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What works for us won’t entirely work for someone else, because it’s tailor made to fit our family. That’s the beauty of why we educate our kids at home.
Each family needs to learn what works best for them, but it helps to peek into other families’ days to see how they do things.
I do want to share part of our structure that works really well for us: Morning Time.
Morning Time is time we spend together each morning (such a creative name for it, right?). It’s time for us to start the day together as a family before everyone splits into their individual subjects & tasks for the day. It’s time to listen, to question, to discuss, and to pray. It’s scheduled time, every day, for us to invest in our kids based on the priorities we’ve chosen to be part of our family culture. (We have a whole series of posts on creating a family culture, check it out here.)
Every Morning Time looks different, but I like to have a plan involving our favorite homeschool morning time resources. Sometimes an important question or poignant observation leads us in a different direction, and that is OK. Sometimes, our Morning Time goes according to plan.
Our Morning Time starts promptly at 8 am. We’ve found having a fixed starting time helps us start the day on the right track. We start a “Morning Prep” playlist playing through our Amazon Echo a half-hour before Morning Time, and that works as an indicator that we’ll be starting soon. (For more tips on setting your school day up for success, check out this post.)
• Prayer & Bible Verse
For us, there’s no better start to the day. It focuses us, settles us.
We have selected 36 Bible verses that we want our kids to have planted in their hearts. Read more in this post.
• Words to Live By
In an effort to be more intentional with our parenting, we created a list of key life phrases to teach our kids. These phrases prompt intentional conversations about their meanings and applications.
We call them Words to Live By. They are 36 phrases that best communicated things we want our kids to know. You can learn more about them, including a FREE list of our Words to Live By, in this post.
• Globe Time
Raising kids with global awareness is important to our family culture, so we spend time with the globe every day. We find our country, our state. We look at countries that we’ve been studying and countries where our church has Global Partners.
We choose one country each day and read out of the book, Pray for the World from Operation World. We read about that country and then pray for them. Our daughter keeps a Pray for the World notebook where she writes about each country we cover, and she writes prayers for them later in the day.
Our hope is for our kids to have a global perspective of life, mission, and purpose.
• Music & Art Enrichment
The Greatest Works Tour is customizable for your student’s ages and your family’s stage of life. It includes a fully-digital Teacher Guide plus a Student Guide and a Student Activity Book – for less than $1 per week! You can even download a free week’s lesson and try it out yourself.
We created the Greatest Works Tour for any family, regardless of their education choices. But, we use it as part of our Morning Time and it’s been a perfect fit.
• Nature Study
We typically alternate between two main resources: Indescribable: 100 Devotions for Kids About God and Science and Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman. We look at pages that relate to what we’re learning in science, but if nothing lines up that way, we choose a topic at random. We find both of them to be intriguing and they often lead us to hop online for deeper research.
• Bedtime Math
Bedtime Math is a fun, quick daily math app. Each daily subject has a quirky, true story, and then word problems pertaining to the story. The word problems are in 3 (sometimes 4) levels of difficulty, so all our kids can participate.
We’ve learned about these Chinese aerial acrobats, a man who adapted his refrigerator’s ice dispenser to spit out frozen candies (ahem…genius!), and other fascinating stories that captivate us. Plus, the kids start the day with some problem solving.
We don’t get to all of these every day, but this is our list more often than not. It’s our opportunity to make sure our kids have a foundation in the areas that are important to us, primarily faith, the world, and the arts.
Many families incorporate their read-aloud book into Morning Time. We read-aloud over lunchtime; for more information on how we fit reading aloud, along with audiobooks, into our day, you can read about it here.
Morning Time flows naturally into our Memory Work, Breakfast Notebooks, and then we’re well into our day. More details on our Breakfast Notebook is coming soon!