Friday, July 1, 2011

Reflection on "Habit is Ten Natures"

I have to admit, it took me quiet a while to get through the third section of Volume 1 Home Education: Habit is Ten Natures.  With summer fully upon us and end of the year school activities, I had a hard time finding the time to fully absorb and appreciate this very important part.  Or maybe it was because this was an area in which I had to reflect on myself and what I conceive to be my biggest weakness when it comes to Ms. Mason's philosophy on habit formation and training.  I don't want to make excuses for myself, but lets face it; I have four very rambunctious little boys (all age six and under) full of energy.   Just this week we had to cut our walk down the hill to the park short.  Why? I had to make my first trip to the ER for stitches; after one of the boys ran down the hill and kissed a fire hydrant with his chin.  Who?  My three year old precocious bundle of 100% all boy. 

I do whole heartily agree with Ms. Mason's philosophy of habit training and more importantly the nature of children:
The nature of the child - his human nature - being the sum of what he is as a human being, and what he is in right of the stock he comes of, and what he is as the result of his own physical and mental constitution - this nature is incalculably strong. Volume 1 pg 103
Now, here is the catch:
Habit, working thus according to nature is simply nature in action, growing strong by exercise. Volume 1 pg 105
And:
...to perceive that it rests with parents and teachers to lay down lines of habit on which the life of the child may run henceforth with little jolting  or miscarriage, and may advance in the right direction with the minimum effort. Volume 1 pg 107
This is my weakness.  I humble myself to our Lord and pray everyday for guidance, grace and patience to instill proper habits in all aspects of my children's lives.  How can I pass along the virtues of good habits to my children so that their nature always guides them down the right path?  This is the area where I always know I need to improve.  I am not perfect and I have weaknesses that I must overcome myself.  If I can never remember to water the plants, I'm certainly not going to be able to train my kids on that habit.  If I can't recognize a wrong doing and apologize, how can they know that is the right thing to do?

No matter what the habit might be, this is the one area where our success relies first on evaluating our own nature.   I try my best to provide my children with an atmosphere that I think will aide in the formation of good habits.  I have to admit my husband and I have become loving partners gracefully reminding each other when there is a fault we could use some improvement on.  It isn't easy to see when you have a fault, but sometimes its much harder to tell and listen to someone else.  I am grateful that we have each other to do this for.  Then, it is only with a humble spirit, prayer and service to the Lord that we can improve our nature.  We make each other better people, at least we hope we do.  I know that this is also true with our children.   We should always strive to make them good people;  loving God and all its creation.  They are still very young, but it is important to start now.  I can't wait for them to be old enough to understand. That day may never come or they might just not be willing to listen. 

With this in mind and being dedicated  to a living education, I decided to add one more of Ms. Mason's subjects to our school year.  We have always had faith & religion studies and they will forever be on our schedule, this will certainly guide our children down the right path.  In addition, however, we will also have a specific time slot for Habits & Virtues.  I am planning to have one day a week devoted to this area; as a purposeful part of our education.  The little ones will listen and have weekly copywork (for my 1st grader) from:  A Treasury of Goops by Gelett Burgess, Manners Can Be Fun by Munro Leaf, and Manners in God's House.  My third grader will be working her way through Queens Homeschool, Copywork for Girls and listening to the little boys read alouds.  My oldest, a sixth grader, is receiving a special virtuous girl packet from me later this summer.  It will include a beautiful rosary, Beautiful Girlhood revised by Karen Andreola along with the companion book and her very own KJV personalized Bible.
All this to say that I am mindful of the importance of good habit formation and the nature of our children; especially knowing that it is my responsibility to lead and guide.  I'm hoping to read some more on this area and become more comfortable with the process Ms. Mason describes in the latter part of this section.   This will be an ongoing process around here.

5 comments:

Eva said...

My daughter has enjoyed the copywork from Quueenshomeschool a lot.

Grace'n'Chaos said...

I'm so glad to hear that, this is the first time I'll be using one of their books :)

Pam... said...

You have some very good ideas. I may borrow a few. We also love Queens. We use the ones for handwriting with picture studies.
I've thought about the copywork books too. So many good choices.

I loved reading the Goops when young, and memorized a few paragraphs. I will look at that book you mentioned.

I was just reading Vol. 2 on habits and God stopped me there. I am trying to read it slowly, this time of reading it is really hitting home.

Grace'n'Chaos said...

Pam, I liked the treasury because of the color illustrations and selection of a few Goop tales so I knew that would appeal to my younger aged boys. I do have on my wishlist the original Goop books just in case they really enjoy them. I hadn't thought about this for memorization work. I like that.

I am bracing myself for her other writings in this area ;)

Amy said...

Jenny,
I love your idea of giving your daughter a "virtuous girl" packet. I am very inspired to do the same with my daughter. Thank you for such a lovely idea.