Goal-Setting

On thing that many people worry about when they consider unschooling is getting things done. They worry that they (or their kids) won’t do concrete things, make progress or accomplish long term goals. I’m here to talk about why that isn’t true, and to give some tips for goal setting and reaching.

Why it’s not true that you (or your kids) won’t reach goals:

When given the time, anyone finds their passions. Some people in school can find them while they’re still in school but if not. If not, when you aren’t away at one place for 7 hours (or even away at 7 different places each day) you have time to explore. You’ll play around with things you are interested in, and one of them may turn into more than just a casual interest–it may turn into a real passion. I don’t mean to suggest that casual interests are bad, or that you can’t reach goals relating to casual interests (because that would be a ridiculous thing to suggest) I just know that sometimes passions are what really drive you to reach a goal. Once you has something they love to do, you want to push it as far as possible. You want to knit a full sweater when you learn to knit a scarf, or you want to write a novel when you write your first short story, you want to shoot a full length movie when you make a 30 second advertisement. Of course, not everyone who knits scarves cares to knit a sweater, or any of those other examples but the point is, when you really love you, that may be what you want to do. And once you have an idea, it can be hard to stop someone from reaching a goal they want to hit!

Tips for reaching goals:

  1. Make your goals specific–You want to know what your goals are. Rather than saying ‘I want to learn to program.’ Say ‘I want to learn enough C++ programming so that I can build a simple video game.’ It still gives you plenty of room to be creative later, but you are clear about what you want.
  2. Give yourself a time frame–the time frame can be whatever seems right for that goal but be sure you know when you want to accomplish it or you won’t get it done. Also, if your time frame is really long, break it into smaller sections of what you want to have done.
  3. Break you goal into pieces–If your goal is really big, and maybe less specific, break it into smaller parts so you can see what you need to do now.
  4. Make it into a habit–If your goal is to finish Geometry in Teaching Textbooks by January and you’ve broken it into how much you need to do every day, keep that commitment. It can be helpful to pick a certain time or reminder so you stay on track.
  5. Track your progress–Keep some sort of list so that you can see how far you are coming.
  6. Reassess periodically–If you aren’t sitting down and thinking about your goal, you may not notice when if changes. Maybe one month you thought you really wanted to finish Geometry, but now it isn’t as important. If that is really the case, it’s okay to stop striving for a goal, but to do that you need to sit down and really think about.

I hope that was helpful, let me know if I missed anything really important!

-Larkin

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