Wednesday, June 20, 2012

(Habit) Training in Truthfulness

Last year a homeschool group I was a part of starting meeting once a month to figure out habit training using "Laying Down the Rails."  We were kind of at a lost as to a plan.  Some ladies started using a chart in which they would give a tally mark anytime their child displayed the habit they were working on; at the end of getting a certain number of marks, they would receive a reward.  One lady started finding activities that helped her children practice the habit.  I finally settled on doing what I love to do most, which is to make a schedule!  There are several ways to help your child focus on a habit:

inspiring stories and poetry          Bible stories and verses 
                                        games and activities 

                                             quotes                            lesson time          
                           diligent watchfulness and encouragement

Truthfulness was our first habit to work on.  On my own, I read through the Truthfulness section in "Laying Down the Rails".  Twice a week we had a habit training session as a part of school.  I would read one of the main points from LDtR (there are 15 for Truthfulness) and summarize Charlotte Mason's words for the kids.  Then we would do one of the elements I had found.  Sonya Shafer (Simply Charlotte Mason) provides the quotes at the end of each habit, so that part was done. With more research and time, there are a lot of creative ideas and stories you could find, but here are some of the other elements I quickly found for the habit of Truthfulness:

~Read "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" and have the kids narrate it. 
~Hold a truth-telling lesson a la CM (explained in Charlotte's words in LDtR) where the child looks at the sky or landscape and then tells everything they saw without exaggerating or omitting details. 
~Have a message-delivering lesson a la CM where the child is given a message to tell Dad or someone else. The person told writes down the message to send back to you so you can check for accuracy. 
~Memorize Proverbs 8:7. 
~Object lesson: take a tube of toothpaste and squeeze some out and ask the kids if they can put it back in.  Let them try for a while.  The point is that once words come out of your mouth, you can't put them back in.  Words have consequences.  (A friend gave me this idea.)
~Read and meditate on Ephesians 4:25 and Proverbs 12:22. 
~Play the telephone game where you whisper a message to the next person in line and they whisper to the next person and you see how garbled or clear the message ends up.  This has more to do with how gossip can be spread, but it is a fun game for the kids to play. 
~We were reading through Pinocchio for school, so it came up naturally as an illustration throughout habit training time. 
 ~Add in the quotes and do the two activities suggested by Charlotte Mason several times, and you have enough extras to come alongside each teaching session.

Once I had the elements written down, it was easy to grab "Laying Down the Rails" and choose an item from the list on the days we had habit training lessons.  And of course we focused on that habit throughout each day reminding each other (gently, hopefully) to be truthful.  The most interesting thing to me was noticing how often I tend to exaggerate for effect or want to tell a little white lie to get out of an awkward situation!  These habits are not just for our children, that's for sure.


  1. Lanaya,
    Nice to meet you in the blogging neighborhood.

    What a helpful post with a sampling of good ideas for truthfulness. Education, itself, is about truth isn't it? We seek after truth and uncover truth. Then as Christians we uphold truth and are bearers of truth with the gospel.

    Dad read Pinocchio aloud in our house. Was it really 20 years ago? Time whizzes by when you homeschool.

    Karen A.

  2. Karen, so happy to "meet" you! I very much enjoy Mother Culture.

  3. We are dealing with this right now in our house and since Pinocchio is on our free reads list this year, I think we will be doing that next. Thank you for all the helpful advice. I really want to get laying down the rails because I have heard great things. I am just reading parables of nature with her and bible stories but I don't think that's enough. I am going to try to budget for it soon.