Getting Started

5. Set Your Educational Goals

Setting your educational goals may seem like a big task, but remember we all refine our goals as we go. But this should help you see where you are going, and help you to be a little more comfortable with your home schooling.

It's also important to keep your big goals in mind, as you make the many day-to-day decisions while home schooling.

What are your goals for the education of your child or children?

The Main Goal of Education is Happiness

The main goal of all education is happiness: short term, medium term, and especially long term. If a person is well educated, as an adult, they can look after themselves, work in the vocation of their choice (usually, or at least something close), get along with others, and have a better life.

We want them to read so they can earn money, support themselves (comfortably), buy things, read instructions, read things for fun, etc. In our society, it would be very frustrating and limiting if you couldn't read.

We also teach them to get along with people so they have better relationships. We teach them physical education so their bodies will last longer and serve them better.

Basically, our real goal is to educate our children, so they will be happy, especially in the long term.

Different Priorities

But while most of us have what appear to be the same goals, when you look closer, every family has some differences in their educational goals, and a lot of differences in the priority of those goals.

For example, some families place a higher importance on sports, or on technology, or spirituality, or relationships, or art, or music, etc. If all of us listed our educational goals, starting with the most important on top, each person's list would be at least slightly different, and some people's lists would be quite different.

And along with placing different priorities on each area, some families may choose not to have one of these as a goal (e.g. some families don't teach their children to play a musical instrument). Or you may have a more unique priority, like preparing your child for a career in medicine or business.

Determining Your Priorities

It really helps if you are clear about your priorities. Ask yourself, what is really important, and write down your answers. This will give you a good start.

Here are some examples of things that are important (make sure you write down all the obvious ones, too). And only use the ones you want:

  • Language Arts
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies (or Culture, Geography, and History - I have found it very helpful to keep these as three separate priorities, and not group them together as one)
  • Physical Education
  • Sports (with a strong focus on one or more sports - for serious athletes)
  • Art
  • Music
  • Drama (classes, plays, or film work)
  • Foreign Language(s)
  • Technology (computers, electronics, machines)
  • Business (management, entrepreneurship)
  • Emotional development, postive thinking, self-confidence
  • Relationships
  • Spirituality, Your Beliefs, Values, Ethics
  • Manners
  • Finance (how to handle money)
  • Nutrition
  • Cooking (and other household skills, like laundry, cleaning, etc.)
  • Field Trips

Make sure you add any of your own that are not here.

If you are not sure about whether you should teach something or make it a priority, ask yourself, how will this make my child happy, especially in the future.

Sorting Your Priorities

Then think about how important each one is. Try to sort them with more important priorities first.

You don't have to get it perfect. We each keep adjusting our focus on our priorities as we learn more about life and our children.

And some priorities change over the years. For example, you may be working very hard on teaching your children table manners when they are young, but once they have them, you would probably take this off your list.

Check Your List Regularly

Keep your list handy, and keep checking it regularly to make sure you are giving your child the best education you can!

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