In my last post, I talked about the importance of establishing a liturgy in the home; one of the ways that our family builds liturgy into our lives is by creating a miniature liturgy, morning time. Morning time isn’t just a one room school house approach for subjects; it is a “musical education” as defined by Plato. “Musical education is soul-craft: carried out properly it tunes the soul, and makes one receptive to truth and goodness” (The Liberal Arts Tradition 26). Based on the muses, a musical education includes music, drama, the fine arts, literature, and could even be broadened into astronomy which leads me to seven main components found in morning times that successfully cultivate a love for Beauty.
1. Liturgical/Ceremonial/ Pomp
You knew this was coming, right? 😉 Opening and ending with a prayer, a Psalm, a hymn, or a sacred poem creates a clear tone. It creates an atmosphere that relates our humanity and frailty; it allows for vulnerability for everyone including Mom and Dad. Our purpose is clear, the worship, the entering into the divine mystery that is ever present.
2. Fine Arts/Handicrafts
The fine arts and the handicrafts are opportunities for cultivation. Exposure to the great composers, artists, and the use of our hands to create beautiful simple projects allows us, as participants, to form relationships and passions. It also reinforces the concept of timeless, ageless Beauty while weaving context into our history lessons.
David Hicks writes, “The life of virtue has nothing to do with one’s prospective pleasures, possessions, or practical affairs, but concerns the manner in which one is prepared to spend one’s leisure hours. (Norms and Nobilities 22).” The texts, songs, and materials we offer to our students have to be good quality that model the ideal type. Morning time is a time for a calibration and a re-calibration (for us adults) of our souls which demands we choose materials that enhance Beauty that leads to Truth and Goodness.
Enjoy and languish in morning time. Sometimes we have take something out and sometimes we add; however, morning time is stable because its done with diligence. Starting with a ten minute morning time is enough to begin the habit.
Having virtue present is not enough. The examples of virtue but be accessible and relatable to the minds of the participants. In order for the virtue to be embodied, the participant has to know what the virtue is , why he should embody the virtue, when he should use the virtue, and how to embody the virtue. We as guides need to ensure that the materials suits our audience by meeting our children where they are in their journey not where we want them to be.
6. Language/ Poetry/ Literature/Plays
I place Latin in our morning time as well memory work and reading aloud because I want my children to know that we can see the majesty of God in the context of the liberal arts. I don’t want my children to feel that morning time is a time for anything other than for the soul. The ultimate goal for morning time is to inscribe the hearts of my children and form their moral imagination rich with relationships and reinforce the balance of the mythos and logos as they are in the ideal type. The balance between the mythos (“. . .man’s imaginative. . .spiritual effort to make the world intelligible. . .”) and the logos (“. . .rational attempt to do the same. . .”) is important to me (Norms and Nobility 29). So, I use the Latin, memory work, and read-alouds to balance out our morning time. If we are getting too heavy on logos, I can add in a fairy tale or vice versa.
Scholé is a natural by product of morning time. It can’t be avoided; when our mind, body, and souls are open, how could we not foster a deeper love for one another? However, this is also a time in which we learn to come together. The struggles of daily life can wear us down (even if the struggles during morning time ha!), but we model diligence and love for our children when we persist in our habits. Morning time is a place for imitation and growth.
This is our current morning time liturgy; you are welcome to download a copy of it here.
Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum is hosting 7 Quick Takes, so go check out some fun and interesting quick takes.