For many of us, it’s a brand new school year already. Labor Day has come and gone and now we welcome school back in session. I don’t know about you, but I’m in planning mode- and to be honest, I think most of us are thinking about how we can plan for a successful year of homeschooling. In order to see our plans work for us, though, we’ll need some goal-planning strategies for the year. In this post, I hope to uncover a few tips on goal planning that will help you with your personal homeschooling goals for the next school year.
GOAL SETTING WITH EASE
Personally, I’ve experienced goal-planning (or the lack thereof) to be the director of my homeschool day-to-day grind. Without a plan in place, I kind of feel like I’m just floating around the ocean without an anchor. Call me a perfectionist, but I
really don’t like that feeling of everything left to a whim. Just having something down on paper gives me a sense of security- even if I don’t follow everything to a “t”.
HAVE AN IDEA OF SPECIFIC GOALS FOR YOUR KIDS, AND WRITE THEM DOWN.
It’s one thing to have a few good ideas running through your mind, and it’s another to actually see those plans come to life. I don’t know what it is about writing down your goals, but it does wonders. Somehow when we write down our goals for each of our kids, it gives us a roadmap for success. When I first started writing down goals for each of my girls, it really made me appreciate their unique differences and needs. I felt as though I was able to address their learning needs more fully that school year.
SET MEASURABLE AND EASILY ATTAINABLE GOALS.
Boy is this ever something I’ve learned over and over again- that setting far-fetched and unrealistic goals is no fun for the kids or for me (because the goals never get accomplished and it only frustrates the kids).I think I can reasonably expect to gently introduce phonics and sight reading to my kindergartener this year, so this is one of my goals. It’s measurable because I’ve preceded it with “by the end of kindergarten, she will have learned to (read CVC words)”. It’s attainable because I know she is ready for this next step in her reading journey. It’s not far-fetched because I haven’t set an unrealistic goal for her (like reading passages from Wuthering Heights). Not setting your goals too high definitely keeps down the frustration level. Instead, you’ll feel like celebrating when you’ve accomplished some of the goals on your list by the end of the year.
MAKE SURE THERE ARE NO CONFLICTS OF INTEREST.
In our home, we love scripture memory programs. Some years we make up our own and sometimes we follow other methods I’ve seen online (like Charlotte Mason’s Scripture Memory System). Last year my kids attended Awana at a local church each week- which is yet another scripture memory program, so we had to let go of some of what we did at home to make room for Awana. We shifted our goals around a bit so that the kids wouldn’t be taxed with too much memorizing for both at home and at church. Goals can be met in a number of different ways, and if you introduce something new into your family you might have to consider cutting back on something else so you can fully devote yourself to the new method. Conflicts of interest can definitely lead to quick burnout when it comes to goal-setting. Been there, done that.
ENCOURAGE EACH OTHER IN THE JOURNEY.
Homeschooling is a journey, and goal-setting is one aspect of our journey. We have to know what we want out of our school year in order to feel we’ve accomplished something by the end of the year. The best way to know that we’ve been successful is to celebrate by encouraging each other along the way. Encourage your kids for every new goal they’ve accomplished by giving small rewards (maybe leading up to a big one at the end of the year!) Encourage yourself by giving yourself a “celebration night” (either with your spouse or your family or even alone). You’re a homeschool teacher who deserves a reward once in a while too, right? Whatever it is that rocks your boat, do that for yourself in honor of a successful (month/semester/school year).