What’s Your Homeschool Bucket List?

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Since the 2007 movie The Bucket List, it seems everyone has a bucket list for something. A bucket list is defined by Merriam-Webster ( as “a list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying.” Many of these lists are life lists, work lists, or self-improving lists. Recently, I crossed off an item from my list when I strolled the stacks at the Library of Congress.

We might tweak the definition for homeschooling to “a list of things we want to accomplish before our children graduate.” Sometimes, this may be described as goals and may change yearly.  It may or may not be a written list, but it’s, at the very least, in our heads.

Here are some common homeschool bucket list items.

  • College admission
  • High SAT scores
  • 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 a good character, and be productive.” That’s what we say, but is that what our actions indicate?

Far too often 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 (goal) was to raise godly adults. The deep-down truth? My actions showed what I was really focusing on—the items in the bucket list above.

We need to be honest with ourselves about what we’re actually putting on our bucket list. It’s so easy to get caught up in the “school” goals rather than the “life” goals.

Support groups, the latest book, the “perfect” homeschool family at a convention, or pressure from family or friends can lead us to alter the list to “acceptable” education 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? How do we have a bucket list that includes love of God, service to others, honesty, patience, and all the other qualities we strive for?

Write your homeschool bucket list and only include the qualities you want your child to develop. I suggest you don’t include academic goals. These are not life-long objectives and can change often. It’s also too easy to focus on those over the more important character elements.

Make a copy of the list, which is suitable for framing. Then 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?

Explain the bucket list to your children. Ask them if there’s anything 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. As your children get older and move closer to graduation, encourage them to make their own life-long bucket list.

You may need to detox from academics for a while. If you find yourself slipping back to the academic goals as the primary motivator, put the books away and engage in activities to build the qualities you’ve written on the list. You can catch up on algebra or composition later, but can you catch up on character training?

Every now and then, I must review my personal bucket list. Not just to check off all those things I dream about doing but to be sure my list lines up with my mission: to serve God by serving others. I admit I still get off track with what’s important. I admit, sometimes my actions don’t match my mission.

All my children have graduated from our homeschool. Have they completed everything on our homeschool bucket list? No. Like all of us, they are still growing and maturing in the Lord. The ideas are implanted though.

What’s on your homeschool bucket list? Even if your children are young, start today preparing a list of qualities God has put in your heart for them.


Susan K. Stewart, Managing Editor with Elk Lake Publishing, teaches, writes, and edits nonfiction. Susan’s passion is to inspire readers with practical, real-world solutions. Her books include Science in the Kitchen, Preschool: At What Cost?, Harried Homeschoolers Handbook, and the award-winning Formatting e-Books for Writers. Her latest book, Donkey Devos: Listen When God Speaks, was released last summer. You can learn more at her website Join Susan and other homeschoolers at Harried Homeschoolers Facebook group.


Science in the Kitchen

Harried Homschoolers Handbook

Donkey Devos

Harried Homeschoolers Facebook group


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"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).