Charlotte Mason said, "We are not unwilling to make efforts in the beginning with the assurance that by-and-by things will go smoothly; and this is just what habit is, in an extraordinary degree, pledged to effect. The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days; while she who lets their habits take care of themselves has a weary life of endless friction with the children." (Vol. 1, p. 136)
Here are some other quotes from Charlotte Mason concerning Habit Training:
"The habits of the child produce the character of the man, because certain mental habitudes once set up, their nature is to go on forever unless they should be displaced by other habis. 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." (Vol.I, p.118)
"Educate the child in right habits and the man's life will run in them, without the constant wear and tear of the moral effort of decision. once, twice, three times in a day, he will still, no doubt, have to choose between the highest and the less high, the best and the less good course. But all the minor moralities of life may be made habitual to him. He has been brought up to be courteous, prompt, punctual, neat, considerate; and he practises these virtues without conscious effort. It is much easier to behave in the way he is used to, than to originate a new line of conduct." (Vol. 2, p.124)
"The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days.Consider how laborious life would be were its wheels not greased by habits of cleanliness, neatness, order courtesy; had we to make the effort of decision about every detail of dressing and eating, coming and going, life would not be worth living.Every cottaeg mother knows that she must train her child in habits of decency, and a whole code of habit causes a shock to others which few children have courage to face. Physical fitness, morals and manners, are very largely the outcome of habit; and not only so, but the habits of the religious life also become fixed and delightful and give us dues support in the effort to live a godly, righteous and sober life." (Vol 6, p. 103)
"In conclusion, let me say that the education of habit is successful in so far as it enables the mother to let her children alone, not teasing them with perpetual commands and directions--a running fire of Do and Don't; but letting them go their own way and grow, having first secured that they will go the right way, and grow to fruitful purpose. The gardener, it is true, 'digs about and dungs,' prunes and trains, his peach tree; but that occupies a small fraction of the tree's life: all the rest of the time the sweet airs and sunshine, the rains and dews, play about it and breathe upon it, get into its substance, and the result is --peaches. But let the gardener neglect his part, and the peaches will be no better than sloes." (Vol 1, p 134)
"In many cases, the natural consequence of the child's fault is precisely that which it is [the mother's] business to avert, while, at the same time, she looks about for some consequence related to the fault which shall have an educative bearing on the child: for instance, if a boy neglects his studies, the natural consequence is that he remains ignorant.; but to allow him to do so would be criminal neglect on the part of the parent." (Vol. 1, pp. 148, 149).
"Whether habits are planned and created conscientiously, or allowed to be haphazardly filled in by chance, they are habits all the same. Habit rules ninety-nine percent of everything we do." (Vol 1, page 110)
"Habits of mind become physical reality on brain tissue and that's why habit is so powerful. It isn't all in the mind, it's physical, too." (Vol 1, page 114)
"It takes a few weeks of work to build a new habit. Once the habit is in place, it must be guarded diligently to prevent a reversion to the old ways, but keeping watch is not stressful or difficult once the new habit is secure." (Vol 1, page 121)
"One last word about habit--the point of training children to have good habits is so that they'll do things without being nagged or scolded. Then the mother isn't constantly chasing them down with a barrage of commands and reminders. She can leave them alone to thrive in their own way once habit has secured a boundary for them to grow in." (Vol 1, page 134)
Charlotte Mason's methods have been an integral part of our homeschool, and her "ideas" about children and homeschooling have made an immense impact on my life as a mother and a homeschool "teacher". Her counsel has changed our course many times, and I count her amoung the many blessings God has bestowed upon us.
And now, while we are gathered together again daily for "school", we will begin again to focus intensely on the Habits of our family and the Habits we hold individually. We are called to be "in" the world, but not "of" it. We are called to be a Light. And as children of Our Lord, we need to instill in ourselves (and in our families) good Habits not only for childhood or adolescense, but for life. To be holy, to be righteous ... as we are called to be.
Please pray for us as we go about this adventure, again ...
** The above quotes were collected online from various Charlotte Mason / AO sources in an effort to save my eyes from going over page after tatered page of Miss Mason's series, again. BTW - Miss Mason's series is well worth reading and can be found in it's original form here and a modern english "translation" can be found here.