Saturday 31 December 2016

Starting the Day Well

This is the first post in the 2017 Virtual Curriculum Fair. This is an annual event run by Susan from Homeschooling Hearts and Minds. This year, there will be five weeks of the Fair with the following themes

  • Week One: See how we learn: the Nuts and Bolts of what makes our home education come together
  • Week Two: Playing with Words: the Language Arts
  • Week Three: Discovering Patterns: Mathematics, Logic and Science
  • Week Four: Social Studies and more Science
  • Week Five: Seeking Beauty: The Arts and anything that adds Beauty to our World
This week, I hope to write about how we start our day. 
I am convinced that having a set order to our day saves thought and hassle. The way we start the day also shows what is most important. For this reason, we have a set order to our day
  • Morning Time
  • Rest of the morning: mainly English and maths
  • Afternoon: other subjects
Groups and meetings with friends tend to happen in the afternoon which means that we are more likely to miss afternoon than morning subjects: this is intentional. 

Morning Time is the most important part of the day. We start with the most important things: prayer, a Christian book, Bible learning and a hymn. We also include in this session a little fun boost for subjects that might need this and some enjoyable subjects which might be missed and don't need too much time. We don't do these subjects/boosts everyday but once a week. Alternatively, they could be put on a loop of any length as described in Sarah Mackenzie in Teaching from Rest.

Note: the Bible part of Morning Time happens every day but the extras, apart from the daily maths, happen on four days of the week.

These are some of the resources that we use for Morning Time.

Bible book
A Child's Story Bible by Catherine Vos-we finished reading this during the autumn and have now started
The Ology by Marty Machowski.
We read from the Bible itself during family worship and in the evening with the children so use a Christian book for this slot.

Bible Learning
During last year, one of the children completed the Trinitarian Bible Society Sabbath School Memory work prize since then we have worked on verses from the children's Sunday School and other Bible verses.

Generally, we try to learn a hymn. I try to work out which hymns often come up in church and make sure that we learn these. In addition, we have worked on learning Great is the Gospel of our Glorious God by Vernon Higham, Let us with a Gladsome mind in the early autumn, and O come, O come Emmanuel and Come Thou long expected Jesus in December.

Other Subjects in Morning Time
I wanted to add in a little extra maths, this autumn, and found the free app Bedtime Math. Despite the fact that we don't use this at bedtime, this has been well received. Each day has a paragraph or so about a topic followed by maths questions at different levels. Younger Daughter likes to read the paragraph and questions to us. The lowest level is very simple but the questions get gradually more challenging. They aren't particularly difficult though and answers are provided.
In addition, once a week, we will play a maths game in this slot. Favourites include

  • Sum Swamp-really a bit too young now but very loved.
  • Trilemma
  • Equivalence dominoes
  • Time Lotto
  • Tables matching pairs
  • Tangrams

Music Appreciation
This is a subject that we rarely actually did before it was added to Morning Time. Initially, we used the Ladybird composer books but once we had finished these, we started to use the six minute podcasts from Classics for Kids. There is a weekly broadcast but so far, we have tended to chose composers or music which fits with the rest of our learning. Recently, Younger Daughter worked on a European music topic for her piano teacher so we linked the podcasts to this.

Art Appreciation
We have used a variety of sources for this
  • James Mayhew's Katie books
  • Lawrence Anholt books
  • the 13 ... Children should know series. We have use the bridges, buildings and artists books.
  • Picture study using postcards purchased from an art gallery.
Again, we have used a variety of sources
  •  Books short listed for the Royal Society Young People's Science Prize. Our book club was part of the Judging Panel for  that prize so we were able to read copies of these books. Our favourite and the prize winner was David Macaulay's How machines work
  • Model ear and eye.
  •  A page from a science encyclopaedia. We use The Ultimate Book of Science
  • Very occasionally, we do a science activity often using the Dyson Foundation Challenge Cards
This routine sometimes alters. Sometimes, instead of maths we will do a spelling or phenomic awareness game such as Slug in the Jug or correcting punctuation and talking about grammar in a sentence. We have also used this slot to read simplified Shakespeare.

What has changed
Many families read aloud during Morning Time. Other than short read alouds as part of music, art or science, this hasn't really worked for us. I sometimes read to the children over breakfast and usually, after lunch but find that adding a longer read aloud to Morning Time just takes too long. My aim is that Morning Time takes about 30 minutes. Another ten minutes is fine but otherwise, we struggle to fit in other morning activities.
When the children were younger though, we did read picture books in this slot, particularly, their Five in a Row book for the week. This worked well but as books and chapters have become longer we have changed this.

Do you have this type of beginning to your day? How does it work in your home?

I invite you to see how my fellow bloggers learn in their homeschools 

The Evolution of Our Homeschool by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Us-School Because We Are Us, Not Someone Else by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
It's All About the School by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Setting the Stage- the 2017 Virtual Curriculum Fair! by Lisa N. @ Golden Grasses
New Year, New Goals, New School! by Amanda H @ Hopkins Homeschool
Homeschooling - A Glimpse into How We Do it by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory
Spotlight on How We Learn in Our Homeschool by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World
Our Unique Eclectic Homeschool  by Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life
How We Learn on the Go by Jacquelin @ A Stable Beginning
Home Education - 10 Ways We Make It Work by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home
Schedules, where would I be without them? by Kim @ Good Sweet Love
Education at Our House by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed
Starting the Day Well by Sarah @ Delivering Grace
Making a Change - Accountability and Responsibility Through Routine by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens
A time to be encouraged is coming.. the Virtual Curriculum Fair by Annette @ A Net in Time
Loving the Moment! by Jen K @ A Peace of Mind
Keeping Our Homeschool Organized by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
Homeschool Goal Setting – Looking Forward, Looking Back by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset
How We Choose Curriculum by Brittney @ Mom's Heart
This Is How We Homeschool by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
How we don't learn in our homeschool & how I don't plan {2017 Virtual Homeschool Curriculum Fair} by Meghan @ Quiet in the Chaos
Learning Our Way by Lisa @ McClanahan 7
Limping Along: Our Semi-Eclectic Approach to Homeschooling by Debra @Footprints in the Butter
2017 Virtual Curriculum Fair: See How We Learn by Dana L @ Luv'N Lambert Life

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  1. We start each morning with Bible time of some sort (at the moment Doorposts' Put On Chart devotions), then a read aloud. Earlier this week I ordered the 13 Buildings Your Children Should Know book that you recommended previously, so I am looking forward to that. Happy new year when it comes!

    1. Happy New Year, Gwen. I've not used that Doorpost devotion. Will have to look it up!

  2. Our morning time is very similar to yours.
    Thanks for the heads up about Classics for Kids, it looks very interesting and like something we can use!

  3. I agree that having a morning routine greatly simplifies things. It makes it easier for us to do all the things we want to do. Thank you for sharing yours. :)

  4. Our morning routine has changed as my kids have grown, but emphasizing Bible study first has remained a priority. It makes a noticeable difference in our days.

    1. Yes, it is so important to start with the most important things.

  5. I love the idea of learning hymns together as a family. What precious memories you are making!

  6. I have always wanted to do a morning routine, but feel so intimidated by it. This is really inspiring me to think about jumping in though!