I tend to not set resolutions. I was never big on them and then as I got older and saw how quickly people seem to drop them, I decided New Year’s resolutions were not for me. The funny thing about that is ….

Every year I seem to pick something to focus on improving

This year, I want to focus on helping the kids learn to set personal goals and work towards them. This is no easy task as children rarely see their own faults and when we try to point it out to help them learn, it is not received well (can you tell I have tweens?). So how do we help our kids assess themselves and set personal goals that are attainable?

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First and foremost, we need to have our children think about

something simple they want to be able to do. They can focus on running or other sport they play, character traits such as kindness or helpfulness, or they can decide they want to be better at listening. Whatever they pick it needs to be thought out. As the parent, we need to help guide our kiddos through personal reflection.

What do they do well

What do they love to do

What do they want to be better at

What have they noticed they have trouble with

Make a list for them as they talk and when things have been discussed completely, show them the list and tell them to pick one. Try to guide them to pick a goal you feel they would be able to easily measure any progress and that they can for sure reach by the end of the year. You don’t want to set them up to fail.

But how do we help them stay focused on achieving their goal

Create a Motivation Board

Motivation boards are something I would create every year in high school but I have found these work well for younger kiddos or those that are more visual. Find a giant stack of parent and kid magazines and have a cutting party. Look through them all and find pictures that make the child think about the goal and how to work towards it. Discuss the various pictures and pick the best ones to make a collage on either a small bulletin board or a poster. Do not try to fill up every space as this can be overwhelming but leave blank space for the child’s eyes to rest on the various pictures and remember the discussions and the goal.

Weekly and Monthly Self-Evaluation Sheets

For the students who prefer lists and forms, creating a weekly self-evaluation form may be the best option. I have recently learned how to create documents using google slides to allow me to create different boxes with different font so that they are fun looking while still providing guidance for kiddos. This I feel would keep the kids from becoming bored with yet another paper to do. There are also various things you can include in the form to guild the child’s evaluation.

How did they work toward the goal

What did they improve on

What still  needs improvement

What was the biggest success that week

Who helped them work toward their goal

What needs to be focused on next week to continue to improve

Every week, have your kid fill out the form and really spend time thinking on each question. It would be wise if the first few weeks you sit with your kid to help them think through, discuss, and evaluate their week. This will allow the child to learn how best to do this and not leave them feeling lost or confused. At the end of the month, have your kiddo bring out the weekly evaluations and look at his progress for the month. This is the time for you to give your kid your thoughts on what they are doing well and what they might want to focus a little more on. Be sure to really emphasize their progress though, you do not want them to be discouraged or become overwhelmed with all they all still need to do. Try to only give them one or two things to focus on improving the next month.

Encourage and Guide

The biggest thing I would like to restate that is important is the fact that we are to be helping the kids stay focused on their goal. Praise them every single time you see them working on their goal or when you see an improvement. Sometimes kiddos do not see their improvement and so do not realize they have made progress. We are the ones who are teaching them how to do this and it is not as simple as “do this, now you’re on your own.” This is a life skill that I feel we need to be purposeful in helping instill in our children and what better time than now to do so?

While resolutions come and go, habits that we instill in our children now will stick with them when they are grown, and being able to set goals and work towards obtaining them is one thing that can greatly help them in their lives.

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Greetings! My name is Joy and I am currently a stay at home mom who is homeschooling her three kids in South Carolina. I love learning and I love sharing the love of learning with others so getting to home school my kids and watch the “ah-ha” moments when they understand something is unbelievably rewarding. I have been homeschooling since my twins were preschool age so we are going on 8 years now. I am also a military spouse so we have the added joy of being a military family with some of the complications that come with it.  As a family, we stay busy with our scouting groups, American Heritage Girls and TrailLife, and we do many camping and hiking trips with them. When I have downtime, I am typically reading books I have sitting around the house, on YouTube/websites getting more information on different home school programs or working on plans for homeschool. I look forward to being able to share our experiences with everyone and help encourage all homeschooling families.

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