Guiding Principles for Upcoming School Year – Simply Convivial

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Before delving into the practical plans, I always find it centering to write out my inspiration and vision as well as my starting principles. Instead of being drawn toward all the many very good things out there that we could do, I want to pick from them the fewest that will take us from where we currently are toward where we want to go.

For this year, my sixth year of homeschooling (if you count from when I began phonics when my oldest was 5), I thought perhaps I could distill my “style,” my principles, down to a 4-word description. And, I am pleased to have finally, after much wrestling, figured out a way to incorporate what I like about unschooling without claiming that label.

So, here goes:


  1. of, pertaining to, or derived from Jesus Christ or His teachings
  2. exhibiting a spirit proper to a follower of Jesus Christ; Christlike

For us, this means

  • All of life is under the Lordship of Christ.
  • Our identity is in Christ alone.
  • God’s redemptive, historical, eschatological story is the story we want to tell, to live, and to own.


  1. (of an education) based on the humanities and the study of Latin and Greek
  2. (of the arts) denoting or relating to a style in any of the arts characterized by emotional restraint and conservatism

For us, this means

  • We educate in the stream of our heritage: Western Civilization.
  • We study the trivium & quadrivium (including Latin) as our base, and we dismiss modern subjects like social studies and health.
  • Our aim is virtue, not a white-collar job.


  1. Philosophy. the theory that whole entities, as fundamental components of reality, have an existence other than as the mere sum of their parts.
  2. care of the entire patient in all aspects of well-being, including physical, psychological, and social.

Synonyms: integrated, complete, whole

For us, this means

  • Our educative efforts aren’t confined to formal studies, but bleed out into all of life.
  • Every bit of life and home and family makes up the education of a whole man.
  • Children are bodies, souls, and minds, and we treat them as whole people; we don’t compartmentalize their being and we don’t compartmentalize our days and we don’t compartmentalize our life or faith or learning.


  1. the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.
  2. An instructive or enlightening experience.

Synonyms: enculturation, nurture, upbringing

For us, this means

  • Education is about forming a whole student toward virtue rather than preparing him for a job.
  • Education is primarily focused on thinking and ideas and abilities rather than specific content or facts.
  • “Education comprehends all that series of instruction and discipline which is intended to enlighten the understanding, correct the temper, and dorm the manners and habits of youth, and fit them for usefulness in their future stations.” –Noah Webster

  1. dawn
    | Reply

    Perfect. I love this.

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