For a few months now our morning time has been slipping. We were getting started later and later…with more and more resistance. The late start pushed our study time up against lunch + naps + toddler meltdowns. But we’ve made a few small changes that have given us a little wiggle room and a little peace.
Dressed + ready. Everyone is dressed before AP heads out for work. His leaving is a natural transition, but we weren’t using it as such. Now we are ready to meet the day as soon as we say goodbye. This also signals the start of a little computer time for Mabel + Nicolas. Screen time first thing in the morning! Scandal!
Littles first! While the big kids work on the computer, Joseph and I spend time together. Usually this means time nursing! But after that he’s usually ready to read a pile of books or help get our snack ready. Spending time with little ones first is common homeschooling advice, and it seems to be bearing fruit for us.
Planning to eat. The kids eat as soon as they wake up. But soon enough they are clamoring for more to eat. This had been upsetting our rhythm, pulling me away from the table and back into the kitchen. But by making space for a snack, the morning is a bit smoother. I’ve been using this Waldorf list of The Grain of the Day from Parenting Passageway to guide our menu. The kids like the links to Greeks myth; I like not having to decide what to make each day.
Put the kettle on. We’ve also been having a pot of tea with our studies. The pitcher of milk + pot of sugar, the warm drinks in fancy cups, the pouring + stirring + slurping–these help to make gathering at the table to do our morning work a little more welcoming, a little more homey. I’m not just calling them away from their play, I’m also calling them into a warm, inviting ritual.
Read the poems. After everyone is gathered and settled, I read a poem. This is not a new part of our routine, but it had been slipping. And I found that sharing a poem together every day is one of those things that helps me feel like school is happening. I recently found this collection of poems on Ambleside Online that includes a poem for each day. I printed out the February and March poems and tucked them in our Morning Time Basket. It’s been a welcome addition. Here’s one of this week’s poems by a favorite author of ours, “A House of Cards” by the English poetess, Christina Rossetti:
A house of cards
Is neat and small:
Shake the table,
It must fall.
Find the Court cards
One by one;
Raise it, roof it, –
Now it’s done: –
Shake the table!
That’s the fun.