Welcome to Build Your Library’s Homeschool Tidbits: Episode 63 – Helping Your Child Set Realistic Goals! In this weekly video series, I will delve briefly into a topic related to homeschooling and will share some of my knowledge and expertise as a long-time homeschooling mother of 4 children. Three of whom have graduated high school and one who is a college graduate!
With January upon us, many are thinking about goals and resolutions. I prefer to set small, realistic goals rather than broad resolutions. Saying I want to “get fit in 2024” may be a quickly abandoned resolution. Setting the goal of taking a walk every day is a much more realistic goal. Setting goals is productive because you can break them down into easily achievable parts.
Our children will likely overhear us making our goals for the new year and want to participate. And we want to encourage that! Today, I want to share some ideas to help you guide your children into setting realistic goals.
The first thing you can do is to ask your child what they hope to achieve this year. This can be academic, like mastering the multiplication tables or reading a book every week. Or it could be something related to a hobby, like hitting a home run or learning a new skill, like sewing. You want to encourage them to choose a slightly out-of-reach but still attainable goal. Achieving a goal should require some work on their part. The idea is to push themselves to meet a new challenge.
Something important to understand is that we aren’t trying to force our children to become high achievers. This will only work if the goal is their idea. It’s also essential for them to understand that the bigger the goal, the longer it will take to attain it. If they are starting in karate, setting the goal to earn a black belt will take many years! Encourage them to break those big goals down into smaller ones so that they can feel like they are still progressing.
Goals can be overwhelming, no matter how old you are. So, breaking those goals into smaller chunks will take something that feels out of reach and make it much more manageable. For instance, if their goal is to complete the Build Your Library Reading Challenge, you can sit down with them each week to pick out a few books that fit the prompts. If they want to improve their art skills, they can choose one skill to work on each month.
Setting goals is only meaningful if your child has control over them. They need to own it and make it their own. You are there for moral support and guidance, of course. But if it’s going to count, they need to take charge and make it happen. You can have them set up a vision board, write in a journal, or whatever makes the most sense for them to help remind them of their goal and keep track of their progress. I think this can be the hardest step for a homeschool parent. We are so used to planning everything for our children, and we want to be the leader and the teacher. But sometimes, we must step back and let them be the ones in charge.
One of the best ways we can help our children achieve their own goals is to be a role model for what goal setting and achieving look like. You can share the goals you are working toward with your children and let them see the work you are putting into achieving them. Whether it’s completing the Reading Challenge or training for a marathon, we can help inspire our children to persevere.
One of the best parts of this is that you will become each other’s biggest cheerleaders! When you see them progressing, point it out! Tell them how great they are doing and offer support and encouragement when they struggle. Don’t be surprised when they cheer you on and offer help when they see you struggle.
Sometimes, children don’t know what they want to do, and the thought of deciding on a goal is overwhelming. Because goal setting is an essential skill we want to encourage, you can offer them a list of ideas to get them started. Just be sure to share attainable ideas that are in their wheelhouse. If you have a child who hates bugs and the outdoors, setting the goal of taking a big hike will likely lead to a lot of frustration and they will quickly lose interest.
Here are a few goal ideas to get them started:
Setting achievable and meaningful goals can empower children to take ownership of their learning and personal growth. Inspire them, be their role model and biggest cheerleader, and watch them grow!
I hope you found this Tidbit helpful! Come back next week for more homeschooling inspiration!
Until then, happy reading!
Emily Cook is the author and creator of the secular homeschool curriculum Build Your Library, a literature-based K-12 program infused with the teachings of Charlotte Mason. She writes full-year lesson plans as well as shorter topical unit studies. Emily has been homeschooling her four children in Southern NH for 21 years. She is passionate about reading aloud to children of all ages and loves sharing her love of literature. She and her family also make incredibly dorky videos about homeschooling, books, and more on YouTube at ARRRGH! Schooling. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. You can also check out her author page on Amazon.