Welcome back to day 9 of the 10 Days of Homeschooling blog hop! You can find the previous posts in my Charlotte Mason series here.
Charlotte Mason didn’t only teach about schooling, but how to parent as well.
One of those topics which has become a main attraction of modern day homeschoolers is the formation of good habits in our children. As Ms. Mason wisely said, “The habits of the child produce the character of the man…” I’ve found this to be SO true!
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We all have habits – good and bad.
Good habits might be considered brushing teeth, chore routines, daily Bible reading, exercising, completing work on time, being joyful or using manners. Habits, then, cover everything from character to hygiene to household chores. Starting off with good habits is far easier than replacing bad habits, but getting rid of bad habits isn’t impossible.
Catherine Levison, author of A Charlotte Mason Education helps us recognize bad habits in our children when she says, “Charlotte Mason taught us that when you find yourself always telling (your children) to do the same thing, you have not trained them in the habits you wish they would perform.”
Amen to that, right? Charlotte Mason felt it best that you identify one habit that bothers you most and begin with it. Spend several days, and even weeks, training your child out of the bad habit and into a good one. (Many experts agree that it takes at least 21 days of routinely doing something before it becomes a habit.) Once the bad habit is replaced, then you move on to the next most annoying habit.
Sounds easy enough, but breaking habits is truly about training your child to do something.
And training = work for the parent. When mom gives up on the training, the habit either won’t happen, or will take much longer to form. Believe me, I know! Don’t be overwhelmed, though. As Charlotte Mason put it,“The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days; while she who lets their habits take care of themselves has a weary life of endless friction with the children.” In other words, you’ll quickly work yourself out of the job of habit training if you’re diligent in the beginning!
So, in short, mom (or dad) has to work on the habit just as hard as the child. If you desire that laundry should be brought to the laundry room every morning before breakfast, you’ll have to make sure it’s been done. That can come in many forms – reminding, charts, tokens, discipline, privileges, goal setting, contracts. (I won’t pretend to know the best method because every child is different. However, I will say that positive motivators seem to work better in my home.) No matter how you choose to keep track of the completion of the habit, you’ll have to keep track of it! It won’t help your child if you forget to make sure the habit was completed successfully.
I can honestly tell you that I’ve put forth the effort several times of forming good habits in my children and the rewards are worth the effort!
My children are by no means perfect and there are constant new challenges, but each new good habit brings them closer to the person I want them to be before they leave my home. And, you know, since God’s gonna be working on them through their entire lives, it’s good practice! 🙂
Habit Training Resources
I thought it might be nice to give you some examples of things you might use for habit training. In the past, I’ve always created my own charts, but these would certainly save you time and effort!
Wow! We only have one more day to go in this intensive CM series. I’m hoping you’ll stick with me one last time as I write about Our Typical Day tomorrow!