Monday, September 20, 2010

This Home Schooling Life: Morning Rituals

Finally, it's home schooling week.
I had intended this series way back before school even began.  Sort of a, get all excited about it kind of thing.  And then, it was to be the first week of school.  And then the second week of school.
And then life just got in the way and here we are.

But I am kind of glad it happened this way because we have been in our back to school routine for almost a month now and I have a lot more to say.
In fact, I had intended to start this series with a "why I home school" post.  Those thoughts have been swirling in my head for years now.  A lot has changed in the past year, and so the thoughts are still swirling.  I think I will just put forth these posts, our day to day, our work, our play, and see what themes really present themselves.
So look for it a bit later and maybe then I can tell you why I home school.

It seems the best place to start is at the beginning.  And that's where I'll take you first in This Home Schooling Life.

Morning Rituals

I love breakfast.  Starting the day off together, talking and enjoying something beyond a rushed bowl of cereal is my idea of bliss.
Over the past few years I have enjoyed some wonderful morning routines with my kiddos.  But after Lilly was born my routine was thrown for a loop.  
3 kids, 4 and under, all with me, all day long, was a very big adjustment for me.
I was just getting it back together when I got pregnant again, and sick.
Morning routine?  Gone.
Then I miscarried.
Routine gone again.

I vowed to start our school year with a slow and gentle breakfast time together every day.
We've done it.
And it has been wonderful.

First we make a pot of tea.  Decaf or herbal.  They all take turns picking.
They set the table and we all have our own tea cups.
A brown bear, a kitty cat and a panda bear for the kids.
We use cloth napkins, the milk is in a glass bottle and sweet William provides the flowers.

Extra effort?
A little.  
But not much and it is most definitely worth it.

They know just what to do now to help get ready.
They like it.
A routine becomes something to look forward to and to enjoy.
It becomes our ritual and hopefully something they'll remember fondly their whole life through.

I have shown the boys how to make their own toast.
The other day James made the scrambled eggs.
They put yogurt in the bowls and pour milk in their tea.
Extra mess?
But not much and it is most definitely worth it.

When everything is ready, we sit down together and William and Lilly always pray.  James does sometimes.
We put our napkins on our laps.
It is a good time to learn and practice manners.  
I pour the tea and we eat and talk and discuss the day ahead.
This is one of my favorite things about home schooling my children.
We have time to linger.

The inevitably eat more slowly than I, so while they finish, I get out our hymnal and read them our hymn for the month.  I sing it too, and they join in or just listen.  But through the rest of the day, I hear them humming the song or singing it.
We start our day off with joyful words and they fill our hearts.

I wanted us to memorize a hymn every month for a variety of reasons.
I love hymns.  They are beautiful and uplifting.
They are full of beautiful language.
They are full of truth.
They are full of history.
They have a bit more depth than praise songs.

Our first hymn this year is Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee.
It is a glorious way to start each day.

After breakfast, the kids ask to be excused, clear their plates and then we begin our morning jobs.
Come back tomorrow to see a 2, 4 and 6 year old do the dishes.  Only 1 dish broken so far!

Love from,

PS. Practical Details:  
A key to the success of starting mornings this way is me getting up and into the shower before the kids are up and busy.  Sometimes they wake up by 6 or 6:30 so this isn't easy.  But it makes my day much, much better when I do.

We practice this morning ritual every weekday morning except Tuesday when we leave early to meet our home school nature study group.  We still eat together those mornings but it is not quite so relaxed.

My kids all wake at roughly the same time.  There is often overlap, but not more than a half an hour.  If someone is starving when they wake up, they can have a handful of nuts or a banana while they wait for us to eat breakfast together.  I have found this keeps me from making breakfast 3 or 4 times.  They adjusted to waiting a bit for breakfast very quickly.

I know I make it sound idyllic, and honestly it often is.  I love breakfasting with them.  But there are also spills and Lilly yelling she has to go potty RIGHT NOW and people getting locked in the bathroom and so on and so forth.
But I choose to focus on the positive and for the most part there is a lot more of that.
Hope that helps.


Anonymous said...

A pleasure to read!....thanks Greta

katie said...

Looks so dreamy.

Summers Family said...

It sounds very special Greta. Thank you for sharing. Although, I am not a home schooler they are here more than away :-) so I look forward to reading and learning from what you guys are doing.

I am super behind (as always) and look forward to catching up on your last few posts in the coming days.

Hope you are doing well. xoxo

Pam said...

This is very sweet. What a calm and loving momma's heart you display. Our tea time is a bit more 'robust', as we have many children and lot's of noise. The little special touches you do slows it down and makes it a memory to cherish. Good job!

Anonymous said...

Starting your day with a bit of song sounds lovely! I'm excited to read more. x

j e n n i f e r said...

LOVE it. and those mugs... adorable. you must've acquired those someplace really special! :) xox

Kimspired said...

My heart is to homeschool... but unfortunately, my current situation does not allow for that. How great to hear your attention to detail. That was always so important to my children when they were smaller & made them think of ways they could contribute too our all-important routines too. Keep at it, before you know it you will have 2 off on their own and a youngest that is 12... Oh,my the time has flown! Love the once a month hymn focus and relaxing over breakfast. The spilt milk is all part of the gives one the chance to respond with grace and patience... a great atmosphere for learning. Continue to study one another and to post...I've enjoyed reading your heart here. Kim