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 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!