Does homeschool goal setting have a place in your planning process? Today we’re talking about why you should use goals to shape your homeschool plans and how those goals keep you from second guessing the progress you make while learning at home.
*Post contains affiliate links; see disclosure for details.*
Is it even possible to get through an entire homeschool year without wondering if your children are actually learning anything?
It is one of the biggest fears of so many homeschool moms that I talk to – am I doing enough? Is my child learning enough?
Let’s talk about how you can keep those fears at bay for good with homeschool goal setting and get back to enjoying your school year!
I’m No Exception
I’m just like you – I used to worry all the time if my girls were really learning everything they were supposed to. Were they behind? Should we be doing school more?
Then, I realized that I only had those fears and anxieties on the days when we were either:
A) busy with something other than school, like appointments, etc., or
B) having an emotional homeschool day with meltdowns and resistance.
On the good days, I never worried about my kids’ progress. I just felt like “Yeah! We nailed it today!”
So, how do we keep those fears at bay even on the bad days?
How to Keep Doubt at Bay with Homeschool Goal Setting
After the finish of one of our school years, it dawned on me one day that my daughter really had learned a lot that year. She was in early elementary, so she had hit some big milestones – learning to read and becoming a bookworm, mastering her single digit addition math facts, etc.
This made me realize that just because some days were harder than others, it didn’t mean that she wasn’t learning or we weren’t making progress. So, for the following year, I decided to switch things up.
I still bought our normal curriculum items, but I also sat down and set yearly goals for both of my school-age daughters. I looked at where they were now and where I wanted them to be at the end of the year.
Why Annual Goals?
Setting annual goals helps you keep perspective when you are having those bad days. When you take a “big picture” view of the year, you don’t tend to get bogged down in the day to day problems.
Setting annual goals also helps you to establish priority in your days. Let’s say you have all been sick for the past week and you are feeling like you are way behind. What do you work on first when everyone is feeling better?
It can be overwhelming to think “well, gosh, we are behind on math, language arts, science, history, music, art, geography, AND Bible!” But, if your annual goals only focus on math and reading, then you aren’t really behind on the rest of the subjects! They are icing on the cake!
Does it really matter if your second-grader doesn’t learn about the entire Middle Ages?
Is it a big deal if you miss a few science experiments? Or piano lessons?
I’m here to tell you no, it’s not a big deal.
Does it really matter if your second-grader doesn’t learn about the entire Middle Ages? Is it a big deal if you miss a few science experiments? Or piano lessons? I’m here to tell you no, it’s not a big deal.
– Surya, Teach Me. I’m Yours.
Having annual goals lets you keep the important stuff important and lets the not-so-important stuff take a back burner when needed. I feel like my goals give me permission to let a few subjects slip to the side when needed.
Ok, we’ve established that setting annual goals for your homeschool kiddos can help alleviate some anxiety, but how do we even set goals? And what do we focus on?
How to Set (and Implement) Annual Homeschool Goals
I like to limit myself to three goals per child (You can also pick 1 or 2 goals, too). I’ll be using my second grader as an example here.
Picking goals that focus on foundational subjects (math, reading, writing for younger grades or Language Arts, math, and another subject that maybe your child is leaning towards a career in for older children).
For my daughter this year, I chose
- Master her addition and subtraction facts through 20. This means answering within three seconds.
- I want her to be fluently reading early chapter books by the end of the year and learn 240 new vocabulary words.
- I want her to be able to write a small paragraph on her own. This might be three or four sentences.
Ok, now that you’ve got your goals written down, how do we make sure we are focusing on them?
Implementing Annual Goals
Here are three things I recommend for ensuring homeschool goals take top priority:
1. Remember goals while making
homeschool purchases for the year.
When you are buying your materials for the year, focus on the goals you have set.
I purchased our regular math curriculum, but I also purchased several math games and activities to incorporate because I want her to remain excited about the material and I know games and activities really help her do that. So, you could purchase some additional activities or resources around the subject of one (or all) of your goals.
2. Give goal subjects top priority
in your homeschool plans.
When you are planning your weekly schedule, plan your goal subjects first.
Planning your goal subjects first makes them have higher priority. This way, if the day goes haywire (or the month, you know, whatever) you are still making progress where it matters most. And, you also know, that by not doing all the other stuff you aren’t really falling behind because you’ve already decided that those subjects aren’t as important.
3. Record your observations and progress.
You’ve set appropriate goals for your children. Now, trust yourself. You will be surprised when you look back at the end of the year and see how much progress they’ve made.
Keep a notebook or page in a notebook and periodically keep track of the progress your child(ren) are making for each goal. It is amazing how quickly we forget how far we’ve come, but writing it down really makes it clear how much your kid(s) have learned. I like to record our progress monthly, but you can do whatever works for you.
I hope that these steps help you to plan yearly goals for your homeschool. Take charge of your year, set your priorities, and keep the “am I doing enough?” anxiety at bay.
Surya is the owner of Teach Me. I’m Yours. where she shares ideas and resources for keeping homeschooling simple and exciting all at the same time.
When she isn’t homeschooling her three girls or running behind on housework, she loves to read and travel.
What about you? Have you implemented homeschool goal setting with your planning? We’d love to hear about how it’s helped you in the comments below.
Need more help with homeschool planning?
Don’t miss our Homeschool Planning That Works series!
This series is full of strategies and tips to help you THRIVE — not just survive — while homeschooling.