What is Morning Time? First, I should explain what it is not. Morning Time is not a strictly Charlotte Mason idea, but instead, one popularized by Charlotte Mason mothers. I first heard about it in a book by Cindy Rollins that’s in itself a delightful read, and it also comes with a Handbook for Morning Time.
Another popular homeschool mother, Pam Barnhill, sells Morning Time plans and explains what exactly it is on her website.
Morning Time is the brainchild of Cindy Rollins. For over 25 years her family has started each day gathered around mom reading, singing, discussing and living what has become their Morning Time.
Cindy has a blog archive at Morning Time Moms which provides information into her Morning Time as well as an audio lecture on the practice available from the Circe Institute.
Once Cindy began writing and speaking about the practice, it became popular among Classical and Charlotte Mason homeschoolers as they recognized the value in spending time each day reading aloud from living books and learning in community.
Most recently, Morning Time has gained more widespread popularity in the homeschooling community with its inclusion in Sarah Mackenzie’s book as a key strategy for Teaching from Rest.
Quite simply, Morning Time contains subjects that the family can do together that emphasize truth, goodness, and beauty in their homeschool. Morning Time is a liturgy — one part of Charlotte Mason’s “atmosphere” of education.
These small practices done daily over time are not only a means to an education (and a good one at that), but a means to shaping virtue in ourselves and in our children.
The first term of our homeschooling journey, we didn’t do Morning Time. There was too much else to implement, and because all of the prefabricated lesson plans were Christian, I just didn’t have time to reinvent that wheel.
For Term 2, we wove it into our days because I found we were missing a dedicated time slot for poetry and recitation, and I wanted a dedicated time to learn the blessings over food (brachot), prayers and read Jewish stories together as a family. Over the last few years I’ve been hoarding so many wonderful treasuries of stories and we needed a specific time every day to read one. We do chapter reading at bedtime, and I wanted to set a schedule for more family-wide reading aloud during the day.
So, every morning I sit down with the three older kids (6, 4, and 2) and do morning time. This is what it looked like in Term 2:
I was amazed at how it grounded our days and how quickly all of the kids learned the blessings over food. The implementation of recitation was also powerful; that will be another post at another time. It also gave us the dedicated time for read alouds that I desired as a family every day, which was another net-positive.
I created the above plan on Canva, and this is what Term 3 in our first year will look like:
Next year, we’re going to try to add more to our Morning Time plate to cover more bases for my older two kids, who will be formally homeschooling. My rough sketch of what Morning Time will look like with a 1st grader (Form 1B, we’re doing this form again because my daughter was a young 1B student this year), a Kindergartener (who isn’t officially in a form yet at five years old) and a 3-year-old. The stories listed here are where we’ll start in the first term, as we work our way through books we’ll add others.
In addition to our traditional curriculum and Morning Time we’ll be adding in Exploring Nature with Children to give my 5 and 3-year-olds curriculum of their own. That curriculum has a poem, art suggestion, lots of book suggestions and activities; the curriculum follows a year with weekly themes like “pond life” etc.
I’ll be using her daily planner as well; the planner for 2020-21 should be available soon.
- Modeh ani
- Songs (one per day, categories listed below):
- Jewish hymn
- Hebrew kids song
- Jewish hymn
- The picture of the week with Exploring Nature with Children
- Art appreciation
- Singing (3x a week)
- Calendar in Hebrew
- Recitation (one per day, categories below):
- English translation of a prayer
- A quote from literature
- A quote from Nach (Bible)
- Hebrew prayer video
- Bracha (one per day, categories below):
- Read a story
- Hebrew language – a Gouin sequence
- Calendar in English
The Hebrew language sequence is something I’m working on with my kids’ Hebrew teacher; I’m hoping to write a future blog post on Gouin as we work on it, but for now, you can get an idea of what it entails from Cherrydale Press, a Charlotte Mason language learning curriculum (with Spanish, French and German available).
Our objectives for our Morning Time next year are:
- Further familiarity with Jewish hymns
- Read 150-200 stories
- Gain verbal Hebrew confidence with calendar and Gouin work
- Master the blessings over food (what category of blessing each food requires)
- “Meet” three composers and three artists over the course of three terms