CM 7: Leah Martin- The Power of Habits to Transform Your Homeschool

CM 7: Leah Martin- The Power of Habits to Transform Your Homeschool

Links and Resources:

Show Notes:

Meet Leah:

Leah Martin was called to be a teacher at a very young age. She taught in public schools for 7 years, before teaching at an Ambleside School, where she learned about Charlotte Mason's philosophy. After leaving her teaching career, she decided to homeschool. She started My Little Robins in 2016 as a way to challenge herself to keep learning about Charlotte Mason's philosophy, and as a platform to continue to teach others. Leah lives in Colorado and enjoys an outdoorsy lifestyle with her husband and three children.

Connect with Leah:

Leah’s Podcast:

Books Mentioned:

The Power of Habit

Atomic Habits

Formation of Character by Charlotte Mason

For the Children’s Sake

Other Resources:

The Way of the Will readings

Habit Training ebook

Carol Dweck: Growth Mindset

Show Transcript:

CM EP 7 Leah Martin

Julie – Welcome to the Charlotte Mason show, a podcast dedicated to discussing Ms. Mason’s philosophy, principles, and methods. It is out hope that each episode will leave you inspired and offer practical wisdom on how to provide this rich, living education in your modern homeschool.

So, pull up a chair, we’re glad you’re here.

Today’s episode of the Charlotte Mason is brought to you by Medi-Share. Find out more about this affordable, Christian alternative to traditional health insurance at

Hello everyone, this is Julie Ross from the Charlotte Mason podcast, and I’m here with Leah Martin from My Little Robins. Hi Leah.

Leah – Hey Julie.

Julie – I was wondering if you could tell everyone just a little bit about yourself and kind of a little bit about your homeschooling journey so we can get started?

L – Sure. I am kinda surprised that we’re homeschooling right now, to be quite honest. I was a public-school teacher and then when I was pregnant with my daughter, I thought, wait a minute. I’m not sure I would want my own children educated this way. So, I started looking around at other alternatives and actually… God actually put Ambleside schools in my life. And so, I became a teacher for Ambleside school for two years. Until I had my second child. And so, I thought, how can I sit home and… so I started using Charlotte Mason at home with the early years and now I write about that at and after learning more about it, it’s like, wow, I really can’t educate my children any other way. We should probably homeschool right now since… So, we’re really enjoying it. My daughter is six and a half and it’s her first year of formal lessons. So fun… I just love it. Cause I have a heart for teaching and I’m sure you do too, and so I really love it.

J – That’s awesome. Yeah, that’s so precious, they’re so fun when they’re that age and you’re just starting out. That’s so great that you have that experience coming in from teaching in a Charlotte Mason school. That… I just can’t imagine that, cause my journey was like, diving in the deep end and trying to not drown. Trying to figure all this out at first. So, that just was such an encouragement for you to kind of have that background information.

L – It was, yeah. Yeah, really helpful.

J – So, today we’re gonna talk about habit training, which is so key to a Charlotte Mason education, she says. Education is an atmosphere of discipline and a life and that disciplined being inhabits. And I’m gonna start off with a quote from her philosophy of education. Just to kind of guide our conversation here, but she says, “We have lost sight of the fact that habit is to life what whales are to transport cars. It follows that lines of habit must be laid down towards given ends and after careful survey or the jolting and delays of life become unsupportable. More habit is inevitable. If we fail to ease life by laying down habits of right-thinking and right-acting, habits of wrong-thinking and wrong-acting fix themselves of their own accord.” So just to start off, why do you think Charlotte Mason talked about habit training? What does this even have to do with education?

L – Sure. It’s one third of education in her eyes. It was the… education is a discipline, and I think that for her, she had this whole list of things that she didn’t think that we should do to teach our children. She didn’t think we should manipulate with outside forces, with grades or rewards, all these things that she thought was what it says in Matthew 18:6, hindering the child. That we should never hinder our child. And so, she had this whole long list of things that she thought were hindering to a child, but habit formation is not hindering for a child. It’s uplifting to a child, instead of pushing them down, it holds them up and so, that’s why it was so important to her that it’s a really beneficial way to lift our child towards higher things. Towards religious habits. Towards higher thinking. And so, it will help our children for the rest of our lives, if we give them these good habits.

J – Yeah, for sure. Yeah, I mean that’s like… it’s… you can give someone knowledge, you can give them some factual information, right? But these habits become their character and their person, that are gonna guide them in the rest of their lives. And as an adult, you know, I’ve had to learn… unlearn some bad habits, right? And learn some good habits. And I’ve seen in my old life, just the power of habits. I think in the show notes, I’m gonna list some of my favorite, like, adult books on the subject because it’s just something I’ve really gotten into the past couple years with like, personal development stuff. It just seems such a shame in my own life, and I’m like, well what a gift we’re giving to our children to instill these in them at a young age. Where they… they’re… like she says, they become part of their brains and their… these rails that we can have. (Edit: this is a train analogy)

L – I think also, just the knowledge that they can change their behavior… like that growth mindset of, if this is a problem, we can fix it through habit, rather than saying, like, well, I guess we’re just bad at this.

J – Oh, yes yes. That’s so good. And that’s so interesting because that’s become… this like buzz word, right? Everybody’s talking about this growth mindset that kind of came up with that concept, but I’m like, okay, ya’ll, like Charlotte Mason was talking about this like a hundred years ago. So, this isn’t a new idea. But I think our children can… I have one child in particular, that’s like, couple years ago, was just like, I’m bad at math. I can’t do math. And having to kind of train her into that growth mindset like, no, you’re learning how to do this, right? And so, yeah, you might’ve gotten these problems wrong, but you are… you got, you know, less problems wrong today than you did yesterday. And so, let’s focus on that instead of like, oh here’s the things you didn’t do. And so like, yeah, it does flow into their academics, some of the habits she talked about like you were saying like religious training, truthfulness, cleanliness, those kind of things, you’re like, what in the world does that have to do with school and learning? But a lot of them like the main ones, especially like the habit of attention, the habit of, you know, doing your work completely and accurately, like, those are definite habits that fall into the school realm as well.

L – I was just thinking, the accepting and rejecting of ideas, which I think is crucially important now, in this day and age.

J – Oh yes yes yes yes. Yes, so where would a mom even start? Because… I mean there’s so many… like you said, Charlotte Mason lists several habits, right? That it can kind of seem overwhelming, like, oh my goodness, we need to work on all of these. Like…

L - It is really overwhelming. I hear a lot of moms say, like, I just don’t even know where to start. And I just think we can step back and realize that you probably are the example for some good habits in your children. And so, you can kind of like celebrate that fact and… say thank you, or they cleared their plates after a meal or... there are probably some things that you can celebrate and kind of evaluate how do we do that? And because you’ve been habit training whether you know it or not.

J – Yeah, right.

L – And where children were very young so, I think that’s the first step. But the second thing, I think to do is to really evaluate your routines in your home. Because habits are formed by having repetition of the same things every day. And so, if we can evaluate how those routines are winning, we can kind of work our habits into those routines. I know that Charlotte Mason said to work on one habit at a time, but when I work my routine around certain habits, it’s easy to have them come naturally. Like, I worked making our beds into our morning routine. And then it’s not really a habit that anyone struggles with building or fights me about. Because it’s just our morning routine. So…

J – Yeah, right. Can you give me an example of, like a routine that would have to do with like, with school that you would use?

L – Yeah, and that’s kinda how we work it around our morning basket time, is we have our breakfast and we have our morning basket time. And so, you know, the kids are not allowed to get up from the table until we all have read our Bible story and our poem and whatever else we’ve worked into that time. And then we head upstairs and get ready and get dressed for the school day. So, as we get dressed, we do the housekeeping routines and then we come back down and we’re ready to start school. And we have our first lesson, and everybody knows that this is what we’re doing and so we don’t have fighting. And so… I think that’s really helpful and you can imagine all the different habits that go into all of those things that I mentioned. They’re paying attention during our morning time, because we’ve made it the same routine every day. So, that’s really helpful, I think. Because, like you, I read a bunch about modern research about habits, and there’s the habit rule that has the cue, and then the routine, and then the reward. And the cue is what needs to happen in order to do your routine, and to keep that cue okay and happening again and again. Daily routines are really helpful.

J – Yeah, that’s good. In For the Children’s Sake, Susan Schafer McCauly talks about those routines. She actually says routines form habits. And one of my favorite quotes from the entire book, she says, take the area of human relationships, routines do not make the relationship, but they are the frame upon which we can hang our experiences. Some families do not have a routine of eating meals together anymore, any time goes for snacking, people rush about at a thousand activities, any one of which could be good, but what is the sum total. Without the priority of a framework, nothing much happens. Few conversations, little time of togetherness. A family decides to read a book together whenever there is time. This invariably becomes no time. It is essential to have these basic routines. And she also goes on to say children love routines. It frees their attention for the activity at hand and I think that’s what Charlotte Mason was talking about where you’re laying these rails that these cars of our life can go down. Today we talk a lot about like decision fatigue and you know, having these habits and these routines in place, as they say, for like adults, you know? Like, having a minimal wardrobe, having your thing that you do every morning, having what you do before you go to bed at night, you know? Having these meals that you eat, like you’re not always having to make these decisions.

But our kids, when we have this kind of laissez-faire type home where there’s not these routines, they’re constantly having to make those decisions. Like, they say do I wanna play or do I wanna sit here and do my school?

L – Yeah. Yeah, and that’s when kids feel like they’re behaviorally challenged I think, because they need that structure. And for safety, they feel safer with structure. And so, I think we can eliminate a lot of problems by establishing routines in the home.

J – So routines can help us with kind of, instilling an environment where this habit training can start to begin. But how would you introduce an individual habit to a child that they might not already have?

L – When realizing that we have important…those inspirational ideas are for habit training, where really, Charlotte Mason said that, the quality of the habit you form is directly proportional to the inspiration ideas that inform it. So, yeah, so we have to really inspire our children to want to form that habit first. And I recently read a PMEU article that said, it’s a daily inspiration. And I think often we think like, were we’ll read this book and then this will be our habit. And so, I really took that to heart that daily we are telling them stories or maybe little encouraging quotes, or things from the Bible, or examples from our own lives that really encourage them to carry through with that habit. And so, getting started with a habit that’s hugely important, I also think that we have to be really clear. Especially with young children, they don’t often know exactly what the expectations are and so those first couple days of introducing a habit, we have to be really clear of you know, well this is what I expect you to do at this time, and like, your handwriting needs to look like this, and just being really clear about your expectations is really important at first. And I think that we often just assume that they’re going to understand. Like, well I meant for you to do it this way. So, but one thing that I like for that is, like, in the power of habits, Charles Duhigg he said that we can have ‘family habits’ and I thought that was an awesome idea. Instead of just like a weekly family meeting like some people do, you could have a weekly habits meeting. And you could introduce a new habit or if it’s something you’re working on currently, you could just do little updates, or give that inspirational idea again. But I think that’s a critical way to introduce a habit. Or just remind yourself that you’re suppose to be working on habits. We better think of a habit.

J – We’ve kind of neglected keeping on top of certain things. That happens to me. I have to work on myself to develop the habit of consistency in order to fill the habits in my children because I have the bad habit of letting things slide a lot of the time. So I, through this whole process of learning more about what Charlotte Mason said, and going through principles, oh, well yeah, so, I actually have to work on myself first, before I can work on habits with my children.

L – Yes. It’s hard. I think that some of us think that we have to become perfect though, before we start. I think there’s something to be said, like, we’re gonna work on this habit together.

J – Yes, totally. And I love that, like, it just flows with so much of her philosophy, right? It’s not me being the authority, telling you everything you need to know. It’s your work of self-education. It’s your work to develop these habits. And it’s my work to develop mine, but we’re gonna work together and keep each other accountable in a kind way and help each other along. It’s just…

L – And they can see parents are still working too, and it’s not just because I’m young, but I need to change. We’re always trying to grow personally and in our relationship with Christ and not just a kid thing.

J – Right.

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So, I know you have a girl that’s just starting her formal lessons. But working in the Ambleside schools and just your research, like, how does habit training change or evolve as a child grows older? Of course, with my teenagers, you know, we still have to reinforce the making the bed habit. And the brushing the teeth habit, yeah. But, like, in school we also have to you know... there’s days where it’s like, no, like this is not acceptable, you did not draw your best. Like, the habit of you know, doing our best work too, so. Talk a little bit about how that happens?

L – Yeah. I hear a lot of moms ask things like, is it too late to start my fourteen-year-old on habit training? And the answer is a very firm no. That if you’re six years old it’s not too late, because our brains are constantly changing based on what we’re feeding them. And so, it’s never too late to start, but with an older child, I would think the habits, probably the bad habits, are more deep-seated. So, we have some longer-term work, probably, to do, whereas, with the younger child it can probably be flipped in a couple weeks. And it just might take a little longer, but on the bright side, you might be able to succeed at getting their will on your side a little bit easier if they are understanding, like, oh this has been a problem. You know, I see that other kids you know, I mean, it’s not a competition mind set but they might realize that there are some things that they are not doing quite up to par at this point. Maybe their handwriting is really sloppy, or they are, you know, just not caring about math or something like that. I think it would be easier to get their will on your side. And so, presenting that inspirational idea, but then Charlotte Mason also said that when they do get older, you do start talking about the way of the will. And what a noble thing it is to be able to make yourself do something that you don’t want to do. And so, I think with older kids, that is an advantage where they’re starting to realize that self-compelling power in them. But, hopefully, I mean, you still have to be that consistent. That follow-through, watchful mother, to help them with that habit training. But it’s interesting to me, Charlotte Mason didn’t really have, like, this is what you do for young children, this is what you do for older children. So, the process is really the same, although you just might have some benefits in some areas that are a little harder.

J – Right, yeah, and I think the habits of thinking and right thinking, as they get older and they start to develop like that abstract thinking, you know? To look at, okay, well what are you telling yourself about this. And you know, how do you make yourself do what you ought to do and not just what you want to do. How can we make that easier, you know? I didn’t put this in, but now that you brought it up, I love to just kind of camp on this concept of the way of the will for a little bit, because she does talk a lot about it. And I do think that it has this muscle that you have to strengthen, even myself, I have to strengthen myself, to do what I ought to do and sometimes, not what I want to do. Cause what I want to do is sit in my bed and binge watch Netflix, right? And like, can’t really do that, or shouldn’t really do that, so like, I have to train myself, well, if my habit is… like for me, I get up at 5:30 and go to the gym every morning. I don’t even… I’ve been doing it for three years; I don’t even think about it. Like, I literally wake up at 5:15 even on Sundays now. Like my brain is so conditioned to… so I don’t have to will myself to do it. So, you know when we’re building that muscle, everything, we have the will to do, and if it’s a child, everything for school is a matter of making that a will and restraining themselves in that self-control, you know? That fatigues them so quickly. But once you start building that muscle, it becomes easier to choose to do what you ought. So, can you talk a little bit just about the way of the will and what she meant by that?

L – Yeah, she… we tend to think of a strong-willed child as someone who’s defiant and, oh they’re so strong willed, they just do what they want to do, but she’s saying that’s actually a weak-willed child. And so, I know there’s a slew of blog posts out there now about how it’s actually good that your child is strong willed. But that will is pointed in the wrong directions.

J – Right! Yes.

L – And so that’s not really a good thing. You want to help guide them towards something that is better. And I think that all of the years before that, when they’re still very young and they’re still developing those thinking habits, they’re learning what is right and wrong. And so we’re building that foundation for a will. Even when they’re still young and they’re pretty impulsive still. But then when they get older, and you’re able to guide them through this process of like, what do you think would be the best choice right now and sometimes it might be like, out loud thinking it through with them. Like, okay, and now we’re going to do it. And Charlotte Mason’s model for her schools was I am, I can, I ought, I will. And I think that’s just a good guiding thought to remind them, you know what you ought to do. You can do it. And now you will do it. And, for us as moms, oftentimes it’s that like, self-talk that gets us through some things. So what we’re saying to ourselves is really important. So, as we kind of coach our children through that developing will that is pointed in the correct direction, we can teach them not self-talk of, you know what, you can do this, and you ought to do it and you will do it. So, I think there’s a lot of inspiration that goes but, you… when they’re first learning the way of the will, just a lot of that modeling and self-talk, instilling in them a good inner voice of decision making.

J – Yes. And I think that’s where the whole routine-aspect comes in at first, because their will is weak. They don’t need to constantly have to be making so many decisions about, what do I do here, or how does this work? What’s this suppose to look like, you know, how much time do I have to pay attention to what my mom is saying. And reading the story, like, and they have those routines and those expectations and so, you know, at first you just kinda hold ‘em up, but I love what you said about older children, you know, which choice do you think is the better one? You know? And guiding their thinking in that, and that really ties in with kind of her philosophy of you know, that it’s the child’s work of their education and that the children are born persons, and just this high view that she had of children. And I think when it’s a very authoritative… here’s the choice. I’m gonna tell you what the choice is and this is the choice you’re making. Now I’m not talking about like an older child that has that, kind of that abstract thinking, obviously, with like little children, you have to kind of dictate that a little bit more. But, to let them voice that and let them think through it with you, it’s just such an amazingly important life skill. That it just does kind of fit in so well with her, just, philosophy of the view of children on the whole. So, yeah, that’s really cool. So, what resources have been helpful to you and kind of guiding how- to training in your home?

L – Well, like you, I’ve been reading a lot of her… a lot of modern research. Because I think there’s evident in the 90s, the 1990s, is when researchers really caught on to this habit idea that Charlotte Mason had been talking about for a hundred years already. And so, they really started researching it and so I’ve been reading some of those books. There’s The Power of Habit that we mentioned, by Charles Duhigg and then, Atomic Habits by James P. Clear. And then I read one by Gretchen Rueben. I just really like to see what modern research is saying and then, of course I read Charlotte Mason’s volumes and then I just like to… it amazes me how much they align. How she was aware of this, even though it wasn’t being researched at that time where she could just tell through divine inspiration. And her work with children, that this was how it works, so I really like to pay attention to how those align. And then a couple years ago when my kids were still really little, I made a habits book for parents with young children. Cause I thought we just… we can’t go through all these Charlotte Mason habits. Some of them are not appropriate for older, you know… we were talking about the thinking. How older children can do that abstract thinking and so I just set out some habits for young children and guidance, parents through it and, I needed that for myself too, so. I just kinda go through it methodically like that when I’m habit training.

J – Yeah, that’s great. I mean, is there one habit like you’re like, okay, focus on this one first? Or is it just kind of like where your family’s at and what you all need?

L – Yeah, it’s… I really think, too, it can be different for each child. Where this child needs to work on this and so, I kind of just go based off of that rather… we have tried the whole family habit and we have made ground, but I really do think it’s difficult. Like you can work on something and it can mostly be cemented. But then when your children grow and their brains develop and their cultural context changes of the friends that they have and what they’re learning. You might need to do that habit again. They’re changing. When they change, their habits change so, I think it’s all kind of typical where it’s probably not as important as we think to pick the right habit at the right time. Because you’ll probably end up coming back to it. So, you know, everyone is concerned about getting that habit of obedience down when their children are young. And I can tell you it’s not a six-week cycle. In getting your children to be obedient.

J – It’s not? Man! It can’t just happen in a weekend.

L – And I know that you know this better than I do, but, I just think people view it as, like, I’m going to work on it and then I’m going to be done with it.

J – Nope. Nope. You’re gonna be working on it even when they’re adults.

L – Yeah. And so, I mean, Charlotte Mason said those big three habits are attention, obedience, and truthfulness. Those are the ones that she talked about the most, but you know, maybe for getting your home to function, there are little habits. Or maybe if you’re homeschool is full of bickering, maybe you work on, like, kindness to each other and how to get along with each other. So, it really just depends on what will make your home and your homeschool function the best. Right now. And not necessarily, you know, this is my one chance at this habit and I better not blow it.

J – Yes, I love that. And then what happens, and I cannot remember if this is in the Power of Habit, or Atomic Habits, I get those two confused, or if I read this somewhere else. But, like you, and I read like 55 million books, but we’re like the compounding effect. Like once you build good habits in one area, then it’s easier for you to build habits in other areas of your life, you know. Like going to the gym. Like, once I got that habit down, well then like, eating better, or other things felt much easier to do. Because I had already had that level. So, it’s not like all of these habits, you’re starting from scratch, you’re having to work on it continually every day. You know, once you kind of lay that groundwork and that foundation and then establish that one, then it does have a compounding effect of making other ones easier. And it does teach them like, oh, well I use to always forget, I’ll just use an example from my house, to put my shoes in the bucket, we have the buckets right by the door, and amazingly the shoes just go in front of the bucket and not in the bucket, you know? I don’t know why that is but, I’m sure my kids put them in the bucket and their shoes just jump back out. I don’t know what happens. But I’m just like, okay, we have to get this habit, putting them in the bucket you know? Then you can go, well remember where we really… we worked on that? And now you don’t even think about it, right? So now we’re gonna work on this other thing and it kind of builds their self-confidence of knowing… and you know, self-esteem of, oh I can do this. I have done this before. Kinda thing.

L – Yeah, if the opportunity becomes a habit. Yeah. And I think you’re thinking of keystone habits by Charles Duhigg. Yeah, and it’s interesting like you mentioned, going to the gym, he had this whole list of habits that kind of naturally fall into place because you’re going to the gym. And, yeah, and making your bed. Like people who make their beds are better money managers. It’s so funny. So that’s why I’m like, four-year-old, you are making your bed.

J – And that’s so funny, because yeah, I’ve developed… and I did not have that habit as a child of making my bed. Or cleaning my… like it was a disaster all the time. But yeah, I don’t even think about making my bed ever. Like, I just do it. Like brushing my teeth or, you know, you don’t even think about it.

L – And that’s a habit that somehow you cultivated, and it was probably a chore when you were doing and now you don’t even remember.

J – Right. But then that frees your brain up to do other things and focus on something else. So, once something else becomes a habit then you have that brain space free to work on something that might be really hard for you to break, or another habit that you wanna build that’s not comfortable. So, do you have a favorite Charlotte Mason quote about habit training? Or did I already take yours? I should have asked you first!

L – No, I do, I feel like my quote changes based on what we’re going through in life. And so, you know, the context we bring into something when we read is always different reread it. So, I think my favorite right now is from Home Education. Such habits as bees, good, bad, or indifferent, are they natural to the children? No. But they are what their mothers have brought them up to. And as a matter of fact, there is nothing which a mother cannot bring her child up to. And I love this one. It’s very encouraging right now. I think right now with the early years and a couple meltdown prone children, but this is just encouraging to me that I feel like it’s that growth mindset for moms where we think, oh, am I ever going to guide my child in the right direction? And then we think there’s nothing which a mother cannot bring her child up to, and that’s a great encouragement I need, that, yes I, you know, with the Lord’s help, I can.

J – And having that long-term view, right? We may not get this done next week, but this is… we’re building a life here. And we’re building a person, you know?

L – Yeah. Yeah, and yeah, long term thing, yeah.

J – See you have mentioned your daughter, that’s six and half, so you have younger ones as well? I don’t think you told us.

L – Yes. So, I have six and half, four, and two.

J – Okay, okay.

L – So we’re just toddler life, over here.

J – Well, I think what you said was really important about the habits that we have as mothers, this ties into my last question for you. Because, unfortunately, I have realized I have instilled some bad habits in my children based on my bad habits that they’ve picked up on are my negative emotions, or me not handling a situation well, or me being anxious. But that changes the atmosphere in our home, and then that is what is modeled to them. And so, some of the bad habits that I see are unfortunately, reflections of things I also do, and I’m like, AH! I’m so sorry you had to get that. So, are there certain habits or tips or ideas you would have for moms for just kind of working on their own habits?

L – Well, I think the habit of consistency. Like, we kind of talked about, is really important. And that will over-encompass or overreach in other areas and not just like, one specific habit. But if we can develop the consistency and habit training, then we really can keep at it and Charlotte Mason said that tact, watchfulness, and persistence are those areas that we really need as mothers to cultivate. And so, thinking about this and researching, I realized that our thoughts are really hugely important in this consistency and the habit training process. And we see Biblically, we see in Romans 12:2, it said do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. And so, we see the word “pattern” which we can see as habits, right? The pattern of the habit. And then, we can break that by transforming, by renewing, our mind. So, by changing our thoughts and replacing some of those, like you said, I’m gonna let it slide. That’s a thought that goes through your mind. And so, instead of that thought, we can replace it with something like, this is really important. No, it’s really important that we don’t skip this right now, or, you know, I think we can let go of whole areas of homeschooling, like, oh, we’re just gonna let this subject fly. But if we can change our thoughts and say, you know what, this is really important, for me, my bad habit that I instill in my children is poor housekeeping. I’m getting better. We just renovated and I’m just thinking well it would be really bad stewardship to not keep up with this house and not be able to just have people drop by whenever because it’s a mess. So, I’ve been working on that and I realized the thought that was going through my head was, “it can wait”. And so I’ve replaced that thought with “do it now”. And so,

J – You’re like Nike. Just do it.

L – It’s amazing how much ‘thought-shift’ in thinking really changes my actions, because instead of stopping, like, oh I better do it now. So, it really is important and it’s a Biblical concept to, to change our thoughts, hold them captive, make sure that they are going to be for something positive and not just for our own immediate gratification. So, I think that really helps with consistency which is probably the most important quality for habit training.

J – Yes, yes, I totally agree. And I think that…what you just said about training our thoughts is so key. And it’s... like you were saying, like in the 90s, all this research started happening. Mainly because they were able, on MRIs, to see how our brains, the physical substance of our brains actually do change, based on our habits and our thinking and you know, Charlotte Mason was saying this a hundred years ago without having any of that science to back it up, right? Just like you said about her observation on children and wisdom and… but now we can see that, so now there’s yeah… there’s so much. And they do say that in order to change your habits you have to change your thinking and so, and I was hoping she talked against, like we talked about like the use of rewards and bribing someone to do something, you know? And then when you take that reward away, or actually research shows it makes someone wanna do it less because they aren’t getting the reward, right? But by retraining your thoughts, then that will lead to the right action or the right habit, you know? As opposed to you keep doing this cause you’re gonna get a sticker every day.

L – Yeah, yeah, definitely. It becomes its own natural reward, to do it right and you know, it is rewarding to feel like, hey, this hasn’t been a struggle and now my kitchen’s clean.

J – A beautiful kitchen is a reward in itself. At least for 30 seconds. Well, thank you so much, I know it went overtime, I’m just… really enjoyed this conversation with you. And I definitely encourage people to go check out and your eBook. Especially for moms with young children just to kind of give them that foundation to get started ‘cause it is very daunting to read through all she has to say on it. And so, it’s just a great resource that you came up with just to kind of have this little blurb that… not little blurb, but, a condensed version of what she had to say. So, that people can just kind of have a game plan to get started there, so.

L – And in February, I’ll be hosting a habit training course with Amy, who’s my podcast cohost and we are doing a course based on Charlotte Mason and research and our own experience that we think will be really helpful for moms.

J – Oh, well I didn’t know that. Well that’s super exciting. So yeah, thank you!

Thank you for joining us today on the Charlotte Mason show. I’m your host, Julie Ross, and I would love to meet you in 2020. I will be at all seven Great Homeschool Conventions, speaking as part of their Charlotte Mason track. Go to to find one near you. If you want more information on what was shared in today’s podcast, go to for the show notes. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to this podcast in iTunes or Google Play so you never miss an episode. Until next time.

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