Back to Homeschool Basics

I have been saying that I will share more specifics and goals for our family. This past week those played out some. I thought I’d give you an update, Collage Friday and Day in the Life style.

Back to Homeschool Basics at You might remember that I am seeking those ancient paths. Honing and focusing, cutting out all the unnecessary. It goes back to keeping those long term goals in mind for each child. So, this past Sunday we held our first weekly planning meeting for our slow and steady back to basics homeschool – with plenty of room for snow storm sidetracks. 1. He lost his third tooth! growing up | 2. Middle Girl made Lil’ Buddy a learning center | 3. Playing Eldest Girl’s keyboard (she’s playing in the youth band at church) | 4. A new set of Rod and Staff books just for him.

Building Independence

Our baby of the family takes care of himself in many ways. He turned six at the end of last year. So though he is ‘officially’ in kindergarten, he is ready for more everything. All those years of building the morning room time habit have paid off. He loves to build and play on his own or with a sibling. He also learns naturally through his curiosity and ‘why?’ and ‘how?’ questions. But we also added another layer of handwriting and small motor practice (just one page – less than 5 minutes!) with the Rod and Staff books. And, we’ve been simply reminding him that he can do it. He can get his arm in that jacket, he is reading many words. He’s also my official laundry tosser each morning. He loves our laundry chute.

IMG_0560 1. Second grade Rod and Staff | 2. “God does beautiful paint with water.” ~ Littlest Girl | 3. Time to start the second half of Saxon Math 2! | 3. Paint Dabbers can make a snowman for Christmas thank you note.

Do All Things Without Complaining or Arguing

I’m sure you have older ones that watch younger ones finish their seatwork quickly? It’s not fair! Well, our high schoolers spend the majority of a day working through their subjects. The little ones can finish their assignments in what seems like minutes to them. We’ve been working on attitudes toward the length of work and building up to doing more math pages, etc. “Do all things without complaining and arguing…” Philippians 2:14 kinesthetic learner 1. Piano practice in your thick, warm robe is perfect for the cold, cold days this week. | 2. She’s a Where’s Waldo ace – how ’bout you? | 3. A hefty mug of hot chocolate by your side is a happy way to start 7th grade English! She finished 6th grade Rod and Staff before Christmas. | 4. Sisters practicing songs for drama troupe auditions.

Teach Kids to Add Energy to Family Life

I’ve talked before about how we’ve designed our curriculum choices and even our home organization for learning  – taking into consideration each of our children’s learning styles. Our kinesthetic learner must stay busy. And if I am not careful I will find myself running in circles. Well, an article at Passionate Purposeful Parenting continues to stick with me: Teach Kids to Add Energy to Family Life. The girls of the family are doing small things each week that will not only help me but will build on their basic homemaking skills. For example, making the dessert for Sunday lunch with the family. Making lunch or hosting tea time now and then. (The same with Lil’ Buddy tossing the laundry and Eldest Boy taking out the trash, etc).

siblings at Eldest Boy is known for helping and teaching and also as chief fire builder (hooray!) 1. Playing a game with the younger set. | 2. Showing Lil’ Buddy how to do something on the iPad | 3 & 4. Lots of fires this week – we love to sit close to read.

Pomedoros – Building a Habit of Focus

An article by Ann Voskamp reminded me how distractedness can steal away from learning and family time. (Another must read : How to Cultivate the Habit of Focus in an Age of Distraction). So we’ve been setting the kitchen timer (even though we really want one of those cute timers on the Pomodoro site she links to – soon to be an app we noticed). And wow – what we were able to accomplish. Now, we fell back into our holiday habits a few days, sleeping in because it was SO cold, but we will be building this habit for sure.

We are also learning verses from John thanks to Ann Voskamp’s Make God’s Word Your Habit: The Art of Scripture Memorization for the Rest of Us.

IMG_0598 1. It’s cool when your blanket matches your 10th grade English text. | 2. “This is totally Hodgepodgemom uploading this and not her daughter whatsoever – hi | 3. Take a picture with me Mama! | 4. She wanted to drive around and find beautiful things. So we did. (from New Year’s Eve)

Building Relationships

That’s really what this homeschool life is all about wouldn’t you say? These days I find myself up way late talking with this girl of mine. Wouldn’t trade it for the world. I will admit it’s a little tough when the little ones rise before dawn… Yet, this age range is a hodgepodge…and time is fleeting. LEGO® Education StoryStarter Plenty of time for LEGO® Education Learning this week too! Building with the StoryStarter set.

Next week as we are Adding in All the Homeschool Extras (we are so excited!) we are digging into Amanda Bennett’s newest Winter Games 2014!!

WinterGames2014CoverSM I’ll be sharing more about it and how much we have loved doing her Olympics studies for years now. Pssst — > it’s on sale for just $5 for a short time! And is perfect with Winter Olympic chalk pastels   :)

Many thanks to our Friday hostesses!

About Hodgepodgemom

Tricia faces a daily dose of chaos homeschooling five children. The biggest lesson she’s learned? At the end of the day – when the dishes are put away and the children are tucked in bed – truly what matters is each child’s relationship with the Lord. Raising children is a God-given privilege and, folks, the time is short.


  1. I’m off to check out Anna’s timer idea – thanks for the heads up on that!

    You know I’m always inspired when I read your blog, Tricia – and I think that’s mostly because of the age span you deal with – and you do it so well.

    Thanks for being a part of the #collagefriday community!
    Mary recently posted..No Spend Month, Marriage, Menus, & Miscellany – Collage FridayMy Profile

  2. oh my — I said Anna instead of Ann (that was an understandable slip, yes?)
    Mary recently posted..No Spend Month, Marriage, Menus, & Miscellany – Collage FridayMy Profile

    • Absolutely understandable that you said Anna! This age range is a daily challenge and blessing all together and why being dubbed Hodgepodge is a perfect fit. I had several nights I soaked long in the tub – the good kind of weary! Mary – thanks for leading the Collage Friday community.

  3. Tricia – I just love your posts. So thought out and detailed. It’s challenging to homeschool different age/grade levels and you seem to show it with ease! Enjoy your weekend and your dinner with Mary 8)

  4. Stopping by from weekly wrap up. Great ideas! I’ll be checking your blog out again.

  5. Yes, I know what you mean about having difficulty staying awake when you are grabbing those moments with all the different ages within the household. I love glimpsing your week and your jumble of photos which are a bit of those moments you are sharing with us.
    Phyllis at All Things Beautiful recently posted..Our Homeschool Weekly Report, January 3-9: Christmas Vacation Over and School Begins Again, week 15My Profile

  6. Focusing and redefining is a big part of what God is doing in my heart this season, too. While so many “good, but not best” opportunities keep popping up, I keep feeling my soul drawn gently back to the still quiet of being here, now … and not in ten other places. Thanks for the encouragement to follow that nudge from the Holy Spirit!
    Heather @To Sow a Seed recently posted..Homeschooling high schoolMy Profile

  7. Now I’ve got two more windows open to read the energy post and the distractability post (which may be the one I need to read more).

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