New Year’s Learning Resolutions: Making Goals with Your Child
At the start of every January, I come up with a few New Year’s resolutions to guide the coming year. For me it’s a great way to get focused and identify a few key areas of my life I’d like to work on improving.
With my kids, we do it a little differently and set New Year’s learning resolutions. We sit down and determine a few topics of interest they want to learn more about, or maybe pinpoint a particular skill they need to improve in order to advance.
In addition to setting new goals, we always make sure to reflect back on how last year’s resolutions were met. This is a great way for my kids to see the progress they’ve made, and it makes them proud to know they accomplished something that was important to them. Taking time to look over past writing projects and worksheets just to compare content or handwriting is a tangible way to reflect.
My kids have come up with all kinds of learning resolutions over the years, including these below, which you can use if you need some suggestions:
- Focus on the big picture. Stepping back every so often to remember why they are learning something is a great way to keep kids motivated. Taking time to talk about when they go to college or tech school and how current work will benefit this goal is a great way to create that big picture for a student.
- Communicate clearly. Whether they are facing a problem with schoolwork, at a job, with friends, or at home, one of the keys to overcoming it is clear communication. Modeling a practice conversation or verbally brainstorming a reflective response to the problem is a great skill that can help kids to develop better communication skills at any age.
- Problem solving. Whether it’s online education or traditional learning, kids benefit greatly by learning how to solve problems on their own. It’s a great way to encourage independent learning, and it’s so important for future success. You can help foster student problem solving just by listening to your student’s point of view. A simple “Wow, I’m not sure what I would do!” comment can be just enough to encourage students to begin solving their own problems.
- Choosing an area of interest. Part of loving learning is being able to find something you enjoy. As you are looking over past papers and projects, encourage your kids to identify a topic they really liked learning about during the past year. Then you can help them find different ways to pursue expanding their knowledge about it in the coming year.
- Determining a struggle subject and turning it into an achievement. Some subjects are more difficult for kids to learn, and those are the ones you want to encourage them to master. To be successful, collect as many different approaches to the topic as possible. Speak to your teacher, friends, and even other students to get ideas for an approach that you may not have used before.
- Reading, reading, reading. I absolutely love reading, so it’s important to me that my kids have the opportunity to develop an appreciation for it, too. We always choose a few books that are “must reads” for the coming year. You can even take advantage of your library audio book section and set aside 20-30 minutes for listening to a story while having a fun snack.
Use this New Year as an opportunity to help your kids grow both academically and personally. Let us know your family’s new learning resolutions (we could all use more ideas!).