Hey Mama Monday: Mama, Foster Good Study Habits in Your Children
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Classical education and Charlotte Mason education both vouch for creating good habits and starting them when the children are young. There are so many benefits that result from the forming of good habits. Peace is one of them. Wouldn’t we all like a dose of peace in our homeschool days?
It took me a few years of struggling with keeping everything under some kind of control until I learned about creating good habits. As soon as I created a schedule that would not change for the entire school year and kept the kids on that schedule, we found peace. I kept a simple list including their school subjects, the snack and lunch times, consistent chores in between, music practice, reading time, art, and the outside play times as part of the consistent schedule. The kids knew what to expect and when to expect it. They knew what was required of them and when they could take breaks. They just moved down their list every day and checked things off as they went.
Some kind of order and peace came into focus as we continued this good habit. Not only that, but the kids learned that there were rewards for getting work done without dawdling (more free time) and a feeling of accomplishment. I have kept these kinds of lists for each child for over 20 years now. Freedom from chaos begins with habit.
Here is what my favorite Charlotte Mason expert, Karen Andreola, said about the idea of habits: Trust in habit. Habit draws us forward to do the “next thing.” Children will readily do what is customary. “I can see how practical good habits are,” one mother shares. “When math is completed the children always look forward to a mid-morning snack, then to hearing an episode of history. After this refreshment, spelling is tackled automatically with drawing anticipated next.” During the first months of homeschool this mother made every effort to keep to a regular schedule of short lessons. Now, with less effort, habit carries her children smoothly and pleasantly through their morning schoolwork, more smoothly than at the start of the year. (Karen Andreola, “Educating by Faith, not Fear,” Summer 2010, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine)
What about you, dear parent? What kind of habits do you keep for yourself? Create some good habits for yourself as well. Add in the breaks, prayer time, chores, and moments with each child.
Jesus had a daily habit of meeting with His Father “as was His custom.” Even when many were seeking Him, He knew to stop and seek the direction of His Father: “He withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed” (Luke 5:16). May we make it our own habit to withdraw ourselves and seek the voice of our Father. When our mind is stayed on Him, we have great peace (Isaiah 26:3). And peace is the best reward for our harried homeschool days.
Deborah Wuehler is the Senior Editor and Director of Production here at The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. She would say she is a very ordinary homeschool mom–with one exception: she has an extra-ordinary God Who provides all she needs for life and homeschooling. She has eight children aged 11 to 29. Deborah’s mission is this: to point other homeschoolers to the Lord in all they do, think, and feel—and to confirm that they, too, can find everything they need for life, godliness–and homeschooling–in their knowledge of Him (2 Peter 1:3, 4).