I have bought and printed Laying Down the Rails: A Charlotte Mason Habits Handbook (Shafer). Finally. The more I'm reading it, the more I agree with her approach to, and principles in education. The more I am considering her approach for my sons, and to not simply just go eclectic. It is almost automatic to school the boys when they reach 3 1/2 to 4 years old. (We do celebrate their academic milestones). I can tell my boys are smarter than I am (but of course, I have the advantage of years... but you know what I mean). It's so tempting to send them off to school (in our case, start formal homeschooling), so that they can "get a good education". But CM is emphasizing something more basic, and essential, and of utmost importance-- the active pursuit of developing a child's (good) habits. (Surely, education is more than Math, and Languages, and Science. And character cannot be developed by leaving it all to the Religion teacher). It is something that we parents should definitely engage in, put an effort in-- much like the way we perceive, and approach their academics. Forming habits is a necessity. Inculcating good manners, and values, and turning these things into habits, indeed, can be a very big, overwhelming challenge, but the rewards are great. I think, only then, can our function as parents be fulfilled.
"The well-brought-up child has always been a child carefully trained in good habits."
"Sow an act, reap a habit, sow a habit, reap a character, sow a character, reap a destiny."