Morning Time 2020/2021

I have not blogged or published an article since September of last year. This is for two reasons. The first is that my Abuela Elsa passed away and my heart has been full of remembering and processing the surreal experience of losing someone I love during the time of Covid. The second is that my children, the eldest in particular, have grown and matured quickly in the last six months. The days of little boys are rushing past and we are ushering in the age of young men. I needed time to quietly process and plan for the next phase and determine what would be appropriate to share and what needed to be safeguarded just for us.

Its a beautiful Sunday afternoon and some of my boys are playing out in the backyard, building tents and frolicking with the new puppy. One is painting and another is reading a book. It feels glorious and fleeting. I have no wish to hover over their play and so here I sit, trying to drum up enough heart to write the first blog post in quite a long time.

I’ve decided to start with Morning Time.

Morning Time these days has flourished into a very conversation oriented experience. This is entirely fitting within the dialectic phase of learning my children are currently in. They have a lot of questions! At the start of the new school year we had to figure out how morning time could serve our family best this year, taking into consideration our age gap (8-13), work load (my eldest is in Challenge A) and therapy appointments (like speech!).

Last spring I made a list of all the things I wanted to tackle this year and divided them up by season. During our Classical Conversations year our selections are a bit lighter. Once we are done for the year, the selections are longer. We also have people coming and going this year from the morning block which took some adjustment.

For example, we start the day with our morning collect (more on that later) and then dive into the daily portion for that day. My youngest is 8 years old and generally leaves about 15-20 minutes into the daily portion, which is appropriate for his age. He typically retreats to his room to play for a bit. I finish the daily portion with the older children and the final selections are geared for their ages. Once we finish this portion the eldest child leaves to dive into his Cartography and Anatomy studies. I’ll stay with the middle two for a bit more and once they finish the youngest comes back for a few picture books. (Though I should note here that older children generally drift in when they hear their favorite read alouds. Always warms my heart).

What did we portion off this year? Let’s take a look:

Daily Collect: the daily collect is done every morning and typically takes about 20 minutes depending on what we are reviewing/learning. This includes—
Daily Liturgy Prayer (taken from Every Moment Holy meal liturgies Monday-Friday)
Bible Reading (we are reading through the Bible together and are currently in 2 Samuel)
Hymn
Catechism
Scripture Memory

Daily Portion: This is the material that changes depending on the season. Some of these only last a few weeks, some may stretch out over the course of the whole year. I even took one whole topic (biography) and moved it to the evenings after dinner so my husband could join in! Topics with an (*) are portions we reserve for older children. Instead of writing out a long tedious list, I have linked just a few examples of what we used/are currently using this school year.

Poetry: Tennyson, Hughes, Whitman, Clifton, St. Vincent Malay
Poetry Memorization: The Harp and the Laurel
Art Study: Sesshu Toyo, Winslow Homer, Mary Cassatt, Sculpture
Composer Study: Joseph Bologne Chevalier de Saint-Georges, Scott Joplin, Ernesto Lecuona, St. Matthew Passion by Bach
Nature Study: invertebrates, fungus and deserts
Biography: Ernest Shackleton, Florence Young, Betty Greene, Mildred Cable, Lilian Trasher, Amy Charmichael Winston Churchill
Theology: The Pursuit of God, How To Be Your Own Selfish Pig
Science: Michael Faraday’s The Chemical History of a Candle, Napoleon’s Buttons,
Physics* Matter and Energy by Paul Fleischer
Economics: Uncle Eric books by Richard Maybury*: Personal, Career and Financial Security, Whatever Happened to Penny Candy?
Shakespeare
Plutarch* : Life of Solon, Life of Lycurgus
Current Events
Great Speeches

Depending on the day of the week, we have our daily collect along with a mixture of a few strands from the daily portion. The length of time we spend on each strand depends on the day of the week and the time we have available. If poetry memorization is on a review rotation then we will only spend 5 minutes on that strand before moving on. If we are on a memorization day then it will take a few minutes more. Current Events is another topic that sometimes stretches way longer than anticipated. The beauty is that I have the freedom to choose to continue the beautiful conversation for a few minutes longer and push the Shakespeare reading or the Art lesson for after lunch or even into the next day. Flexibility and faithfulness coexist happily here.

Here is a taste of one morning time. I have transferred my notes on here. Tomorrow will look like this:

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Daily Collect:
Opening Liturgy (Monday Blessing, Every Moment Holy)
Bible Reading (2 Samuel 22)
Hymn (Holy, Holy, Holy)
Catechism
Scripture Memory (Review select old verses, continue learning Hebrews 12:28-29)

Daily Portion:
Poetry reading (Tennyson)
Art Study (Mary Cassatt)
Shakespeare (Macbeth continued)
Speeches (“We Shall Fight on the Beaches” Winston Churchill audio)
Current Events (Myanmar and New Russian Naval base in Sudan)
Physics* (Matter and Energy)
Economics* (Personal, Career and Financial Security)

Picture Books: (Usually read alone with the youngest once he returns)
The Beatitudes: From Slavery to Civil Rights by Carole Weatherford
Crow Boy by Taro Yashima
The Raft by Jim LaMarche

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With only 8 weeks of CC left to go we’ll be changing up our morning time by May. The boys have asked to study the Napoleonic Wars this summer and so we will be organizing our selections around that time period and Morning Time will likely end up stretching out of the breakfast hour and well into mid-morning.

Morning Time has been one of the most beautiful parts of our homeschool life together. It is where we practice the art of living a life of learning, where we exercise the beauty of an inquiring mind. No worksheets. No tests. Mornings without measure that have, over the course of thousands of days, given us a lovely foundation.

Have you enjoyed something special during your morning time? Leave a comment below and let us know 🙂

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