Got Goals?

Long ago and far away there was a mom who decided to home-school…

Sorry, I thought I might need to grab your attention before you jumped away to the blog with the title “How to Home-School and Lose Ten Pounds in Five Easy Steps.”

But seriously, goal-setting isn’t exactly the most exciting or glamorous topic, but it is practical and useful.  And it works.

So I thought I might share with you the home-school goals I set down “long ago and far away” and suggest to you that you might want to spend a little time writing down your own home-school goals.  In addition, I will share with you the ideas I had for reaching those goals, and whether or not, now that I am in my 21st year of home-schooling, I have achieved those goals.

At some point early in my home-schooling “career” I was inspired to write down my home-schooling goals – and a short time later I read an article in “The Teaching Home” magazine where the author listed her home-school goals – and they were almost exactly like mine!  Now I am not suggesting that this home-school mom somehow managed to plagiarize my work.  Actually, I was very encouraged that someone who had been home-schooling longer than I had was expressing the same thoughts I had concerning my home-schooling goals, and I felt like it confirmed that I was headed in the right direction.

When I wrote down those goals, I also wrote a list (brain-stormed really) of curriculum and activities that might be used to reach those goals.  Then I matched up those activities with one or more of the goals.  The three specific goals I listed were:

  1. To raise godly children;
  2. To equip them to function in the world;
  3. To equip them to function in the special areas where God would use them (i.e. using their own special gifts and talents)

The curriculum and activities I listed which fell under #1 above were:

  • Using curriculum that would teach a biblical world-view
  • Teaching them to be a responsible family member (in other words, doing age-appropriate chores, caring for their younger siblings, etc.)
  • Giving them opportunities to serve others

The curriculum and activities I listed which fell under #2 above were:

  • To give them a solid academic foundation by emphasizing proficiency in reading, writing, and math.
  • Teaching them to be a responsible family member (as you can see, this overlaps with #1)
  • Giving them opportunities to serve others (again, overlaps with #1)
  • Enrichment subjects such as history, geography, government, economics, art, music, etc.

The curriculum and activities I listed which fell under #3 above were:

  • Enrichment activities to discover and reinforce their special abilities and talents.  Those enrichment activities included: Lessons (such as music, dance, or art lessons); Sports (both group sports such as baseball or football, and individual sports such as golf and tennis); Outdoor activities (camping, fishing, and hiking, for example); Hobbies (such as crafts, sewing, woodworking, collections)

So how did it all work out?  I found curriculum that gave them a solid foundation in academics.  I also used materials (such as Greenleaf Press’ “Famous Men“series) that presented a particular subject through the lens of a biblical world view.

I taught them to do chores over the years, to the point where I haven’t had to clean for years!  They also learned to care for their younger siblings (though my youngest will have to settle for learning to care for his nieces and nephews – I have my limits!)

We taught them to give to charity and to serve through church and community organizations.

We involved them in a variety of activities as they were growing up:

  • My daughter took ballet lessons for years; she took piano lessons and art lessons as well.  When it came down to it, however, it was dancing that she really loved and has continued to pursue even into adulthood.
  • My oldest son was very involved in the Royal Rangers program at a church we attended for several years, and earned their highest award: the Gold Medal of Achievement.  He started playing baseball before his 5th birthday but when he was nine decided he no longer wanted to play.  About that time my father introduced him to golf and by the time he was 13 or 14 he had decided he wanted to be a professional golfer.
  • My second son was also involved in Royal Rangers.  And he too started playing baseball at a young age.  But at the age of 16 he still loves playing and would love to be able to play at the college level (and beyond).  He also played saxophone for five years in the home-school band and has recently taught himself to play the guitar.

Those are actually only some of the activities that my three older children were involved in over the years.  They also participated in 4-H (my daughter particularly); my daughter learned to sew and is very much a “craft person” (she does not get that gift from me!); my oldest son took art lessons and I have a number of his projects hanging on my walls; they all took swimming lessons for many years (a must, living in Florida);  they have had various collections over the years and they are all avid readers.

My youngest son, who came along when I was 40, has not had the advantage of having a mom who actually has energy!  However, he already exhibits many unique talents that I hope to explore over the next few years (particularly in the arts).

Through the various activities and academic pursuits I have required of them my children have become accomplished and well-rounded, as well as caring and helpful.  My two oldest are both college graduates and my daughter has a Master’s degree as well.

Over the years I would pull out this list of goals that I made so many years ago.  The paper is now old and faded, but it has provided me often with encouragement and confirmation that I made the right choice to home-school my children so many years ago.

P.S.  The goalpost picture for this post was chosen in honor of the start of college football last week.  I love football.  I love college football.  And I just have to say, “Go Noles!”

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