We are an energetic family of six:
- L. (8)
Our likes are wide, varied, and changeable depending on the day, or hour, or minute sometimes! We love the outdoors and outdoor activities, devour books, and eat insanely large amounts of food. The four boys particularly enjoy experimenting with scientific laws- such as gravity and energy transfer- by climbing or swinging on everything.
All of this is patiently observed by Mae, our 9-year-old dog, who has learned to quickly get out of the way. :) Mom loves to sing, read, garden, bake, and dabble in lots of activities. Dad prefers computers and technology, but takes time to push the boys on their swing or hang out at the park.
How do you Timberdoodle?
We first started with Timberdoodle when our oldest, L., was just barely 3. With a 2-year-old and a newborn, I needed a way to curb L.'s tantrums and energy. His grandma suggested that boredom caused the outbursts, and she was right! My luck continued with a friend who already used Timberdoodle and suggested it to me. Farmland Math, Mathematical Reasoning, and Lauri letters saved my sanity and gave L.'s brain something to do! I was so impressed, the next year I bought more of the pre-k kit, and more of the preschool kit for A., who was now starting...and that takes us to now! We are finishing up our year now: 2nd, 1st, and pre-k!
If I had to choose a few favorite products, I would take the critical thinking games, the Apologia science curriculum, and the Language Lessons. I love how engaged the boys get with each of these items, and I am confident that they learn much from every lesson. We loved botany this year (it helped that they could experiment in the garden and with hydroponics) and they are very much looking forward to birds next year.
I love the scheduler that Timberdoodle provides because it allows me to plan an entire year in a short amount of time. We "do school" for three weeks on, and one week off, essentially year round. We are flexible with the dates to accommodate vacation, holidays, etc, and the checklists help the boys to be more independent in accomplishing their tasks.
Tell us about a typical school day at your house.
Our day starts when I get up, usually being woken up around 6:15 a.m. by L. or A. If I make it downstairs, we jump right in to our "daily assignments": math, handwriting, spelling, geography, devotional, reading. We take a break around 8:00, eat breakfast, finish getting ready for our day, then head out for exercise around 9:00 for an hour or two (walking, running, swimming, etc.) While I am fixing lunch, the kids choose between 3-6 other items on their checklist to complete. If they need my help, it waits until after lunch and quiet time- necessary for everyone! If all work and chores are completed, the rest of the day is theirs- play in the yard, read, games, sometimes other activities.
Sounds great, right? Normally, the days don't work that smoothly. Someone gets up late, we have groceries to buy or a co-op to go to, somebody is sick, Dad is home from work, etc. That would be the ideal, and we try really hard to get it to work! The most important thing is that we accomplish our goals and are learning all kinds of wonderful knowledge.
If we peeked inside your home on a random Wednesday afternoon, what would we see?
I don't know! I teach at a co-op on Wednesday afternoons, and my husband stays home with the kids. Twice when I came home I found the evidence of science experiments, but mostly the kids are outside, in their rooms, or in front of the television.
If you could take your family anywhere you wanted for vacation where would you go?
To Grandma's house. She is 1200 miles away, along with most of the rest of both sides of the family. Grandma recently sold her house, so we would be seeing a new one and we are anxious to get a look at it!
We love that Grandma always reads to us, bakes for us, plays games with us, and generally lets us know that we are loved.
What books have you read over and over?
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians
- Calvin and Hobbes
- I Survived
- Pete the Cat
- Dragons Love Tacos
What dietary challenges does your family face?
A. (7) doesn't like much except bread, broccoli, and pasta, but when he gets hungry, he will eat all the fruits and veggies put in front of him.
What tips do you have for surviving a hard day?
Get a good night sleep (ha!) and set a morning routine that works for you, no matter how short or long.
What’s something your child has done that thrilled your soul?
Seeing M. help A. (3) on the big web swing. He can barely pick him up, but he does so he can push his little brother.
How does your family celebrate birthdays?
It is their day! They can pick a reasonable activity, dinner of their choice, and I make a special cake just for them.
What’s your favorite school day lunch?
How would you manage if you had to homeschool without the internet?
Pretty easily as we don't do much on the internet yet. :) That starts next year with coding.
What tips do you have for other families?
Do what you are comfortable with, but make sure your children are learning the skills and knowledge they need to function in life.
What is something you appreciate about each of your kids?
I love how I can ask each one the same question and get a completely different answer. Each of them thinks differently from each other, and it makes conversations very intriguing sometimes.
What song is currently in your head?
"Let it Go"
Tell us about your family’s favorite games.
We like Junior Scrabble, Bananagram Go Fish, and Candyland. Oh, and chess. L. loves chess.
What is your exercise routine and how often do you do it?
We try to exercise 5 times a week- right now we are swimming twice a week and trying to walk 3 times. We will soon start swimming four times a week as a family. The boys also are involved in soccer, and L. has tae kwan do once a week at our co-op.
What hard thing are you planning to do this year?
Wrangle all four boys on a teaching schedule, and possibly take on an extra child in the summer.
What did you do just for fun with your kids recently?
We had a Nerf gun fight that devolved into a wrestling match.
What would you name your boat if you had one?
SNS (Sail Not Sink)
If you could learn a new skill, what would it be?
I would like to learn higher end baking skills.
What’s the last recipe you looked up?
What apps do you use the most?
My scripture app and Netflix. And Kindle :)
If you could sum up your homeschool style or philosophy in one phrase what would it be?
Work, then play.
What do your kids want to be when they grow up?
Depending on the day...
- toy tester
- book reader...
What extracurricular activities is your family involved in?
- tae kwan do
- community service
If you have a moment to yourself what do you like to do?
Sleep or read, even if I have a list of other things to do.
What’s your favorite school day breakfast?
What’s the best homeschool field trip you’ve ever been on?
To a local fire station- they got called out while we were there, so we got to see the truck leave.
The grocery store cashier asks, “But what about socialization?” What do you say?
We have sports, activities, Skype, church, co-op, Scouts. They have plenty of socialization opportunities.
What’s the funniest thing one of your kids ever said?
"I want to be Anna!"
"No, I want to be Anna!"
(I have all boys)
What do you do for fun as a family?
- movie nights
- zoo trips
- strawberry picking
- lots of pool time in the summer
How do you continue to educate yourself?
I learn a lot right alongside my children. I also have taken a few community courses over the years.
What are favorite healthy snacks at your house?
What’s the best museum you’ve ever gone to?
The Smithsonian, but the boys haven't been to that one yet.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in homeschooling?
Juggling different levels and abilities of learning at the same time. Once the kids can ready, it is much easier.
What is your favorite thing about having kids?
Bedtime. :) No, I love them dearly and I love seeing them grow and change.
What’s the best vacation you have ever taken as a family?
We went down to the beach last summer. (My husband couldn't go, and my family cancelled at the last minute). We ended up inviting another homeschool family to come with us and it was an amazing experience! We got to know them a bit better- they have all girls- and we had an absolute blast.
List 3 frivolous things you are enjoying right now.
- reading a book about companion plants and herbs
- watching an old tv show I like
- ...and that's all I have
What’s your favorite in-a-pinch dinner option?
What’s the strangest place you’ve done school?
Share a favorite organizational tip.
I am putting everything in clear, labeled boxes this year to minimize confusion.
What special gifts or talents to your kids have?
- L. reads and understands quickly
- A. can pick out music on the piano or desk bells
- M. is good at observing
- A. makes everyone smile
Tell us something unique or unusual about your family.
We eat broccoli, all of us. We can go through two-three pounds of steamed broccoli for dinner.
What do you do for P.E. in your homeschool?
Running, exercise videos, walks, swimming, and we recently started yoga on the advice of our swim coach. She said it has already made a huge difference in how well the boys swim, and I have noticed increased flexibility as well.
Tell us something interesting about your local area.
We have only had snow four times since we moved here more than 10 years ago. I miss the snow.
What dream for your family has come true?
Financially, things have worked out so I can stay home with the kids.