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Do you ever have one of those mornings? The kind where nobody wants to get moving (including you). Nobody has a good attitude. Nobody can bear the thought of one more day of long division.
It happens more than I care to admit around here.
Which is why I have a secret weapon for starting school days. No, it’s not coffee (ok, it is just a little bit). Instead it is Morning Time.
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Morning Time is a time when everyone in the family can come together for a period of family learning. Most families include some form of the “3Rs” in Morning Time — reading, ritual, and recitation — but no matter what they choose to do, the most important “R” is relationship.
I’ve got ten reasons for you why Morning Time is the perfect addition to your homeschool.
Start your day with delight
No one really likes to jump out of bed and do something unpleasant first thing. The same goes for your school day. If you begin the day with something you and your kids love, then everyone will be more eager to start. You could start with a favorite read aloud, a fast-moving praise song, or even art.
Combine students for subjects
Homeschool mama you are busy. Nobody needs three different kids doing three different levels of science. Put away that old public school paradigm and combine kids who are close in age into a single science, history, or literature curriculum. And if it is one you can read aloud to everyone during Morning Time, then it’s even better.
Build a shared family culture
Nothing binds a family together like having read the same stories, heard the same poems, and memorized the same verses. Thirty years from now your children will still catch each other’s eye when a familiar reference is mentioned or finish each other’s sentences. Lay the foundation for that closeness now.
Memorize to build your brain (and your soul)
In episode 2 of the Your Morning Basket podcast Andrew Pudewa said, “Memorization of any sort grows your brain. And then, of course, what you memorize furnishes the mind. So this is…two sides of a golden coin. You can grow the brain and you can acquire more useful linguistic information when you memorize beautiful language.”
Get those neuron’s firing and making connections. Fill the soul with beautiful words and Scripture. Think your kids won’t do that? Think again.
Start with a fun poem about an animal or one full of silly words. They will giggle. They will recite. And they will amaze you at how quickly they have it memorized.
Begin your day with prayer
Nothing stops the bickering quicker than starting the day by praying for the people on the other side of the table. Nothing builds gratitude more than thankfulness for blessings. I can’t think of a better way to start the school day.
Model life-long learning
The subjects in Morning Time are ones that allow Mom to be a student right along with the kids. You know the long-division thing. But oh the benefits you can get from the joy of a great story, the recitation of a poem, or by listening to beautiful music. Go ahead Mama, and show them what learning looks like in the adult years. They will only be the better off for it (and so will you).
Make it work with your homeschooling style (because it so easily will)
Morning Time can be meticulously planned or you can throw a bunch of resources in the basket and pull out what suits your fancy each day. School-at-home folks can use it to fit in the extras, while unschoolers can use it as a way to sneak in learning in a consistent, yet relaxed way. The beauty is, there is no wrong way to do it and everyone can benefit.
Bring beauty to every subject
Does your third grader have trouble seeing the beauty in mathematics? Multiplication drill after multiplication drill, however necessary, tends to do that to a person. Morning Time is a great way to bring some joy and beauty to a subject that might seem like drudgery at other times a day.
There are any number of math readers that focus on the wonder of mathematics in an enjoyable way. There are also fun websites (our favorite is Bedtime Math) that help kids enjoy a subject. Don’t miss this opportunity to focus on the wonder your curriculum may not.
Have a space for those things that otherwise would get pushed aside
Do you ever feel like you are checking off the list each day but you never have time for all the subjects you really wanted to do when you started homeschooling? Where is the picture study? Where is the read-aloud time? Where is the art, music, or nature study?
Morning Time is a great bucket for all those things. Set aside that one slot in your day and then rotate what you put in it. Gather all your supplies and put them in a central location. Make it a habit. It will bring new life to your school day.
Set the disposition for learning
Spend 20 minutes to an hour first thing doing things that are beautiful and enjoyable. Think it will make a difference? You bet it will.
After our Morning Time I bestow a final blessing on my children, we sing The Doxology, and then we dance (literally, with a fun song) our way into our math worksheets.
Everyone’s heart is full and ready to face the day (including my own). I couldn’t ask for anything more than that.
My challenge for you is to choose one delightful thing and start your day with it tomorrow. I bet you like it so much you give some of these other ideas a try. Have a great morning!
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Our mornings are pretty lazy. We’re actually just sitting down to work now.
How would you do this in the teen years?
I would start with inviting a teen to sit and have coffee, or tea (or whatever beverage he or she likes to drink) with me like I would invite another adult. You might also entice him or her in with a snack.
From there you would have to really mine his or her interests. Is he or she into science? Maybe a science fact of the day website: https://sciencebasedlife.wordpress.com/category/science-fact-of-the-day-2/ to talk about.
Does he or she like literature? You could do a “book group” with his or her favorite genre. Be sure this doesn’t turn into literature class. You are reading and discussing as a peer.
Maybe you share current events. You each bring an interesting one to the table to discuss.
Take turns choosing TedTalks to watch together and discuss.
Take turns leading prayer, take turns reading aloud, take turns choosing what you will do next. Look at this as a co-learning experience between the two of you not something you are making him or her do.