Morning Time is the anchor of our homeschool day. It is our daily meeting, after breakfast and family prayers, where we read out loud, pray, and recite Scripture and poetry. For the young ones especially, this is the backbone of what we do. Though I do not make the oldest two participate, I have an inkling that they are eavesdropping. We love Morning Time!
I thought I would share what books we are using and what Morning Time usually looks like. We have been memorizing the book of James since last year. We begin each day by reviewing and learning new material. I don't do a whole lot of explaining, just helping everyone memorize the text.
Next we read a couple pages out of Herein Is Love, a children's commentary of Genesis by Nancy Ganz. We have also read through some other Bible story books in the past. This particular book is a little deeper, so the little ones don't understand everything. That's ok though. We move slowly!
The third portion of our "Spiritual Disciplines" is learning about and praying for a country or people group of the world. We have used and love the You Can Change the World books put out by Operation World. They are written for kids and give excellent information and ways to pray for all kinds of people, many we haven't heard of before and whose names we can barely pronounce! They are pretty dated, but much of the information is not dependent on current statistics. We count this as our geography as well.
After prayer, the kids are free to draw or do other quiet activities. At this time we review and learn new poetry. I am using this old volume Pocket Full of Rhymes, and it is full of charming verse that is a nice length for little ones. Our first poem this year was an excerpt from A Midsummer Night's Dream, and who knew that my four-year-old would memorize it better than any of us! The young ones absolutely love the structure and activities of this daily time we spend together.
Next we will usually read an Aesop Fable. They are short and sweet, but memorable. I am using this beautiful edition illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, one of my favorite illustrators. Of course the kids are always drawn to beautiful artwork.
We alternate a nature study book with a Shakespeare picture book. Currently we are reading Secrets of a Wildlife Watcher by Jim Arnosky. It is full of beautiful sketches of wildlife along with engaging writing about his observations in nature. On alternate days, I have been reading through a beautiful picture book about Shakespeare, The Bard of Avon. Although a little heady at times, again the illustrations really speak. The kids are really coming to love Shakespeare, I think (I hope!).
Finally, we come to our Ukrainian Phrasebook and Dictionary. We are just learning basic words and phrases, as well as the Lord's Prayer. I had two years of Russian in college and several trips to Eastern Europe, so I am fine reading cyrillic, but my Ukrainian vocabulary needs help! I hope to teach the kids the basics so that they can get along if they ever get to go to Ukraine. I am pretty sure I will be going back next summer, and it would mean a lot to my friends there if I tried to speak in their language.
This seems like a load, but it really just takes us 30-40 minutes to get through. It is not always easy, but I do it in faith knowing that God will bless it. I love it, and I hope that is contagious to my kids.
Later on in the morning, if the weather is nice, I try to take the youngest kids on a walk. If they see me get my camera out, they get excited and run to find shoes and coats. We don't move very fast, stopping to enjoy every leaf and rock along the way, but we try to be very observant. We usually find some sort of treasure, whether it's a dewdrop on a leaf or vibrant hues against a blue sky. I use that time to practice my photography, always trying to stretch my imagination to see new things as we walk the same paths each day.
These are the days that pass so quickly. I want to treasure each moment and fill my kids up with all the good things I am able to. We love these times!