Helpful Homeschool Habit: Stick with What Works

Now and then I have tried a new curriculum because of a review I read or because it was the latest, greatest thing homeschoolers were raving about. Sometimes that worked, sometimes not. Today I am sharing those things we’ve made a habit of sticking with.

Helpful #Homeschool Habit - Stick With What Works

As I mentioned last week, there are curriculum talks and end of the year conversations swirling all around me. I shared some of those conversations here at Hodgepodge earlier in the week. I found, as I shared about these resources, that these are things we are sticking with. That we’ve made a habit of sticking with what works.

The first conversation was about standardized testing and how I am keeping the end in mind.

Our Experience with Teaching Textbooks

I also received a question about Teaching Textbooks along with some concerns about this math being too easy. I shared just why we are sticking with this math resource and how it truly meets our needs.

Rod and Staff English (we've used all the grades and love it!) www.hodgepodge

Yet another question was about our long-time English curriculum. One we’ve used from the start!

We also stick with and absolutely love Tapestry of Grace. If you’ve been a Hodgepodge reader for any length of time, you know this to be true. This year has been so very rich that we are hanging out in Year 3, unit 3 for a bit longer. We’re moving forward some but our Civil War studies match up with all the 150 anniversary events at the local Georgia historical spots. So we’ll be visiting and enjoying more even through the summer. Because it was that summer 150 years ago that Sherman captured Atlanta and made his march to the sea.

Tapestry of Grace Year 3 Civil War Studies Just a few highlights from our Tapestry of Grace learning this last week.

  • Writing assignments: Process essay for my high schoolers answering the question, “What is the process of succession?” Newspaper articles for my middle schooler and second grader. Their headlines were: Devastation at Gettysburg and Sherman’s March Toward Savannah

“While there were many tragedies, there were also mercies. Many soldiers in both Union and Confederate armies were won to Christ as the Great Revival swept through both camps, mainly during the last, horrific year of 1864. As we read about the close of the war this week, be looking for the hand of God, whose ways are always altogether good and righteous, and who in in the course of this war revealed both His judgment and His mercy.”  ~ Tapestry of Grace introduction to week 24, Year 3

  • Learning about the origins of Confederate Memorial Day recognized this past week. “April 26 marks the anniversary of the end of the Civil War for Georgia, for it was on this day in 1865 that Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston’s surrender to General William T. Sherman at Durham Station, North Carolina became official. Johnston had been in charge of Georgia’s defense, so this day marked the end of the war for Georgia.
  • President Lincoln – all the many books! We especially like Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman. We also listened to a series of HSLDA’s Homeschool Heartbeat online audio sessions by Mike Smith entitled The Humble Beginnings of Honest Abe.
  • Pickett’s Mill Battlefield Historic Site – we watched the movie on this website and plan to visit soon.
  • The Great Locomotive Chase movie (links to the movie trailer) – we watched this in preparation for going to The Southern Museum and seeing the famous locomotive, The General.
  • Gone with the Wind movie coming up over the weekend! (with a leisurely read of the book over the next several weeks)

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

A Field Trip to Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

Yes you can learn more each time you visit! I grew up going to Kennesaw Mountain and learning about the important Civil War battle that took place here. But during this, my second education as a homeschooler, I am all about continuing education. The visitor center is updated. There is a new, half-hour movie. And having read aloud so much about the events of those four years of war just in the last weeks, it was even more poignant.

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park field trip

That field trip was part of us sticking with a habit of exploration. A habit I learned from Barb-Harmony Art Mom. Take a map and place a dot on over your home. Draw a circle around your home with a driving distance of one hour. Make a point of exploring those places. This helped me feel so much better about what we can afford to do. And helped me get over the fact that we aren’t taking big, elaborate trips to learning destinations. We are building many, wonderful memories close to home!

Field Trips within a One Hour Drive – an idea by Harmony-Art Mom“We found a long time ago that we can explore so many different places by using a simple idea. Take a map and place a big dot on your home town. Now determine an hour’s distance from your home and draw a circle around your home at that distance. Make a list of all the places you can go that are within that hour’s distance and then start one by one giving them a try.” Please see the original post: Summer is for Hiking

Sweetwater Creek State Park

Another day we decided to explore a nearby park. We had been to Sweetwater Creek for picnics and walks several times before. This time we made time for the visitor center and the walk to the mill. Guess what? More Civil War history! There were Civil War rifles preserved in water, an entire display on what happened when Sherman’s soldiers marched up to the mill that day. Letters, period clothing, old photos and more. This park is also where I found the Jr. Ranger 150 anniversary program – complete with a checklist for visiting all the other spots that were already on our list!

Sweetwater Creek State Park rapids

Besides the history, this was simply a gorgeous spot. (LOVE this phone photo, above!) We enjoyed the bridges, the rapids, the greenery and the nice spring-time in Georgia temperatures. I’ll be sharing a post in the future with all the resources we’ve found and are looking forward to visiting over the summer.

Touch a Truck

Lil’ Buddy absolutely LOVED the special Touch a Truck program at a local park last weekend. To get to climb in big rigs, construction vehicles, and see a helicopter land? Heaven for our kindergartener!

Church Children's Choir and Music Program Church Children’s Music Program

My children are so blessed to grow up in a church that makes children a priority! All of our children have been involved in children’s choir, hymn memorization, percussion, and the puppets ministry at one time or another. This week was the end of the year Spring Sing program where each choir sang and the various groups performed.

This year I have helped in the four-year-old choir again. Middle Girl was a helper in puppets. And, of course, Hodgepodgedad and our 9th grade son did the sound for the program. All of these offer weekly learning, service opportunities but most of all growth in the love of the Lord. Blessed indeed!

Spring walk on a favorite trail Spring, evening walk on a favorite trail.

In closing, what a very full, blessed and busy week of learning! And in talking about sticking with what works – what I am NOT saying is that you have to continue to use curricula that does not work for your family and is not working. I am not saying you should never explore other options. But I am saying that you should question changing something that is definitely working for your family – simply because it looks fantastic or because of criticisms. Yes, you should consider trusted sources, what homeschool friends and mentors say. But friends, please do not fret about what others are doing. If your children are thriving, stick with what works best for your family.

“Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny.” ~ Tryon Edwards

More Hodgepodge

Spring Hodgepodge

1. Favorite Trim Healthy Mama recipe : Cheeseburger Pie | 2. Hodgepodgedad and I got to see God’s Not Dead on date night last week! | 3. First homegrown strawberry of the season! | 4. Park day with homeschool friends

Folders on shelf

Speaking of wrapping up a homeschool year, the review author team at The Curriculum Choice is sharing a round up of resources for just that – plus storage and graduation.

Many thanks to our hostesses!

Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

 Are you wrapping up your homeschool year?


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      Phyllis – I say the same about your amazing weeks! (We had my husband off of work for two days and totally took advantage of it – hitting the local field trips and enjoying the fabulous spring weather)

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    I’m counting on you for GA Civil Way field trip ideas, Tricia! That state park looks beautiful. I’m getting very excited about next year now. :-)

    Thanks for always linking with Collage Friday and for always teaching me something new when I read your blog.

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    Sticking with what works takes the anxiety out of curriculum shopping. We’ve also found what works for us and have been sticking with it. Sadly 2 subjects we use (RightStart and First Language Lessons) only go so far so I’m looking at choices for those subjects for 5th grade. Rod & Staff is at the top of my list.

    I’ll have to spend some time looking at Teaching Textbooks. Just a few more years until we get to the upper level math sequence – so hard to think about right now! 😉
    Tonia recently posted..4th Grade Weekly Wrap-up: Conference Time & Long DivisionMy Profile

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    I found you on, I’ve been a little too obsessed with finishing our 6th grade year and looking for next years program (as you can see here- ). The stick with what works struck me as funny, I should heed that advice!
    I live just north of Kennesaw and we’ve been here 4 years and haven’t been down there. It’s high on my list now. And a Gone With the Wind study for me could include a field trip to Margret Mitchell’s house. Good ideas!
    April recently posted..How to End Your Homeschool Year Like a HippieMy Profile

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    “We are building many wonderful memories close to home.”

    I love that quote, and especially enjoyed your nature photos!

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    I’m visiting from Weekly Wrapup. I also agree with sticking with what works. I’ve also jumped on the bandwagon with a new curriculum and most times it doesn’t work for us as well as I’d planned. However, we have found quite a few add ons my kids don’t mind. They also enjoy Teaching Textbooks (we use it in conjunction with our other core curriculum as a ‘math lab’ of sorts), Analytical Grammar, and are keepers. The list of things we had to quit is just too long to write. Good advice!
    Nita recently posted..Totally ChilledMy Profile

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