I am Melissa and married to my husband, Chris, for over 11 years. We have 3 living children: Logan who is almost 9, Zoey who is almost 8, and Tobias who is 4. We also have a precious daughter Haley who is in heaven. We also have an adorable goldfish named Goldie. We are a Jesus loving, Star Wars obsessed, and active outdoorsy family. In the summer, you will probably find my kids at the community pool, aw they are basically more fish than kid in the summer.
How do you Timberdoodle?
I first heard about Timberdoodle from a YouTube mom who was sharing where they got their homeschool curriculum from. I instantly had to check it out and fell in LOVE! Both our boys have special needs and academics can be hard for them. Timberdoodle has brought in so many hands-on items into our school day, my sons forgets that he is even learning! He just thinks it is fun! We love all the STEM, art, puzzles, and game extras. This year Tenzi, Laser Maze, Q-bitz, and the Engine motorized kit have been favorites in our house. I regularly find my kids playing with them even when "school" time is over.
Tell us about a typical school day at your house.
We sometimes start school around 9:00 a.m. Each day we cover reading, writing, spelling, grammar, and critical thinking. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday we do a block of history. On Tuesday and Thursday we do a block of science. Each day I choose a puzzle of the day, game of the day, and STEM item of the day. We have a lot of art projects included into science and history, so those fall into our science and history block times. We typically do school at a variety of times. It varies day to day.
One example is starting school from 9:00-11:00 a.m. with my 7- and 8-year-olds and then they get a break. Then I move into 30 minutes of 1-on-1 with my 4-year-old while my older two do some time on the iPad doing Reading Eggs (our favorite app for learning and awesome for children with special needs). We break for the morning at 11:30 a.m. to start preparing lunch. After lunch, if the weather allows, we will head to the park, go on a walk, scooter or bike ride. After getting the wiggles out, we head back to school around 2:00 p.m. We wrap up school by 4:00 p.m. Then more outside time if it is nice. Then dinner at 5:00 p.m. Bath, games, books, and devotions wrap up a nice day. This is just one example.
We love homeschooling because we can change it with what the day needs. Sometimes we start school by 6:45 a.m. and wrap the school day by noon if we have a bunch of things to do out of the house in the afternoon, or a play date with friends, or a visit to grandma's house. Sometimes we start at 1:00 p.m. if we were out of the house for appointments, grocery shopping, or a trip to the library in the morning. We love the flexibility that homeschooling allows us!
If we peeked inside your home on a random Wednesday afternoon, what would we see?
Wednesday afternoons would find us knee deep in history. We do history in blocks, so we can really get immersed in it, rather than a smaller time slot each day. This year we are studying United States history, so you would find us learning about the foundations of our government, the Civil war, or the Louisiana purchase. Just the other day we made a US flag that was an exact model to the one that flew in the war of 1812. It was the only flag that had 15 stripes! On Wednesdays we are also reviewing anything they need memorized for their classes at church on Wednesdays (Royal Rangers and Missionettes). We always have an early dinner on Wednesdays and are out the door by 5:45 p.m. to get to church on time.
If you could take your family anywhere you wanted for vacation where would you go?
We love the ocean and the lake!
What books have you read over and over?
- Magic Tree House series
- Wellie Wishers series
- Charlotte's Web
- Pete the Cat
What dietary challenges does your family face?
I dealt with a picky eater and we dealt with it by not giving him snacks. This way he was hungry at meal times and more willing to eat what we were having for meals.
What tips do you have for surviving a hard day?
When we have a hard day, we will set a timer for 20 minutes. We try whatever it challenging the student for 20 minutes and then take a break before trying it again.
What’s something your child has done that thrilled your soul?
He finally learned to read! It was a struggle that had us both in tears at points, but we finally found All About Reading (a Timberdoodle item in our curriculum kit) and it has helped so much! It is still a struggle, but he has learned he CAN do it!
How does your family celebrate birthdays?
We have a get together with some family members. My kids' favorite thing is to have a pancake or waffle bar, complete with whipped cream, fresh fruit, orange juice, and syrup! Brownies are their favorite dessert! Their family blesses them with presents, including some items from our homeschool wish list! My mom is getting the kids mosiac art books and a set of six geography puzzles that are on next year's Timberdoodle list! Thanks, Mom!
What have you done recently for the first time?
We got the kids a Reading Eggs subscription and the kids love it and I really noticed a difference in their reading already!
What’s your favorite school day lunch?
- macaroni and cheese with veggies and fresh fruit or...
- cheese tortellini with veggies and fresh fruit
How would you manage if you had to homeschool without the internet?
We have homeschooled without the internet on a day-to-day basis, but I would miss shopping on Timberdoodle! Also, we now love Reading Eggs! I could go back to homeschooling without the internet, it would just not be as much fun!
What tips do you have for other families?
Don't be afraid to homeschool! Society tells you a lot of stories like they need socialization and you can't do it. Don't listen! Many families can be very successful at homeschooling and raise well-adjusted, happy, intelligent kids!
What is something you appreciate about each of your kids?
I love the one-on-one moments I get with each kid throughout the day.
- I love Logan's servant heart. He loves cleaning up trash at adopt-a-block and has such a heart to serve and help others.
- Zoey has a tender, sweet heart and loves to love on her little brother (most of the time!).
- Tobias loves to be my little helper in the kitchen and loves to dump things into the mixing bowls!
What song is currently in your head?
Wow O Wow from Orange Kids Worship. We are reviewing it since it will be played tonight at church!
Tell us about your family’s favorite games.
These are some of our family favorites right now. We are obsessed with games and play 5-7 different games daily.
What is your exercise routine and how often do you do it?
I have an ellipical and *try* to use it several times a week. Also, the kids and I love to go on walks when the weather is nice.
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in your homeschool that you called a “science experiment”?
We examined (looked but no touching, of course) animal poop at a park while studying zoology and tried to figure out what animal left it. I was grossed out, but the kids loved it!
What hard thing are you planning to do this year?
I may start working part time from home on top of everything else. Oh boy!
What did you do just for fun with your kids recently?
They recently started doing Perler beads and I forgot how much I loved doing them as well!
What would you name your boat if you had one?
If you could learn a new skill, what would it be?
I would love to be able to play the piano!
What’s the last recipe you looked up?
What apps do you use the most?
- Reading Eggs
- Temple Run
If you could sum up your homeschool style or philosophy in one phrase what would it be?
Somewhat Charlotte Mason and relaxed.
What do your kids want to be when they grow up?
- Logan wants to be a police officer.
- Zoey wants to be a vet.
- Tobias is mostly non verbal and has special needs, so I don't really know. Maybe a chef since he looks to cook with me?
What extracurricular activities is your family involved in?
We do Royal Rangers and Missionettes at our church, adopt-a-block, and we volunteer at our church's free community meal once a month.
If you have a moment to yourself what do you like to do?
I love to crochet and also love to binge-watch the show 24!
What’s your favorite school day breakfast?
What’s the best homeschool field trip you’ve ever been on?
The Smithsonian Zoo.
The grocery store cashier asks, “But what about socialization?” What do you say?
I just smile and say nothing.
What’s the funniest thing one of your kids ever said?
"I am totally wide awake and could never fall asleep."
Same kid... snoring 30 seconds later, while standing up.
What do you do for fun as a family?
We love swimming, trips to the park, and going to the state park which has a lake and sandy beach area.
How do you continue to educate yourself?
I am currently not continuing my education, but plan to work on that in the near future.
What are favorite healthy snacks at your house?
What’s the best museum you’ve ever gone to?
Smithsonian Natural History Museum
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in homeschooling?
Teaching a child with special needs to read was a huge challenge! It was so amazing to finally hear him read!
What is your favorite thing about having kids?
Hearing their laughs or when they hug you and say BEST DAY EVER!
What’s the best vacation you have ever taken as a family?
Ocean City, Maryland! The beach and a water park and an indoor trampoline park on the day it rained... so much fun!
List 3 frivolous things you are enjoying right now.
- re-watching 24
- re-reading Harry Potter
What’s your favorite in-a-pinch dinner option?
What’s the strangest place you’ve done school?
At a park.
Share a favorite organizational tip.
Everything had a home and when you finish with one activity, you must put it away before starting the next thing. It keeps the school room and home organized and tidy. Plus, you don't lose pieces to all your favorite activities that way.
What special gifts or talents to your kids have?
- Logan can assembly Lego sets with 1,000+ pieces.
- Zoey loves to draw and sing.
Tell us something unique or unusual about your family.
We are a special needs family as well as a family that has lost a child. It really changes how you view your kids you have when you know what it is like to lose a kid. It led to me staying home as a parent and ultimately homeschooling. We almost lost both boys at delivery and I am forever grateful we have them. I want to treasure our time together!
What’s making you laugh these days?
My kids are constantly telling knock knock jokes.
What do you do for P.E. in your homeschool?
- bike rides
Share a favorite inspirational quote.
What’s your best time of day to homeschool?
Tell us something interesting about your local area.
We live near Washington DC, so we like to take the train in to visit the Smithsonian zoo or museums
What dream for your family has come true?
Having my family was our dream come true, as we were told I would never carry a healthy baby to term. Every day getting to raise our kids is truly a dream, since we were told it was never possible!
What’s the most useless talent you have?
I can whistle whole songs.