Our Homeschool Morning Time for 2015-2016

posted in: extra 11

When I start planning for our next school year – any part of it – I start off with a “brain dump” of sorts and construct the ideal morning that includes everything that sounds lovely and engaging.

Then I start crossing things off. “Will this actually happen in our house?” No. “Is this really worth the preparation and enthusiasm effort it would require of me daily?” No, if I put my energy there, realistically it is only taking it from Latin – and it’s not something worth trumping Latin.

So I start with the therapeutic list and then whittle it down to the realistic list, knowing that implementation will eventually whittle it down further still.


That’s the way a real homeschool year rolls, and now I expect it.

But Morning Time is fairly standardized in our house now, and part of our morning ritual and rhythm. I will be setting an alarm for 8:30 to begin. The older boys might get a start on their math or other assignment on their checklist if they’re ready before that (no playing allowed between chores and school – it’s too hard to gain momentum in the morning if they do), but I will have my own morning preparations and tidying and toddler-helping wrapped up to call everyone together at 8:30.

The Agenda for Our Homeschool Morning Time


(classical music will still be playing; I turn it on during chore time after breakfast. During breakfast, I’ll turn on the audiobook Bible for the day’s Proverbs chapter)

  • Morning Meeting – We’ll go over what to expect that day and what to be prepared for; Hans will write his own daily index card to-do list during this time if he hasn’t already
  • Gratitude Journal – We did this a few years ago and stopped, but I’m bringing it back this year. We’ll open with a few minutes set aside to write down what we’re thankful for. Each child has a composition notebook in their binder for this and will probably want their crayons instead of pencils. I will be overseeing, directing, and micromanaging this little project as little as possible.

(Turn classical music off)

  • Call: I printed Psalm 119 with each section on its own page, and I will read aloud one section to begin our time together
  • Each person pray in turn

Memory Work

Then we open our binders and begin with our new hymn, move to the new memory, including poems, then on to the review portion for the current day of the week.

You can see the list of our cumulative memory work over the years here: Memory Work Index.

I’ll be posting updates each term as we add our new material.



Then we’ll do a few fun memory songs and chants. We’ll listen to a chapter vocabulary chant from both Latin for Children A (which Jaeger is in) and Latin for Children B (which Hans is in) and a song from Song School Latin (which Ilse begged for this year). Then we’ll listen to one Bible-related memory song (I have a playlist with songs for the kings of Israel, the books of the Bible, the 12 disciples, etc. Most of them are Jamie Soles songs). Finally, we’ll listen to 1-3 (depending on length) knowledge songs, looping through a playlist that includes the Periodic Table, grammar definitions, states, presidents, and Kings & Queens of England.

If you have any favorite memory songs, please share them in the comments!


This year I’m adding a new element: ending with a reading and narration.

I’m planning to start off the year with a study on Charlotte Mason’s student motto (I am, I can, I ought, I will) that Dawn Garrett is currently working on (Yes, you’ll hear about it from me when it’s ready!). We will learn about and memorize the motto during the summer term, then incorporate it as a final pronouncement before we move on to other things for the rest of the year.

After the motto study (which the children will not narrate), I plan to read Concise Theology, 2-3 paragraphs at a time. We’ll roll a die for which older boy will narrate it, and their narration job will be to summarize it for Ilse & Knox, not for me – I want them to practice speaking plainly rather than repeat terms or try to impress me with their vocabulary, so I think using Ilse as an audience for the narrations will help with that. Then I’ll roll the die again and Knox or Ilse will have to tell me something they learned.

They will also have their gratitude notebooks during this time that they can draw in while listening.


I shortened up our memory work review amounts this year to make room for the addition of the final reading. We’ll see how the first few sessions go, but I believe I have planned no more than 40 minutes worth here in this list. However, as is now my custom, I plan 40-45 minutes worth of work and block off an hour for it. Because life does happen, there are always interruptions, and children generally don’t simply fall in line on command, turns out.

If you want to get your own homeschool morning time routine going this school year, I have a short guide with 5 Steps to Start a Morning Time you can download for free!



Find out more about our upcoming school year at this index post: 2015-2016 School Year Overview.

11 Responses

  1. Allison Burr
    | Reply

    Oh, this is so helpful! I wanted to beef up our playlist portion, and you’ve given me some good ideas. Plus I LOVE the idea of narration of theology at the conclusion! This would be great for my 10 and 8 yo to narrate for the 6yo. As always, thanks for the great ideas!

  2. Kortney Garrison
    | Reply

    Morning Time got sooo hard at our place, I sort of gave up on it. But I think having a playlist and using memorization songs may just help! I’ll have to think hard on what to include + how it will work. Thanks for the encouragement, Mystie.

    • Mystie Winckler
      | Reply

      The more the ages of your kids are weighted toward 6-and-under, the harder it is! Stick with it and it will bear fruit down the road!

  3. Becca
    | Reply

    What do you use to play all your songs? Do you download all Cd’s on iTunes and generate different playlists for different days? I am a little technologically challenged! Thanks!

    • Mystie Winckler
      | Reply

      I use an ipod with iTunes playlists – one playlist for the hymn accompaniment tracks, one playlist for each Latin level, one playlist for Bible memory, and one playlist for other memory songs – then we’ll listen to one song from each playlist. We also have area speakers that the ipod connects to wirelessly so the volume is loud enough. :)

  4. dawn
    | Reply

    Oh, the pressure! LOL

  5. Amber
    | Reply

    I absolutely loved your intro to this post. I think I am finally starting to learn how to to go from the pie in the sky list to the realistic list… and I’ve only been homeschooling for, hmm, 9 years? (Yes, I started my poor daughter when she was 4. I sometimes wish I could go back and, I don’t know, sedate my 29 year old self?)

    Earlier this year I started blocking an hour for 45 min of Morning Time based on your recommendation and it has been so helpful. There’s a part of me that wants to scream, but expecting 45 min or work to take an hour makes things run so much more smoothly, and in the end I don’t feel nearly so harried and stressed.

    I’ve been using the die roll to determine who does the memory work for the things that we don’t do daily. My 13 yo has numbers 3 and 5, my 9 year old has 2 and 4, they both have to do it on the 6, and I have to do it on the 1. They love it when we roll a 1, as I’m sure you can imagine.

  6. Beth Smoak
    | Reply

    Do you do any daily or weekly vocabulary study anywhere in your day? Like a word of the day or word of the week? That seems like something that would easily fit into morning time or elsewhere as well. We’re using Latin to help with some vocabulary but have also tried studies with Greek roots. Just considering whether to do something more formal like Vocabulary from Classical Roots.

    • Mystie Winckler
      | Reply

      I find that Latin (LFC includes learning derivatives) plus extensive reading has been more than adequate for vocabulary. We are a vocabulary-rich family – le mot juste is important to us – so I don’t see any reason to spend time on vocabulary as a subject. It’s more of a side benefit of the primary studies we’re already doing.

      • Beth Smoak
        | Reply

        Thanks so much!! You’re blog has been incredibly helpful as I try to get this morning time thing figured out!

  7. Denise
    | Reply

    Where did you find the songs for books of the bible, Kings of Israel, presidents, periodic table etc?

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