Good Habits the best Schoolmasters.––Not mere spurts of occasional punishment, but the incessant watchfulness and endeavour which go to the forming and preserving of the habits of the good life, is what we mean by discipline; and, from this point of view, never were there such disciplinarians as the parents who labour on the lines we would indicate. Every habit of courtesy, consideration, order, neatness, punctuality, truthfulness, is itself a schoolmaster, and orders life with the most unfailing diligence. A habit is so easily formed, so strong to compel.(Vol 2 pg 174)
Charlotte Mason has much to share in regards to “Education is a Discipline.” When reading her writings it is very apparent that her definition of discipline is by no means merely contained to academics. One of the most daunting realisations as a parent is the awareness that we are responsible for all areas of our children’s formation and yet, daunting as this may be this acceptance brings an acknowledgement that this precious trust is from our Creator. We can do no less than bravely step forth and do our best, faltering at times but striving to always move forward.
By Education is a discipline, is meant the discipline of habits formed definitely and thoughtfully, whether habits of mind or body. (Vol 1 Preface)
Of Charlotte Mason’s three foundations of education, I confess to finding “Education is a Discipline” the hardest to consistently implement. I am very aware of the benefits both in the short term and the long for self-discipline in all areas of our life, I strive to model and implement but alas consistency continues to be my weakness. Re-reading Charlotte Mason’s volumes more frequently would be most advisable for those who struggle like I, as she is not only inspirational but her volumes contain much ‘plain common sense.’
Once I became aware of the impact we have on the lifetime habits of our children, I became conscious that as I strove to; maintain a regular routine, to introduce healthy hygiene habits, to aid a child in forming a solid interior disposition and to led a faithful prayer life, our parenting was not a series of isolated incidences of; “make your bed”, “brush your teeth,” “time for lessons to begin” and “Have you prayed today?,” but all these pieces formed part of the whole person. These moments have not just an impact on the ‘here and now’ but in the years ahead.
As home educating parents without external deadlines I believe it can become all too easy at times to fall into poor habits; to arise at irregular times, to begin our lessons in a lackadaisical manner, or to drop study at will for non sufficient reasons. Indeed there have been periods of time when I have been gulity of this, and for a season this can be a necessity, but how long can a season be? We need to be careful that we are not fostering years of poor habits.
Recently when our oldest left home it was apparent that there was no more time to form good habits. The time was past and she left with her habits already instilled, for better or worse. I encourage you to begin working on the formation of one habit today, remembering each isolated incident forms part of the whole child.
The well-brought-up child has always been a child carefully trained in good habits. (Vol 2 pg174)
*Please do not be under the mis-assumption I ‘have it all together’ and my children are perfect, I do not and they are not, but still we keep striving.
Participating in CM Blog Carnival over at Epi Kardia
The next Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival on April 3rd will be hosted at Jimmie’s Collage.
Theme – Living Books (definition of, why we use them, our favorites, choosing books, etc.)