If you homeschool you are apt to set goals for what you want to accomplish during the year. Some homeschool families make these goals at this time of year and some make them at the beginning of a new school year. Regardless it is extremely important to only set realistic and reasonable goals that you can attain. It does not help you, nor does it set a good example for your kids if you set goals that you cannot reach. After all, you don't want your children to start early in life by making goals and then never being able to reach them. This is the perfect opportunity to teach your kids about realistic goal setting and what it can do for their self esteem if they can stick with what they put their minds to.
Here are a few keys to setting goals:
- Look back at the past year and review what goals you made and where you stand with those. If you even made some progress in the right direction give yourself kudos! Don't beat yourself up, there is nothing you can do to change the past year now, all you can do is move forward.
- Write down your priorities in life first thing. Take into account your values and start with what you ultimately want in the long run. If your goals don't get you to this ultimate end then they have no place for you.
- With your priorities in mind make a list of goals that you would like to reach. Be as specific as possible. This will make the other steps a bit easier. Most people say things like: lose weight, change careers, make money, finish school. Be more specific: how much weight, what career change, how much more money, what classes do you need to finish?
- Take off of your list those items that are not within your control. Also really analyze and if they truly are not reachable within 12 months get rid of them. As an extreme example, you probably shouldn't set goals that your 8th grader will be ready for the local community college by next year. You get my drift. And chances are none of us will lose 150 lbs. in the next 12 months. Doesn't mean we can't aim for 40 lbs.
- Take your larger goals and break them down into lists, just like a "to do" list. So for example: I may want to lose those 40 lbs. so I would list the daily things that I know will get me there such as shopping smart, eating smaller portions, eating healthier foods, exercising three times per week, etc.
- Make it official. Most of us will take our goals more seriously if we post them on our bulletin boards or let others know our goals and ask for the help and support. This doesn't mean that we need people nagging at us or to be our keepers but it would help to have a support system. With a weight goal this can be helpful because those around you may help you by not inviting you over for fried chicken but they may serve a healthier option to support you. Take what help you can get.
- As you make your list of things to do for each day keep your goals in mind and see how your everyday actions can help you accomplish the larger picture.
When homeschooling it is particularly important to realize that you have many variables to deal with. If you have multiple children you don't know how every day will go. You may have a general routine but we all know that the more children, the more chaos. Maybe one goal is to remain flexible but to get back on track as soon as possible without being too rigid. Finding this balance can be one of the hardest aspects of homeschooling.
Some goals (very general that you would have to break down for your individual family) for homeschool may be:
- Start a homeschool support group
- Be involved in a group
- Take part in more extra curricular events and activities
- Complete all course curriculum even if another percentage is acceptable
- Milestones for you students such as: Mary will be reading "I Can Read Books" by summer's end.
- Being more organized
- Incorporating more arts into our curriculum
These are just general ideas but the list could be endless. Just keep it specific to your family and your goals and not what other's ideals are for you.