It was about a year ago that I set out my first year’s goals for the two older ducklings. Yesterday I pulled them out to see how we did.
Hmm. Perhaps that’s the problem.
Anyway, there wasn’t much connection between my goalsetting and what we did. The kids outpaced all my goals on reading and writing, but then, they probably would have regardless. We didn’t do any of the goals I had set in arts and music (although perhaps we would have done more had we not decided to change careers and locations a week after I set my goals for the year). In math, science, and history, we did about what I expected, probably because I simply projected what we were already doing. My character goals for them we worked at and made some progress, but not enough that I feel like we should move on to something else.
The only place where I think my goal setting made a lick of difference was in Spanish; I didn’t do what I had initially planned on, but I wouldn’t have kept trying to find something (and ultimately found something) had I not made it a goal.
Still, that’s pretty lousy returns on one years’ worth of goals. I’m not sure I feel setting some for this year is very worthwhile. For one thing, life is still a bit in flux, and part of me is unwilling to commit to a new line of study until we are settled in our own home and I can line all my resources up. (And that might happen this year, but then, it might be farther out–in which case, how long do I wait?)
There’s the matter of ages of the children, too. D1 is old enough and mature enough she could handle a real load of schoolwork, but I would have to have the energy to require it of her, which seems like a terrific waste of energy when she is learning as much or more following her own head. Might as well spend that energy on things like chores and attitudes.
D2 is rather advanced academically, but is still very much a four-year-old emotionally and physically and the more I look at him the more I realize he needs to be out playing and growing for a couple more years before he *has* to do anything.
The twins are just rising two and getting them to play without interrupting for fifteen minutes at a time is a heroic achievement, which leaves me with little energy for planning “real” school.
And DOB, who supplies most of the backbone in the family, is perfectly satisfied with what the children are learning, pleased to live in a state where nothing is required until 8 and little enough then, and delighted to watch them develop their own interests and work on their own projects.
In short, setting goals for the children’s learning just doesn’t seem like the thing to do right now. Perhaps instead what I should do is set goals on myself: things I want to have prepared, available, ready, for when and how they want to do it.