There are some days that start better than others. Some days we are up and ready to start learning straight away and others it seems like we have no motivation. There have been mornings that we were still trying to get started after making lunch. Have you been there? After the first month of this school year I was looking for some way to get our days started without a lot of fuss and hassle. While doing some research online there were more than a few mentions about “Morning Time” and “Morning Basket” that I came across. I did some reading, listening and thought about how I could use this information in our homeschool.
I liked the ideas for “Morning Time” but needed to adapt it for use it in our situation. My kids are older, now 9 and 13. They are involved in choosing what subjects and how they are learning. I had to be sure that our morning time would be meaningful, helpful and encouraging for us. Having a routine, ritual or repetitive activity to get our minds ready for the day ahead was as appealing to the kids as it was to me. I asked the kids to help me think of some things we like to do together that we could do in the mornings. We love having tea together so this became our starting point. Reading and discussing our daily Bible text accompanies the tea. We then added memorizing the elements from the periodic table. Reading aloud from the assigned books was then added. I also added multiplication and division flash cards as well as cursive writing practice sheets. We do not do everything mentioned here every day. This is more about preparing our minds to learn, being relaxed and ready rather than checking off things to do.
Having a morning routine or using “Morning Time” can help ease you and your children into your learning for the day. When starting your morning routine there are a few things to remember.
1. Do some things the night before
2. Start Small
3. Have a signal
4. Keep your supplies together
The Night Before
Some things we do the night before so we are ready to go first thing in the morning.
1. Look at schedule
2. Select / make breakfast
3. Select clothes
4. Pack bags and/or lunches
We look at our schedule as part of our evening routine. This way we know if there are doctor or dentist appointments, field trips, library trips, grandparent visits that are part of the day so we can be prepared. If it is going to be a very busy day we may make breakfast ahead or at least plan what we will be having. We also select our clothes the night before. If there is a library trip or field trip we pack backpacks, book bags, lunches, and/or our mobile school tote for the next day.
Be sure you do not try to add everything all at once. It will not be relaxing or prepare you for the day. It will be overwhelming for you and your kids if you try to do too much at once. Add one thing, enjoy it. We added having a pot of tea together before reading and discussing our daily Bible text. A week later we added memorizing the periodic table after our Bible study. We continued adding one thing at a time until we had a relaxed start to our morning that we enjoyed and that still allowed us time to get the rest of our learning done. Think about all the things you might want to add to your morning ritual. Ask yourself if the activity adds meaning or helps you and the kids relax. Involve the kids, especially if they are older, in deciding which activities they would like to try. Decide which items you will add, how you will do it and when. Remember to be flexible. Having a morning ritual or morning time should help you prepare for the day, not stress you, or the kids, out.
Have a Signal
The shrill whistle of a tea kettle boiling serves as the signal that it is time to start our learning for the day. The kids know that as soon as the whistle starts they have a few minutes to finish whatever they are doing, select a teacup and meet me at the table in the living room. Some of the signals you could use might include playing a song, setting a timer, kids clearing the breakfast dishes, etc. Just like adding new activities to your morning adding a signal will take time to become second nature.
Keep Your Supplies Together
We start reading our daily Bible text once we’ve poured our tea and are sitting around the table. If we had to search for our Bible, our book of the periodic table, element worksheets, and other supplies it would take up time each morning. Instead we have a basket the fits under the coffee table that we fill with all of our supplies. This makes it easier to enjoy the time together in the morning. Deciding what supplies you need and where to keep them depends on the activities you plan on doing and where you will do them. The possibilities for storing your supplies might include a basket under a side table or coffee table, a drawer in the kitchen or a bookshelf in your homeschool room.
The most important thing to remember is that this is not just one more thing to check off your to-do list. The purpose of having a morning ritual is to prepare you and your kids for your homeschool day.