You have determined your learning styles, goals, & needs. You made a list of materials that you would like to use. Now, let’s look at ways to plan & organize your Homeschool Morning Gathering time-plus, a few tips!
Planning your Homeschool Morning Gathering is vital to ensure efficient and effective use of your time. You will probably want to plan the way you already do your regular homeschool day.
Here are just a few of the different ways you can plan your Morning Gathering time (in case you want to test out a different planning method or are just getting started):
1. paper/binder: This method can be very helpful in organizing charts, outlines, daily or weekly calendars, and printables. It can be a bit cumbersome but it’s nice to have everything in one place.
2. daily folders: I have used simple tab or pocket folders with ease. They are helpful if you like to just pull out a folder and go-without having to search through tabs, etc.
3. calendar: I have also printed out calendar pages (daily, weekly, monthly) using Donna Young’s site (fabulous resource!) and just hand written reminders and to-dos. This option is nice if you are already established with your Morning Gathering and/or do not have printables or other resources to use.
4. Evernote: more on this on Day 5!!
A well-organized Homeschool Morning Gathering will run smoothly and efficiently. Look at your lists of materials and plans. Look at where your Homeschool Morning Gathering will occur and what type of space you will have.
There are a plethora of organizational tools that you can purchase online or in store. I like to be frugal (A. F. A. P.-as frugal as possible!) so I try to use what we have.
DIY & Upcycled items that I have used to Organize our Homeschool Morning Gathering include:
- empty coffee cans: clean out and use to store writing materials, manipulatives, etc.
- envelopes/sandwich bags: store review cards, calendar pieces, manipulatives, stickers, etc. and organize them in…
- shoe boxes: can be decorated and labeled (get your kids involved and a nice art project to boot!)
- cleaning wipes containers: see 10 Ways to Upcycle Your Cleaning Wipes Containers
- empty drink mix containers: Coach loves Crystal Light and I save the plastic containers to store crayons in.
Tips on How To Execute: Routine & Duties
Besides organization and planning, the biggest factors in creating a successful Morning Gathering time are establishing routine and assigning duties to each participant. As in life, routine helps everyone know what is going to happen and when. Duties help everyone know who needs to do what and how.
Routine does wonders in our homeschool. We are not a plan-by-the-minute type of family, but we do need a structure. Anticipating what comes first through last helps all of us prepare and work together.
Individually assigned duties give every homeschool member a part and a responsibility, increasing self-worth and willingness to participate. Duties may include preparing materials, changing review cards, or working with another brother in a mentoring role.
Our current Homeschool Morning Gathering routine and list of duties looks like this:
Mommy=leads Morning Gathering time, organizes and plans
Skipper=make sure laptop is charged and in homeschool area, lead Pledge and prayer, mentor to Smiley
Professor=layout materials for day, mentor to Bear
Smiley=helps Mommy find ways to keep X man busy, helps Skipper, helps Mommy clean up after X man
Bear=helps Professor, helps Mommy clean up after X man
X man=Mommy’s snuggler and mess maker
- Pledge of Allegiance
- Prayer of Week (or novena if applicable)
- Calendar time-date, time, weather, # days in school
- Current Events-we have been using Student Daily News with great success and it has lead to some awesome discussions!
- Country of the Week
- Bible Verse of the Week
- Grammar-Prepositon list (7-8 words per week)
- Saint of the Week
**for Country, Bible Verse, Grammar, and Saint-I only do a few minutes per concept. I find it is just enough to get the boys attention and they retain the information with short, reviewed tidbits. I do not go into details of each concept each day. Monday is day of introduction to all concepts of the week with an emphasis on Country of the Week. Tuesday is typically Manners/Living. Wednesday is Saint of the Week (or liturgical holiday). Thursday is a closer look at the Bible Verse of the Week.
Our brigade adjusts to change best if Mommy goes over changes ahead of time. Before starting Morning Gathering time, I sat all the boys down. I explained what we would be doing and why.
I introduced the materials, set-up, and previewed the routine. I also stressed that we may need to change things up a bit as we went along and how everyone would have a say.
My #1 tip for a successful Homeschool Morning Gathering time is to be flexible and keep it fun. Don’t be afraid to go back and tweak your plans, materials, any aspect of it. Morning Gathering time is all about what is best for helping you optimize your homeschool day!!
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How will you plan and organize your Morning Gathering? Leave a comment and share your ideas!
Check out the rest of Busy Boys Brigade Morning Gathering series: