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Morning Time, Circle Time & Group Lessons

Morning Time

Morning Time Simply Put

Last year I read Cindy Rollin’s book Mere Motherhood. I loved reading her story as she muddled through her journey working out her homeschool groove. She coined a phrase which has become a buzz word in homeschool circles these days – Morning Time.

Simply put, Morning Time is spending time each day doing a handful of subjects together as a family.

Why has it caught the attention of so many homeschoolers? It’s because it’s efficient, you grow together as a family and you find time to do the subjects that you could easily neglect.

Morning Time is For Group Teaching

Some people like to call Morning Time, Circle Time or group teaching. Morning Time doesn’t have to be in the morning, it’s just that many people find, if it is prioritised, it gets done. You can do it at any time during the day.

What Should You Teach in Morning Time?

Not all subjects are suitable for group teaching but many are. Harnessing this time to teach: scripture, nature study, art, music, poetry, history and the Classics, means that you can often achieve far more as a group than if you tried to teach multiple children the same subjects independently. This is not just a convenience, it is a rich time when the family gather to share in their learning journey together. It’s a bonding time.

How Many Kids Do I Need for Morning Time?

Group teaching is also very family friendly and sustainable. If you are teaching one child you can still have Morning Time.  When you are group teaching multiple children, it is often best to consider the oldest children first and choose resources that will engage them. If the material is going over your youngest child’s head that’s ok, as long as they aren’t being too disruptive you can usually press on. You will be surprised what they pick up just by listening.

Benefits of morning time

Benefits to Morning Time

Reclaim your own education as you learn along with your children. Enjoy the books that you may have missed as a child. The ideas that will be enriching your children’s lives will also be enriching you.

Morning Time Examples

Here is a breakdown of what Morning Time books might include:

  • Bible reading
  • A devotion (and a short time of prayer, some people include a hymn)
  • A nature reader (once a week)
  • A history reader (such as A Child’s History of the World)
  • Classic fiction, historical fiction, or biography (usually from the period we were studying)
  • Poetry

My Family Time Example

I’d been using Morning Time in my homeschool for years but I never had a name for it. I was never told to do it. It just seemed logical.

Here is an example of what Morning Time looked like for us.

I would gather everyone together for reading in the loungeroom. It was usually around 11 am but sometimes it was after lunch. The children usually brought something to do. My stipulation was that it must be a quiet activity. They might draw, drink tea, paint their nails (the girls), brush my hair (I loved that one) or tickle each other’s backs BUT the most successful activity was definitely playing ‘quietly’ with Lego™.

We usually began with a Bible Story or Scripture reading then all the children said a short prayer. Since I had chosen to read to all my children at once I tried to select books that we would all enjoy. I must admit though that sometimes the youngest lost the plot but with a little explanation this was usually rectified.

Most of the books we read were successful. Occasionally we got a dud. We have been known to stop halfway through books that are boring us.

During Morning Time, we might read portions from up to six books. At one stage, our Morning Time went for 2 hours a day but on average it usually lasted around an hour. We would also have some narration and comprehension questions on what was being read. Some days we would finish our sessions with picture study, a nature journal entry, or a book of centuries entry.

My children became accustomed to our group work and they asked for it. In fact, this was probably the most enjoyable part of their homeschool day.

Find out More

If you want to know more about Morning Time I suggest you listen to this podcast with Cindy Rollins and Pam Barnhill.

The My Homeschool Curriculum is based on the idea of using Morning Time everyday.

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