Synopsis (courtesy of Amazon):
Bring delight back to your homeschool.
Have you fallen into a routine of checking boxes? Do you wonder why you don’t have time to focus on building your children’s character and love of learning?
That can change.
Better Together teaches you how to design a part of your homeschool day where the entire family can learn together. This time, known as “Morning Time,” has exploded in popularity since its inclusion in Sarah Mackenzie’s bestseller Teaching From Rest. Now homeschool mom and former teacher Pam Barnhill breaks down the practice for every homeschooler.
Inside you’ll discover:
- Why every family can benefit from Morning Time – no matter what homeschooling method they use.
- The secret to building relationships by delighting in learning together.
- Practical tips for a successful Morning Time.
- Resources, book lists, and ideas. You will return to our selections again and again.
- Examples and interviews from moms showing how it looks in their homes.
Better Together is the indispensable guide to creating a time in your day to focus on the things that matter most in your homeschool.
“Any cultivation of discipline makes us better persons.”
Pam Barnhill, Better Together, P. 30
I think it was about 5 years ago that I realized that it was just too hard to be spread so thin as a mom. Yeah, I had been a parent for 6 or 7 years at that point and had at least 4 children. But, even though I was homeschooled as a child, being on the other side of the dining room table was a completely new concept! I was trying to help my youngest sister do history, mine do math, another student learn how to read and keep the younger ones from causing who-knows-what-havoc! It was about this time that I had decided to transform into a Charlotte Mason method. I wanted more of a togetherness. I figure the best way to do this was begin with everyone gathered together to open up with Bible, and all the subjects that needed to be done as a family, and believe me, with all this on my plate, I was combining as many subjects into a family centered subject: history, geography, picture study, memory, science, language arts, and more. I won’t pretend it was a perfect picture. Some days went more smoothly than others, but this was the only way that getting those subjects in was going to work. Sometimes life happened and we couldn’t begin as a unit, and for sure we wouldn’t get that done at all. It just wasn’t possible. Once we were scattered it was hard to bring it all back together again. A year or two of getting our morning rhythm, or routine down, I learned of “Morning Basket Time.” I saw various YouTube videos, I heard Sarah MacKenzie talk of it, and it clicked why this method was working well for me! I had never given it a name. But as I heard of what many homeschooling moms were incorporating into their Morning Basket Time, it opened up a whole new world.
I am a part of a group of ladies that reviews selected books periodically. The group is titled, Reading Between the Lines. It is hosted by April from the Channel, A Simple Rugged Path, and Ingrid from Mommy and Mia’s Homeschool Chronicles. The choice for February was Pam Barnhill’s Better Together. The book is about how Morning Time came about,its benefits, all the subjects you can tackle, how to do loop scheduling, simplifying your homeschool, why this method is for any homeschool method, and my favorite, interviews with homeschool moms about how this looks like in their home.
“Love is the beginning and the end of education, because love is the way we become more human together.” Stratford Caldecott
I was reflecting a lot on this book. I mentioned above that I had done my own morning time but it was out of necessity. This book really made me reflect on the why I chose these things. Was it to complete some checklist? I had this reoccurring thought that, “what I set before my eyes is what I will acclimate to.” That is why I pursue Morning Time. It is to set before my eyes what is Euphemia, of good report, (See Philippians 4:8).
There is so much that I want to share with my children. But, I cannot possibly share all of it. However, I can set before them the type of feast of ideas that is, what Pam Barnhill calls “truth, goodness, and beauty.” It is through this family time together that we set the tone for the day. Barnhill again says, “In morning time, I am a fellow student in this matter– not a quizzing mom.” Morning time is not just for the children, to put into the vessel as much as you can cram, as Charlotte Mason says. But this is a time for both student and teacher to learn, to “form our souls”. These morning time subjects are not the mere add-ons but the heart and soul of the education.
“Education is a life. That life is sustained on ideas. Ideas are spiritual origin, and God has made us so that we get them chiefly as we convey them to one another, whether by word of mouth, written page, scripture word, musical symphony; but we must sustain a child’s inner life with ideas as we sustain his body with food.” Charlotte Mason, Philosophy of Education.
I would have loved to have more examples, but the wide world-web gives us ample opportunities through blogs, vlogs, and Instagram pictures of what Morning Time looks like for various homeschoolers. In conclusion, I found this book to be very encouraging. I love the writing style. I gained a lot in perspective. If you have not read Sarah MacKenzie’s Teaching From Rest, I would recommend doing that one first, and then picking this book up. If you have read MacKenzie’s book, then I think you would enjoy this one for sure.