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What IS Morning Time, Again?
Morning time has been a staple of our day. I like to call it the “coffee” of the day, because not only does it warm us and sustain us, it seems vital to getting the day going, if you know what I mean. Cindy Rollins, author of Morning Time: A Liturgy of Love , defines morning time with a beautiful quote: “What is morning time? It is capturing the hours of your day before they flit away. It is making sure the most beautiful things happen first. It is impossible to regret that.”
How can I disagree with Rollins here? She has hit the nail on the head, for our family. If we did not dedicate about half an hour to an hour of our day to this sacred time…school would definitely be more about checking things off a list. What’s so bad about checking things off a list?, you might be thinking. If that’s you, well you can decide if there is something missing from your home life. Are you missing out on connection? Morning time is for you, friend! These are referred to as “mornings without measure”, yet small habits lead to profound outcomes. Ask someone who has done morning time for FORTY years! Cindy Rollins is your gal. She will speak to the profound impact morning time has had on her family in her appearance on the Thinking Love podcast (episode: “The Art of Morning Time”). She raised and homeschooled nine children. NINE. How many morning times do you think they had all together over the years? Although every one of her children are grown and out of the house, she still has her own morning time. This liturgy of love, as she calls it, gets deeply engrained. It becomes a way of worshipping our Lord. It becomes a way of noticing the true, good and the beautiful.
Morning time is an ART to be practiced.
Morning time is NOT a rote system. It is NOT something that has to be thematic or “matchy-matchy”. Connections will be made, regardless of which hymns, Bible passages, poems, or other elements you select. It is more of a chance for ALL present to marvel at God’s creation and truth. It is less about the homeschool parent getting up to “teach her children something moral or good”. It is more about taking this all in together. The focus is on the content, the subjects, the works of art.
Connection. If we had no morning time, we’d be missing out on connection. Morning time lends itself to connection. Connection in the sense of relationships, yes. However, connection reaches beyond the necessary relational connection with children.
Charlotte Mason holds to the idea that “education is the science of relations”. It is a principle of her famous “twenty”. Miss Mason called this the guiding principal of education. Why “science” of relations, you might ask? I am reading In Vital Harmony: Charlotte Mason and the Natural Laws of Education by Karen Glass. Glass purports that the term “science”, when used in the late 19th and early 20th centuries (the industrial era), was simply a buzzword. So, maybe Charlotte Mason could have used a different word, but “science” spoke to so many of her contemporaries at the time. It was THE word.
We can look at the next part of the statement, “Education is the science of relations”. We see the word “relations”. Miss Mason divided knowledge into three categories – knowledge of God, knowledge of man, and knowledge of the universe. All realms of knowledge are bound together, whether we perceive it or not. Finding the relationship between the realms of knowledge is the key to education. This is the science of relations. All knowledge, of that which is observed and abstract alike, is bound together. Doesn’t this sound a lot like classical education? I digress.
My point is that morning time is something I plan to carry out with my students for as long as I homeschool. Hey, even if I didn’t homeschool, I would still find a way to have “morning” time with my kids. It would just not take place in the morning. There are just too many connections to be made to give it up!
What Does Morning Time Look Like Now?
Morning Time Part I in the kitchen
Sing the Doxology
Sing a hymn together: Singing the Great Hymns
Clean up together: my seven-year-old boy sweeps, I hold the dust pan for him, my little girl washes dishes, and I help her.
Come back together for Morning Time Part II in the living room.
Beauty Loop (4-day rotation): joke book (Highlights), picture study (The Stuff They Left Behind: Ancient Egypt), composer study (Bach), poetry (various)
Math Mini Lesson: As of late, this exists to gather all kids to practice our Classical Conversations skip counting. They listen to the song, and place the numbers on laminated grid paper using wet erase markers. Prior to this, I was practicing different skills by the month with the kids. In October, we learned how to round whole numbers to the nearest ten, so I taught a short (5 minutes maximum) lesson on “the rounding hill” and made it fun with a car and math word problems about our ancient history.
Ancient Times Study Loop (3-day rotation): read aloud and students narrate- read aloud the remaining portion and students narrate –coloring page and map work
We are using The Story of the World: Ancient Times.
Advent Morning Time
The basic rhythm of our morning time has stayed the same, except we are now just focusing on our Advent resource for Part II of morning time. We have paused everything else, to date. Whether I layer in the beauty loop, math mini-lesson, and ancient times study will depend on our day. However, I think whenever you introduce something new to morning time, it is good to start small, then slowly add on.
Right now, we are enjoying reading the devotions and singing the songs from The Advent Jesse Tree . We are going to begin our Christmas School the week before Christmas, and it will pair well with The Advent Jesse Tree. Our Christmas School resource has scripture readings included already, so we can just focus on our Joyful Feast and drop The Advent Jesse Tree, if it’s too much scripture reading during morning time. We can move the Advent readings to the evening, right at the dinner table, since Daddy will be home then.
I will keep you updated regarding the flow of morning time in months to come!
Looking Ahead to January
I cannot wait to begin our Picture Study Portfolio: Michelangelo for our new picture study in 2022!
One thing I have learned from this morning time journey is to not add too much at once! Once we start Michelangelo picture study, we will be shelving our Ancient Egypt picture study.
Another thing I’d like to incorporate somehow in the spring months is nature study and nature notebooking. Although our Charlotte Mason co-op has a built-in nature study time, it would be lovely to step outside in the early spring air around 10:00 am each morning to just sit and observe God’s glory displayed in a North Carolina springtime. Even taking a walk down the block as part of morning time would be a refreshing way to start the day.
Morning time takes on different forms as the seasons change.
You are never too far along to begin a morning time with your older kids. Pam Barnhill has some great wisdom and tips regarding this topic, morning time with multiple ages.
Likewise, you are never too young to begin morning time with your babies. A song, a prayer and a short nursery rhyme, repeated as often as possible throughout the week, can begin a lifelong habit.
I wish you well on your journey! If you have made morning time a practice, what has worked well for your family?