Making the Most of Your Morning Time with Literature
Of all of the elements of morning time that you can include in your time together, great literature gives you the most bang for your buck. With a well chosen book, you can integrate so many aspects of learning. When a family reads together, they develop a common bond in stories they've enjoyed.
While reading great books is a wonderful start, your family will be blessed even more as they learn to discuss the ideas found within their pages. Reading and memorizing poetry can be a wonderful way to develop linguistic excellence in your children, as well as cultivating their hearts to love goodness, truth, and beauty. Why not just enjoy the works of one of the greatest writers of all time: Shakespeare. There are so many wonderful ways to bring literature into your morning time.
That being said, today I'm not going to just share book lists with you, or give you ideas of where to find good books to read. I talk about that all the time! Today I want to focus on "sucking the marrow" out of your literature choices and how to carpe momentum (seize the moment). Just reading a good book together will bless you, but there are riches to mine. Let's get to it.
Discuss the Obvious
Have you ever had that moment when you're reading through a good book with your kids, and you're really into it, and you have an epiphany? Some brilliant realization pops to your mind, and then you want your kids to find it too. So you spend the next thirty minutes asking them leading questions to try to get them there. They are annoyed and aggravated by their continual inability to read your mind, and the beauty of the moment is lost.
Why not just hold your brilliant idea in, and start the family discussion with the obvious. Who were the characters of the story? What did they do? These questions start to get the thinking juices flowing. If you want to take the conversation further, ask: "Do you think they should have done that?" It's such a simple question, but it will take you directly to the heart of the issue that your children care about. Their epiphanies will come too. They'll be different than yours, and they'll be beautiful.
I learned this simple question method by using the Lost Tools of Writing. It really is a beautiful process, and well worth a little extra time to ask a few simple questions.
Don't Avoid Difficult Topics
Don't avoid difficult topics, discuss them. Our family has been reading through the Mark of the Lion series this summer. I chose it because I felt like the way Rivers portrays the culture of the Romans is shockingly similar to what we're experiencing today. I also love how the main character, Hadassah, presents a beautiful picture of standing for her faith in the midst of danger.
If you've read these books, you know that there is adultery, homosexuality, abortion, murder, and idol worship just to name a few. My kids are not in public school so we can avoid their exposure to these things right?! I want the opportunity to choose how to expose them to the darkness of this world. We read a chapter or two each night, but we pause to discuss after every chapter. This book may not be right for every family to read together, but it's what the Lord led our family to read. The fruitful discussions have been beautiful.
Don't just throw out a book because you're afraid of the content. Shakespeare is full of "dangerous" topics. Yet, we add reading and memorizing his work to our morning time. Pray about it. If the Lord leads you to read it together, discuss it.
Get Dad Involved
We don't usually do the literature portion of our morning time in the morning because my husband wants to be a part of our read alouds. This is such a great blessing, because it unites us as a family. When you start discussing a book together, your kids have the opportunity to get to know their father in a different way. It's so valuable to know how someone thinks. It's also great to have back up when those difficult issues arise. I wouldn't be attempting to read the above series with my kids if my husband wasn't right there beside me.
Literature is a rich source of blessing for our family. Make the most of it with great discussions. You don't have to be a master at it either. Start with the obvious. Don't avoid difficult topics. Pull dad in for backup. You're good to go!
Get more great Morning Time inspiration from Pam at edSnapshots:
Discover more great resources by reading the full 10 day series:
Day 1: Why Morning Time
Day 2: Bible Study Resources for Your Morning Time
Day 3: Building Character and Virtue During Your Morning Time
Day 4: 5 Simple Resources for Including Science in Your Morning Time
Day 5: 5 Helpful History Resources for Your Morning Time
Day 6: Making the Most of Your Morning Time with Literature
Day 7: 5 Fantastic Art Resources to Bring Beauty to Your Morning Time
Day 8: Morning Time Comes Alive with the Sound of Music
Day 9: Making a Morning Time Plan and Sticking With It
Day 10: Morning Time Storage Solutions
Betsy Strauss is an unexpected homeschooler, mother of three, who is in a relationship with a sweet man for life. She loves reading books, drinking coffee, and learning anything with her kids.
Great post! I understand your caution about recommending Mark of the Lion based on the mature content. Do you feel it’s acceptable/interesting for your youngest? We haven’t read anything this heavy yet, but I am very interested and will be praying about it. Our girls are 8 and 10. As a point of reference we are just completing the last of the four book series of historical novels for engaging thinkers by Brimwood Press – which the whole family thoroughly enjoyed.
Thank you for your guidance.
So I just interviewed my 10 year old, and she said that it was weird at the first, but it’s been really interesting at the end. We are just about finished with the second book. Really, I feel like most of the mature content has floated right over her head, but she has caught the arrogance of Julia and the faith of Hadassah. I just wanted to be the one to start exposing them to the way the world thinks, and this series presents it in a real but modest way. Hope this helps!
Thanks for quizzing your daughter for us! I’m sure ours would miss a lot of it, but completely agree that we be the ones to first introduce these issues to our girls. Our children attend school but the community language is actually not the language of instruction so they miss most of the school influence, as that community language is their weakest. Honestly we are so grateful for that!
Thank you for providing a wonderful outlet of resources for our family!
Betsy, I completely agree! Before you know it, your kids will be off to college where they hear all kinds of questionable ideas, and we need to prepare them now at home to consider the pros and cons…train them in critical thinking skills so they can respond courageously when they leave home and hear some outrageous content.
I think reading together to discuss difficult issues is SO IMPORTANT. Great suggestions for improving read aloud time. We do read aloud before bed right now. I like the idea of incorporating it into our morning routine instead/as well.
Oh Betsy you are SO right on this! Talk about Shakespeare shockers! I admittedly did not read it in my youth but my oldest has been reading it since he was very young (we have great Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festivals every year and they do children’s theater versions). Thanks for your wisdom on this!