Our school day starts anywhere between 8am and 8:30am. Whenever all morning jobs are done then we begin. We start with prayer (generally the Morning Offering) then I will read from the bible. A few months ago I was very generously given an Ignatious Study Bible. We started reading from the beginning of the gospel of Matthew and we are working our way through. For the older kids I then read the commentary. The gives us a really good understanding of what we have read. I must admit I am learning a lot along with the kids.
After this we do one of our current read aloud novels together. I have written about this here.
This special time together in the morning is a nice way to connect before everyone goes off to focus on their own lessons. When the kids were younger I enjoyed teaching science and history as a family. Now they are older and the learning ability has widened, it is not possible any more. I got a wonderful idea from Jen at Wildflowers and Marbles. It is called the Morning Basket. She does a much better job than me though.
This is a time to add beauty to our day. After prayers, bible reading, and our read-aloud book we try to do something else ‘beautiful’. This time is for those lessons that often get missed. Poetry, stories, music, drama…The kids are usually disappointed if we don’t set this time aside. This morning basket time unites us. It is always changing and evolving. I love that we have that time together before everyone goes off to do their individual subjects.
During term one this year we studied Shakespeare. I used a wonderful book, How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare. Although some of the kids were horrified and quite reluctant at first when I told them that they were going to memorize Shakespeare, after we began they realised how much fun it actually is. We had fun reciting, reading and even acting!
I have also used this time to do picture study. We often read from this book;
Then I allow the kids to study the picture in silence for a minute or two. Then the book is shut and they tell me what they saw. The youngest gets to go first because they will generally say the most obvious things they saw. The oldest is expected then to say the more obscure things in the picture. It is then a free for all. Anyone gets to say what they liked and observed about the picture. Doing picture study helps the kids to become more observant and more critical in every day life.
Reading poetry is also a good morning basket activity. This is as simple as grabbing a poetry book and opening to any page and start reading. My kids love limericks. They like to make up their own. My husband is fantastic at making them up on the spot. Here is one he made up just now;
A family with girl and four boys
Didn’t have much need for toys
They spent time climbing trees
and scraping their knees
And making a musical noise.
Once the poetry book comes out, the kids will keep picking it up for the rest of the day.
Over the next few weeks I plan on doing a composer study (Beethoven’s the choice!) and some singing lessons.
If we are off out early in the morning for Mass or lessons out of the home we miss our Morning Basket for the day. Some days we only have time for about 5mins. That time together is worth setting aside. It creates memories. The kids aren’t going to remember particular maths lessons or spelling lessons but they (hopefully!) will remember time spent together; reading, listening, singing, acting. It’s is one of those things that makes homeschooling worthwhile.