07 September 2016

Day 105 / 105 - Morning Time

As I look back over the past year (and as I prepare to launch straight ahead into a new one) I need to post about the most simple, joyful aspect that we intentionally implemented in 2016, Morning Time.

For homeschoolers, Morning Time has many different names, and many different blog posts, and many different podcasts on the topic. To provide a quick summary, Morning Time is the time of day (usually in the morning) where Mom gathers everyone in the home, so they can learn together while appreciating some of the finer elements of education.  Much can be done during this time; reading, praying, singing, memorizing, drawing, playing, learning, narrating, etc.  (If you are still completely unfamiliar with the concept, this is a helpful, descriptive post.)

This seems obvious, so one would not think that this would be such a novel concept requiring so much input.  However, over the past two years, I realized this concept was not a regular part of our school day.  When my children were younger, our entire day was one big Morning Time.  But, as they have aged, and as their course loads have increased, our days resemble; wake up, eat, quickly work on assignments, try to get everything finished before we leave for some sort of activity, mom unsuccessfully tries to limit stress because of all that still needs to be accomplished, end the day, wake up tomorrow, repeat.  Rushed and hectic days result in very little joy.

If you know me at all, you know that I want all homeschoolers (myself included) to experience simplicity and joy in their educational journey.

In January, I made some changes to our homeschool schedule/curriculum and that included the addition of a Morning Time.   I didn't set out with the expectation of scheduling a Morning Time.  Instead, I proposed to my children: Hey!  How about we start our day rereading the Harry Potter books rather than with a checklist of assignments??!!

Naturally, this was met with squeals of delight, even from my teenagers.  Children are never too old to be read to.

From there, it evolved.  We start with a chapter of Harry Potter.  Next, I read from a History book which includes a narration summary from my children.  Then, I read something a little more 'classical'.  Some days scripture.  Some days Shakespeare.  Some days poetry.  Since January, I've probably spent 60 - 90 minutes of each school day reading aloud to my children, and it has been joyful.  In fact, if you asked my children what their favorite part of each day is, I'd wager they'd answer with our morning reading time.

After we finish reading, we move to the table and regularly complete three different activities.

First, we'll unpackage, parse, and diagram a sentence.  Only one.  Some days the sentence comes from a Language Arts curriculum.  Some days we'll make one up.  Some days, we diagram Snape gave Harry a detention or another one straight from the book.  We'll identify all the parts of the sentence that we know, and then we'll move on.  This takes maybe 10 minutes, but the learning and comprehension that occurs during that 10 minutes is immeasurable. 

Next, we'll play a quick Math game.  Nothing that takes more than 5 - 10 minutes.  Playing Math games is the most enjoyable part of Math and should (in my opinion) be done first, before any Math work is assigned.  

Finally, we will attempt to solve one Math problem that is far outside our range of expertise, usually an advanced Algebra problem or a problem from an ACT/SAT study guide.  We can't always solve it, but we try to.  We start with what we know - vocabulary, formulas, patterns, anything that looks familiar. Sometimes, we'll look at the answer and try to work backwards.  Some days, we'll amaze ourselves.  Some days, we have to wait and see if Dad can help us when he arrives home.  Again, this takes maybe 10 minutes.

Then, we move on to our day's assignments.  The best part is, I'm far less stressed with all that needs to be completed because of all the enjoyment and learning that we began our day with.   Most importantly, I have loved implementing the Morning Time concept because I feel like I've turned our homeschool back into a one-room schoolhouse.  When I began this journey, our homeschool looked very much like a one-room schoolhouse.  But over the past two years, my children have needed to work independently of each other (because of all that was required of them) which has meant they needed about twice the amount of attention from me.  Switching up our curriculum has enabled me to work with both children simultaneously, accomplishing twice as much in half the amount of time.  This excites me for our educational journey.

This fall, I'm adding two more subjects to our Morning Time, which again will bring more simplicity to our journey.  Both my children will be actively participating in the same Latin curriculum, so we will be learning and reviewing Latin for about 20 minutes each morning.  We have spent much of our summer drawing Science concepts (more on that in a later post), and we'll continue this habit also.

We're looking forward to year number eight.  I'm trusting that it will be our most enjoyable one yet!  I'm praying for you this fall, that you will find much joy in your educational journey.


  1. I started morning time officially last January as well. I am looking forward to hearing about your science concepts. Where do you pull your math games and problems from?

    1. Hi Dayna ...

      I've had this book pretty much since we begun homeschooling. We've manipulated the games to make them harder as the kids have aged. Also, have you heard of the 24 Game? That's another fun one. Basically, I just reuse the same 3 or 4 games because that helps us to move quickly. https://www.amazon.com/Mega-Fun-Card-Game-Math-Grades-3-5/dp/0439448557

      We also have a few ACT study guides sitting around to pull problems from as well as an Algebra text. I made a new friend since moving to Charlotte who taught math at the high school and college level before homeschooling. She has given us a few worksheets. Since we're only attempting one problem a day, they keep us busy for awhile. ;)

      For science, we've been drawing/sketching every science fact we've ever memorized.

      Always good to hear from you.

  2. Thanks, Anne! I appreciate your suggestions and resources!