Weekly Review-Roots and Environments
I walked our property grounds this morning. It wasn't as quiet as I expected, nature was loud and alive. Even though I couldn't see it, I know my garden is growing, worms are working and roots are going deeper.
Raising our children is a parallel to our gardens. Seeds are planted in their hearts as soon as they're born. We plant invisible seeds of: Comfort, home environment, habits, manners, attitudes, gratefulness, patience, etc. Sometimes, the seeds we plant are not what we intended. We have to be extra careful what appetites we create in young children. Those appetites grow as they grow.
I remember 10 years ago when I started homeschooling, video gaming was (still is) the rage. All the boys my son's age were gaming. Around Christmas my mother asked if she could get my son video games. I said politely, "no, mom I'm trying to raise a reader. Instead, can you get him books? "
I knew if he had the choice between the excitement and thrill of games, books would not be as appealing. Just like if you fill up your kitchen with junk food and SOME healthy food. Children will almost naturally choose the junk food. Instead, let's offer only healthy choices. Do I think video games should be banned? Every family is different and has different goals. One of my goals is to raise children who love to read and serve others. We choose not to allow gaming unless it's a vacation or a random infrequent activity. The stand I took ten years ago (the roots) is still making an impact for my son today. He walked in my office yesterday and said, " Have you see the GA Henty book called "The Reign of Terror?". He as an appetite for learning even during the summer.
I believe in this culture we live in to raise children who read and love to learn we must stand "against the tide" and be those rare parents who make better choices for our children. It may not be popular, but there is a literacy crisis happening right under our noses. Something has to change. Society is so quick to say, "children are not the same anymore". Not true. Children are born little babies ready to be trained and taught. I propose, it's the parents that have changed. We have changed what we allow. We don't make goals for our children anymore. I am committed to standing against the tide as I have for the last 10 years...and seeing the results.
Charlotte Mason said:
"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." Charlotte Mason
Even when we think we are not "habit training". We all are. The difference is whether our habit training is passive or active. Passive habit training is: "letting habits take care of themselves.."
Children form habits without any intervention from us.
Proverbs 29:15 "but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame. "
How can a child bring shame to his mother...naturally? Because habits just happen unless we actively take part in training those habits and...building roots.
The roots of a plant IS the most important yet unseen part of the plant. I recently planted two white rose bushes. Right next to each other. One is thriving, the other is not. In fact, the other one is dying and has to be pulled out. Without a strong root system, the plant just withers away.
Root systems ARE the habits we form in our children.
Encouragement and help...
I will say over and over, no one is an expert on Charlotte Mason or on the raising of children. Some are just down the road a little further on the narrow path but none of us have reached the place of all knowing. I am learning everyday. I am with you in the trenches of raising littles in today's climate. My, how things have changed in just 10 years.
How to build strong roots:
What are your goals for raising your child? Are academics the most important? Character training? Make a list: Character goals and academic goals. Root building begins this way. Plan your garden...
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Character goals can be: Honesty, patient, caring, excellent in work etc.
Academic goals can be: beginning alphabet recognition, speaking in full sentences etc.
(remember! for Charlotte Mason kindergarten we don't begin any formal teaching, but this form can be used and adapted for your older children as well)
If your goal is a child that is excellent in his work...We have to move forward in planning how we will train that and establish the root of excellence in his life.
Excellent at his chores, finishing tasks correctly, working alongside mom or dad and putting all his might into what he does. This habit will eventually take root!
Can you see how much work habit training is? Living out this lifestyle is joyful and challenging.
This is how we build strong roots. One habit at a time. As we labor day by day we slowly establish a strong root system in the early years that will last a lifetime.
I personally know of an older gentleman that has extreme anger challenges. He continually loses jobs due to his inability to stay quiet and keep his cool. Those habits began as a child, he was allowed to display his anger in a violent way.
“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.” Charlotte Mason
Endless friction? That statement is true for this gentleman, his family and mother. They are constantly worried about him losing his cool and facing another round of unemployment.
Let's put the work in now
Building strong roots won't be easy. It will take our constant attention for this season. We won't always have little children. In the messiness of our days ask yourself: What kind of adult do I want standing before me when he is 20?
Charlotte Mason kindergarten will be documenting a year in a Charlotte Mason Kindergarten. I will be recording our journey through habit training, nature studies and so much more. Stay here friend!
With you in the every day,
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