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Setting Goals
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My husband and I are very different in terms of directions and driving. He drives by north, south, etc. while I drive by left, right and landmarks. He can look at a road map one time and know where he is going. I value the GPS on my phone to validate I’m going the right way throughout a trip. Either way, we accomplish the goal and end up at the same destination.

In homeschooling, we also need a roadmap to get us to our destination…a successful school year. For our family, a key component of that roadmap includes goal setting by our children. It used to be that I would set goals and expectations for everyone. Then, I had the responsibility to keep them on track.

Last year, we shook it up a bit and asked each child (ages 8, 11, and 15) to brainstorm 3 REALISTIC goals for themselves related to school. Prior to their brainstorming, we talked with each of them about how the last school year went and what we wanted to see this school year. Then, we sent them off on their own to brainstorm. The goals they came up with were great. Here are a few examples:

• To come to school with a good attitude each day.
• To take responsibility for staying on task and focused.
• To become more confident in writing.

This simple experiment in having the kids set their own goals dramatically shifted our journey. Each child took responsibility for themselves. Their goals were kept in their desk drawer so that they could see them. I became a guide and could offer gentle reminders versus being the sole one invested in their goals. Our children were proud and excited when we checked in on how they were accomplishing their goals. They couldn’t wait to report to their dad how they were doing.

And, as the school year progressed, we continued our focus on these goals. That made a difference for all of us when Spring Fever hit us late February! We still had a road map and had found success in our journey. That provided each of us with the validation we needed to keep moving forward.

This week, we will be sitting down with each of them to go over the goals they worked on this past year. They will then be asked to brainstorm their goals for the new school year. To keep them engaged in this process, one of their goals will have to be new.

And, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Seeing my kids striving towards their goals and having a concrete way to engage in a discussion on things they needed to work on made my role as their teacher/mom a little more rewarding. And, as we travel this next school year, I look forward to following their roadmap to school success!

Debra Schroeder
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