Last week, I shared with you our homeschool goals for 2019, and I mentioned that I was ready to plan out specific systems to help make sure we reach those goals this year.
For all of our homeschool goals this year, there's one simple routine where I can plug in basically all of our top priority activities.
And that simple routine is our "Morning Time."
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Here's your glimpse into our Morning Time Routine for January 2019:
Some days we begin our homeschool morning time routine at the kitchen table while the children are eating breakfast, but our favorite way to have morning is comfortably gathered in the living room. Either way, our routine is basically the same.
Side Note: You'll notice from the picture that our morning "basket" is more like a practical plastic Sterilite box with a snap-on lid. For ease of use and due to space constraints, the best place for our box to stay when not in use is on the floor beside our living room couch. And when you have a little crawler (sweet as pie though she may be) who loves tasting and tearing anything made of paper (or any other material for that matter), you don't tend to leave important books and school materials out in open containers. So while I love looking at other families' beautiful morning time baskets, that just isn't a good option for us!
We always try to begin morning time with prayer. Most of the time I will lead. I just thank the Lord for His blessings, mention each member of the family and ask God to take care of each one that day, and mention any special prayer requests we might have. Lately Little Brother (age 4) has also taken initiative in leading us in prayer some mornings. Let me tell you, it is the sweetest sound to this mama to hear her little ones sincerely talking to the Lord and even praying for me! What a beautiful way to start any day.
One of the perks of being a second generation homeschool mom, is that my parents know how to give the absolute BEST Christmas gifts for us to use in our homeschool!
One of these gifts they blessed us with this year was the 10 Minute Bible Journey, and I knew right away it would be great to use in our morning time routine.
With 52 short lessons and beautiful full-color pictures, the author is taking us on a crash course through the entire Bible with a focus on apologetics and the Gospel!
We start the lesson with Big Brother (age 10) looking up the Key Verse in his Bible and reading it to us (the verse is given in the book itself using a different version, but we prefer the good old KJV, plus it gives Big Brother practice in looking up Scripture references).
Then I show all three children the pictures and read the lesson aloud. If we're in the living room, I allow them all to sit in the floor with Little Brother and Baby Sister (almost 11 months) usually playing with some quiet toys as they listen. (If we're in the kitchen, their breakfast keeps them occupied for the story.)
We talk about what we are reading, and they are free to comment or ask questions as needed. Each lesson ends with a short prayer.
If you need a great family Bible time resource, I highly recommend the 10 Minute Bible Journey!
You might remember that I set the goal of daily singing with my children for this year. So I am making an effort to include singing into our homeschool morning time.
I have 2 Volumes of the Then Sings My Soul book series, and these books are so good for learning about hymns and their writers. I also love that there is a song ballad included for each hymn so we can practice singing together.
For this month, I picked the hymn "Jesus Saves" for our morning time song. I chose this hymn because of its cheerful melody and because the repeated lines "Jesus saves, Jesus saves" throughout the hymn makes it an easy one for Little Brother (who isn't reading yet) to pick up and sing along. Even Baby Sister enjoys bouncing along and waving her chubby little hands while we sing.
We spend a few minutes reviewing the boys' Scripture memory work together.
Little Brother has memorized Psalm 100 recently, so we recite that together to keep it strong in his memory. Now he's working on learning a group of verses that take him through the life of Christ.
Big Brother is reviewing Matthew 5:1-18 and is now learning Psalm 119:1-18.
Both boys also learn a verse or short passage weekly to share with the congregation in church each Sunday morning.
Adding relevant hand motions or singing our verses have been the favorite ways to practice our memory work recently.
Never underestimate a young child's ability to memorize (and understand) God's Word! Their minds are like sponges soaking up all the knowledge they can find. Even Baby Sister recognizes when the boys are reciting familiar verses and joins in with their hand motions.
Oral Language Exercises
I know I have mentioned this resource numerous times before, but it is valuable enough to share again. The Abeka Oral Language Exercises booklet can be used with all ages and lends itself perfectly for use during our homeschool morning time routine.
Each daily exercise with 10 sentences for the children to repeat after me takes only 2-3 minutes to do, but it effortlessly teaches them to recognize proper sentence formation and word usage. I also like using it as an exercise in focused listening skills.
One booklet is all you need for your entire family, and you can use it over and over again year after year!
Read Aloud Time
First of all, we are rotating Big Brother's Science and Social Studies PACEs as morning time read aloud material.
Little Brother also enjoys listening, and it helps to lighten Big Brother's independent workload later in the day if we complete those readings together in the morning. This week we've read all about meteor showers and the sun in Science and the reasons for the start of the American Civil War in Social Studies.
The other book we are currently reading aloud from daily is Buddy Davis' Crazy True Life Adventures.
If you are familiar with Answers in Genesis, the Creation Museum, and dinosaur sculptor and musician Buddy Davis, this book is not to be missed! Buddy has led such an exciting life, and he shares his stories in such a humorous and engaging way the whole family enjoys. So far we've read funny stories about Buddy going moose hunting aboard an old school bus in Alaska, his odd habit of practicing taxidermy on road kill, and his failed attempt at keeping a lion for a pet! The boys keep asking me to read just one more story every morning, so I'm pretty sure that means we've found a great book. (Thanks to my parents for this gift, too!)
At this point in our homeschool morning time routine, Big Brother is dismissed to go spend the next half hour curled up reading a book of his choosing before getting on to his independent assignments for the day.
In the meantime, Little Brother does his phonics review. I have shared before that Little Brother is working his way through the Kindergarten with Ace and Christi program from Accelerated Christian Education as his K4 Reading Readiness program this year. As part of that program, he's working on a new letter sound each week.
For each letter, we meet an animal friend and learn a new song for each sound. Each morning we listen and sing along with our letter sounds and animal songs on his CD. I am also teaching Little Brother the ASL signs for each letter as we flip through our large colorful flash cards. Baby Sister also enjoys listening in and bouncing along with the fun animal songs!
Once this is done, our actual morning time is over the we launch the boys into the rest of their work for the day.
We love starting our homeschool day together this way!
Morning time at our house has changed and taken on a new look every so often as the needs of our family and the ages of our children change. I've shared about some of our past morning routines here, here, and here if you want to see more.
For lots more great homeschool morning time resources and inspiration from homeschool moms all over the internet, make sure you are following my Homeschool Morning Time board on Pinterest!