A Day in the Life: Morning School Time
Written by Amber Marie | January 29, 2018
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Last week I shared my typical schedule for a homeschool day in our house. Today I’d like to give you a special look at how I run my morning school time. During this block, we complete Handwriting, Calendar, Geography, Classical Conversations (CC) Review, and Read-Aloud/Audio Book. This is what works for our family at the moment (especially with a toddler who has a tendency of sabotaging more focused lessons). So without further ado, let’s take a look at how this morning school time pans out.
After breakfast and devotional time (reading from a children’s bible or catching an episode of Superbook), my oldest will start his handwriting practice. It begins with a name tracing worksheet I acquired from Totschooling. I love this sheet because it gives plenty of practice and you can customize it for your child’s name and needs. Right now my son is more comfortable writing his name using all capital letters. I have him practice his name using both capital and lowercase letters, but I realize until he becomes more comfortable writing lowercase letters, he will continue to write his name freehand using all capital letters.
The second half of handwriting time includes printing letters using my Handwriting Workbook. Currently, we are working on the capital letter edition, but after completion will move to lowercase letters and numbers (coming soon). Depending on the page we’re completing, I may introduce a new letter and the strokes used to create the letter, or we may be completing a review and take a few minutes to go over the strokes for each letter within the review. I like to do the lesson on a whiteboard like this one, as it allows for mistakes to be made and corrected before moving to the practice sheet.
Calendar time follows handwriting. During this time, my oldest uses a dot-it calendar while we complete this calendar magnet board together. We take time and go through a song for the months of the year while pointing to the designated month in the song. After, we talk about what month we are in right now and talk about the letter it starts with. My oldest will find the correct month (the one that matches what is on his dot-it calendar), then we move to the date. This is where the dot-it calendar really helps. We are able to see the day before, the current day, and the day after so we can review yesterday, today, and tomorrow. It also helps with number recognition and recreation. My son will use his dot-it calendar to find the date and recreate on the magnet calendar board.
Days of the week comes next. We sing a little tune to help remember the days then use the dot-it calendar to help us find which day of the week it is. My son will use the date and drag his finger to the top of the dot-it calendar to find the weekday. Then he will select it from the magnets provided and place it in it’s designated spot.
My son’s favorite part follows. He rushes to the window to see outside and we discuss what the weather looks like. He loves trying to figure out the difference between “cloudy”, “partly cloudy” and “sunny”. And don’t get me started on how excited he gets when he can select “snowy” or “rainy”. Finally, we end with the season. The great thing about this magnet calendar board is the color of each month matches which season it falls in. It also transitions nicely into explaining patterns and how the earth has many different cycles, including the seasons. These methods are working right now, but I do eventually want to include a daily calendar booklet like this one, to enrich calendar time more.
Currently, in Geography, we are focusing on learning the continents. We began the year with CC review of the states, but as the states starting piling on, my son would get frustrated. I figure by the time cycle 3 returns, he will be more developmentally ready to handle all fifty states. Our geography time is very simple. My son has a map of the world with the continents and oceans. We sing a song I made up to the tune of “Do You Know the Muffin Man”. The song goes through all seven continents. You can check out my continent video here. Eventually, I will add a verse about the oceans, but for now, we want to get the continents down.
As the morning progresses, we work our way over to the tv for some CC review. I like to vary up how I present my lessons throughout the day and my son seems to enjoy the way we review CC work. Youtube has many amazing videos to help with CC review and I find these ones for History to be great! I also created videos for weeks one through twelve of cycle 3 math grammar which can be found here on CC connected (disclaimer: you must be a subscriber of CC connected to access this link. Also, before clicking on the link, make sure you are logged in or you will get an error message).
We follow a block schedule for our review as I mentioned in this post. This approach to review helps take the stress of reviewing every subject every day of every week. I’ve included a table below to help illustrate our current schedule.
For this year, we are focusing just on the four subjects listed above, along with the timeline song. After we complete the blocks above we will repeat. Once CC is over for the year in April, we will transition to weeks thirteen through twenty-four. After practicing a few rounds of those weeks, we’ll spend the summer reviewing all twenty-four weeks of cycle three.
By this time in the morning, we have reached snack time. While the children eat, I will play an audio story from Stories Podcast or read aloud a book we recently acquired from the library. I have found my oldest (and even the youngest), enjoy spending time listening to stories while they enjoy a snack. There are many apps and podcasts available, but here are some of the ones I use in my homeschool.
This schedule and these activities are what works for our morning school time. As my boys get older, I know I will adapt what we do and how we approach our homeschool day. It took me some time to find what worked for our family, but I stuck with it until I found what gave a nice flow to our morning. I encourage you to try different things for yourselves. Test one schedule out for a week or two and see how you like it. If it works, stick with it, if it doesn’t, try something new. Eventually, you will find what schedule works for your family and what subjects are easiest for you to teach during your morning time.
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What does your school time look in the morning? Share below in the comments!