MANIFESTO : Ten Commandments of Homeschooling.

It always feels strange to wrap up a year of homeschooling; I am a strong proponent of sneaky education, in which lessons and knowledge and wisdom are crammed into the crevasses of every day, every month of the year.

At the same time, we’ve rolled up the year in a formal sense. Here’s a manifesto I banged out partway through the year as we dealt with some of the challenges of helping all of us focus on optimizing not just our learning experience, but most importantly our relationships with one another in helping us bring out each other’s strengths.

I am fortunate to be allied with the smart and hilarious Countess Becca in guiding our family along many dangerous and exciting adventures into the unknown. Thank goodness. So this is first and foremost for us, so we can try (and fail frequently) at modeling these for our children. I am also a strong proponent of writing down what’s important. And I think these are important.

Not just for homeschool, not just for any school, but for living well with those you care about and helping to create a lifelong interest in learning and building strong relationships.

Also, I am strong proponent of driving phrases into the ground, such as “…I am a strong proponent of ___.” :)

Thanks for reading and here you go!

Ten Commandments of (HOME)Schooling (and any schooling and life in general).

I will respect myself.

That means no putdowns or self-deprecating remarks.
I will have a ‘can-do’ attitude, not an ‘I’m so bad at this’ kind of one.

I will respect others.

I will help others learn and actively support those around me with my words and actions. I will not put them down.

I will respect our space.

I will pick up and keep not only my area, but the common area we share, in a state that is clean, organized, and allows all of us to focus on learning.

I will ask questions.

Lots of them. I will actively ask questions that are relevant, appropriate, and respectful. I will not despair when I don’t know the answer to something. I will ask more questions and get help to solve the problem. I will embrace the idea that oftentimes the question is more important than the answer.

I will bring my best.

Every day. To every activity, assignment and task. It is difficult to do. But try. Try to make it a habit. Sometimes I won’t feel like it. Some days I’ll fail at it. That’s okay. I will still try to make it a habit to bring the best I can to each activity and each opportunity.

Toddler-age boy runs away from parents through a flower bed.jpg

I will bring a cheerful spirit.

I will bring a spirit of good cheer to each day. Or…I will try hard to do so. When I’m not feeling cheerful - which is okay - I will at least be positive and respectful.

I will improve.

Steadily and regularly. Each time I do something, I will try to improve, even if it’s a little tiny bit.

Girl playing outdoor in sunlight.jpg

I will listen well.

Learning new things can be challenging. I will do my best to listen and follow directions, instructions, and explanations as they are given, and follow up that deliberate listening with articulate and relevant questions. I will speak in a confident, non-whiny voice.

I will be proactive.

I will look for opportunities to learn and to use my time well. I will finish tasks and assignments I’m given without complaint. And…I will follow instructions and directions promptly.

I will practice gratitude.

I have a special opportunity to learn - to learn from others, to learn from myself, to learn from parents and teachers and siblings and others.

I will express appreciation, daily and sincerely, for what goes well and for what I’m grateful for.

When something is not the way I want, I will look for constructive ways to change it instead of complaining, whining, or grumbling.


I wrote these for the kids; specifically with schooling in mind.

But as I read them through, I realized they’re probably every bit as much for me, if not more so. And that they’re relevant in many areas beyond formal education.

To borrow Frank Gehry’s wonderful phrase:

let us bumble forward into the unknown, and do so with panache, curiosity, spirit, and comradery.

To learning. Until death; may it be far off.