How to Set SMART and Practical Homeschool Student Goals
Whether it is required by your state or not, homeschool goal-setting is simply good educational practice. In essence, by choosing to homeschool your child, you have decided to move your child’s education from group-centered to individualized. In doing so, you have grasped the opportunity to build an education based on your child’s strengths, challenges, and interests. The very nature of this individualized education means that your child’s goals are just as important as any national or state standards. Being an effective homeschool goal-setter is essential, and there are ways to make the process easier for you and more motivational for your child.
What Are SMART Goals?
Wouldn’t it be great to have a recipe for the goal-setting process? SMART goals are just that recipe! You can use the SMART acronym to be sure that you have met the criteria for writing effective goals:
- S: Specific
- M: Measurable
- A: Achievable/Attainable
- R: Relevant/Realistic
- T: Time Bound
A SMART goal meets each of the criteria listed above, which means you can easily use it as an instructional objective. The criteria ensure that each goal is appropriate and meaningful for your child, and will help you gauge whether your child has reached the goal or not. This knowledge allows you to make instructional judgments, like whether to review past content or move on to new material. You also have a deadline by which to evaluate learning, making both you and your child accountable for educational progress. Once you’ve written SMART goals for your child, post them in a place where they can easily be seen to keep them top-of-mind.
Using SMART goals for students can also increase motivation and prevent burnout—especially if the student is involved in the creation of the goals. Your child’s input can make goals feel achievable, thereby improving the likelihood of buy-in and increasing motivation to work toward goals. Burnout is also less likely because study is strategic, eliminating learning activities that feel like wasted time and effort. Breaking long-term goals into short-term goals can help you and your child establish more opportunities to evaluate goal completion, celebrate successes, and continue the cycle of attainable goals. This will result in your child feeling more confident, and you staying engaged as a homeschool parent!
Free Printable Goal Planner
Keep track of important goals, key steps, strengths and needs with our printable goal planner.
Goals, Strengths, and Needs Planner
Get the new year started on the right track with this Homeschool Goals, Strengths, and Needs Planner
SMART Goal Examples for Elementary Schoolers
A good way to understand how to set good homeschool goals is by examining SMART goal examples for students. In elementary school, students are learning a lot of foundational concepts and skills. Meeting goals at these levels can lead to long-term successes. Let’s look at a couple at the elementary level:
- SMART Reading Goal Example: “By the end of the quarter, given a grade-level fiction text, my child will be able to identify sight words with 85% accuracy.”
- SMART Social Skills Goal Example: “By the end of the year, given no more than one reminder, my child will be able to share a toy for ten minutes with a sibling without complaint.”
Writing SMART goals for elementary school students can be tricky because there is so much you are trying to do to prepare for later grades. Focus on the goals that are most crucial for your child’s unique needs. Remember, too, that young children don’t like to look too far ahead, so be sure to break down long-term goals into multiple short-term goals whenever you can.
For more information on setting SMART goals for reading, see Reading Goals for Students!
SMART Goal Examples for Middle Schoolers
In middle school, students are setting the foundations for high school with content that will be reviewed and built upon in later grades. Middle schoolers are also beginning to find themselves and reaching toward independence. Involving them in the goal-setting process is crucial. Here are some SMART goal examples for students in middle school:
- SMART Math Goal Example: “By the end of the quarter, given instruction in Time4Learning’s 7th grade math curriculum, my child will be able to use proportions to answer math word problems with 90% accuracy.”
- SMART Home and Career Goal Example: “By the end of the year, given research support by our local librarians, my child will be able to design and deliver a PowerPoint presentation on a possible future career, earning a score of at least 18/20 on the rubric.”
Setting SMART goals for middle school students is especially important because so much of future learning is riding on middle school progress. SMART goals in middle school can help ensure you are keeping to the plan. With the accomplishment of each SMART goal, your child can feel more confident at a time when bolstering self-esteem and self-concept is essential.
For more math examples of SMART goals for students, see Math Goals for Students!
SMART Goal Examples for High Schoolers
If you think about it, the high school years are all about goal setting. Students are looking forward to life after high school, and that can take many forms. With your support, have your child practice writing SMART goals for academics, sports, and other activities before asking them to think about larger pursuits like college, the military, or a vocation. Below are some examples of SMART goals for students in high school:
- SMART Science Goal Example: “By the end of the year, given Time4Learning’s Biology Curriculum, my child will be able to pass all quizzes and tests with scores of at least 80%.”
- SMART Elective Goal Example: “By the end of the semester, given Time4Learning’s Lifetime Fitness course, my child will be able to set three health goals for the upcoming semester.”
Creating SMART goals for high school students may seem even more daunting because getting it right is important for pathways following graduation, including college or a career. Don’t worry! Goals can be revised and reset as needed, to continue the forward path. If progress is not easily seen on a particular goal, consider breaking that goal into several short-term goals. Make goal setting work for you and your child!
For more SMART goal examples for students taking science courses, see Science Goals for Students!
How Time4Learning Helps Students Reach Their Goals
Time4Learning can be a great partner in your homeschool goal-setting. Members have access to tons of tools and resources like activity planners and lesson plans that will allow you to design homeschool objectives. As you evaluate goal progress, you can use Time4Learning’s reporting features to capture the data you need to determine if any changes should be made. The fact that lessons and assessments can be revisited and redone, enables you to make sure each goal is met in a way that builds your child’s confidence.
Finally, Time4Learning’s structured planning tools help you set up a schedule of activities that allow your child to see visual progress through courses, increasing motivation toward goal completion and reducing the likelihood of burnout. As a partner in your homeschool, Time4Learning can help your child reach academic goals while also supporting you and your family on their homeschool journey!