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The Rule of Six

I was looking for something else entirely and found this description of what the University offers written by Brian Doyle: “creativity and innovation and epiphany and camaraderie and discovery and enlightenment and laughter and love, and of those things there is no end.” I was smitten with his words, loved the overflowing list, the way his prose always tips over into prayer.

About the same time I was thinking about our homeschool days together based on a framework created by Melissa Wiley. Many moons ago, she began reviewing her days with her children by asking if their days had included

  • good books
  • imaginative play
  • encounters with beauty
  • ideas to ponder + discuss
  • prayer
  • meaningful work

To create our Rule of Six, I used most of Brian Doyle’s list and added some poems because our days always include poems.


Creativity from Mary Oliver’s “Sometimes”

Instructions for living a life:

Pay attention.

Be astonished.

Tell about it.


Epiphany from  Gerard Manley Hopkins’ “God’s Grandeur”

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.


Camaraderie from  T.S. Eliot’s “Little Gidding”

We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.


Discovery from Wendell Berry’s “The Country of Marriage”

                               We are more together

than we know, how else could we keep on discovering

we are more together than we thought?


Enlightenment from Steve Kowit’s “Notice”

 kiss the earth & be joyful,

& make much of your time,

& be kindly to everyone,


Laughter and Love from Gregory Orr’s “Father’s Song”

Round and round: bow and kiss.

I try to teach her caution;

she tries to teach me risk.


  1. Kortney, I love your Rule of Six and the quotes from poems you chose! Now I’m looking back fondly on our family’s homeschooling days…

  2. I remember when Melissa Wiley first posted her ‘Rule of Six’. Everyone around the internet (including me) started posting our own versions, but Kort, yours is the finest I have ever read. I will be printing it and posting it on my blog (sometime soon; I’m rather sporadic with my posts these days!). That photo! You and your children are beautiful.

    1. Sue! Dear friend, it is so good to hear from you! I love that you were connected to Lissa way back when. This picture is from the sculpture garden at the art museum–it’s a reflective wall. We always take a picture in front of it! Peace keep you.

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