Morning Time has become a beautiful anchor of our day over the last few years. With two busy little ones in the mix, it’s not always peaceful and exactly how my idealistic mind has it all laid out, but it is beautiful nonetheless. When my children were preschoolers, we called it “Together Time”. You can read about what it looked like in those earlier years in this blog post.
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.
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 older children use their chore charts to complete theirs. The 2 and 3-year-olds stay near me while 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.
We sit around the dining room table with a healthy morning snack and I give each child their Morning Time Menu, filled with the sheets for the week. First, we go over the day’s schedule by looking at our Daily Rhythm Cards. My 2 and 3-year-olds have the new Preschool Morning Time Bundles. They love having their own version of the classic. During Morning Time they are welcome to join us at the table or go play nearby. I have intentionally included elements to Morning Time to engage them like songs and picture books at their level, so they usually stay.
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. I bought four of these 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, 3, 7, and 9.
Calendar Work and Weather Charting
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 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.
I help my younger two trace the month's name and numbers on their calendars. My two-year-old just draws and scribbles, while my 3-year-old is 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.
Curious about the benefits of calendar and weather charting? Read my blog post: Calendar and Weather Charting for Kids.
For the second year, we are using Treehouse Nature Study in our Morning Time. I am looking forward to going deeper and wider this year and drawing the little ones in more. One of the elements I wanted to include in Treehouse Nature Study was full and rich Morning Time selections that correlate with our current nature study. I wanted beautiful display sheets for the children to enjoy as we recited and studied. I like to print an extra copy of each of these to hang in the school area as well.
After our calendars, we will enjoy the week’s folk song that relates to the nature theme. Each song has a display sheet that will be in the children’s menus so they can read the words and sing along and is directly linked to a Spotify playlist, so I will play the song from there. We may even use some instruments from time to time.
Next we will flip to the hand rhyme lyric and hand motion sheet and sing the verse together. These short verses relate to the nature theme of the week as well and have a link to my YouTube channel. I know my youngest two will especially love this portion of Morning Time!
Next we will look over the week’s poem. Each day in the lesson grid I have planned specific way to interact with the poem such as learning any unknown words, studying the poet, copying the poem, reciting the poem, and illustrating the poem. We will complete this portion of our poetry study.
After poetry we will flip to the week’s art study. In the lesson grid I planned a specific way to interact with the artwork so we will complete that each day. We may play an observation memory game, enjoy some discussion through starter questions, research the artist, or replicate the artwork.
Some days we may squeeze in a simple activity or project from Treehouse Nature Study that isn’t too challenging to do with the little ones, like a craft, special food treat, or experiment. Other days, we save that for when the young ones are napping/ in quiet time.
All of my children still love to be read picture books. After we complete our work from our Morning Menus, I spend some time reading aloud. I will be pulling from the fiction booklist each week in Treehouse Nature Study for our Morning Time read alouds. My plan is to choose the books for this time that would appeal to my youngest children as well to include them. I will also include other classic picture books that I want to read to my little ones in this time. Then we will split and my older children will do independent reading with some of the non-fiction books from the book list, as well as selections from our other curriculum. During their reading, I will continue to read or play with the young ones before moving on with our lessons.
Read more about our 2022 - 2023 Curriculum Choices in this blog post: My Homeschool Curriculum Choices for 2nd and 4th Grade.
Our entire Morning Time usually lasts about an hour and a half, depending on how much reading we do and if we include projects. It has been such a life-giving way to bring us together at the beginning of each day.