Rebecca of Edmond, Oklahoma
- Dad - forensic scientist
- Me - full-time mom and part time attorney
- T - 13-year-old boy
- C - 11-year-old girl
- V - 8-year-old girl
- D - 5-year-old boy
HVH of Oklahoma
We are a Christ-following family of 8. We live on a little bit of land in the country where our children can have space to play, we can have a very large garden and lots of chickens as well as a big dog.
Alayna of Oklahoma
- Jose (dad) works at a hospital on the construction department.
- Alayna (mom). I'm a stay at home mom and handle the homeschooling.
- Xavier enjoys taking apart electronics and playing with LEGOs.
- Priscilla likes to color and draw, and follow her brother everywhere.
- Mimi (grandma)
We love the outdoors and frequently go camping and hiking. We also love fishing and hunting. We have a 9-year-old Blue Heeler named Pina.
Heather of Tulsa, Oklahoma
C and H have been married 16 years and have 4 children:
- G, age 15
- A, age 10
- T, age 7
- C, age 3-1/2
Regan U. of Oklahoma
Dad, Mom, and 5 kids, 3 dogs, 2 cats.
How do you Timberdoodle?
Rebecca: We love the Thinking Putty and a movies as literature program I bought here.
HVH: I incorporate many Timberdoodle products into my homeschooling. I love the encouragement they give to creativity and thinking skills. My children think they are playing, but I know it's also developing their brains and giving them life skills.
Alayna: First heard of Timberdoodle online, on a homeschooling blog. We previously used Teaching Textbooks when you offered it, but today we love Story of the World. We also love all the Smart Games, like Little Red Riding Hood. Story of the World we do as a family, once a week. Sometimes a whole chapter, sometimes 1 or 2 sections, and their correlating activities.
Heather: I found Timberdoodle on a Google search. We mostly use it as a supplement to break up the monotony of the same curriculum all year. Some of my favorite products are the logic games and Building Thinking Skills workbooks. We often use them on our "Fun Fridays." It's like playing video games without the electronics!
Regan: Just recently heard about Timberdoodle.
Tell us about a typical school day at your house.
Rebecca: Start around 9:00 a.m. The three older kids look at my lesson plan and get to work on all of their subjects: language arts, math, history, science, reading, spelling, and vocab. We usually finish around 1:30 or 2:00 and enjoy free time or scheduled activities.
HVH: My day starts around 6:30, but homeschooling doesn't start until about 9:00 a.m. We always try to start with prayer and Bible. Then we do our writing subjects: math, handwriting, language arts. I also try to do reading lessons at this time. Then it's time to get lunch, pick up the house and have some down time. After that, it's on to history, science and literature. Sometimes this comes after outside time, sometimes right after naps, sometimes somewhere else where I can fit it in. I also try to get some exercise at this time. Then it's picking up the house again and supper preparation. In the winter, I might read some more while we wait for supper to cook, or I might read after supper. In the summer, we're outside until so late that we only have time after supper to clean up and get to bed.
Alayna: We start by 10:00 a.m., most days cover language arts and math. Everyday includes brief handwriting, including cursive. Science and history are once or twice a week. Chores are done in the morning, a brief cleanup around lunch, and in the evening before bed. Breakfast for the kids is usually light, with lunch and dinner being the bigger meals. Many snacks throughout the day.
Heather: We begin at 9:00 a.m. after morning chores and breakfast and break at 12:00 noon for lunch. We usually finish by 3:00 p.m. We focus on two subjects each day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. We use a loop schedule to stay on track and will do other subjects as we're able, but our main focus of the day is the two loop schedule subjects planned. There is an hour of quiet time before I begin dinner and afternoon chores are done. Then before bed there is one more pickup of the living room.
Regan: We start around 9:00 a.m. after breakfast and chores, lunch is with Dad at 1:00, we finish school, have free time, chores, activities then dinner and bedtime.
If we peeked inside your home on a random Wednesday afternoon, what would we see?
Rebecca: School! And playing! And baking!
HVH: House clean and Mama reading to the children while I fix the girls' hair so we can leave for church for supper and Wednesday night activities.
Alayna: House cleaning, a bit of schoolwork, and Bible study preparation for our Wednesday evening meetings (church).
Heather: A mess! During the early afternoon time we will still be working while trying to keep the toddler entertained. Sometimes he stays entertained by getting into things and making a mess. If it's 3:00 p.m. you will see me reading a book while drinking a cup of tea, coffee, or cocoa and the children reading or building Legos in their bedrooms, unless they convinced me to let them take their game systems upstairs "this one time!"
Regan: This year you might find us learning our states and capitals and presidents using songs and flashcards.
If you could take your family anywhere you wanted for vacation where would you go?
Rebecca: On a cruise. Something kid friendly to somewhere snorkel-worthy!
Alayna: To a beach on the ocean.
Heather: To a beach on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi or Florida coast.
Regan: Disney World.
What books have you read over and over?
Rebecca: The Ramona Quimby series.
- The Princess in Black
- Pride and Prejudice
- The 39 Clues
- Pride and Prejudice
- The Giver
- Walk Two Moons
- Winnie-the-Pooh Tales
- The Thirteenth Tale
Regan: The Little House on the Prairie Series
What dietary challenges does your family face?
Alayna: We have one with a peanut allergy, but it's not terribly severe that she can't be around the smell. But we carry an epi-pen, and she knows to ask about the ingredients in all food she's given from others. The parents are gluten free, which has gotten easier over the years. It's okay to go without bread and pasta.
Heather: Picky eaters. We have them try one bite of what they don't like each time.
Regan: I have one daughter who is allergic to legumes, soy, peanuts, etc. and one who can’t eat beef. I helped them learn how to read labels and shop and prepare their own food.
What tips do you have for surviving a hard day?
Rebecca: Snuggle time, tickling, laughing.
HVH: My tips for making it through a hard day would be to first, go to your room and pray for help. Second, pull out a previously stashed "special toy" or activity (Timberdoodle items work really well for this). Third, remind yourself of the good days and that this day will not last forever. Fourth, put the children to bed early.
Alayna: It's okay to call it off and put on a Netflix documentary and make hot chocolate. If the weather is nice, I'll send everyone outside for a while to get some fresh air and space.
Heather: Plan in a quiet time and don't skip it even if you are "behind" in work.
Regan: Give yourself grace, change things up, read a good book together.
What’s something your child has done that thrilled your soul?
Rebecca: Wrote me a note.
Alayna: When each had their own moment when they decided they really wanted to learn how to read. They expressed a desire, and made an effort. Now the oldest is an avid book lover.
Heather: My oldest has really developed his acting abilities over the years. My second son works hard to overcome a speech delay and fine motor skills delay. My third son builds complex creations with his Legos and surprises me daily with his ideas. My third son is the most joyful and loving human I've met.
Regan: Watching them grow and learn!
How does your family celebrate birthdays?
Rebecca: King or Queen for the day.
Alayna: We do not celebrate birthdays in our family.
Heather: The birthday child gets to choose the meals and how they want their cake. Most years I decorate it, but some years we take them to the store to choose their cake. They always get the day off from school and chores, too. Every once in a while we have a friend party, but not regularly.
Regan: We have big celebrations with cake and ice cream among friends and family.
What have you done recently for the first time?
Alayna: We floated the Illinois River as a family.
Heather: I can't think of anything for me. My 7-year-old recently went to our local Performing Arts Center to see a professional performance of CATS!
Regan: We went to NASA!
What’s your favorite school day lunch?
Rebecca: Apples and peanut butter, veggies and dip.
Alayna: For the kids, frijoles charros (pinto beans) and eggs.
Heather: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with apple slices.
Regan: Mac and cheese and peas!
How would you manage if you had to homeschool without the internet?
Rebecca: We don't use it all that much for school.
HVH: We don't use the Internet much for school, so I think I'd just have to use the reference books a little more and there really wouldn't be that much difference.
Alayna: Lots more library visits, where we would check out DVDs and documentaries, and have an extensive list of research. We'd also probably own even more books.
Heather: We did for a while. Most of our curriculum is physical books anyway so it wasn't too bad!
Regan: No problem. We love the library!
What tips do you have for other families?
Rebecca: Find what works for you as a family and DON'T COMPARE CURRICULUM. It can make you crazy.
HVH: Cut out the social media, the TV and the screen use!
Alayna: Homeschool doesn't have to look like "school at home" unless you want it to. There are many styles and methods, and it's okay if your homeschool doesn't look like anyone else's. You know your children best and their needs and strengths. Just go with that.
Heather: Make your curriculum decisions year by year and stick with them for that year. This is how you can see progress and be able to efficiently evaluate what works and what doesn't. Otherwise it will feel like your children never progress in school!
Regan: Cherish your time together!
Tell us about your family’s favorite games.
Rebecca: Pit, Go Nuts for Donuts, Ticket to Ride
Alayna: We are big Catan players. We have the original set, plus Seafarers, and Catan Junior to play with the youngest. We also play Ticket to Ride, and Ticket to Ride Junior.
Heather: We like most board games and card games! Some of our favorites are Plague, Inc., Go Fish, DixIt, Don't Break the Ice, and Story Cubes.
Regan: Apples to Apples.
What is your exercise routine and how often do you do it?
Rebecca: Dancing once a week.
Alayna: I don't have one. Jose goes to the gym 5 days a week.
Heather: I am not great at exercising. The kids jump on the trampoline around 3 times per week and we have a small exercise room that we try to utilize a few times a week, as well.
Regan: Ride stationary bike 3 miles each morning. And 50 reps on rowing machine.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in your homeschool that you called a “science experiment”?
Alayna: We had an animal anatomy lesson on fish and deer while we gutted and fileted or processed them.
Heather: Watched mold form on bread. It was in a ziplock bag, at least!
Regan: Kept chicken bones in vinegar on the kitchen counter.
What did you do just for fun with your kids recently?
Rebecca: Bake cinnamon rolls together.
HVH: Let my 2 oldest stay up late to play a game with my husband and me.
Alayna: We rode the canal downtown and then rode the new streetcars around at night.
Heather: We have year long passes to our local zoo so we try to go when the weather is nice. We went just a couple of weekends ago!
Regan: Listened to an audiobook.
If you could learn a new skill, what would it be?
HVH: Playing guitar, making quilts or sewing my own clothes.
Heather: How to organize efficiently.
Regan: Recording podcasts.
What’s the last recipe you looked up?
Rebecca: Caramel popcorn.
HVH: Blueberry Buckle
Alayna: How long to cook a whole chicken in the pressure cooker.
Heather: Upside down pizza.
Regan: Orange Breakfast Cake.
If you could sum up your homeschool style or philosophy in one phrase what would it be?
Rebecca: Academically challenging but flexible and fun.
Alayna: Just go with it.
Heather: Eclectically Charlotte Mason-esque.
Regan: Charlotte Mason/Classical.
What do your kids want to be when they grow up?
HVH: The girls want to be mothers; my son wants to be a farmer or a fireman. Pretty typical!
Heather: G-computer programmer, A-waiter, T-scientist, C-entertainer(that's my guess by his behavior anyway!)
Regan: Accountant, Psychologist, Photographer, graphic artist, undecided.
What extracurricular activities is your family involved in?
Rebecca: Soccer, basketball, dance.
HVH: Church and singing class.
Alayna: Events at the science museum. We do a lot of things on our own.
Regan: Violin, ballet, art.
If you have a moment to yourself what do you like to do?
Rebecca: Read fiction.
HVH: Read or exercise!
Alayna: Bible research.
What’s your favorite school day breakfast?
Rebecca: Nutrigrain waffles with peanut butter.
HVH: Something with eggs for me. The children love steel cut oats.
Heather: Eggs and toast.
The grocery store cashier asks, “But what about socialization?” What do you say?
Rebecca: We're busy with activities or friends almost every day of the week.
Alayna: I'm more concerned about the bad behaviors they'd pick up in public school.
Heather: I avoid confrontation so I would probably mumble something incoherent and leave as quick as possible.
What are favorite healthy snacks at your house?
Rebecca: Apples, cheese sticks, yogurt.
HVH: Zucchini bread.
Alayna: Clementine oranges, homemade popsicles, fruit smoothies.
What’s your favorite in-a-pinch dinner option?
Rebecca: Chick fil a.
Alayna: omelettes or fried eggs
Share a favorite organizational tip.
HVH: Get rid of anything not used regularly (or stash it for special times) and keep up with clutter!
Alayna: Latchmate boxes from Michael's or Hobby Lobby for each kid. Big enough to hold and contain each kids main curriculum.