habit building


"This is the law of habit, which holds good as much in doing kindnesses as in playing the piano.  Both habits come by practice; and that is why it is so important not to miss a chance of doing the thing we mean to do well.  We must not amuse ourselves with the notion that we have done something when we have only formed a good resolution.  Power comes by doing and not by resolving, and it is habit that serves us, whether it be the habit of Latin verse or of carving.  Also, and this is a delightful thing to remember, every time we do a thing helps to form the habit of doing it; and to do a thing a hundred times without missing a chance, makes the rest easy."  (CM Original Homeschooling Series Vol.4, Book 1, pp. 208,209)


"...this business of laying down lines towards the unexplored country of the child's future is a very serious and responsible one for the parent.  It rests with him to consider well the tracks over which the child should travel with profit and pleasure; and along these tracks, to lay down lines so invitingly smooth and easy that the little traveler is going upon them at full speed without stopping to consider whether or not he chooses to go that way." (CM Original Homeschooling Series Vol.1, pp. 108, 109)


"The habits of the child produce the character of the man, because certain mental habitudes once set up, their nature is to go on for ever unless they should be displaced by other habits.  Here is an end to the easy philosophy of, 'It doesn't matter.' 'Oh, he'll grow out of it,' 'He'll know better by-and-by,' 'He's so young, what can we expect?' and so on.  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." (CM Original Homeschooling Series Vol.1, pp. 118)


My youngest child will be a middle-schooler this year, so it feels like a good time to refresh and reinspire myself with homeschooling.  After a few years of interest led-learning, we are heading into a more structured season.  (This is an important part of homeschooling: the flexibility to adapt to circumstances and the changing needs of the child.)    

Two resources I'm enjoying this summer:  the All-Day Charlotte Mason Seminar on DVD  and Laying Down the Rails: A Charlotte Mason Habit Handbook

As I'm reading slowly through these reminders on building good habits, I find myself understanding them in a new way.   Nearly every day for two months we've been working on the habit of exercise.  It's tremendously hard work, and the habit is not established yet.  I don't know who said that it takes 21 days to form a habit, but they are wrong.  I'm this close to sleeping in and going back to lazy-ville every day.  But making that difficult decision to crawl out of bed and put on my running shoes day after day after day is teaching me how to apply that determination and consistency to our home and learning life.  Developing habits in myself has been the best instructor of all.

As of today, we've run/walked over a 100 miles since May. 

I also finished the three-year blanket, as you can see in the picture.  I'm kind of sad...that work has kept me company all these years through movies and soccer games and audio books.  Fortunately, all the kids want one of their own, so unless I improve my pace I've got 12 years of blankets ahead of me.  :)

As Charlotte Mason said:  "The fact is, that the things we do a good many times over leave some sort of impression in the very substance of our brain: and this impression, the more often it is repeated, makes it the easier for us to do the thing the next time."

I've got lots of blankets and lots of miles in my future, Lord willing. 

Hope your day is full of good work and lots of joy.



*Blanket notes:  inspired by Alicia.  Pattern: Jan Eaton "Soft Waves"  200 Ripple Stitch Patterns

Yarn:  Karabella Merino Superwash  (gorgeous, soft yarn. I'm really happy with it.)

Cat:  Mo...our street rat, rescued last summer with his mom and 12 (!) siblings from an abandoned garage and now loved and spoiled dearly.