How to Set Homeschooling Goals

Are you ready to prepare for a new homeschool year? What's the first step you take?

Usually, it's sifting through that pile of homeschool catalogs sitting on your shelf. Or maybe it's asking what other homeschool families will be using. Maybe you're not too sure about your teaching abilities for a certain subject so you buy 2 or 3 programs to cover one subject.

But there is a better way to begin the process of planning for a successful homeschool year. The first step - deciding on the most important goals for each child. Let's learn how to set homeschooling goals.

 Are you ready to prepare for a new homeschool year? What's the first step you take? Usually, it's sifting through that pile of homeschool catalogs sitting on your shelf. Or maybe it's asking what other homeschool families will be using. Maybe you're not too sure about your teaching abilities for a certain subject so you buy 2 or 3 programs to cover one subject. But there is a better way to begin the process of planning for a successful homeschool year. The first step - deciding on the most important goals for each child. Let's learn how to set homeschooling goals.

Why You Need Homeschool Goals

Goal-setting is an important step in the process of building your homeschool. Appropriate goals will give you a clear direction during each homeschool year and help simplify the process of choosing appropriate courses and curriculum purchases. Most of all, solid goals give you the ability to change course when unexpected life events interrupt your carefully-planned schedule.

On the other hand, if you choose to forego setting any yearly goals for your homeschool, you can run into difficulty. Without a clear plan, you could easily over-schedule, filling your homeschool day with too many subjects and books -- which can lead to burnout for you and your children. When you don’t have a clear direction, it’s easy to flounder and lose focus, as well as begin the dreaded “curriculum hop,” as you fall into the habit of looking for that “perfect” curriculum. 

How to Set Realistic Homeschool Goals

There are a few things to consider when setting goals. First is what your child has already learned. Have they learned their basic addition facts? Then perhaps the next goal is to drill those facts for quick recall and then move on to learning subtraction. Many skills follow a natural progression so it's easy to see where you should go next.

For mathematics, students progress by learning number sense, then move on to addition, followed by subtraction, before progressing to multiplication and division. Upper-level mathematics follows a particular sequence as well, making it easy to track progress and achievement.

Language arts (English) encompasses a variety of skill subjects that also fit within a natural progression. These subjects include reading, spelling, writing, vocabulary (word study), and grammar. Each skill is independent but also interwoven with the other skills. 

When you look at each skill subject as a natural progression of skills and achievements, as well as how they fit within the larger framework (especially language arts skills), it’s much easier to set realistic and attainable goals. 

Skills build on each other each year and provide the backbone for a solid education. Instead of planning to just finish a math text or grammar workbook each year, make goals for your child that encompass the progressive achievement in each of these skill subjects. 

Another tip is to consult your favorite homeschooling books. I flip through my favorite books (here's a list of my favorite resources) and jot down notes about things I know we need to work on.

Setting these yearly goals can give you a clear sense of direction and help you avoid becoming a slave to the curriculum. You can confidently discern when your child has a strong grasp of a particular skill and might find that it isn’t necessary to complete every problem or lesson in a workbook. Or you may discover the opposite -- that they need a little more work than the program provides, and so you find additional resources to fill in those gaps. But if you don’t have a clear understanding of where you are going, it’s easier to fall into the trap of overcompensating and doing too much, which causes burnout and boredom. 



Homeschool Planning Pages

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Put your email address in the form below to join the community & learn how to make your own homeschool nest a happy place -- and get these free homeschool planning pages (including some goal setting forms).


Now that you know how to set homeschooling goals, here's a look at the homeschool goals we've set over the years - with one caveat. These were our overarching goals for the year - we don't necessarily work on these things every day. They are just the baseline that we follow throughout the year.

Related: Yearly Homeschool Planning

Homeschooling Goals for Kindergarten

For kindergarten this is relatively easy - it's all about the 3 R's with a dash of fun! So, my goals for this year are small ones:

Spiritual:

  • Basic knowledge of Bible stories with the ability to tell back (narrate) a story
  • Ability to pray without relying on memorized prayers and an understanding that prayer is talking to God
  • Memorization of some simple Scriptures

Language Arts:

  • Work on fluency in reading
  • Basic grammar skills - recognize that sentences begin with a capital letter and end with a punctuation mark (period, exclamation point, or question mark)
  • Able to write the letters of the alphabet (from memory) and progress to simple words and sentences

Mathematics:

  • Understanding of place value
  • Ability to see patterns in math
  • Counting out loud to 100
  • Beginning skip counting
  • Telling time to the hour and half-hour
  • Simple addition to 10

History/Geography:

  • It's all about stories, fairy-tales, and adventures
  • Basic map skills (using a compass, directions, following a simple map, etc.)

Science:

  • Exploration and hands-on experiments
  • Lots of time spent outdoors, nature walks, observation, etc.

French:

  • All about immersion at this point - using as much French in everyday speech as possible
  • Learn some church songs

Readiness/Life Skills:

  • Pouring (with rice and water)
  • Making straight lines with a ruler
  • Folding paper and using scissors
  • Learn to help with household chores: making a bed, helping with laundry, setting and clearing the table, putting things in the dishwasher, wiping off the table, dusting
  • Learns to answer the phone correctly
  • Memorizes address and phone number

Arts:

  • Music: rhythm and beat, clap on the beat, singing
  • Art: lots of fun projects

Homeschooling Goals for First Grade

Our goals for first grade were quite similar to kindergarten. We continued to progress with language arts and mathematics and started our first history 'cycle'.

Spiritual:

  • Memorization of some simple Scriptures
  • Continue discussing basic doctrine
  • Daily Bible reading time

Language Arts:

  • Reading: Finish phonics study, continue practicing reading aloud
  • Grammar: punctuation, capitalization, nouns, pronouns
  • Writing: continue work on proper letter formation, narration, and copywork
  • Spelling: learn basic spelling rules and how to apply them

Mathematics:

  • Focus on learning place value
  • Work on skip counting
  • Work on addition facts
  • Look for patterns in math

History/Geography:

  • Overview of ancient cultures
  • Add Biblical history and life of Jesus

Science:

  • Hands-on projects and activities
  • Nurture a love of exploration and discovery

French:

  • Focus on building vocabulary
  • Work on simple conversational phrases

Readiness/Life Skills:

  • Memorizes address and phone number
  • Practice phone skills and emergency calls
  • Cooking: making toast and sandwiches
  • Chores: keeping room clean, folding and putting away laundry, making a bed, feeding the dog, setting the dinner table, dusting

Arts:

  • Music: listen to music by various composers
  • Art: look at and discuss artwork

Homeschooling Goals for Second Grade

Our second grade goals are still quite similar to previous years - continuing to work on basic educational skills and moving on to the second year in our history 'cycle'.

Spiritual:

  • Memorization of some simple Scriptures
  • Daily Bible reading time
  • Understanding of Jesus as savior 

Language Arts:

  • Reading: continue practicing reading aloud, add longer chapter books
  • Grammar: memorize parts of speech and learn to identify them in a sentence
  • Writing: begin cursive, work on copywork and dictation
  • Spelling: continue learning and applying spelling rules

Mathematics:

  • Work on addition facts
  • Continue to work on subtraction, telling time, counting change

History/Geography:

  • Overview of middle ages and Renaissance

Science:

  • Earth science & geography
  • Work on narration and observational skills

Foreign Language:

  • Focus on building vocabulary
  • Use more conversational phrases
  • Memorize Greek alphabet

Readiness/Life Skills:

  • Cooking: sandwiches, jello, boiled eggs
  • Chores: keeping room clean, folding and putting away laundry, learn to clean bathroom, to sweep a floor and unload the dishwasher

Arts:

  • Music: listen to music by various composers
  • Art: look at and discuss artwork
  • Work on drawing skills
  • Poetry tea time a few times a week

Homeschooling Goals for Third Grade

Third grade is following the same pattern set down in first and second grade. We're continuing to work on basic educational skills, adding in more grammar and writing, and moving on to the third year in our history 'cycle'. We're also working on adding a bit of independence to our day with science.

Spiritual:

  • Memorization of some Proverbs
  • Daily Bible reading time
  • Focus on Jesus' life and ministry 

Language Arts:

  • Reading: daily quiet reading time reading from a list of selected books
  • Grammar: a more in-depth study of parts of speech and begin to diagram sentences
  • Writing: continue working on cursive penmanship; written narrations
  • Spelling: rules & application

Mathematics:

  • Work on quick recall of basic math facts
  • Continue to work on multiplication skills

History/Geography:

  • Overview of the early modern time period
  • Weekly history co-op
  • Use history reading to work on narration skills

Science:

  • Chemistry
  • Work on independence - doing experiments alone and filling out an experiment form and looking up scientific terms and definitons

Foreign Language:

  • Continue building vocabulary
  • Work on conversational skills
  • Begin Latin study - alphabet, grammar, vocabulary

Readiness/Life Skills:

  • Educational: independence, dictionary skills, research with an encyclopedia
  • Cooking: reading and following a simple recipe, canned soup, sandwiches
  • Chores: keeping room clean, folding and putting away laundry, sweep and mop the floors, and unload the dishwasher

Arts:

  • Music: learn about six composers - reading biographies and listening to music
  • Art: learn about six artists - study their artwork
  • Work on drawing skills
  • Poetry tea time a few times a week

 Homeschooling Goals for Fourth Grade

Fourth grade continues to build on skills learned in previous years. I'm focusing on more independence, quick recall for math facts, using cursive penmanship in all subjects, and writing across the curriculum.

Spiritual:

  • Memorization of some Psalms and Proverbs
  • Daily Bible reading time
  • Focus on the gospel of John and life of Paul 

Language Arts:

  • Reading: daily reading time
  • Grammar: continue reviewing parts of speech and work on diagramming
  • Writing: working on written summaries and short reports
  • Spelling: continue learning and applying spelling rules

Mathematics:

  • Continue working on quick recall of basic math facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication & division)
  • Work on fractions, decimals, and percents

History/Geography:

  • Overview of the modern time period (focusing on people and advancements)
  • Use history reading to work on written summary skills

Science:

  • Physics
  • Work on independence - doing experiments, filling out experiment forms, and writing a short paragraph

Foreign Language:

  • Focus on building vocabulary
  • Work on ability to ask and answer simple questions
  • Verb conjugation for basic verbs
  • Latin: drill and memorize conjugations and declensions

Readiness/Life Skills:

  • Educational: typing skills
  • Cooking: reading and following a simple recipe, scrambling eggs
  • Chores: keeping room clean, folding and putting away laundry, to sweep a floor and unload the dishwasher

Arts:

  • Music: learn about six composers - reading biographies and listening to music
  • Art: learn about six artists - study their artwork
  • Work on drawing skills
  • Poetry tea time a few times a week

Homeschool Planning Pages

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Put your email address in the form below to join the community & learn how to make your own homeschool nest a happy place -- and get these free homeschool planning pages (including some goal setting forms).


Homeschooling Goals for Fifth Grade

My homeschooling goals have made a dramatic shift this year. We've been in a 'must check it off the list and get on with real life' mode and it's not what I originally intended for our homeschool. I want to create an atmosphere of peace and learning instead of rushing through things or just doing them to get them checked off. I've been listening to many podcasts and youtube videos from Circe and Dr. Perrin and the ideas that they discuss have really struck a chord with me.

These videos -  Scholé, Contemplation & Leisure and Teaching from a State of Rest - speak to the ideals that I envision for our school and it has caused me to rethink our homeschool day and how we have been doing things. So this year will bring many changes to our schedule and goals. 5th grade also brings its own changes - more independence, discussion, writing & research skills... all the things that I want to add to our day. The biggest change will be with our schedule.

To change the focus of our day from moving through a checklist to spending time delving deep and discussing many topics, we'll be having a daily morning meeting time. Content subjects will also be changing. Instead of trying to rush through history and science each week, we are focusing on one thing in the afternoons. 3 weeks of history, interspersed with 2 weeks of science and 1 week of independent study. By spending more time focused on one topic each week we can delve deeply into the topic without feeling rushed to check things off a checklist.

I'm hoping that moving away from the 'to-do list' mentality our school day will be more relaxed.


Homeschooling Goals for Sixth Grade

When I'm planning our homeschool year, my first step is to decide on our yearly focus. Every year is slightly different - the early years focused on reading skills and basic math knowledge. This year I have a few major goals I want to focus on:

  • Writing skills
  • Independence
  • Following directions
  • Time management

We'll still cover lots of other subjects, but these are the things that I'd like to pay particular attention to. TJ already has specific ideas about how and when she likes to do things but she's still lacking in following instructions and it's very easy for her to dawdle away her time.  So, while she thinks she's ready for complete independence, I know that there are a few things that she really needs to work on before she's ready to take the reins completely.

My goal (for this year and next) is to slowly transition her to just checking in with me in the morning before she starts school and in the afternoon when she finishes. There will be a few subjects that we'll still work on together, but for the most part, she's ready for more independence.


Homeschooling Goals for Seventh Grade

These later middle school years are starting to bring more changes - TJ works more independently but still needs supervision.

Our main goals for the year:

  • Continue building independence
  • Continue daily morning meetings before independent work
  • Following instructions
  • Time management
  • Doing neat work

As far as schoolwork - we're focusing on math (making sure she knows everything she needs before starting high school math), research and writing skills - and applying them to her history, science, and literature assignments. 


Homeschooling Goals for Eighth Grade

With high school looming on the horizon, we're continuing to work on building independence. We're shifting from a daily morning meeting to a beginning of week meeting and an end of week meeting. On Monday, we go over her schedule for the week, and she writes her assignments in her agenda, deciding for herself when each assignment will be completed. During the week, she works independently and, on Friday, we go over her work for the week - correcting assignments and discussing her reading and writing.

It feels like such a change - only being needed twice a week! 

Skills we're working on - taking notes from a textbook, research skills (online and encyclopedia), writing literary essays and other writing assignments. 


Free Homeschool Planning Pages

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Put your email address in the form below to join the community & learn how to make your own homeschool nest a happy place -- and get these free homeschool planning pages (including some goal setting forms).

Tonia L

Hey! I'm the owner of Happy Homeschool Nest - a website devoted to helping homeschool moms balance the needs of homeschooling with managing a healthy and happy home.