The first blog cruise topic for the TOS crew this year is, “What are your homeschool related goals for the year?”. I think this is an important question, after all, if you don’t have a goal, how do you choose a direction? And how do you define success? I find that having goals also helps me in my discussions with non-homeschooling family and friends. How often do I get asked, “Well, how will you know if you’re teaching them the right stuff?”, and “How will you prepare them for what happens when they grow up?”….sigh…
So, I guess I would say, the first thing I do is take some time over the summer to assess our previous school year, and look at each child individually. I go through their portfolios, look at their test scores (yes, we test with the SAT 10 every year! but that’s a topic for another day! 🙂 ), I also think about ways they have matured that year, how their interactions with our family have changed etc. etc. I make notes, and use this nifty planning sheet from the TOS Homeschool Planner, where I can just write goals in different areas (i.e. spiritual, academic, physical etc. etc.). I try to choose one thing for each child in each area, and that becomes my goal for the year. I then take time to look at my curriculum, and make more specific, quarterly goals that will lead to us achieving the final goal at the end of the year.
Both of my boys have different things that they need to work on. For my youngest, (10, 5th grade) we are focusing on memorizing the books of the bible in order. Memorization is hard for him, and he is constantly asking me where a specific book is when he needs to find it, so I am hoping that by the end of this year he will know the order of the books and not have to ask anymore. Academically, we are really focusing on improving his writing this year. Last year, we spent a LOT of time focused on reading, and it really paid off, but I didn’t pay as much attention to writing (both handwriting and just plain learning to write a coherent paragraph) so this year, we are spending more time on both the physical act of writing, and the “art” of writing as well. I am hoping to have him writing legible cursive and complete paragraphs by the end of the year! This boy has also recently expressed a desire to (and skill in) playing drums. We tried guitar last year, but that didn’t work out so well, so this year, we are hoping to build on his drum-playing talent!! (and he is REALLY enjoying this…even if it is loud at my house!)
For my older son (13-8th grade), we are working on memorizing passages of scripture. Memory work and reading come more easily to this boy, so I want to push him to grow in this area. Academically, we are tackling pre-algebra. Math is an area that is harder for him, so my goal is to get him to gain both confidence and skill in this subject. I would like to have him ready for Algebra in 9th grade! My oldest is also continuing in his guitar lessons, and he would like to start playing with the youth band at our church. This is a goal he set for himself, and one that I want to encourage. I think teaching your kids to set their own goals as they get older is really important.
We also have some general skills for both of our boys. My husband is a personal trainer (on the side, in addition to his firefighting job 🙂 ), so fitness and health is very important for our family as a whole. He wants the boys to develop the habit of getting regular excercise and eating healthy. I am working with them to plan meals that are tasty and healthy for all of us, and trying to train them to be conscious about what they eat. We are also making a habit as a family to get outdoors and do stuff together (walking, biking etc.). We have some behavioral goals as well. We’ve started with a different chore chart, where we can put the daily totals of “commission” earned each day. We really want the boys to get in the habit of completing their chores WITHOUT prompting (which I’m sorry to say, has not happened here yet!!). And our final goal is just to get the boys to continue to focus on how they act and speak with each other! For the most part, they do get along really well, however, they are brothers, and we still have those days where ALL they do is pick at each other and drive each other (and us!!) crazy!
Now that I put it all into writing, it seems like a LOT to work on!! The good thing is, because we homeschool, I have a LOT of time to do it! I am very interested to learn how other homeschoolers set their goals and what those goals are! If you are too, check out the TOS Blog Cruise here: