As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Monday, January 25, 2010

"Morning Time"

Several years ago, I stumbled across an idea that breathed new life into our homeschool. “Morning Time” has become an anticipated and much-loved part of our day, and I believe that we are all the richer for it.

It is a simple idea, and yet it is profound. I first read about “Morning Time” one summer on Cindy Rollins’ blog, Ordo Amoris (which is always full of mind food). She wrote about the benefits her family has reaped by dedicating a small amount time each morning to learning the things that she had deemed important. Cindy shared this childhood poem to illustrate what she was trying to accomplish:
Little drops of water,
Little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean,
And the beauteous land.

She wrote,
My Morning Time is a way to collect little grains of sand. It should not be a way to complicate life but a way to simplify it.

When I read this, I knew that this was something I wanted to do! You see, there were things that I wanted my children to learn (actually, I wanted to learn too!), but they were things that were too often overlooked or put off for another time. I wanted my girls to know the words to “Come, Ye Thankful People, Come”, to recite Psalm 100, to recognize Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, to recite “The Swing,” to begin each day with the Living Word...and “Morning Time” seemed to hold an answer. So come the beginning of our new school year, we gave it a try. And, several years later, it remains an integral part of our day and (I am repeating myself here) we are all the richer for it.

We have tweaked our “Morning Time” inclusions and routine over the years, but this is what it looks like currently.

This year we’re reading through all of the Gospels.

We began the year with Ephesians 5:15, 16 and then continued to work on Luke 2: 1-20. Now it’s time to select a longer passage. In addition, I am also having Bekah memorize the books of the Bible in order to aid her in locating Scripture passages.

Sadly, we finished reading this book last week (after slowly reading through it for about a year). Now I am considering a classic work of Christian fiction to fit into this space (original Pilgrim’s Progress, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe?).

We’re learning “Crown Him With Many Crowns.” We aim at memorization, which usually takes 6 to 8 weeks per hymn.

Each of us recites the poem we’re memorizing. Currently Kati is learning Shelly’s “Ozymandias”, Bekah is reciting Dickinson’s “Hope is the Thing With Feathers”, and I am working on Yeats’ “The Lake Isle of Innisfree”. (Guess who of us has the most difficulty with poetry memorization?)

I choose a poet to study for a time. We read a selected work of our chosen poet three or four days in a row, and often read a biography of him or her. Currently, we’re reading poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning.

Typically, we study a classical composer. This term we are listening to the music of George Gershwin.

This year we have studied the art of Vermeer, and are now enjoying the works of folk artist Edward Hicks. We keep this very simple. I choose several paintings by that artist, we look at each print for a week or two at a time, and we usually read a simple biography about the artist.

Does this sound daunting? Or would it surprise you to know that our Morning Time is usually only between thirty and sixty minutes (depending on whether we are reading from a biography that day, or how long the passage we're reading).

Fellow homeschoolers, your “Morning Time” could be totally different. Cindy’s is different from mine and mine is different from what my friend Kathy calls her “Morning Stack.” You include the things that you deem important. But as Cindy says:

If you have something that you want your children to assimilate like poetry or scripture or music or Shakespeare, forget the grand schemes, forget what the Konos mom is doing down the street, start giving that thing one or two minutes of your time daily and watch the years roll by.
~ ~ ~
For further reading about Morning Times, visit:


  1. LOVE Gershwin. And I cannot find my CD...not sure why I would have gotten rid of it. :-(

  2. Can I come for Morning Time?

    We always started with reading aloud... the Bible, and our current "read." Which sometimes was so good that Morning Time drifted a bit into Table/Seatwork Time.

    It's easy to get through a list of assignments each day, but having a tradition like Morning Time is the glue that holds it all together!

  3. Thank-you for the kind words, Cheryl! I am always so happy to think about the power of simple ideas.

    And I love The Lake Isle of Innisfree although I frequently have to re-look at it being over 45.

  4. Cheryl, this life you have described is so different from the life I knew growing up. There is a part of me that envies what you have, only because I can see what an incredible gift you are giving your family and I wish I had had a taste of that. I admire you so much.

  5. i second Frances on that...very ideal home learning experience.


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