Charlotte Mason’s Principle 7: Education is a Discipline

Education is a Discipline

If you will remember, Principle #5 is a bit of a holding card, so to speak, for the three Principles that follow it. With Principles 6, 7, and 8, Charlotte tells us the THREE EDUCATIONAL INSTRUMENTS that we may use:


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, and a life."

Today we are going to explore Principle #7: the idea that Education is a DISCIPLINE. But what does Charlotte mean by discipline?


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 thought, i.e., to our habits.

So when Charlotte says discipline, what she really means are HABITS.

You’ve probably heard much talk about habits in relation to a CM education… terms like

    • Habit training
    • Laying down the rails
    • Smooth and easy days

All these terms get thrown about a lot in CM circles, but what are parents supposed to do exactly? And why are habits such a big deal anyway? The fact is that Charlotte takes habits very seriously!

The main reading for this principle is:

    • Volume 6, Chapter 6: Three Instruments of Education (only Part 2: Education is a Discipline)

You can download the entire reading in the FREE STUDY GUIDE which also includes study questions for this Principle.

I would also recommend two OPTIONAL readings:

    • Volume 1, Part 3: Habit is Ten Natures 
    • Volume 1, Part 4: Some Habits of Mind – Some Moral Habits
If you don’t own Volume 1, The Plenary offers an Annotated Edition here, or a free public domain edition here

Video for Principle #7

Charlotte Mason's Principle #7: Education is a Discipline
Play Video
Finding Your Way with Charlotte Mason's 20 Principles
PDF Download for Principle #7


Read the included chapter (or chapters) and watch the video. Answer the included questions and then join us over in The Plenary Facebook Group!

Tell me what you think about DISCIPLINE and HABITS! What questions do you have? 

And if you are enjoying this study, please feel free to share it with your friends.

I hope to chat with you soon!


Other Posts in This Series:
Finding Your Way with Charlotte Mason's 20 Principles

Principle #9
Principle #10
Principle #11
Principle #12

Principle #13
Principle #14
Principle #15
Principle #16

Principle #17
Principle #18
Principle #19
Principle #20

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