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Hodge Podge Homeschool

I like to call our style of homeschooling “hodge podge.” It’s kind of a mash up of all sorts of styles and ideas and finding out what works best. We’ve found that a combination of many things is how my daughter learns best.

Charlotte Mason Method Homeschooling

The Charlotte Mason method is based on Charlotte‘s firm belief that the child is a person and we must educate that whole person, not just his mind. So a Charlotte Mason education is three-pronged: in her words, “Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life.”

I love Charlotte Mason’s view on education and that it’s not something that is limited to school – it’s a life long adventure of learning! You’re truly never done learning.

Traditional Homeschooling

When I think of “traditional homeschooling,” I think back to when I homeschooled my oldest child in 2000 – we had a “classroom” set up, complete with chalkboard and piles of textbooks, workbooks and school supplies. I wanted it to look, feel & be just like school because that’s what I thought homeschooling was supposed to be. (And while my son did learn to read and do math, it was overwhelming for both of us. In (2002) 2nd grade we quit halfway through and the next year sent him to public school – repeating 2nd grade.) That said, I do have textbooks & goals, but no classroom and no strict rules about how many subjects we do in a day or how long we spend on school. And far less crying.


Lifeschooling is the process of discovering your child’s God-given gifts and talents. . .

This past year I’ve learned so much from other homeschoolers, from online conferences and courses about letting go and doing what is best for your child.  And it really got me thinking about who decided that kids were supposed to learn such & such at a specific time. Why is it such a race? Homeschool doesn’t have to look like public school. Especially if that doesn’t work for your child. I recently found the concept of lifeschooling from several of the homeschool blogs that I follow and I signed up for the Lifeschooling Conference – it was truly a blessing to have my thoughts and feelings about how we homeschool reaffirmed. To see that there are many, many other mamas out there that are on the same page was very encouraging and uplifting. At the end of the day I just want my daughter to be a healthy, functioning adult. Lifeschooling combines homeschool & life skills.

Life Skills and Child Led Learning

If my daughter starts to completely tune me out, I know we need to move on to something else. Or adjust our coursework.  I realize that life doesn’t always work that way and she needs to understand how to deal with things that may not be interesting or go her way. That is part of our homeschool – learning about real life. Learning about the skills she’ll need to have as an adult. But it’s also about using coping methods for things you might not be good at. I don’t want school to be a chore or boring – I want to focus on things she’s interested in as well and how it may serve her best in the future. Right now she wants to be a comic book artist, so we’re concentrating on what she will need to get into an art school. If she decides otherwise then we’ll go on to something else. Life skills & fundamentals are priority in our hodge podge homeschool. But again, it’s not a race! She doesn’t HAVE TO be done at age 18.

© Jennifer Miller

“What curriculum are you using?”

I hate that question for one reason: the person asking is a traditional homeschooler that uses one set curriculum – such as solely Abeka or Apologia or whatever and believes that is the only way to homeschool. I’m all over the place. I’m using things that aren’t really “curriculum,” I have so many free resources and online printable things I’ve purchased that we’re using. The only traditional curriculum I have is math & language arts. And with my daughter’s Dyscalculia, we skip all over the place in math. Last year was really a learning period for us. We had done online public school in 6th grade which was terrible and so for 7th I knew I needed to homeschool – but trying to figure out what worked best for us took half the year. It’s okay, though, now I know what we need to focus on and what does work! I’ve learned that giving myself, my daughter and our hodge podge homeschool grace is HUGE.

© Jennifer Miller

Enjoying Homeschooling

I hated school. I went to public school for my entire education and I hated every single second of it. It wasn’t learning that I hated it was the actual school. I hated getting up and going. I hated the classrooms. I hated the building. I hated the gyms and the lunch rooms. I was picked on relentlessly and I hated so many of my peers. (That’s a whole other story.) So, now, it’s hard for me to not think of school as a terrible hell on earth – even homeschooling. I’ve prayed for strength in this area and to keep my mouth shut. BUT, I’ve learned SO MUCH this past year and we truly have had some super enjoyable moments and LOTS of laughter, it has been amazing. And I’m excited for this next school year as well. We had bad days (some when I thought I was ruining my daughter – that she wasn’t learning, that I was making a mistake, etc) like everyone else, but the good days where we had fun or when something clicked and she had a lightbulb moment made up for the bad days tenfold.

And also, I need to take more pictures. 😛


What does your homeschool look like? I’d love to hear from you! 🙂