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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Macro and Micro Goals

I talk about this all the time, so I think it's worthy of its own entry!

Some homeschoolers can get caught up in the day to day scheduling and lesson plans and "being behind" and "did they learn anything" and "maybe this isn't right for me" etc etc.

Whether you're just starting out, or been homeschooling for awhile, a good thing to do is examine WHY you're homeschooling. Ok, maybe not so much the reasons like: freedom, tailoring education, traveling, following interests, hugging your kids whenever you like...but the BIG reasons...the GOALS. What do you want to achieve at the END?

In my home, the MACRO (or BIG) Goals are simple!
1. A love of God
2. A love of learning
3. Knowledge of how/where to find info
4. A career that they love.

We can dissect these....

1.Love of God To be honest, NOTHING else matters, not whether they finish their assignment on Tuesday, not whether they wanted to learn japanese, not even if they're "advanced". NOTHING matters in the end if they go to hell. Now...that's not for us to decide, but the Bible is pretty clear that it's for us to share, show, model and train. When you've had a rough week, or are having a rough week...STOP and work on a love of God...sing, play, recite some Bible verses, talk about God's unending love for us. Anything we can do to help them accept Christ, as a permanent part of their lives!

2. Love of Learning You can force feed them information, you can follow a textbook scope and sequence, but when it's all said and done, if they don't LOVE learning, they will become stagnant, staying in the same old same old, not expanding their horizons, not being inquisitive, because they don't care and you can't make them! It's inborn, it's something they HAVE, but sometimes it can get squashed by our very best efforts. It's not that hard to foster a love of learning...make it fun! Make it about them! Something I always say, is "It's THEIR education, not ours!" harsh words, but it's true. Just because that curriculum works great for you, it also needs to work great for THEM!

3. Know how/where to find info If they can't find information, they'll have to look to someone else for it. I want to raise children who can succeed in a career..if their boss asks them to do X, Y or Z I want them to be able to figure out how to do it. If the boss knows they aren't the one for the job, they won't be in the POSITION to be asked! And, chances are, they won't be THE BOSS. On a personal level, interests are great, but you have to do something with them. If you have this overwhelming interest in...let's say...Calligraphy...the pens aren't going to fall into your lap. A handwriting manual will not simply appear on your doorstep. Where would you go to get these? Back to a career, if your boss says, "Jim, I need to send you to Japan next month to handle an important client, hone up on your Japanese" will "Jim" (ie your grown child) KNOW how to find resources to learn Japanese?!?!

4. A career that they love I don't want my my kids to get a JOB. JOBS are a dime a up your local paper and I'm sure you will find pages of JOBS. You could flit around, be receptionist here, burger flipper there, waitress for awhile, maybe even a nanny....and if those are your GOALS, great!! But if they aren't.....then not so great. I want my kids to have a love of a (or many) fields that they could look for fullfilling careers. If you LOVE politics you could make that your career....working in a local politician's office, or help run a campaign office, run for senate, mayor or town council, be a lobbyist, run a political organization, etc. Maybe you love restoring things. You could become a restoration expert, sit on your city's Historical Preservation Society Board, own an antique store, be an interior designer for historical buildings, etc etc. The love of a field could allow for a move to Florida, or North Dakota, or wherever, and still be able to find something to do with your passion. And, if it's a passion, it won't be just a j-oooo-bbbb. It will be fun, it will be rewarding.

So, on to Micro Goals. These are smaller goals. They can be whatever you like...daily, weekly, monthly, even yearly. You can include anything you like...chores, personal hygiene, education etc.

The thing to remember with Micro goals is not to let them overwhelm you. A goal for every 15 minutes might not get met...then that leads to frustration. A goal is more of an overview so you might say:
3 months from now: Finish 2 classic books as a family, do Bible studies together at least 1x a week, clean out garage, do a fun family outing, have children trained in one new chore

or you might say by the end of this year: have better manners, be proficient at the alphabet (saying, writing and recognizing), establish a bed-time routine that is easily followed etc etc etc

Now, reality happens...maybe you get really sick and need months of wonder, would they be better off in school? I can tell you, through the years we've had a few years of craziness! They would NOT be better off in school....keep in mind your MACRO goals!! When all else fails and your micro goals aren't met, are you still striving towards your macro goals?

Hopefully this will help you not only prioritize, but de-stress! Be blessed!

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