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Setting Goals in an Unexpected School Year

As parents, we know this school year is going to be a different one. And if you’re like me, you might feel a tad overwhelmed at the thought of how you’re going to accomplish it all. Because of all this, you might be tempted to write this school year off, just trying to “get through” it and move on to the next one.

But we know that we set the tone for our family.

The last thing we want is for our kids to go into the school year with low expectations.

I know that this school year will be different. It will be tough. It will test us. But I also know that God is not surprised by it. He knew this would be a part of our journey. So, as their mom, I want to shepherd my kids into a school year that is full of hope and grace.

Goal Setting For Kids

This year, I decided to use a goal-setting tool published by the Rethink Group to help my kids get excited about the school year and set some goals.

The good news is: goal setting can be SO SIMPLE. I am not kidding! It took our family about 20 minutes or so to complete our goal sheet, and our family has already referred to it several times. Here’s what I’m saying:

I am not your “do all the things” mom. I have four kids of varying ages and very low expectations. So when I say that this was simple, what I want you to hear is:

YOU can do this!

Here are four steps to shepherd your kids into this school year:

1. Make it fun.

Add in a fun component to balance out the school-talk. My kids love my sugar cookies, so I whipped up a batch.  They were thrilled to sit down and ice sugar cookies while we talked through the school year. Not a baker? Add some Oreos to your next grocery order!

2. Tie the school year to a Bible verse for your family.

We read from the Bible together:

And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love him and have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

I asked:

Does this mean we’ll enjoy everything that happens this school year? (We all knew the answer was no.)

I pointed them to this truth:

If God promises he’s going to work in ALL THINGS this means even in a pandemic. ALL THINGS includes hybrid school, homeschool, online school and everything in between. God will use this year for his good.

3. Get out the goal sheet.

Academic Goals:

Each of us set an “academic” goal for the school year. For my teen this was a consistent wake up time. My elementary-aged child set a learning goal. And, for my preschooler, it was a goal to stay focused and pay attention. My husband and I even set our own academic goals!

Serving Goals:

We worked on this one together. We talked about who we wanted to serve and decided on the theme, “kids who need help.” This is intentionally broad in order to leave space to tailor the specific goals to each of our kids. Once you decide on a theme, think through three specific ways to live out your desire to care for this group. The goal template we used (linked below!) says to come up with specific time frames to accomplish these goals. We plan to work these specifics out in the coming weeks.

Fun Goals:

Do you know what gets kids excited? Setting goals to have fun as a family! I let my kids think of anything they wanted to do that was realistically able to be accomplished in the next year. It looks like we’ll be going to the pool, camping, and doing a jigsaw puzzle. This got the kids really excited. We are already planning to have fun this year. What could be better?

4. Wrap up your time.


I took some time to pray over our family. Asking that God would use this year to make us more like him as his image bearers. And that we would honor God with our actions this year. I used this as a time to submit our family to God’s will over our year, knowing it belongs to him anyway.

Make it Visible:

Put the goal sheet in a prominent place. We wrote them out on separate sheets of paper with fun colors. Then we taped them to the fridge. It serves as a great reminder for us throughout the day.

Don’t push your kids too hard: 

This is meant to be quick and fun. No need to prepare for days.  Once you get started, remember: these are their goals.  Your kids will be more excited about them if they create their goals themselves. You can help steer things in the right direction, but let them do the thinking.

Whether you meet all your goals or not, this is a great way to start a weird year. God will use us for his purpose and we can honor him, no matter what the school year looks like. May it be so!

Get the free goal-setting guide that I used with my family here:

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