A Parent’s Guide to SMART Education Goals

Rohan Mathew

As a parent, you want a couple of things for your kid. Primarily, you want them to be happy – to move through the world with self-confidence, humility and joy. 

You also want them to be smart – to possess the tools necessary to think critically about their actions and decisions, and the basic education to further their academic and professional careers. 

It’s hard to systematize the former. Setting your kids up for a life of happiness mostly involves being a present, sympathetic role model. 

The latter, on the other hand, is a different story. You can absolutely put a system in place to help your kid achieve their educational goals. In this article, let’s explore SMART goals – a system devised by business managers that can help you help with your kid’s education. 

What Are SMART Goals? 

First appearing in a 1981 issue of Business Management magazine, SMART goals were initially intended for the business world. A man named George T. Doran devised them to help managers define and achieve work objectives. 

But the ideas contained in this simple mnemonic device proved too universal to simply stay put in the business world. Before long, education experts took notice too. The SMART method for creating education goals are as follows: 

  • Specific: Look for specific areas that need improving.
  • Measurable: Quantify, measure and suggest an indicator of progress. For students, a progress indicator might be ‘reading a chapter of a textbook,’ ‘demonstrating understanding of a certain topic’ or ‘completing a component of a project.’ 
  • Achievable: This step involves revisiting goals to ensure that they are achievable. If your kid’s goal is to, say, ‘get an A-plus in advanced physics,’ they may be setting themselves up for disappointment. It’s better to focus on small, achievable goals that may lead to that outcome. 
  • Relevant: Your kid’s motivation to achieve a goal is directly related to its relevance in their life. Make sure the goal matters to them. 
  • Timely: Work out a timeline for the achievement of these goals and sub-goals. If your kid’s primary goal is to get 1300 on their SATs, and their sub-goals involve improving various writing, math and language skills, plot a complete roadmap, with the end date being their SAT date. 

Goal-setting is an essential component of education. It helps students target areas for improvement, define their wishes, form a personal attachment to their education and practice time management skills in the process! If they attend an online high school like OES then SMART goals are also a great way of structuring their approach to coursework. 

As a Parent, How Can You Help? 

To start, you can introduce them to the SMART goal system. In clear terms, explain what it means to devise measurable, achievable goals. 

Next, take an interest in what matters to them academically. If they aspire to be a veterinarian one day, help them plot a roadmap for success in their biology class. If they are new to English and want to become fluent one day, chart a system of goals that includes learning new words each day. Understanding what they want can help you collaborate with them on goal-setting. 

Finally, check in on your learner from time to time. You remember what it was like being young. The world is full of distractions and pressures. Revisit their goals with them, review their progress and give constructive advice for staying the course.