7 Things I Wish I Had Done More When Homeschooling

The Fundamental Home

We’ve talked about things I wish I had done and things I am glad I didn’t do.  Now, I want to share the things I wish I had done more.  These are the real successes- the things that worked well enough that I wished I had been able to pour my whole heart into them.

It wasn’t always possible.  There were limitations, many my own.

It’s the final installment in my reflection series, so here are 7 things I wish I had done more.

#1- Spent more time outside.

When we lived in the Washington DC area, our children could not play outside.  Our neighborhood was such that it was not safe for them to be out, even in my yard, without me, and I didn’t really feel safe enough out there.  Occasionally, we would go to the park, but it was expensive and time-consuming to drive.  I prayed for YEARS that we could move somewhere where they could just go outside and play.  The Lord graciously allowed us the opportunity to move to a more rural area where they could run through fields and woods to their hearts content.  We weren’t able to purchase a home until last year, so we never had a garden.  It’s something else I SO wanted to share with my children.  They will still be a part of it, but not the way I imagined.  I will be thankful for the things that Lord has allowed, but if I would go back, we would have had a full-on homestead while homeschooling.  We would have been outside all the time.

#2- Learned more practical skills

By practical skills, I mean general woodworking skills, carpentry, sawyering, mechanical skills, the trades (especially masonry), herbalism, hunting, blacksmithing, and animal husbandry among other things.  I especially wanted the boys to learn them, but that doesn’t mean that I would not have liked Briana to learn, too.  Truth is, she probably would have been the best 😉  Unfortunately, Rick and I know nothing of any of those things, so we could not teach them.  We want to learn, but it’s a little late now to raise up little boys into this knowledge.  Instead, the boys will need to seek it out on their own.  Brian has considered studying carpentry when he finishes his masters because he, like me, values the practical.  He has also always been interested in herbalism (don’t get him started on modern pharmaceuticals).  Ricky, on the other hand, is my artist.  He would be the wood worker and blacksmith.  He also enjoys mechanics and taking care of animals.  He did spend some time volunteering at a local nature center, so he has some experience.  Everyone has gotten a hunter’s safety permit and plans to learn to use firearms so we can begin hunting.  Briana is the most excited about this.  She is also very good with animals.   I REALLY wanted the family to build a house from the ground up.  The boys still may, but I wanted it to be a part of homeschool.  I could go on and on about the dreams I had.  It was not to be, but this is one area where I wish I could have done SO much more!

#3- Spent more time learning musical instruments

I love seeing those families where all of their children play!   I wish we could have afforded more private lessons because I have absolutely NO musical ability.  Everyone in our home learned at least a basic knowledge of one instrument.  Brian plays the piano well enough to play a hymn.  That was all I dared hope for, but he has such talent!  I hope he will pursue learning it as he gets older.  He has said that he will because he enjoys it.  I hope it will be the case.  Ricky has really enjoyed learning guitar.  I would have loved to continue formal lessons for him, but there is no time or money now that he is in college.  Like Brian, I hope he pursues this in the future.  It would have been great if Briana could have learned the piano.  I don’t think it will happen, though.  If I could have, I would have done so much more in the way of music.  Music is so comforting.  It would be such a blessing if my children were better equipped to create it.

#4- Spent more time on art

Now, Ricky spends hours everyday drawing.  He is a true artist and all of the real skill he has gained has come from watching YouTube videos- not me.  If I could have, we would have definitely done more art.  We would have done to art museums, admired the greats.  We would have read about color, form, line, shape, space, and texture.  We would have done watercolors and oils en plein air.  The children would have worked with clay and made pottery for beauty and function.  They would appreciate the fiber arts, and find beauty in modern sculpture.  I suppose I have an artist’s soul.  More art would have been a valuable asset.

#5- Done more traveling

Now, I don’t like to travel, but I see the value in allowing my children to experience different places and cultures.  I would have liked for them to see different landscapes and enjoy the absolute splendor of God’s Creation.  We only took one trip as a family- to Williamsburg, VA.  There were many smaller field trips.  After all, we lived in Washington, DC, and there were many great places in that area that were historically relevant.  I just would have liked to have traveled to Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, the Black Hills, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s home, George Washington Carver’s National Monument, The Tuskeegee Institute National Historic Site, and countless other spots of interest.  We would have toured all the national parks we could.  We would have cruised Alaska.  We would have traveled to Europe, visiting England and Ireland.  In France, we would have gone to the Louvre and toured Versailles.  In German, we would have gone Castle hopping.  In Italy, we would have toured the countryside.  Like everything else, I could go on and on.  That is just 2 of the 7 continents.  How much more could we see and do?!  I wish we could have done more traveling with homeschool.  Instead, we traveled online and through books.  That will suffice, for now 🙂

#6- Spent more time Laughing

I love to laugh, and our homeschool hasn’t exactly been drudgery, but I wish we had spent more time laughing.  I wish we had found joy in grammar and algebra (It’s there if you look).  There was SO much time I spent rushing to complete the homeschool “tasks” rather than seeing homeschool as a special time.  I would have played the games when they asked.  I would have found a more fun way to learn than worksheets.  We would have read more stories aloud so we could enjoy them together.   I would have listened to their crazy ideas and stories rather than telling them to get to work.  I would have still gotten the work done- wouldn’t want to neglect their needs for my wants, but I would have sought laughter so much more.  Then, we would have more of the best memories of our time together.

#7- Spent more time in the Bible

Not just reading it, but memorizing it and talking about it.  We could never have done enough.  Never.  Again, it’s my lack of knowledge that set them back.  I did not re-dedicate myself to the Lord until Brian was 6.  Rick was not even a Christian until Brian was 8.  While we have earnestly pursued the Lord since that time,  we were behind the curve.  Some folks we know talk about their children being “2nd generation” Christians.  We feel like our children are “1st generation” along with us.  In fact, the boys were Christians before Rick.  While Rick was in Bible college, the boys were able to take part in spirited doctrinal discussions, and they usually had something surprisingly thoughtful to add.  They have a solid foundation, but Briana did not get to enjoy all of that.  She has been around Biblical discussions pretty much all of her life, but she is just getting to where she is old enough to add to it.  Hopefully, she will glean some more as we continue to spend time with the family around God’s Word.

You will notice that I left everything academic off this list.  Whatever we did academically was enough.  They didn’t need, and I didn’t want, any more of that.  You will notice, I didn’t add testing.  We are required by our state to test annually.  That is enough.  Please note that I did not add a million impressive extracurriculars.  My schedule is slam-packed as it is.

I only wanted more peace, more joy, more love, more readiness for the future.  Consider this list when you think about adding to your homeschool.

Is there anything different that you would add?  Please share!  I am always looking for excellent homeschooling suggestions!

Shared on Thoughtful ThursdayThe Homeschool Nook and Women with Intention Wednesdays

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8 thoughts on “7 Things I Wish I Had Done More When Homeschooling

  • January 26, 2016 at 5:29 pm
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    I enjoyed your list, and it took me back to the days I homeschooled. LOVED. it.!!
    We were that musical family. I have a degree in music/piano, so I taught each of my kids piano first, then they moved on to secondary instruments (guitar, violin, flute, voice, and more). Each of my four kids are musical, but only the middle two have it pouring out of their very souls like me. Those are the two that I truly consider musicians. One graduated with a music degree, and the other traveled with a music team in college to help with costs.
    I’m familiar with the DC area, so I understand why you’d want to move!!! Also familiar with Williamsburg, and that’s where we spent a lot of time on the road when I homeschooled. Hubs had work there. So we traveled a good bit, but not as much in the high school years because there was just a lot of work to get done! We did laugh a lot.
    I could go on and on here – in fact, maybe I’ll do a similar post sometime, that would be fun!
    Anyhoo, I’m sure your kids gleaned much richness from what you did do, Amanda! You seem very family oriented and wow – husbandry and building your own house – those are things I could never imagine! What vision!!

    Thanks for linking with us again at Tuesday Talk! 🙂

    Reply
    • January 26, 2016 at 8:18 pm
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      Ruthie, you are a lady after my own heart 🙂 I could go on and on forever, too! Homeschooling is such a wonderful experience. You just wish you could do everything sometimes. My visions were often far grander than my reality, but it takes vision to do anything great. Thank you so much for stopping by! I love to chat with homeschoolers!

      Reply
  • January 26, 2016 at 7:21 pm
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    This is a great list. I’d agree that these are things I’ll probably wish too if I don’t change the way I’m doing things. Thanks for the perspective!! Oh and thanks for linking up over at The Homeschool Nook this week!

    Reply
    • January 26, 2016 at 8:27 pm
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      I love “The Homeschool Nook.” I click like a million links! So much good advice there! I wish I had read this blog post years ago and changed things up, but apparently this is the path we needed to take. The Lord is in control, and for that, I am thankful.

      Reply
    • January 26, 2016 at 11:28 pm
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      I know I never seem to have enough time! Thank you for visiting us here at The Fundamental Home!

      Reply
  • January 27, 2016 at 4:02 pm
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    Its so easy to get caught up in academics and forget that there are so many other things to focus on… mainly relationship. The math and English has to be done, but we need to make time for those other things as well. Thanks for these reminders.

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    • January 27, 2016 at 4:47 pm
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      Exactly! One of the major benefits of homeschooling is the relationships that are built between parents and children. We should take advantage of it as much as we can! Thank you for visiting us here at The Fundamental Home!

      Reply

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