Morning time is one of my favorite parts of homeschooling, but if I am being transparent it has also been one of the most challenging to implement consistently. When we first started homeschooling and I had a four year old and a six year old it was not very hard. They automatically did a lot together. We did not call it morning time, but we consistently did a few things together each morning. We would have Bible time, calendar time, and read a story.
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However, when you add a baby or a toddler to the mix, things can get a little more complicated. Over the last several years I’ve learned a few tricks that have helped me to make morning time happen more consistently. First, the toddler is going to be a toddler and we just have to expect some extra movement and noise. It is perfectly acceptable to continue to have morning time over the noise of an energetic toddler and not to expect everyone to be perfectly still and quiet. Second, keep it simple and readily accessible to not being prepared is never an excuse. This allows you to utilize whatever time you have available. Even if you can only get in 10-15 minutes that day, you still have done something.
This year I am adding another challenge to our morning time, a high school student with a heavier course load. I know that he will need plenty of time to get his other work done, but we still plan to have him join us for at least part of our morning time each day. I want to continue to foster that atmosphere of family learning, but be mindful of his needs. Our plan for this year is a starting point, but I am going to be very open to adjusting it as needed.
My goal for our morning time this year is to cover Bible and one other subject each day. We are going to put the other subjects on a loop schedule so that we just keep going through the list. This will allow us to cover a variety of topics without it feeling overwhelming and without trying to do too much on any one day. I am setting aside 20-30 minutes per day for our morning time.
For Bible study we will be using a variety of resources. First, our church is continuing our study through Core 52. We have enjoyed what we have covered so far. In addition, we like to do monthly hymn studies where we learn more about a particular hymn and the story behind it. My son also enjoys sharing different praise and worship songs with us during this time. I am also currently looking over several Bible studies to find one that I think will work well for us this year. We have in the past used the ones from Not Consumed, which we really enjoy because they do a great job of Biblical application and they have the same study broken down by age groups so they are easy for us to do altogether.
Other subjects that I want to cover during our morning time include geography, read-alouds, Shakespeare, and music appreciation. This list may change a bit as we go through the year. I like to be able to use this time for any subjects or activities that I feel would be beneficial to all three of my school age children.
For geography we are going to continue to work through Let’s Go Geography Year 2. It is a fun program that the children really enjoy and it is easy to break it down into short chunks that we can do during morning time. For music appreciation, we will be using SQUILT Music. The ‘live’ courses are not actually in the morning so sometimes we will be able to catch them together in the afternoons, but we can use that morning time to watch the lessons that we do not do live. It is a bit longer than our normal morning time lesson but all three of my school age children enjoy it and the toddler will often sit and watch part of it because he enjoys the music.
I knew that I wanted to introduce more Shakespeare to my children, but honestly I had been a little nervous because it seemed so advanced. However, after listening to Pam Barnhill talk about it on her blog and in her podcast I became convinced that we could enjoy Shakespeare as a family. (If you want to have a more in depth morning time or want a resource that lays it all out for you, Pam has some great morning time resources that are seasonal or themed around different literature. She even has plans based on various times in history. ) I have purchases Shakespeare’s Stories for Young Readers as well as Shakespeare’ Theater to get us started. We have enjoyed theater adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays done by Bob Jones University. They typically will offer a free live stream each year. I’m not sure how that will play out this spring with the COVID restrictions, but they have several available in their archives.
To start off our read alouds this year, I am finishing Family Under the Bridge. Next up is Tuesday in the Castle, which we are reading as a family book club with our Read Aloud Revival Membership. I also have One Blood for Kids, Who Was Mr. Rogers, and Who Were the Tuskegee Airmen. I will add to this list as we go through the year and would love to hear your ideas for great books to read aloud.
I am excited about the curriculum and books that we are going to start off the year with and would love to hear what you are using. Please share in the comments and feel free to ask questions as well.
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Deals and Freebies
SchoolhouseTeachers.com is doing an amazing sale this month! Buy One year get One Year FREE! We use this for several of our courses and one price covers all the students in your home for as many of their over 400 courses and you would like to use.
Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.
Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)
Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)
Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!
Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!