Morning Time…or the practice that changed our homeschool

Ok, maybe that was a little dramatic.  But Morning Time HAS changed the flow of our homeschool days.  It seems everywhere I look lately someone is blogging about it, and rightfully so, as it is a gift in the life of a homeschool.  So, I figured I would share my personal experience with Morning Time to enlighten and encourage others.

We have always done some form of “morning time” since the beginning.  But it has varied from read-alouds, to memory work, to Bible stories, etc.  But there was never a real structure or purpose.  Starting last fall, after reading and being utterly floored and inspired by Sarah Mackenzie’s Teaching from Rest: A Homeschooler’s Guide to Unshakable Peace, I decided to be more purposeful with Morning Time.  We’ve been doing it since the fall and it has truly set the pace of our homeschool days, brought us all together, and given us the gift of truth, beauty, and goodness.

So, what does Morning Time with my 8th grade, 5th grade, and Pre-school daughters (and sometimes husband) look like for us?

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We start with Prayer, Bible verse/creed recitation, and we have been working our way through the New City Catechism.

Then we go through our memory work, which consists of selected poems, speeches, documents, Geography (see detail below), and an occasional hymn or folksong.

Sometimes we also go through a few listings in the the Appendix “What Literate Americans Know” from Hirsch’s Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know (I’ve seen this on a few blogs and found the list online…it has been fun to implement) but I really have my eye on his The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know.

Then we go through our weekly loop wherein we try to get through 2 short subjects per day (Logic and Lit twice per week):

  • Etiquette: Etiquette Factory (Surprisingly, my kids have really enjoyed this one and the lessons are super short, but very practical.)
  • Logic: The Fallacy Detective(Also a favorite of the whole family…even my husband likes to get into this one and we all have fun calling out fallacies we see on TV or in our own arguments.)
  • Literature: This year we have studied Marcus Cato (Plutarch) and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (Shakespeare) (Shakespeare was loved by all, but Plutarch has garnered mixed opinions and we are contemplating forgoing it for the rest of the semester and replacing it with The Art of Poetry, which I already purchased for next year.)
  • Geography: This year we in-depth studied the geography of Europe & Asia using Geography Songs (we’ve used these for years and all the kids love them), Draw Europe (This was a total hit…it’s a pricy resource but the kids have begged to do all the versions.  I wanted to use the Asia version but only Volume I is currently available so I didn’t bother with it.),  Seterra software (We use this website daily during our memory time to practice the locations of the countries), and Maps to get a beautifully illustrated overview of many of the countries we have studied.
  • Nature Study: Nature Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of the Natural World (We’ve been working our way through this beautifully illustrated resource {yes, there’s a theme going here…} with some casual journaling.  Living in the Upper Midwest, scampering outside for Nature Study time during the school year is pretty unappealing tricky due to the weather.)
  • Music/Composer Study: SQUILT Modern Era (This made it SO easy for me!) and Harmony Fine Arts 8th Grade/Modern Era (This is also an easy open-and-go program but I don’t use it in its entirety…see below.)
  • Artist Study: Harmony Fine Arts 8th Grade/Modern Era (This has made artist’s study super simple for us but I haven’t used the art application/technique part of it, which would make it a much fuller program, but I already have SO many art books I couldn’t justify buying another {Artistic Pursuits Junior High Book 2}.)
  • Art Technique: This has been a bit of a hodgepodge, but so far we have utilized youtube extensively to study perspective, color, impressionism, etc.  In hindsight I should have just bought the book to go with Harmony’s plan, but it’s worked out ok. We’ve also GREATLY enjoyed Art for Kids Hub (this is one of the most amazing free resources I’ve ever found & you can’t help but love their whole family and Rob’s positive, upbeat, excited attitude has blessed our family time after time…and the super bonus is that my 5 year old can draw along with most of the tutorials and she LOVES feeling like a real artist at 5!)   Starting this week, we are moving into Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain and I will be posting a review once we get going.

So, that’s about it.  It generally takes us 30-45 minutes to get through and then we move into Latin & History (currently on Year 4/Modern History) as a group.  Then the kids get a short break then move into their independent studies.  All in all, it has been a wonderful addition to our school year. I know it will change to some extent next when when my oldest transitions into the heavier workload of high school, but I plan to always incorporate a Morning Time with subjects that provide us all with such richness but would otherwise fall by the wayside if not pursued in the semi-structured routine of Morning Time.

Additionally, we do a lot of read-alouds, but those are read at night before bed (this year’s list has been lighter than usual due to my kids’ jam-packed nightly dance/sport/youth group schedules).  This year so far we’ve read:

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1 Comment

  1. Mrs. Gerth says: Reply

    Thank you for sharing! I am in awe of the content you have chosen to cover in your morning time. It is virtuous and lovely. You have successfully inspired and encouraged.

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