Timberdoodle is one of the oldest distributors for the homeschool market, but they have always filled a unique niche with their emphasis on experiential learning with hands-on activities and games. Rather than publishing their own resources they select their favorites from hundreds of publishers. While they do carry some traditional resources like math and grammar workbooks, they have tended towards “fun” resources more than others. Consequently, when Timberdoodle decided to assemble grade level programs for preschool through high school, they included puzzles and other hands-on learning materials. Kits also include STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) resources, critical thinking books and activities, and a number of items that have been among my Top Picks.
Timberdoodle offers three options for each of the standard kits: basic, complete, and elite. Basic includes only the bare essentials, while complete adds more including resources for science and history, and the elite kit has all that you need plus extras such as additional hands-on resources, art courses, or the audio version of one of The Story of the World books. Elite kits are now also available in a secular option. Complete and elite kits for grades one through eleven even include a Test Prep book. Purchasing items as kits gives you significant savings over purchasing items individually.
For example, the elite kit for first grade includes Phonics Pathways, Math-U-See, SpellingYouSee, Story of the World, and Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Astronomy, all of which are or have been in my Top Picks. Along with them you get resources such as a Pathway Reader, First Language Lessons, Daily Geography, Daily 6-Trait Writing, and Spectrum Test Prep. Hands-on and STEM resources include items such as Plus Plus 1200; Robotis PLAY 600 Pets; Morph Sonic Green "dough;" a MinkLuk board and workbooks (primarily for critical thinking skills); ScrunchMap World ; Aquarellum - Cosmos Set; Outdoor Adventure Doodles; Doodle and Draw Spots, Stripes and Squiggles; and Learning Wrap-Ups for addition and subtraction.
Examples of some of the other resources include in various levels of the Timberdoodle kits are: Teaching Textbooks, Easy Grammar, Wordsmith, Building Thinking Skills, America the Beautiful, Uncle Sam and You, The Mystery of History, The Story of the World, Apologia's Exploring Creation series, and Illuminating Literature. Complete and elite kits also include STEM resources for both book learning and activities such as a programmable robot in the sixth grade kits and a Build Your Own V8 Engine kit.in the tenth grade kits.
Preschool packages, offered at three levels—Tiny Tots, Preschool and PreK, are heavily laden with hands-on and experiential learning resources. In my opinion, these Timberdoodle preschool kits are more developmentally appropriate for young children than formal academic curricula.
Each kit comes with a Timberdoodle's Curriculum Handbook written particularly for that level. Timberdoodle's Curriculum Handbooks for the include reproducible record keeping charts listing resources for that level, While you can photocopy these for each week, you can also use Timberdoodle's free online Schedule Customizer to create your own charts that allow you to adjust your schedule and change the checklists to fit exactly the resources that you are using. The format of the charts is easy enough for students about third grade and above to check off on their own. The bulk of each Timberdoodle's Curriculum Handbook consists of an explanation for how to use each item in your kit. Some Handbooks include extra pages that are used with some of your kit resources such as in the third grade Handbook which includes lessons for the Ozobot EVO that will teach students basic coding. Most items in each kit are self-contained and don't need any further instructions in the Handbook, but additional instruction is included when the product isn't self-explanatory. Reading lists have been added to the latest editions of the handbooks.
Even with the elite kits, you might want to add a Bible curriculum. For teens, you probably need to add foreign language. Timberdoodle recommends the free online DuoLingo or Rosetta Stone for foreign language, but these aren't included in the kits. You also might want to add lab activity to some of the high school kits for college-bound students. While eleventh and twelfth grade kits include Friendly Biology and Friendly Chemistry, respectively (which both have easy-to-do labs), other high school levels have minimal lab activity or only videos of lab activity which might not be sufficient.
In the non-secular kits, a few resources are written from a Christian perspective and some are specifically Protestant. The elite secular kits for kindergarten through eighth grade were created by removing or replacing any religious materials in the standard or elite kits. For example, the tenth grade complete and elite kits use The Mystery of History Volume 4, which is Protestant, while teh secular kit substitutes the secular course People, Places, and Events of World History. Elite kits for preschool have no Christian content, so the secular versions are identical to the non-secular versions. In addition, Timberdoodle will help you put together a custom kit for any level.
Most of the resources Timberdoodle has selected are easy to use and make it simple for inexperienced homeschoolers to jump into the lessons without having to do hardly any advance planning or preparation. The amount of "teaching" time required will vary by level. While younger children need more interaction and instruction, once children are able to read independently they can complete many lessons on their own. At high school level, the instructions are written directly to the student, assuming that they are completing their work independently.
The assortment of resources in the Timberdoodle kits is almost certainly going to prove more engaging for most children than would a single publisher’s complete line of traditional curricula. Interesting resources coupled with ease-of-use make Timberdoodle’s curriculum kits a great option for busy families that should appeal to both parents and children.