When I first started homeschooling I put a lot of pressure on myself to have the perfect homeschool morning. I started by trying to imitate a circle time that’s in traditional schools. That didn’t go too well. Then we started trying out the morning basket concept. It didn’t always go as planned because I was trying to imitate what I saw on Facebook groups or Instagram. I wasn’t catering it to the needs of my family.
I came to the realization that I wasn’t focusing on connection but trying to imitate everything I thought morning time should be like. Connection is the backbone of homeschooling. Yet, it’s easy to lose focus when you fall into the comparison trap.
There are several changes that I’ve made to have a more authentic and peaceful homeschooling morning.
- We now call our mornings “connection time”. I no longer use the term morning basket. We still have a basket of things I’d like to tackle in the morning. We leave it out for the entire day.
- I start our mornings late so that I have time to fill my own cup before the day starts. We’ll normally start our connection time around 10:00 every morning. Before this, I’ll tidy up, do some journaling, spend time with my husband before he leaves for work, and listen to a Podcast while I prepare lunch.
- Start the day with play. The children will play with their blocks, legos, and toys while I play Quran recitations. I try to sit with them while they are playing. I’ll play with them sometimes or observe and ask questions about what they are doing. They take the lead here.
- Set out art and different supplies that can help foster their creativity. I’ll set out paper of different sizes, markers, crayons, coloring pencils, chalk pastels, and different objects like boxes and jars. They end up building a lot of interesting objects.
- Read a few picture books to them and explore encyclopedias. Lately, we’ve enjoyed reading different stories about the prophets in Islam, funny chapter books to read aloud, picture books from the library, and a human body encyclopedia.
- Ask the children different engaging questions. It’s fun to ask them different questions like what superpowers they wish they had or if they could travel anywhere where they would go. The kids each have different answers that are funny. These come in handy with my son’s creative writing later on in the day.
- Research a topic together. We’ve decided to research different topics and make a presentation each month. Right now we’re learning about Cotton Mouth Snakes. We’re planning to make a video about what we learned soon.
- Play games or do an activity together. We’ll try to play games like UNO, I Spy, do obstacle courses, come up with stories and have the other person finish it, etc.
- Pray together, go over mindfulness cards, affirmations, feelings, gratitude journals. We try to always remember to pray together, go over our mindfulness activities, say daily affirmations, and go over their gratitude journal.
- Alternate something related to foreign languages, social studies, or science on different mornings. Our science and social studies typically include projects or reading out loud. It’s easy to tackle these in the mornings since they are more hands-on. We will also try to tackle foreign languages in the morning. We alternate days so that it doesn’t become overwhelming.
- Outside time and movement. Outside time is very important to us. My oldest son is a sensory seeker and needs a lot of movement before he starts formal work. Additionally, there is a lot to explore and learn when being outside in nature.
We don’t tackle everything listed each morning but we try our best. During the winter months, we typically go outside for a few hours after our morning routine and snacks. Then we come back and have lunch, get movement in, and start our main lessons. My best advice would be to not fall into the comparison trap. Do what works for your family. Most importantly, work on building connections with your children.