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Morning Time: A Sacrifice of Love

A few weeks ago, I came down with a terrible upper respiratory virus that took me down. One night, I was up with a fever and assumed that the next day I would need to declare a “teacher sick day.”   The previous night, before the fever set in, I had filled out the kiddos’ spiral notebooks with their independent work that they were to complete the following day.  When they awoke, they found me still lingering in bed, coughing and miserable.  Being the conscientious kids that they are (or having a first-born, type A daughter who can manage the home as well as myself and promptly got her brothers on task), they began their school work before I could tell them that I was just not up to completing school that day.  By the time I realized what they were doing, they were well on their way, and so I let them continue to work.  Eventually I hobbled to the couch, wrapped myself in blankets and armed myself with boxes of kleenex.  They brought me their completed work to review while I sat on the couch and sipped tea.  Within a few hours, they were all done with school and I was left scratching my head wondering, “How are we already done with school?  We never finish with our formal lessons this early.” Then it dawned on me.

We had skipped Morning Time.

And in a flash of feverish-illogic, I let my mind wander to the, “What if I cut out morning time from our school days every day?” scenario.  If we took out “extras” and just kept the “basics,” the most essential components, we would all gain a good hour and a half every day. It would also free up my summer time in planning and preparing in so many areas!  Further, it would loosen up some of the curriculum budget by cutting out this component of our day.  Considering I had spent the previous few weeks evaluating and re-evaluating our school schedule, looking for little ways here and there to simplify and shorten up our days, this idea was a little enticing.

And then I sneezed and my feverish haze passed.

While it is true that cutting out Morning Time would free up some time and money, both valuable resources, it would, instead, rob us of the very essence of what I believe we are striving for in our homeschools—to grow in virtue through pursuing truth, goodness, and beauty.

As Kevin Clark and Ravi Jain so eloquently state in The Liberal Arts Tradition,

“…the songs we sing, the stories we read, and the art we make and admire, form our souls.  They go directly to the heart and fasten mightily upon them, making one the friend of reason.  Musical education is soul-craft:  carried out properly it tunes the soul, and makes one receptive to truth and goodness.” -p. 26

Morning Time is the opportunity to work with God to craft our children’s souls…and our own.  And that is done through prayer, worship, singing, memorizing and reciting scripture so that we can have God’s word written on our hearts and in our minds.  It is also done through reading beautiful literature, dabbling in Shakespeare, creating beautiful projects with our hands, and letting the works of great composers or beautiful masterpieces settle deep into our subconscious.  All of these practices shape our loves and attune us to our Creator.  These are not the extras, these are the essentials.

“…he who has received this true education of the inner being will most shrewdly perceive omissions of faults in art and nature, and with a true taste, while he praises and rejoices over and receives into his soul the good, he will justly blame and hate the bad, now in his youth, even before he is able to know the reason why; and when reason comes he will recognize and salute the friend with whom his education has made him long familiar.” –Plato’s Republic

This is a lofty goal—helping to attune our children’s hearts to know truth, goodness, and beauty.  And the reality is, the effort it takes to pull this off in a school day is a sacrifice.

It’s a sacrifice of time.  It’s a sacrifice of energy.  Most of all, it’s a sacrifice of love.  And as Christ taught us from the cross, all sacrifices made out of love will be blessed.

For more information on Morning Time see: