It’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
- Preamble to the Constitution
- Continents and Oceans
- 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!
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