Kids :: Setting Goals for the School Year

Written by: Genuine Joy Kid Contributor, Whitney Flickinger

Being an athlete I learned at a very young age that you set goals and revisit them from time to time.  If you meet all of them, or just one of them, you adjust what you had written down and set new ones.  This past weekend I decided that it would be good for the kids to make some goals of their own.  Last year was an interesting year for us and I honestly felt that we flew by the seat of our pants, at times barely getting things accomplished in terms of schoolwork. 

My daughter is not a fan of school and much like her mother has really struggled with reading and spelling.  She gets distracted easily and enjoys socializing in class instead of paying attention.  On the other hand, Connor loves school but has a hard time sitting still and following directions.  I spoke to each of them separately about goals and why we set them, which neither of them particularly enjoyed!

Taylor and I sat outside during Connor’s first machine pitch baseball practice.  It was the hottest day of the summer and of course we were at a field with NO SHADE!  It was blistering hot.  As I explained to her what we were doing and why we were doing it she looked at me with a blank stare.  To make it more “fun” I told her that two goals had to do with school and one could be about whatever she wanted.  She was stumped and was not sure what to write.   She quickly came up with her non-school related goal.  This is her first season of machine pitch softball and she really wants to do well so she can be on her friend’s team in the spring.  Her first goal is to “hit the ball far and catch the ball too.” From there I pulled two school related goals out of her.   One was to “(spend more time with) practice subtraction and time subtraction” (timed math tests).  The second was to “be good at any kind of book" (improve reading skills).

Connor LOVES school and is a sponge when it comes to learning.  I sat him down the next morning and we went over why we were writing goals.  He wanted nothing to do with it.  All he wanted to do is play on his I-Pad and stretch.  Stretching is his new thing when he doesn’t want to do what is being asked.  For example, get out of the car, get out of bed, put on his shoes, brush his teeth, etc.  He needs to S-T-R-E-T-C-H!  Ugh!  So I plopped him down and away he wrote.  He also did two personal goals and one non-school related goal.  Connor’s goals were similar to Taylor’s.   His first was to learn more “Word Wall” words.  This is a set of words that the school system creates for each grade level to learn by the end of the year.  His second was to “listen better in class.” (As his mom, I silently screamed "YES!!") We will see how that goes. His third goal, which was non-school related is to “hit more balls in baseball.” I'm happy to hear that both kids have similar sports related goals -- Yes, more outside time!!

I felt satisfied and accomplished when I had two handwritten sets of goals in my hand.  Go me!  As a parent, it is my job to guide them in the right direction and give them the tools to succeed in their current and future life.  Setting goals is a way to break the “big picture” down into smaller pieces.  Each of the kids’ goals is attainable.  The last thing I want them to feel is frustrated or defeated because they were not able to reach their goal.  Some will prove more challenging than others, but I'm confident that each one can succeed in meeting them.  We decided that in December we would revisit the goals and see if we are close to meeting them.  From there, we will write new ones or make the appropriate changes to reach them.   My goal for Taylor is that she will move up in her reading group and for Connor he will be more focused and follow directions better by the end of the school year.  I am confident that both kids can reach their goals and that their biggest cheerleader, me, will be there the whole way cheering, and encouraging them.  

What steps have you taken to help your children reach their goals? Leave your tips in the comments below.