We are just about six weeks into our homeschooling for the year, which means we are almost done with Term 1. I have designed our school year to have six weeks on, and one week off. This is the first year we are doing this, but I gotta say I am definately looking forward to the break. Ha! Anyways, another new thing we incorporated this year was the idea of a Morning Meeting.
Now if you take a short click around the homeschooling blogosphere, it won’t take you very long to find the idea of the morning meeting also known as; circle time, or basket time, or simply family time. The name doesn’t matter, the idea is the same. However, this doesn’t mean everyone’s morning meeting is the same. The main idea, in my mind, is to come together as a family once a day, and share time together, focusing on what’s important to your own family.
This has easily become the favorite part of the day around here. A time to slow down, forget about everything else we “should” be doing, and learning together. I would like to share with you all today a little bit about our morning meeting, what we do, and what’s been working for us. Now, as I said we just started incorporating it this year, but I have been reading up on it for about three years, so I had quite a lot of insight from around, and I do plan on changing some things up for Term 2, but anyways I am sharing our current morning meeting routine, in hopes to inspire and to encourage any homeschoolers out there to think about including this into your schedule.
Basically, there are no limitations of what to include in your home school’s morning meeting, you can cover a wide variety of subjects, with a wide age range of your students. The idea is to have the whole family gathered together for this special time. So without further ado, our morning meeting line up….
1. Bible reading and prayer. As a christian, I feel like the most important thing for my children is to gain knowledge of God and the bible, so this is where we start our meeting. We read a selection from the bible, and then pray about what we read, asking God to help us either understand what we read, or understand how to apply it to our lives. At the beginning of the school year, I chose several chapters that I decided we would read through together. We started with alternating between Genesis and Matthew, however I have decided that this isn’t the best way to do it, given that some things in Genesis are quite inappropriate for my kids ages(Lot and his daughters), and I’ve skipped through a few things already. So for Term 2, we will be simply reading though different parts of the bible using a list I found here.
2. Hymn Study. I call this “study”, but it is really just singing. I choose a hymn, and we sing it each day until it is learned/well known by each of us. Then, we choose another. Now, you can go out searching for lists of hymns that other people say that your kids should learn, but what I find works best is choosing songs that we sing at church, and learning those first. This way, my kids feel comfortable singing at church, and I feel this is more important than any memorization of classic hymns. Although, classic hymns are beautifully written, and I do plan on incorporating them when my children are older. Once a song is well learned, it goes into our memory work rotation.
3. Memory work. Memory work can be anything in the world there is really no limit. Once again, you can go out searching for lists of things your children should memorize. However, I fell YOU should choose what they are memorizing, what is important to you and your family. Right now we are currently memorizing poems and bible passages, as well as grammar rules outlined in First Language Lessons. I choose bible passages that I like, and I choose poems from this book. I also plan to include science and history facts beginning next term. Maybe the planets in order, and maybe animal classification, maybe the Presidents we will see what comes to mind. This is how we organize our memory work.
4. Science and history. Read this post to see what I use for science and history. I simply read the science or history stories from our text books, or a read a library book corresponding to our readings. Also at this time, I will give my children an activity or coloring page to do during our reading to keep them busy and focused. Sometimes we do history, sometimes science, sometimes both, or sometimes neither. This covers science and history for the week, if we have any special projects or map work, we save this for our fifth day of school.
5. Poetry. I simply select a poetry book and read a few each day. We started with “A Child’s Garden of Verse” by Robert Louis Stevenson. Now we are reading through “A Spider Bought A Bicycle”.
6. Read A-louds. We will work our way through a chapter or two of our current read-aloud book, and also read a picture book or two. For chapter books, we have read “The Wizard of Oz”, and “Charlotte’s Web”, and we began “Pinocchio” this week. Obviously, the picture books list is much too long to share, however if you need some ideas of what to read, check here.
7. Math. No, we don’t break out the text books, but we either practice counting (by 1’s, 2’s, 5’s, 10’s), do flashcards(addition/subtraction) or play a math game. I have this book, which is geared towards younger children. I also have heard this book is wonderful, but we do not have it.
8. Randomness. Picture Study, Composer Study, Shakespeare. Random things can also get put into the basket, a book on Mozart, a book on Leonardo Davinci, a book on nature, whatever thing I may wish to share with my kids that day.
Our family’s morning meeting, generally takes about an hour, and it seems to be working for their ages (6-7), if you have small children, you may have to cut it, and if you have older children, you may be able to extend it further. I look at this as a perfect way to cover a lot of information, in an interesting and time manageable way. I allow my children, to color, do a puzzle or play with pattern blocks during this time. I keep everything we need for our meeting in a large basket next to the sofa in the living room, it is always ready to go, and honestly if morning meeting is the only thing we get done in a day, I would be pretty happy about it, considering the wide array of subjects covered, and time spent together.
After morning meeting, I generally send the kids upstairs to play, or outside to run around, because honestly they just sat for quite awhile, and absorbed a lot of information, and don’t forget play is SO important for kids, don’t leave that out of your homeschool either!
Thanks for reading, and God Bless!