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'Habit is Ten Natures'

A Charlotte Mason Inspired Voice Teacher!

I have really dove into Home Education written by Charlotte Mason. She was an educator in the late 19th and early 20th century and valued so much of the same things I do. One of them is nature. On our nature walk yesterday I noticed that these seeds had a beautiful pink/red hue to them! In a sea of green this gentle and beautiful seed screamed this new and great color! Not that I want to live outside and get eaten by mosquitos but the beauty that one can find in nature is so prevalent. There is so much we can learn from nature and one of them is that there is joy in habit forming. So much so that the habit becomes part of our own nature.

"For a habit is a delight in itself; poor human nature is conscious of the ease that it is to repeat the doing of anything without effort; and therefore, the formation of a habit, the gradually lessening sense of effort in a given act, is pleasurable." - Home Education Charlotte Mason

In her Habit is ten nature lecture she writes on how habits can replace nature. She also discusses practical steps and how necessary it is for us to stay consistent and give our children opportunities to practice consistency. As a mother, I feel terribly convicted in this chapter to be more consistent. As an educator, I am energized and excited about her practical strategies. I will say here that one idea to practice consistency is to have the child in music lessons specifically singing. Come learn to sing with me at Omaha Conservatory of Music. I will continue speaking about what various ages of lessons look like in the coming weeks. BUT habit forming is something that is huge in any and all music learning. Today I want to reflect on the more basic idea in her instructions.

"The formation of habits is education, and education is the formation of habits." - Home Education Charlotte Mason

When I think about educating my singers one of the things I often say is I want a lazy singer. Not meaning that I want a singer who is not thoughtful, or a singer who is inaccurate; but I want a singer who has practiced a certain skill enough that it becomes habit and a new part of their nature.

Ms. Mason gives an example of closing the door. I encourage you to read the full example in Part III - vii in Home Education (you can find the book on the kindle app or other places for free). The gist is that the young person is told to work on closing the door every time they enter and exit the room, they are explained the reason and then the caregiver/educator reminds them when they forget. They begin to do it without much thought. Then there is a dangerous place in the habit where they forget or are mindless and the caregiver/educator lets it slide, now all of the work of the habit has gone. The young person sees that it is ok to not do the thing and continues to forget. Instead she encourages us as a caregiver/educator to call them back and stay consistent. (Ms. Mason is careful to say not reproaching but instead reminding with as few words as possible or a simple gesture).

What habits are you working on in your own life? What habits are you helping your students develop?

Side note: Other philosophies of education that I love are Montessori and Classical (Liberal Arts). These both find the value in using a child's love and teaching so many things through that. And not really a philosophy but instead a drive to create meaningful connections is knowing the brain science of motivations.

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