Charlotte Mason was a 19th-century British educator who developed a unique teaching and habit training approach, emphasizing the importance of Christian values. Her philosophy emphasized the role of good habits in character formation and cultivating a love of learning while also highlighting the importance of Christian principles in a child’s moral and spiritual development. In this article, we’ll explore the principles of Charlotte Mason’s approach to habit training from a Christian perspective and discuss how they can be applied in modern educational settings.
I hope you enjoy reading this blog post. If you want to do my course on how to homeschool, click here.
Also, if you are looking for a great Christian Charlotte Mason curriculum, check out A Gentle Feast which includes video lessons, habit training, living books, and help for new homeschool moms. Check them out here.
Affiliate links are used in this article.
What are the Charlotte Mason Habits
Some of the habits that Charlotte Mason advocated for children to develop include:
- Attention – cultivating the ability to concentrate on a task or topic for a sustained period of time.
- Obedience – learning to follow instructions and abide by rules and regulations.
- Truthfulness – being honest and truthful in all interactions.
- Punctuality – being on time and meeting deadlines.
- Perseverance – sticking with a task or goal even when it is difficult or challenging.
- Respect – showing consideration and respect for others.
- Orderliness – keeping things organized and tidy.
- Self-control – regulating one’s emotions and impulses.
- Gratitude – expressing thankfulness for the good things in life.
- Diligence – working hard and consistently to achieve one’s goals.
Mason believed that these habits should be nurtured and reinforced throughout a child’s upbringing, as they form the foundation for a successful and fulfilling life.
And if you want a quick refresher on the Charlotte Mason method and everything it involves, check out the fun video below:
The Habit of Attention
The habit of attention is a key aspect of Charlotte Mason’s approach to habit training. According to Mason, attention is the ability to focus one’s mind and sustain that focus over a period of time. This habit is essential for learning and for developing the intellectual and moral faculties of children.
In a Christian context, attention is also an important aspect of faith, as it involves focusing one’s mind and heart on God and His word. The Bible teaches the importance of attention in several verses, including Proverbs 4:20-21, which states: “My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart.”
Charlotte Mason Habit Training Tips for Attention
Here are some tips for developing the habit of attention in children:
- Start small: Young children have short attention spans, so start with short tasks that they can complete successfully. Gradually increase the length and complexity of the tasks as their attention spans grow.
- Reduce distractions: Minimize distractions in the environment to help children focus on the task at hand. This might mean turning off the TV, putting away toys or gadgets, or finding a quiet workspace.
- Use variety: Use a variety of activities and learning materials to keep children engaged and interested. Switching between different subjects or types of activities can help children maintain their focus and avoid boredom.
- Encourage curiosity: Encourage children to be curious about the world around them. Encourage them to ask questions, explore new ideas, and engage in creative problem-solving.
- Model attentiveness: Children learn by example, so make sure to model attentiveness yourself. When you are with your child, put away your phone and other distractions and give them your full attention.
By developing the habit of attention, children can become better learners, more focused individuals, and more successful in all areas of their lives.
The Habit of Obedience
The habit of obedience refers to a child’s ability to follow instructions and comply with rules and regulations.
Charlotte Mason believed that obedience is essential for children to develop because it helps them learn to respect authority, form good habits, and build self-control.
Charlotte Mason Habit Training Tips for Obedience
Here are some tips for developing the habit of obedience in children:
- Set clear expectations: Make sure children understand what is expected of them and why certain rules and instructions are in place. Explain the reasons behind the rules and the consequences of not following them.
- Consistency: Be consistent in enforcing rules and expectations, so children understand that the rules apply all the time, not just when parents or caregivers are around.
- Positive reinforcement: Praise and reward children when they obey rules and follow instructions, so they feel motivated to continue doing so.
- Consequences: When a child disobeys, consequences should be consistent, reasonable, and age-appropriate. This helps children learn that their actions have consequences, and that they are responsible for their behavior. Also, always remember to extend grace to children!
- Explanation: After a consequence has been given, take the time to explain why the behavior was wrong and how it can be avoided in the future.
It’s important to note that obedience should not be confused with blind compliance.
Children should be encouraged to ask questions and understand the reasons behind rules and instructions, so they can learn to make informed decisions in the future.
By developing the habit of obedience, children can learn to respect authority, build self-discipline, and form good habits that will serve them well throughout their lives.
The Habit of Punctuality
The habit of punctuality refers to a person’s ability to be on time and to meet deadlines.
Charlotte Mason believed that punctuality is an important habit for children to develop, as it teaches them to respect others’ time, to be responsible, and to develop good work habits.
Charlotte Mason Habit Training Tips for Punctuality
Here are some tips for developing the habit of punctuality in children:
- Set a good example: Children learn by example, so make sure to model punctuality yourself. Arrive on time for appointments and meetings, and make sure to meet your own deadlines.
- Use timers and schedules: Teach children how to use timers and schedules to help them manage their time and stay on track. Set specific times for different tasks and activities, and help children learn to stick to those schedules.
- Practice time management skills: Teach children how to estimate how long a task will take, prioritize tasks, and avoid procrastination. Encourage them to break tasks down into manageable steps and to work on them consistently.
- Plan ahead: Teach children to plan ahead for events, such as packing their bags the night before or getting their clothes ready for school in advance. This helps them avoid last-minute stress and rush.
- Consequences: When a child is consistently late or misses deadlines, there should be consequences. These consequences should be reasonable and appropriate for the child’s age and stage of development and should help them understand the importance of punctuality.
By developing the habit of punctuality, children can learn to be responsible, reliable, and organized. This habit can help them succeed in school, work, and other areas of their lives.
The Habit of Perseverance
The habit of perseverance refers to a person’s ability to persist in the face of difficulties or challenges and to work towards a goal despite obstacles or setbacks.
Charlotte Mason believed that perseverance is an essential habit for children to develop, as it helps them build resilience, develop a strong work ethic, and achieve their goals.
In a Christian context, perseverance is also an important aspect of faith. It involves remaining steadfast in the face of trials and tribulations and trusting in God’s plan and provision.
The Bible teaches the importance of perseverance in James 1:12, which states: “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”
Charlotte Mason Habit Training Tips for Perseverance
Here are some tips for developing the habit of perseverance, both as a Charlotte Mason habit and in a Christian manner:
- Set realistic goals: Encourage children to set goals that are challenging yet achievable, and to break down larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks.
- Foster a growth mindset: Help children develop a growth mindset by emphasizing the importance of effort, learning from mistakes, and persevering through challenges.
- Celebrate progress: Celebrate children’s progress and achievements, and help them see setbacks as opportunities for growth and learning.
- Encourage grit: Teach children to cultivate grit by persevering through difficult tasks and situations, and by maintaining a positive attitude and a strong work ethic.
- Trust in God: In a Christian context, encourage children to trust in God’s plan and provision, and to rely on His strength and guidance during times of difficulty and challenge.
By developing the habit of perseverance, children can learn to persist in the face of difficulties or challenges, work towards their goals, and build resilience and a strong work ethic.
In a Christian context, perseverance can also help children trust in God’s plan and provision, and to receive the blessings that He has promised to those who persevere.
The Habit of Respect
The habit of respect refers to a person’s ability to show consideration, courtesy, and appreciation for others.
Charlotte Mason believed that respect is an essential habit for children to develop, as it helps them build positive relationships, develop empathy, and learn to value diversity.
Respecting parents is particularly important as it reflects one’s relationship with God and is a foundation for a respectful attitude towards others. As parents and educators, we can model and reinforce this habit by teaching children to listen attentively, obey, and show appreciation for those in positions of authority, including parents.
Charlotte Mason Habit Training Tips for Respect
Here are some tips for developing the habit of respect in children:
- Model respect: Children learn by example, so it’s important to model respectful behavior in your interactions with others. Show consideration, courtesy, and appreciation for others, even when you disagree with them.
- Encourage empathy: Help children develop empathy by teaching them to imagine how others might feel in a given situation. Encourage them to listen to others, to consider different perspectives, and to treat others with kindness and compassion.
- Teach manners: Teach children basic manners, such as saying “please” and “thank you,” and holding doors open for others. These small acts of courtesy can go a long way in showing respect for others.
- Foster diversity: Teach children to appreciate and celebrate diversity by exposing them to different cultures, traditions, and perspectives. Encourage them to learn about different ways of life, and to respect the differences that make each person unique.
- Set boundaries: Teach children to respect the boundaries of others, and to recognize their own boundaries as well. This includes physical boundaries, as well as emotional and social boundaries.
By developing the habit of respect, children can learn to build positive relationships, develop empathy, and value diversity. This habit can help them succeed in school, work, and other areas of their lives, and can contribute to a more peaceful and harmonious society.
The Habit of Orderliness
The habit of orderliness refers to a person’s ability to be organized, tidy, and systematic in their approach to tasks and activities. Charlotte Mason believed that orderliness is an important habit for children to develop.
It helps them stay focused, reduces stress and anxiety, and promotes a sense of calm and control.
Charlotte Mason Habit Training Tips for Orderliness
Here are some tips for developing the habit of orderliness in children:
- Set up routines: Establish daily routines for tasks such as waking up, getting dressed, eating meals, and completing homework. Having a predictable routine can help children feel more organized and in control.
- Declutter: Encourage children to regularly declutter their belongings and to keep their living spaces tidy. This can help reduce distractions and create a more peaceful environment.
- Prioritize tasks: Teach children to prioritize tasks and to focus on the most important ones first. This can help them avoid feeling overwhelmed and can help them manage their time more effectively.
- Create a study space: Help children create a designated study space that is free from distractions and is well-organized. This can help them stay focused and productive when completing homework or studying.
- Model orderliness: Children learn by example, so it’s important to model orderliness yourself. Demonstrate how you stay organized and tidy in your own life, and show them how it can help reduce stress and increase productivity.
By developing the habit of orderliness, children can learn to stay focused, reduce stress and anxiety, and feel more in control of their lives. This habit can help them succeed in school, work, and other areas of their lives, and can contribute to a sense of calm and well-being.
The Habit of Self-Control
The habit of self-control refers to a person’s ability to regulate their emotions, desires, and impulses, and to make wise choices based on reason and wisdom. Charlotte Mason believed that self-control is an essential habit for children to develop, as it helps them make good decisions, resist temptation, and develop a strong sense of character.
In a Christian context, self-control is also an important aspect of faith, as it involves submitting one’s desires and impulses to the will of God, and making choices that honor Him.
The Bible teaches about the importance of self-control in Galatians 5:22-23, where it is listed as one of the fruits of the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Charlotte Mason Habit Training Tips for Self-Control
Here are some tips for developing the habit of self-control, both as a Charlotte Mason habit and in a Christian manner:
- Foster self-awareness: Encourage children to develop self-awareness by recognizing their emotions, desires, and impulses. Help them learn to regulate their behavior and responses by acknowledging and controlling these internal states.
- Practice delayed gratification: Teach children to delay gratification by setting goals, making plans, and working towards long-term rewards rather than seeking immediate satisfaction.
- Encourage mindfulness: Teach children to be mindful of their thoughts and feelings, and to respond to situations with wisdom and discernment rather than reacting impulsively.
- Cultivate self-discipline: Help children develop self-discipline by setting goals and routines, and by practicing self-control in small ways every day. Encourage them to take responsibility for their actions and to make choices that reflect their values and beliefs.
- Submit to God’s will: In a Christian context, teach children to submit their desires and impulses to the will of God, and to make choices that honor Him. Encourage them to seek guidance and strength from God through prayer and study of His word.
By developing the habit of self-control, children can learn to regulate their emotions, desires, and impulses, and make wise choices based on reason and wisdom. In a Christian context, self-control can also help children submit their desires to God’s will, and make choices that honor Him.
The Habit of Gratitude
The habit of gratitude refers to a person’s ability to recognize and appreciate the good things in their life, and to express thanks and appreciation for them. Charlotte Mason believed that gratitude is an essential habit for children to develop, as it helps them cultivate a positive outlook, foster resilience, and develop empathy for others.
In a Christian context, gratitude is also an important aspect of faith, as it involves recognizing God’s goodness and provision in our lives, and expressing thanks and praise for his blessings.
Charlotte Mason Habit Training Tips for Gratitude
Here are some tips for developing the habit of gratitude, both as a Charlotte Mason habit and in a Christian manner:
- Model gratitude: Children learn by example, so it’s important to model gratitude in your own life. Express thanks and appreciation for the good things in your life, and demonstrate a positive outlook even in difficult circumstances.
- Foster appreciation: Help children develop an appreciation for the natural world, for their own abilities and talents, and for the people in their lives. Encourage them to notice the small blessings and joys in their lives, and to express thanks and appreciation for them.
- Create gratitude rituals: Establish daily or weekly rituals that help children cultivate gratitude, such as a family gratitude journal, a gratitude jar where they can write down things they are thankful for, or a gratitude circle where each person shares something they are grateful for.
- Teach thankfulness in prayer: In a Christian context, teach children to express thankfulness in their prayers by thanking God for his blessings and provision in their lives. Encourage them to develop a habit of prayer and to cultivate a grateful heart.
- Encourage acts of kindness: Encourage children to express gratitude through acts of kindness and service to others. This can help them develop empathy and compassion for others, and can contribute to a sense of gratitude and purpose.
By developing the habit of gratitude, children can learn to cultivate a positive outlook, foster resilience, and develop empathy for others. In a Christian context, gratitude can also help children recognize God’s goodness and provision in their lives, and develop a deeper sense of faith and trust.
The Habit of Diligence
The habit of diligence refers to a person’s ability to work hard, persevere through difficulties, and consistently apply themselves to a task or goal. Charlotte Mason believed that diligence is an essential habit for children to develop, as it helps them cultivate a strong work ethic, develop self-discipline, and achieve their full potential.
In a Christian context, diligence is also an important aspect of faith, as it involves using one’s talents and abilities to serve God and others, and to pursue excellence in all areas of life.
Charlotte Mason Habit Training Tips for Diligence
Here are some tips for developing the habit of diligence, both as a Charlotte Mason habit and in a Christian manner:
- Set high expectations: Encourage children to set high expectations for themselves and to strive for excellence in all they do. Help them develop a growth mindset that sees challenges and setbacks as opportunities for learning and growth.
- Foster a love of learning: Help children develop a love of learning by exposing them to a wide variety of subjects and experiences, and by encouraging them to pursue their interests and passions. (Check out this article on interest-based education.)
- Practice consistency: Encourage children to consistently apply themselves to a task or goal, even when it may be difficult or tedious. Help them develop self-discipline and perseverance by breaking tasks into manageable chunks and setting small goals along the way.
- Teach responsibility: Help children take responsibility for their own learning and development by setting expectations for their behavior and work ethic. Encourage them to take ownership of their mistakes and to learn from them.
- Cultivate a servant’s heart: In a Christian context, encourage children to use their talents and abilities to serve God and others. Help them develop a servant’s heart that seeks to use their gifts for the benefit of others and for the glory of God.
By developing the habit of diligence, children can learn to work hard, persevere through difficulties, and achieve their full potential. In a Christian context, diligence can also help children use their talents and abilities to serve God and others, and to pursue excellence in all areas of life.
Charlotte Mason Homeschooling Curriculum Programs
Teaching habits is a tricky thing and requires a significant amount of perseverance. Some find it easier to teach habits using a Charlotte Mason curriculum.
I’ve researched several options. These are:
- A Gentle Feast: This curriculum is designed for families who want a holistic, gentle approach to education rooted in the principles of Charlotte Mason. A Gentle Feast offers a complete curriculum with video lessons for children in grades K-12, focusing on literature, nature study, and hands-on learning. The curriculum is designed to be flexible and adaptable to the needs of individual families, and it also includes support and guidance for parents who are new to homeschooling.
- Simply Charlotte Mason: Simply Charlotte Mason is a popular homeschool curriculum program designed to be easy to use and adaptable to various homeschooling styles. SCM will mail out some books for the curriculum (including teachers manuals), but many you are encouraged to buy from their online Amazon links. They also offer support and guidance for parents who are new to homeschooling.
- Ambleside Online: Ambleside Online is a free, online curriculum based on Charlotte Mason’s principles. The curriculum is designed to be flexible and adaptable to the needs of individual families, with a focus on living books, narration, and nature study. Ambleside Online offers a complete curriculum for children in grades K-12, as well as support and guidance for parents who are new to homeschooling. The curriculum is also designed to be accessible to families who may not have access to many resources or materials, making it a great choice for families on a tight budget.
- My Homeschool and Simply Homeschool are two Australian homeschool curriculum programs based on the Charlotte Mason method.
- Great Books Homeschool is a program you can use to create your own Charlotte Mason program using their building library.
You can also look at other Charlotte Mason homeschool curriculum programs here.
Conclusion on Charlotte Mason Habit Training
Charlotte Mason’s approach to habit training offers valuable insights for Christian educators and parents looking to cultivate good habits in children. By focusing on the formation of character through the cultivation of specific habits, Mason’s approach offers a holistic and intentional approach to education that is also grounded in Christian values. Whether in a traditional classroom setting or in the home, the principles of Charlotte Mason’s approach can help children develop the habits of attention, obedience, diligence, self-control, gratitude, orderliness, perseverance, and respect, all while nurturing their faith in God. By intentionally cultivating these habits, children can develop into responsible, self-directed learners who are also deeply rooted in Christian values and principles.