Setting School Year Goals at Lake Mary Prep for a New Year
August 05, 2019
Believe it or not, summer is coming to an end. While it may be sad to say goodbye to summer vacation, the next few weeks are the perfect opportunity to get your child (and yourself) prepared for the new school year. Starting a new school year can be filled with a variety of emotions: excitement, stress, hopefulness, nervousness, etc. By setting goals for the student in your family, you can keep bumps in the road to a minimum and create skills they can carry through the whole school year, not just the beginning.
Creating goals comes with many benefits that go beyond the classroom. Here at Lake Mary Prep, students quickly learn that setting and completing goals not only helps them finish items on their to-do list, they also get satisfaction in having a great work ethic. This helps them stay focused on their work in school and helps them achieve milestones inside and outside the classroom. So, where do you begin setting school year goals? Keep reading to find out.
Setting a Goal
Setting goals itself might seem as overwhelming as finishing one, but it doesn’t have to be. One of the best ways to begin is to reflect and ask yourself what or where a goal might benefit your child the most. In this case, think about the last school year—was your student prepared to be back at school? Were there any speed bumps, such as missing school supplies, chaotic schedules or lack of information? Or was there something they were struggling with during the semester? Answering these questions helps pinpoint what you and your child can improve on and how you can create realistic goals that everyone can reach.
You can also ask your child what they might want to accomplish before summer ends or in the next school year. Do they wish to learn something new, explore a new place or improve upon something? Having them be involved in the goal-making process makes it feel like they have some control over their accomplishments. Letting them set and achieve their own goals boosts confidence and prepares them with life skills they can use in and out of school.
How to Make Your Goals Challenging Yet Achievable
If a goal feels too daunting, we tend to put off getting started. On the other hand, if it seems too easy, it may end up on the backburner. Finding the perfect balance between challenging and achievable can seem like a goal in itself, but that’s exactly where you want to set your sights.
First, find ways that your goals can be included in your everyday schedule. For example, if your goal is to have your child read five books before school starts, set aside a time that is already free in their schedule and make that “reading time.” If there isn’t a set time you use, think of times where your child isn’t busy, such as car rides, lunch breaks, right before bed, etc.
Second, make sure your goals are realistic. It’s unrealistic to think that someone who has never ridden a bike would all of a sudden win the Tour de France, so it’s equally unrealistic to expect your child to achieve goals that are out of reach. One way to avoid being overwhelmed is to start small—if your goal is for your child to learn a new skill, introduce it to them in small and quick increments, then once they feel comfortable, introduce it in bigger and longer installments. Having these small stepping stones will let your child learn without it being overbearing and stressful and will also teach them time management skills.
Third, keep the journey to your goals interesting. Your child might feel bored if they have to do the same thing over to reach a goal. To avoid this, create “mini” goals within goals and reward your child when they achieve them, such as 10 more minutes of screen time or treating them to a fun activity. Make it simple enough where they’ll be able to meet these mini goals and be motivated to complete more. Keep your child engaged by discussing their goals with friends and family or writing down their experience. Having a support group cheering them on and reminding them how great it feels to be achieving a goal helps inspire them to finish it and allows you and your family to feel energized enough to tackle another goal.
A Few Ideas for Goal Setting
Need some goal ideas for back to school and beyond? Here are some that can help you throughout the year.
Get on a School Schedule
After a whole summer of fun and relaxation, it can be hard to adjust to an early school schedule overnight. Create a schedule for your family to follow a few weeks before the school year begins to help get used to that morning alarm.
Completing Reading Lists
Did your child receive a list of books they need to read before the new school year begins? Or simply want to help them move up a reading level? Check out our list of suggested authors and works designed for lower, middle, and high school levels and set designated reading times throughout the week so that your child can read without feeling overwhelmed. Talk to them about what they’re reading so that they can understand the material and find meaning in the text.
It can be daunting to walk into the first day of school and already feel behind. If your child feels like they are struggling with certain skills, such as math or test taking, set a goal to have them improve their skills through fun and educational activities. Reward and encourage them to increase their confidence and be willing to help them if they find something difficult.
Goals Are Just the Beginning
When goals are achieved, good things follow. Not only will your child (and you) improve your skills, you’ll also feel a sense of accomplishment that influences how you face challenges in the future. Creating and completing goals is a great way for you and your family to not only prepare for the new school year but to instill a work ethic that’ll help your child be successful in school and in life.