Monday, January 8, 2018

Our Morning Basket: Inspiration for the Mind, Heart, and Soul

I am a seasoned homeschooling mom. I have taught my children at home since my oldest was nine years old. It has been almost four years since he graduated from our homeschool, and he is now a full-time employee and part-time college student. I am confident in my ability to educate my children at home, but I enjoy reading about how other families teach their children at home. I have read articles about morning time (aka morning basket) for several years. I thought it sounded like a great idea. For other people. You know, moms who were just starting their homeschooling journey or had children closer in age than my own.

As we approached this new school year, I was concerned with how our day would flow. With a ninth grader, a fourth grader, and a one-year-old, I was worried that our days would be disjointed. My idea of a perfect school day is one that flows seamlessly, moving from one subject to another, with lots of discussion and time together. As the school year approached and Mary Rose became more mobile and vocal, my ideal started to slip. Still longing for the perfect schedule, I created lesson plans for the boys. Separate lesson plans that only included time together for daily prayers. They didn't fit my ideal, but I held on to my hope that we would have a great school year.

The first several school weeks were highly productive. The boys completed all of their assignments, and Mary Rose learned to walk. However, I spent my time moving from room to room, child to child, reading, listen, giving instructions and advice when needed. Our days were successful, yes, but I was left feeling like there was a more efficient way to use our time. I was sure that I could simplify our day if I could combine some of the boys' individual studies into group lessons. My thoughts went back to the examples of morning time routines that I had read about in the past. I re-evaluated my lesson plans and pulled things from each of the boys' schedules, put them in a basket, and created a morning time routine that has streamlined our school day. 

Our morning basket offers inspiration for our mind, heart, and soul. During our morning time routine, we cover topics from our religious studies, character building discussion, and literature study. We end morning time by praying the rosary together.


We say morning prayers, read from The New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism and The Holy Bible, and write our scripture memory verse. This is also when we fit in lessons about saints, feast days, and holy days.


We have been covering rules of etiquette for different social situations. I am using the book 365 Manners Kids Should Know by Sheryl Eberly as my guide. I discuss two or three topics a day. Once we finish etiquette, we are going to start studying the virtues.


We have been reading poetry and discussing the lives of the authors. We are working our way through Classic Poetry: An Illustrated Collection. After our poetry discussion, I read aloud a short story. First, we read the D'Aulaires Book of Norwegian Folktales. Now we are reading Edgar Allen Poe's Tales of Mystery and Madness. After Poe, we are going to read the D'Aluaires Book of Greek Myths.


For years I have tried to incorporate a daily rosary into our day, but I always scheduled it for after lunch or the end of our school day. Often there were days where we only prayed a decade and some days we didn't pray a rosary together at all. By including the rosary as part of our morning time routine, we have prayed it together every school day. Plus, by completing our morning time by praying the rosary, our minds, bodies, and spirits experience a calmness and focus that we lacked previously.

Our morning time routine has helped me feel less frazzled during our school day. The boys still need my guidance separately with their other subjects, but our morning time routine sets the mood for the rest of the day. The lessons we learn first thing in the morning from faith formation, character building, and our literature study help to guide us through our remaining school subjects. We continue our day with calm and focused attitudes. 

I was wrong to think that a morning time routine wouldn't be right for us. Our school days were fine before incorporating morning basket, but now our days are even better! And I can see that if the boys were closer in age, how including group lessons from their other school subjects would be even more beneficial. Do you have a morning time routine? What is in your morning basket? 
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