Alicia of Wisconsin
We are a family of 4. Joel is an electrician. Alicia homeschools the kids. Lincoln is 7 and Delilah is 6. We also have a dog Otis who's 1.
Joanna S of Kewaskum, Wisconsin
We are a family of three. I have worked in a cheese factory in the cheese capital of the country (Plymouth,WI) for 13 years. My husband has been installing tile and other flooring for 25 years, and recently re-started up his own business. We have a very unique 6-year-old daughter that loves anything art, from painting, clay molding, sketching and building with Legos. She wants to be a Veterinarian when she grows up and a part-time waitress at Pizza Ranch. Currently we have one cat named Mr. Naughty or Bad Cat for short. We love spending time outdoors, especially during the few warm months. Camping is our favorite summer activity and visiting a water park in winter helps us keep our sanity.
5 people: Mom (speech therapist, loves to read and cook and is a curriculum junkie), Dad (PA in the ER, loves to read and game), 7-year-old boy (loves to build anything, great at reading and math, loves cross country skiing), 4-year-old girl (loves art projects, helping in the kitchen and cross county skiing), 2-year-old girl (loves LOVES books, coloring, and cooking with mama).
Mandie Oostburg Wisconsin
One son, one daughter, one husband, one mom. No pets. Our son loves bugs, frogs, and all things living. Our daughter loves her family. The dad rocks being a therapist and the mom used to help preschoolers love to learn. Now loves to teach in home!
How do you Timberdoodle?
Joanna: I first learned of Timberdoodle after searching for homeschool curriculums on the web. I was very interested in the hands-on approach of this particular program. We haven't bought a kit from here yet, as I like to choose resources from several different places that work best with my child. We love Rory's Story Cubes. We even take them camping! Also, the Math-U-See Alpha program is awesome! The blocks really help you visualize the problem.
Katie: We heard about Timberdoodle from a Grandmother. She was a homeschooling mom as well. We use the whole curriculum set for Pre-K and 2nd grade. We do the workbooks daily, and incorporate the hands-on activities throughout the week. School is usually done within an hour or two. We love Timberdoodle and this is our third year using their curriculums.
Mandie: We Timberdoodle all over and love it. We have a son who is Autistic and does therapy. Super convenient to take it with us. It is very multisensory so it fits his learning needs!
Tell us about a typical school day at your house.
Alicia: We start school by 9:00 a.m. We do math, spelling, geography, handwriting, history, and science. We usually eat lunch then do hands on activities and read-aloud books. The kids then free-play while I do chores. A few days a week we have co-ops or we go on field trips.
Joanna: We usually start our day eating breakfast around 8:30. We cover 2-3 subjects each day. Math, science, penmenship, geography and reading. We branch off into learning about time and money, natural science, physical science etc. We found that writing stories is the best way to practice penmanship and also learn about sentence structure and punctuation without being too repetitive and boring. I usually do dishes/laundry while my daughter does her lessons, although I have to stop frequently to help. We have 15-20 minutes of recess in between each subject to keep us moving. Lunch usually consists of finger foods like sliced turkey, salami, grape tomatoes, cheese, and mini-peppers or something simple like soup or grilled cheese sandwiches.
Once a week my daughter has a structured gymnastics class and once a week we also meet with a homeschool group and have an open gym at a local gymnastics establishment. Every other week she attends a 3-hour Homeschool-Ed Ventures class that is based outside at a nature center. There she learns about the world outside and has to keep a (picture) journal. We also have vocabulary words and suggested reading leading up to each class.
I work full-time nights, so dinner is mostly in my husband's court. I sometimes set the oven to make a chicken bake or pork chops for them, but more often than not, leave the dinner ingredients where he can find them and leave a note with the instructions to cook them. At night my husband and daughter read together before bed and he is usually in charge of bath time. Bedtime is between 8:30 - 9:00 p.m. I get home after 12:00 a.m. and usually read until 1:30 a.m. (this is my "me time"), before hitting the hay.
Katie: We start around 9:00 after everyone has had breakfast, do our morning basket (Bible study, read-aloud), and then everyone gets out their workbooks and gets them completed. Then, we have lunch and quiet time (the big ones play, the little one naps). Afternoon is usually projects, errands or cleaning around the house. Dinner, then more reading and bed!!
Mandie: We start at 9:00 with morning basket and move through subjects from there. Our favorite hands on experience so far was mummifying a chicken.
If we peeked inside your home on a random Wednesday afternoon, what would we see?
Alicia: On a Wed afternoon you'd probably either see the kids free-playing or us gone on a field trip somewhere.
Joanna: We would be gone to gymnastics, but our cat, Mr. Naughty would probably greet you with a meow, since he's always hungry. There would be dishes in the sink from breakfast and dinner the night before. A basket of laundry would be next to the couch, waiting to be folded. Our washing machine would be waiting for you to put clothes in the dryer. The bathroom would be in disarray, with bath toys drying on the tub, toothpaste in the sink and a toilet paper roll waiting to be replaced. Also, the living room would need a vacuuming but several toys would need to be put away first. The morning math lessons would be on my daughter's desk waiting to be graded. The coffee table would have crumbs on it and need to be wiped, but don't worry my daughter loves cleaning the tables, and vacuuming, as she puts it, is her job!
Before coming home we stop for lunch in town. I drop my daughter off at the babysitter's, then I stop at home to change, put my lunch together, switch the laundry, start the dishwasher and brew a cup of coffee in my go mug. I fill my water bottle and off to work, I go!
Katie: On Wednesdays, you would see the kids doing school and playing with the sitter because Mom works from home on those days.
Mandie: Lots of floor time, read aloud, and hands on learning.
If you could take your family anywhere you wanted for vacation where would you go?
Alicia: Italy! But a tour through Europe would also be amazing!
Joanna: Wisconsin North Woods. Federal campgrounds during the week. No electricity and plenty of sun and water for fishing and kayaking.
Katie: We would love to visit Germany.
Mandie: A beach at the lake.
What books have you read over and over?
Alicia: Way too many to list! We love books and read and re-read constantly!
Katie: Madeline, Curious George, Story of the World, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Goodnight Moon
Mandie: The Bible, Narnia, Anne of Green Gables, classics
What dietary challenges does your family face?
Alicia: The kids and I are on a gluten-free diet. Sometimes it can be challenging, especially eating out, but we always find what we can eat and enjoy it.
Joanna: I am on a ketogenic diet, so no sugar or carbs for me. I often have to substitute ingredients in my meals which is extra work.
Katie: We are all gluten-free, two kids are allergic to eggs and one is allergic to milk. We cook at home a lot. We usually eat leftovers or homemade “lunchables” (crackers, meat, fruit and cheese) for lunch. And dinner is usually our bigger meal.
Mandie: Gluten, milk, nitrates and dye. We involve our kids in cooking.
What tips do you have for surviving a hard day?
Alicia: Deep breaths. This too shall pass.
Joanna: Breathe! Take a few minutes outside, alone, listen to music or read a book.
Katie: Stop and make a cup of tea or coffee. Sometimes, just turn it into a teatime for everyone. Lather yourself in oils to help the stress. Put away the subject that is frustrating everyone for a while and try again tomorrow. Sometimes, we have a movie afternoon.
What’s something your child has done that thrilled your soul?
Alicia: Anytime they go out of their way to help someone without me saying anything to them first.
Joanna: She often compliments strangers on their, hair, makeup, shoes or jewelry. It warms my heart.
Katie: My boy has started staying up late to read. ❤️
Mandie: Loved to learn again.
How does your family celebrate birthdays?
Alicia: Birthdays are big deals in our house. The kids get their presets displayed on a table in the living room and get to open one present each night until their birthday. They get a countdown on the fridge and decorations throughout the house. They wake up their birthday morning to a special message written on the bathroom mirror and streamers on their bedroom door. They pick every meal they want on their birthday and what they want to do that day. They also pick if they would like a birthday trip to wherever they want or a party. They always pick the trip (camping, water park hotel, etc).
Joanna: We only celebrate our daughter's birthday. We go camping for several days and have family over for great food and drinks.
Katie: We eat a big breakfast together and open presents. The birthday person gets to pick their birthday treat (cake or otherwise) and we make their favorite dinner!! We usually don’t do school that day!
Mandie: Celebrating the person.
What have you done recently for the first time?
Alicia: Held an alligator!
Katie: We just started a nature curriculum.
Mandie: Snow shoed.
What’s your favorite school day lunch?
Alicia: Leftovers. They are easiest for me.
Joanna: Grilled cheese sandwiches.
Mandie: Mac n cheese.
How would you manage if you had to homeschool without the internet?
Alicia: I would manage fine until the kids started asking questions I didn't have the answer to and couldn't ask Google.
Joanna: It would be difficult, as we order most of our supplies from the web and use websites for videos.
Katie: It wouldn’t make too much of a difference for us! We only use the internet to access songs on YouTube.
What tips do you have for other families?
Alicia: Homeschooling isn't as hard as you'd expect. It's a wonderful bonding experience and you'll do great!
Joanna: Have a list of subjects to do each day, even if you don't complete them everyday, it helps keep you on track.
Katie: Have fun! If you as a parent don’t think the curriculum is fun, you’ll have a harder time doing it.
Mandie: Figure out what type of learner your child is
What is something you appreciate about each of your kids?
Alicia: I appreciate Lincoln's love for drawing and art and his ability to always find beauty in things. I appreciate Delilah's love for bugs and expanding me to look at the little things in life and love them.
Joanna: How understanding and comforting she is. She is 6 but very mature for her age.
Katie: My oldest has an amazing engineering mind, my middle is the sweetest cheerleader, and the baby makes us all laugh.
Mandie: Love of art and love of others.
What song is currently in your head?
Alicia: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Mandie: Thankful for the Scars
Tell us about your family’s favorite games.
Alicia: We love to play board games but especially love to play dominoes.
Joanna: Smack It card game.
Katie: We love games! Hive, Sorry, Trouble, Sleeping Queens, and Tiny Dot with the kids. Splendor, Dominion, Azul, Machi Koro, Sushi Go, and Codenames for the adults.
Mandie: We love all games.