We are Jeff, Kristin, Brookie, Ry Ry, Emmie.
Jeff and I both work with horses. We love animals and we are working towards buying a ranch where we can have lots of animals and run a non-profit! We plan to offer free to low-cost equine therapy (riding lessons, horsemanship classes, etc) to foster kids and underprivileged children.
We currently have one Ragdoll cat named Hallelujah aka "Smitty Kitty." She's an absolute love!
We hope to add some mini-Holland Lops (super cute bunnies), some ponies and horses, a Golden Retriever and some chickens to our family soon!
How do you Timberdoodle?
I am so grateful for Timberdoodle. I first heard about it at an Idaho homeschool weekend conference. It is a great fit for our family.
I love that all of the curricula are already put together for us and what is put together is all hands-on, fun stuff to learn and do!
I love All About Reading, the options they give for History, all of the science experiments...pretty much everything! It's working out wonderfully for our family.
As far as our schedule goes, we homeschool year-round with six weeks on and a break week on the seventh week. We do Math, Reading and Writing M/W/F and Science on Tuesday with History and Geography on Thursday. This schedule is working out great for us so far. I am loving the regularly scheduled breaks and a whole day to fit in science and all of the setups, break-down, and clean-ups it can involve.
Tell us about a typical school day at your house.
We typically wake up at 6:45 a.m., make our beds, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush our teeth and then start with Bible study. From there we are flexible on what we do next because our schedule currently revolves around the baby and how she's doing that day. Sometimes I will jump right into school with the older kids and other days we will wait until the baby does down for her nap. We live out in the forest so we mix up nature hikes, playing soccer in the field, playing an outside game, swinging on the swings, doing art, learning the drums and piano and other extracurricular activities depending on the weather and how we are feeling.
As far as chores, having daily "10 minutes tidies" has been a lifesaver. We set the timer for 10 minutes and all work together to clean. It's amazing what can get done when four people are working together, even if it's just for 10 minutes.
As far as doing deeper cleans, etc. I typically wait until a break week to jump into organization projects or major things that need to get done.
As far as meals go, I like to keep it healthy and simple. We try to pick out one new recipe to try every week but realistically it ends up being every month. All of my children are 7 and under so I do the cooking and baking but they like to help!
If we peeked inside your home on a random Wednesday afternoon, what would we see?
Three little kids playing with Morph, painting, reading, dancing, or building a fort with the couch pillows and a fuzzy little cat laying bellied up in front of the fire.
If you could take your family anywhere you wanted for vacation where would you go?
I am not sure what route we'd take yet but I'd love to drive to Kentucky to see the Ark Encounter at some point, and from there we'd love to go to the Creation Museum. I'd also love to spend time on the East Coast and dive into American History, specifically the Civil War.
What books have you read over and over?
The Bible and every children's version out there
What dietary challenges does your family face?
We really don't have any. Fortunately we are all very healthy.
What tips do you have for surviving a hard day?
Grace. God's grace and keeping it all in perspective. On hard days I have to remember "why" am I homeschooling and the answer is Jesus. If my kids bomb math and everything else that day but they draw closer to Him by learning how to lean on His strength then it's a win in my book. I have to remember the bigger picture and that helps me start the next day after a rough patch.
What’s something your child has done that thrilled your soul?
I love it when I see the Fruits of the Spirit in them. Like when they are loving to each other, when they speak life over me and their siblings and when they put others above themselves.
What’s your favorite school day lunch?
Tuna fish sandwich with chips and apple slices.
How would you manage if you had to homeschool without the internet?
We'd be just fine. In regards to homeschool, I only use the internet to buy things from Timberdoodle. Other than that I really try to limit screen time.
What tips do you have for other families?
Start your day with the Lord. We start every day in prayer and Bible study and it always sets us on the right track. The days we skip it or run out the door without it never turn out as well as they could've if we had set our eyes and hearts on Jesus first.
What is something you appreciate about each of your kids?
- Brooklyn - she's an amazing big sister in too many ways to list. She's got a huge heart and a great mind.
- Ryland - has the biggest, most tender heart. He's always right there when someone gets hurt or needs a hug. I also love how boldly and lovingly he shares Jesus with everyone. He blows me away. He has shared the Gospel with more people than I can count and has pointed people to Jesus more times than I can recall. This all started when he was 4 and he's only 6 now.
- Emmalene - I love how much she makes me laugh. She is only two and a total little ham. She's crazy smart and simply adorable.
What song is currently in your head?
"Nothing But the Blood of Jesus"
Tell us about your family’s favorite games.
What is your exercise routine and how often do you do it?
I go on walks as often as I can. I'd love to make it a 45 minute daily routine but I am not quite there yet. At the moment I fit it in when I can and try to sneak in exercise by playing outside with the kids. As far as the kids go, I just try to get them outside doing something for at least an hour a day. We live on 8 acres so there is always something to go do (bike rides, scooters, soccer, hikes etc.)
What hard thing are you planning to do this year?
Sleep train the baby.
What did you do just for fun with your kids recently?
We had a gingerbread decorating party and invited our friends over to join us.
If you could learn a new skill, what would it be?
My daughter and I recently learned how to sew! That was the skill we were hoping to learn and it's been a lot of fun!
What’s the last recipe you looked up?
Thai Chicken Soup.
What apps do you use the most?
If you could sum up your homeschool style or philosophy in one phrase what would it be?
Eclectic, relaxed, Biblical.
What do your kids want to be when they grow up?
- vet or a pediatric doctor/nurse
What extracurricular activities is your family involved in?
- hopefully martial arts soon
If you have a moment to yourself what do you like to do?
What’s your favorite school day breakfast?
Cereal, oatmeal, egg bites, waffles, and pancakes (occasionally)... I know you said "favorite" but we love all of those!
What’s the best homeschool field trip you’ve ever been on?
The San Francisco Zoo.
What’s the funniest thing one of your kids ever said?
Brooke: "Mom, I don't want to go to heaven!"
Me: (horrified) "What? Why!?"
Brooke: "Because Jesus only serves bread and fish and I don't like fish!"
What do you do for fun as a family?
Camping, swimming in the river, visiting family.
How do you continue to educate yourself?
Reading. I love to read!
What are favorite healthy snacks at your house?
Carrots, apples, cheese, greek yogurt (low sugar).
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in homeschooling?
Saying YES to doing it!
What is your favorite thing about having kids?
The joy involved in it all. It's a beautiful mess!
What’s the best vacation you have ever taken as a family?
A seven-week long camping adventure through Idaho, Utah, Arizona, California, and Nevada.
What is something frivolous you are enjoying right now?
Nordstrom Trunk Club. I hate shopping but I need to update my wardrobe so a personal shopper finds things she thinks I'd like and sends them to me to try on before I buy them. It's pretty awesome!