When I was in my teens, I used to peruse house plans books and drool over the different floor plans. I would circle the aspects I liked and put a big “X” through the ones that didn’t appeal to me. I was always dreaming of just how my “dream home” would be laid out. My house today looks nothing like those pictures and creations but all of that daydreaming did prepare me for something far bigger and better: my HOME. In my previous two posts, we built a hypothetical foundation for a new “home” (school). In this post, we will get to a part that I really like: the floor plan.
Ask yourself, what is your concept of an education? What do you want your child to be like? What skills, knowledge, and/or experience do you feel your child needs to be considered ready to be on his or her own? If you can’t think that far ahead right now, think about just what you would like to see or have your child accomplish by the end of this year. We’ve moved passed a homeschooling vision, or purpose, which is your overall aim or target. We are now into the nitty-gritty of the floor plan, or goals. These goals should be measurable otherwise how will you know if or when your child has accomplished them?
The most obvious and often focused upon area of home education is intellectual – academics. There are many books and websites that can give you a list of objectives for each grade level but many can be broad and vague. Instead of listing goals such as “learn phonics,” try to be more specific such as: successfully sound out two and three syllable words using phonics techniques learned throughout the year. Listing goals, especially in subject areas, will help you to better evaluate the various curriculums on the market today. There are so many to choose from that the task can seem daunting; but if you establish your goals first, you are less likely to find yourself wasting time on a publisher that won’t be meeting the needs of your child.
Don’t limit your physical goals to just PE or learning a sport. Teaching children how to read nutrition labels on foods or prepare nutritious snacks are great physical goals. These goals can incorporate into Science through learning about how the different systems of the body work. Even something as simple as improving dental hygiene for a young child is a measurable, physical goal. Remember potty-training that child? Whether it was easy or not, you had established measurable, physical goals for that toddler with the purpose (vision) of not wearing diapers anymore.
What character traits do you feel your child needs to work on? Does he need constant reminders to say “Please” and “Thank You?” Maybe she interrupts you when you or someone else is speaking? Does he lack patience? Set goals for whatever character areas you feel your child needs to work on throughout the “school” year.
What social goals do you have for your child? For a younger one, perhaps telephone manners and etiquette are in order. Maybe you have a “social butterfly” that talks to anyone and everyone – redirect that impulsive, outgoing nature through volunteering at a local Food Bank or Rescue Mission or Nursing Home; these are relatively safer environments and you won’t break your child’s spirit while still allowing him to be his outgoing and overly friendly self.
This is also a great time to evaluate any outside activities that you may already be participating in. Are those activities helping you and your family to meet your goals? Could some of those activities be dropped altogether? Could some of those activities be saved for another time?
Take time throughout the year to evaluate your progress and make any adjustments. Find out what is working, what is not working and why it isn’t working. What can you change to meet your goals?