Executive Function Skills, Setting a Big Audacious Goal, and How to Help Your Kids’ Successfully Plan their Year
School success depends on executive function. Executive function is all about planning, organizing, strategizing, paying attention to, and remembering details. In order to succeed, you do need to be somewhat organized. You need to pay attention to what is going on. And, you also need to remember details. That being said, many of us have heard the adage If You Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail. This statement is credited to Benjamin Franklin. Think about that. If you fail to plan, many things don’t get done. Often you end up failing to do as well as you could have.
One way to plan for a successful year is to sit down with your kids and make a plan. Start off by letting your child know that you do remember some wins and some struggles last year. Remind them they are a bit older now and that their brain has had time to make more connections, so learning will be a bit easier this year.
A great way to start the school year off is to frame the year by setting some over-arching goals. These initial goals will be the foundation for your kids’ school year and will have something that they can work towards throughout. They can have school directed goals and more personal goals, but try to have at least one of each.
Big Audacious Goal Planning
What is a big audacious goal? It is a goal that is bold and might put you out of your comfort zone. It is a goal that is attainable. This could be something from giving a presentation on a topic your child may know something or nothing about to their classroom or other groups. It might be for them to learn how to play a song with an instrument. It might be to learn how to cook a favorite meal and to prepare dinner for family and friends.
The goal will depend on the child. If they already excel at something they want to focus even more this year, the audacious goal would be to push their talents even further than what they might think is currently attainable. The goal might be an idea that has been burrowing in the back of their mind for some time. Help brainstorm ideas and even come up with an audacious goal of your own this year. Shoot for the stars and land on the clouds.
It is often impossible for someone to accomplish a life long goal overnight or even sometimes in a year, but you can plan out certain steps or milestones that will make progress towards a larger goal. Instead of your child writing down that they want to become an engineer by the end of the year, have them set their immediate goal to something more attainable. Possibly have their audacious goal to be about to learn about the construction of sustainable buildings and to make a presentation to family and friends on the topic.
Write Your Goals Down
When you write your goals down, they become real. This process helps you figure out what it is that you really want. Your goals can be completely different from someone else. This sort of planning helps start the wheels in your mind moving and to have something to work towards.
The research from Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University of California, shows that the actual process of writing goals down can help improve your chance of accomplishing your goals by 33%.
Write Down the Steps You Need to Do to Accomplish Your Goal
It is one thing to just put a big goal out there and then to have no thoughts about how you can actually make it happen. For the goal of making a presentation on sustainable building designs, they could write down that they will read books and articles on the topic, watch YouTube tutorial videos from engineers, research what buildings near where they live are sustainable, try to contact engineers of different firms that construct the buildings to see if they could get a tour of their studio, as well as document their research along the way. Depending on grade level, this can be as simple or as complex as you want.
Download FREE Goal Planning Worksheet
We put together a school year goal planning worksheet to make the whole process of planning a little bit easier. We start off with a big audacious goal, move on to another goal that your child needs to accomplish (but might not be something that they are the most excited about), and we wrap up with one goal that they’d like to do if there is time to do it. Download the goal planning worksheet and share it with your friends.
More Graphic Organizers and Planning Worksheets
A consistent step in actualizing goals is to fill out a calendar with different dates that your kids want to accomplish certain milestones with. Bonnie Terry Learning’s Graphic Organizer Handbook is loaded with planning calendars and other great organizers. The book contains over 50 graphic organizers including:
- Goal Planning
- Priority Planning
- To-Do Lists
- Daily Planning
- Weekly Planning
- Monthly Planning
- Textbook Note-Taking
- Story Note-Taking
- 5 ‘W’ Form
- Hamburger Paragraph
- Formal Essay Outline
- Book Reports
- Sentence Building
- Paragraph Organizer
- Essay Organizers
- Formal Essay Outline
- Compare and Contrast
- Cause and Effect
- Study Guides
- Study Tips
- Test-Taking Tips
- Note-Taking Tips
- Paragraph Writing Tips
Coming Soon: After-School Reading Program
Woohoo! For those who were not able to join our Summer Reading Program this summer, we are offering an After-School Reading Program that you can do with your kids at home to boost their reading skills. We work on foundational reading skills, from training your eyes to move more efficiently to learning how to read for meaning. Are you interested? Send us a note to let us know. The program is for kids who are looking for a boost to their skills whether they are at grade level, above grade level, or below grade level. We work on skills to make learning easier and more efficient.
Who is Scholar Within?
Scholar Within was founded by learning expert Bonnie Terry, M. Ed., BCET. Bonnie began designing and developing her own custom educational tools when she started her private learning center in the 1990s. Teachers kept asking what she was using with the kids who saw her because of the dramatic improvements that the kids made in school. From there, Bonnie decided to make her materials available to teachers and families worldwide.
Now, Bonnie Terry has turned her materials into a full-service online program that you can follow step-by-step at home, on your schedule. School alone is not enough anymore. Bonnie’s programs boost your kid’s overall learning skills by focusing on improving the auditory, visual, and tactile processing areas of your brain to make it work more efficiently.
Learn more about Scholar Within.