We’ve been homeschooling for eight years now and the longer we do it, the more value I see in the time we spend schooling all together. In fact, we’ve come to call it Family Schooling. And the core activity in this practice is what most folks call Morning Time.
Read on to find out more about our journey to and experience of Morning Time as a family with a wide range of homeschool ages!
The Back Story
One of the most satisfying and memorable experiences in literature is reading the prequel to a book and discovering the back story to all of those amazing adventures you loved in the first volume. I can clearly remember that feeling when my parents were reading aloud to us from “The Magician’s Nephew” by C.S. Lewis after “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” was already a beloved favorite.
I had that same experience all over again this summer. I read a book that, at times, had me in tears because I felt, in an odd and magical way, that I was reading the prequel to an even more beautiful adventure: our own!
Let me share a bit more with you about this adventure called Morning Time.
True, Good, and Beautiful Mornings
My friend, Pam Barnhill, has used morning time in her homeschool and shared the idea with others for years. She has even developed a huge collection of pre-made morning time plans. They include poetry, and Shakespeare, art, and music appreciation. They explore math, nature study, geography, and include prayers, read alouds, and ideas for memorization.
Pam’s Morning Time Plans comprise a delightful dip into all that is true, good, and beautiful as a way to begin each homeschool day. They give moms a practical ready-to-implement idea of what to do during morning time.
She developed morning time plans to fit each season. She has also branched out to include seasonal preschool morning time plans and, more recently, morning time plans for various epochs of history. I was delighted at the release of the Ancient History Morning Time Plans as this is the period we are currently studying.
Singing Times and Table School
In our homeschool, morning time has taken many different shapes over the years. At one point, we did everything by singing. We also went through a completely digital phase (I talked about that with Pam some on this podcast.)
At this point in our journey, we’re an eclectic mix of hard copies, digital resources, and songs!
If you think morning time might be a welcome ray of sunshine for your family, you can give it a try for free! Here are three no-cost, no-risk sets available now:
Morning Time Stretches
One of the joys – and also challenges – of morning time is adapting it for children of different ages. We’ve definitely learned that flexibility is the name of the game.
Every family’s experience is different, but for us, at this point in time, all the children are still participating together in morning time. Everyone from the seventh grader down to the two-year-old gather to learn in the mornings.
I envisioned that at this phase of life, the older children would begin to move off to do more independent work. But so far, they are eager to do what the rest of the family is doing. So we’ve adapting our morning times to engage both older and younger learners.
Amy Sloan, my dear friend and guest contributor, shared how they are flexing with morning time in her home, too …
We’re still trying to figure out how to navigate the challenges of older kid world when it comes to Morning Time. A few weeks ago I made the choice to include the oldest child in more of our read-aloud time, even though the books were often quite simple and didn’t align with what this eldest was studying.
Having those extra moments of shared experiences was a helpful tool in improving relationships. It seemed to dramatically improve unity, just having the oldest become an integral part again of what the younger siblings were studying.
It was not, however, a magic pill. This week, there was irritation when I began reading the exact same book enjoyed last week while said youth was present. So I allowed this child to leave early and begin independent work.
As in so much of homeschooling, I think the change has to come in my own perspective. I have to be willing to do what is best for my relationship with them and their relationship with God on a wisdom-basis, not from a rigid plan.
Some days that looks like welcoming the preteen into hearing a simple science book along with the rest of us, so they feel loved and included. Some days this looks like giving them the freedom to leave without taking this as a personal affront or rejection.
The main change, however, has definitely been that I want them to always know they are loved, and that I’ll always save a spot for them on the couch.
Your Morning Basket
Morning time is about so much more than checking boxes and covering subjects. It’s about sharing with our children what there is to enjoy in learning and tasting those delicacies with them. Morning Time is the creation of a family culture of learning.
In addition to her growing collection of morning time plans, Pam also has a fantastic eBook about morning time, called Your Morning Basket. She describes in more detail than I can here the hows and whys of morning time.
In fact, there is an image from her book that I just adore. I won’t spoil it for you, but let’s just say that it demonstrates how relationship encompasses all of the aspects of morning time.
Coming Full Circle
Pam’s eBook includes a forward written by a lady named Cindy Rollins. I knew that Cindy had inspired the idea of morning time and that Pam had taken that torch and run with it, with Cindy’s full support and encouragement. But I didn’t know much about Cindy herself.
And this is why I shed happy tears this summer as I read the memoirs of a mom whose children are now nearly all grown. A mom who began, long before I was even married, to sit and sing, read, and memorize with her little son.
The book is called “Mere Motherhood: Morning Times, Nursery Rhymes, and My Journey Towards Sanctification“. By Cindy Rollins. It is our prequel!