Education is a Discipline…

“Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.”

~ Charlotte Mason ~

“Education is a discipline – that is, the discipline of the good habits in which the child is trained.  Education is a life, nourished upon ideas; and education is an atmosphere – that is, the child breathes  the atmosphere emanating from his parents; that of the ideas which rule their own lives.”  (vol. 2, p. 247)

I talked about Charlotte Mason’s ideas on the importance of our home atmosphere and how it can affect our lives.  When Charlotte was talking about education being a discipline, she wasn’t talking about us standing over our children waiting for a mistake.  She was referring to the discipline of creating of habits in ourselves and our children; more specifically creating good habits.

“By “discipline,” Charlotte emphasized the importance of training our children in good habits—habits that will serve them well as they grow. In fact, she likened good habits to railroad tracks that parents lay down and upon which the child may travel with ease into his adult life. Good habits are a powerful influence on our children and must play an important part in their education. ” ~ Sonya Shafer in “Education is…” p.6)

We all are creatures of habit, whether good or bad.  Charlotte likened habits to railroad tracks.  I  do things the same way all the time because I have trained (or allowed) myself to build the habits (or tracks).  It is possible to change the habit, but after –ahem– all these years it is much harder.

“It rests with [the parent] to consider well the tracks over which the child should travel with profit and pleasure” (Charlotte Mason Vol. 1, p. 109).

So, another part of our home education is “habit training” our young children.  Not just in hygiene, or in basic life-skills such as dishes or laundry, but even things like controlling our anger and voice tones, not dawdling over things, scripture study etc.  It is a task that requires prayer and faith, plus a continuous follow through.  It is a big job, and sometimes seems overwhelming. The more I am diligent in my efforts of habit training, the smoother and happier our days are. And like the scripture says: “by small and simple things are great things brought to pass”

Here is a link to another free ebook about habit training and its importance in life:


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