Timberdoodle: My End-of-Year Post

As I mentioned last fall, I had the privilege of teaching five of my grandkids two days a week this school year, along with my youngest four children who are still at home. Since several of these kids are close to the same age and grade level, I decided to try Timberdoodle’s 3rd grade boxed curriculum to help keep them on track.

Timberdoodle 3rd Grade Curriculum Kit

Our Timberdoodle Experience

Timberdoodle graciously provided the curriculum in exchange for my posting several updates throughout the school year to let my readers know how things were going and highlight some of our favorite components of the 3rd grade kit.

My family has been using Timberdoodle products for enrichment since our very earliest days of homeschooling, but this was my first time to try their complete, grade level curriculum.

Now that we’re wrapping things up for summer, I want to share my thoughts:

Things I love about Timberdoodle’s 3rd grade kit:

  • Makes learning fun

    This has always been Timberdoodle’s strong suit. Many of the products contained in the 3rd grade kit are so enjoyable that my kids don’t think of them as being “educational,” as well.

    Zoob Builderz 2

  • Suits a wide range of ages

    Some of the books — particularly those used for science (Scientific Revolution set) and history (the Story of the World set) — can be taught to several different grade levels at once. There’s no need to use a different curriculum for each child in those departments. And, of course, the thinking games and craft kits appeal to more than just 3rd graders, too!

  • Stimulates creativity

    The 3rd grade kit includes the Paint-by-Number Museum Series, Zentangle for Kids, a digital, print-as-needed copy of Complete-a-Sketch, and a quirky book called Doodle Adventures: Search for the Slimy Space Slugs. It was fun watching my kids expand in this area through the year. By doing some creative activities they’d never tried before, they not only gained new skills, but also became braver about tackling other creative challenges.

  • Teaches deeper level thinking skills

    The high caliber thinking skill puzzles and books were what first attracted us to Timberdoodle some thirty years ago, so I was especially happy to see items from this category included in the 3rd grade kit. We’d done a different volume of Critical & Creative Thinking Skills before, but the Circuit Maze was new to us and quickly became one of our children’s favorite components.

  • Lots of variety

    One thing’s certain: your kids will never get bored with Timberdoodle. The 3rd grade kit includes curriculum for language arts, math, thinking skills, history & social studies, and science, plus lots of art and STEM activities, as well. Get out of your homeschooling rut! As long you follow the lesson plans provided with this kit, your kids will never feel like they’re doing the same-old-same-old every day.

    Famous Figures 1

    Timberdoodle 3rd Grade curriculum - Famous Figures 2

Things I didn’t like about this kit:

  • A lot of it is consumable

    There were several work-book type products in the 3rd grade kit, a fact that admittedly bothers me more than my children. Having homeschooled so many for so many years, I usually try to pick curriculum I can reuse from one student to the next. I will have to replace several components in the 3rd grade kit before I can use it again.

  • Some went unused (for now)

    There were SO MANY components — especially in the Elite kit — that we simply couldn’t get to them all. However, they are great products, so I’m scheduling time this summer to go through a couple of the ones that didn’t get enough attention during the school year, such as Typing Instructor, Beginning Word Roots, and Scratch Coding Cards.

  • It’s short on “Living Books”

    I felt a little overwhelmed by the Mosdos Literature program and ended up defaulting to reading an eclectic assortment of the “living books” we’d enjoyed when our older children were growing up (and counting that for our literature studies). If you are a mom who worries about educational gaps or obsesses about crossing all your Ts, then Mosdos Literature may be a great fit for your family. It just didn’t suit mine very well.

Things that surprised me:

  • How much my kids liked the math games

    They were as likely to reach for Mobi Max as for Monopoly. It’s just as fun (and doesn’t take near as long to finish the game). And they enjoyed using the multiplication wrap-ups so much that I ordered wrap-ups for all the other operations, as well, so they could all review their math facts at the same time.

    Mobi Math 1

    Timberdoodle 3rd Grade curriculum - Mobi Math 2

  • How careful they were with the thinking putty

    We didn’t do the Mixed-by-Me Thinking Putty activity until the very end of the year. That’s because I’d put large tins of putty in my kids’ stockings fifteen years ago and had to cut it out of one child’s pocket when he stored it there, minus the tin. They love the stuff, but I didn’t want a repeat of last time! The kids promised to be careful (and to always and only store the putty inside the tin when not in use), and — so far — they’ve kept their word, so we’ve had no further mishaps.

    Make-Your-Own Thinking Putty 8

    Timberdoodle 3rd Grade curriculum - Make-Your-Own Thinking Putty 3

  • How beautiful their paintings turned out

    The Museum Series painting kit contains four canvases. We did them last fall, and several of the kids won ribbons for their work in the Creative Arts competition at the fair. (As did their older siblings when we did the same painting kit several years ago, as seen in the photos below.)

    Timberdoodle 3rd Grade curriculumn- Paint-by-Number Museum Series 1

    Paint-by-Number Museum Series 2

  • How much my kids enjoyed cursive

    Lots of schools have stopped even teaching cursive, but studies have shown how good it is for our brains. When we take notes in longhand instead of typing them on a keyboard, we not only retain the information longer, but also understand it better. It also helps with reversals and with reluctant readers. So I’m glad Timberdoodle still includes A Reason for Writing: Transition with their 3rd grade boxed curriculum, and glad, too, that my kids have been gung-ho to learn it.

  • How helpful the handbook was

    The 3rd grade handbook that accompanies the 3rd grade is a life-saver. It contains a detailed description of each component and how to use it, plus a weekly checklist to keep you on track, and even suggestions for steps to take if you start to feel overwhelmed.

Give Timberdoodle a Try

If you’re interested in a complete boxed curriculum, by all means, check out the ones Timberdoodle offers. Although I’ve only tried the 3rd grade kit, we own and have used and enjoyed many of the components of the kits for other grade levels, too.

If you’re not ready to jump in feet first, then you may want to invest in a couple of the stand-alone products to enrich your children’s education (whether you homeschool or not). You’ll find a list of all the books and games I’ve reviewed for Timberdoodle over the years below.

More great Timberdoodle products:

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  1. What did you think about the “spelling you see” curriculum that they include? Curious about trying it and I’ve read in the past that your like sequential spelling- how do they compare in your opinion?

    1. I was impressed with Spelling U See, Kate. It is very thorough and well laid out. But it is also a lot more writing than Sequential Spelling and requires a bigger time commitment from the teacher, as well as a consumable workbook for each student.

      That being said, I have a couple of avid writers in my family, and this curriculum is a great fit for them. It really teaches more than just spelling. It can be used for handwriting practice, and also to help struggling readers recognize different letter combination and improve decoding skills.

      We haven’t made it through the whole book yet, primarily because I was teaching so many children at once who were roughly on the same level, and it was simpler and less expensive to stick with Sequential Spelling, at least on the days my grandkids were with us.

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