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Help me plan our morning time: Need "short and sweet" habit/virtue/character book

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Hi Everyone,


I am in the midst of planning for next year.   My kid's ages are 9 yo (4th grade),  8 yo (3rd grade), and a very needy almost 3-year-old.   I am a nondenominational Christian.  (I mention this because it might affect what resource you recommend we use for virtue study.  :)   )  


Typically I just focus on getting the 3Rs completed before lunch in our homeschool.   But next year, I am considering adding a morning time to our day.   I would really like to include something in our "morning time" that deals with character/virtue/habits.  I don't personally believe that character can be taught completely through reading a book.   I believe you have to learn it by living and practicing.   So I am really looking for a resource that I can use as a guide to give us ideas on specific things we can practice in real life and work on as a family throughout the day.


Our toddler will be joining us for morning time....or at least playing quietly nearby. (I am laughing as I type the words quietly. hahaha, right!)  So I need our entire morning time to be short and sweet because the toddler will derail anything that takes longer than 15 minutes.  I fear anything longer might make things more stressful, not less.   I am also balancing a pretty wide age gap.   I want to include my toddler as much as possible, so I don't want everything to be over his head.  But, at the same time, I also want to be sure I am "feeding" the older children what they need.   So I am trying to pick resources that will be interesting to a wide age range.   


So far our short morning time routine will include:

1) Sing Doxology  (Everyone can sing along as much as they are able.)  


2)  Say a prayer from the book "Prayers for Children" (aimed at toddler, but I think the verses, words, and pictures will appeal to all of us.)   We will say the same prayer every day for a week or two and review family favorites.  No set schedule.   


3)   Character / Habit / Virtue Talk and perhaps short story or devotional- (Need resource for this!)


4)   Recite 1-2 verses from the sermon on the mount each day.  (We will work on the same verses all week and try to build up to memorizing a large part of this.)   (I'm worried I might lose toddler here, but it is a goal I have always wanted to work towards.)  


5)   Recite CC Timeline, we will work on a small chunk each week. (hoping I can bring the toddler back in with the music and hand motions.  This tends to be a rowdy event, so I thought I would end with this.)   


The two resources I am drawn to (so far) are Our Family 24 ways and Laying Down the Rails (the handbook with all of the stories).  I don't own either of these books, so the only thing I have to go by are the short samples available online.   


My questions are:

1)  Would it be an overkill to try to work through both of these books this year?  Maybe I could use "24 ways" as a guide and pick habits from laying down the rails to work on that correspond to our current "way"?    I don't want to schedule too much or "over buy" books like I always do.  hahaha


2)   Is there one resource you would recommend over the other for our unique situation?   Maybe I could use one this year and the other the next?


3)   Are there other resources that I haven't looked at that might work better?   


4)  How long do you think that entire morning routine would take?   


Thanks in advance for any comments/advice you have!

Cathy (the girl who thinks in lists!)  

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I think in lists too! Wanna be best friends?


There is a resource I found, I believe through Ambleside Online, that has music for the Psalms. I intend to pick one Psalm a month and sing it together every morning as part of our scripture memorization. It seems you have a lot going on so you might not want to add to it, but I really liked my idea so I wanted to share.


Eta: We really like The Children's Book of Virtues.

Edited by Slache
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I'm listening in here because I'm giving morning time a try here too, and I see that 3/5 of my kids match up to your kids' ages.


Most of my resources are Catholic, which wouldn't be helpful for you so I won't list them. But I'm still contemplating some kind of virtue training too. Looking forward to seeing your replies!

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I shared this reply on another forum. Here are some great resources to consider. Not Consumed and Doorposts are my favorites!


Check out the blog - Not Consumed. She has a few studies that are great for working on character.


I've also used parts of the following :

The Character Corner has Little Lads and Ladies of Virtue AND Lads and Ladies of Wisdom

The Road to 31 offers ABC's for Godly Girls/Boys

Reluctant Entertainer has Balcony Girls

There are also several out there based on the Armor of God

Also a popular option is We Choose Virtues

Doorposts has a lot of character building guidance

Simply Charlotte Mason sells a book and DVD called Laying Down the Rails


The first ones on this list are easier to implement, and the latter give more guidance and let you decide how to teach. I have focused a lot on character building in the early years.

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