Friday, May 25, 2007

Summer Rule of Six

Six Things to Include in My Children's Summer Days

Melissa Wiley translated Charlotte Mason's more general rule of three things to include in your child's day (something to do, something to love, something to think about) into more practical categories and thus developed her now famous Rule of Six. Our rule of six does not differ much from Melissa's and includes meaningful or disciplined work, healthy and imaginative play, beauty (art and music and nature), good books, prayer, and discussion. When planning our summer learning, I simply came up with specific plans for each of these categories keeping in mind the more relaxed learning atmosphere I hope to create.

1. Meaningful or Disciplined Work: This takes the form of the three R's during the school year, but for summer we put all workbooks aside. Meaningful work becomes yard work or gardening in addition to light household chores. Also, making puzzles and practicing flashcards.

2. Healthy and Imaginative Play: Baseball on Saturdays, baseball camp in June, tennis in the evenings or family walks, bike rides, baseball practice and jogs. Swimming lessons. Go to the beach, join the pool! Get as much exposure to sun, fresh air, grass, sand, fresh and salt water as the weather allows. Family board games after dark including geography games and math games.

3. Beauty: Art, music, nature: Sign up for summer art classes, stock van with an abundance of good music for listening en route to the pool and/or beach, plan summer vacation in a beautiful place, visit state parks on weekends, have Jeremy take the boys fishing, eat out of doors as much as possible. Visit public rose gardens in June. Bird watching at memorial park. Plan day trips to zoos and aquariums. Go berry picking, visit area farms, and cook/bake with local grown foods from farm stands whenever possible.

4. Good Books: Get to the library once a week. Fill the house with quality books and audio, lots of fun audio! Read books about where we will be going on vacation. Purchase and encourage reading fun math books as well as stories.

5. Prayer: Morning offering at breakfast, guardian angel prayer at lunch, read Bible stories on Sundays, attend Mass one day a week in addition to Sundays. Confession on Saturdays. Evening family prayer.

6. Discussion: Take the time to listen to the children's questions and answer them carefully. Ask questions, too, and listen to their observations and ideas. Make one on one time with the children when possible.

We're planning to have a great summer; I hope you do too!


mom-in-training said...

Suzanne, Thank you for sharing your summer plans with us. I am suddenly inspired to write up my own summer plan for my family. I have had some general ideas of things I'd like to do, but without really thinking it out, I'm sure none of it would happen. I think I'll work on getting a plan on paper today using that wonderful Rule of Six! :)

Kristen Laurence said...

Love your summer Rule of Six! I realized that I live by rules like this without thinking about them or writing them out. But now, after seeing yours, I plan to follow suit. How it helps to fulfill goals when they are in writing!

Those photographs are gorgeous! What is the last one? It's beautiful!

Margaret in Minnesota said...

This post is as pretty as it is inspiring. Number 6 is my favorite, (or should I say, the one that I must work on hourly), although all of these are very important and very REAL.

Have a great day (nay, a great summer) with all your handsome little men, Suzanne!

Mary Poppins NOT said...

I am going to give this some thought and make my own rule of six. Thanks for the inspiration!

Julie said...

I am so excited that you shared your summer plans with us... infact, I was almost going to ask if you would! I have been intrigued by homeschooling recently and I was curious what the summer months look like for your family. Thank you for sharing! I hope to write down a plan for my children this summer as well.

Suzanne Temple said...

Thanks all, I'd love to see others' summer rule of six, so be sure to tell me if you post one.

Kristen, That's our Rhododendron just now blooming.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing...i was wondering if you continue to homeschool thorughout the summer? WHat if the boys actually want to? what do you use? do you make a big deal that the summer is off from school- would that encourage them to think negatively about school as something that they just HAVE to do?

Johane said...


Everything has a season. School happens to take up three. When I homeschooled, we may have put away the workbooks for the summer, but the schooling continued in the discussions and ideas that were shared. What's to say that we can't take a week to prepare to watch the meteor showers in August? When the lunar eclipse came around a few years ago, we took the time to not only admire it, but explain what was going on.

Sure during the school year we can make great models of the solar system. What a better way to experience it though than lying on your back on the cool grass with a soft breeze blowing!

The summer time is a season to work on the natural part of life - growing a garden, raising animals, and growing a healthy family.

Ruth said...

This is a wonderful and inspiring list. Thanks for sharing it.

Jennifer said...

This is a great idea, Suzanne, and very timely for me! I have some down time before starting a doctoral program in August that will keep me busy year-round from now on. I decided not to work full-time this summer (for once) in order to enjoy it.

But nothing creates anxiety and stress like knowing that something is your LAST opportunity. "This is a precious gift! You must have fun! This freedom will NEVER COME AGAIN!!"

It *is* a precious gift, and I suddenly realized I had no idea how to maximize it. Now I think I'm going to draw up my own summer rule of life along similar lines!

A question for everyone: has anyone come across other writings on drawing up a rule of life in more general terms? (i.e., not just for mothers?)

Jane Ramsey said...

A great list, Suzanne. I hope you get to do all those wondeful things!