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In December, I was really feeling like something needed to change. I wanted to go further on the bookish route, but knew I was missing something.
Pam at ED Snapshots sent an email about her Your Morning Basket e-book and I decided to spring for it even though we already did morning time/circle time. It was exactly the shot in the arm we needed! She gave a few easy tips that really changed our time a lot without really changing much. If you are looking to bring joy to your homeschool day, Your Morning Basket is a fabulous resource.
Anyway, she started a Facebook group for basket purchasers and I’ve had such fun reading about other people’s morning time that I thought I would share what we did this last term.
Morning Time – Winter Term
We have three children. My oldest turned 8 and is in second grade. Her younger sister is 5 and started Kindergarten work in January. The girls also have a 2.75 year old brother who is crazier than the 5 year old.
For further disclaimer, we have been doing some variation on circle time for awhile so this was NOT our first time out of the gate. I *did* merge 3 separate times into one long morning time in January and it worked much better for us even though it does take about an hour.
Time With God
First, we start with a big group family hug. I am not a hugger. The boy still nurses and I am touched out to the nth degree. But they adore this. I kiss all their heads and they all maul the boy until he ducks out of the middle :).
Then we go to prayer. Because of listening to Pam (and before I bought her book), I decided to buy Children’s Daily Prayer. I eliminated our Bible & Breakfast reading (we had a 8 selection loop or something equally insane) and decided to use this instead.
I love it because each day’s selection mentions the Saint or feast. The same psalm is used for a long enough period that they memorize it. The reading is from the bible. And you pray for yourself & others. So with one resource and approximately 5 minutes (longer if your kids pray for everything they can think of), you can tick off
- scripture memorization
- bible reading
Done and done. Am I the only one who gets giddy thinking about that? Also, this is the only part of morning time that I make them be still(ish) and quiet(ish).
Calendar Time & Front Window Nature Observations
We look at the calendar and briefly review the days of the week, months, season & date.
Then we do our nature observations. We check the temperature (via app) & they observe the weather out the front window. I have my oldest look up the sunrise & sunset times, as well as the amount of daylight (via app) and we compare it to yesterday & previous weeks. Finally, we do a front window nature observation on trees, flowers, birds or bugs. Or whatever else we notice. Thanks again to the Your Morning Basket (podcast episode 11).
It sounds like a ton, but again it takes about 5 minutes. We aren’t talking rocket science here.
I finally took the plunge into full-fledged memory work (using Classically Catholic Memory) and the girls did awesome. And then I totally lost steam. I just couldn’t find a good time to do it and the FULL program is a lot of work. Too much as a supplement. I finally gave myself permission to only do what I cared about.
So, we do memory work in the following areas:
- Latin (when it coincides with Prima Latina)
- geography (with maps)
- math (by song)
- history (by song)
Poetry recitation comes from here, too, but since we memorized poetry before CCM, we also sporadically review the old work during this time. I need to be better about reviewing those.
Memory work is one of the longer items. If I’m not having technical issues, I would estimate 15-25 minutes.
Next, we do reading and there is a different “theme” each day.
Tuesday is for our Memoria Press Read-Alouds for K & 2.
Wednesday is Story of the World. We are on Volume 2 and recently started the audiobook which is awesome. They love it and usually beg to hear more. We do 2-3 chapters each week. Only one chapter is new though, the others are repeats.
Thursday we read a few selections from My Book House. We just finished Volume 2 – Story Time. The kids really like these and I love that we are getting good stories and poetry all in one book!
Friday is science day. If there are MP science read-alouds, we read those. We also read Ranger Rick Magazine. In addition, we have been doing nature study pages from inside. It’s cold!
This totally varies depending on how much we have to read & how much they are enjoying it.
Song School Spanish
Next comes Song School Spanish. We frequently listen to the week’s song twice. Two days a week, the oldest does the workbook pages. Most days we will review the previous days songs, too. They LOVE Song School Spanish, especially the 2 year old. I’m truly bummed there isn’t another level! This takes about 10 minutes or so.
Next we do Charlotte Mason style arts. Twice a week, we sing a hymn. We learned The first verse of Holy God, We Praise Thy Name this term. The other two days, we listen to Beethoven and look at the MP K art selection for the week. Another 5 minutes or so.
Finally, we end with some poetry. Twice a week, I read a Robert Louis Stevenson poem. The other two days, I read a seasonally appropriate poem. This term, we used Poetry for Young People: The Seasons and read all the Winter selections. Again, we are talking 5 minutes tops.
This is how we did morning time this last term. Last semester our Bible time was at breakfast and we had a ton of books we read. Our current time & resources work much better for us.
In the fall, we tried to read the books, the poetry, do the art studies, and tried to do the memory work during tea time, but it was just too hard (for me!). I moved it to morning time and it works great.
Also, Spanish was in the afternoon after everything else was done, which worked okay, but it works well here, too.
I think they like not hitting book work first thing and being able to move around. I think that the activities are varied enough that by the time they get tired of it, we are on to the next thing. On busy days, this is all we do.
After all, we hit
- music appreciation
- hymn study
Not bad for an hour (or so)! Book work is much more tolerable after this time and our success with the changes are making me look to see what other subjects can move to this format. It’s been a total blessing!
Do you do a morning time, or circle time?