The Australian homeschool community is growing. FAST! And no two families homeschool in exactly the same way. Which is why I am excited to be a part of this year’s Not Back To School Chat. A group of Australian homeschool mums have come together to share their views on a different topic each week for the next month. This is a great opportunity to get a glimpse into the lives of a variety of families, each with a different approach to home education. We’re going to start the year off talking about the number ONE point I tackle in my own yearly planning– “Hopes, Dreams and Goals for Our Year Ahead”. You can find links to the other bloggers at the bottom of this post.
Why are we talking about setting goals? For me, there is so much I would love to cover this year that I am really struggling to narrow it down. It really helps to have some clear goals in place to guide me as the parent. It also helps me to remain intentional when the busy-ness of the year threatens to overwhelm.
If you haven’t figured it out from reading past posts, I really love to plan, list and categorise. So it won’t surprise you that my goals for our homeschool can roughly be divided into three categories; academic goals, personhood goals and family goals. But what does that mean?
Academic goals are the most obvious. What do I want my child to learn this year? What do I want him to know and understand? What skills do I want him to become proficient in?
Not only are these goals the most obvious, for me they are the easiest to create because I can look at the Australian Steiner Curriculum Framework and find the desired outcomes listed for me. All I need to do is modify these to suit my particular child. Some areas such as music and art we came late to, so these I set the goal post a little closer. Other areas my child particularly excels in, so I can for example, set the goal post for mathematics a little further that the ASCF suggests.
In creating these goals for your own child, you can look at the curriculum outcomes set by ACARA (they have mainstream, Montessori and Steiner education curriculum frameworks in place now). You can ask your child if there are topics they particularly want to look in to, or skills they feel they would like to work on. Take into consideration areas you know your child is having difficulty with and aim to make those a priority, whether that means spending more time or trying a different approach. Even when using curriculum frameworks as a guideline, don’t fall into the trap of forgetting that you are teaching your individual child, so your goals will need to be individualised as well.
We place particular emphasis on holistic education in our home, educating the whole child, not just the head. In part, this means we count some of those non-academic subjects (eg art and handwork) as just as important as the traditional reading, writing, arithmetic. We also have development of our children’s personhood as our grand goal. We aim to help our children become well-rounded individuals who are kind, compassionate and thoughtful.
Entering into grade three we know this will be a big year of change for our son. He is in that strange land on the edge of early childhood, not quite grown into himself, not quite ready to leave that realm behind for good just yet. This is a year when the sense of self is developing. It’s a time of change, and that can mean a time of uncertainty. You may have heard this referred to before as ‘the 9 year change‘. In keeping with Waldorf methodology, the lessons we bring to our son will reflect this time of change and will aim not just to teach the academics, but also to provide a sense of security and purposefulness that we know our child will need. A major goal for me as a parent this year is to successfully navigate this 9 year change whilst building a strong new relationship with my son.
Giving specifics on personhood goals for my child feels like somewhat of an invasion of privacy, so I won’t say too much. For yourself, when setting these goals for your child look at their age and stage of development. Consider what they will need you to guide them through. Give thought to the values you hope to instill in your children. This is where personhood goals arise from.
The third of my goal setting categories is family goals. These centre around what I want our lifestyle to look like, how I would like my days to unfold, what I want my family culture to be…
I hope this year to spend more of our lesson time outside on days we are home. Our kitchen is the heart of our home, so it makes sense that a lot of lessons happen around the kitchen table. But I would like this to be more of a conscious choice than just our fallback position.
I hope to spend more time on inner work so that I can offer my children the best of me more often.
Again, many of these hopes and dreams feel too personal to share but to come up with your own, ask yourself those questions I am asking. What do you want your home and homeschool to look like? What do you want your days to feel like? What is important to you in your family culture that you would like to nurture in your children? Are there things you can do as a parent and educator to better yourself?
All of this to say,
I hope I can be the parent and educator my children need.
I hope I can help them to reach their potential.
I hope my actions help instill in them a love of learning, and a respect for humanity and for the natural world.
I hope I they feel loved.
Don’t forget to check out what other Aussie homeschool mums have to say about their hopes, dreams and goals for the year ahead.