Planning time for truth, goodness, and beauty in your homeschool day is easier with these free Morning Time printables!
As usual, I’m a leeeeetle long-winded. If you want to skip all the tips and how we are implementing morning time, you can find the free printables at the bottom of the post.
We started school this week– we now have a preschooler, kindergartener, and second grader. Oh, and a toddler who conveniently dropped his morning nap just a handful of days before it was time to start lessons. He is currently enrolled in the school of how-to-get-into-everything-I-am-not-supposed-to. Ohhh, and a baby growing in my belly causing incredibly frequent bathroom trips.
Really, though, our first week is off to a good start and I am very relieved. Honestly, much of last year I felt like a homeschool mom failure. But just when I would begin to despair of my kids’ future successes, I would remember why we homeschool in the first place, take a look around, and remind myself that so much learning takes place even when we aren’t seated at the table amid of sea of notebooks and manipulatives.
Even so, I am definitely pushing for much more consistency this year. I am excited and so are my kids. We have curricula, baskets, colored pens, storage shelves, inspirational quotes on the wall, and a plan. You know, THE ESSENTIALS.
In preparation for school starting, I spent one weekend rearranging and organizing our homeschool area (tucked into a corner of our dining room), and the following weekend creating checklists and planning guides and a daily rhythm for our school. Basically, my brain in spreadsheet form. You can find an option to download and print my brain, errr the spreadsheets, at the end of this post.
I hope that all the printables are helpful to you, but the one I am most excited about sharing with you is the Morning Time Monthly Planning Guide.
In the past, I have loved the idea of morning time, but haven’t executed it as well as I could have. Things fell through the cracks because I wasn’t prepared or didn’t really know what to do. So I created this planning guide to help me plan for a month of morning time at a time. It is a way to prioritize and unify the things I don’t want to fall through the cracks this year.
Free Printables to Make Planning Your Morning Time Easier
Wondering what morning time is in the first place?
Perhaps you’ve never heard of morning time, or you wonder if it really matters when you are already doing the actually important things like math and phonics and STEM activities.
In short, morning time is TOGETHER time.
It is time to fill our families’ hearts and minds with all the things that are so essential– the things that will far outlast just about everything else we pack into our days. It is when we vote with our schedule, and prove to our kids (and ourselves) that there is great value in making time for beautiful and good things.
I love what Cindy Rollins, the original pioneer of morning time, says in her book Mere Motherhood:
“Morning time is a way to collect little grains of sand. It should not be a way to complicate life but rather simplify it… You are never going to have a lot of time, but you do have a little time here and a little time there, and those little times all add up to a life.”
Morning time truly has the potential to be an amazing part of your homeschool journey! And one of the best things about it??? There is no one way to do it.
(Did you catch that? Read it again, because as homeschool moms, we are forever tempted to try to make our homeschools fit into other people’s molds, when what we really need to do is create the right mold for our own family!)
You can do morning time all at one time, or break it up in between your other lessons and throughout the day.
You can choose two or three things to do, or five or six.
You can tailor it to fit your individual needs in this particular season.
How we are doing morning time…
One of the spreadsheets that I put together is a chart of our “daily rhythm”. This page organizes all of our subjects, both morning time subjects and those from our curriculum, into a chart detailing which we do all together and which my kids do individually, and the order we do them. During the individual subjects, I also included what my children could do independently while I worked one-on-one with another child.
Before I go any further, or show you the chart, I want to say something about the word “rhythm” that my homeschooling mentor shared with me. The word rhythm gives the idea of a flexible flow to the day. There is an order to which we do things, but I do not try to fit everything neatly into a time-blocked schedule. By that I mean, my daily rhythm does not tell me to be sure to start math by 10:00. Instead, I just know that math follows our Bible block.
Embracing the concept of a rhythm helps us to let go of the pressure to mind the clock all the time. There will ALWAYS be “interruptions” (though C.S. Lewis would just call these our normal life) to our homeschool day. When we have a rhythm, we know we can take the day as it comes and pick up wherever we leave off as needed.
At the risk of contradicting what I just said, keeping the individual lessons short is a key element of Charlotte Mason’s philosophy. To that end I included an estimate of how much time each lesson should be given. This helps me to have a general idea of how long our homeschool time will be each day, and helps to make sure I don’t force a math lesson to extend twice as long after a child has given it his attention for the allotted time.
I interspersed our morning time lessons throughout our other lessons. For us in this season with a preschooler, toddler, and a baby on the way, it is necessary to allow for movement and regular shifts from things I am doing with my kids, and things they can work on independently while I step away for a moment to attend to my younger children’s needs.
Another benefit that I have found in splitting up the morning time lessons is that our brains are given little breaks from the more taxing subjects as we need them. We follow math lessons with reading aloud a picture book and poetry together, usually cuddled up on the couch. Reading and phonics lessons are followed by a learning game and a snack. Knowing that there is something pleasant to anticipate directly after a harder lesson helps children to work diligently and agreeably. (A useful tip I picked up in this podcast episode).
Planning Morning Time Printables & Resources
“Charlotte Mason said that education is an atmosphere, a discipline, and a life. Those words precisely describe Morning Time and why I think it is a perfect way to pull together a Charlotte Mason education.“
MORNING TIME MONTHLY PLANNING GUIDE
A plan is essential for staying organized and offering a wide feast of ideas. Just as a meal plan helps to prevent the last minute what-am-I-going-to-make??? struggle, planning morning time eliminates the last minute what-am-I-going-to-read panic. Plus, because you’ve written it all down, you can look back to see what you have done over the course of the year as you make your new plan each month.
Like I said before, what you do for morning time is flexible. Which is why I made a Morning Time Monthly Planning Guide with subjects already filled in, AND a Morning Time Monthly Planning Guide with the subjects left blank. It’s your choice which you prefer to use.
The Planning Guide with the subjects filled in is front and back, so be sure to select “2-sided” when you print.
The blank Planning Guide can be either two-sided or a single page, depending on how many subjects you want to use it for. There is room to plan three subjects on the front, and three subjects on the back. So, if you want just three subjects, only print the first page. If you want four to six subjects, select “2-sided” when you print.
See an example of the Morning Time Monthly Planning Guide filled in:
I wanted to include a picture of my completed planning guide for this month, just to help give you an idea of how it could be used. Of course, this isn’t prescriptive! It’s just what we are doing this month.
HOMESCHOOL DAILY CHECKLIST
The last printable I want to make available to you is the daily checklist I made to keep track of our daily progress. I don’t know about you, but after the second dirty diaper and the fifth trip to the bathroom (for me), I can get a little forgetful about what we’ve already done that day.
This checklist helps me to keep track of it all.
Again, you can download a filled-in version, and a blank version if you’d prefer to fill in your own subjects. There are 25 subject lines available and you can be as specific as you’d like. (I even include “play outside”). Also, YOU CAN TOTALLY LEAVE SOME BLANK! Just because there are 25 spots to fill in doesn’t mean you need to have 25 tasks to check off everyday!
More Morning Time Resources:
100 Things to Do in Your Morning Time :: Pam Barnhill
A Handbook to Morning Time :: Cindy Rollins
The Long Haul: On Morning Time :: Listen to Cindy Rollins discuss Morning Time
Your Morning Basket :: A morning time podcast by Pam Barnhill
More Posts to Check Out:
Do you do a morning time together? What are your favorite morning time subjects?