Morning Time Binders: Folk Songs, Hymns, Poetry, and More!

It’s that time of year again! Time to whip those Morning Time binders into shape!

Our family has undergone some restructuring (more about that in a future post), but I’m happy to say that our Morning / Circle Time is in tact.

We use this time together to build our family culture, because knowing the same songs, poems, artists, etc. is one way we can build lasting bonds with each other.

This year we will only have two mornings each week for Morning Time, so we will be making the most of it! Here is our loop schedule:

Tuesdays Thursdays
Hymns Folk Songs
Composer Picture Study
Shakespeare Poetry
Nature Notebook Science Lesson

Prayer: We always read out of a book of prayers. Having all boys, I chose Power Prayers for Boys.

Recitation: In the past we have memorized NT and OT books, list of Disciples, the Apostles’ Creed, Bible passages, and seasonal poetry. This year we will be memorizing along with our local classical school (where I’m teaching part-time), so I don’t have the full list yet, but we’re starting with Psalm 139:1-10.

Grammar: This year I’m introducing basic grammar to my kids. A10 is beginning 5th grade, so I want to make sure he’s up to speed. L7 is beginning 2nd grade and a good age for basic grammar. J5 is technically too young, but whatever he gleans will be enough. I’m teaching Shurley Grammar part-time for a school, so I’ll just snatch some ideas from there and use a dry erase board for identifying parts of speech and basic sentence diagramming. We are all visual learners here.

Hymns: I love, love, LOVE teaching my kids hymns. Our church rarely sings them, but hymns are very important to me so I teach my kids them at home using Ambleside Online’s hymn rotation and leaning as much as possible on the Hymns at Home web site. I like to make a YouTube playlist, sync to our Bluetooth speaker, and just play the audio.  Hymns we are learning this year are:

August: Love Divine All Loves Excelling
September: Children of the Heavenly Father
October: Like a River Glorious
November: All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name
*December: Amazing GraceHark! The Herald Angels Sing
January: All My Hope on God Is Founded
February: Crown Him with Many Crowns
March: What Wonderous Love Is This
April: Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us
May: A Child of the King
June: I Need Thee Every Hour
July: In the Sweet By and By

Folk Songs: When I was a child in a little country public school, we learned to sing folk songs — I think because our district couldn’t afford new song books. My siblings attended a different school than I did for those two years, so I grew up knowing a ton of folk songs they didn’t know. Folk songs we’re learning this year in Morning Time are:

August: English Country Garden
September: Molly Malone
October: Freight Train
November: The Green Grass Grew All Around
December: Good Christian Friends Rejoice
January: The Minstrel Boy
February: Walk That Lonesome Valley
March: Leather-Winged Bat
April: Star of the County Down
May: Robin Hood and the Tanner
June: Come Lasses and Lads

Composer: Ambleside Online’s composer study rotation has three composers with which I’m totally unfamiliar, but I’m always glad to see the link to Classics for Kids at the bottom. And, generally, once we start listening I find some familiar pieces after all. We don’t do too much analysis of the composers. We just listen to one particular piece each week.

Picture Study: Similarly with the AO picture study rotation, we don’t do too much analysis or biographical research. After I introduce the term’s artist and give a smidge of background info, we just look at one print each week. Typically there’s something memorable, whether for it’s beauty or because there’s a horse’s backside prominently featured (seriously, that was all the rage around here one term). This year we have an English landscape artist, a Dutch Baroque artist, and a Pre-Raphaelite artist.

Shakespeare: This year we are shaking up the Shakespeare rotation. I have just never liked Lamb’s or Nesbit’s retellings, and A10 is still not ready for original language (or maybe it’s me that’s not ready with J5 under foot). I have recently fallen head-over-heels in love with anything written by Roger Lancelyn Green. When I found out he has a book of Shakespeare retellings called Tales from Shakespeare, I bought the book and plan to read straight through it during Morning Time. It’s out of print, so shop with care. I snagged it for a good price. Shakespeare uses so many characters that I always employ a dry erase board for keeping people straight.

Poetry: We are a bit behind on poetry reading, so we are still reading a poet scheduled in Year 2. This term we are reading:

Poetry Christine Rossetti
Poetry Rudyard Kipling

A Child’s Garden of Verses (book) by Robert Louis Stevenson and illustrated by Gyo Fujikawa

Science: We will continue our study of natural history with nature hikes, study of field guides, and nature notebook entries as well as with scheduled scientist biographies. But, this year we are adding a science text called R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey to our Morning Time. AO schedules optional experiment books by Robert Friedhoffer in Years 4 and 5 to provide more hands-on science, but I struggled to implement them, so a friend has brought this curriculum into my life. I’m feeling good about it but have yet to try it out.

That’s it for our Morning Time plans right now. Today I will be printing and assembling binders. Wish me luck!

And, good luck to you in your new school year (unless you’re one of those year-round people and, in that case, you’re on the homestretch!)

Until next time, I’m reading:


Moderately challenging books:

Stiff books:



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