Personal Development

How Goals Can Inspire Homeschoolers to Learn

by Therusticfive-
goalsandhomeschoolers

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!

How Goals Can Inspire Homeschoolers to Learn title picture
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.

What type of goals do you set with your children?
Title picture with planner
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Therusticfive

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.

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29 Comments

  1. The Domestic Musician

    This is such a great list! Thanks for sharing!

    02 . 01 . 2017
  2. Shela Yount | I Answer to Mom

    I am SO happy I came across this post! I am starting pre-pre-k with my youngest this year and I am so excited to set goals with him! <3

    02 . 01 . 2017
  3. Dearlyndsey

    I love these. I may use some of these in our homeschool unschool journey.

    02 . 01 . 2017
  4. Therusticfive

    Thank you! I’m glad you found some useful for you.

    02 . 01 . 2017
  5. theforeverteacher

    As a teacher, I KNOW how important setting goals is for children! I would always ask my kids what they wanted to master by the end of the lesson, and it caused them to actually push for it harder.

    02 . 01 . 2017
  6. Kathy

    Setting goals is so important to students in all learning environments. Also providing them with opportunities for self assessment. It authentically engages them and makes them accountable. Thanks for sharing.

    03 . 01 . 2017
  7. Therusticfive

    Absolutely, I couldn’t agree more. Self-assessment is crucial.

    03 . 01 . 2017
  8. Lauren | also known as mama

    Thank you for this! I especially like the goal-setting tips for a toddler, as I just started tot-schooling my 3-year-old 🙂

    03 . 01 . 2017
  9. Meagan

    We are working on the importance of goal setting here. This is such a great post.

    03 . 01 . 2017
  10. Therusticfive

    You are very welcome. 🙂

    03 . 01 . 2017
  11. Therusticfive

    Thank you! I’m so glad to hear you are working goal Setting. 🙂

    03 . 01 . 2017
  12. The Sanity Plan

    I love the list of questions for your older child. We have already decided that we will not be homeschooling, but we definitely still want to be active participants in giving our children a love of learning and teaching them critical thinking. I just put up a post about our family goals that we set for the New Year. It was a great experience getting to hear each goals and the reasons why they were chosen. Helps you really get to know each other.

    03 . 01 . 2017
  13. Therusticfive

    Family goals are such a great idea. That’s what I love about goal setting is that they are good for anyone especially kiddos. 🙂

    03 . 01 . 2017
  14. Divya @ Eat. Teach. Blog.

    I think setting goals with kids is so important because it keeps them invested in their schooling and their academic growth! I do this often with my classroom of kids. I feel like they hold each other accountable for their individual goals 🙂

    03 . 01 . 2017
  15. kage2015

    Ton of great questions. Will be sharing this with all my home schooler friends.

    03 . 01 . 2017
  16. Therusticfive

    Thank you! ❤

    03 . 01 . 2017
  17. Gloryanna

    I really like the idea of goal setting with your toddler and talking through the process with them. Great post!

    03 . 01 . 2017
  18. Therusticfive

    Thank you! 🙂

    03 . 01 . 2017
  19. kaitbrough

    I LOVE THIS! I love how you tell us a list that you use for your kids to set their OWN goals. This is huge in parenting. If our children don’t learn to think for themselves at a young age, then why would they when they are older?!

    Kaitlyn
    http://www.mypostpartumlife.com

    03 . 01 . 2017
  20. Therusticfive

    Absolutely… I couldn’t agree more. It’s so important for them to learn how to think for themselves.

    03 . 01 . 2017
  21. Jennifer Shull

    I love having “end of the day goal review”. I do this in my adult life and find it so helpful. A great skill to learn early. I actually grew up home schooled (all 12 grades) before homeschooling was “cool”! LOL I love seeing all of the support for it now!! 🙂

    04 . 01 . 2017
  22. Therusticfive

    Thanks! I couldn’t agree more about the nightly review being helpful. It’s one of most important elements. 🙂

    04 . 01 . 2017
  23. Meghann Dibrell

    This is great! We’re working on setting our family goals right now and it was definitely harder getting my toddler to help set goals! 🙂

    04 . 01 . 2017
  24. Nicole Banuelos

    I’m all about setting goals, not only for myself but for my children as well! We may not be homeschooling but setting goals in this manner works for us as well!

    04 . 01 . 2017
  25. j4hg

    This is a great idea, making kids a part of the goal setting really sets them up for success!

    04 . 01 . 2017
  26. Therusticfive

    Thank you!

    04 . 01 . 2017
  27. Sheila

    I’ll have to try this out with my toddler. I hope to homeschool one day! Maybe trying your toddler technique with my son now will help us have a head start with having goals when he starts school!

    05 . 01 . 2017
  28. savagesevenblog

    I do not homeschool but I can see how these can be applied even when the child is not educated in the home setting. very informative post. -Breyona Sharpnack

    06 . 01 . 2017
  29. Therusticfive

    Absolutely, my stepson is not homeschooled and we do this with him. We support his natural learning on the weekends when he is with us. It really works well.

    07 . 01 . 2017

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