Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Home Education Part 3

My sister, Sarah, asked if she could have the older three girls for the afternoon and of course I said yes, and so I waved them off about an hour ago. Nora and Jager are asleep and should be for the next few hours. My original plan was to clean like a fiend so that the house will be ready for company this weekend but the longer I sit and do nothing, the more I want to sit and do nothing. But that would be a ridiculous waste of time so instead I am going to write a post, read a bit and maybe rest my head for ten minutes. Then I'll clean a bit and tend to the babies that should be up by that time. I have been meaning to post about Part 3 of Home Education for quite a while and I just kept putting it off for various reasons. Jamie and I are reading through the book together and today I read her post on Part 4. Yikes! I'd better get my self moving before I fall so far behind that it will seem impossible to catch up with her.
So here I go. Prepare yourself to be very under-impressed. Go here and scroll down a bit to read Jamie's post on Part 3. I guarantee you it's better that what I'm about to type. (Except for the quotes. The quotes are marvelous.)

Home Education Part 3.

"Habit is ten natures." It took me a while to understand this sentence. Nature is a strong force but habit is as strong as ten natures! Why it took me so long to realize that that was the meaning of that sentence, I'll never know. You can instill a good habit to counteract bad nature, but habit runs on the line of nature.
"Habit runs on the line of nature. The cowardly child habitually lies that he may escape the blame, the loving child has a hundred endearing habits, the good-natured child has a habit of giving, the selfish child, a habit of keeping. Habit, working thus according to nature, is simply nature in action, growing by strong exercise."

"... 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 of effort."

"The girl who has been carefully trained to speak the exact truth simply does not think of a lie as a ready mean of getting out of a scrape, coward as she may be.

...it is unmanageably true that the child who is not being constantly raised to a higher and higher platform will sink to a lower and lower. Wherefore, it is much the parent's duty to educate his child into moral strength and purpose and intellectual activity as it is to feed him and clothe him; and that in spite of his nature, if it must be so."

"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."

I could wax eloquent (except really, I couldn't because I just haven't practiced good writing in many years) about all the thoughts I had from this chapter but instead I'll sum them up in a few sentences.

This chapter really hit home for me. I know habit formation is important. I even have it scheduled in my morning time for a daily reminder of which habit we are working on instilling in our little minds. But I had forgotten just how important, how necessary it truly is. More than anything, I was convicted about my own habits. Too many bad ones, not enough good ones.
I really wish I could figure out how to get all my thoughts in an essay form. I'm a little frustrated at the moment.

My father, upon request, wrote some thoughts out for his children and one of them fits quite nicely with this chapter.

we call them Pappy's Practical Parenting Points

        My experience is that the patterns of children's lives are formed, to a large extent, very early in life. While this is not a hard and fast rule, no doubt the strength of early impressions upon children's personalities and characters go a long way toward influencing their future behavior. That means that there is a lot of hard work to be done early on in raising children. By that I am not referring to the physically exhausting aspects, such as sleepless nights, but to the persistence that is needed to reinforce good behavior and punish bad behavior time after time after time. That's the bad news. The good news is that the hard work done early will pay tremendous dividends on down the line.
        Children rarely will remember much of anything before the age of four, but it is amazing how much the training done before that age will affect them. Since most of their behavior necessarily cannot be calculated because of their mental limitations, your training will not be with situations where they can think through what they ought to have done. It will be done at another level. That is why repetition will play such an important part. Over and over and over again you must insist upon the proper behavior, until it becomes something that they do not have to think about. Train them to react correctly, and when they are older, they will be more likely to reason correctly.
        So often we tend to think of this early training being in the realm of discipline, but there is more involved than that. From the very earliest days, a child is brought into a realm of either love, compassion and good order, or into a chaotic world where proper behavior is ignored or even discouraged. Touching means so much to a child, and so the more snuggling and sitting in laps children can do, the more secure they will feel, and security is of utmost importance. Since children cannot reason through the logic of morals, how they see their world at the age of two is likely to be accepted to them as how they world ought to be. Therefore you want their world to be the right world.




Melanie Hodges said...

Wow. I will have to read this again and again and again. Thanks for sharing. Melanie

AIMA said...

"...parents are either passively or actively forming those habits..." Parents are always training their children, positively or negatively. I wish we parents remembered that throughout the days and not just at the moments when we decide to work on a problem area.

Also, why would we think GOOD habits should come easily to children when they are so hard to form in ourselves?

Good thoughts, Ceridwen. :)

JCrew Mama said...

Your father has a blog. How cool is that? Chapter 3 was such a good chapter.