What Do Your Family Devotions Really Look Like?

As a foster family with little ones 1-4 years old, devotion time has radically changed from previous years, when we were a family of grown ups! Our morning devotion routine starts with gathering the family and getting the little ones seated quietly on the couch. Honestly, this is probably the most difficult part! Some mornings are finally almost effortless, but some mornings way more time is spent on obedience than on devotions. Not to worry, this is both normal and extraordinarily valuable for the children. In fact, the toddlers probably benefit more from that training than from the actual contents […]

Elijah fed by ravens

Why don’t we add a Bible portion to our curriculum?

Why don’t we add a Bible portion to our curriculum? From the time our children could sit in our laps, family devotion was a mainstay in our home, so teaching Bible to our children was paramount. But for too many families the sum total of Bible instruction for their children is Bible workbooks that are little more than read-and-regurgitate exercises, and that alarms me. Yes, I did want children to know the facts of the Bible – who killed a giant with a small stone; who was thrown into a lion’s den; and who changed water into wine, and The […]


7 Tips For Setting Your Compass to Sanity this Summer

The Wreck Report for the SS Slavonia concludes that: “The Court having carefully inquired into the circumstances attending the above-mentioned shipping casualty, finds for the reasons stated in the Annex hereto, that the stranding and loss of the ‘Slavonia’ was due to the default and error of judgment of the master in setting too fine a course and navigating at too high a rate of speed in such weather as prevailed when nearing land, and in placing too much reliance on two admittedly poor bearings for compass error, which were not taken by himself.” After over 16 months of uneventful […]


The Bible: It’s Not Curriculum. It’s So Much More!

Bible Isn’t Curriculum Every year we are asked why we don’t include Bible courses as part of our curriculum kits. The answer? Bible is much bigger than a box on your school checklist. It should happen whether it’s a school day or not, whether you feel like it or don’t, and even whether you homeschool or *gasp* opt to send your children to school. On top of that, it desperately needs to be tailored to your family’s interests, time-frame, and perhaps even what you’re studying at church. A Terrible Tragedy During our conference tours we visited with a mom who […]

9 tips for homeschooling a little genius

9 Tips for Homeschooling Gifted Children

We had an email asking for tips for homeschooling a gifted daughter which prompted us to compile all our very best tips and tricks learned over the past decades. What would you add? 1. Disdain Busy-Work Your child wants to learn, so don’t slow her down! If she has mastered multiplication, why are you still spending an hour a day reviewing it? Yes, she does need some review, but we’ve seen way too many families focus on completing every problem rather than mastering the material. One way to test this is to have her try doing only every other review […]


How We Pack Shoeboxes As A Bible Study

What is more fun than packing shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child? Doing it with your friends. A world-wide outreach of Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Christmas Child distributes shoeboxes full of necessities and toys to children across the globe. Each year, thousands of families wrap shoeboxes and fill them with items such as socks, toothbrushes, dolls, t-shirts, and toy cars, and bring the finished boxes to their church to be sent to Samaritan’s Purse’s processing center. While we found packing shoeboxes as a family to be fun, we wanted a way to include our friends. Now for the second year we are […]

Why we pursue independent learning at Timberdoodle

Why Timberdoodle Encourages Independent Learning

I’m wondering, though, about what feels to me like an increasing number of DVD/computer-style resources that “replace” parental involvement (like Sequential Spelling). Yes, homeschooling parents are busy, but isn’t spending time with your kids as they learn a major part of the whole point? What is your perspective on this?
Tricia Groenewold Van Dyk


Your First Year of Homeschooling

Whether you’re just beginning to consider homeschooling or you’re finally ready to get started after years of preparation, let us be the first to congratulate you and welcome you to the wonderful world of homeschooling! It isn’t uncommon to get an email asking where a new homeschooler should start. Here are our best tips, tricks and random thoughts for you, in hopes that some will prove helpful to you! 1] Free Catalogs Browsing online is awesome, but sometimes it is just helpful to be able to flip through a catalog, carry it with you to read in the waiting room, […]

Career Prep for Homeschooled High School Students

Career Planning for Your Homeschooled High School Students, 9 Tips and Thoughts

A GED Isn’t Worst Case! In our family, a GED defines graduation and not a diploma. I know that most people hear “I have a GED.” and think dropout, unwed mother, or possibly “did time.” But before you become too alarmed, keep in mind that we look at things from an employer’s point of view. In our experience a high school diploma primarily means that the young person did their time in class. While showing up is important, it is just the beginning of what we expect from our employees! A GED requires some basic proficiencies in math, writing and […]