Today I would like to talk about setting goals for the school year.
Why setting up goals? They help you keep on track, and they help you measure your progress as the year advances.
We are entering our 9th year of homeschooling and I can tell you it does not get easier. With each year comes its own challenges. That is why having clear goals become more and more important. In the younger years, you know you have many years ahead of you to get to where you wish to get. As the years move on that window shrinks, and focus becomes of major importance.
My boys are entering 5th and 7th grade respectively, and I am starting to narrow down their strengths and weaknesses, and their academic future paths. Whereas in the younger years, the focus was on teaching the basics and on the foundations of a rounded education, as you get higher in the grades the focus narrows to the building up of their strength and abilities for future careers. As you learn along with your child where their strengths and weaknesses lie, you can better tailor their education to supplying these weaknesses and strengthening their strengths.
In practical terms, what does that look like for my boys?
For my oldest (age 11, soon to be 12) - aspiring script writer - because he has shown a love and ability for Language Arts and History and a not so much Mathematical bent, it means that this school year will focus on:
- Strengthening and enlarging his language arts skills, which means focus on poetry, literature, grammar and writing. Because of that his curriculum selection is pretty heavy on Language Arts.
- Reviewing and cementing his Math skills, while pushing him further. Our Curriculum of choice is a pre-algebra program that starts with reviewing the basics concepts of arithmetic.
On top of these goals, as puberty arises as well as being in the middle of his Middle School years, we will focus on a few other topics which include:
- Theology and worldview
- Critical thinking and logic
For my youngest (age 9 soon to be 10), who is more of a Math guy and not so interested in anything else, we will focus on:
- Moving forward in his Math skills, attempting pre-algebra/algebra.
- Consolidating his Language Arts skills, that is Grammar and writing.
- Challenge him in his Social Studies by pushing him in Middle School level of work load.
He will also participate in our study of theology and worldview.
These are in broad strokes what the overall goals and focus of this school year will be for our homeschool, all the while continuing to seek to build a gospel-centered atmosphere and God-glorifying character.
If you want a pick at our curriculum choices for 2015/2016, check my Curriculum Choices post.
Have a clear general idea of what you want your children to know at the end of this homeschooling journey. Every year assess where you are and adjust if necessary.
Each year delineate what you want to see improved in your children at the end of the school, based on your overall homeschooling journey goals and where they are at.
Observe your children as they learn and grow in order to identify their talents, bents, strengths, and weaknesses. As you assess and set your goals every year, take your observations into consideration.
A couple of books I would recommend on the topic would be that have been very beneficial to me are: