Charlotte Mason discovered kids were not creating good habits. Habits help us develop self-discipline and Godly character. For example, forming the habit of making your bed every morning helps children become disciplined. Being self-disciplined leads to Godly character.
So, habits should be an integral part of your Charlotte Mason homeschool. To find out what other life and academic aspects are integral to Charlotte Mason (and other forms of homeschooling), click here.
Where do you start in teaching habits to your kids?
It is vital for your family to have a routine, which develops the habit of concentration, the habit of truthfulness, the habit of self-control, the habit of cooperation, and the habit of unselfishness. All of these are habits that we need to be developing in our kids and they’re not going to happen overnight. I really think it’s hard to work on all of them at one time.
Choose whether you will work on one habit for each child or one habit for your entire family. You know your kids, their strengths and weaknesses. Keep checking on them, so they don’t lose a habit. Once your children learn the habit of cooperation, be sure they continue to cooperate with their siblings and friends.
The best way to develop habits is to follow a routine. Our morning routine looked like this.
- Family devotions at breakfast
- Mom cleans the kitchen
- Kids got dressed, straightened up their room, made their bed, brush teeth
- Take turns practicing the piano
- Sing memory song with CD
- Ready to start our school day
- Our time together began with reading poetry
- Read aloud
With our routine, our children knew what was expected of them. They developed the habit of cooperation by taking turns on the piano. They developed the habit of concentration by listening to our read aloud book. They developed the habit of self-control by sharing the memory song CD.
Use whatever routine works for your family. Use your routine to develop good habits in your children.
Another routine that is imperative to implement is bedtime. That may sound silly but children need their rest and they need to know when bedtime is every night. They need the security of knowing what is expected of them. This includes when they are expected to be in bed.
And parents need time alone at night. Time to re-acquaint themselves after a long day.
We put our kids to bed at 8:00 pm so we had time together as a couple. I remember Steve calling his friend at 9:30 and hearing the kids in that family. Steve told me he didn’t understand why other couples didn’t put their kids to bed, so they could spend a couple hours together…by themselves. Homeschoolers, you need time with your spouse alone. If you don’t have a bedtime routine, start one tonight!
Routine build good habits.
Routine build self-discipline.
Routine build good Godly character.
Habit of Concentration
One way to develop concentration is by reading out loud to your kids and having them narrate back to you what they heard. It’s a quick & easy way to see if they are concentrating on what is being read.
Habit of Truthfulness
We had two actions that received an automatic spanking: disrespecting your mother and lying. Our children knew you don’t lie and you don’t disrespect your mother. If either of these actions occurred, you can be sure that Dad would be involved.
If your children don’t learn to tell the truth at a young age, they won’t be truthful to their boss, to their spouse or to their best friend. Truthfulness should be expected in your house. Begin at an early age developing the habit of truthfulness.
Habit of Obedience
Obedience is one of the first habits to develop in your child. When they learn to obey you, they also learn to respect authority. If you want obedience, be sure to follow through when they disobey. This takes as much discipline and follow-through from parents, as it does from children. When kids were not obeying regularly, it usually stemmed from “me” not being consistent in my child training. What about you?
On the other hand, if all you do is bark orders, Charlotte Mason says it’s grievous. It is a burden to kids when they hear command heaped upon command heaped upon command. You should offer a balance, being careful what orders you give your kids. When you ask them to do something, they need to obey, fulfilling that request. And, you need to follow through on the those orders. Again, back to consistency.
Habit of Dinner Time
Another habit that I personally think is important is eating meals together. Too often we are rushing about to thousands of activities. Any one of those activities is good, but what is the sum of all of them together? Not always good. (adapted from Susan Schaeffer Macaulay – For the Children’s Sake)
Find time to eat meals together. As you eat together, you will allow your children to develop other good habits (& good manners). Your children will learn a lot, simply by sitting at the table and eating together.
What habits are you developing in your kids in your Charlotte Mason homeschool?
This post is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to giving your kids a Charlotte Mason education. To get more details about using Charlotte Mason’s approach to education (or your homeschool), check out our Charlotte Mason Tool Kit.
.Question: What habits are you developing in your kids? in your Charlotte Mason homeschool? You can leave a comment by clicking here.