How are your mid-semester goals coming along? Did you set a laundry list of homeschool learning goals back in August or September for your children, and you’re now wondering if you’ll ever be able to check those learning goals off your list?
Whether it’s a mid-semester homeschool change or slump, sometimes we just need a bit of motivation to keep us moving. I’ve also found that when we’ve set an intention for our homeschools, our days and weeks flow more smoothly.
In this podcast and blog post, I want to share some ideas that can help keep you motivated in setting homeschool learning goals for your kids, and show you how uncomplicated the process really is.
Once we set goals, homeschooling days go much easier. Here are some tips to help you set learning goals for your family.
Let your child CHOOSE.
I find that it helps to get the kids involved in our homeschool planning.
I like to sit down with each of my daughters and ask them what they would like to accomplish at the beginning of the school year. We also meet back up over the New Year holidays and make any adjustments for the next semester.
When my kids create their goals, it gives them a voice in their own education. Having them sit down with me and let me know what’s important to them is a huge deal in our house. It gives our kids the motivation to succeed at meeting their goals and also just prepares them for real life as they will need to learn to be intrinsically motivated to set their own goals as they become adults.
Some of the ways I do this is through brainstorming and brain dumps. I carve out special time for each child and sit down with her. With a notebook and pen, we create a brain dump page and just hash out all the ideas we have for what they want to achieve this school year.
I ask questions such as:
- What do you want to learn about?
- What topics would you like to explore that you’ve never had the chance to?
- What are your favorite subjects we should focus on most?
- What are your least favorite subjects and what can we do to make it more interesting and meaningful?
- What special projects would you like to do this year?
- What places would you like to go?
- What activities would you like to be involved in?
- What do you want to achieve?
We write these all down in our notebook and have a family discussion that helps us decide what our nexts will be to accomplish these goals. I find that conversations like these are invaluable as I learn so much about my kids and the way they think.
Determine the purpose of your learning goals.
Next, we determine why we have these goals in the first place. What is the purpose of these goals? Although we may like to accomplish all of these things we’ve just written down in our brainstorming session, what would be the purpose of it all?
Certainly, the longer the list, the less we could accomplish in a given time frame. That’s why we have to understand and know the why in what we do. Yes, setting goals is important, but not understanding why we’ve made particular goals of utmost importance in our homeschools will bring confusion later on. It’s important to know the why behind every decision we make so that we are honoring of our time together as a family.
Is our purpose to help others? To understand more about a topic? To learn a particular skill? Let’s be careful not to write down goals that just keep us busy but have no particular purpose. Busy doesn’t always equate to purposeful.
Break down your learning goals.
Once you have a list of goals for your child, consider how you approach them.
Break big learning goals into little goals. Make them small and manageable. You will want to keep them short term as well so that you don’t become overwhelmed with goals that reach far, far out into the future.
Short term, smaller goals are especially important for little ones. Remember, if you are teaching a small child how to set goals, the smaller the goals are, the better. For example, you can have a younger child learn a few basic skills such as:
- Make the bed every morning before school
- Pick up toys before bath and bedtime every night
- Read a book with mom every day
- Write their name every day
- Be kind to someone every day
- Follow directions from mom and dad
And of course, for older children you can have them take larger goals and break them down into smaller, more manageable chunks. For example, my high school daughter wants to learn digital art. With her goal of selling digital art on Etsy, her goals list might look something like this:
- Become familiar with the Wacom tablet
- Watch Lynda.com videos to learn to use Adobe Illustrator
- Watch digital art videos on Lynda.com
- Watch videos on YouTube to learn how to sell digital art on Etsy
- Purchase all necessary art materials
- Practice making a few art pieces to give away to family and friends
- Make a total of ten pieces to sell
- Open up an Etsy store
- Learn the business of how to sell on Etsy
Writing down the detailed specifics of goals makes it so much easier to accomplish.
Celebrate your achievement and successes!
Also be sure to celebrate your successes – no matter how big or small. When you take time out of your schedule to plan ahead and make new goals, it’s important that you honor the time you spent and acknowledging your achievements throughout the year.
You could come up with a few ideas to make goal celebrations a fun event, such as:
- Ordering pizza for dinner or going out to a favorite restaurant
- Taking the younger kids to Chuck E Cheese or somewhere fun
- Getting tickets and taking your child to a sports event or any event your older student would really enjoy
- Taking a special trip as a family
Keep reevaluating your learning goals
Remember that goal-planning is an ongoing event and that in order to make progress it’s important to stop and reevaluate. Make it a point to periodically have a goals-reevaluation session- whether it’s over a holiday, s
If you are pleased with your progress, keep doing what you’re doing. If not, edit your goals to meet your needs.
We have to do this every few months in our family since it seems that my kids keep growing and evolving so quickly. It doesn’t take long for a few weeks to turn into months and before we know it, my child’s interests may have changed. What was important to her three months ago is not so much a priority anymore. At this point, we make changes as necessary and tweak our goals to reflect her growth and maturity.
Constant reassessment is crucial because our kids grow so much and so quickly! Family dynamics are bound to change and so are your goals. That’s okay. Keep making those goals because they’re important for your family to have clarity and direction with your homeschool lifestyle.
Have these tips been helpful to you? I truly hope so. Check out a few of my other posts and podcasts on goal-planning, then come on over to Facebook to join the discussion.
Notes from the show:
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