Start Your Homeschool Day Off Right!

Beginning is a huge victory over darkness

Do you struggle with getting your homeschool day started? Do you wish there was a way that your day’s lessons and experiences could start on a positive note (at least most of the time)? Morning Time may be the answer you are looking for.

What is Morning Time? It is the chance to gather together as a family of all ages, to read together, to share art or music together, to make a concerted effort to have the experiences that bring joy to homeschooling and to do them first. This provides a three-fold benefit. First, it helps create positive homeschool memories. Second, it allocates time for the subjects that tend to get pushed aside in favor of more academic learning. Third, it helps create a rhythm for your homeschool day. Everyone knows how the day will begin.

While the idea of Morning Time (under various names) has been around for quite some time, Pam Barnhill has done much to publicize the idea on her website, PamBarnhill.com which features the podcast “Your Morning Basket.”

I’ve been using Morning Time in my own homeschool for many years now and can testify to the benefits. One thing it did require was for me to start getting up earlier than my children (something that I fully acknowledge is not easy when you have a young child who doesn’t sleep well and you are chronically sleep-deprived, but if you are at a life-stage when you can do this, it is well worth it).

These days, I am only homeschooling one child and I start Morning Time while my daughter has breakfast. (I do find that my young adults will sometimes pay attention to what we are reading/doing if they happen to be in the vicinity, which is nice to see.) We say our morning prayers and then I read aloud a chapter or two from a leisure-reading book. We do memory work for a homeschooling class she attends. Sometimes, I’ll read something from a religion text. If she has any lines to learn for the drama school she attends, we practice those. This all counts as part of “school”, but it provides a way to ease into the day before tackling more academic subjects. We even do Morning Time on the days she heads off to the homeschool co-op she attends three days a week. And even if the rest of the day turns into a trainwreck (as it has been known to do), we have accomplished something and started the day well. As Barnhill states, “Beginning is a huge victory over darkness.”

In Better Together: Strengthen Your Family, Simplify Your Homeschool, and Savor the Subjects that Matter Most, Pam Barnhill describes the beauty and value of Morning Time. She emphasizes how it can fit into any homeschooling methodology from unschooling to classical education. It helps cultivate familial relationships, which is what is truly at the heart of homeschooling. She shows how she has incorporated Morning Time into her own homeschooling life. She also interviews many other homeschoolers on their Morning Time experiences. She stresses how important it is to include things in your Morning Time that bring you and your children joy. If you are interested in learning more about Morning Time, I highly recommend this book as well as PamBarnhill.com.

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Author: Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur

Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur, editor of "Today's Catholic Homeschooling", is the mother of two biological sons and one adopted daughter. She is in her fourteenth year of homeschooling. She has a B.A. in History and Fine Art and a Master's Degree in Applied Theology. She is the author of "The Crash Course Guide to Catholic Homeschooling" and "The Power of Forgiveness". She blogs at spiritualwomanthoughts.blogspot.com