Homeschool Goal Setting: The Fun Way
The Fun Side of Homeschool Objectives
I admit it. I love planning. I love sitting down with calendars, books, and scheduling apps strewn in front of me and getting my game plan on. If I were to suggest this as an activity for my children, though, mutiny would likely be the next thing in my schedule! But with a new year in sight, I know that we need to sit down and review how our homeschool objectives have gone so far and what we can improve on.
With that in mind, I’ve decided to do everything I can to make the process as fun for my homeschoolers as possible. If you are as burnt out as I am, then we all could use a fresh start, and I can’t think of any better way to get my children on board with the list of educational goals I have for them than to get them involved with the goal-setting process. Shall we?
What are the goals you have for your child?
This is the absolute first question I always ask myself when I sit down to plan a year, a month, a week, and even my day-to-day schedule. Keeping the big picture in mind means that when I start to question myself about a homeschool situation, (and oh, yes, I will question myself) I can refer back to the original goals I have for each of my children and compare the situation against what we’re really trying to accomplish.
It’s not a bad idea to even write these goals down and keep them in a place that’s easy to spot, such as:
- in the front of your planner.
- on your smartphone shortcuts.
- posted on the wall of the main homeschool area in your house.
Personally, I post each child’s homeschool objectives on the refrigerator so that when it’s time to grab my daily yogurt snack (usually the one flavor that the kids like least) I get that written memory jolt. It’s like a homeschool mom’s centering mantra.
Goals, Strengths, and Needs Planner
Get the new year started on the right track with this Homeschool Goals, Strengths, and Needs Planner
SMART goal setting for students
Once you have your goals for each of your homeschoolers, though, it’s time to get their input. There is a neat goal-setting technique that classroom teachers often use with students that I’ve hijacked for our own homeschooling purposes. It’s called SMART goal setting, and the acronym can be broken down as follows:
|S||Specific||Alternatives: simple, sustainable|
|M||Measurable||Alternatives: meaningful, motivational|
|A||Achievable||Alternatives: attainable, acceptable|
|R||Relevant||Alternatives: realistic, reasonable|
|T||Trackable||Alternatives: time-limited, tangible|
When it’s time to involve your homeschooler in goal-setting activities for the new year, introduce them to this table. It’s natural for students to think in terms of vague goals such as “I want to get better at math.” If they use the SMART goal checklist, though, it will help them better understand how to create more targeted goals for themselves.
Fun Activities for Homeschool Goal Setting
Now it’s time for the fun part! Remember that I said I was determined to make homeschool goal setting an activity that the whole family could enjoy. After doing my research, I found many creative ideas that not only will get us thinking about our homeschool goals but will also build important skills in planning ahead. Here are some of my favorites.
- Write a letter to your future self. This is a letter your homeschooler will open at the end of the school year. In it, they might include things they want to learn about, skills they want to get better at, and activities they are looking forward to.
- Create a goal competition. Not every homeschooler is wired to be a good competitor, but if yours happen to take friendly rivalry in good stride, then create a sibling goal-off with a reward for who reaches their own personally chosen goal first.
- Set up a family (or homeschool) success bulletin board. Let your homeschooler(s) be in charge of the design of the board and include displays of goals, accomplishments, and notes of encouragement for each family member’s efforts.
- Play a goal guessing game. Family members will list one step that they will do toward accomplishing a specific goal and see if another family member can guess their overall goal just from that step.
- Aim for an “unsolvable.” Is there a book your student can’t read yet? An algebra problem they can’t yet figure out? Write down the “unsolvable” on paper (or place it on your bulletin board) and save it for later. At the end of the school year, let your student see if he or she has gained the skills to solve the unsolvable!
Okay, so maybe my children still aren’t going to get quite as excited about homeschool planning as I do, but I feel sure these ideas are going to at least keep mutiny at bay!
Kerry Jones is a longtime homeschooling mom of two who has used Time4Learning as the core of her curriculum approach. You can find her chatting as “Topsytechie” on the Time4Learning community forum.