Middle School Goal Setting

by Jimmie Lanley on April 15, 2011

I’m looking towards wrapping up sixth grade. With weekly planner pages and yearly calendars in front of me, I sketched out some direction for the next few months so that we can take all of July off. Of course, those plans are in pencil. But I always feel more prepared to have plans rather than wing it day to day.

middle school goals (2)

I am constantly amazed at how easily I can lose sight of my big homeschool goals in planning the day to day lessons. When I look at my goals for Sprite’s middle school years, I realize how much time I have her spend on things that really don’t directly relate to these goals. They may be wonderful learning activities, but they are not necessarily working to get us where I know she needs to be by the end of eighth grade.

Knowing that middle school is preparation for high school which is preparation for college, here are what I want Sprite to master during her middle school years:

  • note taking
  • using reference tools
  • paragraph and essay writing
  • report writing (research)
  • basic literary analysis with elements of fiction
  • developing algebraic thinking
  • learning independently– learning from reading texts silently alone or from doing activities and experiments; managing time and meeting deadlines
  • developing character and spiritual maturity
  • identifying personal passions and strengths

Now my job is to keep those goals at the front of my mind each week as I select her assignments and each day as we carry them out. To help me, I’ve printed these goals and added them to my mom notebook. I will probably revisit and edit these goals in the next two years. But they are going to serve as a rudder for me as I wrap up sixth grade and make choices for seventh.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Our Homeschool Fun April 15, 2011 at 7:42 am

We have pretty much the same goals for our two middle school girls! My daughter is also a rising 7th grader, and preparing her for high school is definitely heavy on my mind.

Thanks for sharing. I really enjoy reading and learning from others when it comes to my daughter, it is often difficult to find a network for older homeschooled children.

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lee April 15, 2011 at 7:50 am

I have a middle schooler this coming school year…

Have I told you how happy I am you self host your blogs? Our govt has blocked all of blogger/blogspot. So many places I don’t visit anymore. But I’m happy I can visit you here, and I got your new blog linked on mine now too :)

So what are your plans for your month off? Is your goal to do nothing or to fill it with things you can’t do while trying to do school?

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Jimmie April 16, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Lee, I totally understand about Blogger (and other sites) being blocked. (Been there, done that.) I am so glad that you can access my blog.
Month off? Well, the future is always tenuous, but probably camps and summer trips for Sprite. Maybe I can do some fun things like sewing.

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Julie April 15, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Jimmie, we aren’t close to middle school yet, but what do you do or use to outline these goals? I’ve really never made any goals yet. Our oldest is finishing up 2nd grade. I guess this goal is to have them do more notebook pages and writing sentences, although we have a writing curriculum.

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Jimmie April 16, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Julie, do you mean what do I use to achieve these goals? I wrote the goals down so that as I plan weekly lessons, I can make sure that I’m creating assignments that actually work towards these goals. It’s too easy to get busy with thing (interesting, worthy things) that do not truly work towards the goals that are most important to me.

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Samantha April 15, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Jimmie,

Hello! Amber is finishing 8th grade and Mason starts 7th next fall. I think it is a wonderful idea to set big goals for the middle school years with an eye towards high school and college. Here are a few suggestions (I hope you want them!) – if I could turn back time I would mainly change three things –
1. I would have started using a textbook science curriculum with Amber earlier. She is finishing Apologia Biology now and while a wonderful experience, I think it would not have been such a big transition if she was used to textbook science. Both my boys will be doing Apologia General Science and Physical Science.

2. I would get Amber reading classic books as soon as possible. While she read some in 7th grade, there are definitely some easier classics on those “must read” lists that she could have tackled in 7th grade. The more classic books we read, the more both of us see how they are referenced in other literature. We also see a difference in our vocabulary.

3. I would not have done unit studies in history and science during her 7th grade year. I would have spent a year on world geography instead. Now, we have four years left and I’m not sure we can fit in a full year of geography.

I used to feel like I had all of the time in the world. Having only 4 more years with my daughter at home has made me re-think some of the choices I made along the way. Of course, she is doing just fine (better than fine) but I wish I had had a better perspective on the BIG picture from the beginning.

I love homeschooling as my children get older. It just keeps getting better and better.

Samantha

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Jimmie April 16, 2011 at 6:30 pm

I really appreciate your advice and insights, Samantha! Thanks for sharing. I’m still not ready to shift to textbook science. I am holding out until the last possible moment. But I think you are right on the reading. This is something I should pursue.

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Kari August 26, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Love, love, love, when people write, “If I could do over” letters for those yet to go through. I learn SO much! Thanks!

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Amy @ Hope Is the Word April 15, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Jimmie,

What do you use as guidelines in your goal setting? We’re homeschooling classically, so I use The Well-Trained Mind, mainly, but I’m just curious how you come up with your goals.

Thanks!

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Jimmie April 16, 2011 at 6:28 pm

Great question, Amy. I didn’t get these goals from anywhere other than my own sense of what it takes to be prepared for the next steps and what I feel is important. (I did teach 8th grade language arts for 7 years, so I feel I have a good grasp of middle school expectations.)

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Ellen April 19, 2011 at 8:04 pm

These are good goals – I wish I had had my son learn note taking before this year (when he was thrown into note taking for a co-op class). It was a difficult but worthwhile skill to learn (and still learning).

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Jimmie April 22, 2011 at 7:47 pm

My child is just finishing up fifth grade and I appreciate the reminder that middle school is just the stepping stone to the ultimate goal. While we do lots of educational things, I can see where we might need to pull that focus in and concentrate on the things that will take us to the next step. Thanks for the reminder!
Linda
Helping my reluctant writer gain confidence, one writing assignment at a time!

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Fiona Oosthuizen August 23, 2011 at 4:54 am

I love reading your blogs and looking through your lenses . Thank you for putting such great resources together for other homeschoolers to look through .
A little about me homeschooling mom from Zimbabwe -Africa . We go through very stressful times with land issues -and I am so glad I found your site and lenses as they give me perspective and get me excited again about going in to the school room . Thank you Jimmie

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