Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Get SMART

Where we do our goal-setting. The partner desk helps ensure I'm paying attention as well as the kids!

Our friend, Jim Hamilton, jokingly refers to SMART as "Saving Marriages and Reducing Tears." The more accepted terms though for this goal setting mnemonic are Specific, Measurable, Action-based, Realistic, and Time-based or Trackable. This type of goal setting can be used in both home education and a home business.

Begin at the end to determine what it is you want to achieve. Though I had done this for my business quite often, I had never made goals for my soon-to-be homeschooled child. Along with considering our family's priorities in homeschool we also needed to take a look at what was required in our state (HSLDA is a great source for this).

An example from one of our SMART goals: In all of the required subjects I want Maxim to acquire the habit of attention. To do this in a Charlotte Mason education lessons are kept short - about 15 minutes per lesson in the beginning years then lengthened to about 30-45 when he is older. The curriculum is generous and we alternate those that are more intense (ie Math) with those that may be physical (Handicraft). When I read from a "living book" or one that makes the subject come alive rather than just gives dry facts, Maxim knows he will hear the reading only once before he is to narrate. I may ask Max to tell back either orally, in a drawing, or even using Legos, what he just heard.

Using narration ensures a thoughtfulness on the child's part in determining how to present the information. This is a great way to evaluate what the child knows and it's equally exciting to see what impressions and opinions are formed as they become part of the narration.

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