In Plan Your Year, Pam teaches strategies for carefully thinking through your beliefs about education, the needs of your children, then the means to pull those things together into an achievable, cohesive plan.
Writing goals for my children was not something I’d ever done before in our homeschool. Likely this is because I’m not personally goal-driven, nor have I ever been good at writing goals.
In the Plan Your Year guide, however, I was taught a system for writing measurable goals that feel like they’re things my kids and I can actually accomplish. So when I worked through the system last fall, I determined to do some goal setting.
I pulled out my forms and wrote each child’s name at the top. What are her strengths? What of his needs shored up? Why are so many of these things I need to do myself?
I needed another tack.
Going back to my roots
I remembered my days in the business world where the new idea was 360* reviews. Your annual review was coordinated by your boss, but questions were asked of anyone you interacted with: peers, other management; employees you managed, etc. These interactions were then compiled into one annual review. OK, I could try that.
First, I filled out the sheet for each child with what I perceived as their strengths and weaknesses.
Then, I asked each child about themselves; where they feel confident and where they thought they needed more work. My youngest was 9 at the time, I probably wouldn’t start this with young children, but let them grow into it.
Finally, I asked my husband who, despite being gone most of every day, has a very clear understanding of each of our children and their needs – often he’s more perceptive than I who am too close to the action.
By polling all of the interested parties – note, I did not ask siblings to discuss siblings – I was able to get a better grasp on each child’s needs and loves. We set goals that included adding to the positives as well as improving on areas that might be lacking.
Taking goals one step further
I didn’t stop there, though.
As I went through this process, I found that many of the places that needed buttressing in my children were areas where I was dropping the ball. This time I filled out the goal sheet for myself, asked my husband (scary!), and asked each of my children how I was a good teacher and how I could be a better one.
I wrote goals for myself.
And they’ve helped.
We’ve had our best school year yet.
A plan for review
Having goals set is a wonderful thing. Reviewing goals regularly, though, is where I’ve broken down. That’s why I asked Pam to add a place to check in on goals with the Weekly Meeting form included in The Independent Student Student Planner.
Setting up a Weekly Meeting with each child was one of my personal goals for the year, and it has helped me to be more in touch with what the children are thinking and meet their needs. It, too, came out of my business days when I had a weekly one-on-one touch base with my manager(s). It doesn’t have to be long or drawn out, but a few minutes of Mommy’s full attention on how things are going for the child goes a long way.
I knew that some of the goals as written last fall were not being achieved, but things seemed to be going pretty well. When I looked at the goals to add them to the children’s Weekly Meeting form, I found that mission drift had set in and while we were still accomplishing much, we weren’t meeting many of the formal goals I’d written. I’m hoping that with a review system in place, we can make even greater strides toward achieving them.
I’d encourage you to think about goals; to help your children think clearly about their needs; to involve any interested parties in the process; to not neglect your own growth as a mom, teacher, person; and, finally, to set up a system of regular review. I think you’ll find the process helpful and rewarding for your family in general and your homeschool in particular.
If you want more help with goal setting you can sign up for our Vision and Goals webinar.