“The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days.” Charlotte Mason
I read all of Charlotte Mason's words about "smooth and easy days" and habit training and I was very inspired. But when I tried to teach my child any of the less-concrete virtues, like kindness, gentleness or patience, everything flopped.
I found myself nagging my kids and yelling "Be kind to each other!" only to find---duh--- it wasn't working. How do I actually help my child want to live and choose a virtuous life? How can I explain what good habits are without shame and in a way that is age-appropriate and accessible to my young child?
Every resource I found felt condemning, gave me feelings of inadequacy and failure just reading through it, or it didn't feel right for young children.
I wanted my children to be inspired to a life of virtue, not harped and coerced into a life of behavior modification, but I couldn't find what I was looking for...so I made it!
Introducing “Habits and Hymns”
Habits and Hymns is a Christian, faith-based nine month study of key virtues and classic hymns. Focusing on the life of Jesus as our true inspiration, this curriculum is designed to supplement your family Bible study for kids ages 3-10. It is hard to ask our children to possess a habit that we ourselves are lacking, but in Jesus we find no lack.
Good character starts as learning virtue—grasping the abstract concepts—and as your child practices the virtue it becomes a habit. Then it will grow into character. The hardest part of building character is practicing it into a habit.
This resource will start your child with the first part, of helping them experience and grasp the concept of each virtue, and will equip you as a parent to walk alongside them in the hard, ongoing part of practicing it into a character habit.
The teacher's guide will walk you through the why and how of teaching habits without shaming or nagging our children. Over 9 months you will teach your child the meaning of specific virtues (kindness, self-control, gentleness, helpfulness, obedience, contentment and truthfulness), practice it into a habit and learn one of the most popular hymns in history.
How Do I Use “Habits and Hymns”?
Definitions: Each Virtue Guide includes a definition to help give children language around the abstract concept virtue. You will recite this ”I am” every day and use it in times of encouragement and correction.
Memory Verse: Scripture memorization is an important part of character development. Recite the verse every day and encourage kids to join in as the words become more and more familiar.
Hymns: Each month includes a popular hymn, the backstory and history of how the hymn was written and a visual hymn for easy memorization (especially for non-readers) and display. Listen to or sing the hymn each day. You will find a Spotify playlist included in the curriculum! (You can also purchase these as a stand-alone product if you are interested in just the Visual Hymns)
Twice a week you will also do one of the following:
Picture Books: Each virtue has four corresponding picture books that provide more story and places for connection for your child. In some of the picture books you will see characters who emulate the habit well, and in others you will find characters who struggle. The curriculum includes a youtube playlist and shopping list if you can’t find them at your local library.
Scripture Passage and Discussion: The only enduring motive for walking in the way of right habits is that Jesus is worthy of emulating and through these Scripture readings and notes you will see how Jesus truly is perfect. The questions for discussion are meant to draw out the main points and connections from the passage. There are provided “answers'' to each question that you can use as a guide and as a way to direct and expand the conversation.
Virtue Activity: Our children need to be exposed to a wide range of experiences around an abstract virtue before they can tangibly grasp it and bring it into their own understanding. These illustrations and playful experiences will help reinforce the virtue of the month!
Reflection Journal: In the last week of each month your child will write or verbally narrate their reflections in the included reflection journal. This will come as a separate document so you can print off a copy for each of your children (and maybe one for yourself too)!
As a Parent…
Habits and Hymns is a resource that is meant to inform and inspire your child through the life of Christ. We do not want them to be discouraged, defeated or to require perfection. Doing this study with my own children, I have learned that the hardest part about teaching habits is that parents must be the example.
As we come alongside our children in habit training and character building, I pray we do this in humility, with love, consistency and without shame. This resource will help you reiterate to your children that we’re all working on these habits together and hopefully inspire you as well!