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September 14, 2012

Making My Homeschool Unique

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Written by: Shari

Congratulations to TLC, winner of the wall calendar. Thank you to everyone who commented. LOVED the comments!

So glad you joined us for week two of the NOT Back To School Blog Hop. This week Home Educating Family has supplied another giveaway, so be sure to leave a comment to this post in order to have a chance of winning a Well Planned Day wall calendar!

And head over here to read some other great ideas on unique homeschools, and to register for more chances to win the wall calendar. Each blog host is giving away a calendar! If you share this post on your facebook page or twitter, comment again to tell me where you shared it, and you’ll get another entry.


Congratulations Ashley! You won last week’s drawing for a FREE subscription to Home Educating Family Magazine!

Making My Homeschool Unique

The primary aspect that makes our homeschool unique – is the same quality that makes yours unique.

It’s a matter of taste!

We rely on our own decisions, rhythm, lifestyle, and beliefs to guide and frame all the choices we make relating to how we educate our children. Those ingredients flavor each homeschool in a different way depending on your particular tastes. Homeschooling is as unique as spaghetti.

There are as many ways to season–as to say–spaghetti!

My dad likes to Germanize his spaghetti. He adds an unlikely combination of brown sugar and hot peppers, and for an unexpected kick, shakes in a few glugs of Worcestershire sauce.

I like to shake things up in our homeschool by doing the unexpected like teaching the girls Spencerian handwriting or teaching chemistry in kindergarten. To make things really spicy, I’ve been known to throw out a whole batch of tried and true, for something a bit more colorful.

Dad can whip up a tasty pot of spaghetti in less than half an hour, because he’s so efficient with letting the water boil, as he’s browning the meat, and seasoning the sauce while the pasta cooks. And Voila!

That’s the way I like to homeschool. If we can do spelling words in the car, or devotions while the pancakes are flipping, or learn how to figure area while tiling the kitchen – Voila!

I make my sauce from scratch, because a can of tomato paste is so economical (like some of my homemade curriculum) – and because I love the fragrance of garlic sauteing. Plus I like the control of seasoning it just the way I want – like sending a child out to the herb garden with instructions on how to distinguish between basil and oregano.

That’s kind of how I teach literature, too. We pick a good book, and let the fragrance of the sentence structure and colorful speech waft through the house. We take apart a good sentence like breaking open a bulb of garlic! By the time we’re finished, we’ve feasted on ideas, vocabulary, and life lessons until we’re stuffed.

Some home educators choose to open a box of curriculum like a ready-made jar of sauce. They spend their extra time on the tasty side dishes like soccer and dance lessons. And I’ve pushed back from their table, and asked in awe if they’d share the secret to their sauce, and they laugh and say Prego! That’s a tasty alternative, too.

I guess the only thing that might be uniquely different about our homeschool lifestyle is that we never let education get in the way of life (or the children’s natural intelligence)!

  • The year the baby was born was all about the biology and physiology.
  • When we were building our home, education became very practical by necessity with lots of math and home skills.
  • Volunteering in the local homeschool co-op provided an opportunity to learn how to manage the challenges of database applications — and people.
  • Breadmaking became about science.
  • Breakfast became about time management.
  • Lawn work became about calisthenics and plant life.

Life never stops for school, but school regularly stops for life.

Tadpole catching, butterfly chasing, the stopping and smelling of roses. . . yup — all school subjects!

Sometimes we put the whole pot in the refrigerator and pull it out the next day, so that it has had time to season – and the leftovers always tastes better the second time around – whether we’re talking homeschooling or spaghetti.

So no matter how you season your spaghetti, or arrange your homeschool lifestyle — it’s all delicious. And whether you pronounce it basketti or sapetti – we know what you mean.


What about you? What makes your homeschool unique? Is there something fun that you do that is original or unusual? And more importantly, what are your special seasonings for making spaghetti?! Please join the discussion. I’d love to hear from you, and each comment is an entry in the drawing for a FREE wall calendar . And if you’d like to invite your homeschool friends to the ‘table’, share this on Facebook by clicking the share options to the left; you might ask a fun question to whet their appetite, like What fun ways have you heard the word spaghetti pronounced? Comment below to tell us where you shared this and get an extra entry. And be sure to visit the other blogs and comment for additional chances to win, by clicking on this icon:

“Due to international sweepstakes laws, this giveaway is for US entrants only. This giveaway is not tied to any social media site. Must claim prize within eight weeks.”

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About the Author

Shari Popejoy, wife of twenty-eight years, mother of three, founder of a local co-op for hundreds of homeschool children, author of seven books, and creator of Won Without Words (a blog of encouragement for wives) lives in the quiet country of the Ozarks where she enjoys writing surrounded by nature (and her children, of course). She is currently completing Volume V of the Livingstone Library, an adventure series for 'smart' kids, which features characters with character, and underlying allegorical spiritual truths. She enjoys high places and the road less traveled, and moments when all is well, and peace permeates like a fragrance. . .oh, and chocolate, fresh fruit and veggies, and early morning sunrises. Read her blog at

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  1. Mary

    With my little guy its ‘getti’ and the hidden ingredients are raw spinach and zuchinni…yum.
    I never thought of our homeschool as unique, but now that I think about it, it is. With our travels from one state to another, the children have learned a good bit about the history of a state outside of the one we reside in. Also, anatomy and medical knowledge has been a unique extra in our homeschooling due to medical conditions and multiple operations. The kids’ doctors are very open with them about the ‘what’s’ and ‘why’s’ of their medical treatment which has been a huge learning oportunity. So, instead of learning Anatomy in the upper grades, it began as soon as as they could say, “femur.”

  2. I love pasta, specially this time of year when the temperatures get cool. Instead of turning the heat on I like to bake. I love spaghetti pie. Add two beaten eggs to cooked spaghetti, put in greased deep pie plate, pour sauce over, sprinkle with cheese and pop in the oven for 30 min.



    Renee-Ann ;)

  3. In our family, it’s just plain “noodles” encompassing spaghetti and homemade mac ‘n cheese especially.I love this homeschool blog! Even though we sent our own children to the public schools, we’ve always made our home an educational atmosphere. We’ve enhanced science through gardening and yard work, promoted math in house repair and summer kid-oriented woodworking projects – pretty much what was mentioned in this wonderful blog.

  4. I enjoyed this yummy serving of homeschooling wisdom. (Liked Renee-Ann’s recipe too.) I am a public school teacher, and all my kiddos are about grown up, but maybe….just maybe one day I can homeschool a few grandkids. For my homemade sauce, I like to saute the garlic and onions first, maybe add some mushrooms, and one carrot sliced thin before adding the tomatoes and tomato sauce and paste to simmer. It’s smells as good as it tastes. Calms the atmosphere for lots of quality study time. Thanks Shari.

  5. Kari

    I did share this on my fb! And after reading it, im chuckling because i guess I home school the same way I make spaghetti…buy the jar & then tweek & add until I make it my own! lol

  6. Gina

    I’m still learning to cook!!! I never dreamed I would be on this path. I know homeschoolings been around since the beginning of time, so as strange as this sounds homeschooling is a new concept for me. I was “one of those” ! I did’nt approve of it. Now I know I just didnt understand it.
    My husband being a youth pastor we get the inside scoop on school. When it came time for our oldest to begin preschool I was sick. I wanted to keep her home. Something deep within me told me school wasn’t for us. I tried to brush it off and tell my self to cut the apron strings. She was only 3 and would be attending 2 year pre-k. My pastors wife ask me if I was sure I was doing the best thing for us. She explained her view as a public school teacher and as a mom and grandmother. She said that education is important but onece they start school you don’t get the precious years back. That in her opinion a 3 year old needed his/her mommy. I know! She didnt have a big fancy or eloquent speech but to me it was profound. It was confirmation of what I already knew on the inside.
    I am making my spaghetti from recipes I find by googeling it. I really don’t know what I’m doing I’m just searching until I find a recipe that I have all the ingreadients to make, in hopes that I can tweak it to my families liking. We’ve had to throw out a batch at times. I still believe we like basketti, we are just searching for our favorite recipe and planning to add our own secret ingreadients.

  7. When my brothers were preschoolers, neither boy could say spaghetti. They would say ‘susgetti. The consonant blend [sp] gave them a bit of trouble.

    Years later, I learned to guide students through pronunciation difficulties by tackling a troublesome word backward syllable by syllable. For example, [ti], [et-ti], [get-ti], [a-get-ti], [pa-get-ti], [spa-get-ti]. Then guide the students through other words that had the [sp].

    As an English as a second language tutor/teacher, I gave many and varied lessons on things besides listening/speaking/reading/writing English. Several were related to applied mathematics. After my student had learned enough about fractions and had had introductory lessons about volume measurements, I lead the student through a cookie recipe. She had to read the recipe, do all the measurements and mixing, and follow the instructions for baking the cookies from scratch. I was her coach when she needed one. As we ate the results, she smiled and said that was the funnest English lesson she had
    ever had.

    A follow up lesson could have been learning the math necessary for changing a recipe quantity, such as doubling it or taking a recipe for 30 people and changing it to one that serves 6. Both changes require knowledge of the multiplication of fractions.

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