What is it about goal setting that is so appealing and scary at the same time?
We’ve all had that moment where you sit down, write out your dreams and goals, and then make them smaller because a nagging little voice in your head said, “No way, you’ll never get that done. It’ll never work…”
Homeschooling can feel even more terrifying. You’re not just aiming for fun or weight loss or a promotion at work. You’re aiming to educate and prepare your child for life after school, for a lifetime of learning about the world around them and thriving in it. Does it remind you of that moment where you first became aware of the weighty responsibility of parenthood, when you first held your newborn?
If you feel this fear making you sweat a little, know that it’s normal. You’re not alone.
The education of your child(ren) is a very serious matter indeed. This post will help you see the bigger picture of setting goals for your homeschooling family AND hopefully make it less overwhelming.
What should homeschooling goals be?
Homeschooling goals are about SOOO much more than your choice of resources, curriculum, activities, and planning. It’s about who your child is, their learning styles, talents, interests, and the essential things they’ll need to cope with life as an adult. It’s about that glimpse you have as a parent of who your precious child(ren) may become when they grow up.
Do yourself a favor and take the time to reflect on this properly. Start with yourself, by asking these questions:
- How would I have liked things to be done differently when I was in school?
What did I enjoy most about learning when I was a child and why? (There will surely be a few parallels here between you and at least one of your children!)
- What did I hate about school and/or learning and why?
- What do I wish I had known as a teenager / young adult/ adult?
- What opportunities and experiences would I have liked to explore/avoid and why?
- What do I wish someone would have told me or explained to me when I was a youngster/teenager/young adult?
- Did I like myself as a teenager? Did I care about the world around me? Was I considerate? What was my character like?
- What would I like to do better/learn about myself and about parenting on this journey with my child?
All of these questions will take you down memory lane, but with the purpose of looking at your child’s education a little differently, because you now have the power in your hands to consider what does your child need to learn besides curriculum.
How do I set homeschooling goals that balance fun and required learning?
The short answer to this is an eclectic approach – a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Give your child an appropriate measure of responsibility and choice in methods or approach, deadlines and timing.
Consider how your child responds to schedules and task lists. If they are perfectionistic and take pressure overly seriously, be careful. But if on the other hand, you have a child who is driven by challenging goals, set the bar sufficiently high to fuel their drive without having them burn out.
If your child is old enough to participate in the conversation, talk about your goal setting together and categorize it if it helps you.
Questions to help you set homeschooling goals
- What subject concepts/topics/projects/skills would you like to see your child master by the end of the year?
- What fun experiences would you and your child like to incorporate into the learning journey? How can you make those experiences overlap with their subject goals?
- What life skills would you like your child to learn and which ones are they interested in? Think age-appropriate chores, basic repairs, cooking simple meals on their own, taking on more life-admin tasks like making appointments, etc.
- What projects would you like to do as a family? What project does your child keep asking you about? Look for ways to modify project ideas if their suggestions are a little too way-out for you. If the project ideas overlap with the answers above, great!
- What role would you like to play in your community? Does your child have an idea for helping others? Give it a shot. You may learn a lot more than you bargained for yourself. This blog post at HandsFreeMama details stories of Avery singing to an adopted elderly lady in a hospice – amazing impact.
- What are the spiritual lessons, keys, and anchors of your faith that you would like to impart to your children and how can you go about doing that? Take the time to think, pray and talk about it. Maybe you could plan to join a short mission trip. Or start implementing principles that establish what I like to call a “family altar”. A place where you and your children gather regularly, at a set time, and talk about your faith and practice it. It’s a tradition that teaches your child by example and it will come back to them when they are older. Focus on the Family has a wealth of resources regarding family faith traditions if you’re Christian.
Tip: Remember, you can always adjust the goals later on if a crisis hits or things don’t go the way you planned! It’s okay!
How do I keep homeschooling goals from stressing me/us out?
Remember your WHY. Your WHY should not include:
- Setting goals to impress other people, even if they’re family.
- Setting goals because your identity is rooted in your and your children’s achievements.
Your WHY should ONLY have something to do with:
- Doing what is right and what works for YOUR family. If that means taking your goals at a slower pace than everyone else because of certain limitations, so be it.
- Creating some sort of guideline that you can then flesh out and follow with your choice of resources and/or curriculum.
- Ensuring that your child is getting a well-rounded, wholesome, safe, interesting, fun, stimulating, challenging and character-building learning experience that will equip them for life.
- Homeschooling in a way that promotes healthy relationships with your children and others.
Remove unnecessary hindrances and time-wasters (hello cat videos on social media…).
Don’t try to do EVERYTHING at once! Prioritize what is most important.
Homeschooling goals is about growing together
Setting your homeschooling goals is not about being good enough. You already are sacredly able – as a parent, you know your child best. If you don’t feel like you know your child, homeschooling will certainly help with that – don’t get stuck with guilt. Move forward and enjoy it.
For the New Year, take courage. Breathe. Set fun goals you can look forward to celebrating. Make family celebrations a big deal. Life is about more than getting A’s, as you probably know!
You can do it!
How do you go about setting homeschooling goals with your children? Do you enjoy the process of reflecting and celebrating the goals you’ve achieved and the things you’ve learned?
Share in the comments, and share the encouragement in this post with someone who needs it.