Morning Time has become a beautiful anchor of our day over the last few years. With such a wide variety of ages and needs, it’s not always peaceful and exactly how my idealistic mind has it all laid out, but it has still always been one of my favorite elements of our homeschool day because it is the one time we all gather to learn together. When my older children were preschoolers, we called it “Together Time”. You can read about what it looked like in those earlier years in this blog post: Our Homeschool Preschool Daily Rhythm.
What is Morning Time?
In short, Morning Time is a coming together of all of the children in a home education setting, enjoying subjects that span across a wide age range. You may know this as Morning Basket or Circle Time. Morning Time can look different from one family to another, but the bottom line is that it includes the subjects that everyone can do together. Usually these subjects emphasize character training, connection, truth, goodness, and beauty.
The subjects that you include in this time in your day are completely up to you. Here are some of the subjects that I have often seen covered in Morning Time:
- Bible and Scripture Memory
- Character Training
- Art Studies
- Folk Songs
- Composer Studies
- Science/ Nature Study
- Read Alouds
Some families complete Morning Time over breakfast. For us, in this season, we cover Bible and Character Training with my husband over breakfast. The rest of our Morning Time is a bit later after he has left for work.
Related: Our Favorite Family Devotional
How Does Morning Time Work?
Morning Time can look different from family to family. You may want to gather on your back porch or get cozy in the living room. You may all be in your pajamas or all ready for the day. Morning Time may cover a couple of subjects or the majority. Make it fit in your family the way that feels right for you. Just to give you ideas, I will share how we currently do it.
After my husband leaves for work, we complete our Morning Responsibilities. My children use their chore charts to complete theirs. If you're interested in how I began habit training for chores, you can read about that in this blog post. I complete my morning tasks like loading the dishwasher, starting laundry, and cleaning up from breakfast. Around 9:30 I gather us back together for Morning Time.
Related: Habit Training: Household Chores
We sit around the dining room table with a healthy morning snack and we go over the day’s schedule by looking at our Daily Rhythm Cards. This really helps my children know what to expect of the day and helps so much with transitions.
Next, I give each child their Morning Time Menu, filled with the sheets for the week. A Morning Time Menu is essentially a book of transparent pages into which you can slip papers for your child to look at, read, or even write on using a dry erase marker. We have four of these menu covers and set them up at the beginning of each week. We use the 4-page menus which means I can insert eight pages at a time.
Here are the elements we currently include in our Morning Time with my children ages 2, 4, 8, and 10.
Calendar Work and Weather Charting
Classic Morning Time Bundle
Using dry erase markers, my older kids trace the month name and all of the numbers leading up to the day’s date. Then they circle the date. I write the full date on our chalkboard or a whiteboard and we read it aloud together. Next they complete the Date and Time Chart, which helps them practice spelling and writing the full date and year. It also includes an empty clock, so I tell them the current time and they draw the clock hands and write the time.
Then they feel or look outside to observe the weather and chart it on their weather page. They circle the weather, the season, and the wind level. I look up the day’s moon phase and they use the moon phase display sheet to color the blank moon in. Next I look up the day’s weather report and they chart the high and low temp of the day. Lastly, they circle the appropriate clothing for the day based on the weather. If you don’t have a menu cover, these pages also work great in dry erase pouches or laminated.
Preschool Morning Time Bundle
I help my younger two trace the month's name and numbers on their calendars. Both my 2 and 4-year-olds are starting to get the hang of tracing after much practice! From there we look out the window and talk about the season and weather. They are learning so much through this few-minute activity. Then we work on tracing their names and ages. they love circling how they feel, what they want to do today, and the clothing they are wearing.
For the second year, we are using Treehouse Nature Study in our Morning Time. We have loved going deeper and wider this year and drawing the little ones in more. One of the elements I love about Treehouse Nature Study is the beautiful display sheets for the children to enjoy as we recite and study. I like to print an extra copy of each of these to hang in the school area as well.
We enjoy a fun nature folk song that coordinates with what we are learning in our seasonal nature studies. The children follow the lyric sheets in their Morning Time Menus and sing along. We also like to dance or use instruments from time to time! All of the songs we use are from Treehouse Nature Study and linked to my Spotify account. We pull them up and cast them to our bluetooth speaker.
We do a short hand rhyme or fingerplay that relates to the nature theme of the week as well. My younger children especially love this, but the older children enjoy them as well, and often end up leading them. These short verses are found in Treehouse Nature Study and have a link to my YouTube channel, where we show you how to do them!
We focus on one nature-themed poem per week, from Treehouse Nature Study. Some days we simply read it and learn new vocabulary and meanings. Other days we study the poet, copy the poem, recite the poem from memory, or illustrate the poem in various creative ways.
We engage in gentle and enriching art study using various pieces of art from artists around the world. These selections are also found in Treehouse Nature Study and coordinate with our nature study theme of the week. Each day we interact with the artwork in a new way, such as playing an observation memory game, enjoying some discussion through starter questions, researching the artist, or replicating the artwork.
Using the book lists from Treehouse Nature Study, we read a few picture books aloud. The older children will often also read some independently. Often, I also include other classic picture books that I want to read to my little ones in this time.
Related: 100 Living Books for the Early Years
Projects & Nature Notebooking
We often end Morning Time with an art project, special food treat, or quick experiment. A couple days a week we work on our nature notebooks by looking through books, formulating writings, and illustrating what we have observed and learned.
Related: The Best Handcrafts for Children
Our entire Morning Time usually lasts about an hour and a half, depending on how much reading we do and how time consuming our projects are. It has been such a life-giving way to bring us together at the beginning of each day.
Treehouse Nature Study makes implementing these enriching elements into your days simple.