Monday, November 05, 2007
British educator Charlotte Mason played a big part in my mental preparations for homeschooling. When my oldest was about 2 years old, I read through her Original Homeschooling Series, and have been repaid over and over for that investment of time.
One thing that CM emphasizes is habit training, without which it is nearly impossible to make academic progress. She is not the first to make the observation that once a habit is formed, it frees the mind from having to grapple with minutiae, allowing it to go fishing in deeper ponds.
I like the way this concept has been reinforced to my teens in the excellent Teaching Company DVD series by Tim McGee, entitled "How to be a Superstar Student." He suggests that students visualize their minds as a blackboard. Upon awakening each morning, it is clean and uncluttered. But with each conversation, each interaction, each activity, an "X" is placed on the board. By the end of the day, the mind has accumulated a lot of clutter. There is little or no room left for substantial learning. His point: make study one of the first priorities of the day. Make a habit of utilizing that morning burst of mental energy. Study smart rather than studying long.