Our adorable baby girl was born June 2nd. I had planned to wait until September to start back to school, but suddenly in July, a mere month after her appearance, I felt an itch to get a routine going for the big kids.
It was rough. I dreamed of sending them to school daily, yet that wasn’t really what I wanted. I kind of mourned getting school done before 1pm. We were frequently interrupted. I can’t nurse and read aloud, by the way. I always need two arms for nursing, especially now that she is heavier, and in spite of her still being on the Boppy. So reading while I nurse is out.
Homeschooling with a baby is so much harder when your oldest two are school age.
But I took each day as it came and just persevered with the grace of God and lots of prayer (and a shout out to an encouraging blogger). I let some of my ideals go. I made checklists to encourage independence with my oldest. I explained that we would have to be flexible and whenever I was free, we were to do our “together” subjects. Whenever the baby needed me, she was to do whatever she could on her list and try not to dwindle away her time.
At the end of July, we added to our crazy when we started taking care of the two year old down the street That meant a readjustment to the routine once again. We’re still adjusting.
Morning Time to the Rescue
Yes, Morning Time. Except, it does not always happens in the morning. Nevertheless, it’s the one part of our day that the kids look forward to and are pretty much always excited about. (If you’re not familiar with Morning Time, I highly recommend Pam Barnhill‘s Morning Time resources.)
Our Morning Time is thorough. It alone can count for a full day’s school by adding a page or two of math to it. Sarah Mackenzie shared her Morning Time on a Periscope video and hers is so simple. I love the simplicity of her Morning Time. Ours is a bit more full of stuff, but it is GOOD stuff focused on Truth, Beauty, Goodness, Culture, and Memory Work. These are Wildflowers and Marbles’ categories that I had intuitively adopted before I read her Morning Time posts.
I mostly split our Morning Time into three chunks. The post breakfast “as-soon-as-the-baby-goes-down-for-her-nap” time, lunch time, and before bed, though sometimes we can get the whole thing done in one sitting. When we do, it takes about an hour. In between those chunks there is math, copywork, dictation, grammar, Ambleside Online readings and narrations (the 8 year old also does written narrations), and a few other odds and ends.
Pam Barnhill recently wrote a book all about Morning Time. It’s more than just the book; it’s the resources she’s pulled together and put in one place for you so that your Morning Time can be well organized and successful. Her podcast Your Morning Basket is inspiring and full of ideas. In her guide, which I hope some publisher will publish as a physical book someday, she shares what she considers the pivotal aspects of Morning Time, explains them, and gives plenty of examples and resources. It’s the perfect resource for someone just starting out with incorporating Morning Time, although it can definitely be helpful for homeschoolers already well-versed in the Morning Time routine. For example, I always thought our Morning Time started pretty abruptly. We start with a prayer, then start our morning devotion, look up the extra scriptures provided by the devotional, and then move into our habit formation. Pam suggests building ritual and right affection for Morning Time. I felt we were lacking the right affection. Having just watched Sarah’s Periscope in which she describes their Morning Time and how they sing the Doxology to start that part of their school day, we’ve decided to start with the Doxology as well. It is beautiful and moving and sets the stage for a more thankful, appreciative start.
My next post will share our Morning Time content and flow. It’s really helpful to see everyone’s Morning Time. I am thankful for those who share theirs. It has helped me compile a list and routine that works for my family. In sharing our Morning Time, I hope to add to your own homeschool arsenal.