12 August 2013 09:00 AM

Twenty Ideas for Personal School Goals for a New School Year

by rbavaria

A few weeks ago we discussed the wisdom and practicality of helping our kids make some personal learning goals for the new school year .  When kids are focused, they’re on track.  With our help, they can improve their grades, their learning, and their confidence.

Two years ago I made forty suggestions  for parents to consider with their kids when they’re setting goals for the new school year.  Lots of you – parents and teachers alike – told me you liked those suggestions.  “Could you provide some more, Dr. Rick?” 

Well, here are twenty new ones.  I’ve written about them since I gave you the last list, so you can read my thoughts on any you like simply by clicking on the link.  Like the 2011 list, these run the gamut from pre-school to high school, and there are a few parent-centered goals thrown in, too, like checking to see if your child needs glasses  and not passing on your math anxiety to her.

1.     Strengthen math skills.  It’s a math-centric world. Having the right math skills  will make life easier and more successful in post-secondary learning and the workplace.

2.     Strengthen social studies skills.  You can’t understand today without understanding yesterday .  Good citizenship starts with a knowing something about history.

3.     Strengthen science skills.  Hand-in-hand with math skills in today’s tech-driven world, science skills will allow today’s kids to be tomorrow’s successes .

4.     Share with others.  Start early and develop helpful, caring adults .

5.      Volunteer occasionally.  Kids who volunteer from time to time learn about the values of teamwork, reliability, and punctuality .

6.      Behave in class.  Behaving well in class helps you learn better and lets others learn as well .

7.      Listen carefully.  It’s hard to be successful if you’re not listening to directions .

8.      Pay attention.  This is different from listening carefully, although the two are related .  Tuning out classroom distractions, and staying away from troublemakers, for example, help kids pay attention.

9.      Raise your hand, raise your grade.  Staying actively involved in classroom discussions, debates, and idea-sharing involves participation.  Raise your hand, raise your grade .

10.   Study responsibly for tests.  Kids need help with this.  Cramming at the last minute comes naturally.  Budgeting time for effective studying takes some skill .

11.   Be a good sport.  Especially relevant for kids who play on school sports teams .

12.  Stay energetic. Kids learn better when they expend a little energy on the recess playground.  It leaves them ready for more learning.  Stay active, learn better .

13.  Take occasional quiet times.  If we encourage our kids to be active, we also encourage them to take some quiet time once in a while, too.  They get a lot of stimulation all day, so some quiet time helps .

14.  Have good routines.  One of my favorite topics .   Kids need routines to feel safe, to know what comes next, and to know what we expect of them.

15.  Don’t be a tattle tale.  A good goal for the youngest learners, who somehow love to tell us adults every detail about another youngster’s misbehavior .

16.  Learn after school.  The school day’s too short.  No reason kids can’t learn after school, too .

17.  Be generous.  A good goal for older kids who are looking for community service activities or who want to be a contributing member of the community .

18.  Be curious.  Curiosity’s the heart of all learning.  Encourage your children to expand their curiosity in a particular class or field of interest .

19.  Be grateful.  Have a goal that focuses kids’ thoughts on the positive.  This can help with the whining and fussing we sometimes hear .

20.  Monotask, don’t multitask.  Kids can’t multitask.  There’s no such thing as giving 100% of your attention to more than one thing like studying.

Goals are personal, of course, so the best ones are individual for your kids.  Use these twenty suggestions to help you craft a couple that are just right for your family.  A+ report cards, here we come!


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