Saturday, August 20, 2016

Morningtime...why I love it!

During the summer all kiddos, and during the school year with whatever kiddos aren't currently away at school, we do "Morningtime."  This is a simple routine that lots of homeschool families (especially ones that practice the Charlotte Mason philosophy) partake in.  We do it because I think it's a beautiful and powerful way to be together and learn each morning.'s a great fit for us because it can be adapted to include a wide variety of ages!

Here's what we do:
Bible Study--we start by reading a focus verse together--the same verse every day for a few months until I feel like we're ready for a new one.  The kids eventually memorize it because we read it every day.  I print it off on a label that I put in their notebooks.  Only 1 of my kiddos read, but I still think it's important for the others to connect the words to print, even if all they know is that it says what we are saying orally.  Occasionally I have my oldest look up the verse in the Bible and read it from there, to remind us all that it's God's word we're reading.  Currently our focus verse is Jeremiah 29:13-14. 

Then we have a short little Bible lesson, which varies, depending on what we are studying, but about 10 minutes total.  We try to remember to pray, but I don't do a good job on this one.  That will be one of my goals for the upcoming school year!

After that, if I have all the kiddos, I read aloud some poetry.  I read the same few poems for about a month, and begin replacing them with new ones, one at a time, once my kids begin to get bored of them...or memorize them!  Often during this poetry time the kids ask to recite one of their past favorite they've memorized, and I always say yes!

We sing a hymn together--one that we are currently learning the words to.  Usually my kids like to move to the couch for this, so we can huddle up and all see the words in the old hymnal we use.  At our church, we sing using a projector and words, and more praise songs than hymns, so it is important to me that my kids learn the joy of using a hymnal and the beautiful words and truths in great hymns.  My kids love this time, and I love hearing them sing or hum little bits of the hymns during the day!

 During the school year when my oldest is at school, we do fingerplays, counting songs, and rhymes during this time, as well, which I consider my preschooler's literacy time for the day (of course we still do many read-alouds of great picture books several other times during the day, as well.)

Sometimes while we are already at the table for Morningtime, we might do an art project or activity.  This happens more when my oldest is home, because she loves art.  My littler ones are usually ready to get down and move around!

Sometimes Morningtime lasts 15 minutes and sometimes it lasts an hour, depending on the interest and attention of the kiddos and what we are doing.  It is structured in the sense that we follow the same flow, but we don't have a set number of poems to read or fingerplays to flows naturally based on what the kids need that particular day.

Morningtime is powerful because it exposes my kids to scripture and beautiful language in a way that is natural and doesn't require a whole lot of preparation from me.  This makes it more likely that it will happen every day.  We also light candles and drink tea and sometimes even eat something yummy during this time, which makes it feel more special.  :)  Morningtime is great because there aren't any rules--you can do what feels right for your season and your kiddos....And it starts the day out on a positive time together rooted in God's Word.

Because we're a foster family, we often have a baby or toddler in our mix.  We include them in Morningtime if they are awake--I put them in their little highchair seat or pull the bouncer in the kitchen next to the table.  Sometimes toddlers get to hold the fingerpuppets or scribble with a marker during Morningtime.  Sometimes they last the whole time, and sometimes they need to get down and go play because they aren't up for sitting still.  We go with the flow here, too, including the little ones however is working out for that day and working our hardest to be patient and inclusive to find ways to involve them, as well.  Often it's singing a song we know they like or doing more fingerplays with manipulatives to they can follow along.  I know when I model how to include these little ones, my older kiddos are learning these skills that will hopefully translate to the times they need to include littler ones in play, etc.

HERE is a link to a more in-depth discussion of Morningtime.