Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Habit/Character Training

I absolutely LOVE Charlotte Mason. I heard of her a few year back while reading up on homeschooling methods. Her's has stuck out to me more than any others. However, I really didn't quite know how to apply what I was learning until now.

I've been praying over certain aspects of our lives. Two very important ones, and God has led me to 2 really wonderful places to start.

The first one was getting to "know" the Duggars a bit better by watching the show and reading their books. Funny thing is, I know God wanted me to read their books, because I had just gotten into watching their show about a month ago, and a week later my friend said, "hey, do you watch the Duggars? We should each buy one of their books and then trade." Boy, am I glad we did. They have inspired me to dig deeper on training our children. I have really learned so much from them and have deep respect for them.

The 2nd place God led me to (again) was Charlotte Mason. Only this time around somehow He filled my mind with ways to apply her method.

One of my favorite books about her is For the Children's Sake. I read it about a year ago and thought I loved it then...I pulled it out the other day, and it was like I was reading it for the first time. I just couldn't put it down. I underlined things and then went back and reread it to my husband. He seemed to enjoy it. I think *grin*

Okay, so back to the 2 things I've been praying about.

1) Jaiden being homeschooled. That tug has never left my heart. As much as I've needed the break from the crazy year we had last year, we're definitely feeling he should be home again ONE day, and that's where God is leading us. I love this article on homeschooling special needs children.

My only problem is: TV. He loves it, I don't. I long for my children to play, to read, to use their minds. Children don't do that while they're watching tv, him especially. This problem has been caused by using tv as a rewarding system used by his old school using an ABA type therapy. He didn't get that type of reward at home, and that caused MAJOR meltdowns.

One of the first chapters in For the Children's Sake is about tv. She talks about children having space to play. Outside. Making mud pies, climbing trees, riding bikes. They need to make noise, make messes, and have access to raw materials like old clothes for dress up, and tables and sheets for forts. They need boudaries of course but they also really need space to be children.

We are now on a path to doing much better, but he still "needs" the tv to be "happy".

I had asked God, to help us with this tv situation and finding new things that he could be interested in at home like reading possibly?! Then I read this book and it just hit me right then.

He get's about an hour or so after school to watch tv. I would justify that he has been working all day at school and needed the break. Well, I'm sorry, we can all find ways to unwind without tv and so can he. Without quitting tv cold turkey, I am going to take it down 15 minutes at a time each week until after about a month it will be no tv and just playing. I'm praying it will have been so gradual he won't depend on tv and might not notice the transition as much. While we're doing that I have come up with plans to work with him on reading, baking, play games, outside time, and natural toys such as blocks, jump rope, playdough, legos, garden work etc. We started yesterday, and I could tell it made him a bit anxious, but we'll just keep going.

Please, if you don't mind, be in prayer with me about this?

The second thing I've had on my heart is character training. Charlotte Mason believes that children need to be trained for a about 2 months for each character trait. This could take years to finish all character traits, but she says they should be mastered. Once you master some of the most imporatent ones, the others will make easier habits.

The most important one? You guessed it...obedience. So, we are starting obedience training in our home and will be working hard on that for the next 2 months or until mastered. Meaning, when I ask them to do something, they do it, happily and quickly. Sound like a big goal? It is. It has been done by others many times, and I know our children are quite capapable of being obedient. It's biblical. Now, if you know me personally, you will say, "your kids are VERY well behaved." People say that to us all the time, but this runs deeper. At home, they are not in the habit of being obedient without whining most of the time.

Charlotte Mason also makes it very clear that children are people and should be treated and valued as such. I absolutely agree.

The two major things we will work on over the next 2 months is MY attitude towards them. Making sure I have their hearts. If I have their hearts then they are much more willing to be obedient. This depends more on the level of my heart than theirs. And I know it STARTS with my husband and me.

The second thing is reading and applying ideas and training in obedience.

Doorposts has a wonderful article with ideas and lessons from Deuteronomy.

First Time Obedience Really? I love that post. It really touches on the heart.

Love this blog, and this post about having your child's heart. It really is a huge aspect of raising children.

I've used this FREE character study before, but we will dig a little deeper this time around.

Notes From Sally Clarkson's Parenting Session

Books I hope to read/use soon:

Hints on Child Training

Plants Grow Up by Doorposts, I've heard great things about this!

Laying Down the Rails

Ephesians 6:1-4 ESV Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
- Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Proverbs 23:13-14 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.

Proverbs 1:8-9 ESV Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, (9) for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.


Anonymous said...

I have never heard of Charlotte Mason, but I just read up on her method. Thank you for introducing this to me! I have homeschooled since my son was 6, public schools just were not willing to deal with his "special needs" I will definitely be incorporating her methods into our days! Thank you again!!!

Tricia said...

Thank you for sharing such lovely thoughts. I have not used Charlotte Mason, but am very interested in reading all of the links you included.

We had issues with TV too, and gave it up. We didn't give it up 100%, but we did cancel all of our television programming over 2 years ago. The only TV my kids get to watch are DVDs. And we have a strict 'no tv before 4' rule in our house. I try not to leave it on as background noise. Good luck with slowly filtering out the TV for your son. I know how tough that can be.

Thank you for sharing!


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