Some Basic Learning Goals

This is post #7 in the series “How to Be a Great Parent-Tutor.”

Some basic learning goals:

When you are deciding if you’ll tutor your own child, or hire a tutor, one of the best things you can do is make a list of goals, keeping in mind the particular needs of the learner(s), and your own beliefs about learning. Here are some possible goals to consider (your goals should reflect your own situation):

  • Basic literacy skills: bring basic reading, writing, and arithmetic skills up to at least minimum average grade level (or a level suited to the individual child)
  • Develop a love of learning, enthusiasm, and good work ethic.
  • Real-life activities: Help the children see how “school learning” is useful in real life by doing as much home teaching as possible in the context of real life situations; “Whenever possible, literacy activities should be real-life activities.”
  • Develop research and study skills to the point that each child can become a self-motivated, self-directed, independent life-long learner.
  • Understand that learning lists of “facts” have little value if those facts are not clearly related to important ideas.
  • Develop parental awareness of community and educational personnel and resources available, and how to access and profitably use those resources (For older children, make this a goal for them to develop for themselves). Look widely – mentors, clubs, non-school courses, jobs, etc., in the community and even beyond.
  • Understand that all of life involves active, on-going learning that involves our whole lives in an integrated way.
  • “Give your child a single valuable idea, and you have done more for his education than if you laid upon his mind the burden of bushels of information.” – Charlotte Mason
  • Help the children learn to pursue their interests until they become passions which will call forth their creativity and ingenuity. “Advance from taking a subject to being taken up in it.” – Northrup Frye
  • Understand that anything worth doing is worth doing well, to the best of one’s abilities, and to honour the Creator. “Aim for quickness of apprehension and expectation – expect good work.” – Charlotte Mason
  • Help the children develop positive character qualities (list those you want each child to develop).
  • Help the children develop a wide base of information about the world they live in, as must as possible in real-life learning situations (immersion in nature, involvement in work and service in the home and in the community, interaction with people of all ages, races, occupations, etc.).
  • Aim that your children will not only “remember” what they have learned, but will “understand” – development of higher level, critical thinking abilities.
  • Help your children develop powers of attention, discrimination, patient pursuit, and classification – the skills of a naturalist – through the use of hands-on, outdoors observation and study.  “Allow quiet growing time, out-of-doors, with space to wonder and grow.” – C. Mason
  • Help children come to love good writing through exposure to classic literature.  “Use real books, written with literary power, rather than textbooks.” – C. Mason
  • Help your child develop an appreciation for the wonder and beauty of creativity through exposure to the arts (from real artists, drama, band, etc.).
  • Develop strong and healthy bodies, so that health and fitness will become a life-long habit.
  • Avoid unhealthy competition over letter grades, marks, etc.
  • Remember: “Tell me and I may forget; Show me and I will remember; Let me do and I will understand.”
  • Find home-learning tasks for the children that provide practice of “educational skills” while at the same time sustaining their personal interest.
  • Be patient; find something each child is really interested in, then help them explore their interest from every angle possible.  “. . . immersion is required in a discipline before you produce anything of great novelty.” — R.W. Weisberg
  • “The gift that is in your power to give them is an awareness that whatever they need to know can be learned, and a sense that life only becomes more enjoyable as we learn more and more about the world around us.”
  • Keep in mind: “Because of their very broadly-based nature, schools are largely products of compromise.” – Wendy Priesnitz.  So it is up to ourselves as parents to understand our children and their characters, personalities, learning styles, learning differences, etc., and to come up with specific learning goals and methods that can be used outside of school (and suggested to their school learning team, if applicable) to best help them as individual learners and persons.
  • Remember: “And so it must always be the first and central task of any teacher [or parent!] to help the student become independent of him [and of “educational systems”], to learn to be his own teacher.”  — John Holt

Questions and Responses: Which of these learning goals would work well with your children and your family? Do you have other goals that you use to encourage life-long learning and educational skills in your family? Please share your thoughts in the comments. Thank you!

Here is a list of the other topics in this series:

  1. Why children need parent-tutors
  2. Important activities parent-tutors can do well
  3. Building a Good Parent-Tutor and Child Relationship
  4. Learning Styles, Intelligences, and Behaviours
  5. Developing Individualised Tutoring–Tips for Parents
  6. Monitoring Your Child’s Progress
  7. Some Basic Learning Goals
  8. Home Tutoring Resources
  9. Suggestions for a Tutoring Session at Home
  10. Specific Suggestions for Primary Grades
  11. Specific Considerations for Intermediate Grades
  12. When to Consider Hiring a Tutor
  13. Costs of Tutors and Alternatives
  14. All Kinds of Learning Activities


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