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When our children came along, we knew we wanted them to go to college one day. When we decided to homeschool, the idea of college remained in the back of our minds, guiding us along each year. As we looked at curriculum and classes for the various grades, we found ourselves adjusting, adapting, and creating long-term goals for our homeschool.
For the most part, those goals remained the same. Then the oldest began high school, and soon the others followed. Before I knew it, I was graduating children and was left with fewer and fewer to teach. At the beginning of this year, I realized I am down to teaching just one again. If I could do it over again, would I change anything? That’s hard to say, but I believe I would put things in writing better. With that in mind, here are a few things you may want to consider while you are creating long-term goals for your homeschool.
Creating a Plan
You need a plan. Sure, you can fly by the seat of your pants and leave everything to chance, but do you really want to leave your children’s education to chance? It helps to have an overall plan for your homeschool.
- Do you want your children to go on to higher education (college, trade school, etc), the military, or straight into the work world?
- Do want to do a lot of traveling and hands-on learning with your children?
- Do you want to use textbooks, workbooks, or unit studies — or maybe a hodgepodge of programs?
It all depends on what your overall plan is for your homeschool and your children’s futures. Take into consideration where you live (or where you plan to live) and what your options and abilities are, as well.
Creating Long-Term Goals
Once you have a vision for what you want your homeschool to look like, it’s time to start creating long-term goals.
- Pick three or four states from across the nation and look up the high school graduation requirements for each. Compare and create your own list of “must have” classes for your homeschool.
- Consider having two “majors” in your homeschool: one for science-/math-minded students, and one for creative-/liberal arts-minded students. As you discover what your children excel in, you can pull classes from the option that suits them best.
- Think about hands-on jobs and Tech classes that may help with future careers
- Child Care classes for future mothers
- Criminal Justice or EMT for future military
- Graphic Design for future art teachers
- Plan for life experiences that will either expose them to different jobs or get their feet wet in their chosen field:
- Trips to aquariums, the ocean or other natural waterways, zoos and nature parks
- Rebuilding an engine, framing a shed, building furniture, computer programming
- Volunteering at the library, a kennel, or a soup kitchen
While many of the classes will have age restrictions (if taken at a local college or Tech campus), there are many free courses online and books you can purchase to create your own classes. Spend one semester studying carpentry, another volunteering at the library (check your library for age restrictions). Take a vacation at the beach this year, and go to the mountains next year. Put your child in charge of family haircuts, making curtains, or planning meals.
Creating Short-Term Goals
Now that you are finished creating long-term goals, narrow it down even more by creating short-term goals. Write everything down on individual index cards and sort them by years. Can it be done before they enter high school, or must they be at least 16-years-old to do it? How many trips can you take each year? Can you find books at the library or through Amazon that will help you teach a general overview of a subject when your children are young?
Putting It All Into Action
After looking at the big picture and breaking it down into smaller, more manageable chunks, it will be easy to see what you need to do to fulfill the vision for your homeschool. Keep in mind that the needs of your family and your children’s career choices may change over the years. One of my goals was to travel as a family. That worked well for us until my husband’s job changed.
Remember to start with the big, general picture, and work your way down to specifics. Creating long-term goals doesn’t have to be hard or scary–you just need to start with a vision for your homeschool. Do you already have long-term goals? Leave a comment and let me know your hopes and dreams for your homeschool!