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What’s your rule of six {or seven}?

rule of six

Sarah Mackenzie is quickly becoming a household name among homeschoolers, and for good reason…despite the fact that she’s still in the thick of homeschooling (and raising toddlers!), she teaches with wisdom, humility, and joy and inspires us to “teach from rest” by her words and example.

I’ve been a member of her Read-Aloud Revival membership site for about a year now, and her teaching has made a tangible difference in our homeschool during that time.

For the past couple of months, I’ve been wanting to take the Focus & Align masterclass (which Sarah herself teaches), but our personal schedule and my workload kept getting in the way. I finally made time for it while I was at my mom’s, and I’m so glad I did. Through Sarah’s teaching, I was able to identify the rules that guide our homeschool decisions as well as what they look like in practice.

Our Rule of Six {or Seven!}

“In our homeschool, no matter what, we embrace wonder. I know that it’s important for some other families, but our family doesn’t make outings and field trips a priority. In 20 years, I want my kids to say that their homeschooled childhood was magical, full of rabbit trails, exploration, and good books and that I, as their homeschooling mom, was encouraging, joyful, and loving.”

Sarah calls these the “rule of six” (coined by Melissa Wiley), but—noncomformist that I am—I ended up with seven:

  1. Start with worship & prayer.
  2. Embrace wonder & beauty.
  3. Read good books & talk about them
  4. Explore our backyard & the world.
  5. Prioritize relationships.
  6. Say yes to experiments & experiences.
  7. Homeschool from rest.

In practice, that means…Bible, hymns and memory work related to our faith are an important part of our morning time; art, music and nature walks are not just extras, but one of our core values; read-alouds are a priority rather than an afterthought; we explore history, geography, and science through living books; I need to “budget” for one-on-one time rather than fitting it into the cracks; every day should include time for the girls to do hands-on science, cooking, and art projects; math, language arts, and morning time are our only non-negotiable subjects.

What I Want Them to Remember

I love that Sarah also emphasized that we can’t control who our kids grow up to be, but we can control who we are now. She had us brainstorm how we want our kids to remember us, and I came up with these words:

  • joyful
  • kind
  • strong
  • purposeful
  • creative
  • inspiring
  • encouraging
  • engaged
  • loving

In practice, that means…I want them to remember that we laughed and had fun together; I always thought the best and gave them the benefit of the doubt; I worked hard and rested intentionally; I made time for my own creative pursuits; I was always sharing videos, books, and articles about interesting things with them; I highlighted their strengths and encouraged them to persevere; I looked them in the eye and listened to them; and my eyes lit up every time they entered the room.

In a coincidence that only God could orchestrate, I took the masterclass and outlined the things above before heading to the Classical Conversation’s practicum last week, where I discovered A Thomas Jefferson Education, a book that I expect will have a fairly significant effect on the way we do things in the coming months and years. I’ll be sharing more about that as we really dive in and start adjusting things, but it’s been really encouraging for me to see how God prepared my heart first through the realization that the way we were doing things wasn’t working any longer, then through the masterclass where I really put my vision into words, and finally with my introduction to TJEd and inspiration to make that vision a reality.

Since we have our rule of six (or seven) now, we’re all excited about diving into “summer school” with this new vision in place, and I’ll be sharing more about it as we go!

What’s your rule of six?