This school year we’ve started having Morning Time several days a week as a way to start our day. I had read about the concept but hadn’t really seen how to use it in our homeschool until I realized that it could be the place for all of the “little” things that tend to fall off of the end of the school day (or get pushed off by fussy toddlers and preschoolers).
What are those things?
Catechism and Religious Instruction
Music and Hymn Study
Handwriting and Copywork
None of these are long lessons, in fact, with the exception of map work they are merely ten or fifteen minutes long. They do require a number of different sets of material though so I needed to find a way to keep things organized without needing to have a bunch of school materials downstairs.
Enter the “Morning Time Binder”!
The big kids have had three ring binders with pockets and zippers for several years. We’ve usually used them for math, and any subject with worksheets that weren’t bound in a book.
This year I split the math out into it’s own binders (one for each kid) and found that Science and History each needed their own binders too! The old zipper binders were just sitting in the cupboard and I decided that they would be perfect for our Morning Time work.
Each binder got a set of tabs:
These are really nice ones- heavy duty plastic, with a clear page so that it’s easy to see what’s in each section.
Hymn is the songs we are learning this year, all pre-printed and in order. I also have a set in my binder.
Saints is a short biography with a coloring page for half a dozen saints I want the children to learn about this year. As they are colored we take them out and put them into the appropriate section of their History binders (divided by quarter century).
Copywork is their handwriting. This year is Bull’s First Communion Year so everyone is copying out the Baltimore Catechism for First Communion. They write a page every day while I read from our religious studies books for the year.
Chant is a coloring book for learning Gregorian Chant. We haven’t made much progress with this yet, but it will be taking a more prominent spot in the routine once we finish some other subjects.
Memory is a collection of poems that I printed and they are memorizing.
The binders stay in a drawer in the dining room, along with our read aloud books. The children all know that they are supposed to come to the table after breakfast is cleared away with pencils and their binders, ready to work together.
I bring my own binder, some activities for the toddler and preschooler, and our maps for the week. While the first 45 minutes of school is not always peaceful due to attitudes and sometimes hard to settle little ones, the binders mean that the children who are ready to be diligent know what to do next if I am occupied.
Morning Time has given us a wonderful opportunity to learn to work as a group, for the good of all.