- Our son, Joseph is a Construction Superintendent and has his own household now with three children of his own.
- Our daughter, Rebekah, is a tile expert and has also started her own household with her husband.
- Our daughter, Sarah, is still gracing our household with her amazing culinary skills.
- Natasha and Archie, twin black cats, are snuggle champions. (Natasha jumped up in my arms and I am typing with her there....)
How do you Timberdoodle?
I heard about Timberdoodle 23+ years ago when my oldest child, Joseph, was 4 years old. My friend Kim was homeschooling her children and she sent me a bunch of homeschool information and resources, including Timberdoodle. Some of the resources were "canned" programs with everything for a certain grade included. I was really attracted to the Timberdoodle catalog, because it allowed me to pick and choose curriculum for each subject.
One of the first things I ordered was Charlotte Mason's Home Companion. After reading that I was even more hooked on selecting educational material for my children based on the appeal of that material rather than just getting a "canned" program from other suppliers.
I have ordered the majority of my homeschool material from Timberdoodle over the years, including manipulatives like cuisenaire rods, math books like Horizons and Critical Thinking Books. We bought G. A. Henty books and graphic novels and... well, it is a very long list. Selecting a favorite is hard because we have used and enjoyed everything. Now I buy things for my grandchildren.
I would have to say Charlotte Mason's Home Companion would be my favorite because it set the tone for decades of homeschooling, a relaxed, delight directed approach, designed to instill God-honoring character and create a love of learning.
As for incorporating them into our day, we used them all day! We played with cuisenaire rods, we used "Bible Sword" to direct our Bible Study, we read G. A. Henty books out loud at bedtime, we found Rebekah under the covers with a flashlight reading more G. A. Henty.
As the children got older they did Horizons Math and Saxon Math and Simply Grammar and we used science kits and books from Timberdoodle and typing programs. The only thing we did not use Timberdoodle for was chore time and outdoor play time!
Tell us about a typical school day at your house.
This is history for me. All my children are graduated.
We started at 9:00 a.m. (after breakfast). We read the Bible and practiced memory verses every day. The rest of the subjects varied from day to day, but we covered history, geography, math, science, grammar, spelling, writing, literature, music, critical thinking, and they all read like crazy! We also spent a lot of time outside every day. Lunch was at approximately noon and dinner at approximately 6:00. We did chores along with school every day, the goal to be done with everything by 3:00 p.m. so we could play!
If we peeked inside your home on a random Wednesday afternoon, what would we see?
Now, you would see me as I am, a cat in my arms, working on the computer, generally on business rather than filling out a Timberdoodle questionnaire. My daughter Sarah is working on her own independent studies. My husband Barry is also working on our business.
When all three children were home, you would see Joseph working on world view homework, Rebekah and Sarah on the couch with cats working on their math books, and me at the kitchen table grading math homework! Then Joseph would go out to chop wood for the fire, Sarah would go out to feed the chickens and Rebekah would be starting dinner, while I made phone calls for our business.
If you could take your family anywhere you wanted for vacation where would you go?
On a camping trip to Metzler Park.
What books have you read over and over?
- The Bible
- To Have and To Hold
- All the GA Henty Books
- Stephen Lawhead's books
What dietary challenges does your family face?
Joseph had severe health issues. So we ate everything organic straight from farmers which then inspired us to start an organic food co-op. For many years we did not eat any grains or sugars, and when we added them back, we eat only whole, organic grains that we soak or sprout and only whole sugars like maple and honey that we get straight from the farms where they are produced.
So - this was a major focus during our homeschooling years. Our children learned a lot about food sourcing and food science. We had a huge garden, chickens, sometimes goats. We purchased raw milk and all of our meat directly from farmers. We picked fruit and vegetables all summer and fermented, dried, froze, or canned it. All our children know how to grow and process food for ultimate health. Kitchen Chemistry! Who knew it could be so fun!
What tips do you have for surviving a hard day?
- Snuggle on the couch with all the children reading books!
- Ask my husband for prayer and a hug!
- When Joseph was in excruciating pain, we actually broke a habit of "no TV" and got a DVD player and borrowed Star Wars from a friend. I am not sure I would recommend this, but it was like magic - totally distracted Joseph from his physical pain.
What’s something your child has done that thrilled your soul?So many!
- Joseph accepting Jesus as his savior at 5 years old.
- Rebekah finding her own relationship with God at 19 years old.
- Sarah finding her voice to be able to speak her thoughts.
- Joseph finding his helpmeet Ellie!
- Rebekah marrying Harley who loves her ferociously!
How does your family celebrate birthdays?
We have a special dinner (birthday person gets to pick food), somebody makes a cake or pie (with all the health issues it was often made with coconut or almond flour) and we play games!
What have you done recently for the first time?
- I made a vision board!
- I volunteered to help manage a local community hall.
What’s your favorite school day lunch?
Homemade soup made with real bone stock and organic veggies, with home-made sourdough bread made with fresh-ground Kamut and Spelt smeared with grassfed raw butter!
How would you manage if you had to homeschool without the internet?
Just fine. Most of our homeschool material was hands-on (ordered from Timberdoodle with a catalog), not internet based.
What tips do you have for other families?
Enjoy your children! Make everything fun! Don't stress (or even focus) on the completion of the tasks or curriculum or taking tests. Just enjoy the process! It is so fun and such a privilege to spend all day with your children, teaching them, laughing with them, loving on them. If it ever feels like work, or you are stressed out, take a day (or a week) off and re-evaluate what you are doing or how you are doing it, because it should be delightful!
What is something you appreciate about each of your kids?
- Joseph: Task oriented (like me) and so can get a lot done!
- Rebekah: Great cook!
- Sarah: So incredibly sensitive to other people.
What song is currently in your head?
I've Got That Joy Joy Joy Joy Down in My Heart
Tell us about your family’s favorite games.
- Thai Uno - a very aggressive form of Uno, all the cards create an action, slapping the deck, no talking, trading hands, you can play out of turn if you can match the color and number - so fun!
- May I - a game played with a regular deck of cards that is similar to Phase 10, a progressive game of sets and runs.
- Catch Phrase
What is your exercise routine and how often do you do it?
I go to the gym and do a dance aerobics class followed by a weight lifting class twice a week. Then I go 2-3 more times a week just to dance class.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in your homeschool that you called a “science experiment”?
Making raspberry pop by fermenting raspberries and honey. Many of the bottles when we opened them would "fizz explosively", a few of the bottles actually exploded.
What hard thing are you planning to do this year?
Help my daughter with social anxiety.
What did you do just for fun with your kids recently?
Rebekah and her husband Harley came over for lunch on Sunday and played games with Barry, Sarah, and me.
What would you name your boat if you had one?
The Sarah Lee.
If you could learn a new skill, what would it be?
What’s the last recipe you looked up?
What apps do you use the most?
- Share Contact
- Google Maps
If you could sum up your homeschool style or philosophy in one phrase what would it be?
Godly delight-directed learning.
What do your kids want to be when they grow up?
- Joseph: He wants to build things (and does now!)
- Rebekah: Mom, wife, Krav Maga Instructor (she currently works in construction with Joseph as a tile expert)
- Sarah: Famous Chef!
What extracurricular activities is your family involved in?
- folk dancing!
We have done:
If you have a moment to yourself what do you like to do?
What’s your favorite school day breakfast?
Fruit and yogurt.
What’s the best homeschool field trip you’ve ever been on?
Trip to Europe!
The grocery store cashier asks, “But what about socialization?” What do you say?
My children are so social! And with lots of people, not just people their own age! In fact, they were very social with the cashiers! We do park days. We do science co-ops. We do volleyball and gymnastics and AWANA. My children interact with adults while they help with our business. Joseph and Rebekah were party central - organizing movie marathons and games days and hikes - so social!
What’s the funniest thing one of your kids ever said?
Joseph: "All I did was put on the brakes...." After he somersaulted his bicycle and broke his arm...
What do you do for fun as a family?
- play games
- folk dance
How do you continue to educate yourself?
I read books on a variety of topics, health mainly, but also business and personal development.
What are favorite healthy snacks at your house?
- raw milk
- raw cheese
- fresh squeezed orange juice
- deviled eggs
What’s the best museum you’ve ever gone to?
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in homeschooling?
Health challenges of my son that made it impossible for him to study and took my attention away from the other children.
What is your favorite thing about having kids?
They are all so loving! They love each other, they love us, they love their own children now and their friends.
What’s the best vacation you have ever taken as a family?
List 3 frivolous things you are enjoying right now.
- fresh-squeezed orange juice
- holding my cat
- spending time on this questionnaire!
What’s your favorite in-a-pinch dinner option?
What’s the strangest place you’ve done school?
Share a favorite organizational tip.
Pick up everything off the floor every evening! Even if you cannot put it all away, I would use a cardboard box or laundry basket, but everything got picked up.
What special gifts or talents to your kids have?
- Joseph: A child prodigy on the jazz banjo. He is really good at getting things done - he is the "go-to" man at the construction company he works for and now supervises and trains 9 teams.
- Rebekah: Amazing cook! And apparently a real talent for laying tile! Oh - and 4th degree Krav Maga!
- Sarah: Also a really amazing cook. She is also spectacular at making fancy deserts. Her most impactful talent is her talent for seeing people.
Tell us something unique or unusual about your family.
Definitely the fact that we eat only real food! And we all like to teach other people about the benefits of doing so.
What’s making you laugh these days?
What do you do for P.E. in your homeschool?
When the children were all home:
- Play dates at the park with other families. We would have all the children do pull ups and other challenges on the equipment.
- At home we would do calisthenics, practice volleyball and baseball drills.
- We went to gymnastics and swimming lessons.
Share a favorite inspirational quote.
It just reminds me I will never be perfect!
What’s your best time of day to homeschool?
Tell us something interesting about your local area.
Oregon: It rains all the time! So we did not just go outside when it was nice, or we would have stayed in a lot! We went out to play in the puddles!
What dream for your family has come true?
Joseph is healthy! Actually - they are all healthy, but there was a point where we thought Joseph would die, or at least be in pain all of his life. God is good! He showed us how to help Joseph be healthy and in doing that, we have taught thousands of others the same!
What’s the most useless talent you have?
I guess obsessing over things. I call it a talent because I tend to do it, but it is truly a worthless talent!