“But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” 1 Timothy 1:5
I’m a worrier by nature and a recovering Type A personality, so oftentimes the thought that I’m responsible for my children’s education can overwhelm or paralyze me. I also suffer from shiny curriculum syndrome, i.e. if we just used this program or that method, they’ll be ahead of their peers or they’ll learn faster or they’ll cure cancer or *insert something amazing here*.
I’m also a very practical person, so spending loads of money on multiple programs or switching methods every few weeks isn’t really going to work for us. I had to find a way to set intentions for our homeschooling early on to help guide the educational decisions I’d be making along the way.
I’ve found the best way to do this is to write down goals for each subject area and revisit those goals before the purchase of any curriculum or before switching the method of teaching for the subjects. I also try not to plan too far in advance because I know how quickly children develop new skills so I don’t want a ton of redundant programs or books.
I’m sharing these goals with you today in hopes that it will inspire you to create your own set of goals for your homeschool and that it encourages you not to stress or worry about how to educate your children.
I’ve broken it down by main subjects and included both the goal and the plan of execution for each goal at this point in time. Obviously, some of these goals will have things added to the action steps each year, but the primary goals (which are actually quite simple) will remain the same.
Goals by Subject:
Bible Goals: That they will crave God’s Word and look to it for comfort, wisdom, and instruction as they grow up.
As I’ve shared before, there is nothing more important to us than our children’s salvation. Therefore, daily Bible reading is a non-negotiable. We read the Bible every night with the kids. Right now, we’re reading through The One Year Bible Storybook by Virginia Muir, but we also love the The Jesus Storybook Bible and the My Favorite Bible by Rondi DeBoer.
Because we don’t want them to become apathetic to the Bible, we don’t shove it down their throats or read too much of it. We don’t even have it as part of our homeschool day, except for a little Scripture memorization. The main goal here is to get the stories from the Bible in their heads and then eventually we will move towards using the Bible as instruction for our daily decisions by reading through the Psalms, Proverbs, and Paul’s letters to the churches.
Reading & Writing Goals: That they them become fluent readers who can comprehend what they read and to teach them how to communicate articulately and effectively via the written word.
Finn is currently using C & D of these workbooks from the Rod and Staff ABC series.
Both kids love to be read to, but Finn in particular has always enjoyed sitting in my lap and hearing a story. And I mean, like, throws toys out of his hands and runs over to the couch to read if I get out a book. That being said, he’s not showing a ton of interest in reading himself (and who can blame him). Early reading is a lot of work for little people, so until he is 6, we are just focusing on letter/letter sound recognition and some early decoding. I read aloud to them from both storybooks and chapter books and fun is had by all.
We also use the Rod and Staff ABC series for a solid foundation in letter sounds, recognition, and writing the letters. All three of us love these simple, but effective workbooks and they can be adapted very easily into a “living books” style of teaching.
Examining the opossum from Nature Anatomy by Julia Roth.
Math Goals: That they both have a strong number sense and a very firm foundation in all the math procedures required to maintain daily life activities.
Right now, we’re using Counting with Numbers from Rod and Staff, Preschool Math at Home (for conceptual math) and just the first couple pages New Elementary Arithmetic by Wentworth.
You’ll notice we have more resources for math than any other subject, but it’s only because I don’t feel I have a strong foundation in math either as I mentioned here.
We do a page or two in the Counting with Numbers workbook every day and then mix in hands-on math from both Preschool Math at Home by Kate Snow (enter here to win your own copy of this book) and oral math problems from a copy of New Elementary Arithmetic (1907) as our day allows. Math instruction is primarily for Finn, but Lydia always participates as much as she is able.
Science Goals: That they will have a firm understanding and appreciation of how things work and find pleasure and excitement in observing everything in nature.
Rainbow water beads from The Homegrown Preschooler.
No mess salt tray play in the bathtub.
Lots and lots
And lots of building!
We also greatly enjoy bird watching and identification at the moment, so much of the day’s pauses are to observe birds at the feeder and talk about what they’re doing. We also get outside for long periods of time when the weather and seasonal pollen allow.
We’ll call this tree climbing 101.
History & Geography Goals: That they have a broad understanding of the history of the world, even the not-so-pleasant parts and that they can see and understand multiple perspectives of events that have taken place in the past.
At the moment, we read lots of living picture books about things that have taken place in the past. We’ve listened to the entirety of Little House in the Big Woods on audiobook and talked a lot about how things used to be back then. Next, year we’ll start American History because it makes sense to me to start in your country of origin and move outward. A little bit of geography will come into play next year as well.
Ryan and I both love history so the kids are already used to visiting local historical sites and learning more about how things were done in the past. I don’t foresee that changing any time soon.
Art & Music Goals: That they gain an appreciation for and take pleasure in the created beauty of art and music and in creating their own.
An original from Mama entitled “Grocery List” ha ha
We listen to all types of music around the house, including classical and instrumental, but Lydia can also belt out a pretty good rendition of Tell Me You Love Me by Demi Lovato, so you can see that we have a wide variety of musical tastes in the house.
Finn is constantly humming or singing around the house and Lydia makes up little songs and performs them on occasion. Both have their own ukelele, but we haven’t started taking lessons just yet. There’s plenty of time for that in the future.
We don’t do anything for art officially, but both kids love Do A Dot Markers, watercolors, colored pencils, and Play Doh to create with and explore. Next year, we’ll add Picture Study to our weekly schedule, but right now I just keep them stocked in picture books with beautiful illustrations and we talk about what we enjoy about the illustrations as the mood strikes.
And there you have it…These are the simple, straightforward goals that I use to assess any changes we make to our daily homeschool rhythm and/or course of study.
I would love to hear from you if you have a list of goals for your children as they grow and learn at home. It’s always interesting to see what other people are using with their families so share in the comments below.
Don’t forget to enter the Preschool Math at Home Giveaway, it ends March 14th. I’ll announce the winner here on the blog, Instagram, and Facebook on March 15th.
“The Goal of Our Instruction” originally appeared on the Little Paper Crown blog.