Habit training is the one of the most important things you can do to create a calm homeschool environment and children who practice good character. Let’s face it, if we are not teaching habits purposefully then we teaching habits passively. Intentionally implementing habit training will provide a strong foundation for conduct.
“The habits of the child produce the character of the man . . .every day, every hour, the parents are either passively or actively forming those habits in their children upon which, more than upon anything else, future character and conduct depend.” –Charlotte Mason
Now we are all in, right? Except now we are left with wondering how to implement this magic into our homeschools. The promise of perfectly behaved children and smooth homeschool days is too much to turn down.
Well, take a step back. There is no magic here and perfect children and smooth homeschool days can never be promised.
Yet, we can begin a foundation through consistent effort to create a calm homeschool with children who are acting on the character habits built in them more often than not. It will take purposeful consistent training from us as well as modeling the proper behavior ourselves.
Charlotte Mason said that obedience was the most important habit to teach. Without obedience no other habit can be established effectively. A child who learns the habit of obedience will complete that exhausting math assignment, get her chores done, and go to bed on time.
A child who is taught there are exceptions to obedience will take that exception every time. Therefore, a child cannot be allowed anything but obedience.
To avoid these displays of willfulness, the mother will insist from the first on an obedience which is prompt, cheerful, and lasting–save for lapses of memory on the child's part. Tardy, unwilling, occasional obedience is hardly worth the having; and it is greatly easier to give the child the habit of perfect obedience by never allowing him in anything else, than it is to obtain this mere formal obedience by a constant exercise of authority. –Charlotte Mason
The first habit to instill in your homeschool must be obedience. To begin, discuss the meaning of obedience with your children. Provide a memory verse which highlights obedience. Now, you will become a watchdog for not only disobedience but obedience.
When you spot your child showing obedience be quick to thank the child. If a child is disobedient you must address it promptly and calmly. For instance, if you ask a child to put away her toys the clear expectation is that she immediately obeys. If she does not, then you must address it.
Continuing to give the same command will not encourage a habit. You must go over to the child and ask her if she heard you. Ask her to repeat the command she was given and what that means she should do.
Encourage her to reflect on the memory verse or definition of obedience. You want the child to recall the habit as opposed to “If I told you once, I told you a million times.”
Free Habit Training Printable
Click the image to open the full-size in a new window for printing.
This free printable will aid you in implementing habit training in your homeschool. Discuss the printable with your child and have her fill it out. Keep it where the child can review it on a regular basis.
You can print one for each character trait you are trying to implement. However, it is best to only work on one to two habits at a time until you feel your child is ready to move on to the next one.
Happy habit training!