Charlotte Mason believed in spending the early years developing good habits that would bless the children and their teachers for the rest of their years. Her list of habits is pretty intimidating, but I try to keep reminding myself of the advice of the experienced Charlotte Mason homeschooling moms who tell me to focus on one habit at a time until it is formed (and this may take 6-8 weeks). So here are the habits we have worked on or are working on:
1. Obedience- this one is an ongoing process. The battle with the sin nature (on the part of both the parent and the child) is a challenging one. We started working on this when the kids were old enough to understand the word “No.” And we are still working on this one today.
2. Flushing the toilet and washing hands after using the restroom. I used marbles in a jar to positively reinforce this habit I desperately wanted my children to take care of independently. They enjoyed the marble system and are pretty consistent with this habit… though why did no one WARN me that I would be wiping bottoms loooong after they were potty trained?
3. Responding with “Yes, mommy,” (or daddy) when given an instruction or request or when called. We are using the marble jar still and still working on this one.
4. Morning Routine. We already had a sort of routine in the morning, but it was all directed by me and I recently decided that I would love for them to begin doing this independently. So I wrote the list of 5 things to do each morning and taped it to their wall. They can’t read, but for some reason, they still go to the list and look at it for their next instruction. (So cute, really.) I was actually surprised at how quickly they memorized the order of the routine. (though, this could be due to the fact that for the most part, we had already been doing these things in this order.)
- Pick up room
- Get dressed
- Brush hair
- Have breakfast
- Clear dishes
Now, I will encounter them in the morning and ask where they are in the list. They will recount what they have done so far and the step that they are on. We’ll keep working on this until it becomes automatic, but I am encouraged so far by their progress. Along with the morning routine, I am currently trying to also encourage the automatic clearing dishes off the table after every meal. I received some encouragement that this might be working because the day after I taped the list to their wall, my oldest decided that he wanted to make a “Naptime List.” It seems that he got a little off track the naptime theme at some point… it really is our dinner/bedtime routine that he wrote out… but what a great effort! He came to me with crayon and paper in hand and he chose the words and I helped him sound them out. Here is his list:
- Sing Read
Yay! He remembered that he needs to clear those dishes and put them in the sink. And he saved me from having to write down our bedtime routine- though he conveniently forgot about pick up time. 🙂 I guess picking up will be a habit we will have to work more on -in 6-8 weeks of course!