I always imagined my homeschool in this idealist manner. You know, the quiet children dressed and washed sipping cocoa on the floor playing with puzzles or sitting in my lap excitedly awaiting a story or song to start our day. Playing outside enjoying the world around us would fill the morning hours. Later we would eat lunch using our manners and resting before beginning our lessons for the day. Are you laughing, yet? Because I am!
Let’s be honest here, my mornings are at best a cluster of dirty diapers that may or may not have been wiped on the wall, tangled hair, burnt oatmeal and a hungry cat meowing loudly. Some mornings are lovely, quieting unfolding; however, it’s not the standard. One way I stabilized my mornings was with liturgy. Liturgy is a tool that utilizes habits in order to cultivate virtue by tempering emotions and desires by ordering them to God’s will.
Morning liturgy is a form of habits that build the skill of recognizing and embodying beauty in our family. Our morning liturgy is the place were our family can explore beautiful prayers, hymns, myth, story, and the truths that God has revealed to us in our world. The morning liturgy has ebbed and flowed with the various seasons of life. There are some mornings, usually Sunday, where we do not participate in our formal liturgy because we attend Holy Mass at 7:30 in the morning (are you sad, because that time makes me cry on the inside!).
It can be overwhelming starting a morning liturgy; however, I have broken our morning liturgy into 5 main parts. I think that these 5 parts are flexible enough to assist anyone in the creation of a morning liturgy. So, there is a free printable below that you can print out and fill in with your plans. I will also give examples of our current morning liturgy, however, your liturgy should reflect your philosophy and enrich your current homeschool. The examples are just that options that I choose for this term. Our morning liturgy’s content changes with the terms (and usually the liturgical year of the Catholic Church according to the 1962 calendar).
Psalm 95 : This is a common “Introductory Psalm” when reciting the Divine Office. I used the Douay-Rheims (1899 edition) because I wanted to expose the kids to a variety of language in Bible translations. In the Douay-Rheims edition I chose, the psalm number is 94 because of scholarly choices over time.
Canticle of Zachariah: This is the canticle, a psalm-like passage that is from some other part of the Bible, found in the morning prayer of the Divine Office. I again used the Douay-Rheims (1899 edition) for the translation of this canticle (Luke 1:68-79).
II. Memory Work
We are using Classically Catholic Memory for our memory work; however, this is a place where you could memorize anything! I have dear friends that memorize a single hymn or some that have historical works, poems, math facts, etc. The possibilities are endless. If you are new to the concept of memory work, maybe pick a Psalm, hymn, or favorite poem that makes you excited. One of the loveliest parts of memorizing as a family is a shared memory and a shared outcome. The content isn’t as important as the experience (as long as the content is beautiful, good and truth oriented).
III. Read Aloud
Our current read alouds for September are Milly-Molly-Mandy and Peter Pan. A stable and always present part of our read alouds is My Book House. We cycle through the books; as we finish one, we start another. The cycle repeats itself.
IV. Loop or Activity of choice
For younger children this could be a quiet play activity like coloring or building with blocks while you read the current read aloud section. Currently, this is our memory work intensive. On each day of the week, we dive deeper into an area of our memory work. Mondays are for history, Tuesday for science, Wednesday for math, Thursday is geography, and Friday is for Religion.
The second loop we do is Latin on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The current composer is studied on Tuesday and Thursday.
We end with the prayer for St. Martin de Tours since he is the patron saint for our homeschool year.