A Better Way to Make Goals for Your Homeschool

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I think setting goals for our homeschool is important because it helps clarify our vision and guides us in how to plan our days. However, there is a temptation to make a long list of unrealistic expectations and then feel like a failure when we don’t reach these goals. Using the advice of productivity expert Michael Hyatt in his book The Best Year Ever, I want to give you some tips for setting good goals. I want you to glow with the success of meeting your goals this year.



How to Make Great Goals

Michael Hyatt uses a system for setting great goals called SMARTER.

Specific – We can’t just say, “I want my kids to read better or be faster at math or get more exercise or eat healthier.” These goals may seem fine on the surface but how will you know if you have achieved them? You need to get specific. What GRA level of reading do you want your child reading at and by what date? How much more time every week do you want to dedicate to physical activities? How fast do you want them to be in math and with which math facts?

Measurable – Making goals specific also helps us measure them. When we know which reading level or how quickly we want them to get through that deck of flashcards, it will be clear when we have achieved the goal. Then it will be time to celebrate.

Actionable – You have to be able to do something to make the goal a reality. If what you are doing now is not working, but you don’t have the ability to dedicate more time to the subject or don’t have the money to purchase more helpful resources, it may be best to let go of that until a better time. A time when you are able to take action.

Risky – This was a new idea to me. Hyatt talks a lot about how to make a risky goal and how to differentiate between unrealistic goals and goals that are just risky enough that you are excited to reach them. I know a goal that seems a little bit crazy to my kids gets them excited about it, but it is super important that I know it is a realistic goal. Nothing sets kids up for failure like giving them a goal they will not be able to reach. This is tricky and requires some soul searching. Take your time.

Time-Keyed – This is pretty simple; you have a deadline. Everyone works harder when there is a deadline to meet.

Exciting – It may be hard to see how you can get excited about your homeschool goals. But if you are not excited, why should your kids be?

Relevant – If your goal is irrelevant to your lives, there will not be motivation to stick to it.

Good goals help us stretch ourselves and get us growing.


Marla Szwast lives in Marietta, Georgia with her husband and six children. She has written articles for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.  She is the author of Stepping Through History: Starting With You!, and a semester long fifth grade science course. Both courses are published online at Schoolhouse Teachers membership website.  She writes about home schooling, child development, neuroscience, and the history of education on her blog at:, you can also follow her on Facebook @jumpintogenius, or Twitter @MarlaSzwast, or Medium.

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"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).