Morning Time is time set aside with your children to learn about subjects which order their affections towards truth, goodness, and beauty. If you haven’t read last week’s post about What Morning Time is and why we do it, go ahead and check that out here. Because today we are going to be talking about the specific Morning Time plans that we are following in our homeschool this quarter. This post is meant to give you ideas for Morning Time with your children, but it is NOT a roadmap for every reader to follow. You will find the most success by customizing this time to what matters most in YOUR home with YOUR unique kids! I hope you enjoy reading about the books I am using and that you get some ideas and inspiration here. Ok, let’s get to it!
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This portion of our Morning Time routine stays the same no matter the season we are in. If Morning Time is “passing on a culture of remembrance” to our children, then the words of scripture are the most important words to hide deep in our children’s hearts.
For prayer time I have made it a priority to have each of my 4 children (ages 7-11) pray aloud. We have assigned them each a day in age order (the youngest on Monday, next oldest on Tuesday…all the way up to me praying on Friday). This has worked well because we don’t have to waste time figuring out whose “turn” it is to pray.
We have handled Scripture Reading in many different ways over the years. Sometimes we’ve had scripture assigned in our chosen curriculum that we’ve read and discussed during Morning Time. Sometimes we’ve picked a children’s devotional and recited the scripture at the end. My children are always memorizing bible verses for their Wednesday night church classes or Tuesday afternoon Co-Op classes, so we also practice those during scripture time.
This fall, we have started making Theology a part of our Morning Time. We are living in a day and age where it is hard to decipher the truth of God’s Word from the lies of culture. It is so important for our kids to know what they believe and have a firm biblical foundation before they launch into this world. The Theology book we are reading this quarter is The Ology: Ancient Truths Ever New by Marty Machowski. This book is the starting point to give your children a solid foundation of Biblical truths that they will be able to take with them for a lifetime. We have already learned so much and have had many great discussions while reading this book!
Full disclosure…I am not the biggest fan of reading poetry myself. But I DO feel that poetry is an important part of our children’s education. Poetry is the highest form of language. And learning and memorizing poetry changes the way we and our children see the world. My kids read aloud and memorize poetry from I Sat by the Sea daily as a part of their Language Arts Curriculum.
So I try to focus on fun, silly, or incredibly beautiful poetry during our Morning Time that I read aloud to them. In the past we have read Shel Silverstein’s Where The Sidewalk Ends and A Light In The Attic. You can’t go wrong with Shel Silverstein if you are just beginning to introduce poetry to your young children! We have also read A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Lewis Stevenson, which is filled with BEAUTIFUL poems and even more beautiful illustrations.
This quarter we are reading through Hailstones and Halibut Bones: Adventures in Poetry and Color by Mary O’Neill. And I must say, the poems in this book have been a DELIGHT! Each poem is about a different color, listing all of the qualities that make that color unique and beautiful. And each page has a gorgeous picture featuring that color. My kids have really enjoyed hearing these poems read aloud.
As I mentioned before, a big goal of our Morning Time is passing on a culture of remembrance to our children. The best way to insure that happens is by memorizing important works of history. Children have an AMAZING capacity to memorize!! Don’t forget, the documents you pick MATTER and it is important to choose works of history that support your family culture.
In the future, we plan to tackle…
- Sections of The Declaration of Independence
- The US Bill of Rights and it’s Amendments
- Sections of The Gettysburg Address
- The Man In The Arena by Theodore Roosevelt (I love this one so much that it hangs in our bedroom!)
- Sections of I Have A Dream by Martin Luther King, Jr.
- The civics questions that immigrants answer when becoming citizens of our great nation
Our children are currently memorizing the Preamble to The Constitution. The wording of this document is quite advanced for our 7-11 year olds. To help them understand the words we are memorizing better, I read through the document initially and had them raise their hands when I read a word they didn’t understand. And I won’t lie…there were MANY words they didn’t understand! But that gave us the opportunity to go through the dictionary, looking up words and writing down their meaning (bonus handwriting and vocabulary practice!). After we got the meanings of the words down, we are memorizing one line at a time until it is mastered. This is not a race to the finish! It doesn’t matter how quickly it is memorized. It only matters that we took the time to read, memorize, and discuss this important document!
This is the first year I have journeyed into the world of Shakespeare with my kids. There are MANY great books that you can read which will help give you the basics ( like How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig) but I will tell you that I am keeping Shakespeare REALLY simple in our Morning Time. We are starting by reading Who is William Shakespeare by Celeste Mannis. (If you have not used the “Who Is?” series in your homeschool I HIGHLY recommend checking them out.) This short book is helping us get an idea about Shakespeare’s life and that motivation behind his writings.
Next we will read A Midsummer Night’s Dream For Kids (Shakespeare Can Be Fun!) by Lois Burdett. I am perfectly happy getting through once scene each day. The idea is to give our kids a taste of the simple and lovely wording that Shakespeare provided. They don’t even have to like it…though I’m hoping watching some of Shakespeare’s plays on film will help make his words come alive for us!
Morning Time Read Alouds
We always have a chapter book that we are reading aloud during our Morning Time. We are currently reading Boy of the Pyramids: A Mystery of Ancient Egypt by Ruth Fosdick Jones because it corresponds with our current history study. But we’ve also read lots of fun “just because” books!
Along with our chapter book reading I also like to have a stack of thematic picture books. Sometimes I bundle these books in a basket for the kids to explore on their own and sometimes I read them aloud at the end of our Morning Time. This quarter we are exploring biographies of great writers. And we have all learned SO MUCH already!
Picture Book Biographies of Great writers
- Emma’s Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty by Linda Glaser
- Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austin: The Story of Six Novels, Three Notebooks, A Writing Box, and One Clever Girl by Deborah Hopkinson
- The Power of Her Pen: The Story of Groundbreaking Journalist Ethel L. Payne by Lesa Cline-Ransome
- John Ronalds Dragons: The Story of J. R. R. Tolkien by Caroline McAlister
- A Boy, A Mouse, and a Spider–The Story of E.B. White by Barbara Herbert
- A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams by Jen Bryant
- Balderdash!: John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children’s Books by Michelle Markel
- The Strange Birds of Flannery O’Connor by Amy Alznauer
- She Made A Monster: How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein by Lynn Fulton
- It Began With A Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew The Way by Kyo Maclear
- The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant
- Emily by Michael Bedard
- The Boy on Fairfield Street: How Ted Geisel Grew Up To Become Dr. Seuss by Kathleen Krull
I hope our Morning Time routine has been inspirational to you. Of all the subjects you teach in your homeschool, the subjects taught during Morning Time will bear the most fruit. Setting aside time to study beautiful things will not come back void. Start soon and DON’T QUIT! Time is on your side as the days turn into weeks and the weeks turn into years. Your children will benefit from the consistency of sitting around the table. By providing a feast of goodness, truth, and beauty in front of our children they will, over time, learn to love goodness, truth, and beauty!
As always, check out Meet Tanna from Megavan Mama to learn more about our big fun family!