Morning Time Plans (Fall 2019): adjusting expectations to meet the needs of a wide age range

multi-age morning time plans fall 2019

It gets trickier to plan for morning time when you have a wide range of ages.  Wake-up times vary from the pre-dawn energy of the 4-year-old to the sluggish morning brain of the teen.  And that doesn’t even consider the differing needs and interests that span the grades.

Yet having a time for shared memories and family culture is still important to me.  While the logistics of our morning time may look different this year, its central values remain intact.

Would you like to peek into my morning time plans for this fall?

multi-age morning time fall 2019

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Scheduling morning time

In years past, I’ve asked all the children regardless of age to be in the living room ready to begin morning time at 8 am.  This year, I’m going to try something different.  In order to give a bit of wake-time flexibility to my 2 older children, I’m going to divide our morning time into 2 parts: Circle Time at 8 am (with the 4, 7, and 9 year olds) and Group Morning Time at 9 am (adding in the 12, and 14 year olds).

Circle Time with the Younger Crew

During our circle time, I’ll be able to focus specifically on my elementary-aged learners.  We will read aloud from our textbook-free history spine (we’re reading more from Genevieve Foster this fall!). We will work through the Facts that Stick series for math-fact review.  We will go over the narrations and discussion questions from their Writing and Rhetoric book.  Once a week, we will enjoy a SQUILT music lesson.

Group Morning Time

Once the older kids join us, we can move into a morning time routine that looks a little bit more like it did last year.  It will include 6 simple elements:

  1. Prayer (Mom)
  2. Bible time (We will finish the Vos Story Bible and then move into The Ology.  These resources are both easy for my big kids, but sometimes it is good for us to be reminded of simple truths.  We will also memorize Psalm 51.)
  3. Memory Work (see below)
  4. Plutarch (it’s our first year to use one of Anne White’s guides and I’m so excited!  My friend Dawn as well as many others have highly recommended these to me.)
  5. Hymn sing (we’ll sing the same hymn each day until we’ve learned it, then we’ll pick a new one)
  6. Prayer (Kids)
morning time plans fall 2019

Memory Work

Our memory work this year will follow a block schedule (by month) and a loop schedule (by day).  (Don’t know what block and loop schedules are?  Pam explains it well here.)

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Block Schedule:

  • Poetry/Speeches: August, October, January, March, May
  • Shakespeare: September, February, April
  • Holiday: November, December

Loop Schedule:

This memory work coordinates with our history studies for the year.  Depending on our time constraints, we will recite 1-2 items from the following list each day.  The next day, we’ll move to the next item on the list.  When we reach the end, we’ll just go back to the beginning and recite through the list again!

What About You?

Wondering how to craft your own custom morning time?  Check out this interview I did with my friend, Lynna exploring a DIY approach to morning time.

Prefer an open-and-go approach?  Pam has got you covered with ready-to-go morning time plans the whole family will enjoy! Plus, she’s just a great go-to-resource for all things morning time!

Looking for more ideas for fall learning? Sara out together a list of 30 fall crafts for kids that are perfect for hands-on fun.

Do you already incorporate morning time or memory work in your homeschool day?  I’d love to hear what you’re going to be using this year!  Please share details in the comments below!

{Image credit: Peach Blossoms, Winslow Homer}
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6 thoughts on “Morning Time Plans (Fall 2019): adjusting expectations to meet the needs of a wide age range”

  1. This is soooo good! Duh! Why didn’t I think of this?! Lack of sleep & coffee probably. But the 2 morning times with the 2 groups of am risers…❤ This is going to help this mama so much. Thank you!

  2. We are still going to be able to stick with one morning time next year as everyone is 9 and under, however, I love seeing how you make this work with different ages. I will definitely keep this in mind as we try to stay flexible as everyone’s needs change.

  3. Hello, thanks for this post. It’s so encouraging!!!

    This is my first time at your website. I was directed here from Pam Barnhill. I just adore everything I’ve read
    so far. I especially like your “Ultimate Goal in Education”.

    I can relate to this post as well. We have ages 15b, 12b, 12g, and 7g that we are schooling. I have been trying to figure out all summer how to have a morning time with everyone. The 15b and just starting 12g are wanting to sleep longer than the other two. I think your suggestion may work for the most part. Just wondering if you think you will have any issues with the older two making it to your Morning Time by 9AM. If they don’t will you move it to another time for them or require them to be there at that time. If you require them to be there could you suggest ways to do that. I have been struggling with my 15b getting up and out of bed all summer. He has animal chores he is responsible for and I have tried everything I can think of to motivate him to get up and get started. Just looking for fresh thinking and new ideas is you have any.

    Thanks so much for your blog. I’m going to enjoy reading all your posts!!

    1. Thank you for your kind words and welcome! 🙂

      We shall see how much parenting is required to get the older kids to morning time this year. 🤣 Last year I definitely insisted on their arrival at 8. If I had to go wake them up and get them downstairs, they had to wait to eat breakfast until after the family time was done. It was a non-negotiable family time. We had to have a few conversations encouraging love for the team over love for self; after all, if they delayed our start time, it affected lots of people, not just themselves. That being said, there were a very few number of times when a child’s attitude was so awful that I just started morning time without them because they don’t get to ruin it for everybody. We all have bad days sometimes, right? But in general, all my kids love the things we’re doing together, so it hasn’t been a huge issue. Our parenting struggles come out in other places. 😉

      So often, it’s the parenting part of things that is harder than the academics, don’t you think? Motivation. Consistency. Trustworthiness. Perseverance. Hard work. Doing chores. These are the little moments that reveal our children’s sinful hearts…and our own! (oh my, yes, our own) We’ve been known to stop everything and pray over a math lesson. We try to set clear, actually-do-able expectations. When they don’t meet their commitments, there are often natural consequences. If there aren’t natural consequences, we try to have proportional consequences. But it comes down to heart issues at the end of the day, and I can’t change the heart of my kids or teens. That goes back to the prayer. 🙂 I guess when it comes to the 15b getting up and doing his animal chores, I’d start asking him questions about why he finds it hard to get up. Ask him to problem solve solutions to enable him to be more consistent. Ask how you can help him meet these requirements. Discuss clear results for when the needs of the animals aren’t being met. I don’t have a quick and easy answer, but I am going to pray for you and your son right now before I start our school day! May God work in his heart and yours and give love and patience and diligence! Do not grow weary in doing good! (Gal 6:9)

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