Have you thought about having a morning meeting as part of your homeschool day? Last year, I decided to start our school day with a morning meeting and it was one of the best homeschool decisions I have made!
It made it so easy to get the boys to come to the school room on time. Well, maybe it took Big Fish most of the school year to make it on time, but he was at least excited to start morning meeting when he got there! They enjoyed engaging in some quick group activities to get the day started rather than going to their own areas to start on their individual work. It was also a good time to check in with each of the boys and see how they were doing. Of course, this can be dangerous territory as sometimes I would get a whole litany of grievances!
This year, I came up with a new plan for our morning meeting and wanted to share it with you.
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We are focusing on four main components: (1) getting our brains ready to learn, (2) calendar time, (3) academic tasks, and (4) current events. Morning meeting lasts between 20-25 minutes and takes place in front of our calendar and big whiteboard. We keep a box of our morning meeting materials in this area so everything we need is right there (in theory anyway!). After morning meeting, we transition immediately into a 20 minute group activity at the table before breaking for 10 minutes and then beginning individual work.
Getting Our Brains Ready to Learn
About half of our morning meeting is spent getting our brains ready to learn, which includes activities targeting direction following, visual skills, and motor skills. I wrote a detailed post about this last month so click here to learn more.
During calendar time, we review what day it is and practice recalling from memory what extracurricular activities we have each day. We talk about what we did yesterday and what is going to happen tomorrow. It is also a good time to discuss upcoming events and count the days on the calendar to those events. Sometimes we review seasons, how many days are in each month and the order of the months.
I made Chemistry Concept of the Day Cards for our calendar that support what we are learning in chemistry and these allow us to pre-teach and review vocabulary and key concepts each morning. Each day, I show the boys one picture and read the vocabulary word and description to them. At the end of the week, I give the descriptions of the different words and they have to point to correct word/picture. As they become better at identifying them, I give them a word and they have to describe it.
A similar pocket calendar can be purchased here.
We also have several sets of calendar cards in our store if you would like to check them out.
Morning meeting is a good time to introduce academic work. This might be just a quick intro. to get your children ready for the full lesson later in the day. Or it might be a quick activity that fits in well with morning meeting rather than a separate lesson during the day.
For example, we use morning meeting for our poem of the month, where we do some poetry analysis and work on poem memorization. We are also using this time for our Number Talks, which I wrote about here.
A few days a week we discuss current events. Sometimes we keep the articles light, like a new chocolate that has been created, and sometimes we discuss the heavy stuff. Here are some web-sites we are trying out:
Contains a 10 minute video each day of current events, a transcript and a quiz of open-ended questions at the end. I especially like that it has a quiz!
Scholastic News Kids Press Corp
This has short articles on a variety of subjects written by students ages 10-14. Now there is some inspiration!
These are moderate length articles about current events with a short video at the end.
This site allows you to pick a grade level, K-6, and then has short to moderate length articles about a variety of topics.
This site also allows you to pick by grades, K-12, and then has moderate length articles about a variety of topics.
I hope you find some good ideas here to add to your morning and would love for you to comment about what works in your morning meeting.