Educational goals: Why do they matter and what are they? Here we will walk you through two essential questions that help you set some goals for your children’s school year.

It makes sense to set and re-evaluate school-related goals at specific intervals; for many, that’s in August/September or in January. Full confession: I haven’t yet had a chance to get away and work on my goals for the year yet. I idealize fresh starts, and yet, as parents, we know that there are many pieces to put in place during a fresh start, which often means less time for moms and dads.

A few years ago, I came across Sacred Ordinary Days, a planner that guides you through a process of examining all facets of your life on a weekly, monthly, and annual basis. All areas of life are turned over to examine: physical, spiritual, relational, vocational, etc.

But I have never come across a planner that facilitates planning for the education of our children. Education is basically the full-time job of our kids. If they’re in school, they spend 40 or so hours there most weeks. If they’re homeschooled, a vast amount of time and energy is invested by the entire family into the endeavor.

What is an educational goal?

So why would we not have goals for this area of our family life? An education goal is simply a bullseye we’d like our proverbial bow and arrows (our kids) to hit, at least some of the time. This bullseye should be S.M.A.R.T: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

How do you set educational goals?

How do you write goals for an area in which you might feel ill-equipped?

A lot of moms I’ve talked to feel that academic goals are best left to the professionals. And if your child is in school, I certainly understand that. But here are some questions I would ask:

  • What are your child’s school-related routine habits? Does he turn his work in on time? Does she get everything she needs for the day in her backpack? If you homeschool, how is your daily homeschool schedule working?
  • How are your child’s study habits? Do you know your child’s learning style? (We have a free, downloadable e-book about learning styles.) Where do they work best – at the kitchen table? At the desk in their room? With music? Do they need to talk it through with you?)

Schools are assigning an increasing amount of homework these days in the name of “academic rigor” (which research suggests does nothing much to help children actually learn). What are the homework routines in your house?

  • What is your child’s attitude toward school and learning? We know that we as parents set the stage for this! If you are stressed or feel insecure as you teach your children or support them in completing their homework, your children will pick up on it.

Parents who homeschool are, at some level, goal-setters. If nothing else, your goal is to complete second-grade work in one school year, whatever curriculum or system you’ve chosen. (Another common homeschool goal: Survive the year! But I digress…) All kidding aside, you may be setting goals for your kids’ homeschool experience without even knowing it. You might have a not-yet-written-down goal of getting to a few specific museums this year or reading at least one piece of classic literature aloud to your child.

So when I say that we should have goals for that relate to our children’s education, I’m not suggesting that you set your little one up with a planner and have them get cracking on areas that need improvement. But we all know the truth – we as parents set the stage for most of our children’s habits, right?

I encourage you to think about the questions above and set some goals related to your kids’ education for this year or this semester. I have some free time coming up this weekend and will be doing the same thing. I’d love to hear your goals as you think through this! Email me at [email protected] to share what you came up with.

Dr. Melissa Shipman, Learnwell Collective Founder