What’s on Your Homeschool Bucket List?

Since the movie, The Bucket List, it seems everyone has a bucket list for something. Merriam-Webster  defines ‘bucket list’ as “a list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying.” Do you have a homeschool bucket list?

We might tweak a homeschool bucket list to read:  “a list of things we want to accomplish before our children graduate”.  Our bucket list may be described as goals and may change early. Even if we don’t have a written list, we all have a fluid sense of what we want to accomplish tucked away in the crevices of our brain.

Here are some common homeschool bucket list items:

  • College admission
  • Above average skills in all subjects
  • Skills to make a reasoned argument
  • A love for learning
  • Life skills (budgeting, cooking, driving)
  • Well-rounded adult
  • High college entrance scores
  • Exotic field trips
  • Music, art, drama, or athletic achievements

“Oh no,” you say. “I want more than that for my kiddos. I want them to be good people, serve God, have good character, and be productive.” Do our actions back up our statement?

Quite frequently in my homeschool career, I said I wanted my children to leave our school as adults who serve God. I often said my bucket list (goals) was to raise godly adults.

The deep-down truth? My actions indicated I was really focusing most on the items in the bucket list above. Issues of character development ran a distant second to academic goals.

We need to be honest with ourselves about what we’re actually putting on our bucket list. It’s easy to get caught up chasing academic goals at the expense of our deepest desires for our children.

Support groups, the latest book, the ‘perfect’ homeschool family at the convention, or pressure from family and friends may make us alter our bucket list to only educational goals. It’s hard work to maintain the focus on our real heart’s desire for our children.

How do we match our actions to our heart?

To create a bucket list that includes love of God, service to others, honesty, patience, and all the other qualities we strive for, work through this activity:

  1. Create a homeschool bucket list including only character qualities you want your child to develop. These are not life-long objectives, so re-evaluate and update often.
  2. Make suitable-for-framing copy of your list, frame it, and hang it for all to see. What better way to match actions with ideas than to allow those ideas to be public?
  3. Explain the bucket list to your children. Ask what they would like to add. Ask them what area they need to work on. In other words, allow them to adopt the character bucket list as their own.
  4. As your children get older and move closer to graduation, encourage them to make their own life-long bucket list.

You may find you need to detox from academics for a while — especially if a child is floundering with character issues. If you find yourself slipping back to academic goals as a primary motivator, put the books away and engage in activities that build the qualities on your list. You can catch up on algebra or composition later, but can you catch up on character training?

Every now and then, you may have to review your personal bucket list. Not just to check off all the things you dream of doing but to be sure your list supports your mission regarding character training goals. It’s easy to get off track with what’s important because life is busy. So, re-evaluate and steady your course of action as needed.

My children have all graduated from our homeschool. Have they completed everything on the bucket list? No. Like all of us, they are still growing and maturing in the Lord. The ideas are implanted, and those seeds will grow as they become mature adults.

What’s on your homeschool bucket list? Even if your children are young, begin preparing the list of qualities God has put in your heart for your children. Homeschooling bucket lists are, after all, about far more than academics!


Here is a link to another great article on “Preparing Teenagers for Adulthood“.


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This article originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.