "Hey Mom, did you know that........?"
If you could take your family anywhere you wanted for vacation where would you go?
Cate: On a camping trip to Black Diamond in Shelton, Washington.
Angela: Ireland, Germany, and Iceland would be my top 3.
Shelley: On a camping trip to one of the nearby wooded areas, especially those with lakes!
What books have you read over and over?
Cate: Logic of English.
Angela: My boys have been loving the Jungle Find It picture book and Who Pooped?
Shelley: Little House books, JRR Tolkein books, Calvin and Hobbes, and Shelley owns and rereads the Fairacre books by Miss Read.
What dietary challenges does your family face?
Cate: Life-threatening food allergies, EoE, and more. We avoid trigger foods and carry an epi-pen.
Angela: We do not have any dietary challenges in our household.
Shelley: Some dairy intolerance, so those family members simply avoid dairy. We will set the dairy portion of a meal aside, to be added by those who can eat it.
What tips do you have for surviving a hard day?
Cate: Nap and a sandwich. See if the problem is still as big after a nap and sandwich.
Angela: It's okay to take a day off. The schooling will be there when you come back to it. Kids need days off once in a while. That is the joy of homeschooling you can take a break when you need to.
Shelley: Less is more. It is better to do one or two things well and with patience than to "complete" six or seven things with stress and anger. Also, it is okay to switch things up and take a day to read aloud for hours, bake, have an art day, take a field trip, or play board games all day. There are many, many ways to learn!
What’s something your child has done that thrilled your soul?
Cate: Helped Dad propose and pick out a ring.
Angela: Watching my oldest read a story to his baby sister.
Shelley: I read the Bible aloud to Eli daily. Simply by hearing, he was convicted by the Holy Spirit, and with no pressure from us, came to us to ask how he could know his sins were forgiven. This led to him asking God's forgiveness for his sin, and surrendering his life to Christ. Now that thrills my heart!
How does your family celebrate birthdays?
Cate: Birthday person picks special dinner.
Angela: They normally get balloons in there room when they wake up. Followed by receiving their new curriculum for the next year. Then we allow them to pick one toy/thing out at Target. Going to Target is a big deal in our house as it is an hour drive to the nearest Target. #islandlife
Shelley: Very low key now that the boys are older. Steve takes them on an early morning donut run, and they get to choose the dinner menu.
What have you done recently for the first time?
Cate: Took the kids for sushi.
Angela: Our family participated in a polar plunge on New Year's Day! The boys loved it and can't wait to do it again next year
Shelley: Nothing l can think of. I am not very adventurous.
What’s your favorite school day lunch?
Angela: My kids' favorite school day lunch is mac n cheese and mini corndogs. My favorite is a peanut butter and jelly with an apple and carrots.
Shelley: The boys often have pizza (the $5 ones from the local chain). I opt for dinner leftovers or apple slices with peanut butter.
How would you manage if you had to homeschool without the internet?
Cate: Lots of library trips.
Angela: The homeschooling would be fine. I would just not be able to order next years curriculum. LOL.
Shelley: Much as l do now, but without helpful extras like Khan Academy and YouTube videos.
What tips do you have for other families?
Cate: Hug each other.
Angela: Take it one day at a time. Please remember to enjoy this time with your kids. Yes, they need to learn different things but this isn't a job.
Shelley: For those with children 6 and under, especially boys, don't feel pressured and rushed to follow the timetable the public schools use for skill acquisition. Treasure those early days by building good habits (chores, hygiene, manners, care for belongings), playing outside, and reading aloud. When a child is ready for learning to read, write, and start math, pace it according to their interest and ability. Trust me, they will advance rapidly when they are ready!
What is something you appreciate about each of your kids?
Cate: Their creativity and sense of humor
Angela: I love Harrison's energy and go lucky attitude. I love Roryck's caring attitude and determination. Elianna is still new (2 weeks) so we just love on her for now
Shelley: For the two l am currently homeschooling:
Eli: His out-of-the-box creative thinking (helped by his autistic brain).
Asa: His interest in hands-on skills, from drawing to sewing, to welding.
Tell us about your family’s favorite games.
Cate: JackBox on the Switch, and Spy Alley for tabletop
Angela: Our favorite game is Ticket To Ride. It is the kids' edition. We also love the Find It! Disney edition.
Shelley: We enjoy Labyrinth, Enchanted Forest, Huggermugger, Battleship, Set, Black Box, and an occasional game of Monopoly.
What is your exercise routine and how often do you do it?
Cate: DDP YOGA (DVDs) 4 times a week
Angela: Once I get the all clear from the doctor I will be training again for a 5k, then a 10k. The boys will be doing this with me. For right now they play at a huge park by our house, and jump on a trampoline in our house.
Shelley: Unfortunately, none right now. Once winter is over, it will be back to outdoor walks several times a week.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in your homeschool that you called a “science experiment”?
Cate: Model of a cell pizza.
Angela: We grew fungi in our fridge. AKA mold. It was gross but the boys thought it was fun.
Shelley: Blowing a bubble on to a bed of snow and watching the bubble slowly freeze.
What hard thing are you planning to do this year?
Cate: Work with Bear on her spelling
Angela: This will be my first year homeschooling with a newborn. I'm really nervous about dividing my time appropriately.
Shelley: Teach my son with Autism to write a 5 paragraph essay.
What did you do just for fun with your kids recently?
Cate: Went on a walk just to pet friendly dogs.
Angela: We spent the day at the zoo. Just wandering around and looking at the animals.
If you could learn a new skill, what would it be?
Cate: Mushroom picking.
Angela: I would love to learn to use a Cricut machine. I don't own one yet but someday I want to.
Shelley: Knitting or crocheting.
What’s the last recipe you looked up?
Cate: Homemade Shake & Bake for pork chops.
Angela: Berry french toast casserole.
What apps do you use the most?
Angela: Pinterest, Facebook, and my camera.
Shelley: YouTube, Amazon, Ebay, Duo Lingo.
If you could sum up your homeschool style or philosophy in one phrase what would it be?
Cate: Work smarter, not harder.
Angela: Contained chaos.
Shelley: In Jesus are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, so He had better be your foundation.
What do your kids want to be when they grow up?
Cate: Bear: Game developer. Bug: Police Dog Trainer
Angela: My oldest wants to be a zoologist at the zoo. My middle son wants to be a construction worker.
Shelley: Asa: Welder. Eli: Undecided, but something with computers.
What extracurricular activities is your family involved in?
Cate: Art and yoga.
Angela: My kids are in soccer and baseball. We also go swimming, and hiking.
Shelley: Youth group.
If you have a moment to yourself what do you like to do?
Cate: Read at restaurant.
Angela: Take a nap and compete picture puzzles.
Shelley: Read or garden.
What’s your favorite school day breakfast?
Cate: Oatmeal with peanut butter.
Angela: Blueberry pancakes with bacon.
Shelley: Oatmeal with chopped apple and peanut butter (no sugar, no milk).
What’s the best homeschool field trip you’ve ever been on?
Cate: Tacoma Art Museum.
Angela: My favorite was Mount Rushmore. We got to see it lit up at night. My boys still talk about it.
Shelley: To the Getty museum.
How do you continue to educate yourself?
Angela: I read blogs, and read books at the local library.
Shelley: I am continually reading nonfiction books on subjects from brain science to social justice, from biographies of those who have overcome adversity of many kinds to gardening, composting, and cooking.
What are favorite healthy snacks at your house?
Angela: Apples, oranges, and nut mixes.
Shelley: Apples with peanut butter, other fruit, cheese.
What’s the best museum you’ve ever gone to?
Cate: Seattle Science Center.
Angela: A hands on science museum in Washington.
Shelley: The Museum of Natural History in Santa Barbara, California.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in homeschooling?
Angela: Picking out which homeschooling company has the best fit for our family. Still one of my biggest challenges.
Shelley: Reluctant teenage learners.
What’s the best vacation you have ever taken as a family?
Cate: Camping in mountains
Angela: We went to Walt Disney world as a family. We also had the kids' grandparents come with. It was an amazing experience.
Shelley: Family camping in a group with other families.
What’s your favorite in-a-pinch dinner option?
Cate: Teriyaki Delight in Tumwater, Washington.
Angela: Spaghetti. It's easy and I know my kids will eat it.
Shelley: Omelettes and fruit.
What’s the strangest place you’ve done school?
Cate: Parking lot at hospital.
Angela: On an airplane. I've also done it sitting in the back of a car.
Shelley: In the gym where our youngest was receiving therapy.
Share a favorite organizational tip.
Angela: We have a bookshelf specifically for each child and their homeschooling material.
Shelley: Buy a wire rack where library books can be displayed flat with covers showing. It keeps the books together, and they are more likely to be read!
Tell us something unique or unusual about your family.
Angela: We are a military family so we move around a lot. It also means my husband never has a set schedule.
Shelley: Depression, Autism, ADHD and OCD are all present in our nuclear family, yet by God's grace we are growing, thriving, and close. Homeschooling has allowed us the flexibility to work around all kinds of obstacles, and to adapt the learning to the learner.
Share a favorite inspirational quote.
Cate: Choose, Choice, Change.
Angela: Be kind, for everyone is fighting a hard battle.
Shelley: "Do the next thing." From Elizabeth Elliot, when her second husband was dying of cancer, and she could only manage that much at a time.