I loved the idea of homeschool Morning Time when I first came across it a couple years ago. The idea is basically to build a habit of coming together in the morning to share books, poetry, drawing- anything that the whole family can enjoy while everyone is still gathered round the breakfast table.
I loved the sounds of it, and even tried a few versions last year, but my littlest one was not not a willing participant, and it was too difficult to keep it going. But recently I though I’d give it another go, and now that Flora is a little older (she’s 2.5 now,) and can be included, it is really working for us.
It has been pretty dreamy, actually. The kids are loving this time to gather together and I get a little giddy seeing how much we can get accomplished before we even get out of our PJs (if you follow me on Instagram, you know my kids hardly ever get out of their pjs- but I do. Most days anyway.)
So this is what morning time has been looking like in our house.
I try to have breakfast made and on the table while the big kids are still a little sleepy and slow-moving. If I don’t they often get sucked into some lego project or epic game of monopoly and it’s hard to pull them back.
So while they sleepily munch away on their breakfast I light a candle (Flora has to blow out the match. That is very important,) and I move through a little pile of lovely books with them.
We’ve been starting with a poem from The Tree that Time Built by Linda Winston. I found this book for 10 cents at the thrift store and fell in love. My boys have been rather poetry adverse in the past, but this collection has just the right mix of poem-ness with a science-and-the-wonder-of-the-universe feel to it to engage them. We usually chat a bit about the poems and they have sparked some very sweet conversations.
We just started How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare and, much to my amazement, the kids are eating it up- even the 2-year-old! This book suggests that the best way to instill a love of Shakespeare in kids, is by diving straight into memorizing passages- and to learn about the plays and the meaning of the language as they go.
They seem to be onto something, because my kids are having a grand time learning a passage from Midsummer Night’s Dream right now. And a 2-year-old trying to say “Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine” is almost too much cuteness to bear.
We picked up Bedtime Math awhile ago and my kids were not too thrilled with it, but I pulled it out again for Morning Time and for some reason, they have decided it’s alright this time around. We do a few problems together making sure to include Flora- I ask her “so if you had 2 cannon balls and were given 2 more, how many would you have?” and she says something like “2,9,6, 32!” with much glee and the boys giggle and tell her she’s cute and we move onto the next question. It’s good.
I then read a chapter of our current read-aloud to the boys. They often work on their kitchen chores while I read. We are just finishing up this one, and the boys have decided they looove mysteries.
Reading our chapter book is the boy’s favorite part of Morning Time, but Flora is less enthused. I have seen the suggestion to have a few special activities in the morning basket for toddlers- a watercolor paint set or some playdough or other fun distractions, which I need to try. I just found one of these at the thrift store that I’ll pull that out this week too I think.
So, did you see that? Literature, Math, Shakespeare and Science poems before 9:00? This just makes me so happy and it appeases my slightly neurotic teacher-self too. And if I can do that in a way that makes the kids happy, all the better.
Future Morning Time plans
There are a couple other things I’d like to add in here too-while taking care not to over do it- I have a habit of getting a little over enthusiastic about these things. We started Story of the World earlier this year and I just got a copy on my kindle (instead of renewing it 3000 times from the library,) so I think I’ll try and add that in again. We want to get at least as far as Ancient Greece and Rome before the summer adventures begin!
And I have Draw Canada on order, hoping to work on our Canadian Geography a bit. My Geography is pretty terrible too, so I plan to draw along with them. I think they will enjoy the slow creation of a map, so long as it can be done in short bits (and so long as I remember to wipe the honey off the breakfast table first.) We might even try some European Geography if that goes well, though I probably shouldn’t get ahead of myself.
Ah, Morning Time- we love you.
Some other Morning Time inspiration:
Discovering the joy of morning time at Life Your Way
How Morning Time saves our homeschool at Quill and Camera
Morning Time and How it Can Change Your Homeschool at Ed Snapshots