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 103Now, here is the catch:
Habit, working thus according to nature is simply nature in action, growing strong by exercise. Volume 1 pg 105And:
...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 107This 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.