Making The Homeschool Habit Commitment
In my early years, realised that I’d been feeling so overwhelmed because my homeschool habits were terrible. I was tackling my children’s education from the wrong end. I was looking at all that I needed to teach rather than training them where they were at.
One night I dreamt about wooden blocks and on each block was written the name habit. If I wanted to build myself a block tower I needed to place one habit block on top of the other. When morning came I knew my focus for homeschooling needed to change if I was to succeed.
Thus began my new habit of making good homeschool habits.
From that time on I have seen the value of working on the now with homeschooling. Training now and not fretting about where I think I should be. If my child needs extra time studying a subject, we study it longer—even if it seems they are behind for their grade. If a math lesson has to stop because I need to deal with behaviour issues then it must stop. If we have to visit a sick Grandma, lessons can be cut short.
The homeschool habits and principles we are teaching are training their heart, mind and hands. I remind myself I am teaching the whole child not just a portion.
Homeschool Habits – A Key To Homeschool Sanity
Making your days go smoothly is also about teaching and training your children. Setting boundaries for acceptable behaviour and expectations helps them self regulate their behaviour.
Finding the balance between over instruction and no instruction is difficult because so much of our parenting is wrapped up in our personality and the way that we were parented. Yet child training is in the parent’s manifesto and being diligent in this area will reap rewards for you and your children.
There some unschooling circles there is a thought that children should determine their own boundaries. I do not subscribe to that theory.
The Bible says:
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
These wise words encourage us to take the role of training our children seriously so that when they are older they will benefit. When we train our children we work with them in their current situation. We don’t just set an expectation without teaching them how to achieve that goal.
When my children were young and I wanted them to clean their room I would sit in the room and instruct them on how to clean it. I would say, “Put all the cars in the car box. Put the blocks in the block box. Pull up the quilt on your bed.” I didn’t just say, “Clean your room!”, because that was too overwhelming.
Charlotte Mason on Homeschool Habits
“By this formula we mean the discipline of habits formed definitely and thoughtfully whether habits of mind or of body.” Charlotte Mason
Charlotte Mason’s teaching on habits reaches far beyond the educational realm. She emphasises how important it is to “lay down the rails” of good habits in our children’s lives (and our own). She wants us to ensure that they develop good habits in their educational pursuits and personal lives.
“We have lost sight of the fact that habit is to life what rails are to transport cars. It follows that lines of habit must be laid down towards given ends and after careful survey, or the jolting and delays of life become insupportable.” Charlotte Mason
Teach your kids how to stay on the rails!
Establish good habits! It sounds simple but it is not easy. The will is often present but the ability to implement these good habits can elude us.
“If we fail to ease life by laying down habits of right thinking and right acting, habits of wrong thinking and wrong acting fix themselves of their own accord.” Charlotte Mason
Identify the habit.
When we identify a new habit that we want to establish we then need to work at that habit. Charlotte wisely encourages us to only work on one habit at a time. I do agree that too many habits worked on at once leads to failure but as a mother I do work on more than one at a time.
A major goal for me as a parent is to lead my children into a strong relationship with God—the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is a relationship and I don’t want it to become a mechanical habit absent of true communion with God. But there are spiritual disciplines that I know will help them in this relationship. Bible reading, prayer, devotion, worship, giving and church attendance are all habits that need to be established for an effective Christian life. Therefore I make sure these habits are practiced in our home.
I have tried to set up chores in my house so that the children can have success. There is no point trying to set up a habit that has a slim chance of accomplishment.
This is hard in the early years before they can read but once they can read for themselves they need to start coming in to contact with the books themselves so that they can perform the act of knowing.
I used to wonder how to do this. How could I organise their day in such a way that they did the work for themselves? In the early days of homeschooling everything was so dependent on me and if I fell off the rails so did everyone else. Since I have been using the workbox system I have found it so much easier to keep them going when I was off on a needed detour.
This encompasses personal habits plus exercise.
Habits of the Mind.
“It is as we have seen disastrous when child or man learns to think in a groove, and shivers like an unaccustomed bather on the steps of a new notion. This danger is perhaps averted by giving children as their daily diet the wise thoughts of great minds, and of many great minds; so that they may gradually and unconsciously get the courage of their opinions.” Charlotte Mason
Allowing our mind to stretch and digest new ideas is a good thing for our children and for ourselves.
A more modern speaker on this topic is Steven Covey. Here is an interview he did for homeschool.com. Seven Habits of a Highly Successful Homeschooler
Again I have been challenged by the power of setting up homeschool habits and in my family. We do have many established good habits already in our home that I am pleased with, but there are still many more to work on.
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