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Rule of Seven



The “Focus and Align” class held over in the Read Aloud Revival Membership site helped my husband and I form a bit more of a vision for our homeschool journey. Sarah made us think about what we wanted our children to remember about homeschooling twenty years from now. I’d never really thought about it that way before.

Here was my train of thought scribbled out on my worksheet from the class:

I want the kids to chase wonder, pursue holiness, encourage others, study God’s word, pray, appreciate beauty (especially of nature), cultivate their virtues, love and serve others, be readers and thinkers, and expand their horizons. I want the kids to remember our liturgies as being (steeped in Christ). (Thank you, Ashley, for the beautiful way you put that in your post about liturgies.) I also want the children to pursue Truth, Goodness, and Beauty and immerse themselves in those three things.

How this translated into our Rule of Seven:

1. Enjoy beauty:

Whether it be in beautiful art, a radiant sunset, a melodious song, or simply a single blade of grass, beauty leads to God and His Creation. Were it not for beauty, I never would have found God, because my conversion story involves astounding Swiss country landscapes and the awe of the towering, snow capped Alps.

2. Explore the world:

Knowing your world and seeing how others live builds empathy. Travel across the globe, strolls through museums, touring science centers, romping along on nature hikes – it all counts toward building appreciation for others, and the world we live in.

But this rule, Explore the World, also means Expand your Horizons to us. As in, “Don’t limit yourself.” It is closely associated to Rule Number Five.

3. Nurture relationships:

In my husband’s culture, you kiss and hug when you greet people. For an introvert, that’s pretty hard to do. Nevertheless, it’s considered extremely rude if you don’t, and my children struggle with this. So my husband stuck this rule in. Nevertheless, it also applies to sibling relationships since those last a lifetime. I pray our children will always be close friends.

4. Do meaningful work:

Make your work count, be it chores or school, or your job. Do it unto the Lord. Bring Him glory through what you do. Carelessness in math is unacceptable, as are chores done halfway (and my frustration with this fact is what prompted this rule).

5. Pursue Passions:

Dream and do what you love to do. Don’t limit yourself because of fear of failure.

6. Read excellent books:

Life is short. Pick the quality reads. Discourage the twaddle. Reading the classics and other well written books will provide ideas on which to ponder and thus create thinkers.

7. Converse with God:

I left the most important for last on the list so it would be the last thought on the mind every time we looked at it. Pray, read your Bible, sing hymns and psalms. All these things lead to Jesus and are part of our communication with God. Conversing with God implied being in a relationship with God (because I will argue that you can go through the motions of praying, reading the Bible, and singing hymns and psalms without really having your eyes on the kingdom of God) and thus why I chose the wording.

So there you have it. Our Rule of Seven.

And this is our hope: to train our children to be thinkers who make wise choices grounded in Truth. We aspire that our children pursue their passions, explore the world, and delight in their work. Moreover, we desire that they be responsible, caring, empathetic people who nurture relationships, being a reflection of God’s love on all they encounter.



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Musings – First Book of 2016




I tend to think God drops books into my lap right when He intends for me to have them. Three months ago, a dear friend mention Marie Kondo to me. I was intrigued. I put the book on hold at the library and was way, way down the waitlist for it. Then, on December 29th I listened to my favorite Read Aloud Revival podcast yet and learned that I could indeed become the reader I once was, in spite of having a busy 6 month old and homeschooling two older kids. The very next day, the library sent an email announcing the arrival of the very book I wanted to read! My husband picked it up in the evening and by the end of the day on the 31st, (or rather the very beginning of the 1st) I had finished my last book of 2015 or my first book of 2016.

{This post contains affiliate links of items that I use and like.  Thank you for your support of this blog and our family by purchasing through our link. Note that anything you purchase once you click through one of our Amazon links will result in supporting the blog; you don’t even have to buy the item you clicked on initially!}

But, I am in the mood for new beginnings. I have posts to write, books to read, photos to take, and a house to tidy. Hence, I am calling the Marie Kondo book my very first book of 2016. I had already used the Konmari method on my clothes, so today on the first day of January, I gathered all the things under all the bathroom sinks and discarded to my heart’s content. Never mind that books were the next category to tackle. The bathroom disorganization had been giving me anxiety for several weeks. I feel lighter now. Light enough that on the way to Mass, suddenly three blog posts popped into my head and here I am, writing again after a very long sabbatical.

When I transitioned from the blog name “The Adventures of Bear” two January’s ago, I wanted a name that would allow me to talk about homeschooling, but that could allow me to write about any other topic I wanted to. Nurturing Learning (my husband gets all the credit) is the perfect name. Nurturing learning toward Truth, beauty, and goodness isn’t just for the children. We have to permit ourselves to nurture our own learning. Mamas need to feed their brains and souls too. So, I may be writing more about my own education this year.

Julie Bogart of Bravewriter (writing classes and curricula) talks about the need mothers have to take care of themselves. You can listen to her talk on Periscope. I like this episode for when I feel discouraged with homeschooling. Charlotte Mason also talked about Mother Culture throughout her writings. There was an article in The Parents’ Review about it. Karen Andreola has a whole blog on Mother Culture, but if you don’t know what Mother Culture is, then the best place to go is Afterthoughts for Brandy’s explanation of it.

And for my second book of 2016, I’ve moved on to Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry. Want to read more this year? Try this Reading Challenge from Modern Mrs. Darcy.

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