Meet Jillian B. currently in Oahu, Hawaii />

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Meet Jillian B. currently in Oahu, Hawaii

We are a military family with 3 kids, 2 dogs, and 1 cat. We enjoy swimming together in pools and at the beach.

How do you Timberdoodle?

I googled curriculums good for kids with ADHD as that is the main reason why we decided to homeschool. Timberdoodle was one of the first curriculums to pop up. I gave the curriculum a look, along with going to a homeschool convention. Timberdoodle seemed to have the perfect amount and type of hands-on activities for my children to find enjoyable. So far we have really enjoyed using Timberdoodle. It was an easy transition into homeschooling for us. My kids love the games and the creativity books and projects that came with the curriculum. I love how easy it is to teach.

Tell us about a typical school day at your house.

We start our school day after breakfast. My kids are allowed to sleep in, so no specific time. We usually start the day with one of their thinking skills assignments. From there, we just move through the list at the kids' pace. Some days writing comes easier to them than math and other days it’s the opposite. I really just let them move at their own pace with some gentle nudges to keep them on track. We all sit or lay around the dining room table with classical music playing. Two kids wear silencing headphones so that I can work with the 1 kid that still can’t read without distracting them. The kids always have a healthy snack in front of them during study time. When they’re working hard and getting things done I surprise them with a sweet treat and they love that. Once we have completed a few assignments in a day, we stop and go swimming.

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

My kids and I sitting around the dining room doing school work.

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

To the U.K.

What books have you read over and over?

The Game of Thrones series along with other books by George R.R. Martin.

What dietary challenges does your family face?

My kids' medication suppresses their appetites. I make sure to give them high calorie snacks along with PediaSure Grow & Gain.

What tips do you have for surviving a hard day?

Take a break if you need it. If your kids are struggling with getting school work done, change the scenery. Try going outside, to another room, or just put it aside until you both get a chance to de-stress. We once completed math at 10:00 p.m. because that was the only time my child was in the right mindset to do it. I was tired but it was actually clicking and making sense to my child at this time so I rolled with it. We both felt great after completing the work.

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

I have some of the most compassionate children ever. I have seen them accept other children with special needs as their friend and playmate of choice. My oldest used to play with a physically handicapped child that was immobile by pulling him around in a wagon at school instead of riding bikes or climbing on the play structures. My middle child has played with autistic children that have a hard time sharing and just rolled with it when the toys she was playing with were snatched out of her hands. Instead of getting upset, she’d go get more of the toys that went along with what her friend was playing so that they could still play together. My baby tries to play with crying babies to cheer them up.

My children are so nonjudgmental of their peers. That’s something I wish they got back in return but for now I’m just so proud of the fact that I’m raising 3 of the most accepting souls I’ve ever met.

How does your family celebrate birthdays?

We used to have birthday parties with our closest friends. This is our first year changing that. From now on, we are just celebrating with us 5 by doing a special thing together. That special thing could be anything. Going to a movie, the zoo, dinner, etc. It’s up the the special person of the day to choose; within reason of course!

What have you done recently for the first time?

Took my kids snorkeling!

What’s your favorite school day lunch?

Fruit, cheese, salami, crackers, hummus, and veggies.

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

It would be a challenge but I think we’d be okay. We don’t really use the internet that much. We are more of a hands in family.

What tips do you have for other families?

Don’t be afraid to try homeschooling. Everyone thinks it’s going to be so difficult for a number of reasons. I’ve heard parents be afraid simply because they already struggle to get their kids to do their homework. We struggled with that too! I also hear people express their fears of finding it too stressful. Homeschooling has actually simplified our lives. No more yelling at kids to hurry up and get ready for school (it took mine up to 2 hours to get ready some mornings because of lack of focus). No more rushing to get homework done and dinner made before sports in the evening. No more worries about balancing out vacation time, doctor appointments, and sick days with fears of the kids missing too much school and falling behind. No more overly physically and emotionally exhausted children coming home in the afternoon resulting in screaming, doors slamming, and tears. My relationship between my children and myself has never been better since starting homeschooling. My kids are so much more comfortable learning in their own environment that we can do school for up to 6 hours a day some days without any tears or meltdowns. They just love what Timberdoodle has to offer them in their curriculums. My kids actually beg me to do school work with them!

What is something you appreciate about each of your kids?

The thing I appreciate the most about all 3 of my children is their love for each other. They still choose to share a room and never seem to get tired of playing together. They have their moments of arguing of course but those moments are few and far between and never last long. They’re always looking out for one another.

What song is currently in your head?

Zombie by Cranberries now because of the wording of this question. Nothing before this question though.

Tell us about your family’s favorite games.

We like to make up obstacle courses and racing games for the pool. Our favorite game to play, though, is race Daddy on buckling our seatbelts first. It’s girls against Daddy and we somehow win 99% of the time. We also play girls against Daddy with Nerf guns and wrestling matches. Daddy is a good sport!

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

30 minutes of yoga a day. I usually do this in the late afternoon or at night. I also enjoy swimming.

My kids get their exercise in by swimming, doing yoga, and playing soccer.

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

Well, it’s actually my own experiment and not so much my kids. I have served coffee to my children during study time to see if it helped their focus. Found out that it not only helped but also decreased their chances of complaining of headaches in the afternoon.

What hard thing are you planning to do this year?

We are currently in the middle of a huge move from one state to another. This has been difficult for a number of reasons. Not being able to bring all of our school supplies with us has limited us on what to get done while we wait for the remainder of our stuff to get here. Trying to complete school work in a tiny hotel room has been hard on my children. They can’t seem to focus in this room, yet we still get stuff done.

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

Went to the beach to swim and play in the sand.

What would you name your boat if you had one?

Sea Bird

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

I’d like to learn another language.

What’s the last recipe you looked up?

A sweet potato cake and it turned out amazing!

What apps do you use the most?


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

Let’s get it done and go have some fun!

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

So many things. Teacher, veterinarian, astronaut, paleontologist, etc. I’ve heard it all.

What extracurricular activities is your family involved in?

Soccer, dance, and swimming.

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

Play games on my iPad

What’s your favorite school day breakfast?

Kodiak waffles that I make from the batter and freeze ahead of time along with homemade blueberry sauce.

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

Going snorkeling and seeing dolphins, turtles, and whales!

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

They get plenty of socialization from sports and our time with our friends over the weekends. School is for learning anyway and they are getting more out of their education now than they did going to public school.

What do you do for fun as a family?

Family movie night with snuggles, popcorn, and treats of course! We also go swimming together a lot.

How do you continue to educate yourself?

Currently I read news articles. Not political articles though. I’m tired of politics at the moment or more or less tired of news outlets trying to form my opinion for me. I like reading about current events. I would like to step up my education and try some online school though.

What are favorite healthy snacks at your house?

Carrots, apples, and nuts.

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

With my kids that they found interesting I’d have to say the high desert museum in Bend, Oregon. It’s so hands-on and the kids loved it.

I loved the Museum of Natural History in New York before I became a mommy and would love to take them there someday.

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

I have narcolepsy. So for me it is a constant challenge to not stay in bed or on the couch all day. I somehow manage to overcome my exhaustion just enough to do school though. My kids deserve a great education and that helps motivate me to get moving everyday. It’s difficult to not feel sleepy during our school time and sometimes we do break just so I can take a power nap, but we always manage to stay on top of school work if not a little ahead.

What is your favorite thing about having kids?

Watching these amazing people that I made grow up. Knowing that they are here and healthy because of my husband’s and my love and care for them.

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

Going to Rome. The city is stunning and the food is by far superior to any other food I’ve ever had.

Also enjoyed a family vacation to Disneyland complete with grandparents and uncles!

List 3 frivolous things you are enjoying right now.

  • Watching my kids play with their dolls
  • Going to the beach just to sit in the sand
  • Playing with tablets during down time

What’s your favorite in-a-pinch dinner option?

Trader Joe’s frozen orange chicken and fried rice. So good and the kids love it!

What’s the strangest place you’ve done school?

Doctor's office.

Share a favorite organizational tip.

I use colored clips to mark the pages I want the kids to work on throughout the week. This helps me keep track of much they’ve completed with a quick visual scan. It also helps give them a visual of how more they need to do and where to stop.

What special gifts or talents to your kids have?

All 3 of my kids are very strong swimmers for their ages.

Tell us something unique or unusual about your family.

All of my kids wear glasses and look a lot alike. We never go a day outside of the house without being asked if they are triplets.

Something that is unusual for me specifically is I lost my mom to cancer before I met my husband. I used to be so sad on Mother’s Day because I was missing out on a mother-daughter relationship. Somehow life surprised me and gave me the gift of a mother-daughter relationship times three in a way I never expected but appreciate so much more.

What’s making you laugh these days?

My children constantly. The things they say and do are always entertaining to say the least.

What do you do for P.E. in your homeschool?

Take them swimming or to the park.

Share a favorite inspirational quote.

What’s your best time of day to homeschool?

Late morning.

Tell us something interesting about your local area.

We are currently in Hawaii. What more do I need to say? Warm oceans to swim in, tide pools to explore, beaches to lay in, trails to hike, and waterfalls to cool off in. Paradise!

What dream for your family has come true?

To live in both Europe and Hawaii so that we can see and explore places that would normally cost us a fortune to vacation in.

What’s the most useless talent you have?

To fall asleep whenever and wherever.