Process over Progress – making goals with kids in mind.

This year I want to do things with my kids a little more.

It’s not a new thing. In the past I’ve made goals like: “Do something with the kids everyday.” “Play more games.” “Teach them to read.” “Read to them every day.”

But these small goals always seem to go by the wayside after a while. Or they putter on in infamy, because reading aloud every day just doesn’t happen no matter the quality of the goal. It’s not because I haven’t tried or that the kids haven’t wanted to try it out. It’s deeper than that.

I’ve been thinking about these goals in a lickety-split, fix it quick kind of way. But that doesn’t work with kids. You can’t just force them to learn how to read. They might not want to play games at that one time a week you decided. Free moments get hi-jacked by needy toddlers. And sometimes people are just too cranky to stick to the plan. Including me.

I love goals, but doing any of them when the kids are being kids can seem impossible. I’ve had to change my thinking.

I don’t know if any of you choose words to help guide your focus for the new year, but my word this year is ‘process’. I want to consider the process when it comes to addressing things I want to accomplish or change in my life and in our family life. It steps me back from goals and helps me to focus on the how and why instead.

It reminds me to be softer. It leaves room for feelings, for bad days, for not making progress, for lightening the load in favor of connection. It reminds us the middle matters – not just the results, feelings matter – not just the words, and the way we get there matters more than how we get there or where we go necessarily.

It reminds me that we don’t have to succeed at whatever it is every day. We just have to show up in expectation or with that hope in mind. And show up when we can, considering all the people and hearts involved. Instead of simply saying I’m going to do this or that, I’m starting to think about how to shape our lives in that direction.

Less following directions and more embracing the art of all of us together in a family each with our own goals, needs, dreams, and struggles.

Right here, in my life, this idea has been important.


Here are some ways I’m thinking about home culture and unschooling journey in a process over progress kind of way:

  • Working with the puppy as a family activity. Our little October Christmas present has been so much fun for everyone. She’s also been a lot of work, but she pulls our family together a little more often.
  • Game Nights – because I like games, they like games, family connection is good, and and they gain skills reading, math, logic, teamwork, communication.
  • Hiking – getting all our bodies moving. I’d love to do a whole day hike or two this year instead of only shorter ones.
  • Schoolish things – we’re doing a few workbooks because it’s fun for them and I like knowing they’re learning some of the expected things.
  • Reading aloud – we’re on our third Little House book, and I’ve figured out that picture books are great, but chapter books are my jam. :)
  • Library classes – Last semester we really enjoyed some of the free classes at the library so we’ll have to look into that again.
  • Tentatively one fun adventure/outing a month – looking at the zoo, the discovery center, the new children’s museum, and those potential dayhikes.
  • I am excited to jump in this Big Life Journal for some growth mindset resources/talks/inspiration.
  • This, and lots of opportunities to explore new things with more free rein, lots of outdoor time, while building habits of connection.

Just a glimpse of how I’m trying to approach unschooling and homelife thoughtfully without getting bogged down in progress, schedules, goals, or perfection.

How could you use the idea of process over progress to build a little more freedom and wholeness into your life? Do you get stuck in your goals sometimes?


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