Saturday, June 18, 2016
A Charlotte Mason Morning Basket
When I first began homeschooling, I came up with the idea to place the books we used on a daily basis into a basket. This could be toted around to wherever we were doing our lessons. For the past school year I didn't use the basket, but simply organized the homeschooling bookcase by subject, getting out what books we needed and putting them back on the shelf as we went along.
For the upcoming school year, I'm bringing the basket back! There has been a lot written among Charlotte Mason and other home educators about Morning Time. This is a daily practice of gathering one's children together for shared lessons. When I was a Montessori classroom teacher, with children ages three to six, we had Circle Time to start the morning cycle with the entire class before individual lessons and independent work time began. Same basic idea.
Morning Time occurs at the beginning of the day's homeschooling lessons. It takes on a different flavor in each family. Read alouds with narrations are are prominent features. The fine arts--an often-neglected area of study--are given a front row seat. So Morning Time is when picture studies, composer studies, and poetry are explored. Bible reading, devotions, and nature journals are other common elements. It can basically be whatever you want it to be; the idea is to begin the morning with family bonding and restful learning.
Oftentimes the materials used during Morning Time will be kept altogether in a basket for easy access and portability. Having the Morning Basket will assure that the subjects usually considered as "electives" in the schools but which are key elements in a CM education do not fall by the wayside.
If you go back a couple of posts, you will find my loop schedule for the Fall Term. I added a Morning Basket to the Daily Core. In the Morning Basket category I have listed poetry, music, & art appreciation; dance; and handicrafts. We have been doing picture studies regularly, but music appreciation and handicrafts were spotty. While dance is not a "key" CM subject, Charlotte does include it as important in her writings. My daughter has at times taken ballet classes, and as I am a dance instructor, I have taught her myself. This is a practice to which I want to return.
I'm planning to extend our Morning Basket to include all of the items in the Daily Core. In addition to the fine arts and handicrafts already listed, the following will go in the basket: literature (King David and His Songs), the Book of Gratitude reader, Spanish materials, and Hamilton's Essentials of Arithmetic. Foreign languages should be worked on daily, and this was decidedly not happening in my homeschool.
To clarify, the specific Morning Basket items, unless they are a part of your own Daily Core, are not all done daily. So for example, you are not trying to work in poetry, music, and art appreciation all in one day. You might read poetry on Monday; listen to classical music on Tuesday; do a picture study on Wednesday; have a drawing lesson on Thursday; and introduce a handicraft on Friday.
Handicrafts are typically an afternoon pursuit, part of the child's free time after formal lessons finish by 1:00. But I want to put this in the Morning Basket and then encourage Beezy to take it up on her own in the afternoons or evenings and on weekends.
I'll post pictures of my own Morning Basket when I have all of the items gathered for the Fall Term. Since some of it is going to come from the library, I don't have everything currently on hand.
Be creative about coming up with your own Morning Time activities. If you are using a traditional Catholic curriculum provider, such as Seton Home Study School or Catholic Heritage Curricula, consider adding a Morning Basket in order to bring classic literature and the fine arts into your schedule. This is one easy way to begin a transition to a more Charlotte Mason style approach!