If you want to take your child's education to the next level, making goals is an effective way to get the absolute most out of learning. This blog post offers a guide for how to set educational goals for your child.
As a general rule, doing things in life without much intention or purpose will never achieve the same results as doing those same things with a stronger sense of motivation and intent. This goes for school as much as anything else. Simply going to school every day and going with the flow of what happens is great - even necessary to avoid truancy - but it won't further your K-12 child's education as much as making specific goals and working toward them over time. Here's how you can set both short-term and long-term educational goals with your child to help him or her get the most out of school.
Do It Together
First, it's important to emphasize that every step of the goal-making process should be undertaken in tandem with your child. In fact, it's best to serve more of a guiding role than leading the process yourself. After all, the educational goals are meant to help your child. That's why it's crucial that he or she feel committed to the goals, which will be far more likely if allowed to take the lead, express opinions, and feel a sense of ownership of the process.
Review the Current State of Affairs
Before you start to look toward the future, it's important to review your child's current education situation. That way, you'll know how and where to focus the new goals.
The first part of your educational goal-setting process should be to sit down with your child and:
- Looking at his or her most recent grades in each class.
- Discuss how those classes are going, including your child's perceptions of how well he or she is grasping the material.
When creating a plan, you have to start somewhere, which is much easier than starting from scratch. To that end, we recommend having a few ''stock goals'' you can suggest to your child to help kickstart the brainstorming process. You might end up adjusting these a bit, modifying or throwing them out entirely. Depending on your child's grade level, some suggestions could include:
- Completing all homework and in-class assignments on time
- Earning a GPA of at least 3.5 next term.
- Scoring 85 or higher on each major exam.
- Taking two or more advanced courses next term (or year).
- Getting into universities X, Y, and Z.
It's best to have a few educational goals that are more short-term in nature, like those for the coming weeks and months, as well as others that look a year or even further into the future.
Once you start getting into the nitty-gritty of actually formulating and determining your child's new goals, it's important to be realistic. Unless your child is highly gifted, a goal of ''getting 100% in every class'' will most likely be out of reach and may result in disappointment and stress rather than serving as a source of motivation. Instead, use the information you found in your original ''state of affairs'' review to make sure that each goal is challenging but possible.
Goals in and of themselves are great sources of motivation, but as a parent, you have the ability to give the goals a bit more motivational oomph by offering rewards to go with them. For example, you might offer a dinner at a favorite restaurant as a reward if your child reaches his or her goal of getting a high grade on a specific test. You might also think about any big requests your child has made lately, like wanting to buy that hot, new expensive gadget that he or she doesn't really need and offer it as a reward for meeting all of the goals.
That said, be sure not to promise any rewards you won't be able to follow through with - or use anything your child really needs, like time with friends, as a reward. Do your part in the educational goal-making process and your child will do his or her part.
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