The Morning Hour: Listening, A Way of the Spirit

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The morning hour is one of the best times to work in reading aloud into our daily rhythm. Specifically, breakfast time.

I have a captive audience upon which to pour out beauty–for my children and for myself to soak in.

Starting the day off with something beautiful and purposeful, gently nudges us in a good direction. Even when kids are crabby and upset (TANTRUM), its good to know that we have this block of uninterrupted time to move slowly and work out kinks. Breakfast is a long affair at our house. Not fancy, just slow. The boys set out their dishes, napkin, cups. They pour out their drinks and sit down to wait for their food. Sometimes its just Ezekiel bread right out of the bag with a pat of butter on it.

We set things up, we pray and then, we experience beauty!

We are never in a hurry to finish.

They need time to think and absorb and process.

There are days when it takes 7 minutes start to finish and they are racing off to find an activity.

But there are also days when little hearts have questions they don’t know how to ask aloud and gentle patience is needed.

So I read to draw out their hearts. I read to pour in a piece of truth that will soak down into those soft pink ears to light upon their souls.

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We are currently reading through several poetry collections. We read one or two poems in the morning as a fun warm up. Oftentimes the kids will beg for more or ask for one long poem to be read out loud again. They have surprised me by memorizing several small poems after only a few readings. My boys love the cadence of poems. The certainty of what the next sound will be and the uncertainty of where the poet is taking them—calculated suspense! Poetry is adventure.

Next, we will read a lovely story. This book is almost always focused on virtue or character building.  We have read excerpts from biographies, short stories, children’s fiction, and allegories. The qualifications are simple: beauty and truth.

Composer study, Artist study, and hymn singing are also treasured parts of the morning.

Lastly, we read a brief devotional from a study to close out the breakfast hour. We are currently reading through some devotions by Sally Michaels, who has become a household favorite! (I will include all book links at the end of the post).

1 or 2 poems
A story
1 small devotional

That has been the routine for many years. But now, we have a pair of second graders ready to read the Scriptures on their own.

I have never taught anyone how to read Scripture. Perhaps I will have fancier goals as time marches on, but for now the goal is simply this…

I want my children to be confident navigating the Word so they can feed themselves from Scripture.

I don’t want them to be depending upon me for their sole Scripture reading. Not at this stage in the game.  We will still read the Bible as a family, but they must now take up their swords and learn how to wield them on their own.

Our four and two year olds will be excused after the short devotional and the two elder children will be studying their own Bibles for 5 minutes.

The Discoverer’s Bible is a large print Bible for early readers. We have incorporated the Child Training Bible program to help them in learning to navigate this precious tool.

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The CTB includes 6-7 heavy-weight pages of guide material. The guide provides boxes with key struggles in grid form. References are provided so parents can hi-light and tab, related Scripture. My kids can open their Bibles and study the topic of “Anger,” together. They will read the prompt and discuss an example from the life of Jesus that I read to them. Then they will find the yellow box that says “ANGER”,  they will look in their Bibles and find all the yellow tabs on top, which lead to pages containing anger related verses hi-lighted in yellow. They are free to discover these verses and read them aloud or to themselves. Overtime they will become more familiar with where books of the Bible are found and will have read over 200 scripture references concerning struggles like “Fighting, Not Listening, Fear, Pride, Disobedience.”

I do wish the CTB incorporated other topics, like the Fruit of the Spirit, but for now it helps us in behavior training and Scripture training in a valuable way. I am glad that they have a thorough section entitled “The Gospel.”

I’ll let you know how things progress as the kids learn to feed themselves from Scripture!

Check out Ann Voskamp’s routine: “Listening: a Way of the Spirit” for more inspiration!

BOOK LIST

Poetry Collections:
A Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevens
Now We are Six by AA Milne
The Oxford Illustrated Book of Children’s Poems Edited by Donald Hall
101 Great American Poems
Favorite Poems of Childhood Edited by Phillip Smith

Stories:
10 Boys Who Made History by Irene Howat
10 Boys Who Made a Difference by Irene Howat
10 Boys Who Used Their Talents by Irene Howat
10 Boys Who Changed the World by Irene Howat
10 Boys Who  Didn’t Give In by Irene Howat
(Girl counterpart books found here).
Trial and Triumph by Richard Hannula
Boys of Grit Who Became Men of Honor by Archer Wallace
The Children’s Book of Faith by William J Bennet
The Children’s Book of Virtues by William J Bennet
Something from Nothing by Phoebe Gilman
The Quiltmaker’s Gift by by Jeff Brumbeau
When Daddy Prays by Nikki Grimes
The Circle of Days by Reeve Lindbergh
Song of Creation by Paul Goble

Devotions:
Five-Minute Devotions for Children by Pamela Kennedy (Many in the series)
Training Hearts Teaching Minds by Starr Meade
God’s Names by Sally Michaels
God’s Promises by Sally Michaels
God’s Wisdom by Sally Michaels
God’s Providence by Sally Michaels
God’s Battle by Sally Michaels
God’s Word by Sally Michaels
Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing by Sally Lloyd Jones

7 thoughts on “The Morning Hour: Listening, A Way of the Spirit

  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog! I just found it and I’m SO GLAD I did. It exactly reflects my heart for our homeschool and I am so grateful to have this as a source of encouragement and inspiration. We are using almost all of the same things amazingly!! It’s a little “too bad” (although not really) that we are ahead…we are in our second year of Adventures, but I want to take many of the principles you lay out and apply it in our homeschool! Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Thank you so much! I have a feeling our time with Adventures will be extended too. So much goodness in there! I hope you all have a blessed and beautiful year finishing up Adventures!

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  2. I love your blog. My baby is 38 years old now, but as I look forward to grandchildren I read your blog with the joy of anticipation. Thank you for taking the time to share your family with us and your obviously God-given talent. May you continue to be blessed.

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  3. Hello! I love your blog and love your ideas. I plan to incorporate this morning hour with our 4 kids very soon. I noticed that the Child Training Bible now has a Virtue Training Bible set. Are you familiar with this? Do you think it would be compatible with the CTB set? I’m new to both so wasn’t sure if you could use both and/or if they would all fit in one Bible. Thx!

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