Happy January! This is when we technically start our school year. We do year-round, so January-December makes more sense (and planners with my standards are much easier to find). Despite it being a new year, I’m not a big fan of new year’s resolutions. I am, however, a stay at home-primary caregivin’- special needs- smart as fuck goal writin’- homeschoolin’ mom and this is when I write up our quarterly goals. What a great time to share with you, how to be SMART AF when setting goals with your kids.
If I had a dollar for every person who’s asked me if Liam has an IEP or been evaluated for an IEP, I’d have too much fun at Target. Because I homeschool and don’t use public education services, Liam doesn’t use an IEP. Even so, as special needs homeschoolers having goals and grindin’ until you get it is imperative. Although I reference applying my SMART AF method to special needs homeschooling, this method is evergreen and can be used for absolutely anything and anyone.
New Year, New Goals, Who ‘Dis?
I always have a shit ton of goals for myself and Liam. Sometimes it takes a minute to unscramble them- dissect them to figure out which ones to focus on and how to move forward. If you’re like this too, I suggest you begin by deciding between specifically homeschool- therapy goals or the areas of wellness. You can do both or even come up with your own formula. You do you, sister.
If you’re only doing homeschool goals, you can goal set for each subject. Therapy goals can be shared with a therapist if your child has one. You can also choose to exclusively focus on areas of wellness that integrate into homeschool or therapy. If you’re unfamiliar, the 7 areas of wellness include physical, emotional/mental, social, occupational, intellectual, spiritual, and environmental wellness. Whichever formula you decide, if you’re making goals for your kid, I encourage you to include yourself too.
having goals and grindin’ until you get there is imperative
Setting SMART AF Goals
Goal setting with kids is illuminating, to say the least. Now that Liam is vocal and has an expansive vocabulary, it’s exciting hanging on to his every word. Wondering what emphatically ridiculous thing he’ll say next. We like the thrill of trying to make the ridiculous work.
So let me describe SMART AF goals and how you can be smart AF keeping them and being supportive by asking yourself – Am I …? How to be SMART AF when setting goals for yourself or with your kids- be Specific, Motivating, Accountable, Realistic, Timely, Adaptable, Forgiving. You can write your goals in a planner, journal, notebook- you do you, sister.
Goals should one very exact thing. For example: Instead of your child learning to read, write, and recognize the alphabet- learn to read, write, and recognize a few letters. I find it easier to skip ahead to realistic and consider specific and realistic at the same time.
The goal should be provoking. If you’re making goals for your child, having conversations about the importance of achieving the goal. Explaining the things they’ll be capable of after achievement. Eye on the prize sorta speak.
Use a method that is easily accounted for. Maybe it’s a sticker tracker, a journal, testing/evaluations – any method that helps identify progress or problems.
I think this is the most important thing to be mindful of when setting goals. If the goal is your child learns to read, write, and recognize the alphabet (even in a timely manner) but they have dyspraxia and cannot hold a pencil, SPD and can’t apply the appropriate pressure while writing, apraxia and are non-vocal – Well, then your goals are wrong. The goal should be challenging but also within abilities and won’t destroy self-confidence.
The easiest way to overwhelm yourself is to overextend goals. If you’re making yearly goals, you’re likely struggling to come up with efficient ways to measure progress and accountability or you’re not tracking progress at all. Ultimately, setting up for failure and making way for self-doubt. Instead, split goals in quarters. (If you don’t homeschool all year round or at all, your goals can focus on something else such as the areas of wellness). Three months is long enough to achieve something substantial and short enough to stay focused. The finish line isn’t so damn far away.
I’ve said this before- flexibility is one of the wonderful things about homeschooling. Setting goals you can tweak when you realize maybe they weren’t specific or realistic enough to achieve in a timely manner. I don’t mean scrapping the entire goal, just revising.
In your goal mining adventures, forgiveness is most important. Forgive yourself when you set unrealistic goals. Forgive yourself when you need to adapt to your realizations. Forgive yourself when shit happens and focus is lost and you need to have the same goals as the previous quarter. Forgive your child when they are overwhelmed and just not havin’ today. Forgive your child when they exclaim this is dumb, I’m dumb, and I can’t! Go easy, this shit’s hard and the truth is- not everybody could do what you or your kid is doin’.
Not only is this my method for goal setting it’s also how I support myself and Liam while reaching them. I ask-
Am I being specific with what I’m asking of myself or Liam? Am I motivating myself or Liam in a way in which elicits a positive response? Am I being accountable for outcomes? Am I being realistic with what I want out of myself or Liam at this moment? Am I allocating the time we need for this one thing, right now? Am I adapting to our needs and shifts in our days? Am I forgiving to myself or Liam for rough moments?
Happy New Year
Now you know my method for setting goals for myself and Liam and you can get started setting SMART AF goals with your kids and growing together. In the spirit of the new year, I hope it brings you abundant health and happiness. I’d love your feedback on this post, let me know if this helped you. If you found it helpful, share it with your tribe. xx GloWhat a great time to set SMART AF goals. A quick guide to setting goals for yourself and kids and achieving them. Click To Tweet
P.S. Here’s Why I Love Homeschooling and an older post peeking at mine and Liam’s holiday tradition of recognizing achievements.