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Some people come by goals naturally. I am most comfortable when I am armed with a to-do list and a clear vision. Others are just as successful with vague dreams and scribbled ideas.
Fortunately, homeschooling is one of those activities in which you find what works best for your family and then move in that direction. Whether you choose unschooling, Charlotte Mason, textbooks, or unit studies, you will benefit from having a plan in place.
Why Goals are Important
Goals are important because they help us accomplish what needs to be done. They are concrete ideas which help us stay focused and not wander off course. Home life can easily take over your homeschool life. Illness, family issues, visiting relatives, and trips to the dentist (or grocery store) can interrupt your day or week and leave you wondering how to get back on track.
In our homeschool, we have two different goals. One for academics and one for hearts.
Goals for our children’s hearts are character building activities such as volunteering, singing at nursing homes, scripture memorization, manner focus etc. These goals are just as important as learning to read or long division.
How to Set Goals
A good way to set goals is to first choose a large goal and then divide it into smaller ones. I split our homeschool year into three sessions. September through December, January through May, and June through August.
I look at my curriculum and decide what we need to accomplish in each of those blocks of time. We do very little book work in June through August. January and February are frigid months where I live. We tend to hit the books extra hard during these two months so we can have more time to play outside when it is not as cold. December is a crazy month with a lot of fun holiday interruptions so expectations are kept low.
Once you have established your large chunks of time, you can then divide your goals into smaller ones by months or weeks. I do both. In August, I divide our math, spelling, and grammar into weeks only for the September through December session. Science and social studies along with reading and foreign language are divided into monthly goals. Mostly because of the nature of the curriculum that I use. Yours will look completely different. During winter break, I evaluate where we are and then plan for the January through May session.
A plan can be as simple as making a list of books, topics, crafts, verses to memorize, skills to learn, field trips, or lapbooks.
Goals Need to be Flexible
Remaining flexible is key because as I’ve already mentioned – something will happen to upset your routine. That’s ok! You will soon be back on track because you know where you are going and you can refocus.
Sometimes, your child will struggle with a concept and it takes much longer than expected for them to conquer their needed skill. If your monthly goal is not met, that’s fine, it’s knowing WHAT you are working toward that is important. This is another plus to homeschooling. You are working on the schedule that is best for your child.
Other times your child will fly through a subject with ease and a strong interest. This is fine too. You can adjust your goal or use that time elsewhere.
Your Child’s Heart
One of the perks of homeschooling is the wonderful amount of time we are given to spend with our kids. Time to play, learn, snuggle, and embrace all that life brings and all the important developmental lessons necessary for them to become independent, productive adults.
Using your homeschool day to instruct and encourage the values that you find important is a great opportunity that should not be overlooked.
Do you want to foster a giving spirit in your child? Is it important to you that your child learns to help others? What about the child with the explosive temper or tendency to be careless? Spend some time praying about the character of your child. Both positive and negative.
Activities to encourage the positive traits boost your child’s confidence and interest. They fill their bucket. Goals to correct the negative should be small and worked on steadily.
By adding character-building activities to your list of goals prevents them from getting overlooked.
Memory verses are helpful here. Not that you want to hit your child over the head with them, but God’s word becomes a guide for your child which you can build on and remind them of when needed. I plan monthly memory work for my kids but have been known to add a different one if I see a problem that needs to be addressed.
When setting heart goals for your kids or family, keep in mind that we are all a work in progress. I know I am!
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Hello, I am Heather, mom of five wonderful kids. At www.lessonsfromhome.co I enjoy encouraging and learning from other homeschooling moms as well as writing about our homesteading adventures. Healing from loss is also an important part of my blog as my family grieves the loss of my beautiful eight-year-old daughter. I’d love for you to follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.