Taking Care to Make Good Habits-Charlotte Mason Education

Dad's Orchids
Just like a beautiful orchid, habits take time and patience to cultivate. If you are diligent, you will see them blossom.

Our family tries to make good habits when it comes to things like being grateful to our Creator, seeing the beauty in all that is around us, and enjoying the arts. All these habits come with the slow, gradual passing of time. The fruits of these good habits may not be seen for many years but they are certainly worth working on.

Habits and ideas are talked about in Charlotte Mason’s series of books. In my continuing effort to read through her series, I read chapter 9 in Volume 3 School Education. This chapter is titled “A Review of A Great Educationalist”. (Don’t let the title fool you, this chapter has some gems in it if you just read straight through.)

On page 99 there is a section that really caught my eye. Here she says:

Character doesn’t just come from exposing children to great ideas. It’s also the result of habits that we strive to instill based on those ideas. We recognize both principles–idea and habit. The result is that we have a wide range of possibilities in education, practical methods, and definite aim. Our goal is to produce a human being who is the best he can be physically, intellectually, ethically and spiritually; a person who will have the enthusiasm of religion, full life, nature, knowledge, art and physical work.

Ideas start in the brain and then we make habits to go along with those ideas. When we homeschool our children we have the opportunity to start so many good habits and fix bad habits, not by rewards but by putting good ideas into our children’s heads. She also says on that same page:

The culture of habit is a physical endeavor, to a certain degree. The discipline of habit makes up a third of education.

Good habits in our children start with good habits on our part. It takes time and patience to develop good habits like doing chores without being asked, being polite, being generous, paying attention, not wasting time, and being truthful. Habit training should bring joy to your family. There are far less times of friction as each family member strives to apply good habits, one habit at a time if necessary.


Fascinating People: It is More Than Just You

coloma river 5 really good one
American River, Coloma, California

Charlotte Mason day! For those that are new readers, Friday is my day to make a blog entry on something that interests me from my reading in Charlotte Mason‘s books on education. If you are interested in knowing more about how to implement her ideas in your homeschool you can check out Ambleside Online.

Once again, volume 3 chapter 8.…I promise the last post on this chapter. (There are lots more points to talk about but I will move on.)

“The carpenter, the gardener, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker are all fascinating people.”
page 87

Think of all the people your children comes into contact with every week. Who interests them the most? I have observed in my boys that they are most interested in people who have jobs that actually *do* things. The telephone guy up on the pole, the man digging a hole with a backhoe, the man filling the propane tank, and the lady at the dry cleaners doing all sorts of interesting things in the backroom. They talk to the librarian, the clerk at the grocery, our mail carrier, the UPS guy, and the lady at Jamba Juice. They talk the ear off our family doctor, the lady at the lab where they have blood drawn, and they tell jokes to the dentist.

All of these people in our lives take the time to share themselves with the boys because they take an interest. My boys have learned that if they ask questions in a respectful way, most people are happy to answer. Charlotte Mason had it right, “If we accept that the priority of education should be establishing relationships, then the relationships between our fellow human beings should be the most important ones to establish.” pg. 85

Harmony Art Mom

Just What is Picture Study?

Harmony Fine Arts What is Picture Study harmonyfinearts

Many times people ask me just what is picture study. Here are some simple steps that have worked for our family for many years.

Simple Steps for Picture Study

1. Choose the painting to be viewed.
2. Have the child sit quietly and just look at the painting.
3. After a time of looking, hide the painting from view and ask your child to tell you what he remembers about the painting. Have them list the literal objects they see in the painting like trees, people, animals, mountains, rivers, etc.
4. That’s it. It’s as simple as that.
5. To extend the activity for older students, you may have them sketch the painting from memory.

Harmony Fine Arts Plans include picture study in every year plan. Each week has a clickable link to an online image that you can use in your picture study.

If you are having trouble with your children narrating back what they see in the painting, you can go over some vocabulary with them so they have the words to give you.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

What kinds of lines do you see?

  • sharp
  • thick
  • jagged
  • heavy
  • choppy
  • vertical
  • diagonal
  • fuzzy
  • thin
  • curved
  • graceful

What kinds of textures do you see?

  • rough
  • smooth
  • hard
  • shiny

What shapes do you see?

  • circles
  • rectangles
  • triangles
  • squares

What colors do you see?

  • bright
  • dark
  • strong
  • reds/oranges/yellows
  • blues/greens/purples
  • browns/whites/grays

There is also a free printable you can use if you need a little something extra.

Harmony Fine Arts - Printable art cards

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