Morning Time: Best Way to Start Our Day

morning-time-readingIt’s been said that how you spend the first two hours of your day determines how the rest of your day will go. Thankfully that’s not always true, as we can choose at any moment to re-set, think different thoughts, keep calm and get to work.

But having a plan to begin the day can help smooth the way for a good one. We usually begin our homeschool day with Morning Time. The ideas could be adapted for families whose children attend school away from home—it would just happen in the car and the time slot would be shorter.

The whole idea behind Morning Time is to get everyone on the same page. It marks the beginning of the school day, so no drifting in and out with an unsure start. It’s a great way to get some extras like poetry memorization into the schedule fairly painlessly.

And let’s face it, no matter how the rest of the day goes, you’ll feel good that you accomplished Morning Time.

I have a thin Morning Time 3-ring notebook. When I’m really organized there is a checklist at the front for each week. Needless to say, there is often no updated checklist. Oh, well. The rest of the notebook contains memory lists and questions.

Here are some things we have done during Morning Time (not all at the same time!):

Overview of the day’s schedule, including any appointments or events

Give out reading assignments for the week on Monday

Memory Work:

  • Scripture
  • Preamble to the Constitution
  • Poetry
  • Continents and Oceans
  • Planets
  • Days of the Week
  • Months of the Year
  • History and literature quotations
  • Science topics

Civics (using a list of questions from the U.S. Citizenship exam, containing questions and answers about government, 3 questions per day):  Quick Civics Lessons

Group reading of the week’s unit study information

Group discussion for the week’s history topic

And our favorite part: reading aloud

For many years we saved reading aloud for “later” when things like math and writing were done, often waiting until little ones were taking a nap. The problem was that the temptation to get on with the busy-ness of the rest of the day often bumped out reading aloud.

Bedtime read alouds never did work well for us. Twenty-five years of pregnancy, nursing babies and busy toddlers kept me pretty tired by bedtime and the last thing I wanted to do at night was more “school-y” stuff.

Several years ago I realized that reading aloud was one of the cornerstones of our educational philosophy. So it moved to first place in the day, to make sure it got done, and it has worked beautifully. We usually read something related to the time period we’re studying. If a book turns out to be boring or difficult, we set it aside.

Morning Time gives shape to our days. In the winter, a cozy fire in the fireplace and hot chocolate adds bonus points. Morning Time takes place just after morning chores, so the house is tidy and everyone is dressed, although it’s doubtful that everyone’s teeth are brushed.

Keep Morning Time simple and realistic. If it drags out too long, the natives will get restless. Spend only about five minutes on memorization of poetry. The smaller memorization projects will be even shorter.

After reading about our history topic, we spend about 45 minutes to an hour on the current read aloud.

At the end of Morning Time, everyone scatters to their independent work. Some may have begun before Morning Time while they were waiting for everyone to gather and Mom to get herself together. I start working with the youngest child and then the next. The homeschool day is in full swing.

If we have no target, we’ll definitely hit nothing. Morning Time is a great way to target your morning for a productive school day, with added educational benefit. You’ll be surprised how much five minutes a day adds up. Make a simple plan, gather the troops and start your day together!

Did this spark some ideas for your Morning Time? Leave a comment and share with us!

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Note: It has been brought to my attention that another blog has resources for Morning Time. Here’s a link for further reading: Morning Time

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12 thoughts on “Morning Time: Best Way to Start Our Day”

  1. Thank you, Charlotte! I really like this Morning Time. I love the name…very cozy. You have helped me so much in my home life, my weight loss journey, and my home school. I had prayed for help, and the Lord sent you. I couldn’t be more thankful!

  2. I do this with my daughter now … on the drive to school and work we study spelling words and anything that we have a study sheet on, talk about what will go on when we arrive back at home in the evening, or what we did the night before. I find it to be very helpful because there are few distractions … well, we do comment on crazy drivers when we see them!

  3. Charlotte,

    I discovered your blog through T-Tapp awhile back and I love it! I have a 4 year old and a 21 month old and plan to homeschool. I feel like I am getting

  4. oops, not sure what happened. Maybe it is the 21 mo old crawling all over me. Anyhow, I feel like I am getting off to a great start by reading your advice and there will be less trial and error along the way because of it. Thanks so much.

  5. I struggle with logistics and efficiency. I only have seven kiddos but breakfast alone seems to occupy such a large time slot on our schedule, by the time we are through the meal and morning chores it feels we’re already pressed for time. I love the idea of morning time and long for the order that it might bring to our day, just not sure how to implement. Any advice on whole family efficiency/organization?

  6. Charlotte Siems

    Debbi, *only* seven? Girl, you’re a brave and heroic mom! Breakfast is a non-issue at our house, as the kids fix their own–cereal, toast, etc. When we had littles, older ones were assigned a day to help them with breakfast. Don’t give up on the chores, they will teach your children self-discipline and life skills. Even if all you get done on school before lunch is Morning Time it will still benefit you. Or you could move it to right after lunch. Adapt and don’t compare yourself to someone else’s imagined perfect day!

  7. Oo, oo, oo! This will be perfect for us, though we’ll probably go with calling it Together Time as it will have to have flexibility to be placed in different time slots for different days. I’ve just been looking for a good way to gather troops without it seeming to be a drag. Thanks for sharing! As always you bless my day:)

  8. Charlotte, I’m so glad to see that I’m not the only one who let go of the image of the bedtime read-alouds. Once baby number 3 arrived I couldn’t pull it off with ease. It was more stress-producing. But thanks to your virtual encouragment we re-claimed lunch-time read alouds last fall and it is such a joy for all of us. Thank you!

  9. Hi there. We aare fairly new to homeschooling… And it seems my fire to homeschool has been blown out. I am running out of ideas.. and with little money I cannot buy any curriculum’s! I really love this idea of morning time! Any other good tips to bring the life back into our homeschooling?

    1. Charlotte Siems

      Hi Amber! It’s normal for our enthusiasm or “fire” for homeschooling to ebb and flow. Sometimes we just need an attitude adjustment of realizing what a privilege we have to educate our children–and what a short season of life it truly is.

      Keep it simple. For younger children, copywork takes care of a multitude of skills: spelling, handwriting, punctuation, language structure, attention to detail, etc. All you need is a book and a piece of paper and pencil! Read, read, read. Use real books from the library and take advantage of audiobooks.

      Resist the temptation to think that an expensive curriculum equals a good education. God is not surprised by your circumstances, and He will provide the resources and wisdom you need to teach your children!

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