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If you have ever been in a situation where you were mortified at something your kids did then, well, you are in good company. It happens to all of us at some time or another. That is why my guest today took matters into her own hands and decided that the holiday season was the perfect time to teach some vital manners to her children. She did it each day during the season in her Morning Time and she is sharing the how-to-do-it with us. Don’t miss this episode!

Pam: I tried to bring things up before they really, really happened so that it wasn’t like everybody looks knowingly at the guilty child when we’re talking about it. You know, instead it was just like, here’s some things that we need to kind of head off at the pass and it’s not a big deal. And so we don’t have to be butting heads over this. It’s just us learning how to do life together.
This is Your Morning Basket, where we help you bring truth, goodness, and beauty to your homeschool day.
Hi everyone. And welcome to episode 105 of the Your Morning Basket podcast. I’m Pam Barnhill, your host, and I am so happy that you are joining me here today. Well, on today’s episode of the podcast, I am also being joined by a very good friend of mine Brandy Vencel one of my fellow Schole sisters. And we’re going to be talking today about using the time in your circle time, especially during the holiday season to work on some manners with your kids. Now, holiday manners can be tough because the holidays usually only come about once a year, right? And so it’s been a long time. Since the last time our kids have a kind of had to put these holiday manners on, and there’s some special subtleties that come with navigating family and friends and everything that’s going on at Christmas time. And so Brandy Vencel noticed she had a few little rough edges with her kids one year and decided that circle time during the holidays was a great time to tackle these issues. And she turned it into almost a devotional that she is going to share with us.

Now, we’re going to give you the download link to go download Brandy’s circle time manners class that you can use for yourself this Christmas season. But we’re also going to talk today about how you can use it and exactly what it looks like in your home. So this is a wonderful gift that Brandy’s giving us. And I think you’re going to love this episode of the podcast.
Now, speaking of gifts, that is not the only gift we have for you today. We actually are giving as a Christmas gift to the podcast listeners this year, that’s you, but we are giving away a set of our Morning Time Explorations. Now these are usually reserved just for members of the, your morning basket plus community. But this Christmas we are sharing our Christmas Around the World Explorations with you, and we would love for you to have those absolutely free. So if you go to Pam, you can download your free set of Christmas Around the World Explorations and study Christmas in all different cultures this year. So thank you so very much for being a listener and go do that now. And on with the podcast.
Brandy Vencel is a Charlotte Mason homeschooling mom of four, and the host of the popular podcast Schole sisters. She is the author of Start Here, a journey through Charlotte Mason’s 20 principles and the after thinkers guide to Charlotte Mason’s home education, which can be found on her blog, Afterthoughts. Brandy has a heart for serving classical and Charlotte Mason, homeschooling moms through the Ambleside Online auxiliary board and the Schole sistership, a community founded by the Schole Sisters for moms seeking comradery around big ideas in education.
Brandy, welcome to the podcast. Thank you.
Glad to be here, Or I, you really should say welcome back to the podcast because I think this is about your third or fourth time.
I think so. I try to get you to let me come here once in a while.
We love to have you, because there are such great, big, wonderful, juicy conversations that we always have, but for anybody who might be new and just listening to this one first, could you start off by telling us a little bit about your Morning Time?
Sure. So my oldest actually graduated in I’m like, how am I forgetting this 2020? And so this is our, this is our second full year. All right, I’m doing the math and I’m feeling like I’m wrong, but I’m actually not wrong. So this is our second full year of a Morning Time without him, but I still call it circle time, as you know, so we only have we’re down to three and I have all teenagers and we only do it about three days a week as well, because we have a co-op day and we have one day that we have appointments. And so we’re down to Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and it’s, we’re actually working really great.
I’m really enjoying like the teenager circle time. I think I always thought that I would, but it’s been fun to have it realized, I guess. So we do a little bit of everything. I mean, we always start with Bible and I’m trying to remember to incorporate things like that. We did when they were little like singing, recitation, that kind of thing.
But a lot of it is where I put anything that can be combined. So like grammar lessons, I don’t think they all need to be in different levels of grammar. So we do all of that together. Church history. Is there, what else is there? Oh, we’re doing, we’re actually doing grammar poetry, which like a poetry curriculum. And I saved that so that I could do all three of them together because I did like it, but I didn’t want him to teach it four times. And so my youngest one is a little younger than my oldest one was when he did it. And then my oldest child in circle time is older than anybody ever was when they were doing it. But that way I can have all three of them together, which is really nice. So we’re on a great time and yeah, I am so glad that we stuck with it and have kept doing it because there were hard years in the middle, but doing it with everybody as teenagers, just super fun.
Oh, I love that. I love that. Yeah. I’m finding that too. Cause you know, my youngest is 12 at 12, 14 and 16 right now at this minute.
So it’s really easy to remember everybody’s ages and I will say I love it just as much as I always have, if not more. Yeah. Yeah, for Sure. Yeah. It’s just really a lot of fun. And so you, you do give a thumbs up to the Grammar of Poetry.
I do. I do when I did it with my oldest, I had the DVDs and we did all of that. And this time I’m just teaching from the teacher’s guide cause I’ve been through it once. And I find skipping the step of having to get out of DVD player DVD and all, I mean like I will just not do it because I don’t want the hassle of all that. So if I can just get out with teacher guide, crack it open and do it, that works better for me at this point. But I think I didn’t really study poetry growing up. So I think the reason why I feel okay doing that is because I did do it with the scripted lessons with the video lessons the first time. So I feel a little more like I have my bearings, if that makes sense.
Oh, So good to know. Good to know. Okay. Yeah. I’ve heard good things about that curriculum, so, okay. So you did something kind of genius a few years ago and then the lovely person that you are, you wrote about it and shared it on your blog. And I thought that this was something that just really needed to be shared with the world.
So at some point you noticed a problem that you had and you set out trying to solve this problem in your Morning Time. So do you want to tell us, because I think what we’re going to break down here, Brandy is not just the particular problem that you solved and talk about that that’s certainly what we’re going to do, but also the fact that you had a problem and used Morning Time as a way to solve the problem that you had. So we could take this same idea and extrapolate it out to any problem that we might be facing. Yeah. Yeah. So tell us a little bit about what you noticed a few years ago.
It was that my children were completely embarrassing. Specifically. They were embarrassing at Christmas though they were actually embarrassing and other places as well, but I, I can be sort of a hands-off mom and while that can have benefits, I think I just expected my kids to intuit certain things that they then did not intuit. And so we got to this point where they were about trying to think how old were they? They were probably like, I don’t know, 2, 4, 6, and eight, something like that. When I realized how completely rude they were at Christmas time. And at first I was like, do I have rude kids? But they seem really sweet sometimes. And I just concluded that I just had not actually taught them explicitly what I expected from them. And so they just, you know, said and did whatever popped into their heads, which was some times endearing and other times like completely rude.
So what I ended up doing was deciding that I was going to put them in manners boot camp before Christmas so that we could have a nice Christmas and I didn’t have to be horrified by the rude things they said to their elders.
Actually, I was going to have to look at my, I pulled up my copy of it so that I could remember all the things I taught them. Cause I’m trying to remember. I even think there’s one that’s not in there, but okay. So here’s the thing. We didn’t do Santa Claus growing up. I mean, we did like the stories of Santa Claus, but we didn’t do like Santa gifts and Santa come into your house and that kind of thing.
Well, so one of the things my kids would do is go to Sunday school in a ruined Santa Claus for everybody, which is great. And so it wasn’t on the list because I figured most people don’t have this problem. So in, in the download that I do, it’s not in there, but I actually didn’t have a day of like, you’re not allowed to talk to other kids about Santa.
Okay. Well as somebody who did do Santa Claus, because my family did Santa Claus, I mean, it never occurred to me not to do Santa Claus. It was just something that my family had always done and I enjoyed Santa Claus as a kid. And so my kids did too. I really appreciate this because to me that is a pet peeve of mine for somebody to feel like they need to ruin Santa Claus for, for somebody else.
Oh, I just, it was so it was so embarrassing. Cause I was like, you know, you make some decisions for your family and then you’re not intending to make them for everybody else. But when your kid goes and does something like that, you kind of just made the decision for everybody, which is totally not fair. So.
Right. Yeah. And, and so yeah, I really, really appreciate that. And there are going to be people out there who disagree and that’s fine, I’m fine with you disagreeing with me over this, but I, I do think it’s something that each family should decide for themselves. So I appreciate the fact that you did that. So, you know, I think something to point out here, Brandy is that your kids are not special in this situation. Like they’re not especially rude. They’re just normal kids. Right?
Totally. I totally think it’s like a stream of consciousness. Like if for a good example would be they get a gift and it’s something that they already own. And instead of knowing that they should be quiet about that and say, thank you. They say what pops into their head, which is I already have this, which is know completely disappointing to great grandma who thinks she picked out this perfect thing that they’re just going to love, you know, but who would not have noticed if they just said thank you quietly. And you know, looked at me and knew that I would take care of it later.
Right. I think, when kids are little, we really spend a lot of time kind of working with them on building the habits of saying please and saying “thank you” and being polite and things like that. But, but I think the problem that we run into when we come up with a situation like this is twofold, number one, I mean, how many times a year do you get gifts, really Christmas and your birthday, right? So it’s not happening. There are multiple times each day to work with your child and prompt them to say, please, and thank you. But at Christmas time, it’s, you know, Christmas and your birthday, that’s about it. The second thing is the subtleties involved, right? When you think about it, it’s not like somebody handing you a juice cup or getting your shoes for you or feeding the dog for you or something like that. There are some real subtleties involved in getting and giving gifts.
And this idea of you’re getting something that you already own and you can’t just blurt out the first thing that comes to mind, you know?
Right. Right now it’s true. There’s not enough practice for them to get good at it. Like Christmas is here and gone and they make the same mistakes year after year after year. And I mean, they may get it by age 12, 14 without training, but I just, I was just horrified. They really hurt one of their grandparents, like one of their great grandparents feelings one year. And I just felt so bad. And I thought, this is actually my fault. Like I didn’t tell them how they should act. And so they acted the way they thought they should act. So I just, yeah. Yeah. So we, I just decided, you know, what they need, they need explicit teaching and it turned out to be this great experience also because it was a chance for them to start to understand that subtlety. I never actually used that word subtlety, but such a good one, because that was really what was going on is that they just saw the surface.
Right. They just saw their experience and they didn’t realize how, you know, an 80 something year old woman spending her time and energy and money to go shopping for them. That’s like a big deal. Like she doesn’t have a lot of any of that. Right. And, and then there, you know, it’s kind of like when, when you’re little, your world is really small and then when you’re really old, your world is really small. And so like her whole world is, you know, making her grandchildren happy and her great-grandchildren happy. And so I just didn’t want them to be kind of trampling on that for their great grandparents, especially, but you know, they’re too little to be able to reflect on that.
But what was interesting was that, you know, through the lessons, we actually ended up having some really good, good discussions. And it was like, especially the older ones, kind of like a little light bulb turned on like, oh, you know, the gifts. Aren’t just about me. It’s actually about also the person who, you know, spent the time to go shopping for me and was thinking of me. And I can say, thank you because of their intentions and their goodness towards me. And not just because of what the gift actually is, you know? And so I don’t, I, I, I think that’s a maturing process, but we were able to have those discussions younger just because we took time to try to put this together. And I mean, it really was a lot of times just me trying to not be embarrassed in public, but there were signs of benefits.
I love that though. I love that they saw that. And you know, just before we move on from this particular concept of your kids being kids or, you know, my kids being kids, cause you know, we’ve had these same problems before is that, you know, the kid was just coming out and saying the truth, which is I have this already. Right. And so, because we tell our kids to tell the truth, you know, until you instruct them that thank you is the appropriate answer. And that’s all you have to say, you know, then they’re going to do what we’ve instructed on do, which is to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
That’s a good point.
So, Oh, okay. So we’ve established that it’s not just Brandy’s kids, it’s everybody’s kids and Hey, we’re doing what kids do. Not because they were purposefully being rude. Right. Because I, you know, I feel the need to stand up for your children. They were just, you know, telling the truth there. So how did you go about tackling this? You saw that there was a need there. Why did you decide that Morning Time was a good place to do this Really it’s because I think they all needed it.
I mean, maybe the very first year, because I did this a few years in a row. Once I had written it up, we kind of did it every year until I felt like they pretty much had it down. So we did a re when we did it more intense the first year and then kind of did it a refresher. And my youngest, the first year was probably only two or three I’m thinking.
And so he obviously was probably not even gonna remember on Christmas day, but the rest of them, you know, we really, I used circle time because I felt like they all needed to know it. And so I’ve always used, I’ve always thought of circle. Time is the place where I do the things that can be done together. So to me it was just a logical place to put it, but I didn’t really anticipate the kinds of discussions we had. And so I’m so glad that I put it there because it was much more interesting than it would have been to just take a side, maybe my oldest child and teach him. And then later the next one and teach her or something. It was, it was actually ended up being a lot of fun and getting to see them, you know, basically learning to navigate social situations and think about it in advance. I, I didn’t realize how fun that could be to talk about beforehand.
I love it. I love it. Okay. So you decided to do this in the Morning Time. So how did you go about figuring out how to teach this to your kids? Cause I’m going to tell you guys, we’re going to include the link for you to go download this from Brandy’s blog at And it’s going to be And we’re going to include a link in the show notes, but when you open this up, this is not just one page, it’s multiple pages, it’s five whole pages long because you’re teaching five different manners in there. And this is pretty meaty stuff.
Like, I mean, like there’s, there’s a lot in here. It’s not just, you’re telling them, say, thank you for your kids. So how did you go about deciding how you were going to teach these?
I think some of it was just because for our Christmas circles, like we had it, let me back up a little bit. So for a very long time, until they got old enough that I really couldn’t spend the time on this, I would basically around Thanksgiving switch everything to just a Christmas circle time. It was like 100% Christmas all the time. And part of that was just other ways of preparing for Christmas. Like that’s what we do during Advent. We prepare for Christmas. And so if I wanted them to know songs to sing on Christmas day, we needed to practice those beforehand or those kinds of things. And so I think one of the reasons why it ended up kind of going this route because it’s very scripture centered, like everyday has a little tiny scripture passage, sometimes just one verse. And then it’s just a few discussions. And so there’s, there’s five points. Like there’s five points for every manner.
But because at that time I was doing circle time five days a week. And so there was just one for every day. That’s the only reason. But I think I started thinking about this idea of like, I really, I really want their view of manners and how we treat other people to be scripture centered. And so I wanted to keep pointing them back to scripture and showing them places in scripture where maybe there were examples of this, or there were ways to think about this. And so that’s really why I chose to do it this way. So every single day has a scripture and then every single day has some discussion questions. And I did say in the blog post that goes with it, like, you know, if you only do circle time three days a week, like I do now, then two, three, and the questions are for a discussion, which means you don’t have to use them all. I mean, it’s like I was trying to prepare in advance so that I didn’t have to make decisions on the fly. And so I made notes for myself that were very thorough, but I don’t think I ever used every single thing that’s written down here at any given year.
We know we did it a number of times. It was just like, this was all here so that I didn’t have to. So I didn’t have to think.
I love it all about reducing decision fatigue. Let me tell ya. So yeah, At one time It almost ends up being like a mini devotional. Really?
Yeah, It does. Yeah.
And so if, if, if the idea of training your kids on manners is not appealing to you because some of us might, would rather pluck our eye lashes out or something like that, then have to deal with this. This is actually a really great way to do it because it does, it ends up being almost like a little Christmas devotional and just some really great discussion questions in here that are gonna lend themselves to having some of these really meaty discussions with your kids.
And I love the fact that you say don’t do them all, you know, don’t feel like you’ve got to, there are 25 in here total. And so the idea is not to start on December 1st and do one every day until December 25th. Right. The idea is to use what’s there for your needs and leave the rest because you know what, you’re going to come back to it next year,
Right. Yep.
Cause they’re not going to get it in one year. Remember because they don’t, you know, only, only a couple of times a year, are we getting these kinds of gifts? So Yeah.
You might not even want to do all the manners. I mean, they could look through the set of five and say, you know what, my kids, aren’t great on this, but you know, they’re really terrible about, I don’t know, like one of them is don’t brag about your gifts and this happens in our neighborhood every year. And it’s the worst because there’s some kids who have a very generous Santa clause and some kids that don’t and I’m like, oh, I wish that the parents would just tell them not to do it.
Right. But I just always feel bad for the little boy that doesn’t have an intact family and doesn’t get a lot of gifts and it’s just really sad. And the other kids are very excited and they don’t even realize what they’re doing, but, you know, so it’s that kind of thing though, where it was like, there was a year where I was like, if we don’t get through anything else, that’s the one we’re going to get through because I don’t want my kids to be the ones piling on inadvertently and making that little boy feel bad. And so, you know, so that was our focus that time and everything else was like extra if we had time to get to it. But it was just, I picked the manner that for that year, I felt like we really needed to do, because I’d seen what had happened the previous year.
Right. So do you find that, I mean, did any of them ever look at you and say, gosh, mom, we’ve gone. We did this last year. Do we have to do it again? I don’t remember anyone doing that, but it’s possible that they learned enough manners. They’re being nice to me.
I think, I think the heart behind my question is really this though. Did you find that the conversations were just as rich year after year? Like it’s totally something you could do every year and things are slightly going to shift and change depending on their perspective. And it’s not something that’s just absolutely. You know, their thoughts are going to change because they’re getting older.
Right. Yes. I do think it was worth it to do it a number of years in a row. And I will say like, once I feel like they got it, I stopped. I didn’t like drag this into the ground and do it every year. You know, even when they were like, you know, 18 or something, but only They got It. I can text him at college. Here’s your discussion question for today? Remember your manners? Yeah. So I mean, I did it a number of years, but I think I did stop maybe before they got annoyed with me, it’s possible, but it was definitely worth it to do it many years.
And part of it was just because they didn’t necessarily remember year to year. I mean, just like they didn’t remember their manners initially from year to year. They also didn’t even really remember the discussions that we had. Like it took a few years before they even really got the pattern because 12 months is a long time when you’re a little child, it’s a huge percentage of your life.
And so for them, I mean, for me, it was every year, but for them it was a lifetime apart, especially for the littlest ones. So it was definitely worth revisiting. And then it was nice too, I mean, having done it with the older children, I feel like it kind of the quote right ages because they were six and eight.
They also helped when I was there. They did police some of what went on. And I, I heard about this later, but you know, they said, well, I caught so-and-so, you know, starting to brag about her presents. And so I told her to stop them. I said, remember, we don’t brag about our gifts. And it was, you know, it was very convenient because when you’re at, you know, a holiday thing and you as the woman, you’re in the kitchen, helping everybody with the food, you don’t necessarily know what’s going on with Johnny so-and-so in the other room talking too much. Anyway. So there was a little bit of that, like where the older kids were kind of invested because they eventually got old enough to also be embarrassed by the antics of the younger children.
Okay. Well, let’s talk about those ages for just a minute. So let’s say I’m a mom with a bunch of little kids. And so you would think that about eight, six to eight is probably the right age when your oldest is that age and then just let everybody else come along for the ride. Is that about? Yeah, that’s what I, that’s what I did. I probably could have started with my oldest a little bit younger. I just didn’t think about it. I think I didn’t think about it until I reached this critical mass of embarrassment. So, but it, it felt like the right age, especially when I talk about this discussion style that I had in there, that it just, they were definitely old enough to have a good conversation. And then the little ones did chime in. I mean, it’s not like they didn’t participate just because they were, you know, two and four or so. I had a kind of a wordy four year old at the time. So she had a lot to say, sometimes it wasn’t related to what we were talking about, but we had a good time. But I do think with this, I mean, you can teach manners younger than this, but the discussion style, I think makes them need to be probably at least five, I would think to be able to have a good talk about it. It kind of depends on the child though. Some children are born having conversations.
And then is there an age where you think you wouldn’t start with something like this? I mean, if let’s just, you know, throw an 11 or 12 year old under the bus, if they’re still struggling with these kinds of things, I mean, this would still be appropriate even for that age. Right?
I think it is. I just think we have to be probably just a little more careful in how we do it and not make it sound babyish, I guess, and how we do it. But I mean, I’m even thinking, like, there’s just other things I didn’t get this formal with my teenagers, but there were still other things when it came to family events that had to be taught over the years and I did use this kind of style, just not quite as formal. things. Like, no, you can’t bring a book to your cousin’s birthday party because you need to be paying attention to everybody. Who’s like, you need to be fully present and I’m not going to let you bring a book, even though that’s probably what I did as a child, but it doesn’t make me. Right. So, you know, or I don’t know, I’m trying to think of other things like teenagers will start mumbling and not engaging and kind of have to be told, like, that’s not how we’re going to do things and no, you’re still part of the family, even though maybe you don’t feel like when you’re starting for 13 being part of the family. So we still did some of this kind of thing in circle time. I just tried to do it a little less formal, a little bit more like funny. Like I tried to make it a little bit more lighthearted so they could kind of like get the joke and not resent me for it.
Yeah. Cause it’s a big thing, you know, in Charlotte Mason circles, you know, children are born persons and also that the mother is not supposed to like, and I’m gonna say this badly, Charlotte, Mason, people don’t, you know, write me or go ahead and write me and Dawn will take care of you. But you know, it’s like the mom’s not supposed to harp on things.
She’s not supposed to preach things. She’s just supposed to like present the information and have the discussion and step out of the way and not, not nag. Right. And so that’s one of the reasons why I love the fact that you use all the different verses in here and have a discussion. But I mean, this is the same approach. I think you’re going to catch more flies with this kind of honey than you would by doing the nagging.
And I do think this is a little bit it’s less combative because it’s not starting off with you made this mistake and now we’re going to remedy this in circle time. Because by the time I did this, like it was a year ago, I wasn’t bringing up old things that had happened. So it’s more like, here’s how we act and we’re going to talk about this and we’re going to talk about it before anybody makes a mistake.
And so it’s not like it’s not preaching in the sense that like, it’s not like I’ve identified, you know, all your hidden sins and now we’re talking about it. And I kind of felt like it’s the same kind of thing when they’re teenagers. Like I tried to bring things up before they really, really happened so that it wasn’t like everybody looks knowingly at the guilty child when we’re talking about it.
You know, instead it was just like, here’s some things that we need to kind of head off at the pass and it’s not a big deal. And so we don’t have to be butting heads over this. It’s just us learning how to do life together. Not a big deal. I don’t know. I found that that is better.
Charlotte Mason even has a book that she wrote called ourselves and it is direct teaching, but it’s just like, you talk about these things before. They’re an issue. So like the very beginning of it talks about basically being a slave to your five senses. So what does it look like if you’re a slave to your taste gluttony, you know, what does it look like if you’re a slave to your thirst, drunkenness, those kinds of things.
But it set up to where you’re talking about all of that before a child ever is tempted really in those ways. And so it’s not, it’s not combative. You’re just on the same team, learning about life and the things that humans naturally fall prey to. And it’s, so I feel like it’s a way of like seeking wisdom together instead of nagging is often like I’m standing against my child’s behavior.
Like you are wrong. And I’m going to remind you 500 times today, maybe six, which is very different from like here, we’re going to, you know, read about these things and think about what, you know, good and good and mannerly behavior looks like. So,
okay. Okay. So let me ask you, I’m, I’m looking at the download right now and the first manner is to say Merry Christmas. So would you, when you introduce this to your child, I mean, or to your kids do the whole group, would you just, would you start by saying, we’re going to talk today about why it’s important to say Merry Christmas, or would you just read the passage and start discussing the questions and maybe end it with, you know, if they didn’t come to that conclusion themselves, end it with that whole idea of, Hey, this is like a same Merry Christmas to each other.
That’s probably a great way to do it, but I actually did tell them this week’s manner is say Merry Christmas. I didn’t say that.
And then, okay, so there’s another question. So did you do it like that? Like, would you work on one manner for like, if you have five days, five days or if you have two days, two days or three and then move to the next one. Okay. So you actually, you actually stuck on say Merry Christmas for a few days before you moved on to say, thank you for your, And this was very specific because I had children who would like refuse to say, I don’t know why, but they would refuse to say Merry Christmas to anybody like multiple of my kids. What is wrong with you? So, so we just, I just set it up as a manner. Like that’s just something that we say, but they had to be convinced, which is why there’s five days.
Okay. And that’s a good point. So if you have kids who like, you know, are very happy to say Merry Christmas to everyone, this is one you can probably skip. Exactly. Yes. Yeah, Yeah. Very much so. Okay. I love it. I love it. Love it. Love it.
Okay. Before we go, you mentioned that you just do Christmas circle time from the end of Thanksgiving through the basically when you stop for Christmas.
So what are some other things that you have added? You mentioned the songs, the Christmas songs, which I think is absolutely brilliant. If you have young children or, you know, we’re not necessarily familiar with these songs though. I would say that you can just turn on the radio about Halloween.
Oh my goodness. It starts so early now probably like September.
Most of them are secular. I will say most of them are secular teaching them the Christmas songs so that they will be able to sing them on Christmas. I love that. And then for that, just look at your church tradition. I don’t know about your church, my church sings the same songs on Christmas every single year, but what else did you do?
We did Cindy Rollins’s Messiah study. We did that a very primitive version of it.
Oh it’s fancy, you can get the little advent book. I think it was literally a printout chart at one point then, and then you just matched it to the CD and she told you what CD she was using. So that’s what I say. I still have that CD.
And like the printout chart we did that I also did, and this is just kinda my own thing, but Rembrandt has a number of different Christmas paintings. And so every year I just, I have a set of, I have six frames up on the wall in my dining area that I put their current artists study. So every year I take those down and put up, I refill it with the Rembrandt painting. So there’s like, I’m trying to remember what they are. There’s like an annunciation. There’s like, there’s a nativity. There’s just a number of things that are associated with basically Luke chapter two, I would say most of them are Luke chapter two. And then there’s a little bit from some of the other gospels.
And so, so every year I’ve put those up and then we will do like a more formal artist study, but not with all of them. Cause we wouldn’t get through six in that time, but we’ll do a couple of them every year. And we’ve been doing those forever. I mean, it’s just the same ones over and over. I just figure, I don’t mind seeing them every year. So they probably don’t either.
Right. There was one time, there was one time I tried to get. And so I did like a series of nativity painting. So I found like famous nativity paintings and there was this one that was from like, I can’t remember, it was like a really early oil painting really early. And so it wasn’t quite, mm, it wasn’t quite as high art as some of the others, because it was just an earlier style. And I’ll just never forget my little daughter looking at baby Jesus. And I was like, what’s that? And I really thought she was going to say baby Jesus. And she looks at me and said potatoes. Oh my goodness.
So I went back to Rembrandt after that. I don’t blame. I absolutely don’t blame you. Oh my goodness. Oh, We do that. We do like Christmas read aloud. So every year I read Dickens Christmas Carol, for those of you who don’t know Pam and I missed you and I have an ongoing debate over Dickens, Christmas Carol.
So we do that. And then I usually choose some other Christmas books. So when they were little, we did Christmas picture books, but now every year I try to find like a new Christmas, like a full length story. So we’ve done all sorts of things over the years. Like some of them are sappy and sad Victorian books, and some of them are more modern and everything in between.
And it’s just been really, it’s been really fun. So it sounds like you have a combination of your staples, the things that just bring you joy and you bring back year after year, and then also you put in one or two new things yeah. To keep it fresh. So I liked that. I liked that a lot, like those traditions, but also a little bit of surprise every now and then.
Yes. And by the way, when they were little, that was all the school we did all day. Like it probably wasn’t until my oldest was fourth or fifth grade that I made them do school during that time. So we had our little, you know, hour, maybe even an hour and a half, if I was trying to add in something else that needed to be done, like cookie decorating or something. But then like that was it. They, so they had basically half days of school or quarter days of school during that three week period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. So, And that gave you time to do the things that you needed to do. Amen.
Yes, it did. Yeah. Yeah. Love it. Love it so much. And it’s perfectly appropriate for that age group. Lots of time to play and just leaning in and enjoying those traditions of the season and really learning so much, especially manners. Right. Well, Brandy, thank you so much for coming on here, to share with us about how you really solved this problem that you had in Morning Time.
And, you know, that’s just what I would encourage other moms is that if you’re noticing some habit building that needs to be done, if you’re noticing something that you know, needs to be taken care of in your kids, like Morning Time is the perfect place to put that kind of thing. So thank you for coming and sharing that example.
Thank you for having me. It’s been fun.
And there you have it. Now, if you would like links to any of the books and resources thatBrandy and I chatted about today, including her Christmas manners class that you can use in your own circle time or morning, time, or power hour or whatever you call it, you can find them on the show notes for this episode. Those are at So you can get those there also don’t forget to pick up your Christmas present from us here at your morning basket. Those are the Christmas Around the World Explorations that you can get just by going to Pam Now we have one more podcast episode for this fall season. I’ll be back again in a couple of weeks, and we’re going to be talking about what you can do when your Morning Time has kind of fallen into a rut. How do you beat out of a rut and switch things up a little bit and start enjoying your Morning Time again? So we’ll be back with that in a couple of weeks until then keep seeking truth, goodness and beauty in your homeschool day.

Links and Resources from Today’s Show

Start Here: A Journey Through Charlotte Mason’s 20 PrinciplesPinStart Here: A Journey Through Charlotte Mason’s 20 PrinciplesThe Afterthinker’s Guide to Charlotte Mason’s Home Education: A Study GuidePinThe Afterthinker’s Guide to Charlotte Mason’s Home Education: A Study GuideOurselvesOurselvesHallelujah: Cultivating Advent Traditions With Handel's MessiahHallelujah: Cultivating Advent Traditions With Handel’s MessiahA Christmas CarolA Christmas Carol


Key Ideas about Teaching Christmas Manners

  • Taking the time to explicitly teach children the manners we expect from them, especially ones that are not practiced often in everyday life, is so important. It will help prevent a lot of embarrassment for both you and the child
  • Tying manners to specific Scriptures is a great way to anchor manners to the Christian life.
  • Teaching manners is appropriate for any age. Using discussions to teach them is easily done with ages 5 and up.

Find What you Want to Hear

  • 3:12 meet Brandy
  • 7:24 teaching Christmas manners in Morning time
  • 16:00 why do it in Morning Time
  • 23:00 repeating topics and ages rages
  • 33:14 Christmas Morning Time ideas and the value of it

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