See the first post in the anchor series here.
If I've done anything right this year, it's securing the anchor of Morning Time in our homeschool day. This practice has drawn our family together and made it possible for actual learning to happen even when the rest of the day is spent helping everyone learn not to be selfish little heathens.
(See Cindy Rollins's blog Morning Time Moms for more details than you could ever want about Morning Time.)
Morning Time. In short: we all pile onto the couches and read, practice poetry, pray, write in our gratitude journals, and whatever else I have planned or am inspired to do at the last minute. This year, we will add in our Latin memory work since all four kids will be in Classical Conversations, each at their own level. One thing I do not do is our fiction read aloud; I save that for later in the day.
Here's how it happens: my phone alarm goes off around nine o'clock during the traditional school year (ten in the summer). This gives the younger three enough time to eat and wander around getting into trouble for awhile, and it's late enough that the older student feels there is some benefit to being stuck home with three little kids instead of the fun, exciting world of public high school which most certainly resembles Glee. Post alarm, Ava, Wyatt, and Charlotte tramp into the living room. Sometimes they are nowhere to be found and I have to go round them up. Allie stumbles down the stairs and collapses on the couch. I smile at her, and she moans, "What?! I'm up!" We start off with prayer for wisdom and open hearts, and dive into our Bible reading for the day. Then we move on to the other topics. I keep our current books and a folder with our memory work in a basket near the couch, and we try to keep our bibles nearby too so we don't have to hunt for anything in order to get started.
This may be the only thing I have been able to be consistent at this past year, and it has been hard. When my perfectionist side rises up I feel genuine despair. Morning Time almost never goes smoothly the whole way through (and sometimes it's just an inch shy of a complete disaster).
When I take the long view, however, I see the discussions and the ideas and the laughter, and the folding in of a child who wouldn't read one word aloud when she came to us, but this week voluntarily read an entire chapter to our wiggly group. I see the minutes of smoothness piled up together, and know we are building relationships and habits. All these gathered moments are adding up to a rich learning lifestyle for my children as we gather, tune our hearts to our Creator, and learn something in an enjoyable and lovely manner.
After all, isn't this what anchoring is all about - finding a small habit or practice that binds you to truth, and then doing it every day, a little bit at a time?
"One of our earliest memorized poems was :
Little drops of water,
Little grains of sand,
Make the mighty ocean,
And the beauteous land.
Can you guess how often some one in our home says, "Little drops of water....?"
Almost daily. It has even shown up in timed SAT essays.
That is the sort of sentiment that applies to everything I do as a mother. . . My Morning Time is a way to collect little grains of sand. It should not be a way to complicate life but a way to simplify it.
If you have something that you want your children to assimilate like poetry or scripture or music or Shakespeare, forget the grand schemes, forget what the Konos mom is doing down the street, start giving that thing one or two minutes of your time daily and watch the years roll by."
Cindy Rollins, Little Grains of Sand
Other posts in the Anchor series:
2015 - Anchor
Lent as an anchor