Our homeschool morning time is a crucial part of our homeschool day. Some people call it morning basket time, morning meeting, or circle time, but we just call it morning time at our house.
Morning time is not a new creation. It’s been around for years, and homeschoolers with a Charlotte Mason or classical approach to homeschooling have used it. We did a version of morning time when I was being homeschooled, but we never gave it a name!
It seems to be a hot topic since a popular homeschooling book called Teaching From Rest was written recently. In that book, Sarah Mackenzie talks about morning time and how that has helped her to have a peaceful time in her day.
Morning time is that precious time in the day where you fill your children up with those educational truths that will shape and mold them into the adults they will become. The lives of your children can be heavily influenced when you spend this time with them, and it’s my favorite part of our day!
When I look back on my own homeschool experience, the memories of the textbooks I did are not present, but all the times I spent in discussion and reading with my mom are still strong in my mind. Morning time has the ability to do this; to create those lasting memories that will never leave your child!
There are four main parts of morning time in our home. Before our actual morning time begins, we have started having a family meeting each morning, strictly at 9:00. School begins right after that talk. Since Sean works from home, he heads up that family meeting. It’s a 10-20 minute talk with the children about how they are doing, character issues we need to work on, looking at the Character Badges charts that are on the wall, and making sure they know what consequences they might need to do after school that day.
Then he goes back downstairs to work and I take over with the official morning time as our school day starts!
Here is what it looks like.
This is time spent learning about God and his word. We either read straight from the scriptures or use a storybook. Right now we are using Catherine’s Voss storybook, and it’s excellent. My children absolutely love how the stories are presented. At first glance the book doesn’t look like anything special, but we have really enjoyed this book more than others.
Sometimes we read a Proverbs for the day, or we might pick a book and read straight through it. Right now we are just using the storybook.
Before devotions begin, a child will say a prayer for the devotion time and just recently the older ones will pick a scripture and read it to everyone. I’ve shared before that we have set days where one child will pray for all the meal and devotions times. It has really helped reduce the bickering that comes when I ask who wants to pray. 🙂 The child who is praying for the day will be the one to pick out a scripture verse and also read it.
This is the time where we memorize scripture verses together, a poem, or a new hymn. Right now we are getting ready to sing special music at our church, so we are working on memorizing a hymn the children will sing.
We love our reading time! I’ve been so thankful for Tapestry of Grace which has forced me to make sure that our morning time gets done everyday!
This is when I read the history we do together, and I also read a quality literature book that all the children will enjoy.
For history we are reading through the ‘Famous Men of Middle Ages’. I was afraid that my children might think it a bit dry, but they absolutely love it, and I’ve been thrilled with the conversations we have had. Lots of discussions have taken place on how these different men lived their lives. They cheer when a chapter tells about a man that is following the Lord and who tries to convert his kingdom to the Lord! Even our 6 year old listens as I read from this book. We also read parts of the ‘Story Of The World’ book.
The literature book is one that I want us to experience together as a family. I made the children wait to read the ‘Little House on the Prairie’ series on their own until I had read them out loud first. We just finished ‘Mr. Popper’s Penguins’, which was a fun, quick read that all the children enjoyed. The reading level was below our 6th and 4th grader, but the story was funny and they laughed right along with the girls.
Right now we are reading ‘Adam of the Road’, which goes along nicely with the Middle Age time period that we are studying.
During the history and literature time I will ask the children questions. Through this they learn narration skills and we look up words that we don’t know and discuss them together.
I store the Morning Time books in these fabric cubes that I found for a great price online at Joss and Main. Our other schoolbooks are stored above, a new system I’m trying to help reduce the lost books excuse. 😉
We have (slowly) been working our way through the Simply Charlotte Mason Picture Portfolio Packets. The children enjoy the story that is included in each packet about the artist’s life. As we read, a child holds up one of the pictures included in the packet for everyone to look at.
Other times we go through classical music appreciation course from Zeezok. We really like these stories on the classical composers.
Where to do morning time?
If you have a dedicated schoolroom, it would make sense to do morning time in that room. However we have a small house, and our schoolroom is our dining room and living room. We always gather in the living room for morning time, and then just move to the table when we do actual book work.
How long does it take?
I try to keep morning time to 1.5 hours at the most. Sometimes we spend an hour. It just depends on how much time I want to devote to it that day. I have a hard time stopping some days as we all enjoy it so much! Other days it’s been chaotic (because morning time is not always perfect!) and so we move on rather quickly.
Morning time with multiple ages, including babies and toddlers.
Morning time can be challenging when you have a wide age range, but totally doable! Here is how we do it but you may need to tweak things to make it work for your children.
During the devotion part of our morning time our children are required to sit still and listen. It’s the more serious part of our morning as we learn about the awesome God that created us, and who we serve.
As we move into the history section, I still require the three oldest children to be still and listen (ages 12, 10, and 7). By that time our 4 and 6 year old are quietly moving around, playing with a toy they have picked out.
When we move into the literature part, I allow all the children to draw, build with a few blocks, or the girls play quietly behind my recliner with their doll kitchen (a side note, they received this kitchen from Target at Christmas and it’s been a HUGE hit with the girls!). Sometimes they even fold laundry!
I do have to tell our 4 year old to be quiet, but she is doing a pretty good job.
As for the baby, everyday is a new day with her. I try and always have her take a nap while we do morning time, and that normally works. The other day she was awake eating an apple, and stayed quiet for an amazingly long time!
When it all falls apart
No morning time is perfect. There are days when the children are full of giggles, or they are not getting along. There are times when I’m so tired I can barely stay awake while I’m trying to read.
Don’t give up when morning time goes awry. At times I just leave the room for a few minutes to have a few minutes alone and refocus. There is always the next day to try again!
If you have never tried morning time, or just need new ideas, here are some excellent resources.
Morning Time Resources
Your Morning Basket is a great ebook with lots of extras added to it! Learn from a mom who has done Morning Time for years with her own children.
Your Morning Basket Podcast – This podcast features some amazing homeschooling people!
What’s In Your Morning Basket? – Some different ideas on how to do a Morning Basket.
Homeschool Circle Time – A look on how to do morning time with little ones.
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