As I've mentioned before, we homeschool year round. I love this approach for many reasons, but a few of them include:
--A slow and steady approach means we spend less time on schoolwork on a daily basis. The big kids and I get through most of our learning time in less than an hour first thing in the morning. Independent work takes them another hour or so, and I'm there to help as needed.
--It's a habit. There is virtually no complaining about Morning Time because it's expected. It's routine and something we all look forward to. Choosing awesome books plays a big role it that, but I think more than anything the habit is what makes it possible.
Our Morning Time this summer looks like this:
We've just started using a memory work binder similar to this one, and it's been simply amazing so far. Our binders are a little different, but the idea is very much the same. It's simple and still so effective. I printed out a copy of each of these things for each of us. We open up our binders and run straight through it every morning. The problem we've had with memory work in the past is remembering to pull it out or forgetting to work on it consistently. Now because all of the things we're memorizing are in the same place we don't have that problem. I can't believe I didn't think of it before.
We'll change out the new items we're memorizing with each 6 week term throughout the year. And as we add new things, we will add a short review period to the end of each days' session so we are sure not to forget the things we've memorized in the past.
This summer our Memory work includes:
- Hymn. This term we are working on Praise to the Man. We sing it straight through, all four verses, every single morning.
- Scripture Passage. We are memorizing Doctrine and Covenants 109: 7-8
- Articles of Faith. We take turns reading through the Articles of Faith. We read all 13 of them every day. Ellie and I already have these memorized, so this practice is mostly for Ethan. He's making huge progress already.
- One poem per person. Each child reads through the poem they are memorizing and then I read mine. (They love that I am memorizing a poem, too.)
All of this only takes about 15 minutes per day, but I feel like it has added so much to our homeschool.
For science this summer, we are reading the Thornton Burgess Bird Book. So far it's been a perfect read aloud. The chapters are short and engaging, and even humorous at times. While I read aloud, the kids draw the bird that the chapter focuses on in their science journals. Simple and fun.
Homer Price by Robert McCloskey. This is our current literature read aloud. None of us have ever read it before, but we're loving it.
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. We finished this one last week. There are no better read alouds than "The Laura Books" as we call them around here. Ellie has read them countless times, but this is Ethan's first time through. No matter how many times I read these books, I never grow tired of them.
I'm also hoping to get to Winnie-The-Pooh by A.A. Milne and our currently family read aloud
The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White.
The thing that's made the biggest difference in our Morning Time routine lately has nothing to do with books or memory binders. It's the fact that my crazy, crazy toddler will now sit still and watch a show. If we had talked about this when my two older children were little, I would have had very strong feelings about not allowing a 2.5 year old to watch something while the rest of the family was together, reading and learning. I may have even experienced a little guilt at letting him watch anything at all. But my tune has completely changed.
Morning Time had taken on a stressful, grumpy tone because the two year old was bored. This particular two year old cannot simply play in a room quietly or roam around the house unattended. He is a cyclone of a two year old. Trying to engage him in our Morning Time routine was not successful and was adding a lot of time and frustration. A few weeks ago I set up our laptop in the living room (where I could still see him) with an episode of Daniel Tiger on Netflix. I don't know why I thought to try this, he'd never in his life sat still through a 20 minute show before. But I did, and it was amazing. Incredible and life-changing. He happily (and quietly!) watched the show and the big kids and I happily and efficiently did schoolwork in the next room. It was everything I imagined morning time to be: poetry and music, lovely books read aloud, happy children gathered around the table.
He usually watches 2 episodes of a show which allows us to do all of our memory work plus a chapter of science and a chapter of our read aloud. And, let me tell you, I have no guilt about that.