I've recently been enjoying snippets of Charlotte Mason's teaching as I usually do throughout each new learning term. Currently I'm perusing "Laying Down the Rails" available at the Simply Charlotte Mason site. (This is a site well worth visiting if you are inclined to a CM lifestyle of learning as we are, and I still learn something new each time I visit.) Much like each time I pick up one of my well-worn copies of the Six Volume Series by Charlotte Mason.
Anyhoo, "Laying Down the Rails" focuses on Habit Training, and as many of you know, Charlotte was big on this. How could a child be expected to behave in a learning atmosphere if he/she is misbehaved in any other aspect of his or her life? They even have a handy habit training checklist for parent's to keep track of yearly progress for their children. The Habits are are indexed as well with references to the 6 Volume Series. This is nice for quick reference. You can download a sample of "Laying Down the Rails" if you think it might be beneficial in deciding whether or not to purchase this useful homeschool companion. Additionally, there are many other great articles and valuable information at Simply Charlotte Mason for you to peruse as well and the site is a nice way to introduce yourself to this gentle learning lifestyle that has been successful in many homes for over 100 years :)
So what am I doing to intentionally initiate habit training in my home and family??? Good question, it's a process for sure (said with a long "o")! Aside from the usual mommy banter that plagues my home daily and potentially some "loud" inferences to poor behavior in some un-named individuals, we kind of just work on it bit-by-bit. It certainly isn't rocket science in my home, but particular temperments tend towards better behavior than others. Most especially if they are over aged 6 years or so. Hmm, that leaves the littlest guy in my possesion to be the "trainee" of sorts at the current moment. Not that the others can't use some spit and polish now and again, but the age factor definately plays into the whole "habit training" genre.
What works for me may not work at all for someone else, and this is all a bit tongue-in-cheek, but my guess is that consistency is the key to forming positive lasting habits in our little people. Discipline is as it's root suggests, to be a disciple or student, and it helps if the learning atmosphere is conducive to discipleship. The gentle art of teaching is just that, it isn't forced. Those of us on the teaching side of things are trying to remember this on a daily basis ;-)
Some things that are working for us right now ~
- regular meal times preceded by prayers (grace, angelus, Sts. ejaculations)
- chores assigned as age allows (ie. 6 yo and above make bed daily upon waking)
- asking politely to "be excused" before leaving the table after meals
- washing hands upon entering the home from the out of doors, before any meal, and of course after using the restroom
- staying consistent with the "Please Ask" rule for any food retrieval, treats, or activities like computer use, and knowing that the answer might not always be "yes" and that no whining ensues (working very had on this with the littlest, thank you Halloween candy bag that needs to be thrown away!!)
- bathing without splashing all over the bathroom
- sorting laundry for washing
- AND, the BIGGIE...Right Away Obedience, constant tending on this one...
I like using the Character Building Cards found in the CHC First Grade Lesson Plans even at the preschool level. They are very sweet and affirming and for sticker loving little fingers, perfect for awarding little triumphs along the way to forming good habits :)
I'd love to hear what you are doing in terms of intentional or even un-intentional habit training in your neck of the woods. Especially if you have something that has worked particularly well and would like to share it with others here!
Many blessings and have a great day!!