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An eighth-grader’s knitted adventure

Posted: October 30, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 30, 2012 2:00 a.m.

The "Pigskin" knitted creations of eighth-grader Charlotte Van Houten are shown above. She sells them online.

One of my favorite things about being a home-schooler is that it allows me time to really pursue the things that interest me. It also allows me to experience how different “school” subjects blend together in real-life situations.

This semester, my mom asked me to keep an online blog as a writing project. I was to write about things that interested me at least two to three times a week.

The great thing about a blog is that you get feedback on your writing and it really emphasizes writing as practical communication. On a blog, my writing has a wider audience than just one teacher.

But I’ve noticed that my home school assignments rarely stay “contained” to a single subject.

One of the things I love to do is knit (I’ve been knitting since I was 6). So I decided to post pictures and write about my knitted creations, particularly my knitted “pigs.”

Before long, readers began asking if my knitted pigs were for sale.

My mom encouraged me to broaden my writing/art project into a business venture, so I created my own Etsy shop. is a site where crafters create online “shops” to sell their handmade items.

At the Huckleberry Center for Creative Learning, I took a class on entrepreneurship with Elmarie Hyman, so I knew the basics about starting a business and doing a cost/profit analysis.

It took a month before I made my first sale, but since mid-August, I’ve had close to 500 views and sold more than 60 pigs. Using embroidery, I replicate lots of popular characters from classic books and movies.

One popular creation is my “Pigskin.” I knit and embroider the pig using a team’s colors so that it looks just like a football. I get lots of requests for USC and UCLA “pigskins.”

Basically, home-schooling has allowed me to go from a writing assignment to an art project to a really fulfilling entrepreneurial adventure. I’ve blended several subjects, learned a lot and had a great time doing it.

Charlotte Van Houten, an eighth-grader, participates in several local home-schooling groups, including Helping Hands Homeschoolers, The Huckleberry Center for Creative Learning and a weekly “co-op” group of other home learners. Her blog is at www.cherrymtn




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