Morning time routines have become all the rage in homeschooling in the last few years. Homeschool bloggers, podcasters, publishers, and more have promoted this practice that goes by many different names: morning time, morning basket, circle time, etc. Whatever you call it in your homeschool, the purpose is the same. It is a time intended to set the tone and atmosphere for your homeschool day.
What is a Morning Time Routine?
Morning time, as the name suggests, usually takes place in the morning. The homeschool family meets together and learns together following a pre-determined schedule of subjects. Unlike most other school subjects though, morning time encourages a more relaxed and intimate atmosphere. This time is purposeful. It is not a lecture, but a time purposed to engage the child in listening and responding as he discusses the content with his family.
You may be wondering how to begin a morning time routine that actually works for your family. Many homeschooling parents have tried and failed, only to wonder what they are doing wrong. The concept sounds so lovely, but in reality it can be difficult to make your children sit still or know which subjects to include in your morning time. Keep reading to discover how you can create a morning time routine that works!
Wakey Wakey Eggs and Bakey
The most difficult part of finding a morning time routine for most families is getting up at the same time every day. We are homeschoolers, and homeschoolers like to sleep in, right?
Morning time is going to look different for every family, but one thing that is similar is that it happens in the morning. This ritual, at this time every day, has the potential to set the tone and atmosphere for a successful day of homeschooling.
Your family time doesn’t have to happen at 6am. If your family does like to sleep in, find a reasonable time that works for you. Consider ways to make getting breakfast for the kids easier, like overnight oatmeal or smoothies and toast.
The point is to set yourself up for success and not doom yourself to failure because you are setting expectations upon your family that you’re never going to meet.
Don’t Dive in Head First
Do not – I repeat – do not expect that your family is going to do morning time perfectly now or ever. You will wake up one day and not feel like gathering the kids around for morning time. You may take a few weeks off. This is not failure. You can pick up morning time where you left off and begin again. There are a few things you may want to consider though before jumping into a morning time routine head first.
Please do not begin your morning time routine for the first time with a lengthy schedule thinking you are going to fit in all of the good and lovely things. You may find that your children do not tolerate a long schedule of reading, art history, classical music listening, and poetry recitation the way that you imagined they would. Start slow and move slow, slowly adding to your time and subjects as you progress. You will find this building block approach to morning time helps to develop a long lasting habit of morning time, rather than a disastrous sprint.
Practice Makes Perfect
It is important to remember that morning time is not only a new routine for you, but for your children too. Developing the habit of morning time will benefit you all, but there will be some growing pains, and that’s to be expected.
You will have days, many days, that your children will not behave perfectly during morning time. This is to be expected. This is not failure. Use this time to develop character. There are multiple ways to handle children who struggle to sit still or behave appropriately during morning time:
- Dismiss and reconvene the next day after attitudes have been adjusted
- Provide busy time boxes or sensory toys to occupy hands
- Host morning time around the breakfast table while children are busy sitting and eating
- Give each child a seat of their own to avoid bothering another child
However, you choose to occupy your children during morning time, the point is to keep gathering and developing a love for being together and learning together.
If you are homeshcooling a child that has ADHD you might enjoy this article >> 4 Tips for Homeschooling Students With ADHD
Now that we have talked about what a morning time routine is and how to approach it, you may be wondering what subjects you should include in your morning routine.
Include All the Lovely Subjects
I like to include all of the subjects I enjoy in my morning time routine, and often those subjects that I am most likely to ditch because they aren’t considered “core subjects” according to state standards.
Those activities that we love to do as a family like reading aloud are first to go on our schedule. You can read a single chapter a day or multiple chapters, depending on what your family can handle. If you have small children, read a picture book.
Many morning time routines include art and music appreciation, poetry recitation, and even nature study. These subjects are often the first ones we drop when our school day goes long, so it works better to put these at the beginning of the day, since I know we won’t skip subjects like math and phonics.
Determine which subjects work best for you to study as a family. Decide how much time you need to allot for all those subjects to be covered. Remember not to attempt everything at once. Consider just doing a read aloud your first week attempting a new morning time routine to get the kids used to something new. The second week add on listening to classical music. The third week have one of the children read some poetry aloud. Build your way up to what your ideal morning time routine looks like.
Getting up early to greet the day and your children with a smile is not an easy feat. It won’t always look perfect. It may never look perfect, but it is a very good and beautiful thing that you are presenting all these good and beautiful things to your children.