Reflecting on our homeschooling experiences, I think there are some habits of discipline that have paved the way to making our days go along smoothly and enjoyably together.
1. Keeping my habit of getting up on time. Although early rising can be a hard habit to establish, it has allowed me more freedom to pay attention to my own spiritual needs first thing in the morning and then minister to the needs of my family as they begin their day. I am alert when the troops rise up in the morning, greeting them with a smile and enthusiasm for the day that would not be there if I were just dragging myself out of bed at school time. There is also time to help them with developing good habits in grooming and housekeeping of their own.
|When I am rested I find I have more energy for making little touches of beauty around the home. Daffodils make me smile.|
2. Encouraging the habit of completing chores on time and with cheerfulness. My role has been to train them carefully to do a job well and then to set up a system to put the habit in place, making sure to keep it going. We have had several chore reminder systems over the years but the way that works the best is just to slowly introduce each chore, nurture the habit alongside them, rely on natural consequences that result when the chore is not done properly, and then praise the results when you observe the habit is in place. I also have expected that the chores be done cheerfully and if I ask them to do something I like them to respond with a *I would love to do it* sort of attitude. It can be done. I rarely have to say anything now because the boys go through their own mental checklist: bedroom chore, bathroom chore, kitchen chore, pet chore.
|Our Scripture Memory Box – Can you tell the boys decorated it years ago?|
3. Growing the habit of starting each school day with a scriptural thought. We choose to start school early so we can include fifteen minutes for reading the Bible aloud and sharing thoughts. We also include our scripture memory work at this time. (Thanks Simply Charlotte Mason for the free Scripture Memory System.) We have continued this even through their high school years and it has allowed me to see into their hearts during a time of growing and maturing. Once my boys leave home they will need that moral compass to guide and discipline them…this is a time for adjusting the compass and making sure they are actually looking at it daily.
4. Still perfecting the habit of planning ahead. When the children were younger, I was not always the most organized of homeschoooling moms. It was only out of sheer self-defense that I pulled myself together to have a plan for our homeschool. It was better to be equipped at the beginning of the day (or week), prepared with supplies and books needed. If we started a science project and we were missing a vital component, I soon lost everyone’s attention and chaos would break loose. If on the other hand I prepared ahead of time, looked at the week’s work and schedule, jotted some notes and lists of things to gather and prepare, and then arrived each morning with all the resources ready…..we had a great time learning together.
For our family, Homeschool Tracker has been a great asset. I started building the habit of planning ahead and then instilling the habit of attention in my children to actually look at their daily checklist and complete it. Now in high school they can function almost entirely from the list without much guidance from me. We have Monday planning meetings just to make sure we all are on the same page but for the most part their routine is firmly set in place and it goes off without a hitch.
So there you have my short list of habits that are partly habits nurtured in myself and partly habits developed in my children. I can see where these four habits have allowed us the freedom to arrive at each school day ready to enjoy our time together.
You can read more about our Charlotte Mason High School on my Squidoo page.