Taking Time to Process

Remember how I was refocusing my homeschooling efforts by figuring out the needs of myself and my children? (If you don’t, you can get up to speed by reading my previous posts on the subject–Part 1 and Part 2.)

I’m sure amid all your holiday rush, the burning question in your mind is how all of that is going for me.

Well . . . I’m ready to put down the wrapping paper to give you an update.

As a refresher, here’s the three questions I’ve been working on:

  1. What are the needs?
  2. What are the goals to accomplish those needs?
  3. What are the outcomes (how will I know when I’ve accomplished those goals)?

Last time, I listed some of the needs that I felt that our family had. After contemplating that list for quite awhile, I came up with a list of process goals that I felt would help me address those needs.

This was not an easy task. It required heavy brain lifting–which my brain does not always want to engage in.

In some cases, I didn’t really know how to address the need. In other cases, I realized that I didn’t really want to do what I needed to do in order to address the need. (Insert moment of guilt here.)

Fortunately, this wasn’t always the case.

Since my goal list is personalized to me and my family’s needs, I won’t bore you with all of the details. But I wanted to share some of the process goals that I came up with so that you could see how the process works.

Whoa! Stop right there! At this point, you might be asking yourself–what the heck is a “process goal”?

Good question. Let’s take a moment and talk about that.

There are two kinds of goals–outcome goals and process goals. Outcome goals are “big picture” goals. They’re what you want to accomplish when you’ve reached the end of whatever journey you’re on. Process goals are the little markers you pass as you travel along. They are concrete and specific, and you can measure their outcome.

One of my personal outcome goals is to raise healthy, happy adults. A process goal that I have to accomplish that larger outcome goal is to teach my children to work hard by requiring them to help with daily housework. (See how I may or may not be able to measure how healthy or happy my kids are as adults, but it is very easy to measure whether or not the bathroom was cleaned and the floor was vacuumed!)

Remember, the more specific and measurable your process goals are, the greater the likelihood that you will accomplish them. (You can visit this site to learn more about outcome and process goals or just do a Google search.)

So–without further ado–here’s a sampling of two of my process goals.

Goal 1–Record What We Do Each Day

I’m a terrible record keeper. I don’t have a regular journal. The closest I get is my massive running to-do list. But I realized that if I started recording what we did each day for “learning,” I would address several needs and as a result I would accomplish the following:

  • I would feel more successful.
  • I would see how much we actually do accomplish on any given day.
  • I would make sure that I gave at least some focused time to each of my children.

I started keeping a daily record about four weeks ago. It has turned out to be a marvelous experience. I even created a form (surprise, surprise!) to help me keep track. (Click here to see the form and download a copy for yourself.)

Goal 2–Review my Skills Classes At Least Every Two Weeks

I tend to be very good at coming up with ideas and very bad at maintaining them. My skills classes, which I first wrote about several months ago, are a great example of this. Every time I take a few moments to review these classes, I’m re-inspired to teach my children all sorts of things. But . . . that only happens when I actually take them time to review them. I figure that as I do this, I should be able to accomplish at least the following:

  • I will be reminded of the basic skills that I need to teach my children.
  • I will create opportunities for rich learning experiences across different subjects that will include problem solving, independent learning, etc.

Will everything go according to plan? Of course not.

But at least I now have some goals to mark my progress. And it seems, based on how it’s been going the last little while, that will make quite the difference.

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