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Not long into my homeschooling career, I came across the idea of morning time. The idea sounded magical to me. Morning time really got at the heart of what I wanted for our homeschool. I could picture us all cuddled up together, starting the day off in a gentle but meaningful way.
When I started reading blog posts about other families’ morning times, though, I gave up on the idea. Other people’s morning times revolved around family prayer, bible study, and hymn singing. None of that is right for us. Oh well.
But then at some point last year, I realized that we had slowly evolved into our own version of a morning time. It’s the favorite part of our school day for all of us. While it may not look like the morning times I first read about, it absolutely matches that idyllic image I had in my head of us all cuddled together, bonding over learning.
Here’s how I do it.
I corral everything we’ll use for the day’s morning time into a basket. These are the two homeschool-related baskets I keep in our living room. The basket on the left is full of just-right readers that my kids can choose from. The basket on the right contains our morning time stuff. (Also pictured: our school mascot.)
What’s in the basket?
- Lots of non-fiction
As I’m pulling books from both our home library and the public library for the week ahead, I consider what’s coming up on my homeschool planner. I’ll choose books that relate to the history and science topics we’re studying.
I also pick up anything that looks interesting. There are so many beautiful picture book biographies out there, and they make for great morning time reading. Last year, in addition to reading books about well-known historical figures, we also read about the inventor of the chocolate chip cookie, the inventor of the slinky, and the inventor of the Super Soaker. It’s fun to see how those inventions came to be, but even better, those stories are loaded with inspirational messages about perseverance, determination, and using proverbial lemons to make lemonade.
I’m also a huge fan of Usborne books for morning time. They publish so many great books, many of which have an interactive element. When my kids were just a little younger, they were enthralled with the Shine-a-Light books, and we’re all still big fans of their many life-the-flap books.
Another favorite non-fiction selection so far this year is Big Questions from Little People… Answered by Some Very Big People by Gemma Elwin Harris. It’s been in our morning time basket since the first day of the new school year, and every day we read one question and its answer. It addresses some of the big questions kids ask that don’t necessarily have an easy answer.
2. Our read aloud chapter book
We make time every night at bedtime to read from our family read aloud selection, and we also make our way through another chapter at the end of morning time every morning.
If you need some ideas for a family read aloud, find some ideas in my list of the 30 books we read aloud last year.
At least once a week…
- Art to create (and music to listen to) – Art is my kids’ favorite thing. All day, every day they’re creating. But at least once a week, we do an art project together. Last year, we used Artistic Pursuits, which we enjoyed very much. We’re currently working our way through the projects in the Usborne Art Treasury, and then I plan to use one of the Artistic Pursuit’s new dvd-supported volumes.
2. Art appreciation – Artistic Pursuits includes a nice appreciation component, but for more in-depth artist study, I like the Charlotte Mason approach. We’ve been using the picture study packets from Simply Charlotte Mason. Note: Simply Charlotte Mason is not a secular curriculum company, but so far I haven’t come across any religious content in the artist packets.
3. Mad Libs – My kids aren’t ready for rigorous grammar study yet, but Mad Libs is a fun, no-pressure way to learn the parts of speech. My kids would be happy to start every day with a Mad Lib, but I need some days off from saying, “You’ve already used fart. Come up with another verb.”
Still looking for some more guidance on implementing or adding to your own secular morning time?
Check out other morning time posts on this blog:
Check back next week when I’ll have a blog a week of our morning time baskets.