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    Simplicity: One Goal Per Person Per Year

    July 27, 2011 by Brandy Vencel

    Since the name of the game here is Afterthoughts, it ought to go without saying that the ideas presented here are not my own. Today, I want to give special credit to Hannah Ploegstra, the amazing brain behind The Disciple Curriculum. I have been privileged to sit and listen to Hannah’s talk Ah, Simplicity! twice now. Once, at a Winter Encouragement Seminar in Visalia, and then again at the Bakersfield Home Education Conference.

    One of the ideas I gleaned from Hannah’s talk was to have one goal per person in our family for each academic year. It was this goal which would determine our “success” for the year. The example Hannah gave in her speech was that one year their goal for one daughter was that she would learn to love math. They did all sorts of things to help their daughter fall in love with one of the seven liberal arts! Can you say brilliant?

    I think I latched on to this idea because it revealed an ability to be single-minded. It’s not that we throw out everything but the goal, but rather we allow the goal to give focus to our family educational project. If we have extra time, money, or other resources, we know where to put it.

    Daughter A. was my easiest one to plan a goal for. {Actually, I couldn’t help it: I planned two goals.} I chose the ability to narrate as her goal, for narration is the cornerstone of a Charlotte Mason education. If, by the end of the year, she can listen to a whole story and narrate it well, I will have succeeded in meeting this goal. Our secondary goal is to see her continue to progress in her reading. This is an underlying goal for all of our children until they are strong, solid readers.

    I even planned a goal for myself: regular nature study. I always start off well, but then the holidays come, and then I am sick from January to March, and suddenly we have no nature study habit. This year I really want to stick with it all the way through, and I’ve found a new friend to have “nature dates” with {I hope this really works out} and I think that will help. A little accountability goes a long way.

    I now have a nice little list of names {yes, even the toddler is on it}, with a single goal next to each one. I hope to see my children grow in all sorts of ways this year, but I will use this list to determine “success” at the year’s end.

    What are your goals for this upcoming year of learning?

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  • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts July 29, 2011 at 3:24 am

    I don’t blame you for choosing one goal for various areas. I was very tempted to do the same! This year, though, I think the discipline of focusing on a single goal will be good for me, especially with my Y1 student because I know I’ll see multiple areas that I want to work with her in and if I’m not careful I’ll overdo it.

  • Reply Mystie July 27, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    Yes, before buying books, I came up with one goal for each of the children and myself in several key areas: knowledge, language, thinking, skills, and habits. It was a way to cheat the one goal limit. 🙂 But, I felt that it helped cover the whole person rather than just “school,” and I try to start from the big picture, whole person look, and I think that everything we’re doing then, in one way or another, can be seen in light of one of the goals. I wrote about ours here:

    Now the trick will just be remembering them in the thick of the days. 🙂

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