Here, in this tiny blog corner, technology conspires against me, and it tempts me to wash my hands of all my efforts. I have no idea why my photos aren’t showing up on this page; it vexes me since a lot of effort was spent in posting those pictures, and now, there they are, sad empty squares on a screen, devoid of color, and life!
How utterly dismal, indeed. But I shan’t bore my future self by lodging all my technological woes here. Instead I shall bolster my blogging spirits, and buttress myself with the idea that it will not be for naught! Soldier on, friend! If I have learned anything from this summer of despair, this summer of tempestuous destruction, this summer of hard living, it is lessons of insuppressible endurance! Lessons of change, and hope, and empowerment! Step back, foul fiend, of Internet hurdles! I shall rise up and blog again! Pictures or no pictures!
(In terms of documentation, I feel inclined to note this week’s homeschooling hiatus, a necessary break while I try to muster up some sort of livable situation in our nearly unlivable house. Many a box has been purged, many a room has been upturned, but all for the hope of a brighter future of organization, and for the reducing of time spent searching for resources showered about the house. When I come up for air, I will share photos here, on this very blog that refuses to approbate my photos. And, I add a bright note, that our kitchen countertops were installed today, so we are now moving in the right direction!)
OUR DAILY FEAST.
I read somewhere, someone describing Morning Time as their daily feast. An apt way to describe Morning Time, for it is truly a hearty feast of ideas. I want to detail what our Morning Time currently looks like, but I confess I tend to overwhelm even myself with wordy descriptions, so in the style of some old school Cindy Rollins blogging, I will proceed with a list of some of the things we have been feasting upon this summer. I aim for brevity, for conciseness, though we all know well enough this to be a fool’s paradise.
(Keep in mind I intend on using Ambleside Online as a sort of overall spine when my oldest is six—with our own tweaks and adaptations here and there. Right now we are doing our own modified Year 0, and it mostly happens during Our Daily Feast, altogether. Each little lesson is short and brief to train the children’s attention, as Charlotte Mason taught. Short lessons requiring active, focused, and engaged effort trains the habit of attention, while a laborious hour of drudgery trains a mind to wander, to dawdle. As a child ages, the lessons grow in length.)
Forgive lazy formatting and structure, future self.
Praise to the Man (this is being taught during Sharing Time at church, and it’s a great one, so we’ve chosen to practice it at home, and oh boy, has it had some sweet practice! And some additional made up verses!)
America the Beautiful (during the month of July)
I Stand All Amazed
I intend to start reviewing past hymns as well, but the boys have a tendency to sing ALL THE HYMNS THEY KNOW if I am not careful. And although it helps bring in the Holy Spirit, the purpose of Morning Time isn’t to sing hymns for the duration.
Scripture Memory Work.
Articles of Faith 1:4 (They already know this one, but we are also trying to sync scripture memory work with the scripture of the month in Sharing Time, and this was the scripture for June.)
Paragraph three of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World”
1 Corinthians 3:16-17
Also taking a page from Cindy Rollins, I intend to pick two scriptures from previous memory work every month to review, starting next week.
Right now we are slowing working our way through Exodus in the morning. That Pharaoh has a hard heart, doesn’t he? (We read illustrated Book of Mormon stories at bedtime, and I plan on rotating between the actual scriptures and illustrated versions.) It’s important for the boys to hear the language of the KJV, so in Morning Time I don’t read from a children’s version, but straight from KJV, and will do likewise when the Book of Mormon comes into rotation for Morning Time.
Math comes next, because it’s fun and engaging, and sometimes reading the scriptures isn’t, at least for a three and five year old. So turning our brains to math is the perfect segue. We always start with a number sense routine, some choral counting of some kind (since John is only three, we mostly are sticking with Classical Conversations skip counting songs, because they are popular around here), and right now we are doing MEP Reception lessons in Morning Time. The Reception lessons are quite below Charlie’s level, and yet I feel it’s still important to start at the beginning. John’s able to keep up with the concepts easily, and they both enjoy it. We also do math during One-on-one time anyway, so this has worked out very well. And even though Reception seems to be too easy, it has brought to my attention a few things both boys didn’t know, things I thought they already knew. Once we are done with MEP Reception, I may or may not continue with using MEP during Morning Time, and just move on to MEP Year 1 during Charlie’s On-on-one math lessons. Either way, math will keep its rightful place during morning time, because it is filled with truth, goodness, and beauty. When we stop using MEP during Morning Time, there will be plenty of math games and activities instead.
Our History Loop this summer has consisted of the following:
Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans by Edward Eggleston
Turn of the Century: Eleven Centuries of Children and Change by Ellen Jackson
The Story of Our Church (an old copy that my grandmother read to my father that has been passed around)
I hope to incorporate personal family history stories, and wall timeline work into this loop. Those things require more effort than opening a book on the shelf though, but I hope to add them in coming weeks. Only time will tell.
I haven’t spent a lot of time yet picking out songs, and those listed below may or may not be considered folk songs, but I’m putting them into this category.
I Love You, A Bushel and a Peck
Little Bird, Little Bird
There Was an Old Man with a Beard
All Things Bright and Beautiful
Reading also Robert Louis Stevenson’s, A Child’s Garden of Verses, and A.A. Milne’s poetry. I am working on shuffling through a Poetry review as well for the poems we’ve memorized.
Cookies: Bite-size Life Lessons by Amy Krouse Rosenthral
Jokes from joke books. Lauri Manners cards. Body safety talks. Memorization of address and phone numbers. I have revamped a whole Life Skills Loop schedule that we haven’t started using yet that will include things like excerpts from the SCM habit training books (which are a gold mine! and they’ve been sitting on my shelves untouched for years. As much as I want to be a complete minimalist, and get rid of all the stuff, it’s so wonderful when something that I didn’t find useful before suddenly leaps out at me when I’m ready for it).
Every morning time we read through an important document or speech in bits and pieces. Everyone enjoyed The Declaration of Independence, illustrated by Sam Fink. We will read that one at least once a year. How funny it is to hear a five year old ask, with such grief, “King George took away their legislatures?” And then you nod, knowingly, with a, “isn’t that just the worst thing ever?” look on your face.
The Green Kingdom by Childcraft
I have been lazy about Nature Study in these past few months, and I’m geared up and overjoyed to start up with some great new reads next week.
Dangerous Journey: The Story of Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan (MASSIVE favorite around here. Even the one who is highly sensitive to “scary things” appreciated the illustrations of the creepy giants, and the foul fiend Apollyon, the bones and eyeballs! How fun it is to hear them talk about their playthings carrying great burdens on their backs, and spring up with delight when we read elsewhere how Benjamin Franklin read Pilgrim’s Progress. I’m glad I didn’t hold off on this one since it’s been enjoyed and is referred to often in other media.)
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
We will start Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio, illustrated by Roberto Innocenti next week. We read a ton of other stuff outside of morning time, but I won’t go into those here other than to say A.A. Milne and Beatrix Potter anthologies are fought over to sleep with at bedtime.
Children Like Me: a Unique Celebration of Children Around the World by Anabel Kindersley (and as I look up the name of the author on Amazon, I see that another volume of Children Like Me is coming out soon!)
Wonderful Houses Around the World by Yoshio Komatsu (such a perfect little gem of a book.)
I’ve been lazy otherwise about geography. There’s so much I want to do here, including incorporating our Pin It maps, but I’m not entirely sure that will be a Morning Time activity. Perhaps it will be tucked in our Extensions Loop which is learning outside of Morning Time and One-on-one time–a loop schedule that hasn’t really found a place in a daily rhythm yet. Anyway, there’s a whole cornucopia of books I hope to bring in on the Geography Loop, and until we start doing Paddle-to-the-Sea, our Morning Time Geography Loop might just be books, and not map work. Oh, and geography songs.
I Spy: An Alphabet in Art by Lucy Micklethwait
I am gearing up to study one artist at a time more in depth, like suggested by Ambleside. This has been a great little primer though, I feel. And I may just keep to books like this during Morning Time.
We are absorbing Dvorjak right now. But my kids really just want to listen to Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King over and over again, so I have to sort of sneak other stuff in. (How many dollars would I have for every time the three year old whines something like, “I don’t want to listen to Mozart! PUT ON GRIEG.” A lot of dollars, I tell you.) We don’t really do Composer Study during Morning Time anyway, so I don’t know why I’m bringing it up here. Maybe because starting next week I plan on using Can You Hear it? by William Lach during Morning Time (a book that will tie both music and picture study together, killing birds and stones and what have you), and then just playing certain Dvorjak pieces randomly through the week when our day calls for a bit of music in the background. Exposure breeds taste, right?
Logic of English lessons. Slowly. Like half a lesson, and completely ignoring the handwriting part for now, since again we work on that skill individually. Again, we do individual phonics work during One-on-one lessons, so I have discovered that this is the place to teach mini LOE lessons, kind of like how I’m using MEP. I plan on scheduling more games as part of a literacy loop altogether that correspond with the lessons.
Haven’t really bothered with it this summer. Next week, we will start our Latin chants again, and I hope to start learning and teaching some songs in both Spanish and French. This is one of those things I have yet to find a trustworthy resource for yet, since my own experience is lacking, so it’s more work in preparation. Because parlez-vous français? Non. Not at all.
So that’s it with Morning Time. I will try posting about One-on-one time next week.