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Goal Setting for Students Review by Kathy Gelzer

By John Bishop
Accent on Success
29 Benton Pl.
St. Louise, MO 63104

A 68-page goal setting text-workbook for grades 5-8 seems like a great idea. Goal Setting for Students has eight chapters: What is Success?, Goal Setting, Samples and Practice, Investing In Yourself, Measuring Your Progress, Meeting the Challenges, How to Get Started, and a summary.

Most of the chapters follow a similar format of two pages of text, a review, a real-world example, and some activity pages made up of vocabulary, questions, and exercises. Even though the target audience is grades 5-8 (and broadened to include teens), the simple graphics, short paragraphs, and emphasis in style remind me of material written to younger children.

Several starred sentences at the beginning of each chapter crystallize the main points. A section of "Words to Remember," also at the top of the page, is incorporated into the vocabulary assignment, providing excellent continuity. Some of the questions are geared to the individual, some to the class, and some are to be done at home. Inspirational and thought-provoking quotes by a variety of people are sprinkled throughout.

The book begins with a letter to the students, one to the teachers, and one to the "parents and other caregivers." A big emphasis is put on peer pressure, social acceptability, and applying oneself to schoolwork. The tone is very P.C. For example, one of the exercises instructs the student to "find two pictures in magazines of people you define as successful. One of the pictures should be of a male and the other a female."

I appreciated the author's inclusion of activities to do at home with parents. I also liked the clear connection between goal actualization and the use of time.

On the down side, without a Christian emphasis, goal-setting is often a shallow, self-centered experience. As a Christian family, by far most of our motivation is an outgrowth of our faith. Hence we try to do everything "as unto the Lord," and we endeavor to put the interests of others above our own.

I was surprised that the three golden goal-setting rules are not mentioned in this book, namely that goals should be specific, attainable, and measurable. There is also some confusion about the term "target date." In the second chapter target date is defined as the completion date to reach your goal. But the following chapter, which includes several examples of goals, uses the term target date to refer to the date when you will begin the action to achieve the goal.

This book is designed for a classroom setting. A homeschool co-op may want to include it as part of an offering on independence/career exploration. It may also be a good choice for parents who are moving their children from a homeschool to a classroom situation. Otherwise, I think the basics of goal-setting are better covered in a homeschooler's Bible and/or character studies.

Product review by Kathy Gelzer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April 2008