so long, summer


June and July 2015 was a blur.
Work travels, wedding travels, funeral travels, unexpected travels.
Life lived in a suitcase.
End of July to mid August was not a blur.
Beaches have been beached.
Books have been read.
I’ve been in the pool more this past month than I have in a long while.
My legs are therefore tanner than they have been in a long while.
This means they’re now on the “fair” instead of “ivory” end of the spectrum.
Book and dinner clubs have been started.
Long days of nothingness have ended.
School has commenced.
Gardening will supposedly soon commence.
But it’s still too hot for me to get excited about it.
But getting back into rhythms of study and writing and school and life lived in our town?
Very excited.

when we get up

A while back I began to realize that the school morning went much smoother if we started on the couch reading a few picture books. The smooth factor is raised even higher if we let Lenna be the one to choose most of these. She’s content to call it her “school” and leaves us (mostly) in peace for the rest of them time. Over time, I started adding in a brief bible time, included a song or two, said our ABCs (again, to include Lenna), and counted by 5s or 10s (or did something else math related) before we started in on more formal writing or history or math. I loved this time. The kids loved this time. I wanted to do more but wasn’t quite sure what “more” looked like. I was fortunate to be able to visit a friend and get more ideas from her. She told me about the poetry her kids memorized and how she started off her school mornings.

And then I came across the Circe Institute blog and one of their contributors, Cindy Rollins. She has a blog dedicated to Morning Time. And what is Morning Time? She writes:

Approximately 20 years ago as a result of my early home school adventures and the reading of For the Children’s Sake (Susan Schaeffer Macaulay) followed by The Original Home school Series by Charlotte Mason, I began a morning meeting with my children as a way to incorporate subjects that were important to me but easily lost in the shuffle of conventional schooling.

Over the years I continued to add to this time so that it eventually made up about 2 hours of our morning. As my older boys graduated and flew away they often returned and encouraged me that the most important things they had learned while growing up had been in MT. MT became our daily family colloquy. It was a way to bring all my educational philosophies to the table. It was a way to incorporate poetic knowledge into the hearts of my children. It was a way to share my faith and even preach a sermon every single day.

I loved this. It’s what I was looking for. The part about incorporating subjects that were important but easily lost in the shuffle of life and the rest of schooling really hit home: poetry, Shakespeare (here is a great article Cindy Rollins wrote about teaching Shakespeare to children), fables and fairy tales, music, random facts and history bits, prayers and creeds and catechisms. Check out the blog. She has lists and schedules and books and many ideas about how to develop your own Morning Time routine and what to include. I’ve also appreciated this blog’s (Permanent Things) description of what their Morning Colloquy looks like.

No morning looks quite the same, but it usually takes about a half hour to 45 minutes. I can see it getting longer as the kids get older. Life happens and some days Morning Time doesn’t find its way into our routine. But the kids are actually sad when it doesn’t happen. I get a cheap thrill from that. Ha.

Here’s a bit of what our Morning Time includes right now. We don’t do each thing everyday but I try to touch on most of it:

Memorizing the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostle’s Creed
Reading a fable or a fairy tale and then discussing it for a bit
Shakespeare’s Stories for Young Children
Learning an old United States song I learned as a kid
Going over some of the more basic civics questions found here.
A lesson (we focus on one for the whole week) from Get Widsom!
Reviewing our monthly bible memory passage from church
Math memory work
Poetry review and memorization (currently learning Sea Fever by John Masefield)
Learning the first couple verses of a new hymn each week
Reading a few Lenna selected picture books