"As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD" (Joshua 24:15b).

Every home should have a set of family rules. Created with God's guidance and the entire family's input, a practical set of daily living standards promotes harmony, enhances homeschooling, and establishes a strong, positive statement about how your family wants to interact with and treat each other. Family rules also lay down boundaries, so children know what is expected of them. These guidelines also help Mom and Dad be more consistent when they discipline.

While every homeschooling family's specific ground rules may be different, it's better to keep your list of dos and don'ts short, so they're more easily remembered. Here's seven suggestions to help your family get started discussing how relationships, schoolwork, and personal responsibilities are handled at your house this upcoming homeschool year:

1. Tell the truth.
Trust is the glue that holds family relationships together.

2. Treat others with respect.
- Speak politely. Use "please," "thank you," "excuse me," and "I'm sorry" often.
- Don't swear, hit, or kick.
- Don't name call, tattletale, or put down others behind their backs.
- Wait your turn to speak. If you must interrupt, first say, "Excuse me, please."
- Don't shout messages across the house.

3. No arguing with Mom and Dad.
- Ideas and input are valued and respected, but arguing means your point has already been made.
- Ask permission before going somewhere and be home when expected.

4. Respect each other's property and his/her right to privacy.
- Ask permission to use something that doesn't belong to you.
- Knock before entering a closed room.

5. Obey when you're asked to do something the first time.
- Complaining and tantrums are not allowed.
- Assigned chores should be performed when expected without being told.

6. Keep your surroundings neat, clean, and organized.
Whether its toys, games, clothes, dishes, or school supplies, put things away that you take out.

7. Be kind and helpful to each other.
Celebrate accomplishments with praise, show good sportsmanship, and look for ways to encourage each other.

In addition to your homeschool family's list of rules, there should also be an accompanying set of consequences if the rules are broken. (Note: You may also implement rewards when the opposite is true). Children should also understand that family rules go wherever the family goes, including church, stores, restaurants, or any other public setting.

Have you made a written rule list in your home? If so, what rules would you recommend to other homeschooling families? Please share your thoughts in the comment field below.