Monday, July 26, 2010

2010-2011 Goals

Our family is only a week or two away from a definitive "New Beginning".  For the first time in 3 years (or more) life will be such that we will be able to have routine.  Predictability to our days.  We need the structure. We crave the routine.  Greg and I are both optimistic it will bring changes.  Good ones.

Driving home from one of our last trips of the summer, we recently talked about goals for our boys.  Where we want them to be a year from now.  I loved that conversation, and the focus that has come from it.  Honestly, it is the first time we have really taken such an assessment.  We've spent a lot of time just surviving and getting by in times past.  Again, we are so hopeful about our fresh start and the seasons ahead of us.

Some of the ideas we talked about have always been there, but we've refined them a little bit.  Some of them are new.  Seeing both in writing is helpful.  Greg and I agree that overall, academics are secondary, especially in the first several weeks of our new school year.  Our primary goals involve establishing our new routines, and taking more care in training the boys in their roles in our home.  As Greg put it, our focus is Bible first, routine second, and everything else to follow.  With that framework, here are some of our goals for the boys this school year.

Taking ownership of his household responsibilities.  In other words, to know what is expected of him when, and how.  Dale has become a willing worker, and usually shows up with a good attitude.  However, staying on task and recognizing what needs to be done have been a challenge.  For example, if we ask him to clean off the table, we want him to be able to recognize what needs to be done with everything on the table, and stay with it until the job is done.  We want our days to have such flow and predictability that Dale (and Alan) aren't surprised or interrupted by the chores at hand, and even expect them as what is coming next.  One of our ultimate goals in this (and I expect this to take most of childhood to accomplish) is to raise self-starters.  Adults that identify something that needs to be done, and do it.

Gardening.  This spring we intend to hand over a lot of our vegetable garden responsibility over to Dale.  Working side-by-side, of course, but giving him some ownership in it, and keeping him in the action until the job is done.  #1, he needs the 'something to do', and #2, we want to raise our kiddos to be hard workers.  And in theory, the time together will be fun.  I'm even considering putting him in charge of the 'flower beds' (that haven't grown flowers in a couple of years) out front.

Scripture Memory.  We have slacked off for the summer, but we use the memory box system and plan on stepping it up again for the school year.  Dale is more than ready to be memorizing passages instead of verses.

Bible - Memorize the books of the Bible and be able to find them quickly.  To know the author and main events and ideas of most books. 
Math - Memorize addition facts.  Begin memorizing multiplication facts.  Complete Singapore 2.
Language Arts - Be able to independently write a letter with correct capitalization, punctuation, spelling, and structure.
Piano - Main goal here is consistency.  To have lessons and practice regularly each week to make progress.

To know what is expected of him when, and how.  Just like our goal for his brother but on a smaller scale.

Scripture Memory.  Alan already has a handful of verses he knows from our daily trek through the memory verse box.  We will simply be adding in more specifically for him on a consistent basis.

Recognize and be able to recount major Bible stories and characters.
Letter sounds. He already knows most of these, I just want to solidify it and make sure we've got 'em all. 

Recognize sight words.  Those are the conservative pre-reading goals.  Hopefully by next summer Alan will be well on his way to being a reader.  We'll see. :)

Basic math. Count to 20 and recognize the written numbers to 20.  He'll pick up plenty other math skills in daily living.

For both big boys:
Exposure - This covers history, social studies, science, literature, music, art, etc.  My goal is to expose them to a wide variety of subjects and ideas.  The ones that spark their interest we can take further.  The nuggets they truly learn and love will be with them forever.  The rest will hopefully be familiar if they ever encounter it again someday.

Even though the academic goals are listed separately from the others, any homeschooler knows that learning isn't isolated like that.  Alan will be learning to count to 12 when we put away 12 toys from his room, and Dale will be developing his self-starter skills when he gets going on his math lesson while I'm busy doing something else. 

And, although randomly thrown in here at the last, it is worth mentioning our hope is to constantly be pointing our boys to the Lord in everything we do.  In our family rules, in expecting first-time obedience, in all issues that come up in daily living.  I'm glad our children are still young, because the truth is we are still training ourselves how to train them!

Last but not least, I even have goals for little Tyler.  There again, they are more for me regarding Tyler.  My intention in every day is to make sure at least once every day I sit down with him and look him in the eye.  To put everything else on hold and take the time to play pat-a-cake and sing a song and play a tickle game.  There's no doubt he'll be held and fed and changed and loved and kissed, but I want to enjoy him.

And really?  That sounds like a worthy goal for all the boys.  These days go so fast, don't they?

This post is linking to:


Suzanne said...

Memory box system? I want to know more!

ArkGrandma said...

Yep, the days go so fast. The next thing you know your boys will be men with families of their own. Enjoy your time. Excellent goals and I am truly glad you are looking routine in the eye. Whoever thought routine could be so exciting!

Amber@ClassicHousewife said...

Yes, yes, yes! I wish my goals for our children were as well thought out as yours. I love your priorities, and how much do I love that you can talk about these things with your husband and set these goals together.

I think you've put into words what I've struggled to say clearly, that I need to teach my children to know what is expected of them, when and how, and to see it through to the end. I'm so glad I got to read this! Thank you so much for linking up to the Back to (Home) School carnival!

Kara said...

The days DO go fast. I know I'm sometimes guilty of getting busy and not giving my little guys enough one on one time. Like you, I love talking through and planning our goals with my hubby!