Friday, June 20, 2014

Habit is Ten Natures - Charlotte Mason

Pin It

Hello!  Welcome to our continuing discussing the book Home Education by Charlotte Mason.   I'm hoping that these discussions will be really practical and encouraging for all of us!  I will bring up some areas of the chapter that I'm trying to implement in my home this summer, and I would love for you to share your thoughts in the comment section below!

Habit is Ten Natures

This chapter (Part III) is all about habits!  I can tell you that I've been waiting for this one.  I think my husband and I started out pretty well with our kids, but as the years have gone on we have gotten more lax and they have developed some bad habits.  I definitely needed the encouragement of this chapter!  I related to this quote from the beginning of the chapter:

All this zeal notwithstanding, the disappointing thing was, that nothing extraordinary happened.  The children were good on the whole...but it was plain that they behaved very much as ''twas their nature to.'

Since the beginning of my parenting journey, I have always had trouble balancing training and grace.  I lean much more toward training, to a fault, really.  I have a hard time understanding exactly where grace comes in if our job as parents is to train our children.  Charlotte Mason said something here that really stuck out to me.  Seriously, I think this is going to forever change my understanding of parenting.

Pin It

I am very good at the LAW part of that, and do you know what?  My kids really don't do much that is bad.  The problem I've noticed recently is that they are lacking in a lot of good fruit.  I just don't see a lot of goodness, gentleness, kindness, love, etc. coming from them (I'm not saying none, just not a lot).  Now I think I understand!  The LOVE part is what helps them to be good-natured.  I'm sure a lot of you already have this down pat, but it was very thought provoking for me.

***Side note, obviously I love my children.  I'm not trying to say that I don't =)  I think the eye-opening part was just about connecting love to the training aspect of producing goodness in my children.***

Ms. Mason spends a good part of the chapter talking about why habits are so important.  She gives imagery like a locomotive  running easily on the tracks laid before it.  Practicing a good habit over and over is like wearing a groove (or laying a track) for the child to easily follow once the habit is established.

She talks about helping your child to remember the things you are working to make habits.  Be like an ally to him.  Do not shout after them, yelling that they forgot something (or need to do something quicker, etc.).  Speak pleasantly to them, and look expectantly at them, ready to cheer them on in their success!

Make natural consequences and rewards for your child's failures and successes.  If your child finishes something quickly or correctly, give them a few minutes of leisure to do as they please.  If they do not, cheer them on in getting it right, but they miss out on the reward of free time.

Good Habits for Children

So now that we've talked about creating habits, what kind of good habits should we try to work on?  Obviously this will look different in each family.  Some children will already have certain good habits and other things will vary because of different acceptable customs, but still I think it's good to talk about a few ideas.  I will share some that I have thought of and some that are shared in the book.  Then, you add your own ideas in the comments!  I can't wait to hear some things you have already worked on and others that you want to work on this summer.

Before I go on, let me mention that you will want to work on one habit at a time =)  I can get overwhelmed reading lots of great ideas in a book like this one, but when I can think of it one step at a time, it becomes manageable!

One more thing.  Ms. Mason mentions that a habit isn't really made until the child can to the thing himself.  So, while we work on these things from an early age, the true test is when your child is old enough to do it on his own without reminding.


  • Brushing teeth in the morning and bedtime
  • Washing hands before meals
  • Getting dressed in the morning


  • Putting toys back neatly after use
  • Putting dirty clothes in the hamper
  • Keeping their room neat
  • Clearing their dishes after eating a meal


  • Waking up at a consistent time
  • Getting ready for bed at a reasonable time
  • Not grazing on food all day, but eating well at meals


  • Responding right away to parents
  • Not responding "No" or in a contrary manner to parent
  • Following instructions quickly, cheerfully, and completely


  • Being kind to siblings/friends
  • Letting others go first
  • Helping others 

I'm sure I'm missing some good habits.  

Which other ones can you think of?

Which do you want to work on in your family?

This week only, you can find amazing resources at a deep discount to help you with your Charlotte Mason plans for this summer and next year!

Save BIG at the 2018 Build Your Bundle Sale!

 photo SubscribeButton_zpsdc17ac56.png


  1. Lovely post. I also have one of those generally "good" kids but have been lax in teaching good habits. This post is a great reminder. (And you're really making me want to reread Charlotte's books!)

    1. Thanks, Tonia! I'm definitely seeing that I have so much to work on =)

      I'm glad you've read the books. Feel free to share your thoughts on any of the sections!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...