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Morning time (also known by other names like morning basket time, morning meeting, circle time, and so forth) is a common homeschooling practice where the family comes together to learn as a group to start each school day—often for study that pursues moral, spiritual, or character development or that focuses on “truth, beauty, and goodness.”
Morning time is commonly implemented by Classical or Charlotte Mason homeschoolers, but can surely compliment any homeschool routine.
You may be interested in adding a morning time ritual into your daily routine for one or more of the following reasons:
- You want to add some important areas of study into your schedule that your curriculum doesn’t cover.
- You want to get to your highest priorities at the start of each school day.
- You would like to begin the homeschool day in a way that will start everyone off on the right foot and set the tone for the rest of the day.
- You have subjects that would be most practical for your children to accomplish together to save time and simplify your school day.
A daily homeschool morning time can be the perfect opportunity to share in fellowship and community as a family to learn from each other, discuss ideas and thoughts, and to make sweet memories together.
Our curriculum (A Gentle Feast) actually includes a morning time. But you can put one together even if it’s not a part of your curriculum already.
Customize Morning Time for Your Family
The way you build your morning time will depend on your situation, the methodology and curriculum you may homeschool by, the ages of your children, and the number of children you have.
You may choose to keep morning time very short and simple, only engaging in a couple of activities together before moving on to independent study, or you might choose to make your morning time the bulk of your school day for your preschool or elementary-aged children.
You may even decide to have your “morning” time at another time of the day, such as before bedtime.
Your morning time may look different year to year or at different points in the school year. You may find this time to be so helpful, that you may choose to continue even when you are on a break from your other studies.
Essentially, you want to make morning time work for you and you children, and study what would be beneficial for your family!
*As a side note, I’ve recently seen some homeschool moms making their own “mother morning time baskets” with resources for themselves to start their day with intentionality! Genius.
Supplies for Morning Time
Many families enjoy keeping a special basket or crate ready with all the resources they’ve pulled together or prepared for morning time — thus the term, “morning basket time.”
Some families use a restaurant menu cover to make a booklet for each child.
They will print a pretty cover to slip in the front and fill the other windows of the menu with a hymn, a poem or scripture, some memory work, etc. that the child will be referencing and can even write on with dry-erase markers.
A slim binder or folder for each child would also do the trick.
Ideas for What to Include in Your Morning Time
Here are some activities and areas of study you could include in your morning time:
- Worship or songs
- Scripture reading
- Listening to quality music together
- Quotes for reading or memorizing
- Hymn study (you might like Happy Hymnody for hymn of the month printables)
- Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance
- Writing letters to pen pals
- Art projects or handicrafts like embroidery, cross stitch, knitting, etc.
- Map work
- Poetry or Shakespeare Study
- Memorizing or reciting (including songs that aid in memorizing) scriptures, poetry, geography, math facts, science terms, verses, etc.
- Flashcards (i.e. music notes, math facts, or make your own flashcards)
- Learning new vocabulary words
- Skip counting
- Discussing current events in the news
- Read-alouds (parent reading aloud to children) from classic literature, chapter books, biographies, history, natural history, plays, etc.
- Having the children take turns reading aloud
- Studying character qualities (you may enjoy these Character Matters Cards from SeptemberAndCoShop on Etsy)
- Studying rules of etiquette
- Music appreciation or composer study (you might like the Meet the Great Composers series or SQUILT Music Appreciation)
- Art appreciation (you may enjoy these Simply Charlotte Mason Picture Study Portfolios or Memoria Press Art Cards and Posters)
- Reviewing or discussing topics previously studied
- Presenting topics or projects to one another
- Listening to audio books, the Bible on an app, or an educational podcast together
- Studying an exciting topic you want to pursue as a family
- Second language studies
Additional ideas for young children:
- Picture books to read aloud
- Read aloud from a Bible Story Book (our current favorite is The Jesus Storybook Bible)
- Sing or memorize nursery rhymes
- Sing Bible songs or other children’s songs together–maybe play along with some simple percussion instruments
- Sing learning songs for memorization of different topics – alphabet song, books of the Bible song, days of the week song, etc.
- Discuss the day’s weather
- Discuss the calendar and what day it is
- Play an educational board game together
- Flashcards – ABCs, numbers, shapes, animals/animal sounds, sight words, phonics sounds
- Show and tell – present something found on a nature walk, something they made, etc.
- Make an art or craft project together
- Learn manners appropriate for their age
- Memorize or recite simple verses of the Bible
Tips for Implementing Morning Time
Your morning time could alternate between different studies/activities on different days of the week so you don’t have too much to focus on in a single session.
You could sequence your resources in a loop schedule and get to each resource one day after the other without worrying too much about a rigid schedule.
My biggest advice is to keep the time short and simple at first. Our morning time only takes us 15-20 minutes: Bible reading, memory verse practice, and one subject from the 5 that we loop through.
Another fun idea is to make your morning basket follow a theme for the month or coincide with a unit study you are currently doing. For example, you could choose a composer, a piece of artwork, and a read-aloud from a certain country or time period.
Similarly, you could follow a seasonal or holiday theme for your morning baskets.
Suggestions if You Have a Mix of Older and Younger Children
Though morning time can encourage strong relationships between your children as they enjoy these times of learning together, it can be challenging to keep everyone engaged if your children are far apart in age.
Consider sticking with activities that all of your children can participate in together like prayer, singing, devotions, character study, and so forth.
Don’t be afraid to expose your younger children to the same scripture reading or literature that you want to read aloud to your older children. If needed, the younger ones can slip off after a while and work on something else while you finish with the older children.
You could spend additional time later during the school day working with the younger ones on some activities more suited to their age and attention span, if necessary.
Maybe it would be beneficial to an older child to let them take the lead occasionally during morning time devotions, discussions, or read-alouds.
Suggestions if You Have Babies & Toddlers in the Mix
If you have little ones in the mix, you might consider using morning time as a training opportunity to teach your little ones to sit quietly at the table, on the couch next to you, or on a blanket, and occupy themselves for a time (a skill that could come in handy during other social situations like attending a church service or going out to eat).
They could keep busy coloring, looking at board books, doing puzzles, or playing quietly.
You could also conduct your morning time while your little ones are napping.
You might decide that a morning time would greatly benefit your family and your homeschool day. With some thought and planning, you’ll be able to plan and pull together the activities and resources that will compliment your homeschool routine with a time of sweet community together.
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