When looking at making or revitalizing education goals, it is good to look at the big picture first (macro goals). Once you establish these, all the other education decisions you make (micro goals) need to feed into them.
Macro goals may be the same for all your children (and might not change much from year to year); but micro goals will be more individualized as you consider each child’s needs (and will likely change yearly as location, family dynamics, and family needs change).
As you make both macro and micro goals, be thinking about the following questions:
How are we going to reach these goals as a family?
How do we help each child reach these goals?
How does it look for each child at his/her stage—baby, preschool, school age, heading off to college?
How should I tailor my goals based on schooling type—homeschool, national foreign- language school, public or private English- speaking school?
Here are the macro education goals I have for my family for the coming year:
- Help my children develop spiritually. –“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul…” Luke 10:27
- Help my children develop academically. – “Love the Lord your God will all your mind…” Luke 10:27
- Help my children develop physically. –“Love the Lord your God will all your strength…” Luke 10:27
- Help my children develop in service and compassion towards others. – “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27
- Help my children develop important life skills.—“Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
After you make your macro goals, ask yourself a series of questions related to each macro goal in order to choose better micro goals. For example:
- Spiritual growth—How can I instill a love for the Lord in each child? How can I live my life, what changes do I need to make, to better exemplify the importance of this goal? What things do I or my family need to give up or change that detract or deter from this goal? What things must I or my family add or do more of? How can I help each child understand his/her worth in Christ? See: Fostering Spiritual Growth by Suzette H, 7 Virtues for Kids from Light Their Fire with God, a review by Elizabeth G, and 5 Great Faith-based Books to read.
- Academics—What is the best education plan for this child for the coming year–an education plan that will help this child make good academic progress? How does my education plan help this child to develop in his/her areas of strength, while making steady progress in overcoming or copying with his/her weaknesses? How does it help him/her to make friends, meet neighbors, and serve others? What might I need to supplement in order to help them develop in knowledge of God’s Word? How do my goals for this year work toward long-term academic goals and family plans for where I will be in 4-5 years? Which of the multiple intelligences does this child exhibit as a strength? Is his/her education plan best suited for this type of intelligence? See: How Does Your Child Think (notes from a Kathy Koch conference).
- Physical growth—What changes do I need to make in my life to exemplify good health and fitness habits? What activities can I do with my children to develop these habits in their lives? Does my (and my family’s) free time exemplify the priority I (we) place on this goal? See:Physical fitness for my child; Monkey See, Monkey Do ; and P.E., Music, Art, and the nPod.
- Service to Others—How can I instill in each child at his or her level a love for putting others before themselves—helping others; reaching out to the lonely, hurting, hungry? What changes do I need to make in my own life to be a better example of this? See: Helping Children Set Priorities by Beverly S.
- Life skills—Which life skills do I consider to be of utmost importance for this child to learn prior to living life on his/her own? Which ones will I focus on this year? Which life skills does my child need to acquire to be ready for the next grade in school? Which life skills are prerequisites for later life skills? For example, if my child needs to be ready to take a flight from overseas to our home country by the time he/she graduates from high school, at what point does he/she need to fly with an escort program to prepare for that solo flight? See: Chores and Life Skills; Life Skills Competencies; and Preparing for Independence.
Your macro goals might be similar to mine or might be very different. With your broad goals in mind, take a look at what you are currently doing. Does your current education plan and activities meet your broad goals? If not, or if the goals could be better met by making changes, what changes do you need to make this year in order to better meet your ultimate education goals?
While it is okay to just have an idea in your head, it produces more fruit (and something for you to look back to and evaluate) if you put it in writing. Start with your macro goals and save a copy using each child’s name. Then you can add the micro and mini goals specific to that child. Your plan might look something like the image to the left.
Plan ahead and have a great year!