It’s the first month of the year and that means it’s a brand new start for all of us. This even includes our homeschoolers. So let’s talk goals!
I personally love the feel of a brand new start. It’s so refreshing like a pair of freshly washed sheets. This makes the 1st of the year a great time to set new goals for the year.
Goal setting keeps us focused on a purpose and can be a great way to keep us motivated to keep working too. Whether you use traditional homeschool or an unschooling method with your children, goal setting is a wonderful and useful skill for them to develop.
Here’s how we use goal setting with our kiddos…
Our oldest is 9 and is not homeschooled. He attends public school as he is only with us part-time. The rest of the time he is with his mom. However, we still feel it’s important that he has a say in what and how he will learn when he is with us. We use a natural learning method with him on the weekends and when he is with us. This allows him to follow his passions and find new ones.
Goal setting with him is pretty simple. It mostly consists of me asking him several questions. Then we write down his responses together (a great writing opportunity for the kiddos that is meaningful and provides purpose).
Here’s the list of questions we use…
1. What ideas would you like to explore?
A. By when do you want to have this topic explored?
2. What books or book topics would you like to read this year?
A. Where can you access these books at?
B. How often do you want to read each day?
C. How many books do you want to read this year?
4. What skills would you like to master this year?
A. What can you do to improve that skill?
B. How often will you work on this skill?
C. When do you want to master the skill by?
5. How would you like to spend your time in nature?
A. How much time will you spend in nature each day?
6. What places would you like to visit this year?
A. How many times do you want to visit?
B. How will you earn the money to pay for your visits?
C. When do you want to visit it by?
It’s important for the kids to have access to their goals each day to reread and review. I recommend hanging the goals up somewhere they will see it. The kids will use this to help guide their daily to do lists each day. Check out our post on How to use a To Do list with your Homeschooler here (to come later this month).
At the end of each day before bed, I recommend the child to review their goals. Did they meet their daily goal? What did they do to move themselves closer to their goals today? What did they do today that moved themselves away from their goals? How do they feel about their goals?
Hopefully, they are still excited about working towards their goals. This excitement will keep them motivated to keep working towards their goals. If they are not, then maybe it’s time to adjust or even change that goal.
The point of goal setting is to keep our homeschoolers especially our unschoolers moving along in their interest-led education. Our ultimate goal is to help them stay positive and motivated to become life long learners on their own.
Goal Setting with a Toddler
Setting goals with my toddler looks and sounds completely different. With our 17 month old, this is much more adult directed and more about getting into a goal setting routine. Every morning we go over our day and what will be doing. We have lots of free play in our daily routine as well as reading books and spending time in nature. I make sure to have toys and items available to her that fit her interests as well as new explorations. Then at the end of our day we reflect on our day. What did she like? What didn’t she like? What would she like more of? Less of? What does she want to do tomorrow? This begins the reflecting of our goals process each night. Then when she is old enough we will transition this to a much more child-led process.
Goals Help Parents too
By setting these goals with our kiddos, it helps us too. It allows parents to get to know their kids. A little insight from them can go a long when it comes to discovering their interests. Toddlers especially those who aren’t verbal yet can be more difficult, so observing them during free play time is crucial. You can discover a lot about your child’s interest by watching what toys they interact with the most.
Overall, goals are amazing things for both the kids and parents. They really can drive how the children learn and what kind of opportunities you should offer the children. It also gets them thinking about how they want their days structured.
The key to goal setting is making sure it is completely Child-led. Adult directed goals at least at the older ages is not as useful as the children’s own goals. Be sure to allow them the lead in setting their goals.
I’m Melissa Dow, M.ED. I am a wife, mama of 2 and a bonus mama of 1. A former public school educator with 7 years of experience in both special education and general education who is on a new journey to help parents guide their children to uncover their true passions in order to find their life purpose. I love spending time out in nature whether hiking, running, camping, canoeing or just playing in our backyard (aka our outdoor classroom). I also enjoy reading, learning new things, organic gardening and creating our a simple life.