Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Family Studies: Morning Time (2014-2015)

This year we had three defined areas where all my children worked together:  Morning Time,  Morning Read Aloud and Weekly Work.  I'll discuss each in series of posts.

Morning Time

Morning Time at our house begins at about 8:30.  When I was really struggling with sleep deprivation, it could get moved to 9, but I did a pretty good job of keeping the start at 8:30.  At the beginning of the year I was trying to start it at 8, but that proved unsustainable.  Generally Morning Time takes about an hour, allowing for discipline issues (*ahem*).

Opening Prayer (2-3 min)
Hannah putting the red chasuble on
Fr. Pine to honor the feast of a martyr.
Each morning we start by dressing Father Pine in the correct liturgical color, then we pray a Morning Offering Prayer followed by the Collect for the day.

Hymn (2-3 min)
For the first half of the year, we were working on a selection of hymns.  I used recordings for some of them to help with the tune, but once I knew the tune we were able to sing without the recording.  I neglected to add more hymns after the Christmas break, and by the end of January I petered out on this.  Singing with my kids is one of the more fatiguing activities for me, and in my sleep deprived state it was something that needed to go.  We all miss it though, and it will come back in the fall.

Songs we learned in the first part of the year:
Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus
Amazing Grace
To Jesus Christ, Our Sovereign King
Faith of Our Fathers
Holy, Holy, Holy
Holy God, We Praise Thy Name

Mass Readings (15-20 min)
Using the Universalis app, I read the day's Mass readings with the kids.  I would announce each reading, ask where it is found in the Bible, read the reading, and then have the kids will narrate it, starting with the youngest.  Usually Nathan (7) and Gregory (9) would stick with the content of the reading or ask a question, and Emma (13) would offer a connection or reflection on the reading.  I would sometimes offer my own connection or reflection, but I try to keep it extremely brief - a sharing between brothers and sisters in Christ, not a mini-sermon.  We also pray the Responsorial Psalm, but generally Emma is the only one who will give the response.  

Prayers of the Faithful (5 min)
We pray for whatever and whoever is on our minds and hearts, each taking turns.  Everyone except Hannah (19 mo) takes a turn, although sometimes Justin (3) declines.  At the conclusion of one person's prayer he will say, "We pray to the Lord" and the rest of us respond, "Lord, hear our prayer".  If you're Catholic, this will sound quite familiar.  :-)  Then we pray an Our Father for the souls in Purgatory, a Hail Mary, and end with, "We ask these things in the name of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ."

Folksong (2-3 min)
Folksongs suffered the same fate as the hymns, although I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do about bringing them back next year. After singing Lord Randall every day for a month I was about done with mournful folk songs, but I'm not sure I want to just include the peppy ones in our rotation.  Maybe some we'll just listen to once or twice a week, and some we'll sing and try to learn?

Songs we learned in the first part of the year:
Lord Randall
The Star-Spangled Banner

Poetry (5-10 min)
We used the absolutely wonderful and handy collection of Y3 poetry assembled by Ambleside Online.  Each day I read three poems - a new one, the one from two days ago, and the one from yesterday.  That way we heard each poem (at least) three times.  Sometimes we'd read a favorite in addition to the three poems for the day.  We didn't read all of Teasdale poetry or any of the Conkling poetry though - I ended up switching to A.A. Milne (from Y1) instead.  

Singing Practice (5-10 min)
I used the excellent Sight Singing School to practice basic music reading and Sol-fa.  This program is fantastic, and we definitely made progress.  It is also extremely easy to use.  We would have done even better if we hadn't taken a 4 month break from the program...  but I was happy to see how well the kids remembered what we'd been doing when we picked it up again in April.

Memorywork (15 min)
This could be a post in itself, but I'll keep it short here.  We practice our memorywork using a system like Simply Charlotte Mason's verse memorization program.  However, we use Evernote instead of a file box (thank you, Celeste, for this idea!) and we move things to twice a month before they go to once a month.  Our memorywork spans poetry, Latin prayers, Spanish prayers and poetry, Shakespeare, and useful information like our address and phone numbers.

Home Geography (5-10 min, not that we actually did it)
I was supposed to be using the geography resource recommended by Ambleside, but it never got off the ground.  I think I read from it once or twice?

Spanish Song (2-3 min)
This was a lot of fun, but again it got dropped in the great mommy fatigue of early 2015.  I used music from ¡A Bailar!, which conveniently has the lyrics to their songs on a handy PDF on their website.

Songs we learned in the first part of the year:
Brilla, Brilla Estrellita
De Colores
El Baile de Las Manos
Cabeza y Hombros


  1. Seeing how your morning time plays out is really helpful. I'm going to check out the Sight Singing School right now! I'm hesistant to add something else to what looks like a pretty busy schedule next year BUT I know my kids would love it, so I'll bookmark it for a slower time at the very least!

  2. I think you'll like Sight Singing School, Celeste. And your kids will have a nice leg up since they've been studying piano for a couple years already too. And it is very easy to use - hence why it was the first thing I brought back as I started to feel more energetic. :-)