I have used charts, checklists and graphs over the years to track progress for real-world goals. What’s a real-world goal and why is it important? And how can we chart progress toward meeting our goal?
What is the standard for the subject and grade level?
A real-world goal starts with discovering age-appropriate goals for all children. You can find lists of goals by grade level at any of these websites. Remember, grade-level standards are a suggested list of steps. You know your child and how they learn so the suggested sequence may need to be changed to meet your child’s needs. For example, a universal standard in most countries is that children should know their multiplication facts by the end of third grade.
Is this set of steps or end-goal appropriate for my child?
If they are realistic, then use the steps listed in the standards guide for your state/province. A child should have learned how to skip count these in 2nd grade. This sets them up for success in third grade to master multiplication.
If they are not realistic, then ask yourself:
- How much of this goal can is realistic and will challenge but not frustrate my child?
- Are there steps that they can do? If so, what are they?
- Are there steps they cannot do? What are they?
You can print out the entire list sequence for a particular grade or subject and mark or underline it with green for good and red for hard rather than rewriting it.
Can it be made applicable to the real world?
Can you tell your child how they will use this as they grow older or become an adult? Sometimes this is easy. Balancing a bank account, measuring ingredients, or building a project are real-world skills. Other times the real-world application is that it teaches a life lesson like perseverance. Practice makes perfect is more important than the end goal because it gets you to the end goal.
It is always wise, especially with kids who struggle, to consider what they will do with this skill in real life. Take multiplication facts, for example. If it looks like they might enjoy construction or engineering, they’re not going to be writing them out as much as they will be reciting them as they are figuring out how to measure lengths for a job. It is good to start with reciting them orally and also writing them down. Both of these skills take the concept of memorizing to a whole new level when spoken and written.
Learning a new skill that they find challenging and encouraging them that their choice to persevere is more important than getting 100%. Every time they persevere, they build not only brain muscle but also emotional, social, and spiritual muscle.
“Practice makes perfect is more important than the end goal because it gets you to the end goal.“
What can we see and measure for this goal?
In the education world, we talk about observable and measurable. This means you can see that your child can demonstrate their skill or knowledge. This can be measured on a test, a quiz, or some other form of assessment. Assessment can simply be a worksheet, quiz, test, report, activity, or project that lets you know your child can do what you want them to do independently.
We can write our goal:
Student Sally will recite all the multiplication facts from 1 to 10 by the end of the school year.
Typically the easiest ones to memorize after multiplying by one are twos, fives, and tens. So we might set up our benchmarks like this chart below.
|By the end of the first nine weeks, my child will be able to recite all of the multiplication facts for 2, 5, and 10.
|By the end of the second nine weeks, my child will be able to recite all of the multiplication facts for 3, 4, and 6.
|By the end of the third nine weeks, my child will be able to recite the multiplication facts for 7, 8, and 9 with 100% accuracy.
Modifying the goal or objectives to match your child’s ability
I used the measure of all of the multiplication facts, which would be 100%. If your child struggles with memorizing things, you need to consider setting the bar lower to be more realistic. You may decide you will be happy if they can do 80% or 8 out of 10 facts. Or they may be successful based on their skills if they can learn 2, 5, and 10’s.
Another change could be, instead of reciting the facts, write them out. Or, have them point to a number on a chart to show that they know that fact.
Listing the goals and checking them off on a chart like this is one way to track goals and show your child what they have accomplished. For more examples and how to use them go here.