The Dish: A Mother's Review #7

The Dish: 

A Mother's Review #7

Knowledge of God

"Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercises thereby." Hebrews 12:11

Discipline isn't fun. It is actually downright miserable. It is also a necessary and fundamental part of mothering, and we would be hard pressed to find a mother in our circles that doesn't know that it is needed, and do their absolute best to do it well. It is a weary task, but it is necessary, and we do what our children need, not what is easy. As home educating mothers, our need for discipline increases with the increase of time spent with our children, and we can quickly become weary in our well doing. Let me offer you this word of encouragement: the greater investment that you make into the habits and character of your children, the less you will have to discipline them. Yes, discipline will always be necessary, and it will never be easy to do. Scripture offers us a truth to cling to when we seem to be buried in mountains of time-outs and removed privileges. That truth is that even though discipline is grievous, it yields fruit. The same can be said about Habit Training. It can seem easier to just "let the little things go", and I am by no means advocating for legalism in motherhood, or for sacrificing your relationship with your children in order to obtain perfectly behaved robots. I am, however, advocating for consistently "laying down rails" of good behavior, good habits, and good character in our children. I am advocating for creating a fence of boundary, and then letting our children be free within that fence. I am advocating for forming a team with your children, doing them the service of helping them to build habits that make life easier for both them, and everyone around them. It isn't easy, and you will need grace for every step of Habit Training. But, when you are faithful in it, Momma, you will have children who need grievous correction less and less. You will be weary, but your reward will be to see the fruit being yielded by both necessary discipline, and by faithful, consistent, loving Habit Training. 

Knowledge of the Universe

Wildflowers Roundup

Wildflowers are our Special Studies topic this term, and we are enjoying it!

The Reason for a Flower
We used this book to introduce the ideas of flowers in general. It is a lovely narrative about flowers and their growth. 

More Fun With Nature Take Along Guide 
We love these guides in general, but the section on wildflowers is superb! 
It has pages for White Trillium, Wild Larkspur, Turk's-Cap Lily, Black-Eyed Susan, Purple Coneflower, Bloodroot, Butter-and-Eggs, Canada Thistle, Late Goldenrod, Cornflower, White Clover, Wild Rose, Busy Aster, Marsh Marigold, Wild Blue Flag, Fireweed, Queen Anne's Lace, Ox-Eye Daisy, Pickerelweed, Wild Columbine, Chicory, Wild Lily of the Valley, Orange Hawkweed, Evening Lychnis, Purple Loosestrife, Common Milkweed, Virginia Bluebell, Indian Paintbrush, and Johnny Jump-Up. 

Plant Life in Field and Garden
Arabella Buckley's books are a must read for any nature topic, and flowers are no exception. 

The First Book of Wildflowers 

Audubon First Field Guide: Wildflowers 
We also love the Audubon series of field guides, both the "first" ones and the standard ones. This one contains a great selection of common wildflowers.

Bloomin' Tales
7 fun legends about Texas wildflowers.
 (These would be great to use as Tales during the terms that you are studying wildflowers.)

The Burgess Flower Book for Children

Wildflower Bingo
What a fun way to become familiar with wildflowers!

We have also been talking about Foraging this term, and I just love this page in Nature Anatomy, to quickly identify and remember common edibles. 

Knowledge of Man

Habit Training Loop and Notebook

I receive a great deal of questions about Habit Training, and although Delightfully Feasting has offered training on this topic, it is such a BIG topic. It is a life-long effort, with no completion or reaching the "end", both for our children and for our own individual habits. Therefore, it is impossible to truly equip a mother for habit training in one training session. It is truly an ongoing grand conversation. I have found, however, that a few practical things help me to put it into practice, even as I continue to grow and to learn and to develop my understanding of this grand, never ending topic and responsibility. I want to share two of those practical things, hopefully to inspire you and give a you a couple of tools in your Habit Training toolbox.

1. Habit Training Loop 

 I use this loop schedule to assist me in planning intentional, specific Habit Training discussions and activities. The primary (and broad) aspects of Habit Training that I have identified, and laid out to use in my plans, are: Discussion, Troubleshooting, Practice, and Evaluation.

Habit Training discussions include an initial discussion to introduce the habit and form a team with my children to work on this particular habit, a discussion to brainstorm ideas for working on the habit, and a discussion to identify our weaknesses and our progress in the topic.

Habit Training troubleshooting involves brainstorming action steps or tools that can be taken or used to address the weaknesses that we have identified, discussing ways that we can help each other address individual weaknesses, and identifying ways that we can remind ourselves and others (gently, in grace) of the habit at hand.

Habit Training practice involves activities to practice or cement the ideas of the habit, drawing narrations of the habit and what it means to develop and practice it, and acting out the habit. 

Habit Training evaluation involves a journal entry to define the habit, the progress and struggles that have been encountered and strategies for "guarding" the habit for a life time. 

When we worked on the habit of graceful speech, these aspects of Habit Training played out in the following ways:
Discussion: I introduced the topic by sharing Colossians 4:6, which states "Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how you ought to answer every man." I formed a team for working on this habit by discussing this command from God, and sharing with my children that God expects this of us, and that it isn't optional. We thought of the results of speaking with grace and not speaking with grace. I asked questions such as "how do you feel when someone speaks to you with grace?" and "can you think of a time when someone wasn't graceful in their speech to you, and how did that make you feel?". We also learned what grace means, defining the term, and discussing the truth that grace isn't dependent upon someone deserving it.

Troubleshooting: During various troubleshooting sessions, we discussed times when we have struggled to (or failed to) speak with grace, and unearthed the reasons why we struggle. These sessions are laid back, simple, without antics or curriculum or micromanagement on my part. We simply talk openly and honestly about our struggles. This troubleshooting is the time in which we identify tools that we can use to remind ourselves, and each other, to practice the habit at hand. For speaking gracefully, my 8 year old's "tool" was to ask himself (aloud, if needed) after speaking (particularly in tense situations) 'Was that as graceful as it could have been'. For my four year old, I simply began to say 'You forgot your grace! Try again.', and having him repeat his statement.

Practice: During our times of practice for speaking gracefully, we acted out scenarios when we had failed to speak gracefully, we role-played various scenarios and how we could speak with grace in those instances, and we completed drawn narrations of what we had learned about speaking gracefully.

Evaluation: After a term of working of the habit of speaking gracefully, we discussed how far we had come in developing this habit, and what the results had been. We also reminded ourselves of the need to "guard" the habit by continuing to speak gracefully and to utilize the "tools" we had come up with. 

To use, and work through, the specific areas of Habit Training for any particular habit, I simply spread the discussions, troubleshooting, practices, and an evaluation over the term, completing one each week. The logistics look different for each habit, and the "loop" is a loose list of things that I use to build each habit. It is a tool to orient me and help me cover all that I would like to, not a master. 

2. Habit Training Journal 
I use a simple journal to plan and record our Habit Training efforts. I use a spiral notebook, and I set it up much like my commonplace notebooks. This means that it has an index in the back, where I list each habit that we have worked on and the pages that hold notes about that particular habit. I divide these habits by type, much like Mason did, and color code them by type. In this journal, I keep a few pages for each habit: a central page (where I record Scriptures, quotes, and major ideas concerning the habit), a couple ofs page for my 8 year old, and a couple of pages for my 4 year old. On these pages, I record notes about the discussions, troubleshooting, and activities that we have completed for each habit.  I also use this notebook to record narrations and evaluations from my children concerning the habit and their work in building it. 


Food for the Mother's Soul

Is Schole For Everyone?
I found this episode of Schole Sisters so encouraging, and informative. It gave me new ideas, things to ponder, and a refreshed zeal for my own pursuit of schole. Give it a listen!

Around the Table  

What is Happening in the Charlotte Mason World?

Did you see the information for the Charlotte Mason: Through the Years retreat?
Whether you live near or far (southeast Texas, Houston area), we would love to have you join us for another day of learning how to spread the feast of a living education, and how to make all home educating days delightful ones. We think you'd find it worth a drive, and for only $25 for a full day of schole and learning, the price simply can't be beat!

You can register here.

Something to Chew On

"The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days." ~Charlotte Mason

Habit Training takes effort. It is true. So does, however, choosing the best books. So does trusting the process of a living education. So does going on nature walks. So does keeping a book of centuries. So does commonplacing. All good things take great effort. But the greatest of things bring the greatest of rewards. I wholeheartedly believe that "smooth and easy days" are a great reward. I also know, and cling to, the fact that Mason wasn't being idealistic here. She wasn't speaking of days when things never go wrong. She wasn't speaking of days where everyone was perfect, or anything less than human. She wasn't speaking of "easy" in the sense that if we simply "whip these kids into shape" then we won't have to work so hard. Securing smooth and easy days has little to do with making less effort for ourselves in mothering or home educating. Securing smooth and easy days has everything to do with being able to enjoy our children. Being relational (at least to its fullest capacity) requires mutual respect, and good behavior. You wouldn't find a friendship with another mother to be "smooth or easy" if she treated you terribly, acted selfishly consistently, and had terrible habits. That, of course, doesn't mean that you wouldn't find that relationship to be worth it. But, if you could assist in that friend learning to think of others before herself, and have good habits, then you would absolutely do so. And, in doing so, you would be securing for yourself a smooth and easy friendship. In the same way, when you assist your children in forming habits that make them the kind of human being that others enjoy being around, then you get the great reward of enjoying their company; not just as their mother, but as a fellow human. Habit Training is intensely difficult. Habit Training is, undoubtedly, worth every "pain" that it takes, and yield smooth and easy days.

May All Your Days Be Spent.....Delightfully Feasting
Crystin <3

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