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Copyright 2002
The Teaching Home
Box 20219
Portland OR 97294
Fax: 503-253-7345
Phone: 503-253-9633  

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"HSLDA's Generation Joshua -- America Needs Your Help"
is the subject line of the e-mail accompanying and sponsoring this newsletter.
     Subscribe to this free e-mail newsletter at

Table of Contents
     Get Out the Vote!
     Habits, Part 1  (This Issue)
          The Advantages of Habits
          The Nature of Habits
          An Inventory of Habits
          A Sample List of Good Habits
     Habits, Part 2  (Next Issue)
          Methods of Forming Good Habits;
          Relationship of Habits to Character,
          Discipline, Training, and Spiritual Life
     Recommended Resources
          Builder Books Homeschool Materials
          Beyond Phonics Character-Building Phonics-Based Stories
          Rhea’s Entrepreneur Days
          "School Days Devotional Praise"
          "Christian Ethics for Youth"
          HomeSchool ID Card
     Sunnyside Up: Humorous Anecdote


     "Good habits are hard to form and easy to live with.
     Bad habits are easy to form and hard to live with."

     Charlotte Mason wrote,
"The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits
     secures for herself smooth and easy days;
While she who lets their habits take care of themselves
     has a weary life of endless friction with the children."

     We hope that the following discussion of habits, their
advantages, nature, and methods of formation, inspire you to form
good habits that will make your home life and schooling easier
and more pleasant for you and more glorifying to our Lord.

Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian Welch
The Teaching Home is a 24-year-old, home-school family business.

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Introduce Grammar with a Homeschool Favorite!
     The "Humpties" are a "hands-on," kid-appealing approach
to grammar that is effective and fun!  Thru 9/15: Purchase both
"Humpties" and "Building Sentences with the Humpties" for $15.90
-- SAVE 20%! See or call
800-260-5461.  Builder Books Homeschool Materials (free catalog)

Only 68 More Days
Until the Presidential Election
     You know how much our next President will affect the course
of our nation and personal liberties, including our religious and
home schooling freedoms.
     Now is the time to make a difference -- not at the last
minute when there is not enough time, or when the close vote is
all over!
     What can you do?

1.  Pray!
    "I exhort therefore, first of all, that supplications,
prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings, be made for all men; for
kings and all that are in high places; that we may lead a
tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and gravity."
(1 Timothy 2:1-2).

2.  Become Informed
     Get information about the issues from a Christian worldview
as well as the candidates' positions and records on those issues.

3.  Get Out the Vote!
     Help rally Christians who will pray and vote.
     The Million Votes Campaign.  "A team of one million
registered Christian voters could change our nation this year!
That's why the Center for Reclaiming America has launched, an effort to identify and equip one million
registered Christian voters who will pray and vote in this year's
     HSLDA's Generation Joshua.  HSLDA has launched
a program designed to increase voter participation and voter
turnout among Christian conservatives and America's churches.
For more information see the accompanying e-mail and
     Ask If They Are Registered To Vote.  Make sure everyone
of voting age in your family is registered to vote.  Then check with
friends at church, in your support group or neighborhood, and
     Church Bulletins.  You can obtain bulletin inserts that set
forth clear biblical reasons from the Founding Fathers on why
Christians must vote in elections.
     Voter Registration.  Look at voter registration information
online or pick up a registration form at the post office to see
what is involved in registering to vote.

4.  Teach Your Children
     Use this opportunity to teach your children their civic
responsibilities.  You might want to use all, or part, of our
ready-made unit studies to start you school year or for one or
more weeks before the election.

Three-Part Unit Study on Government

Two-Part Unit Study on the Presidential Election Process


Character-Building Phonics-Based Stories.  Accelerate mastery
of spelling and advanced reading at all levels.  This is the final step.
For Christian families. Grades 2-12.

The Advantages of Habits

     "Once good habits are in place, a mother can relax because
her children will behave properly as a matter of habit and she
won't need to go behind them with constant reminders and nagging.
Habit training makes her job easier and more pleasant.
     "It may seem like a huge task, but if done little by little,
one day at a time, as each tick of a clock counts away days and
years, it can be done with less effort than one might think
initially."  -- from the "Summary of Home Education, Volume 1
of the Charlotte Mason Series."

     One advantage of habits is that they allow you to handle
repeated tasks and decisions without considering them over and
over again.  This allows more time and attention for other things.

     "Although it takes energy and thought to form a good habit,
once in place, a habit gains in strength and effect with each
repetition.  Put a platoon of good habits to work for you, and
you'll triumph in the war against chaos and disorganization." --
Cynthia Townley Ewer in the inspiring article, "Habit, the
Household Wonder Worker."

   Rhea’s Entrepreneur Days
   September 24-26
   Orlando, Florida
   A professional business conference
   for parents and their teens.  Learn
from successful teachers who share vision, encouragement,
and incredible information that will cut your learning curve
on a variety of home businesses.
     Three jam-packed days include:
 *  Selling on eBay
 *  Self-publishing
 *  Publishing: the Public Domain
 *  Real Estate Investing
 *  Creating a Successful Online Business
 *  Copywriting
 *  Public Speaking
 *  And more!
     Visit our web site for complete information, testimonials,
and to get the report "How to Motivate Your Kids" today.

The Nature of Habits

     A habit is defined as "a recurrent, often unconscious,
pattern of behavior that is acquired and maintained through
frequent repetition.  An established and prevailing disposition
of the mind or character."

"To Form, or Not To Form" Is Not the Question
     We cannot avoid forming habits.  We are always either
passively or actively forming habits by everything we do.  We are
all creatures of habit, and every action we take is reinforcing a
     Instead of thoughtlessly allowing our habits to accumulate,
we have the ability and responsibility to choose our own habits
by deliberate and intentional actions.
     Successful and godly people are willing to make the effort
to form useful habits.  They might not necessarily like to do
so, but their dislike is subordinate to their purpose.

     The key to the successful formation of a habit is the
consistency of the repetitions.  The power of your conscious
decision to do a certain thing grows stronger by exercise. What
seems difficult or impossible at first, becomes natural and easy
by constant repetition, as thoughts and actions become habitual.

Caution: Wet Cement
     Habits are learned best in youth and childhood.  Helping
your children learn good habits at a young age is a great
blessing for them (and all those around them) throughout their
     Children will not "grow out of" bad habits.  You need to
consciously train them in good habits.
     Also while young, children easily pick up the bad habits of
their playmates.  This is one reason that care must be taken in
their supervision.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
     Habits can be either good or bad, beneficial or detrimental.
     Bad habits are more easily formed than good habits and are
more difficult to give up because of our sin nature.
     The adage, "Old habits are hard to break," is true.  The
only way to break a bad habit is to replace it with a good
habit.  It will take extra effort, determination, and desire to
overcome the force of thousands of repetitions; it requires
consistently repeating a positive action.  (All the more reason
to help our children avoid bad habits in the first place!)
     Habits that are compulsive, extreme, or harmful are called
addictions; these enslave a person.

Set the Timer
     How long does it take to form a habit?  Opinions vary, but
most people need to do something very deliberately for 3-6 weeks
for a habit to become ingrained in their lives.
     The time might be shorter or longer depending on several
factors such as the person's age and motivation, the habit being
formed, and the methods used (see article below).
     In regards to time, there is agreement on two things:
 *  However long it takes, it is time well spent.
 *  It takes a lifetime to maintain a habit.

Put Them All Together
     Habits, good or bad, have a cumulative effect.
     One bad habit might not seem so objectionable, but it often
leads to another, and several together can cause serious
problems, pain, and anguish.
     On the other hand, small beneficial habits, formed gradually
and unnoticed in themselves, can add up to a momentous effect in
the lives of our families.

Can a Good Habit Go Bad?
     If it is a habit of good character or one involving a moral
absolute -- absolutely not!  However, a habit that was once
appropriate can become a harmful rut if we do not periodically
evaluate its usefulness.
     The circumstances of our lives might change, or we might find
a new and better way of doing something.  Then it is appropriate
to update and modify a good habit to make it even better.

Education:  Habits of the Mind
     In the classical style of education advocated by Dorothy
Sayers, rote memory is employed in the beginning or "grammar"
stage of learning.  This is similar to forming a habit because it
involves the repetition of facts for the brain to recall.
     Read "The Lost Tools of Learning" at one of the following.

"An Established Disposition of the Mind"
     This aspect of the definition of habit is what Stephen Covey
refers to in his well-known book "The 7 Habits of Highly
Effective People."  You can read an informative summary at

Two Resources from the Publisher of Speedy Spanish
Teach Character.  "School Days Devotional Praise" 150 days of
Character-building stories, tape of songs, posters. (grades 1-8).
Teach Ethics.  "Christian Ethics for Youth."  Topical devotional
and study book on Proverbs with illustrations and applications;

An Inventory of Habits

     Work on forming good habits in your family by planning and
prioritizing as follows:

1.  Make a List of Desired Habits.
     This exercise alone can help you become more aware of what
your family needs to work on.
     How do you know what to put on this list?  Consider:
 *  Routines in your daily schedule.
 *  Problems that come up that you would like solved once and for
     all by forming a good habit.
 *  Bad habits that need to be replaced with good ones.
 *  Your family's mission statement and goals.  (See newsletters
     #80 and 81.)
 *  The sample list below.

2.  Assess Your List.
 *  Check off those habits that are already established.
     This can both encourage you and remind you to
     maintain these good habits.
 *  Note habits that certain family members need to work on
     that others do not.
 *  Prioritize your list.
     This is necessary because it is more effective to work on
     just one habit (or a closely related group of habits, called
     a routine) at a time.
 *  Update your list when you can check off a successfully formed

   HomeSchool ID:
   Safety, Security
   & Peace of Mind
   Homeschool students have different
   schedules and may need to be in
   public during normal school hours.
 *  Problem: To others, your homeschooler looks like a truant
     public school student. How can they tell the difference?
 *  Solution: HomeSchool ID Card.
 *  Great for student discounts! or call us at 813-962-2256.

A Sample List of Good Habits
     Consider the following areas of beneficial habits.  You
might think of more examples in each area and/or break these down
into component parts.

     Regular times for going to bed, rising, meals, study, and

Health, Hygiene, and Grooming
     Clean skin, hair, teeth, nails, clothes, and shoes; good,
balanced nutrition; exercise; rest; correct posture; proper use
and care of eyes; deep breathing, and drinking adequate water.

     Walking along and crossing streets, answering the telephone,
responding to strangers.

     Consistent, timely, and satisfactory performance with
initiative and responsibility.  Always do just a little more than is
expected, rather than the bare minimum; "Go the second mile."

     Pick up, clean up, and put away things immediately after use.

     Diligence, focus, thoroughness, and excellence in learning
and completing assignments.

Critical Thinking
     Use logical reasoning; recognize fallacies.

     Use correct volume, pronunciation, grammar, and usage.

Manners and Courtesy
     "Please," "Thank you," "You're welcome," "Excuse me," etc.
Look for ways to show kindness and help others.  Attend and
answer when addressed; do not interrupt.

     Modest dress and behavior; not being alone or having
inappropriate conversations with someone of the opposite sex.

     Always obey parents without delay or complaint.

     Make correct choices in all areas of character.
     See a list of character qualities (love, integrity,
obedience, wisdom, responsibility, and joy), with related
characteristics, definitions, and Scripture references for each
in newsletter #87 at

     Bible reading, study, and memory.  Church attendance,
prayer, and sharing the Gospel.

     Please Thank and Support
     Our Sponsoring Advertisers!
          These free newsletters are made possible financially by
     the fine suppliers who advertise in them and the accompanying
     e-mail.  Please consider those that advertised in our last issue
     (below) as well as the ones in this issue.

     The Grace Academy

     "Unlocking The Mysteries of Creation"

     SCI-TECH Hands-On Project Kits

     "For Instruction in Righteousness" from Doorposts

     Grapevine Studies Bible Curriculum

     Mr. Button Family Video


Sunnyside Up:  Somebody Loves Me -- I Wonder Who?
     At breakfast one morning, Blake, 3, wrinkled his brow and
asked, "Who's Howie at church?"
     Puzzled, my husband and I looked at each other.
     "You know," he continued, "the one who loves us?"
     We were stumped. We didn't know any Howie until Blake went
on to sing, "Oh, Howie loves you and me. . . ."
     Submitted by Valori C., Wisconsin.

God Loves You.
     Because we were separated from God by sin, Jesus Christ
died in our place, then rose to life again.  If we trust Jesus Christ
as our Savior and Lord, He will give us eternal life.
     "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that
not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of
works, that no one should boast" (Ephesians 2:8, 9).

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