Goals are a destination. Every destination creates a path and needs direction. Goals are no different when it comes to your child’s education, which is why it’s good to list these goals, whether they are specific or a loose outline of what you want your child to achieve, you’ll be better equipped to stay on course through this brainstorming session.
Don’t forget to grab the Homeschool Goal Setting Workbook to guide you through these steps.
Picture Your Atmosphere
There is a lot to discuss in the realm of goal setting for homeschool. It’s good to have a simple outlook with how you want to strive towards your goals. This means the everyday mood. How does the atmosphere feel? Do you want to keep things fun and energetic? Do you want lessons to include art? Do you think math should be a top priority? Are you a family of serious readers and literature is the basis? Is nature or traveling something you want and everything else to fall into place? Write or sketch what you see in your mind’s eye so you can keep your goals within this context.
For us, it’s more of a general essence of being together and implementing a mostly classical style and having lots of free time to encourage creative play and free art. We have our magic art cart, outdoors to roam, books to explore, endless math…the list goes on. There is a lot to learn. I want the kids to have time to find their own identities, to explore the things that spark their interest and imagination. Their self-expression has to come from their hearts and be able to mature over time. In order for that to happen we put lessons first, and then everything else is play. And if you’re wondering, yes it does mean plenty of Minecraft!
Believe it or not, lessons give way to creativity and imagination. Our middle child finished a lesson on states of matter. A week later he was creating an artistic “masterpiece” of a volcano and then explained to me how it had solid, liquid, and gas.
List Goals for Each Child
Let us take a look at some homeschool goals to give you a better picture of how we will use these. Not all of these will be implemented but it is a nice start.
Child number one: develop personal reading preferences, memorize multiplication facts, develop independent learning skills, finish Latin, gain confidence using stove, develop faster writing techniques, develop summarizing skills.
Child number two: understand the importance of learning, strengthen ability to sit through lessons, memorize short poems, begin daily chores, memorize addition facts up to 6 (or 7), become comfortable using scissors.
Notice the goals are more than homeschool. Learning to sit through lessons and complete chores are characteristics that help in the long run. Beginning to learn independently and being confident with cooking are lifelong lessons. These life skills help kids grow into mature adults who are capable of taking care of themselves. They still have math curricula to finish and grammar lessons to recite but my overarching goal is for my children to function in the everyday with ease.
The 9 Essential Steps
Grab your pen and paper (our Homeschool Goal Setting Workbook is a great tool to have) and let’s get started!
Who are you making these goals for? Yourself, specific child, the whole family? The homeschool goals for my kids are not the same but some may overlap and can be worked on as a family.
1. What Category Are Your Goals?
Character building, introducing cultures, educational (lessons for math, language arts, foreign language, nature study, etc.), life skills (chores), etc. You need to know your aim in order to reach it.
2. Choose Your Time Frame
Are you making overarching goals for your child’s character or a simple list of learning tasks for the year? Maybe you want to list goals to accomplish over the next three months? Write down the approximate length of time for the goals you’re making.
3. Are Your Goals Attainable?
You need to keep your goals realistic for the allotted time frame. Be honest. The goals need to be child-friendly in a way that does not force stress upon them. We, as their parents and teachers, need to remember that they are little humans and are learning a lot every day, even when they are not actively doing their lessons. Can your child learn to work independently within a year? Probably not. That’s a life skill that will require practice over many years. You would want to break that down into baby steps. Can your child learn a new chore each month? Absolutely! Go for it!
4. Determine the Steps
Let’s use an example here: you want to finish Level 2 Math by March. You’ve determined it is attainable but you’re not sure how to handle it. Look at how many lessons you have left. How long does it take your child to master each lesson? How many days a week do you really sit down and work through math? Do you have enough time? Should you move that goal to April, or can you finish by February? Can you allot extra time to meet the goal? Use averages here because we never know how long a child will truly take to understand any particular subject.
5. Be Prepared to Make Changes
Maybe you worked really hard with Cara but it looks as though math will not be finished until mid-April or even May. That’s okay! That’s great! You are working hard towards the goal together and you’re not creating stress on Cara and she’s mastering the lessons! Woohoo! There is no reason to push too hard on yourself or your child to reach a certain goal because it says it right there on that paper. Life throws so many difficulties our way and there is no reason to add more to ourselves.
6. Write Down the Steps
Now that you’ve relaxed your shoulders and know that these goals can be modified at any point and you have a rough outline, it is time to create a schedule to see how you’re going to implement this goal daily (weekly, monthly).
7. Review Time
Set your rough draft aside for a day or so before you make it final. Now ask yourself, did you make a plausible goal and give yourself and your child plenty of time to reach it? Is the plan to reach this goal attainable? Are you going to stick with it? Does it suit your personality and your child’s abilities?
I am trying to convey that you should keep your expectations lower than you think they should be. We cannot forget the slew of family celebrations, holidays, unexpected illnesses, field trips, vacations, and the many other things that keep us busy.
8. Check-In at Regular Intervals
Set a reminder. Check in bi-weekly, monthly, every other month…depending on how long in the future your goal is, you want to make sure you’re making progress and updating the goals as necessary, making any changes that you see fit.
9. Celebrate the Small Things
Celebrate every step of the way. Whether you whip up cookies, buy a special craft kit, or go out for a morning at the park, make it worth reaching that goal! Say “you finished Unit 16 so we’re going to take a break to celebrate!” Make crushing these goals worthwhile for yourself and your child! This gives everyone in the family something to look forward to and a reason to continue working hard. It’s a wonderful way to show your kids that being responsible for their education is important and fun.
You did it! You’ve set some great goals to work towards with your family. I hope you enjoyed this process and it’s been helpful.
Tell us below what are some of your homeschool goals? What goals have you recently accomplished?