Archive | Habits

Breaking a Bad Habit Charlotte Mason

You Move Toward What You Focus On

When we lived near Chicago, my husband John rode his bike for long treks in all kinds of weather. He liked to take the roads that led out of our suburb and into relatively undeveloped country, because they were less traveled. The upside of those roads was less traffic. The downside was that they had […]

Happy Family

Becoming a Gandy Dancer: Habit-Training, part 9

Do you remember what a “gandy dancer” is? Way back in the first post of this series we mentioned that “gandy dancer” was the nickname that was given to early railroad workers who laid and maintained the tracks. Parents are gandy dancers. It is the parent’s business to lay down and maintain the rails of […]

Homeschool teen painting

Parents Ease the Transition: Habit-Training, part 8

One of the best gifts you can give your child is to help him become a person of excellent character. That is what habit-training can do: mold a child’s character. “ ‘Sow a habit, reap a character’; that is, the formation of habits is one of the chief means whereby we modify the original hereditary […]

Support and Encouragement-sq

Parents Support the Will: Habit-Training, part 6

All of the things we have discussed over the past few weeks on habit-training—taking on the effort of decision, spotlighting the trigger, and adjusting the consequences—are ways to help support your child’s Will. Habit-training yourself depends on a strong Will that can make the right choices even when it’s hard. You have to decide which […]

A Parent Takes On Some Effort of Decision for Habits

Parents Take On the Effort of Decision: Habit-Training, part 2

As we discussed last week, in many ways your job of cultivating good habits in your child is just like cultivating them in your own life. Most of the principles and practical steps are similar. But there are also some differences between laying down the rails in your child’s life and laying them down for […]

Laying Down the Rails for Yourself

New Book: Laying Down the Rails for Yourself

Thousands of families have benefited from Charlotte Mason’s wonderful counsel on habit-training children. The timeless strategies she outlined continue to change homes around the world. Yet, as I travel and speak on habit-training, parents often approach me with this concern: “I want to cultivate good habits in my children, but how can I do that […]

Charlotte Mason homeschooling subject by subject: basic principles

Three Basic CM Principles: Subject by Subject, Part 2

When I was taking piano lessons, my teacher started with some basic, foundational points: keep your fingers curved; sit tall on the bench with both feet on the floor; listen to your playing. No matter what piece I was working on—from Row, Row, Row Your Boat to Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata—those principles remained constant. (more…)

Mom and Daughter

3 Little Words for Habit Training: Watchfulness

Have you ever noticed how some things jump out at you once you start thinking about them—things you didn’t notice until someone brought them to your attention? For example, portion sizes. My husband and I eat out a lot when we’re traveling around the country doing conferences, but I never really noticed how large the […]

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