I couldn’t resist entering to win a new Dyson. My poor little Dirt Devil is nearing the end of its life.
You should sign up too!
I couldn’t resist entering to win a new Dyson. My poor little Dirt Devil is nearing the end of its life.
You should sign up too!
Ever since my first reading of Charlotte Mason’s works, this was an idea that really stood out to me. Good habits are often viewed as being a chore in our society. Many parents feel guilty if their young children automatically pick up after themselves and decide to let them off of the hook because they view it as being so laborious. Soon those good habits are replaced with bad ones. Either way, you are still dealing with habits.
A while back I wrote about Ms. Mason’s description of habits. I love the way she describes it. It is so easy for me to forget that once a habit is a habit, it is no longer difficult to do. It is harder not to do it. If we allow ourselves or our children to lose good habits, then we are doing more harm than good. We are making it so that it will be that much more difficult to retrain our minds to do the right thing once again – the thing that used to be natural to us. Here is what Ms. Mason says about the ease that comes with habits
For a habit is a delight in itself; poor human nature is conscious of the ease that it is to repeat the doing of anything without effort; and, therefore, the formation of a habit, the gradually lessening of the sense of effort in a given act, is pleasurable.
This is so true, not only for our children, but also for ourselves. As most of you know, I am pregnant.Â I have been struggling with keeping up my old habits. Today starts my second trimester (woohoo!) and this week has been the first time that I haven’t felt completely drained, sick, and useless. Now I am having to reform the habits that I had before we moved. Just a few months ago I was able to keep the house meticulous so that people could pop in for a showing at any moment. Since getting out of that habit, it is difficult to even get my house ready for planned guests, and that still isn’t “show worthy” like my house was before. My kids were also into the same habit. They were picking up after themselves. My son would run the sweeper each time before we left the house. My daughter would move all of our shoes. We knew what to do. Now we have will have to put in extra effort just to get back to where we were. I am so sad about this, because we were all so proud of our house and it really wasn’t a chore. It was natural.
Of course, Charlotte Mason discusses this next
This is one of the rocks that mothers sometimes split upon: they lose sight of the fact that a habit, even a good habit, becomes a real pleasure; and when the child has really formed the habit of doing a certain thing, his mother imagines that the effort is as great to him as at first, that it is a virtue in him to go on making this effort, and that he deserves, by way of reward, a little relaxation–she will let him break through the new habit a few times, and then go on again. But it is not going on; it is beginning again, and beginning in the face of obstacles. The ‘little relaxation’ she allowed her child meant the forming of another contrary habit, which must be overcome before the child gets back to where he was before.
And now for the real reason I love Charlotte Mason. She goes into how you form habits, and it is so gentle… so loving… not harsh in any way. I have learned through experience that my whole family functions best if I speak in this way.Â I am so happy to see it addressed in a book, especially a book that was written so many years ago.
As CM talks about her example of a mother teaching a child to shut the door behind him when he leaves
For two or three times Johnny remembers; and then, he is off like a shot and half-way downstairs before his mother has time to call him back. She does not cry out, ‘Johnny, come back and shut the door!’ because she knows that a summons of that kind is exasperating to big or little. She goes to the door, and calls pleasantly, ‘Johnny!’ Johnny has forgotten all about the door; he wonders what his mother wants, and, stirred by curiosity, comes back, to find her seated and employed as before. She looks up, glances at the door, and says ‘I said I should try to remind you.’ ‘Oh, I forgot,’ says Johnny, put upon his honour; and he shuts the door that time, and the next, and the next.
No yelling. No freaking out. Just gently reminding the children. In the part above this section, CM shows how the mom introduces the idea of the new habit. It is loving and gentle, and she promises to help the child remember. You are working together, not punishing the child into compliance.
So today I am working on habit training again: first for myself, and then for my children. I need to regain my lost ground, and then my children will follow behind. I can’t expect their habits to be better than mine.Â I need to model right behavior once again.
I’m sure I’ll get some interesting google hits from that title
I have been searching the past few days for some really great housekeeping sites, and I am so frustrated by the ridiculous extremes that seem to prevail on the internet. It is infuriating!
When you search for Christian homekeeping, you basically come across two extremes. First is the Fascinating Womanhood model. This is by far the bulk of what is out there. On these sites you’ll find all the information that you could ever need to become a doormat. You too can become a slave! You can nibble off your husband’s toenails each night as he walks in the door. You can let your entire family run over you while you make homemade brittle. Life is fabulous.
The other sites that address homemaking basically say that because women are so free, we should never clean our house. We should force our kids to do it, or maybe have our husband clean all night long after he gets home from work. Sit back, relax, you are called to nothing more than enjoying yourself.
Why aren’t there sites out there for women who respect themselves (and their families) and yet want to do a good job at their current work? I am a stay at home mom. I love eating food made from scratch. I love living in a clean house. Sometimes I don’t enjoy what it takes to get it there, but then again I had to do all sorts of stuff that I disliked when I worked in the “real world”. I wish there were more sites (and books) out there to encourage real moms who want to be their own person to also do a wonderful job at their current profession as a homemaker. I like my house to be clean when my dh comes in the door because that is what I like to see. It gives me peace, and I want him to be able to have the same peace. I don’t want him to feel like he needs to come home and do my job. I do it because we are to love others as ourselves. I do not do it to earn his love. I do not do it because I am his Girl Friday. I do it because it is my job and I would love the same from him if our roles were reversed.
I doubt that I’ll be able to change the internet world, but I have decided that I want to do a little series on homemaking for women with spines. I hope you’ll stay tuned
I’ve had some good food for thought today.
I took the kids to a drop-in Kindergarten class for homeschoolers (which they loved, btw) and while I was sitting there I started browsing through their lending library.Â I saw that they had Teri Maxwell’s Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit, so I decided to grab it and check it out.
When I was a new mom, I had looked at the Maxwell’s site.Â I was really turned off by their forums.Â I’m pretty sure they either took their forums down or made them non-public.Â Whatever they did, they’re not there anymore.Â The advice that I saw on the forums was very punitive and certainly deep on the end of wife-only submission.Â They link to the Pearls and suggest their books, which is enough to make me run away screaming any day.Â Some of their articles, including one entitled “A Trip to the Woodshed” make me uncomfortable enough that I decided that I didn’t want to support their ministry by buying books.
On the other hand, there have been quite a few discussions on GCM about their other book, Managers of Their Homes (AKA “MOTH”), and a lot of moms have been blessed by it.Â They have another book called Managers of Their Chores (“MOTC”) which has also blessed several women on GCM.Â I highly respect these women, and they said that they found it relatively easy to eat the meat and throw out the bones.
Because of the latter position, I decided to skim Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit, and I’m really glad that I did.Â Did I agree with all of it?Â Absolutely not.Â However, several of the sections were wonderful reminders and fit in well with my grace-based and gentle style of teaching and disciplining my children.Â I particularly liked some of the things that Mrs. Maxwell had to say about organization and time management, which is clearly one of her strengths.Â I’m assuming that’s why she’s known for MOTH and MOTC.Â I can see how some of the moms at GCM were blessed by her ministry.
This has led me to think a lot today about the ministries that I choose not to support.Â I still don’t think I want to support the Maxwell’s ministry, because I don’t believe in at least half of it.Â Despite that, I gained some knowledge today and God has already used some of it to stretch me as a wife and a mother.Â I’m wondering where the balance is though.Â I have a feeling that I’ll be pondering it for the next few days.
Let me also say, and say clearly, that I have read books by the Pearls and Ezzo just so that I could be educated on what I’m against, and they icked me out to no end.Â I gained nothing from those books, except frustration and a wish that I could write the authors back to point out all of their logical flaws.Â Those books were all bones – bones and gristle.Â I am certainly NOT trying to say that any book written by a Christian is worth putting into your mind.Â I do think that there are probably some more people on the fringe who could teach me a thing or two.
I am always on the hunt for new podcasts.Â I feel like I barely have enough hours in my day, and I love to multitask, so I am excited by any podcast that works my mind while I clean or fold clothes.Â
We recently had a thread on GCM about podcasts, and several of the moms recommended the pray-as-you-go podcast.Â It is fab.Â It is set to beautiful music and they read a portion of scripture and give some prayer prompts if you’d like to use them.Â I’ve loved the Bible in a Year podcast for the past year and a half or so, but I adore that pray-as-you-go gives you time and nice music to reflect and pray as you listen to the Word.Â If you’re looking for something a little more contemplative, then you should definitely check it outÂ
I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently as I’ve become more involved in homeschooling groups.Â As much as homeschoolers like to say that they are proud to raise children who are not peer-dependent, it seems that those at greatest risk of dependency are actually the parents.Â I am currently reading The Successful Homeschool Family Handbook and I was pleased to see this exact topic mentioned.
Peer dependency?Â If you are an average adult, you are so peer dependent that you’re scared sick to stand out from the crowd–your relatives, neighbors, school. and church friends.Â And failure’s grisly head makes your fears horrific!Â … Anything but standard practice scares you, unless you see how easily Susie is doing it down the street or realize you’re destroying your children’s love for learning.
I find this to be so incredibly true in many of my groups.Â There are, of course, those moms who are confident and able to make decisions on their own (the “Susie” of the above quote), but there are so many more who are always wanting to jump to where the grass looks greener.Â Why is it so hard to read something that connects with you, see if it works with your kids, and not panic about the fact that other people are doing it differently?Â I know we all want our kids to be successful, but I really believe that if you are consistent in any method, and your kids enjoy it, then you don’t need to fear that they will learn.Â In the long-term everyone’s enjoyment, your attitude, and some kind of consistency seems to be enough to carry you through.Â When I look back on my schooling, I see that what made me do better than the kids around me was the way that my parents encouraged my love to learn.Â There was no magic workbook or curriculum that made me intelligent.Â There’s no such thing.
So that’s my thought for the day, as I read a bunch of moms who are panicked about what curriculum to use for next year.Â If you current curriculum isn’t working, then of course you should change it, but there’s no need to switch to classical education because everyone else is…Â If it fits, then great.Â If what you are doing works, then just enjoy it!
I’m telling you what: I’m getting crazier by the year. Until a year ago when one of my dearest friends announced that she was having a home-birth-after-Cesarean (HBAC), I never would’ve even considered a homebirth. That experience really changed me though. It changed what I thought labor and delivery had to be. It made me question my thoughts that my history predicted the future. I had been stuck in a Dr. Phil “The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior” mantra, and that one experience made me question my thoughts and ideas.
So I’ve been interviewing midwives, and I picked one today. I am really excited. I’m a little nervous, but not afraid… just excited and aware that I don’t even get yet how different my prenatal care is going to be. It has already been so much less stressful. I haven’t had to fight for the little things that made the OB flip out. I am able to share information instead of just sit there, nod my head, and be told that I am ignorant. It is really empowering.
So I’m sure I’ll be talking about this a lot in the next 7-8 months or so. I just had to add a pregnancy category to my blog. I guess that shows how much I wasn’t really expecting to do this again. I’m excited.
As I’m sure you could’ve guessed – I am reading a book on pregnancy and midwives now. I’m so predictable.
Man, this pregnancy has been hitting me hard. I feel like an amoeba. I am tired all the time… well, except when I’m throwing up. I am getting too old for this!
So please forgive me for my lack of updates. I’ve hardly even been reading. It is pathetic!
The one (adult) book that I have finished was Teach a Child to Read with Children’s Books. My son already knew basic phonics, and we played around with Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons last year, so we had a bit of a base, but we are both loving this new method. There is something so much more satisfying for him when he reads an actual book and not something nonsensical like “Fat pat sat on a rat. Rat, Pat, rat!” People don’t even talk like that.
I highly recommend Teach a Child… if you are interested in a more literature-centered reading curriculum. It has been so lovely for us. The book lists in the back are great and if you need (or want) to keep records then he has some great sheets in there that you can print off. We checked it out from the library, so it was easy on the budgt and even Compact-friendly.
Well, I’m off to make dinner and probably throw up again. I’m sure I’m making you all jealous. <rolling my eyes>