Author Thomas Costello

Caring adults can intentionally cultivate habits in a relational way so that children grow in habits such as focused attention, neat and accurate work, asking questions, respecting others, working hard, and recovering from emotional distress.
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By intentionally and carefully forming new habits in children, we can “lift them above their natures,” freeing them from negative propensities. Focused attention is the most important educational habit to be formed because that to which we give attention, we come to know.
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Motivation is more important than information. The student who cares about spelling or science or mathematics will do well and learn these things to the fullness of their God-given ability. We care about those things with which we have developed a relationship; we care about those things which are valued by our community. The student who cares will do well.
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Worthy work is intrinsically satisfying. Students gain the satisfaction of knowing and of work well done. Well-intentioned adults may inadvertently contaminate the learning atmosphere by using artificial rewards and incentives, which demean the joy of knowing and diminish the student’s capacity for intrinsic motivation.
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In prior times, children grew up with a mind to work—it was breathed in by the atmosphere of the home. Many children and many duties required many hands. As society has changed, however, much of our work is accomplished outside of the home, and parents labor in workplaces unseen by their children. Taking this into account, it is important to be purposeful to train a child in a view toward work.
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Charlotte Mason proposes the need to ‘rectify’ our view of authority and how authority rightly ‘vested in the office’ of the teacher impacts the learning atmosphere. Miss Mason explains how authority is not autocratic rule but rather it is a mantle to wear with dignity and confidence. The teacher walks in authority, is under authority, and is ever aware that she stands always on Holy ground before the children.
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