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Tips for a Smooth Summer Morning

Enjoy Robert Louis Stevenson Together
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Since our summer began a week-and-a-half ago, I have envisioned a morning rhythm that would unite our hearts, provoke good conversation, and facilitate good habits.  I love morning time.  However, it hasn’t always been easy to implement in the summertime.  Last week, my son’s full-day camp made it harder to start the morning time routine. He absolutely loved his time at camp!

brother and sister

Summer Morning Baskets

To kickstart the summer, I made a morning basket for each child.  With three children ages, 6, 4 and 2, I wanted to tailor each basket to spark wonder and curiosity.  I wanted to keep them coming back for more. 

See below the photos with each child’s morning basket:

My 4-year-old girl’s summer morning basket
My 6-year-old son’s summer morning basket
My 2-year-old son with his summer morning basket

Morning Time Vignettes

I want to implement the morning time vignette next.  Because of camp and a week-long beach trip with family, I have not started this.  My goal is to start the morning time (Week 1) with catechism review (BOOK I) for 5 minutes.  Week 2 we will add a layer: a song (5 minutes).  Week 3: ABC Bible Verses  (10 minutes).  And it will continue in this way until the first week of school: layering on short components of morning time. 

Independent Reading

Lastly, two new habits we have been working on this summer so far are the habit of attention and the habit of self-starting.  I have aimed to kill two birds with one stone here:  independent reading.  Right after breakfast, even on vacation, I have asked my son to gather his morning basket.  Inside, he finds books that are largely on or below his reading level (see his morning basket).  Then, I set the timer for him to have uninterrupted, independent reading time.   

My son is getting into the habit.  We have made sure we do this on vacation because we cannot afford to miss out on some time to practice reading.  Also, he cannot afford to miss out on that quiet, still time to practice focusing fully on one thing for a short period of time.  It is enjoyable.  He is left wanting more.  I am increasing the time by 2 minute increments every few days. 

If bringing his breakfast dish to the sink is his cue, then he can self-start his independent reading time.  He can go anywhere in the house where he can focus.  So far, it has worked well.  I ask him to narrate from one of his books after the timer sounds.

Enjoy Robert Louis Stevenson Together
You'll receive your poetry unit in your inbox.
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Tips for a Smooth Start

Some tips I have for setting up the morning baskets, beginning morning time vignettes, and independent reading to make the summer mornings go smoothly are:

  1.  Start simple.  Start your mornings with one thing at a time.  No need to make all 3 of these components happen at once.
  2. Shop your home.  What if the right book could be found in your own library?  Or maybe there is an engaging game you can find in your game closet to put in one of your morning baskets.  For my little one’s basket, I find little toy cars he hasn’t seen in a while.
  3. Keep it short.  Leave them wanting more.
  4. Pick books that are below level, or right on level (for book baskets/independent reading). 
  5. Use my narration practice sheet to touch base with your independent reader. It is not ideal to use this as your only narration practice, as reading aloud to your child is better for narration practice. For my child’s summer independent reading, I do think narration practice is a good thing.  It doesn’t have to be fancy; just a basic retelling of the story.  Make sure you have an idea of the content of the story before asking for a narration.

6. Attach your morning time vignette to breakfast.  Make it 5 to 10 minutes at first, then add on layers until the first week of school.

A Rhythm to Consider

Once we get back from vacation, the next part of our day (after morning time) will be math practice (Subtraction Facts That Stick) and maybe a quick reading review of our cards from All About Reading Level 1. That’s it. I do not predict this reading and math practice time taking more than 30 minutes.

The next part of the day? Pool, playdates with friends, exploring a new place, taking a field trip to a museum… the list goes on!

Then, lunch. Then, down time. Then, unstructured playtime and lessons when we have them on Monday and Thursday evenings. Lastly, dinner prep and time with daddy. Bedtime.
What works for your family might not work for mine, and vice-versa. That’s why I love sharing ideas. You might think of something I haven’t before.

Okay, friends! There you have it!  I am so excited to share more with you as our summer progresses.  Look for a booklist soon!

Until next time, bye!

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