Again, Morning Time

I haven’t been blogging for a while because, well, I just haven’t had that much to say. But I am finding myself, as I am listening to podcasts, wishing that I could join in with the podcast conversation, too. No one is busting down my door, though, to beg me to be on their podcasts so I thought that I would have my very own conversation on my blog (no one is reading that either but at least the words are escaping my brain and that is the key to a happy life.)

Last month, I was listening to Your Morning Basket podcast; the episode with Mystie Winkler. I think they were answering questions on that episode and they were talking about what they all do for their Morning Times. Mystie mentioned that Morning Time will look different for each family, as well as for each season of life that family is in. This is the wonderful thing about Morning Time: it is fluid! Every year, heck! every term, it will probably change because your children are changing, you are changing, your life is changing! (Can you tell that we have been reading Dickens for our Morning Time? He is the king of parallelism and it is leaking out into my writing as well. I so love parallelism!)

Case in point: we started out this year with Morning Time being the same as it always has been–first thing in the morning, full of memorization, reading and glimpses of truth, beauty and goodness. Then I watched a scope by Julie Bogart, the Bravewriter lady, in which she gave the key parts of a morning routine. She said that kids need time to wake up in the morning. Breakfast and chores give kids that time to acclimate themselves to a new day. The bell went ding-ding-dinging in my brain. We do MT while we are having breakfast. The kids wake up at 8 and we break out the books and the recitations at 8:05. Yeah, when I read back that sentence I am thinking, “Wow! That is craziness!” We have been doing that for three years now and it has been working. Until this year. The kids were having difficulty in tracking and keeping awake during MT.

So I decided to push back MT later on in the day. But that then brought up the dilemma of the length of MT. If we did MT later on in the day, we would not be able have a 2 hour MT as we always have in the past. That also means we would not be able to do all that we used to do.

Hmmmm, what to do.

I decided to skim down to the bare necessities of MT and, with time, maybe we would ramp things up again.

I decided to do our Bible reading at breakfast as that would give us some leeway in our one hour Morning Time. When MT rolled around (we decided on 11:00 a.m.) we started with our readings (we looped these readings: Whatever Happened to Justice by Richard Maybury, Plutarch Lives and Philosophy for Teens–we do one reading a day,) read a few poems (right now we are revisiting Emily Dickinson) and then get on to our literature reading (we were reading Tale of Two Cities but we decided last week that we are just not ready for Dickens right now so we have moved on to The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. )

And that was it.

We have been doing it this way since the beginning of January and I quite like this simplified version. But I have been noticing some difficulties with the kids remembering what we have been reading in our daily readings. In looping those books, the kids were getting confused and simply forgetting key ideas. We have never had this problem before but we have never dealt with puberty before and I think that may be playing a part in our problems with retention.

I was listening to another episode of Your Morning Basket, this time Sarah Mackenzie was the guest. Sarah was explaining how they do Morning Time in their house and the bells started clanging in my head again. She said that they do one subject reading, be it history, religion, picture study, science, and instead of looping through the readings like we do, they just keep with that subject until the book is done and then they move on to another subject/book. So instead of reading a history book on Monday, a science book on Tuesday, picture study on Wed, they read the history book every day until it is finished, then they move on to the science book, when that is done they will do picture study and so on.

As I was musing on this, I thought that we could do the same thing with the fine arts portion of our MT as well. Right now we are reading poetry but when we are done with Dickinson, we could move on to Nature Study( I have a nature study book that I have wanted to do with the kids for a while now) and when we are done with that book, we can do picture study for a while.

I love this! This simplifies things even more.

So this is what our time together will look like: we come together with a hot beverage, light candles, sing the doxology, read from the Justice book, read a few poems and then read from our literature book.

That’s it.

In having three teens now, that is all that it needs to be. MT needs to be simple so that they can get all of their work done. Simple helps in getting it all done.

It seems like we have come full circle.

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5 Responses to Again, Morning Time

  1. Wonderful! I love how you made Morning Time fit your routine and how well it suits your family. Great ideas!

  2. Lissa-Ann says:

    You just made so many lightbulbs go off for me!! You have no idea how your post has blessed me and connected some dots for me in my current circumstances and our Morning Time! This is great!! Betty (using daughter’s google account 🙂

  3. Good, beautiful and true says:

    I agree with keeping it simple with older kids. Now that I don’t have any more “littles” I find that I am the weak link in morning time. Perhaps I stayed up way to late working on a project and we get off to a slow start. Perhaps we all get distracting and working on our own stuff and the day gets away from us. I try to keep our morning devotional consistent, but am not the best at that. But it happens most days, which is way more than would happen with no intention at all.

    Love your comment about writing allowing the words to escape out of your brain. Blogging is pretty new to me and begun basically for that reason. I need a place to process all those swirling, racing thoughts. Once they are out in the open everything seems just a little more manageable.

    • Charlotte Mason talks a lot about the importance of habit training in children but, in our family, the one who needed the most help in keeping habits is me. 😄 Being consistent is not one of my strong suits. This plays out in Morning Time as well as in homeschooling in general. So I can relate to your comment about being the weakest link; I’m right there with you.

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