Our Morning Time is fairly pared back this year from previous years. We have moved poetry and memory work to each child's individual time with Mom as we found that this works best for our family dynamics. We've also dropped French almost entirely for now. French studies have never gone smoothly for us, I think at least in part because it's been a little bit of an emotionally-charged, feeling-the-pressure sort of situation since we "have to learn it because we live in French-speaking Africa" rather than a delight or particular interest of anyone involved. So while we are away from Africa, we're taking a break from French too. We'll re-evaluate that plan when we have a better idea of our future plans. So far, this simplified Morning Time is going really well. I had planned this to take up to 45 minutes, 15 minutes on each topic, but very often we finish in less than that (which helps especially on those mornings that we start a bit late). Michelle and James are expected to listen and participate fully (by narrating), Elizabeth is required to sit with us and listen but not to narrate unless she wants to.
Devotional: Reading from Starr Meade's Comforting Hearts, Teaching Minds (based on the Heidelberg Catechism), Prayer, and singing a Psalm (a fairly new practice for us - we are using the Book of Psalms for Worship as a resource)
Read-Aloud: We read aloud from one of the following each day, rotating through them on a loop:
Parables from Nature (Gatty) - currently finishing up the chapters scheduled in Year 3, then we'll cycle back through Years 1 and 2 again for the sake of the younger children. I don't think it will do Michelle any harm to hear them again since they are quite rich and deep. Her experience of them at age 10 will be quite different than it was at age 7.
One Small Square: Pond (Silver) - with By Pond and River (Buckley) as a follow up when we finish this. We are doing a pond study as our nature study focus this semester.
The Avion my Uncle Flew (Fisher) - This is our nod to French for this year. It is a code-switching story that I have heard recommended repeatedly.
Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales - from the Year 2 free reads. I always like to include a fairy tale selection in our group read-alouds.
Ordinarily I would include Tales from Shakespeare (Lamb) in this rotation too, but they are doing Shakespeare at their co-op this year, so I left it out.
Activity: Again, we rotate through one of these each day on a looping schedule:
- Folksongs (Cherry Ripe, Kookaburra, and the Brahms Lullaby this term)
- Composer Study (Brahms this term)
- Picture Study (Degas this term)
- Map Drill (on the USA this term)
- Charlotte Mason's Elementary Geography - trying to include the hands-on demonstrations she mentions in the text when applicable.
Our evening family time is also done as a group and is our primary Bible instruction time (we don't follow the Ambleside Bible suggestions as we've always preferred to do this as a group). We sing a hymn, read, narrate, and discuss a short passage from the Bible (currently going through the Old Testament using Marty Machowski's Long Story Short) and pray. We follow this up with a family literature read aloud, usually pulled from the Ambleside Online Free Reading suggestions.
What does your Morning Time Look like? What other studies do you pursue as a group?