I’ve been fascinated with Charlotte Mason’s writings on Habits. I’m reading through her book series with an online group, and we need to move on to the next section, but all I want to do is keep studying Ms. Mason’s section on habits until I have it memorized! It all makes such sense to me that if I train myself and my children in good habits, so many things will come easily to us! For example, if we train ourselves to go to bed in a timely manner, to shut the door after us as we go out, to wipe the sink when we’ve used it, all of these little things will just come naturally to us and we won’t have to think of doing them as “chores.” I guess I was already practicing this in housekeeping, but I called my housekeeping habits “routines.”
Habits can help us in bigger ways. The habit of attention will help our children (and us, if we also learn it!) to focus on a task until its completion. Charlotte Mason suggests that a child’s task be broken up into smaller parts, perhaps into 10-minute chunks of time. For those 10 minutes, the child is expected to give the task his full attention, thus forming the habit of attention.
In Charlotte Mason’s section entitled VII.–The Forming Of A Habit–‘ Shut The Door After You’, she quotes this excerpt from Marlowe:
Here is a link to the section on habits written by Charlotte Mason Please don’t give up just because the reading is hard at the beginning. If you need to, scroll down to the section mentioned above, called VII. — The Forming of a Habit — ‘Shut the Door After You’. After reading this section, you may feel more prepared to go back and read the previous one.
Don’t skip reading these! These writings are fascinating to me, as they deal with the Habits of the Mind, including the Habit of Attention, which I am sorely needing to teach to one of my children.
Lori Seaborg 2006