Meet Leslie C. from New Jersey />

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Meet Leslie C. from New Jersey

I left retail management to be a stay-at-home-mom and homeschool our kids. My husband is a full time police officer and is also in the Air Force National Guard. We have 2 wild, smart and funny boys ages 3 and 4.

How do you Timberdoodle?

I discovered Timberdoodle in a late night internet research night. We spent nearly 6 months debating, researching and watching Timberdoodle's YouTube channel to make sure it was the correct fit. We started last year and I’m so thankful we did! We are thrilled. Before our school year started, I printed the full year's worth of weekly schedules. Each boy has a binder (which they decorated on the first day of school) and we check off the daily tasks as we complete them. It’s the best!! This tool keeps me on track. When we have something exciting coming up, we will work ahead. This is a homeschool luxury. We’ve even taken spontaneous vacations worry free working in this manor. Our household favorites last year were the Primary Science Set, Gakken Workbook Set and we still read What Do People Do All Day nightly. This year we are loving our Mathematical Reasoning books, Our World Book, First Sticker Book Jobs, and Alphabet Bingo. There are more, thankfully, but I’ll look silly naming them all!

Tell us about a typical school day at your house.

We wake up and have breakfast casually and I want to emphasize that because if we had to catch a bus dressed for the day, it wouldn't be as enjoyable for any of us.

After breakfast we get right into school. The routine, especially at their young age is important for us. I’ve tried to be flexible but it’s difficult to pull them back in the following day so I only use exceptions for something worth it.

I use the scheduler and pull their books after cleaning up breakfast. We dive right in with Time For Reading with both boys together.

I continue with any programs/books I can do with both. After we have completed joint work, I break them apart and focus on them individually while the other breaks to play.

Most often we can accomplish everything while eating a snack towards the end in one smooth block! This given us from about 10:30 a.m. on to enjoy the entire day!

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

By the afternoon we have completed our book work. When the weather is in our favor we wouldn't even be inside to peek! We take the items from the kit that I’ve removed from the scheduler and play with them outside. These are items such as GeoBoards, GeoStix, Wikki Stix, Alphabet Bingo, Three Little Piggies Smart Game and the Primary Science Kit.

What books have you read over and over?

They can’t get enough of What Do People Do All Day. We read this at bedtime.

What dietary challenges does your family face?

I buy organic produce and juice blends together in the morning to overcome our nutritional battles!

What tips do you have for surviving a hard day?

If I’m having a rough day early into the school day, I’ll work with what they are enjoying and push ahead in that area. I stopped fighting the “need” to stay on track in hard days. I decided I want them to want to learn and enjoy it! This changed everything. It’s also important for me to get personal time in so I’m showing up mentally “in it” and grounded.

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

There are so many recent things but I’d say spelling his name (just turned 3) and proud to do it for others has been a complete thrill. He’s excited to do it, people are blown away and I’m proud to have been so involved in the learning process.

How does your family celebrate birthdays?

We try to take our 5th wheel camper to a fun destination. Some trips have been more elaborate, others just a weekend close by to just have fun together.

What have you done recently for the first time?

Pertaining to education and school, we just started letting the 4-year-old take his own initiative with Channie's Letters and Sticker By Number. It’s been so much fun and rewarding to watch! He’s proud as well.

What’s your favorite school day lunch?

A trip to Chipotle! Most often we go the PB&J route but Chipotle is our favorite lunch treat.

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

Not a thing would change for us at this stage. We use the internet for Disney+ movie time and downtime.

What tips do you have for other families?

Enjoy it! When you make it fun and exciting, they will want to learn. It becomes part of the day and not as much a task.

What is something you appreciate about each of your kids?

I appreciate how they wake up happy and ready to start the day with so much joy.

What song is currently in your head?

The Blippi theme

Tell us about your family’s favorite games.

We have a blast with Alphabet Bingo! We’ve even recommended it to other family members with young children, for their homes.

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

I wake up at 4:45 a.m. to attend a 5:30 a.m. Power Yoga class 4 mornings a week. I’ve tried evening workouts after my husband gets home from work, but by then I typically canceled because I ran out of energy!

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

We went outside and collected random items and put them in old glass maple syrup bottles. My intention was to just get outside and get creative but the result were beautiful! We still have them! 

What hard thing are you planning to do this year?

We have been in the process of building a new home and selling our current. The move is approaching and I’m hoping to transition easily by working ahead and setting up a fun new learning environment. It’ll be hard with so much movement and change but I’m going to give it my best!

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

We sang the alphabet using the daily All About Reading chart in silly voices. It was ridiculous and fun.

What would you name your boat if you had one?

The Adventurers.

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

Playing an instrument.

What’s the last recipe you looked up?

Pressure cooker stuffed peppers with Mexican lime creme sauce.

What apps do you use the most?

  • Apple Watch Health Ap
  • Weather Channel

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

We homeschool in a structured way that still feels fun and free!

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

  • doctor
  • police officer

What extracurricular activities is your family involved in?

Ninja Tots and 2 days a week at open gym.

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

Go in the hot tub.

What’s your favorite school day breakfast?

A fresh pressed juice, yogurt and bagels.

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

Because of our camper we’ve, thankfully, been on many! It’s one of the reasons we homeschool. Our favorite trip was likely our circle through Natural Bridge Virginia, Tennessee, Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, back to New Jersey. There was so much to see and learn!

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

We used to take this question to heart but after we’ve found our way, it’s hard not to laugh at the question anymore. We explain that our kids spend time with many, many kids of all ages and adults making them very well rounded. Just yesterday we went to a playground at 1:30 expecting to have the place to ourselves. There was a homeschool group of 18 kids. So even when we don't plan social outings, they happen naturally.

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

“Never trust a fart.” This is great advise but...

What do you do for fun as a family?

Travel or adventure outside.

How do you continue to educate yourself?

I read when I can but lately I’ve put any personal time into that hour of yoga mentioned.

What are favorite healthy snacks at your house?

Nuts and juicing.

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

Museum of Natural History, New York.

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

My personal patience.

What is your favorite thing about having kids?

The ability to live a second childhood! We have so much fun together.

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

We took our camper from New Jersey all the way down to Key West, Florida! We made a few great stops but our time in Disney was completely “magical”. Living beachside for a few day was incredible as well.

List 3 frivolous things you are enjoying right now.

  • The boys are watching a movie on the new Disney+ paid channel (while I complete this survey in fact).
  • I bought a new yoga mat that wasn’t cheap.
  • We bought new throw pillows for our new home which started an IKEA addiction.

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

Pizza or breakfast for dinner.

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

A tiki hut in Miami. I’m not complaining at all!

Share a favorite organizational tip.

The binder with scheduler per child is huge for us. I let them design their binders on the first day of school. I stack their daily books under each binder in the morning and keep an organizer next to the binders with pencils,crayons, colored pencils, markers, erasers, glitter, glue sticks, paper clips and reward stickers.

What special gifts or talents to your kids have?

One has a memory like nothing I’ve ever experienced. The other has been building and constructing things with an engineer mind since early toddler stage.

Tell us something unique or unusual about your family.

We certainly stick out among the other police and military families we’ve come across. My husband is an adventurous Type A and I’m a structured free spirit so we have a very unique way about us. We come home for work needs then use as much personal time as my husband gets, to take off anywhere and everywhere!

What’s making you laugh these days?

My kids! They are in such a funny stage/age. I never know what’s going to happen next.

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

Ninja Tots, open gym and lots of outdoor activity. When the weather permits we are kayaking, hiking, swimming, etc.

Share a favorite inspirational quote.

What’s your best time of day to homeschool?

8:30ish to 11:00ish.

Tell us something interesting about your local area.

We live in the middle of the woods but have beaches within 15 minutes of 3 directions.

What dream for your family has come true?

Homeschooling 2 healthy children and traveling.

What’s the most useless talent you have?

I can still do a cartwheel. This helps no one. Hahaha.