Helpful Homeschool Habit: The End in Mind

You may have noticed that things have been quieter here at Hodgepodge. That’s because we are focusing hard on finishing well this school year. We are also in the thick of preparations for end-of-the-year recitals, programs and more. The end of the homeschool year is so very close!

Helpful #Homeschool Habit - The End in Mind

But I also wanted to share with you something on my heart – with the end in mind. And yes, a little Shel Silverstein is a great way to end the day…

lunch time Bible reading

Lunch time reading of some favorites #homeschool #parenting (My review of Leading Little Ones to God.)

See, I’ve had some conversations this week. It seems to happen every year about this time. When testing is going on and mamas feel the crunch of finishing things up.

Testing was also happening in the local public schools this week. The same week we received the results of 6th and 9th graders’ testing from a couple of weeks ago. I am pleased to share that overall my daughter and son tested two grades above where they are. We did celebrate with Dairy Queen blizzards!

Annual azalea photo

Sometimes we listen to history in the car and head over to enjoy a bit of time with great-grandmother. Azaleas, birds singing – gorgeous spring day!

Testing is a Tool

But I do have to say that we do not place great emphasis on testing and scoring.

A homeschooling friend of mine asked my opinion about testing her child with a test a grade ahead of her true grade. I answered from my heart because I love my friend. And because I feel strongly about keeping the end in mind with homeschooling and parenting. It is very, very easy to get caught up in the ‘testing’ and performance ‘race’ and lose sight of the end goal.

Of course, you have to determine what your end goal is. I told my friend that I would personally test on grade level. I know for sure that her child is brilliant and will do well no matter what. I think offering grade level gives a chance at proving even greater success. In the grand scheme of every day homeschooling and raising a God-fearing adult, this test is of little significance. The test is simply a tool to gauge what we might need to focus more on. And to confirm what we already know.

photo 1

Sometimes on a Saturday @hodgepodgedad teaches how to build a computer. And explains what a motherboard is and a hard drive. And lets kindergartener slide in the disk drive. #lifeskills | 2. Reading CAT results received in the mail | 3. Brothers and books | 4. Strolling in *cough* less pollen. Love that we could get out to our favorite trail.

In Georgia we only have to administer a standardized test in 3rd, 6th, 9th and 12th and even then only keep it on file (I explained this in my Helpful Homeschool Habits for Standardized Testing). As my children’s teacher, I know what my children know. We have discussions several times a day in multiple subjects. I also remember that I tested poorly on standardized and SAT tests – even though my regular work and grades proved otherwise. I remember feeling like a dummy. Tests were BIG when I was growing up. (We administered the CAT which is supposedly easy compared to other standardized tests. I was surprised at the trouble one of my children had in one section of math. This child gets 100s all the time. So, I know the poor test results were simply a result of nerves.)

photo 2

1. Tapestry of Grace book stacks | 2. A Reason for Handwriting K (more on this later!) | 3. Weekly Homeschool Planning Meeting (the planners stayed on the kitchen counter this week so we could see them often!) | 4. We planted sunflowers and Lil’ Buddy is ready for them to be 12 feet tall!

The End in Mind

I have the end in mind. Now that I have high schoolers, that picture of  ‘the end’ is more clearly focused on what my desire is for them to be as adults. The most important thing is of course their relationship with The Lord. But, yes we also aim for academic excellence.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men… Colossians 3:23

Signs of homeschool high school

Signs of homeschool high school (love it!) Pictured above: How to Read a Book (Annie Kate’s review), Tapestry of Grace literature and history selections, Rod and Staff 10th grade English, Apologia Marine Biology.

Are We Following a College Prep Course of Study?

Absolutely! We want our children to do well on tests and we also want our children to do the work that matches the expectations of their grade level. Do I know for sure that our children will all go to college? Of course not. But we are following a college preparatory course of study. My heart’s desire is for my children  to follow the path the Lord has for them. I do like the idea of a gap year. Or taking courses close to home the first year. But I have also seen, first hand, the benefits of years of working and gaining experience – for both my husband and others.

Apologia Marine Biology exploring carbon fixation Apologia High School ScienceYes, you can go back and do an experiment you didn’t have supplies for earlier in the year. Why not? Exploring carbon fixation with Apologia Marine Biology – led by our high schoolers – with fascinated preschool and elementary audience.

Do I second guess what we are doing or have doubts?

Absolutely! When I hear of a certain record keeping system. When I read about a wonderful, new high school course. When I hear that another family has received four college acceptances. But truly, my heart is not troubled. It’s a balance of planning and trusting. I know that the Lord has plans for each of my children. Ultimately…

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4

More in a future post on sticking with what you know what works. And speaking of sticking with what you know what works…

More Hodgepodge:

A Reason for Handwriting Review

A Reason for Handwriting has been a mainstay over the majority of our homeschooling years. We have tried two other handwriting resources but have always come back to this one. Why?  Join me at The Curriculum Choice today for my full review.

Favorite Trim Healthy Mama snacks:meals

Trim Healthy Mama favorites from this week: The Trim Healthy Mama Fat-Stripping Frappa is amazing! I used a touch of my PG Tips tea in the place of the water – heaven! And so easy to make. Last night we also had one of our favorites: Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken. Just two ingredients – my kind of recipe!

Easter 2014

Happy Easter friends! He is risen indeed!

Free Classic Spring Chalk Art Tutorials

Free Chalk Pastel Art tutorials for subscribers – classic baseball and bat and Monet’s bridge spring tutorials back by popular demand!

Many thanks to our hostesses!

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Do you use standardized tests as a tool? Are you at the point of having the end in mind?


  1. 1


    Tricia — thanks for your thoughts about this. I value your opinion so much – because I know what a great mom you are and how much you research and rely on HIS guidance — plus you are just a bit ahead on this homeschool journey! SO — I’m watching you! :-)

    We will be testing in just a couple of weeks – my kids take the Stanford 9 through CC – I will be interested to see how they do, but I know to just learn from the results and file them – nothing more!

    Thanks for being such a faithful Collage Friday linker!

    • 2


      Mary, I guess what I was trying to articulate is that it is such a great privilege and joy to watch and to be a part of these high school years (of course all the years!) of my older two. We are now looking at two short years left in school for my daughter and three for my son. And not one time has an opportunity come about for either of them – as a result of testing. It has all been through their relationships, their abilities, the things they have learned, their faith and in using their God-given talents. This parenting thing is an always changing, challenging hard job – but the rewards are amazing. (and you know that!)

  2. 3


    You have touched on so many of the worries and questions that homeschoolers have, and you have answered these questions so well. I am so glad that we do not have to do testing, as I know my kids would not do too well on them. Yes, the end of the year is in sight, but since we started so much later than you, we won’t be done until June…and then there is summer school…LOL.
    Phyllis at All Things Beautiful recently posted..Lego Challenge #12: Make a MapMy Profile

  3. 4

    MC says

    I don’t even know how I came across your blog, but have been faithfully following the last 6 months. I am here in GA, but from NC originally. I taught public school for almost 10 years, but have been home for the last 8 1/2 years. I have a 10 year old daughter and a 4 year old son. Our daughter has been in private Christian school for the last 4 years, but we continue to have concerns and struggles about several things there. I know we can’t afford to send both of them there and not sure if I would want to (I have pre-schooled both kids here at home and have fully enjoyed that). We are strongly considering homeschooling and I just want to thank you for all of your wisdom and insights you are sharing. It is very nice of you to let us see inside your home, at all the ways you are seeking to provide your children with an education pleasing to the Lord. It makes me feel a little more comfortable as we move in this direction.

  4. 5


    Testing is something I plan to do yearly in our homeschool. It helps my kid get used to the idea of testing. Testing is a big part of life if you plan on working a job, going to college. In my job I had to even take a test to get it. If you ever plan on going into the military – you have to take a test. Becoming a hair dresser? You have to take a test. So it’s a skill. I don’t stress my kids out about it, but I do teach them the ‘techniques’ of testing. Also, they never have asked about their scores, so I don’t tell them. If they ask then I will.
    Nita recently posted..Officially the End of our School Year CurriculumMy Profile

    • 6


      Thanks for your thoughts Nita. I agree that my children will all face testing in their growing up and adult years. All of my children have math quizzes and tests each week. Except the kindergartener who has an assessment about once a month. In addition my high schoolers test in their marine biology course. That, along with the weekly planning meetings we do where we discuss assignments and orally assess where we are, the writing assignments & essays which match our history studies, the grammar tests – all these help me to be confident in their abilities. The standardized testing is something I think is fine for us every three years. Just enough (plus I’m thankful I don’t have that expense times five :) every year!) My eldest, of course, also took the PSAT last fall and my older two will be facing SATs before long. We’ve been practicing for that with the SAT Question of the day resource. So… yes, it is a skill and we work on it. But I am thankful we aren’t required to do it yearly. And we don’t have the added stress I have heard about from our public school friends taking tests this spring.

  5. 7


    You sound so much like me. This is so much the perspective that I pray I can keep as my children continue through their schooling.
    I’m thankful that in SC we do not have mandatory testing. None of my children (7th, 4th and 2nd) have ever done any standardized testing. I waiver on the wisdom of having them participate or not. Today, I’m in a “not” mood, so we won’t this year. I suppose the Lord will have to change my mind.

    I’m glad to have found your blog via WUH and HL. I look forward to peeking around.

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  6. 8


    I so enjoyed your post! We have used the CAT through the years also. It gave my daughter practice in testing, but I agree with you on the value of standardized testing. We usually know what it tells us already! Happy to hear about your planting sunflowers! We will be doing that later, when it warms up enough here. What a rich, full homeschool you have at Hodgepodge!

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