Emily of Vancouver, Washington
- Eliana, age 11 -- loves to read and bake
- Karina, age 9 - loves sports and crafts
- Gabriel, age 7 - loves to read, play sports, and do math
- Christopher, age 7 - loves to play outside and look at books
- Churro & Starlight -- pet bunnies
- Mom - loves to read and travel
- Dad - loves to garden and fish
Jennifer S. of Olalla, Washington
- My husband is a superintendent for a construction company.
- My oldest son aspires to be a missionary pilot.
- My daughter is a self proclaimed artist.
- I am a woman of many skills. I have a teaching degree and an English major. I like to crochet and am starting a business teaching crochet and making crocheted items.
Brandy of Washington State
- 2 boys
Becky of Lynnwood, Washington
I am a stay at home momma with two pre-teen boys. We have 3 furry family members too.
How do you Timberdoodle?
Emily: My mom heard about you decades ago, when she homeschooled me. We now homeschool, and use Timberdoodle products mainly as extracurriculars and supplements to our core subjects. They are the "for fun but required" breaks in our day, or the educational gifts for grandparents to buy. Our favorites have been Robotis, LUK, Laser Maze, Architecto, logic games, and the Gorilla Gym!
Jennifer: We heard about Timberdoodle through other homeschoolers. In fact I think our friends were featured in one of your magazines. Our favorite product has been Thinking Putty. 😆
Brandy: First heard about Timberdoodle from the W.H.O. Convention. We like the games the best and we also have several curricula from Timberdoodle. We use them in our homeschooling day!
Becky: I stumbled across Timberdoodle while searching for secular homeschool curricula. My boys love the puzzles and games included with the full curriculum kits. Some of our favorite curricula are Mosdos and Building Blocks of Science.
Tell us about a typical school day at your house.
Emily: We have one in public school, which starts at 9:20. Once he is dropped off at school, and morning chores are done and breakfast is cleaned up our school day starts. We start with "together time" - Bible stories, read aloud, poetry, history reading, Chinese review, theology, and science reading. Then, to the table for drawing geography, science videos, Chinese lessons, and sometimes an art lesson. Then, everyone to individual subjects of math, reading, grammar, Bible memory, Portuguese, logic, and writing for the older ones. Sprinkled in is practicing the piano, online Chinese lessons, chores, making lunch (kid's job), taking care of the bunnies, and craft time. Dinner is all together, but often rushed, as we head out for ballet, drama, martial arts, Awana, sports, therapies, and all the rest!
Jennifer: School starts after breakfast. The kids have subjects they can work on by themselves. Mom does her workout, showers, and then comes to help. We cover math, geography, science, writing, and logic. Meals are made when we get hungry. Chores are done between subjects. On Monday we have a community school day. On Fridays we have art.
Brandy: We start around 9:00 a.m. Most day we cover 6 to 8 subjects, including science, math, music, art, language arts, writing, spelling, history, social studies, career studies, and home economics. Chores are done daily and meals are sometimes DIY but mostly made by mom.
Becky: We start school around 10:00-ish and go for about 4-5 hours. We read a lot - whether it's literature or history based. Math and science are covered nearly every day.
If we peeked inside your home on a random Wednesday afternoon, what would we see?
Emily: Bunnies hopping around their enclosure in the living room - scattering a mess that was just vacuumed that morning. Someone practicing the piano. Someone arguing about their chores, and regretting not doing the breakfast dishes after breakfast, as now they have to do the lunch dishes as well. Someone carrying for the foster baby that is in and out of our home. Someone laying on the sofa reading, when they are supposed to be doing schoolwork. Sometimes Mom trying to rally the troops, sometimes...just giving up and sitting down to read myself! And, constantly checking the time, to be ready with dinner and everything prepped for the next activity.
Jennifer: On Wednesday afternoons we are wrapping things up early, so Mom can go tutor a friend and we can go to church for youth group and Celebrate Recovery.
Brandy: Lots of books out. A game on the coffee table. Dishes waiting to be washed and laundry spinning in the wash. Pencils throughout, and people in pajamas.
Becky: By the afternoon, the boys are trying to finish up any math or writing work. We may continue reading or watch some YouTube videos.
If you could take your family anywhere you wanted for vacation where would you go?
Emily: Brazil or China.
Jennifer: To Grandma's house. Grandma and Grandpa live in Idaho or Arizona. We love the extra attention. Grandparents are full of wisdom.
Becky: London and Paris.
What books have you read over and over?
- Laura Ingalls Wilder series
- Anne of Green Gables series
- Jotham's Journey series
- The Bible
- The Chronicles of Narnia
- The Secret Garden
- Harry Potter
- This Present Darkness
- Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel
- Oh the Places You'll Go
- Bartholomew and the Oobleck
What dietary challenges does your family face?
Emily: We are really fortunate that our kids don't have food issues!
Jennifer: Mom is gluten intolerant. She makes most meals without wheat. Wheat items are served on the side.
Becky: One vegetarian and one son with a limited diet. I'm a short-order cook most days.
What tips do you have for surviving a hard day?
Emily: Remember it is just one day...and hang on until bedtime!
Jennifer: Starting the day with prayer and Bible reading, listening to Christian music, taking personal time outs if needed.
Becky: Coffee, exercise, and a sense of humor.
What’s something your child has done that thrilled your soul?
Emily: When I see them stepping up and going above and beyond serving and ministering to the foster kids in our home.
Jennifer: My son went to Uganda with my dad. While there he washed the children's feet while checking for chiggers. My daughter likes to make personal gifts and bless people.
Becky: Showed more patience than I did in a stressful situation and began holding the door open for others.
How does your family celebrate birthdays?
Emily: Cake and ice cream; sing and blow out candles; 3 presents....pretty simple!
Jennifer: It varies from year to year. Mom tries to make a special meal, or we go to Red Robin, or a friend sleeps over.
Becky: Taking trips or a small party at home with family.
What have you done recently for the first time?
Emily: Traveling with my sisters...and NOT my kids! Getting away is so good sometimes!
Jennifer: We visited a new homeshool co-op today.
Becky: I took a class and started working seasonally as a tax preparer.
What’s your favorite school day lunch?
Emily: Leftovers! My favorite is fajitas. My kid's favorite is beef noodle soup.
Jennifer: A shake, a quesadilla, grilled cheese, or a sandwich.
Becky: Soup and salad.
How would you manage if you had to homeschool without the internet?
Emily: Ack! No science videos and no art lessons and no online math! I guess we would survive though...just have to shift things around!
Jennifer: Most of our schooling is done with books and paper.
Becky: Ugh! It would be hard at first, but we would still have books, which are most important anyway.
What tips do you have for other families?
Emily: Decide what matters to YOU, and focus on that. There are so many amazing homeschool curriculums and philosophies. But they might not be YOURS. Figure out what your goals are for your kids, and keep that as your focus. For us, that is serving others, which means NOT homeschooling to care for foster kids and it also means our kids knowing how to do chores, so they can help at other people's houses when they need a hand. Another thing that matters to us is extracurriculars...that means less focus on core academics, to make space for foreign languages, art, music, and theater.
Jennifer: Start with the basics. Teach them over and over in a fun way. Then find out what inspires your children and encourage them towards that.
Becky: Patience and laughter.
Tell us about your family’s favorite games.
- Ticket to Ride
- Forbidden Island
- Settlers of Catan
Jennifer: We each have a favorite.
- My husband likes Blockus.
- My son likes chess.
- My daughter likes Uno.
- I like cribbage.
Becky: Ticket to Ride! We have 4 different versions.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in your homeschool that you called a “science experiment”?
Jennifer: We tried to make static electricity in humid Washington. It didn't work.😢 We wanted to be like Benjamin Franklin and store it in a jar. Oh well. We learned that humidity stops static electricity.
Becky: Not really weird, but we used the toilet to show an acid-base reaction with vinegar and baking soda.
What hard thing are you planning to do this year?
Jennifer: My oldest is enrolling in a aviation maintenance program and may be moving away to live with friends or relatives that are closer to the school.
Becky: Pay off all school loan debt
If you could learn a new skill, what would it be?
Becky: Sewing, for sure.
What’s the last recipe you looked up?
Becky: Spicy peanut tempeh.
If you could sum up your homeschool style or philosophy in one phrase what would it be?
Jennifer: Classical eclectic.
Becky: Classical unschooling.