The Goal of Homeschool Goals

The Goal of Homeschooling Goals

For years I greeted new subscribers to my website – HomeschoolDad.com – with a welcome email and a polite plea for a little personal information.

I’d ask, so that I may serve them better, for the ages of their kids, and how they were currently being educated.

But I’d also ask the parent, “What are your long-term educational goals for your children?”

Guess what. Crickets.

Almost nobody would answer. I think only about 4% of my subscribers answered with a brief catalog of their goals!

I was surprised at the silence and it took a while, dummy that I am, for me to realize why that question warranted such evasion.

Of course the fact is, most people don’t actually have clear goals – or at least aren’t comfortable STATING them. Consider these popular hypothetical responses which my readers wouldn’t even conjure up:

“I want my kids to be happy.”

“I want my kids to go to a good college.”

Well, how exactly does one define happy?

Does that mean rich? In a job they truly love? Married with children?

A parent who claims they want their kids to be happy is not really saying anything at all. I mean, WHO DOESN’T WANT THEIR KIDS TO BE HAPPY????

It’s a given.

And “happy” can be distorted. After all, give most kids cake, ice cream, and video games and they seem happy!

Ah, college…

Understand that college is technically not a long-term goal. At best, it may be an intermediate term goal on the path to a longer-term goal.

And, in 2016, it’s quite frankly way too expensive in terms of money AND time for 90% of families and students. But that’s another blog post!

Nevertheless, it pains me to admit that college can be a legitimate goal BUT only if it’s more along the lines, “I want my child to go to Yale or Princeton”. Because in that case the parents and child can set about attaining those high SAT scores, AP credits, and rounding out lofty application credentials. (Have you ever seen College Confidential? It’s a great resource for parents interested in top tier colleges.)

Ideally goals should be specific because only then can they inspire ACTION.

Here’s another example…

I had one parent, one of the few who responded, say that by age 13 or thereabouts he wanted his kids to be able to sit and concentrate for 4 hours or so on a hard project or something.

What I like about that goal is, again, its specificity. He can sit his kids down now, easily measure their approximate attention span, and then just incrementally ramp up expectations.

I also like that the father centered his goal on a long-term life skill, one that can and will pay dividends in myriad ways.

Personally I started out with the homeschooling goals of raising academically accelerated children.

Although over time it pivoted to raising morally grounded (Christian) entrepreneurs.

The benefit of having these objectives crystal clear in my mind is, again, that they become guideposts for what we do on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis.

Everyone gets sidetracked. It’s okay. Fortunately your goals have the power to get you quickly back on track. The only catch is….you have to HAVE GOALS in the first place!

And once you have them, you’ll laugh at the suggestion that goals are only declared on January 1st. For more on that, see my post from last year – Homeschool Resolution Time – Or Is It?

No Goals

Okay. You’ve thought about it, long and hard and are still coming up with nothing. Don’t worry. Just keep thinking.

A good starting point is looking in the mirror. Look at what you have done and failed to do in your own life. Do you want the same path for your children?

Or do you want them to have all that and more? I’m going to bet you do!

In the meantime, while you sort the bigger picture out I think you’ll find it helpful to work with shorter-term objectives.

For example, if your child is doing 5th grade math on Khan Academy….pick a firm date for it to be completed (or else…).

Or if your child is reading about 500 pages a week….get them on the path to reading 800 and then 1,000 pages per week.

All that matters is that you continue to move forward. So many good things happen in a homeschool which is generating positive momentum.

Say you pick lofty homeschool goals and come up short.

No big deal. The fact is, you’ll get more done simply because you tried.

Goals are not a do or die endgame; they are POWERFUL TOOLS to propel and help us reach our full potential as parents and children.

Walking the Walk

Alright, you’re putting me on the spot.

For 2016…

In addition to the million things I’m already doing…

  • I will launch a podcast.
  • I will read 75 books.
  • I will publish and start mailing my newsletter.

What are you going to do?

Whatever it is, write it down.

One of these self-help masters (Brian Tracy?) says that only 3% of people have written goals.

And the other 97% of humanity works for them!

[Dan1]

 

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