The Rule of Every Homeschool

Cheney running on the prairie at Blue Mounds State park
 This post is peppered with pictures from some travels around SW MN a few weeks ago.

In that article that I mentioned in my last post, there's Miss Mason talking directly to the homeschool mother. Time to listen! She tells us what she thinks should be the rule of every homeschool.  What did she say?

-brisk work and ample leisure and freedom should be the norm

-work not done in its own time should be left undone

-five of the thirteen waking hours should be at the disposal of the children (three of these should be spent   out-of-doors in all but very bad weather)

What do you think?  Do you follow these rules in your homeschool?  
So, this is LittleJack carrying his childhood teddy bear, Herman the German, up to meet his namesake. 

Herman the German statue in New Ulm, MN - Herman made it to the top (but two of my kiddos didn't!)
Interesting visit to the house of Wanda Gag who wrote Millions of Cats (local artist for picture study!)
Marit, me and Kaley


  1. You know, we do pretty well at following these rules. Though I think by English standards Minnesota weather would usually be considered "very bad". I try to remember that when we're enjoying 90 degree weather with 75% humidity and I keep the kids indoors, or when we are suffering through the winters here and England is enjoying its light dustings of snow.

    Three hours outside, indeed! :)

  2. I don't know that these have been a rule in our home but I like! Next week's mission for sure. Thank you Nancy for the reminder.

  3. Thanks for the reminder. Lovely pictures. We do pretty well too, but I needed the reminder, specially in a 102 and even 104 type of weather. Our challenge is the hot months more than the fall or winter months.


  4. Please elaborate on "work not done in it's own time should be left undone."

  5. Sarah - Good for you! I think we come pretty close, too. Some days more than others and it does get tricky Feb./March.

    Renelle - Yes, that word "rule" sounds so definitive/strict. I like it, too and it's so good to be reminded, I think.

    Silvia - So interesting that we have opposite issues in regards to the weather! It's nice to know we all have to figure it out, whatever the circumstances.

    Jacqueline - Well, she is writing this to mothers who may have the problem of stretching the school day on and on, either because of work not being completed or moms wanting to cover more of the feast. If, in fact, the child has been trained in good habits so that brisk work is the norm, they come to understand that they can apply their full attention, work hard and know that it ends at a certain time and they will be free to do what interests them. There wouldn't be homework or punishments for unfinished work, assuming they have given their best effort during the school hours. I think that even if they don't give their best effort, the point to be made is that there is a certain time that we will be doing such-and-such and once that time pasts, the opportunity is lost. It ties in nicely with her insistence on only one reading. Does that make sense? The lesson here is for the mother as much as the child, though. She should take pains that the lessons are full of ideas, short and of a nice variety. HTH!

  6. Jacqueline,
    "passes", not "pasts"

  7. What a wonderful picture. I think that most of us fall on one side of the spectrum or the other. The goal is to know which is my tendency, then work against it toward the middle. I love the free time and outdoor time, so much so, that I fall short in getting some basic things (laundry, cleaning the floor, etc.) done. I have no doubt that if we buckled down and worked on the "brisk work" side of the equation, we'd have more than ample time to enjoy life... and would be able to enjoy it with more peace. Great words to have in mind as we start the new year!!

  8. Thanks for your explanation to Jacqueline in your comments. I know this principles, but I don't tire of listening because we fall short from time to time.

  9. And were you able to maintain the rules all the way through high school? I'm the mother you spoke of to Jacqueline, who wants to cram in more and more of the feast!!!! So much to do, and want to do, and so little time, it seems! And yet I desire to follow those principles. I'm curious to know more of how you handle high school, as my eldest daughter is starting this year, and my son is only a year behind. I feel a little panicky about all there is yet to do.


  10. Judi,
    One of the best pieces of advice that I received when my oldest was entering ninth grade and I was being a bit panicky myself was this:
    "If you've been trying to do Mason all along, what are you worried about? Just keep doing what you're doing!" (Said with a southern twang, at that!)
    The habits of brisk work helped greatly, especially when they took college classes. I won't say that they played outside as much, but I worked hard on making sure that they still had plenty of free time to pursue their own interests. (No easy task when sports, music and friends are constantly calling!)
    No doubt, things are different when they are in highschool. But things are better, too, in many respects.
    It's not about getting things done or checking off lists, it's about teenagers as persons - isn't it?

  11. Nancy, I'm wishing that I'd been at your Living Education Retreat on a gentle hill nestled on the Minnesota prairie this summer. And now it's too late. You wouldn't by any chance have tapes or cd's of the meetings available, would you? I'm afraid our habits are not what they should be, and wanting desperately to correct them It is not easy. I know I need to be more concerned with our relationships, and less driven to do everything. How do you find the balance here?


  12. Nancy, What do your kids do during their "free time"? I have struggled with keeping "Masterly Inactivity" vs scheduling what mine get to do. On the other hand I am trying to protect them from non-gainful use of time - such as too much computer, tv, and general wasting of time. As well as sibling fussing - which is a horrible habit.

    Heather J

  13. Heather,
    You know, that is a good question! Let me brainstorm a bit:
    -wonderful books in every room for reading
    -outdoor play
    -access to woodworking tools
    -knitting, sewing, access to tools
    -journals everywhere for drawing and writing
    -mom and dad have small gardens, kids get into herb gardening or their own favorite
    -paints/art supplies
    -excitement whenever new boxes can be used to play in/with
    -cooking, experimenting with cooking
    -helping neighbors

    To fuel these activities, wonderful stories are read to them. They play out with their imaginations roaring. Even the sibling fussing is addressed in the books we read for school! Currently, Jack and Jill is our read-aloud and it has given them so many ideas about how to treat others.
    And yes, I try to limit screen time, too. 30 minutes or so on the weekend.
    Does that answer your question? Sorry it's just a quick answer.

    Ring true,