Meet Amanda of Naples, Italy />

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Meet Amanda of Naples, Italy

My daughters name is Angelette. She is 7 years old and has autism. She loves animals. We think she will either be a zookeeper, vet or Jane Goodall. We have 5 pets. 3 dogs Pongo, Eevee and Spock. 1 turtle, Tortuga and a guinea pig, Miss Bianca.

How do you Timberdoodle?

I googled best homeschool curriculums for autism, after having a horrible experience with kindergarten. Timberdoodle kept popping up during my searches. After I checked it out, I decided to give it a try. This is our second year on Timberdoodle. She is now on the first grade curriculum. We love Timberdoodle and use it 5 days a week all year long.

Tell us about a typical school day at your house.

Our school days starts at 8:30 with logic puzzles (Smart Cookies and miniLUK). Both are huge hits with my daughter. Than we do Spelling You See followed my OT/Speech and then Math-U-See. She loves math because she loves the visual and hands-on part of it. Than we take an hour break for snack, etc. After break we do All About Reading, than we do STEM (either Gears + Chain, Amusement Park Engineer, Robotis Pets or we do an experiment. After that we alternate geography, history, and science. To close out our day we do art or music. She loves all the art that comes with Timberdoodle. She hates to color and Timberdoodle has fun alternatives.

If we peeked inside your home on a random Wednesday afternoon, what would we see?

Organized chaos. Just kidding... kind of. Wednesdays are our more relaxed days. We do her favorite things on Wednesday. Like geography and paint, Amusement Park Engineer along with our math, reading, etc.

If you could take your family anywhere you wanted for vacation where would you go?

We live in Europe so we like to go to Disneyland Paris or a theme park in Italy called Gardaland. They are both autism friendly.

What books have you read over and over?

I probably read The Three Little Pigs the most. My daughter loves that story or any Magic School Bus book.

What dietary challenges does your family face?

My daughter eats like three things. Peanut butter sandwich, mac and cheese, and grilled cheese. I try to make healthy choices where I can... wheat bread, and she does eat some fruit which is good.

What tips do you have for surviving a hard day?

Coffee! And taking breaks when I need it I am no good to her stressed.

What’s something your child has done that thrilled your soul?

She is such a sweetheart and has almost too much empathy. LOL. She hates to disappoint and to make anyone upset. Her verbal skills are limited but she will always ask “what wrong?”

How does your family celebrate birthdays?

Together. We have an interesting unit. I am a single stay-at-home mom. Angelette and I live with my mother. Angelette’s birthday is close to Christmas so we spread out her gifts over a week's period so we don’t overwhelm her.

What have you done recently for the first time?

Angelette was a flower girl in my brother's wedding. With her having autism I was freaking out! But she did an amazing job.

What’s your favorite school day lunch?

Peanut butter sandwich on raisin bread and an apple. With milk.

How would you manage if you had to homeschool without the internet?

I do most of it without using internet. The internet in Italy isn’t great. I do look up some stuff on Teachers Pay Teachers but I think I would survive.

What tips do you have for other families?

Don’t get frustrated. We homeschool for the main reason at going at their own pace... don’t rush. Stay off the parent sites. It’s a lot of "my perfect child is advanced...blah blah...." Don’t let them make you feel less about your kid.

What is something you appreciate about your kid?

Angelette is super visual and smart as a whip. She loves logic puzzles and does them better than me.

What song is currently in your head?

Lady Gaga Bad Romance. My daughter dances to it constantly. (eye roll) LOL.

Tell us about your family’s favorite games.

She loves Sequence Jr., the one with the animal cards. Also Kerplunk!

What is your exercise routine and how often do you do it?

Not as often as I should. Holiday weight is real. I normally do Pilates or yoga... sometimes with Angelette. It is calming for her. I like to do it 3 days a weeks but that doesn’t happen often.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in your homeschool that you called a “science experiment”?

Well, nothing has been too weird yet. We have only used Timberdoodle. LOL. But we do science experience daily which some people think is weird. LOL.

What hard thing are you planning to do this year?

I have some speech goals for Angelette that will be difficulty to accomplish: engaging in conversation and providing the appropriate response and asking appropriate questions in return.

What did you do just for fun with your kid recently?

While in the US we went to the Huntsville Space Center with cousins. My daughter is obsessed with space and wore an astronaut costume while we were there.

What would you name your boat if you had one?

Little Angel.

If you could learn a new skill, what would it be?

Speak Italian. I love her but I can barely order food.

What’s the last recipe you looked up?

Sugar cookies icing... I forgot my favorite recipe.

What apps do you use the most?

  • photos
  • camera
  • rocket book

If you could sum up your homeschool style or philosophy in one phrase what would it be?

At her own pace. Or don’t panic. LOL.

What do your kids want to be when they grow up?

Anything with animals or science. She loves experiments but she is always reading about animals

What extracurricular activities is your family involved in?

She did soccer. We have a hard time with extracurricular here with her having autism, not everyone understands.

If you have a moment to yourself what do you like to do?

Play with my pups or do what I call farm chores (basically carrying for all our animals). It’s calming.

What’s your favorite school day breakfast?

Pop Tarts.

What’s the best homeschool field trip you’ve ever been on?

Zoo up in Verona. They have red pandas and a komodo dragon, her favorites.

The grocery store cashier asks, “But what about socialization?” What do you say?

We always have kids over. We have a trampoline in our living room. We are popular.

What’s the funniest thing one of your kids ever said?

She doesn’t talk a lot but she loves to say, "I don’t think so."

What do you do for fun as a family?

Go to the zoo,or to an amusement park, or fly kites.

How do you continue to educate yourself?

Read, read, read. I also have a sister-in-law that works with kids with autism. She gives lots of advice.

What are favorite healthy snacks at your house?


What’s the best museum you’ve ever gone to?

Anniston Museum of Natural History.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in homeschooling?

Trusting myself.

What is your favorite thing about having kids?

Seeing how kind they are and when the learn new things.

What’s the best vacation you have ever taken as a family?

Gardaland amusement park.

List 3 frivolous things you are enjoying right now.

  • Fire TV
  • Netflix
  • HBO