Morning time. Tea time. These have slowly become woven into the fabric of our days, and have become a beloved part of our daily rhythm. As well as providing regular time to learn, our practise of morning time and tea time insert two welcome pauses into our day; two opportunities each day for being fully present in my parenting, and truly connecting with Frida over food, good books, and beautiful art and music.
Morning time is popular amongst many homeschooling families (especially, but not only, those following Charlotte Mason and Classical approaches) and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a simple idea – coming together early in the day when everyone is fresh and covering off any planned learning goals in a relaxed and joyful way. As Frida is still so little, I have very little in the way of learning goals – my goals are that I want her to play, be outdoors a lot, and enjoy books! But I love the habit of morning time, and can see how my relaxed approach now – look at some art, read some non-fiction, start to learn another language – will lay the foundation for more learning time as she gets older.
At the moment, we combine morning time with breakfast. I help get Frida set up with breakfast, make myself a coffee, light some candles, and then we begin.
Typically, we start with a simple picture study, looking at a postcard of a famous piece of art and talking about it. I talk more about this here, and at the moment, we then follow this with a book about an artist. I cannot stress how much I love starting the day with art. I feel like it sets the tone of a day filled with beauty and creativity. We then read about a different subject; this might be science (the body, microbes, botany, animal life, space), geography (map study, different habitats), cultural (how different people live, the stories they tell, interesting people), or anything else that takes our fancy. We finish off by learning some French. This is something we have just started and I’m still very much in the process of figuring it out – I will share more when I feel happy with our system!
If morning time for us tends to focus on non-fiction, then tea time for us is all about instilling a love of language.
After we’ve prepared drinks and a snack together, I light the candles and we start off with some poetry, and perhaps a couple of simple songs or finger-play verses (these encourage recitation as well as being joyful). We then read a seasonal book or two (fiction or non-fiction, or a mix), and then follow with a longer story. I have recently started incorporate some music appreciation into tea time, as it’s not something we naturally do a lot of and I am aware of not wanting Frida to miss out on this wonderful part of life, so we finish by listening to a piece of music (whilst Frida dances around usually!). I’m starting to gather some picture books on composers to add to our music study – if you have any recommendations please do share them with me!
Some days we are at the table for nearly an hour at morning time and tea time, some days it is more like twenty minutes combined! I follow Frida’s lead, and if she’s getting restless or wants to get down from the table then I don’t push it. As Frida gets older, we may end up changing things so we have a longer morning time and a shorter tea time, but for now having two roughly equal sessions fits in well with Frida’s attention span and the rhythm of our day.
In time, we will also introduce more complex materials and subjects, such as Shakespeare, history, works of literature, and maths, as well as an element of independent work like drawing, handwork, or writing practice.
Morning time and tea time are not set in stone; if we stay out all afternoon, then we’ll miss tea time, if we need to hurry somewhere in the morning, breakfast will be a quick affair. We also don’t do them at weekends, or on the one day in the week when I am working and Frida spends time with my husband. Knowing that we have this rhythm in place means that I don’t stress; we’ll just come back to it when we can.
Do you have morning time or tea time built into your daily rhythm? And can you please recommend some beautiful picture books on composers for me?!
PS. Do you want to craft a strong daily rhythm for your family? There are just a few spaces left on my Rhythm in the Home course; whether you’re new to the concept of family rhythms or an old hand, there’s something in the course for you.