First Timers - Setting Goals?

For those of you that are just starting (next year) did you set official goals for yourself? If so, could you share them? I’d love to hear what other families are doing. I just have no idea where to start but my husband asked, well, how will we measure ourselves? I do think we need to have measurable goals. But I don’t know what they are. We will probably use the Bookshark curriculum so in my mind, as long as we complete most of it, academically, we will achieve our goals.

What are your thoughts and what are you doing?

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My main goal is to not give up my first year! We are pulling our son from public school and starting our daughter with preschool. We have planned a fairly light school year so we aren’t stressed and overwhelmed our first year. I have small goals for both kids but our overall goal is to finish the year and still want to homeschool!


Yes that sounds about right! What are the small goals you’ve set for them? We are also pulling my oldest son from public school. He will be in 2nd grade next year. My other son will be in K so he’s just finishing preschool this year and then will start with us. Our 3 year old will do preschool 2 mornings a week and our 1 year old will be home with us.

I guess that could be considered one goal. To just complete the school year!

I would be careful with “measurable” goals since learning isn’t always measurable in a tangible way. I approached it from a did my daughter love learning, did we progress through the curriculum )while making notes of what did and didn’t work for us), and were we enjoying the process sort of approach. I ended up ditching one of our curriculum selections part-way through because it wasn’t a good fit but at the end of the year, she could read (we started with Kinder), write, and comprehend well above most peers, and we loved the time learning together.

Whenever I went looking for goal lists, the published ones seemed so overwhelming! They tried to encompass every area of life and school. I’d look at the lists and my eyes would glaze over, and they made homeschooling seem like this impossible task. So truthfully, I needed to simplify to priorities and passions. I chose one area of focus (often reading or math in the early years) as my “priority” for the year, and one “passion” of my child’s–something I wanted to make sure my child got to do that year. One year my son was interested in sharks, so we read about sharks as part of our science. A local children’s museum held classes, and they had a shark dissection–so I signed him up for that. Over the years, we’ve studied robotics, certain periods of history or certain cultures, certain instruments for music, taken art classes, done science fairs, had simple things like craft supplies available etc… all based on a passion my kids wanted to explore.

The “priority” subject was usually an area of struggle or that needed shoring up, or maybe something new to learn. As I said, in early years it was often reading or math. A few years it was writing. In older years, sometimes it was learning how to study for tests, or how to do a research paper.

Outside of that I had more general goals:

Be diligent in doing school (I use workboxes to keep me accountable for this goal, and a notebook where I track days.) If we are diligently working through curriculum at their level, they are going to learn and grow.

Usually I taught some new chores over summer that they could then do throughout the school year with less help from me, once it was established. Teach a couple each year, and when they’re grown, they’ll know how to do all kinds of things.

Some goals were shorter term–maybe semester goals for character issues I wanted to gradually and gently train in, or things I wanted to be diligent to model (if I want them to be kind and have a good attitude, am I displaying that in my interactions with them?)

Look for growth in skill areas (reading, writing, math) each year. Sometimes I set small goals, such as:

K-practice writing 3 of one number and 3 of one letter per day.
3rd grade-gradually increase stamina from 2 sentences to copying a short paragraph without complaining.

But often the goal was to work towards increasing reading ability. If we saw growth worked on it each day, I felt the goal was met.

In modern education (and perhaps especially in America), we are really into “measuring” things, but I don’t think education always fits into such a neat package. Sometimes your goal might be “To expose my child to different cultures and time periods in history,” or “to encourage an interest and curiosity about creation.”

Completing curriculum is not a bad goal, but sometimes I found that difficult too. What if the child needed to spend a week trying to understand subtraction with borrowing? If my goal was completing curriculum, I’d be frustrated. If my goal was to make progress and seek understanding and a solid foundation in a skill subject–I didn’t mind spending that week on subtraction.

With that in mind, I found it helpful to choose curriculum with built-in wiggle room (maybe it wasn’t set up to be completed in a year, but to work at the child’s pace, or maybe it only had 150 lessons instead of 180 days worth), or to build in that wiggle room myself (I did some things over 2 years, for example, or I had my child test out of early, review math lessons so that we had extra time later if we hit something hard).

So…as you think about goals, you may need to keep some of those things in mind.

I felt my most important goals were:

develop a close relationship with my child
encourage learning
encourage faith in God
provide my child with tools to eventually be able to learn on his or her own (which is what adults do through reading, asking others, deciding to take classes or through their own research)

Start small, and don’t feel like you have to figure it all out this first year. You’ll grow and change each year as your kids do!


Thank you @DesertMommy and @Merry! You both have wise words and good advice that I’m going to try to take. I agree that there are many things that we just won’t be able to measure. Shoot, that’s part of the reason we want to homeschool. To make it qualitative and interesting and exciting for the kids and to take out all the required measurements! I think both my husband and I are pretty nervous about jumping into this so it feels safe to create a lot of requirements and measurements but I know from reading quite a bit on the subject that, that really won’t work.

I love the idea of asking each child about what their passion/area of interest will be. I think my (future) second grader would definitely dig into that and our kindergartener would follow his lead.

Thanks again!

This past year was our fist year homeschooling. I pulled my kids out of public school when they completed kindergarten and second grade. I did have some goals for our first year.

For my son, it was for him to be willing to participate without acting out (he hated school and developed a severe “allergy” to anything schoolish). He accomplished this by December. My second goal for him was to pick up and use a pencil for anything. Made it by Feb. Beyond that, everything else was gravy. Meanwhile, he has learned most of 3rd grade math, while officially in 1st grade!! That’s a lot of gravy!

For my daughter, it was for her to be able to write legibly and improve her spelling (she is dyslexic). She is now writing wonderful, multi-page stories and loving it. Her spelling is still not good, but we can now read what she wrote. A year ago, she would write a story and I couldn’t make out a single word. She also discovered that she loves biology and history and she has mastered most of the math I have presented to her.

My goals were qualitative for the first year. I will probably have some more specific academic goals for next year, at least for my daughter. In fact, I’ll probably have her help me define them.


Thank you @sahmcolorado I think your goals totally made sense for the first year and I may follow your lead… qualitative… It sounds like overall you feel the year was a success? And do the kids feel the same way?

Yes, definitely! It has been a huge success for us. My son is a much more relaxed person and my daughter learned so much. My son may not agree with me, because I have required him to do (a very small amount) academics, which he would have you believe is just horrible. LOL. He’s much happier than if he had been in school. Moreover, their mommy is much more relaxed and happy. That has to be good for them, too.

That is great to hear! My first grader doesn’t seem to have a problem with school so in some ways I think I may have a more difficult time persuading him that this will be a good and positive change for him and us as a family. Thank you for responding!