Shoot For The Moon
by Mechelle Ritchie Foster
By the way, this is just one of the GREAT articles in Homeschool.com’s
I don’t know about you, but I love new beginnings! I get excited with the opportunity to start fresh. The problem with excitement is, it doesn’t last. So if excitement is all you have, you might find it hard to maintain a joyful spirit for an entire school year. Excitement needs traveling buddies and their names are: Goals and Plans.
When you find yourself excited, it’s probably because you have the end in mind. For example, if you are excited about going to Disney World it’s probably because you know you will have fun with your family. The goal is to have fun. But how will you reach your goal? How will get from point A to point B? How will you translate that excitement of going to Disney World into actual fun? Disney does a great job helping guests plan their trip. They offer a free vacation packet by mail that includes a DVD of what you will see at each park, information on food, hotels, etc. You can go to Disney on a whim without plans. If you have no goals in mind, nothing specific that you want to accomplish while you’re there, you may still have a good time. You may wait in more lines or choose to skip things because of the lines. You may end up in areas that aren’t really geared for you, but are the only things accessible because of the crowds. The hotel you want to stay in may be full. The restaurant you want to try may be booked. I hope I am painting a picture for you. Can you see it? Going to Disney is wonderful and taking the time to plan your trip is worth it because it helps you get the most out of the experience and your investment of time and money. Planning your school year is just as worth it for the same reasons.
So let’s get started. Ask yourself this question: “What are my goals?” Write them down on a poster board or use them as the theme on your bulletin board. These goals will encourage you in the way a finish line encourages a long distance runner.
If you’re not exactly sure what your goals are for the coming year, remove yourself from all distractions and take some time to think about it and pray about it. If you don’t already know, you will need to find out what your state requires for the grade your child is in and include those requirements in your list of goals. Then, determine which skills your child needs to work on. You may have a math curriculum that you are using but know your child struggles with the multiplication tables. Make multiplication fluency a goal.
You are not only the teacher of academics but you are a parent or care-giver, and as such, you may want to include personal goals that help your child become self-sufficient or civic minded. A few of our goals this year are to read a classic novel, exercise three times a week and volunteer one day a month. Homeschooling is wonderful in that it allows us to shape the day in the way that is best for our family.
The next question to ask yourself is: “How am I going to reach my goals? (getting from point A to point B.) I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” Break your goals down into bite-sized chunks. What do you want to accomplish this month? This week? Today? (You may be as detailed as to plan an hourly timeline, but I’m not there yet.)
In reference to our goal of reading a novel this year… what is my plan? I must first choose a novel to read. My decision will be based on the age, understanding and interest of my child. I would like to read a chapter a week. I will look at the number of pages in the chapter and divide it by five, (the number of days we school each week.) The number I’m left with will be the number of pages we need to read per day. I will record the page numbers that we are to cover each day in my lesson plan. If we are interrupted by sickness, tiredness or an unexpected opportunity, I will skip the reading and just add those pages to the next day. By the end of the week, if we have not met our goal, our plan will just change a bit.
Once you have identified your plans, write them down. You can use a personal planner, teacher’s book or even an online management service like https://www.boxadoo.com. If you are like me, your excitement will be rekindled each time you complete an item you’ve planned and realize that you are getting closer to achieving your goals. One note of caution: It is possible to become so plan and goal oriented that any interruption or deviation can seriously rattle you and rob you of your joy. Don’t let this happen. An interruption can be a blessing in disguise.
There are two great quotes that I often use in regard to goals:
“If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.” Zig Ziglar
“If you shoot for the moon, you just might land among the stars!” Author Unknown
When I combine those two quotes, I am encouraged to go ahead and make goals without fear of failure; and am left with a new quote of my own:
“If we don’t try, haven’t we all ready failed?”
Mechelle Ritchie Foster is a homeschool mom from Florida. She has been married to her husband, Grant for 23 wonderful years and has been blessed with two children: daughter, Morgan (18) and son, Zach (12). Her hobbies include: writing, photography, singing, going to the movies and not cooking. She uses her kitchen as a science lab.
You can follow her at her blog: Rhyme, Reason & Real Life, at http://mechelleritchiefoster.com .