CM 8: Audioblog - Leah Martin - Your Secret Weapon for Forming Positive Habits
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.
CM Leah Martin Audio Blog
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.
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A Secret Weapon for Forming Good Habits, by Leah Martin at MyLittleRobins.com
Chaos is often the leading lady in our home, as many mothers with very young children can most definitely relate to. But with chaos comes rattled nerves, tears, mostly mine, and a home atmosphere that is better prepared for battle than for learning.
For the last year or so, I’ve been recognizing the importance of routine. This simple little thing that children tend to crave might be the key to habit training in our homes.
When I sit down to tell you about the past year, my eyes can’t hold back the tears. There was nothing tragic and many could share their stories of far worse experiences. But almost everything that it contained was a struggle. There was an extremely explosive toddler whom we realized had a sensory processing disorder. The resulting therapy and work that we did with him drained us. Me. To empty. There was the selling of our house, the buying of a new house, and the renovation that kept us out of our home for five weeks. And, it’s still going.
And what I didn’t prepare for was all the tears from little ones who were sad to have left their home and didn’t understand what was happening to their new one. Through all of these circumstances, a common theme kept arising. We needed a routine. My sensory guy desperately needed a routine so his little body could relax a bit and not feel the need to fight an overwhelming world.
With the chaos of moving and renovating and moving again, I craved a routine of happy mornings with my children. Through blurry tears shed after losing the only home they’re ever known; my children needed a routine to show them that not so much had changed. And yet, I couldn’t give it to them. Our days were unpredictable and chaotic and far from easy. But in all that time, God was changing my heart.
I was learning and preparing for the day when the gift of the mundane would walk back into our lives. I was cleaning out routines.
Our habits require some kind of cue to set them in motion. The habit-cue is why we accidentally turn off the lights when someone is firmly planted in the room. It’s a habit to flip that switch when we walk out of that door. When our cues are completely shaken, then our habits crumble.
I imagine that this is part of the reason why the last year was so challenging. We were without our routines, so all of those habits that we had worked so hard on had disintegrated into that thin Colorado air. Habits need routines. If you have been struggling to help your children and yourself develop good habits, or there isn’t consistency in your day, then you probably feel like you’re shoveling during the snowstorm. Habits are entirely repetitive, and if we don’t repeat those habit cues for good habits, then they will probably quickly morph into bad habits.
When we follow routines in our day, the cues happen naturally. If everyone goes upstairs to clean their rooms after breakfast, every day, there won’t be so much of a fight. If the kids are used to playing independently outside for an hour while I work or rest, there won’t be so much bickering. Establishing routines into our days when our kids are in their early years, yields a high return of investment.
All the while that I wanted to establish routines, but couldn’t, I spent time planning them out. The first thing that I knew we needed in order to have healthy routines and habits was more time at home together. We needed fewer activities because good habits are seldom formed in the rush to get shoes on and get into the car.
After clearing our schedule, a bit, and learning how to say no to some things, I thought about what our mornings should look like. What if everyone was really at peace, and if our home was filled with the sweet aroma of Jesus? I wrote a paragraph to describe it. This didn’t factor in sensory meltdowns or teeming toddlers, but I wanted to have a baseline of what I thought would be ideal.
With my paragraph in hand, I thought about all of the habits that might need to happen in order to have a morning like this. If we were to all sit together at the table for breakfast, morning time, we would need to work on our table manners. If the little boys were expected to play quietly during lessons, then we would need to work on the habit of being kind to each other. Finally, I wrote out a routine that would help support the habits I knew we needed help with. Instead of letting the kids graze through the morning and eat when they woke, we’d wake and eat breakfast together so I could get everyone to the table simultaneously for our morning time.
Before beginning lessons, I’d play with my little boys and model how to be kind to each other. If you are struggling with habits in this season, try reevaluating your routines. Sit down and take the time to decide what might not be working. This simple little change could make a big difference in your habit training efforts.
You’ll find habit training resources in the My Little Robins subscriber library.
Julie – 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 greathomeschoolconvenions.com to find one near you.
If you want more information on what was shared in today’s podcast, go to homeschooling.mom 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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