Education is a Discipline | Principles #7

In today’s episode I’m talking about the seventh principle of Charlotte Mason’s Twenty Principles. The seventh principle is the second of three instruments of education; “Education is a discipline.” Today we discuss what this instrument of education means, and how we can apply it in our own homes.


Principle #4:” These principles are limited by the respect due to the personality of children, which must not be encroached upon whether by the direct use of fear or love, suggestion or influence, or by undue play upon any one natural desire”.

Principle #5: “Therefore, we are limited to three educational instruments – the atmosphere of environment, the discipline of habit, and the presentation of living ideas. The P.N.E.U. motto is: ‘Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.’”

Principle #7: “By ‘education is a discipline’ we mean the discipline of habits, formed definitely and thoughtfully, whether habits of mind or body. Physiologists tell us of the adaptation of brain structures to habitual lines of though, i.e., to our habits.’

“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.” (Home Education)

Leading Thoughts

  1. We are consciously forming habits all the time, good and bad.
  2. It is our duty to teach good habits, and developing good habits takes discipline.
  3. There are habits of body and habits of mind.
  4. Good habits are formed out of inspiring ideas, and inspiring ideas come from a living education.
  5. One of the most valuable habits is the habit of attention.

Listen to the podcast above to hear more!


“We need not labour to get children to learn their lessons…Let the lessons be of the right sort and children will learn them with delight’ (p. 99)

“The habits of fitting and ready expression, obedience, of good-will, and of an impersonal outlook are spontaneous by-products of education in this sort. So, too, are the habits of right thinking and right judging; while physical habits of neatness and order attend upon the self-respect which follows an education which respects the personality of the child” (p. 100)

“If we fail to ease life by laying down habits of right thinking and right acting, habits of wrong thinking and wrong acting fix themselves of their own accord” (p. 101)

“We entertain the idea which gives birth to the act and the act repeated again and again becomes the habit; ‘Sow an act,’ we are told, ‘reap a habit.’ ‘Sow a habit, reap a character.’ But we must go a step further back, we must sow the idea or notion which makes the act worthwhile” (p. 102)

“It is possible to sow a great idea lightly and casually and perhaps this sort of sowing should be rare and casual because if a child detect a definite purpose in his mentor he is apt to stiffen himself against it” (p. 102).

“Daily diet of the wise thoughts of great minds, and many great minds…” (p. 104)


A Philosophy of Education by Charlotte Mason (pages 99-104)

Article from 1967 on “Education is a Discipline”

Habits of the Household by Justin Whitmel Earley

Habit Training Resources:

Laying Down the Rails by Simply Charlotte Mason

Our 24 Family Ways by Clay Clarkson

(*some are affiliate links)

I hope you enjoyed this episode of the Charlotte Mason Motherhood podcast. Thank you so much for listening!

  1. Mason, Charlotte. Home Education. Simply Charlotte Mason, LLC, 2017.
  2. Mason, Charlotte. A Philosophy of Education. Simply Charlotte Mason, LLC. 2017.

Join the Charlotte Mason Motherhood Community

Connect with like-minded homeschool moms. Get exclusive videos, monthly Q&A sessions, free downloads and more!

Similar Posts

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *