Notes on the habits that Charlotte Mason encouraged parents to cultivate in their children.
A big part of homeschooling—and especially Charlotte Mason homeschooling—is cultivating our children’s characters through good habits.
“The habits of the child produce the character of the man.”
As you make plans for the upcoming school year, along with the academics, be sure to consider which habits you want to work on. We may feel like time spent on habit-training is not as important as time spent on academics. But really, cultivating good habits is the more valuable time investment. [Continue reading From Habits to Character …]
We’ve been talking about instilling good habits. Charlotte Mason likened that process to laying down railroad tracks upon which our children’s lives can run smoothly, without a lot of unnecessary bumping and jolting.
Many people have told us that these habit-training concepts along with the practical tips found in the award-winning book, Laying Down the Rails, have changed their families and homes! What a blessing!
I love to present the workshop based on those concepts at homeschool conventions across the country! And it seems like whenever I talk about laying down the rails of good habits, I usually get two questions: [Continue reading Laying Down the Rails for Children …]
Last week we discussed how important repetition is in forming a new habit. Just as hours of practicing a pirouette makes it easier to perform one, so lots of practice at a new skill—like getting out of bed at a certain time in the morning—makes it easier to do it. Practice makes permanent. Repetition makes habitual.
But there is another key to forming a new habit, and this key is just as important, if not more so: we must have sufficient reason for wanting to form the new habit. Something or someone has to motivate me, to cause me to want to start getting out of bed at that time! [Continue reading The Second Key to Good Habits: Motivation …]
Along about this time of year we homeschoolers usually have a pretty good feel for what is working and what needs to be changed. Whether it is what time we get up in the morning, who does which subject when, or how we have the household chores assigned, we get to the point where we say, “I think this situation can be improved. Here is what I’m going to do; I will . . . .” And we determine to put our plan into practice the next morning.
Now, inevitably, as soon as we make that decision, we run up against a powerful force. This force works either as a supporter of our decisions or as an enemy against our decisions. This force is habit. [Continue reading Too Often Habit Is the Frustrator …]
We’ve spent much of this series on high school talking about academics. And it’s easy to focus on the books, the grades, and the transcript, especially in the high school years. But our goal is not just to graduate our children. Our goal is to equip them to be godly young men and women who are prepared to run their own households. So for this final part of the series, let’s shift the focus a bit to another very important aspect of a Charlotte Mason high school: habits. [Continue reading Habit-Training: Homeschooling through High School the CM Way, part 5 …]
It’s our pleasure to announce a new free e-book on habits, Smooth and Easy Days with Charlotte Mason.
A new year lies before us. Perhaps you have some new goals and commitments with the turning of the calendar page. No doubt many of those goals, if not all, will depend on forming some new habit or breaking some bad habit.
In this season of renewed focus, it helps to remember Charlotte Mason’s counsel on breaking bad habits: “Introduce some new habit as attractive to the child as is the wrong habit you set yourself to cure” (Vol. 2, p. 175). Concentrate on replacing the old habit with a new good habit. [Continue reading New Free E-book on Habits …]
A few weeks ago I was in the mountains of Colorado and noticed an unusual lamppost. This lamppost was made from a tree. But that wasn’t the unusual part. The unusual part was the complete curly-que that the tree trunk made right beneath the lamp. It looked like one of those silly straws that have a loop in the middle.
Someone had trained that tree to grow in that direction when it was just a sapling. Sure, full-grown trees can be trained to grow in certain ways, but it is so much easier to shape a tree when it is young and pliable. [Continue reading Habit Training in the Early Years–Early Years Homeschooling, Part 2 …]
“Trust me, you’re not going to like it.”
My little girl’s big brown eyes peered solemnly across the table. “But I want to try it.”
“If you try it, you will have to sit there until you drink it all. Do you understand?”
Her eyes lit up. “Yes.”
“All right, you may try it, but you’ll have to drink the whole thing and it won’t taste good.”
My daughter learned two important lessons that day. [Continue reading Natural Consequences …]
“I nag them and I nag them, but it does no good.” Most of us can testify to the truth of that statement. But I never understood why nagging doesn’t work until I started to study Charlotte’s habit-training principles. Now it makes sense.
Let’s say that you’re trying to teach your child to hang up her coat when she takes it off. In order to make that action a habit, she needs to [Continue reading Why Nagging Doesn’t Work …]
I recently got a new printer for my computer, and as I was unpacking it I came upon a huge stack of user documents. My heart sank. The amount of information was a bit overwhelming. It was all helpful, to be sure; but the sheer volume of it all looked intimidating, and I didn’t know where to begin.
Then my gaze fell upon these welcome words: Quick Start. [Continue reading Habits Workshop Now on DVD! …]
Have you ever driven to the grocery store and, after you pulled into a parking place and shut off the car, you realized that you didn’t remember the drive there? It was almost as if you drove on auto-pilot. Whenever that happens to me, my next thought is, “Oh, I hope I didn’t run any red lights!”
I can still picture the textured wall, the shiny smooth top of the spinet piano, and the white kitchen timer with its seemingly unmoving dial. I was supposed to be practicing my piano lesson, but I probably spent half of the allotted time listening to that timer’s ceaseless ticking. I knew I was supposed to practice every day, but I usually waited until my mother told me to.
Then something happened that changed my whole outlook on practicing [Continue reading Her Own Idea …]
Last month we did a little deep cleaning around our house. Well, okay, not a little — a lot. At least it seemed like a lot. Cleaning can be hard work! By the time we had the furniture moved, the closet emptied, the light fixtures disassembled, and the curtain rods dismantled, I was tired. And only one thing that kept me going was that picture in my mind of how nice the room would look when we were done.
We moms will work hard if we know that the goal is worth it. [Continue reading Smooth and Easy Days …]
We know of several groups that are using Laying Down the Rails for their weekly or monthly book discussions this coming year. How exciting! I wish I could be a part of each group and hear all the comments. It is always so helpful to learn what other people are doing and how they are applying Charlotte’s habit-training principles.
If you will be leading one of those discussions, here are a few ideas to help get the comments started. [Continue reading Habits Book Discussion Tips …]
This week’s Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival contains a lot of encouragement and ideas on habit training. Be sure to check it out over at Barb-Harmony Art Mom’s Handbook of Nature Study blog.
To most of us, the idea of self-discipline comes with a mental picture of a ball and chain. We think of discipline as a taskmaster, forcing us to do what we don’t really want to do. Today let’s change that mental image. Today let’s consider how discipline brings freedom! [Continue reading Discipline Brings Freedom …]
1. Charlotte Mason encouraged us moms to concentrate on forming one habit at a time, keeping watch over those habits already formed. Soon it will become your habit to cultivate good habits in your children. [Continue reading 5 Ways to Cultivate Good Habits …]
We’ve been discussing the three words Charlotte Mason used to describe her approach to education: Education is an Atmosphere, a Discipline, a Life. The past three posts explored how the ideas that rule your life as a parent affect the atmosphere of your home. If you would like to, you can review that aspect of Education Is . . .
Today let’s talk a little about how Education is a Discipline. [Continue reading Education Is a Discipline …]
1. Forgetting that the child is a person.
One of Charlotte Mason’s chief principles is “The child is a person with all the possibilities and powers included in personality” (Vol. 1, p. 4). Each child is unique. Become a student of your child and work with him or her as an individual. [Continue reading 10 Mistakes CMers Should Avoid …]
Since Laying Down the Rails, our new habits book, was released we have received many requests for a printed version. Today we’re happy to announce that Laying Down the Rails is now available in printed form! [Continue reading Habits Book in Print! …]
This week we’ll continue our discussion of Charlotte Mason habits by
looking at moral habits. Moral habits are commonly thought of as character traits. But if you think about it, character is formed by habits. [Continue reading Moral Habits …]
Did you ever have a project that expanded? I started on a little project last year and just completed it last week. In the process it expanded into quite a large project! Here’s the story. [Continue reading Habits Book Now Available …]
Mental habits are different from Decency & Propriety Habits in that they require direct training, not just a good example. Here’s the list of Mental Habits, [Continue reading Mental Habits …]
Last week we explained that the habits Charlotte mentioned can be outlined in basically five broad categories: mental, moral, decency and propriety, physical, and religious.
This week, let’s take a look at Habits of Decency and Propriety. How’s that title for sounding intimidating? [Continue reading Habits of Decency and Propriety …]
I’ve made hundreds of decisions already today, and so have you. You just don’t remember them because they were habits. They didn’t require a lot of mental effort and stress. [Continue reading The Power of Good Habits …]