I first learned about Morning Time at a CiRCE conference a couple of years ago. I fell in love with the idea of liturgy in my home; a sort of routine coming before the Lord together as one family, and sharing our love of learning and conversation. As my family grows up, this together time becomes more and more precious.
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
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"Morning Time" has looked several different ways over the past couple of years that we've been incorporating it into our schedule. It's challenging to find the perfect balance of time together and time getting the necessities done. When we first started, I had grand plans, elaborate lists of what we would accomplish, and it just took up too much time in our morning.
After that, we switched to right after lunch. It seemed like a fitting time, because we had the morning to knock out our basics, and everyone was ready for a break and time together. Our world has changed again, and now we have a busier schedule in the afternoon that doesn't allow for our family time together. I didn't want to lose the together time, but it was the first thing to drop.
This past month, my husband and I decided that Morning Time is an important part of the discipleship of our children, so it needs to be a priority, thus coming back to it's morning slot. If we don't do it first thing, it is not guaranteed to happen.
Morning Time Plans
Knowing that I am good at over-stuffing the morning time schedule, my husband and I sat down to limit our Morning Time activities to a few priorities. We take an hour each morning (except on Tuesdays when we go to Classical Conversations). Here's what's on our list:
Basics of the Bible (10 min)
One of our greatest desires is for our children to grow in a love for God and His Word. This means we need to be continually putting before them the stories of the Bible. One of my favorite Bible story books is an old book my dad used to read to me and my sisters: Two Spies on a Rooftop. I love this Bible story book because it does a great job of laying out the characters and the story while offering a bit of commentary connecting the individual stories to the grand story that runs through the Bible.
Prayer (5 min)
After my husband reads the story, he picks something for us to pray about together. Each family member takes a turn praying. There is really nothing more wonderful than starting our days together in prayer. It just changes the whole atmosphere of the home.
American History (5 min)
I love when I find out about new books from other trusted homeshoolers. Mary Prather over at Homegrown Learners recommended this read, and I found it on Audible *even better* to include in our morning time.
The daily readings are short - maybe three minutes. The big kids take notes to add to their tiki-toki timelines. There's a reading for every day of the week, but we just listen to about four a week and move on.
CNN Student News (10 min)
I've been looking for a good way to keep my kids informed on current events for a long time. While we love World News Magazine, I also saw Mary talking about CNN Student News, and now we are all hooked!
We watch this daily broadcast aimed at middle school and high school students online. It's a great balance of current events, explaining the way the world works, and humorous happenings. Everyone looks forward to watching, and we've learned so much from it already.
Greek Mythology (5 min)
I used to think knowing about Greek myths was pointless...that is until I truly desired to read and study the classics. Shakespeare, Homer, and every great author to follow alludes to these stories in their works. I'm not too worried about the kids confusing the truth of these stories with the Word of God because they are CRAZY!! And we discuss them afterwards and compare them with God's truth. We've really enjoyed D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths. It is a big and beautiful book with short and interesting stories. It only takes a couple of minutes to read, and then we move on!
CC Memory Work (10-15 min)
Another thing that doesn't happen if we don't get it done first thing in the morning is our CC memory work. We've been focusing on Geography together because I love for them to know it effortlessly as my girls are studying for Memory Master. Then we run through a subject or two really quick. My son participates to keep his memory work up even though he's in the Challenge program now.
December Bonus: SQUILT Christmas Carols
During the month of December, our schooling schedule changes as Classical Conversations takes a break. We can add a bit more time to our Morning Time schedule as we celebrate the Advent of the Lord. We'll be using SQUILT Christmas Carol guides from Homegrown Learners. I can't wait to enjoy some Super Quiet UnInterrupted Listening Time with my kids and Christmas music. We may just have to enjoy some hot cocoa with these lessons too!
I've planned about 45 minutes of activities to fit in an hour's time. I am usually tempted to fit something else in that last 15 minutes, but that gives us a bit of freedom to talk longer about something that comes up that morning.
Inspiration for Morning Time
If you're a careful reader, you've seen Mary's name come up quite often as inspiration for our Morning Time. There is no shame in learning from others as long as you have your own purpose in doing something, and you're not trying to live out their vision. It won't work. Mary has great tips for Simple Morning Baskets.
Pam over at Ed Snapshots has created a treasure trove of resources for Morning Time and explains the concepts beautifully.
Or you could just go back to the original source - Cindy Rollins who has enjoyed Morning Time for over 25 years.
December is a great time to start because there always seems to be more grace in the schedule. With Morning Time you can still accomplish some great learning while reconnecting hearts, re-centering minds, and rejuvenating souls.