Morning Time Plans

Morning Time, Circle Time, Morning Basket…the names for this time of gathering everyone together for shared learning is as varied as the houses that practice it. Most often in our home is it, “Everyone Grab Your Bible and Come to the Living Room” Time. Catchy title, right? I can already see it on t-shirts and coffee mugs. It works for us and it seems silly to tell my high school students to get ready for Circle Time.

Before our unplanned summer break, I was almost completely winging this portion of our day. In different seasons the method of winging it works better than others. This season we all needed a bit more structure and planning. Planning and organizing are not my strengths and it took me longer than I wanted but I think we finally have a Morning Time Plan.

For our Morning Time, I will have eight children at home; ages 15 down to 10 months. For this term, we will read/discuss Bible, poetry, government, science, history, literature, etc at varying levels. We have already started and the discussions we have engaged in have been delightful!

Here is the Morning Time Plan:

Daily:

Bible Reading: Each day we will read Scripture. We are alternating between Joshua and Matthew for four days. On Fridays we will be reading a Psalm and from The Ology. ( I am loving this resource!) While it may seem that alternating text might be confusing for the younger ones, it has not been an issue at all. We practice oral narrations after our readings and there is almost always discussion. It works beautifully! Utilizing the New City Catechism (they also have an app) is a new addition for us this term. I am simply offering up one question per week. We shall see how that goes!

Poetry: This time can get a bit crazy. For now we are using Favorite Poems Old and New. Each child calls out a page number and I read from that page. It is quick and fun. And you know what? My children love poetry. We have stumbled across new favorites. My older children do read poetry from an assigned poet as well in their individual studies.

Recitation/Memory Work: As a family we work on a Scripture passage together. We are currently working on Matthew 5: 3 -16. There is other recitation/memory work required but it is handled individually.

Hymns: Our Morning Time always starts with a hymn. We have a few hymnals that we share. Our current hymns are Come Thou Fount, Brethren We Have Met to Worship, and My Father’s World.  My goal is to have a balance between songs we sing often in church and hymns we just enjoy as a family.

Weekly Rotations:

Read Alouds: Generally we have more than one read aloud for Morning Time underway. For this term we have a selection for History (I, Juan de Pareja), Science (Science Matters), and Literature (Haven’t quite decided on this one yet! Pondering a little something by Dickens.)

Government/Civics: In the past this has not been an area covered in our Morning Time. We are going to give it a go for a few weeks and see how it flows and decide from there. I will likely choose one topic/article from the week to discuss for Current Events or perhaps let one of my teens offer up a topic that has intrigued them in their individual studies. I will also be pulling a Civics’s Question of the Week from the Learn about the United States: Quick Civics Lessons from the Naturalization Test. There are so many facts and interesting points of history that we forget or have never learned. This is simple enough for my younger ones to join in and my older ones can always expand from this to deeper reading/discussion/study. It also fits well with our current time of history being studied.

Artist/Composer: Jan Vermeer is our chosen artist and Vivaldi is our composer. We will enjoy paintings and music throughout the week. However, once a week we will have a bit of discussion about a particular painting, an interesting fact about the artist/composer, or share a favorite piece of music. Simple but effective.

This time of everyone coming together is not always easy. However, it is an important part of our day, our life, our family. These sometimes chaotic moments are building connections and memories that will last a lifetime and longer.

Up next? I’ll try to share what else we have in store for the coming year!

 

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Our 2015-2016 Curriculum Choices (a bit late)

It is hard to believe that October is already half over! I had plans to share what we were studying for this coming year but I kept putting it off. And now it is October. Better later than never, right?

Over the years I have used Ambleside Online as a book list resource and as a supplement for things such as composer study. A couple of years ago, my oldest daughter began using Ambleside Online as a full curriculum. The transition went really well and she excelled. Slowly I moved all of my children over to using Ambleside Online.

The biggest hurdle was deciding whether to group children together into a year or have them study independently of one another. In the end I opted to have each child in his or her own year. It started out really well but in the end it was not a success. Various factors played a part in the independent years not working out. I spent a good bit of time looking over that year and realizing that in the end it created more stress for me and certain children were falling through the cracks. Not my goal for homeschooling, you know?

So, this year we are back to group studies. My two oldest, 10th and 11th grades, are continuing with using Ambleside Online. They are completely independent and doing amazingly well. They schedule their days/weeks and keep themselves on track. It is a beautiful thing!

My other kiddos (Grades 8, 7, 4, 2, K) are all completing  a year of American History. I thought that this would make a great transition to the Four Year History Cycle. We take a year to get back in our learning groove, work on independent learning for the older ones, and make sure everyone has a grasp of some basic American History. Then next year we will jump into Year One – Ancients and roll with the four year cycle. It has been great getting back to what works well for our family dynamics.

Math, science, literature, grammar….now it gets a bit crazy.  I thought of sharing what everyone is doing but that is seven kiddos. It might be overkill to share it all, right?

I think perhaps I will just highlight a few things here and there.

Have you made a curriculum/style shift this year? What is working for you?

Greek Morphemes – A Review

This post contains a review of Greek Morphemes Lessons (It’s NOT Greek to Me!)from Ready to Teach

Building a rich and full vocabulary provides the foundation for excellent reading and expression of one’s own ideas. One way to build that rich vocabulary is through studying Greek and Latin. At this time, the study of the roots of these two languages was my goal for a few of my students instead of the full languages. Greek Morphemes Lessons (It’s NOT Greek to Me!) from Ready to Teach has become a part of my son’s daily work.

When our package arrived it contained the Instructor’s Manual with a PowerPoint CD and a Student Book. The Greek Morphemes book covers over 200 morphemes (roots, prefixes, and suffixes) in twelve lessons. At first glance, I thought the program might take a bit more time than I was expecting in implementing it. After a brief read through, I realized I was mistaken. Greek Morphemes is very easy to begin using; it is almost an open and go resource.

The Instructor’s Manual contains the lessons and answers keys, transparency masters, tests and answer keys and pre-made study cards. The method of doing the lessons is explained and what each activity the student will work through is explained. After this the instructor’s manual is basically answer keys and tests. Since I was using this with only one student, we had no need for the transparency masters. The pre-made study cards are printed on colored cardstock paper for durability.

The PowerPoint files are broken down by lessons. The student simple uses the slides marked for the lesson he is on. Previous morphemes used may be reviewed and then new morphemes are introduced. The PowerPoint files also include self-reviews for the lessons. It is basically a chart with the morpheme at the top with possible meanings below it. The student clicks on the correct meanings. If it is incorrect, the program will let him know and the student re-tries. A very simple, no frills review that is quick and effective.

As the student works through the presentation, he takes notes writing down the meanings.  Then it is on to the assignments.The assignments include breaking down and defining parts of words. An example is the word anthropophobiac. The student would do this:

anthrop = man; mankind

phobiac = one who has morbid fear of

*M.D. = one who has a fear of mankind

**D.D. = one who has an intense fear of human society

(M.D. is “my definition”. D.D is “dictionary definition”.)

After defining the words, the student tackles context clues by using the words in sentences to show their meanings. The creativity continues when the student is asked to create two new words using the Greek morphemes they have learned.

The next assignment gives the students words that need to be broken apart and defined. Words such as polyheterodemologist or diademoscope might be on the list. No problem, right? Then a simple matching quiz tells the student if they were correct on the word break down.

At the back of the student book, colored paper to use for making study cards is provided. The paper is normal weight copy paper so the cards will not hold up long term but should be sufficient for use over twelve lessons.

**Special Note: We also received a flash drive containing the PowerPoint files. Previously the program came with a CD but Ready to Teach will begin to use flash drives instead. This better serves the teachers and students as many computers no longer utilize a CD/DVD player. We used both over the past few weeks.

How We Used Greek Morphemes

Greek Morphemes is being used by my son who is thirteen. After looking over the material, I decided that this would be perfect for independent study. The lessons naturally fall into a weekly set up. Each Monday he begins a new lesson by watching the appropriate PowerPoint files and then tackles Assignment A. He works through an assignment a day until he is done and then he takes the test.

The assignment on Context Clues where he had to write sentences was a bit daunting at first. However, he simply watched the slides again, I helped him work through a couple of words, and then he progressed with no issues. Other than checking his work, I haven’t been needed much at all.

Our Thoughts

I was surprised at how well my son took to Greek Morphemes. When it arrived he was not exactly excited. However, once he got started, I have rarely had to remind him to work on it. I asked what his thoughts were on this program and he said, “I love it! It’s fun, easy, and I get to make up my own words. I would rate it ten stars out of a possible five stars.”  Folks, he really enjoys this resource!

And it is working. It isn’t just because it is fun or easy. He is constantly making up new words and using them. Words like microbibliophobia (fear of small books) or phonomanicphobia (a fear of a madness for sound). I always look forward to what he is going to come up with and we all get a good laugh. All laughing aside, he is building a great foundation for a full, rich vocabulary.

Interested?  You can work through a sample lesson.

Ready to Teach also has a Latin Morphemes course as well. After a great experience with Greek Morphemes, I think we will definitely move on to Latin next.

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