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In addition to your more traditional Morning Time we are hearing from moms more and more about Morning Time variations that they are using to enhance their homeschools. Today on the podcast Mystie Winckler is back talking about her Elementary Lessons.

These are a separate, mini-co-op style session her family does with another family a couple of times each week. But it also looks suspiciously like Morning Time. Check it out.

This is your morning basket, where we help you bring truth, goodness, and beauty to your homeschool day.<inaudible> Hi everyone. And welcome to episode 46 of the, your morning basket podcast. I am so happy that you are joining me here today. Well, today we have something a little bit different it’s kind of morning time, but it’s also kind of a co-op it’s called elementary lessons and Misty Winkler has been doing this with her best friend’s family.

For about the past four years. I’m going to let Misty tell you a little bit about what it entails, but really the idea is she’s bringing some of the wonderful practices of morning time that she would do in her family. And she’s actually sharing them with another family instead kind of dividing some of the labor of working with different age groups of kids. Now,

your situation might not be exactly the same as Misty’s and her friends, but we think that you can still get some things to contemplate from this conversation and maybe even take some of the things you learn and apply them to a different kind of morning time of your own. We hope you enjoy the podcast and we’ll get on with it right after this word from our sponsor.

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The first few chapters of each current writing and rhetoric levels are available for You can try before you buy. In addition as a, your morning basket podcast listener, you can save 20% off all writing and rhetoric through December, 2018, By using the coupon code PM 20. And now on with the podcast, Winkler is a homeschool grad herself who married another homeschool grad and is now homeschooling five children.

She writes thoughtfully about classical education, educational philosophy, homemaking, and more at her blogs, simply convivial. And she’s the creator of the popular e-course simplified organization. Misty is joining us on this episode to talk about elementary lessons, her outside the box idea for doing a morning time of sorts with friends, Misty. Welcome to the program. Thanks for having me,

Pam, actually I should say welcome back to the program. This is at least your second time. Probably. I think it’s your third, right? I think it is the third. So thank you. Well, we are always happy to have you on and the listeners love to hear from you and all of your fabulous ideas, so, yay. I’m glad you’re here.

Well, let’s get started in and I, we have had some listeners ask us about elementary lessons and sometimes when we talk about elementary lessons, we talk about them as kind of a co-op because they kind of are. We’re going to dig deeper into that, but you have said yourself, a couple of different times in a couple of different contexts, that elementary lessons is another version of mourning time or an extension of morning time in your home.

And so that’s kind of how we’re approaching it today. So first of all, start by reminding all of us and maybe some new listeners. What is your, just your regular family morning time? Like our morning, our normal morning time is usually the first thing that we do in the morning altogether. Sometimes some kids start with their math, but really when I start the school day,

I start it with morning time and we start with prayer and scripture reading and then do our memory work. So we all have a memory work binder. We sing hymns and memorize scripture and poems and catechism questions. And it really just kind of starts that day with the central things, kind of centering us and focusing on focusing us on what really matters. What’s going to make sure we get that important stuff in first.

And I think there’s nothing like singing together to get rid of the bad Pat attitude mornings. Even if you can’t sing, even if you can’t keep it to and I can testify. Okay. So about how long is your morning time? So our family Morning time is generally about 40 minutes. Sometimes it’s as short as 30, but it would be 30 if everyone,

you know, stayed on task the whole time, which never happens. So it’s actually about 40 minutes. Partly that’s big. It has been longer in the past, but because I have a high schooler this year who has quite a number of things on his list, but we still want him in keep it. Sure. Okay. And so instead of like letting him go,

you’ve made the decision, you’re just going to shorten the morning time for the entire family. Yes. Okay. Yes. And now one of the things I don’t hear you saying that you do in morning time is any kind of reading aloud. Am I right? Right. It’s funny because I think it was actually when we were chatting at some point while you were writing your morning basket,

that I realized that the elementary lessons was morning time, part two for our family. And that is because you do strictly stick to that prayer singing memory work during that morning time part one. Now, before we jump to elementary lessons, you used to a couple of years ago, have almost like a second morning time for your little guys, didn’t you?

We do do couch lessons is what I call it. When I have early reader or someone that I’m supposed to be teaching them how to read. And I, so this year I have that also, which is another reason that I keep our family morning time short is because we are all together for the morning time. Then the high schooler, a middle schooler go off and do their independent work,

the middle to start their math. They use Matthew. See, so they can watch the lesson and mostly get started on their own. And then I grab my youngest who’s five and we sit together on the couch and do phonics, usually read either a picture book or, you know, a couple of pages from a mother goose or poetry book and work on couple of the memory work,

things that I want my little ones to get, but don’t come up often enough now in our review, you know, like Psalm one and some of the things. Yeah. And now there was a time I’m thinking back to when those middle two were both kind of that five and six year old. And that’s when it was almost like you had a second of couple years ago,

you had both of them on the couch and it was reading those picture books and doing those, you know, kind of younger kid morning time kinds of things with just them. So, you know, at that point it was almost like you had three different morning times going, yeah, it was good. You have to do a lot of it. And do you know what different things fit different ages too?

And I think there’s something about morning time. That’s really the it’s. I don’t know if it’s the atmosphere part of it or just that tone where I think that morning time is the best description for those times, even though they’re different from each other, it’s still an all together sharing truth. Goodness. And beauty time, even though we have them in different pockets.

Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Well then let’s dig in a little bit to this elementary lessons. What is elementary lessons? Well, about four, a day, Half years ago, some good friends of ours from church moved onto the same street and we have kids the same age and it was during the summer or something we said, so we would be crazy if we didn’t share this homeschooling stuff together because we live on the same street and we have kids the same age and we have the same,

you know, the same educational philosophy. So, so that worked. So it was, we knew it was going to work for us. We have kind of the same, we have similar family culture. And so it’s really a mini co-op. So twice a week her, well, when we started, it was her older two would come down to my house and my younger two,

because I had then the youngest was a baby. So she stayed usually napping. We did it in after noon then. So it was during her nap time. And so the middle kids younger would be down at her house and the bigger kids would be at my house and that’s at my house. We would do, you know, really the bulk of our content lessons together.

And then the younger kids down at her house would do more of the preschool kind of things, which, you know, both of us said, we’re a similar with that does not mean arts and crafts. That means reading picture books and playing, you know, open-ended imaginary play. Okay. That’s pretty cool. Okay. So, but, so what was going on at your house?

You say content area lessons. So there, we’re talking about history science. Yup. Shakespeare. I know was a big thing that you’ve done in elementary lessons. What are some other kinds of things that you did in elementary? The lessons. We also do Bible as more of, as a content thing where we’re learning about the Bible stories or about doctrine or about different things like that.

And sometimes geography has been in there and also art study we added in. So yeah, this year it is Bible. We’re doing the gospels and history and science and art study and Shakespeare and a little bit of geography when there’s time. But there usually isn’t Okay. So this is just two families. And how often are you doing that? Twice a week.

Twice a week. And one of the things I’ve loved about this when you and I were talking about it is it’s self-contained, they don’t go home with homework. They don’t have to read things outside. It’s very much like a morning time. This is, I think this is one of the things that makes it more like a morning time and less like a co-op in that they come and you do it all right there together.

It’s completely. And they don’t Go back and have to like prepare for next time’s class or anything like that. No, it really elementary lessons is the most of their school just right there during that whole time. And we have done a little bit sometimes where they have to write a sentence when they get home kind of like a narration sentence that was kind of half composition,

half narration, but for the most part, yeah, no homework, no, the reading is all happening during elementary lessons, because really our goal was for that reading time, the reading, the lessons, time to happen regularly with accountability and uninterrupted. And so that’s happening because the toddler preschoolers are not in the house. It’s like this time is reserved for these kids and we’re going to,

so we just read the books, read aloud and go round. I’m getting better at narration. So we kind of do a group narration after each reading and then move on to the next reading. So it is very much like the morning time lessons, like you talk about it’s just happening as like a part two with other people.<inaudible> Okay. So let’s talk a little bit about some of the similarities and differences between morning,

time and elementary lessons. How would you say the elementary lessons are like most like morning time and we just, you just touched on one there. That was the, were you reading together as a group and all of the reading is done right there and then you’re taking group narrations. What other similarities do you see? What sometimes some of it is the content,

like the Shakespeare that’s happening there and then this, that same kind of, we’re memorizing some Shakespeare and listening to some Shakespeare and it’s not less lecture based at all. We’re not doing really discussion or anything. We’re just, it’s more of that exposure. The art study artists study, where we’re looking at different art prints where it’s that truth, goodness. And beauty focus to the whole time.

I think that’s a big part of what makes it like morning time. Right. Okay. So how is it different? I mean, obviously you have other people in your house, right? Right. It’s not all of our family, you know, not only half of my kids are in elementary lessons and only half of my friend’s kids. So it’s,

it’s a little bit more like a class because there’s a peer group, but that’s been really great for my kids too, because then they have friends who are learning the exact same things at the same time. And so that has really helped the lessons, you know, come out in their play together or in conversation. So that element of having a co-op comes into play,

where they have friendships, where people know the same things and are learning the same things. Right. And were even talking recently About how the dynamic changes a little bit. Right. And their attitudes, behaviors participation, because you have these other people coming in and it’s not just, you know, they see mom as teacher a little bit differently. Yeah.

They do. It’s kind of funny. I mean, it’s so it’s also one way it’s the same is the it’s the same table. Like we’re all sitting around the same table as we do within morning time, different mix of people. But the difference between any other lesson where I’m just teaching more one-on-one or one-on-two with my kids and elementary lessons is there’s just something different about having other kids in the mix and having it be an appointment and some,

and it’s something within, I don’t know if it’s having a name, something about it. I show up differently. I think. And also the kids do as well. Like this is somehow official. It sets a different tone. Whereas sometimes it’s easier to get into patterns when it’s just one-on-one with a mom and a kid, depending on the kid’s personality and also their age,

you know, sometimes they just get in a rut of pushback and elementary lessons is a time where that’s not happening. This is a class, but it’s not like a co-op or a class where I’m the lecturer up, teaching, presenting anything on a whiteboard. It’s really the exact same thing I would be doing if I had only one or two of my own.

And I was doing something like Ambleside, I use a lot of the same books as Ambleside. Well, and it’s exactly the same thing you would be doing in morning time with your kids. If you weren’t doing it in elementary lessons, you would probably still be doing it in morning time with your kids. Yes. I would be sending, you know,

my high school or off At the time where we usually end and instead continue with this exact same stuff. Yeah. Right. You’re just able to reap some of the benefits of having those peers there and, you know, blessing a friend and then avoiding some of those interruptions. One of the things we haven’t talked about that it’s different is at this point you’re not fielding toddlers and preschoolers they’re off somewhere else.

I could not believe that the first couple of times that we did it, how much more we could get done and how much, you know, just we could just read and listen to them. It’s just, Oh, we could do so much more and so much less time without the babies and the toddlers. Right, right. Yeah. That’s a big benefit.

So the elementary lessons, where did it get its name? So the elementary just stands for elementary school. Give us your like preferred age range for this one. Yeah. I asked my friend Kirsty that I do it with, if, if she remember it out, it got its name and she said, well, you, you named it. I’m like,

okay. Yeah, it sounds sounds like maybe because it’s the elementary kids and it’s their lesson time, unless I can create an alliteration, like elementary lessons is about as creative as I get for naming something. Okay. So it really just does stand for like elementary kids. So what, what ages do you find is a real sweet spot for this Kind of thing?

So we do generally about second grade to sixth grade thereabouts. Okay. And depending on the kid, but that’s, that’s really our age range. And so sometimes the books, depending on that mix of who the mix of kids are that age, or that year depends on which if it’s steered more towards lower elementary or more toward upper elementary this year, we have seven year olds to an 11 year old.

Okay. And so you have a, it’s a fairly wide age range. And so you’re probably hearing a little closer To the middle, right? This scare, I have two seven-year-olds and two nine-year-olds and one 11 year old. So it’s really geared more toward the lower end this year. And just, you know, kind of giving the older one, a little bit different assignment or asking them to do things,

you know, kind of making him be in charge a little bit more or, you know, help out a little bit more. But it depends on the weight of the ages. And we’re kind of in a weird, when we started, it was the older kids, the oldest kids were at my house and then the youngest kids were at my friend’s house.

And now we’re at the place where it’s the middle kids. So the older kids are doing their own thing during this time I’ve got the middle kids and then my friend has the youngest. So there does come a point where you age out of elementary lessons. Yep, yep. Yeah. Kicked Out at some point. And what, what causes you to do that?

What causes you to get kicked out of elementary lessons? Well, I think one is just where we cycle through a history cycle. So we’re going to be repeating something and I do a three-year history cycle and you might repeat a cycle and I might choose a different book. But so I, this year I kicked out the oldest student we had last year,

she got kicked out because, you know, it was just time when you get into, you know, about seventh grade or so. I think you just need harder books than what we’re doing at elementary lessons and some more independent. And this really is geared more for the younger, younger crowd. So it’s kind of what is this going to fit you,

right. If this is going to fit you this year, or, you know, when my oldest, when my second son had aged out, it was because he’d already read this book, the book that we were reading for history multiple times on his own, I was like, you need the next, you know, you need a different book and you can do it on your own because you know,

you’re ready for that. I hear you saying is when they need something more, when they really need to be doing things more independently, that’s when they kind of not get kicked out so much as graduate, they graduate, they graduate from elementary lessons and kind of move on to, and also I’m sure it has to do with some maturity of, you know,

having a child that you can expect for the most part that they’re working independently and doing what they’re supposed to be doing even, you know, while elementary lessons are going on. Yeah. Yeah. So what tells you that a child is ready for elementary list? If they can listen to the reading and, you know, give a decent narration afterwards you to just that they were paying attention,

I’m still bad at narration, but I’m getting better that they’re interested and wanting it. And especially because it’s something we’ve been doing and the older kids have done, it is something that the kids who are in it now we’re excited to start and want to do it because they seen the older kids do it. So they felt like they were kind of coming of age and they were excited to learn doing something with friends helps on that excitement level and having excitement helps with the learning.

So it’s kind of win-win Yeah, it’s a, it’s a big motivation. So on a practical level, how did you in Kirstie decide to divide up responsibilities for planning and teaching and childcare who was going to take the older kids and who was going to take the younger kids and things like that. For us, it was pretty natural distinction. Cause she’s really good at,

you know, sifting the picture books and she reads, she likes to read aloud and I don’t actually, and yeah, and then I, and then she was fine that I can pick whatever books I want. And she was like, all right, if you’re doing anything, that’s great. So I could, I kind of have that ability to pick whatever I think is going to fit and just run with it.

And we both trust each other for what’s going on at each person’s house. And that, you know, I think hers is just as exhausting. I don’t know if that’s quite the right thing, but she, she has to deal with the toddlers and preschoolers learning how to share and work things out for themselves. Associate, you know, she kind of supervises their independent play,

but also finds the great picture books. And like one of the things she did with them a couple of weeks ago was they did kind of comparative fairy tale books. So she checked out a whole bunch of picture books on the same, very tale and they read different versions of the same. And so that’s, and you know, it’s just, whatever they’re doing is fine with me and whatever we’re doing is fine with her.

So it works out really well for us. Yeah. It sounds like not only do you have a good mesh of like, Oh, I’m interested in working mostly with older kids and I’m interested in working with mostly younger kids, but you’ve also got a good personality thing going on there. And how many years have you been doing this Misty? This is our fourth year.

Yeah. So you’ve Really kind of worked out the kinks and you know, the expectations as well. Yeah. I, you know, another great thing about it is just the kids walk down and walk back and that gets the wiggles out right before the lessons. So, and they, as soon as the lessons are over, they go down to Kirsty’s while I clean up.

And so they’re getting some fresh air most of the time, unless it’s raining or snowing. Right. Right. So just able to get out a little bit too, so, and Hey socialization, you’ve got it like checked off. Well, what do you think are some of the benefits of doing these subjects in elementary lessons rather than just incorporating them into morning time for like a family other than,

you know, we’ve touched on some of the really obvious ones. Like there are no toddlers and preschoolers around and also having friends who have learned the same thing, but are there some other benefits? I think the biggest benefit for me has been that it actually happens so accountability for, Oh yeah. Oh yeah. People are showing up at my house with these expectations.

And if I, I mean, almost every day, I look at the homeschool checklist and say, and one of my first thoughts is actually, so do I have to do all of this today? Or can I like, do I have any reason I could not do something here? I’m so glad it’s my stuff off the hook here. I’m so glad it’s not just me.

So that doesn’t happen with elementary lessons because one, actually I do the lesson planning and the scheduling of what we’re reading when in the summer. So everything is just open and go. And these kids are showing up my friends also depending on me. And we just do it, whereas I know, well, I know because it has, that’s the way it was before we started elementary lessons.

We really only did our lessons about half the time, half the time was good. Right.<inaudible> I mean that outside accountability, independence, and it really, it really does help. It’s a lot harder to muster up kind of internal motivation to do this than it is to just, you know, set yourself up some external motivation and yeah. Then you have to do this to not let people cheat.

Yeah, no, no. I’m sure. What about drawbacks? Are there any drawbacks to doing elementary lessons as opposed to just putting these subjects in the morning time? Well, I think that what makes it work so well for us is that we do have friends that live so close and are on the same page, pretty much across the board. That’s just such a blessing and not a common really.

So I think there would definitely be a lot of drawbacks if we didn’t have our friends who were on the same page, trying to put something like this together with people that wanted to do something completely different, or what if you had to try to iron out different opinions on, should we do these books or these books, but both my friend and I can send our kids to the other’s house and completely trust,

you know, whatever decision you want to make is totally fine with me. And that’s, that’s one of the things that makes it work. Right. Right. And we’re going to talk in just a minute about some of the more practical aspects about how can other people who don’t have this dream set up Know school compound Might make it work for them. But before we do,

you know, one of our big fourth R in morning time is relationship. So how have you seen relationship play out during elementary lessons? How has it been a good thing for you guys for both families? Yeah. What is just the relationship that the kids have? And because you know, this, these are neighborhood friends, as well as good church friends,

they play together a lot. And so what’s really fun is to see them, you know, playing outside or sitting together, chatting and have things come up where, you know, they, they know the same things. They’ve been reading the same things. They will act out Shakespeare plays that they’ve read together for fun. It was like score. So there’s friendship relationship.

That’s definitely be built up by having the same kind of content foundation together, sharing that experience. And also the relationship even between me and my own kids. I think it’s because I do, you know, it’s maybe embarrassing, but I do show up different when there are other kids there too. And you know, when you answer the phone, you maybe just spend yelling at your kids and then you answer your phone.

Hi, not me. You do that too, when it’s other kids. So it, it helps we take a step back and say, okay, this is how I should be talking. Even if it were my only my own kids, because this is, you know, good for our relationship. This is building our relationship so much better for me to be able to speak kindly,

no matter what. Yeah. So it’s kind of like the accountability cheat. It’s also the relationship cheat. Well, and you know, that is so hard, Especially for people like, you know, I think our personality type, you and I have the same personality type and it is so hard. So the more practice we can get, you know,

with that kind of relationship, I think is better for us. It’s that making it a habit, these tiny doing it over and over becoming habit. And if we need the extra help of other kids in the house to make it happen, well then there you go. And it does not, but it does help after practice because I can say that now after four years,

and we’re doing it twice a week and I have my tone and the way that elementary lessons go is I am able to draw on that during the math lesson gone wrong. Right. You know, take a deep breath and say, okay, pretend this is elementary lessons. How would you talk if other people were here? Talk like that? No, that’s,

I think that’s excellent. I just, you know, anytime you can slow down and I know that there are some, there’s some moms sitting out there going these two women are crazy seriously, you know, and any time you can draw on a little kind of hook like that to say, stop slow down. How would you talk if you know, how would you talk if your husband was standing here?

How would you talk if Jesus were standing here? And it, it helps. It really does. Yeah. Very much so. Well, okay. So let’s help families because we probably have some people sitting here listening, going, I would love to do this, but nobody who homeschools lives in my neighborhood so less help. How could we maybe throw out some ideas for how people could do this?

And I’m going to start by saying, I think it’s more important to find somebody who is like-minded than geographically close. Yes. So, you know, if you have somebody who lives five minutes from you whose method or philosophy is completely different than your own, and then somebody who lives 15 to 20 minutes from you, who has the same method and philosophy,

I say, drive a little farther. Oh yeah, for sure. The like-mindedness is a huge part of it. Although on that part, I would also say don’t jump to conclusions either about whether or not you’re like-minded with someone that you don’t know really well. Yeah. Because I think a lot of times there is like-mindedness underneath the surface where even if the way that you do school,

it might not look the same in your house, in their house. And that doesn’t mean that you aren’t actually like-minded. Yeah. That’s an excellent point. And just because the mom five minutes away is not doing Shakespeare, it could be that she’s completely intimidated by it and would love for somebody to do that with her kids. So I think if, you know,

someone that’s even that you think maybe them, but, you know, accept this, that, or the other thing it’s like, get to know the family, better, get to know the other mom better and see how much similarity there is. Because I think a lot of the similarities can be under the surface and not obvious by just looking around and looking at what you can see out,

you know, from outside, get to know someone really well. You know, maybe that’s during summer with a bunch of park days and just find someone you can click with. Yeah. Do you think I’m looking so I’m looking at my house right now and you know, we, we have two levels. So if you were to drive to someone else’s house to do elementary lessons,

I think that in some situations that you could actually do both levels of elementary lessons in one house, what do you think? Oh, definitely. Yeah. You can set up different areas and have, you know, if you’re in the same place you could even swap, you know, and say one mom does, you know, baby, the art part or we,

you know, whatever, she likes better with the older kids and then what she likes with the younger kids. And, you know, you don’t even have to be one mom’s in charge, completely in charge of the elementary aged kids. And the other is completely in charge of preschool or babies or whatever. You can then even swap responsibilities along that line and make it even easier on you.

And even if you live in a place where the weather is usually nice, one family could be outside or, you know, one of the age groups, or you could swap the outside time too. That would be nice. Yeah. That would work. And then, you know, so I have a friend where it’s not close enough for us to walk and you know,

certainly the traffic isn’t such that we could walk, but the drive is five minutes. So I could totally see loading up kids, driving to her house, kicking them out, picking up a few more kids driving back. And we’re talking like a total of eight minutes. If you don’t stand there and get started talking, which a homeschool mom would never do.

You know, I could see a total drive time in a day of eight minutes to get kids back and forth and get them situated. So, Yeah. Yeah. And that’s, yeah, even if it’s a farther drive than that, you know, it doesn’t have to be twice a week. It could be once a week. And then you do agree on maybe some extra reading that happens,

you know, at home. One of the reasons we do it twice a week is because that transportation is easy for us. And then that’s all the time that we spend, if we were going to do it once a week, then we would probably be doing some of the reading independently or, you know, on our own at home. Right. And you would still have the accountability of getting it,

Right. Yeah. You would have to have it done by the next time you got together. So you still have that About how long does the subject take, if you’re doing, let’s say Shakespeare, our Bible study or something in elementary lessons, about how long do you give over to each particular subject? About 15 or 20 minutes per subject. Okay.

So we’re just under an hour and a half total for elementary lessons. Okay. So even at that age, you could probably, depending on the ages, you know, are, if you’ve got some closer to the upper end, you could probably go 25 minutes on a subject. If you were meeting one a week and get A little bit extra in.

Yeah. Let’s see. What other kinds of things might people run up against if they’re trying to put together something like this? Well, I think a division of subjects, I think one of the most wonderful things about this is you can choose to teach things that you want to teach and let somebody else teach the things that you don’t really want to teach.

So, you know, I’m just thinking about my friend down the street, she’s great at science. And so I would totally let her do science where she would probably want me to do literature or writing or something like that. Yeah. That’d be awesome. Yeah. I still have to do science, neither of us really want to do science. So we just read and draw and call it good,

but okay. Yeah. Yeah. There you go. What other things should people keep in mind if they’re thinking about trying something like this? I think a big thing that I have to remember is not to over-complicate it because it’s really easy to over plan and to overthink it and say, well, because this is kind of a official lessons or because other people are relying on me,

then it has to be this bigger thing that it really does. And so I try to, I always get carried away in the planning phase and I have to step back and say, okay, the goal here is just like a family lesson time. So it’s not exactly. Yeah. So scale back those activity times and just, it’s just reading and narrating some drawing and it doesn’t have to be more complicated than that.

That’s a big one. And I think the other thing is also the planning it out ahead of time helps a lot because you know, lessons twice a week is a lot, if you were planning that weekly or just five minutes before people showed up at your house, but having just, you know, the book broken down and you know, B I count out how many weeks we’ll meet or how many classes will meet,

subtract four or five for probable, you know, guessing on number of sick days or snow days or something, and then plan a week or two less than that. So that there’s some buffer time in there. And I have an idea for how much has to happen each time. And I know that it’s realistic and then I can just do the next thing each day.

So I don’t have to spend prep time because right now elementary lesson starts at nine 30 in the morning, twice a week at our house. So for our family morning time and for math to happen before that elementary lessons has to be ready to open and go, right? Because you don’t have a lot of time to prepare before that happens.<inaudible>, you know,

I think You touched upon it earlier, but just really spending the time. This is not something I would necessarily encourage somebody to do with another mom that they just met. Right. Really spending the time getting to know someone, you know, knowing that both parties are committed. I think there would, because, you know, unlike a school or a larger co-op,

if somebody decides that they’re not showing up, well, then you’re, you know, you don’t have a lesson for that day, right? There’s no sense in going on with just the one or two kids you have in your house. And so, you know, getting to know that person and knowing that they’re going to be committed at the relationship that you build with that mom,

I think is going to be, is going to be key. It is, it’s like a mini homeschool. Co-op like this where you’re sharing the load together is really sharing life together. So you got to, you do want to make sure that if you’re looking for someone to do this with it, isn’t just a casual, like person you just met,

but someone like this is the person I want to do life with. I want our lives to be, you know, to know what’s going on with each other all the time, you know, because you you’re seeing each other often and you’re seeing each other’s kids often and getting to know them really well, and your kids are getting to know their kids really well.

It’s neat. It’s a neat relationship. And that’s what you went to look for more than just, Oh, this is the closest person or this person said yes, but, you know, yeah. Are they going to show up, do you, how much are, how much are you going to invest and how much are they going to invest? And that has to be equal for it to work out,

I think. Yeah. Do you think so, I’m, I’m sitting here thinking about people. So this is obviously, unless they have a good friend kind of in place already, you know, this is going to take some time to cultivate this kind of relationship with an eye towards, Hey, maybe, you know, in eight or nine months, I could convince this person that this would be a good idea to try with me,

but you know, you’re doing it twice a week now, but do you think you could start out even less than once a week for certain sub, you know, maybe like, you know, some kind of like nature journaling or something like that, our picture, Oh yeah. Art or something. Do you think you could start out less than even once a week to kind of ease into it?

Yeah. I think even if you knew a few families that wanted to do a weekly or even twice a month or monthly nature walk or artist study, and you just do it, you know, low key that way, where you’re not depending on anyone for the bulk of your school lessons, but you’re building a relationship and you’re trying out, you know,

is this going to be a good mix? And you’re still having some accountability for some of those things that might not happen in a normal school day because life happens. I think that would be a great baby step way is to set up some kind of nature study or artists study and see if that blossoms into more, if you guys really click together. And I think another thing would not be to jump into something like this when your oldest is five or six,

when we started our oldest’s were in third and fourth grade, I think. So it was about time for them to, you know, really be more consistent with the content, what it was about time. Right. So it was a good stage to start building it. And even though we have, you know, second graders are so start now, it’s because it’s the system’s already in place and they are able to be worked in,

but I don’t think that’s necessarily the best time for starting out something like this, something more like third or fourth, even fifth, you know, waiting until they’re really ready to dig in as good. You know, when they’re seven, six, seven years old, really, they need more play days. I think they need more time just playing open-ended play with friends.

Then they do sit around the table and listen to reading with friends. Right. And then, you know, and like you said, because you have this established and you have these younger kids who are looking forward to joining, then later, it’s easier to pull those younger kids in, but it’s going to be a lot harder when you’re establishing it to begin with,

with the older kids, because you know, they have to stop playing. They have to come in and sit down while you know, their brother who’s two years younger than they are, is out there still playing. And so, yeah, I think waiting, waiting a little bit until they have some of the maturity and the stamina to handle that kind of transition,

it’s going to, it’s just going to make things easier on you as mom. And because these are neighborhood friends, they, they do get plenty of free play time, even the older kids. So if there wasn’t that, you know, if they were driving from farther, I would make sure there was playtime. Built-in like maybe doing lunch together afterwards.

But even if they were older, you know, they it’s maybe it’s socialization, but you know, they need time to just hang out and be with their friends and actually play and not have every get together. It doesn’t have to be academic. Yeah. I think that’s a great point that if you’re going to start doing something like this, then you make sure that you build that into the beginning and the end,

you know, where they do get to place them together. You’re not just running over doing the elementary lessons and then running back home. Yeah. Yeah. So I, before I even had kids, actually I taught at a big homeschool. Co-op a big local one. And that was one thing that I, that I saw that these kids got together once a week and for was two hours or so,

but they had four classes in the two hours and they were sitting around tables the whole time when this was about the only time that a lot of them saw friends at all right. Kept really bad, especially for the younger was like, you guys just need to be playing together. And here I am having to try to teach you something that you don’t even need.

Cause it’s just supplemental, just play. Yeah. Well, and you know, We ran into a similar thing this year. Our co-op, our local co-op has gotten smaller. We’re not much larger than elementary lessons at this point. And you know, we go into lunch every day and it doesn’t take us that long to eat lunch. There are so few of us,

you know, there’s not a lot of jostling are waiting for the microwave or things like that. We just seem to move through lunch quicker now that there are fewer, fewer of us. And then we have a couple of moms who have babies. And so they’re running after babies. And, you know, we have a couple of pretty introverted moms who like to,

you know, take that time to just kind of relax and read something or look at, you know, the check, their Facebook or whatever. And we were kind of like starting early, we were starting the afternoon classes early because it was like, well, we’re sitting here really not a lot’s going on. Let’s just go ahead and start. And we realized we were cheating.

The kids that out of that really important play time that they got during lunch, just so we could get done early and Go home and right until we stopped. So yeah, I think it’s really important to have that play time built in because that is the time that they do get to enjoy each other. And they learn a lot from that. Just like they do a lot from the academic lens They do.

And I think that it’s easy as the homeschool mom to think that, to earn a spot on the schedule, like it has to be academic or productive, but that playtime is productive time for kids, especially elementary aged kids. So, you know, if you wanted to start a baby step baby step into elementary lessons, like just make it a play day.

Yeah. It doesn’t have to have an academic excuse to get together and get to know people, right. That is valuable in itself. Yeah. And then spend that time to build those relationships and have those discussions, and then you could work it into, you know, working up to more of a full-blown elementary lessons. And you know, my friend,

Jessica and I have talked about this a number of times, if we didn’t have our co-op, we would probably still be getting together once or twice a week and switching off what we taught and switching off kids just because it is accountability. We do enjoy it. And you know, we like being able to teach what we’re passionate about and letting somebody else do the stuff that we’re not.

So, Yeah. Well, great Information Misty. I really appreciate you coming on and chatting with me about what you do and how it might possibly others To do something similar and enjoy it. So thank you so much. Yeah. It’s been fun.<inaudible> And there you have it. Now, if you would like links to any of the books or resources that miss D and I spoke about today on the podcast,

including links to some of Misty’s writings about elementary lessons, you can find those on the show notes for this episode of the podcast. Those forward slash Y M B 46. Now also on the show notes, we have a little tutorial for you to show you how to leave a rating or review of the, your morning basket podcast in iTunes doing so helps us get the word out about the podcast.

And we thank you very much for taking the time to do it. We’ll be back again in a couple of weeks with a another great morning time interview until then keep seeking truth, goodness and beauty in your homeschool day.

Links and Resources from Today’s Show

Key Ideas about Elementary Lessons in Your Morning Time

Elementary lessons is a kind of mini co-op where a few families get together and share the load of homeschooling. The focus for the elementary-aged children is to do content area subjects together a few times a week. Some of the benefits are that all lessons are done as a group, the children have friends who are learning alongside them, and there is accountability for each family who is counting on the other to show up ready to learn.

Relationships are an important part of the practice of Morning Time and elementary lessons provide a similar environment. Having other kids learning with your children helps to hold everyone accountable to speak kindly and behave more patiently with each other.

Find What you Want to Hear

  • [3:25] meet Mystie Winkler
  • [4:50] Morning Time in Mystie’s home
  • [9:00] elementary lessons explained
  • [13:10] comparing elementary lessons with Morning Time
  • [17:24] ages and focus of elementary lessons
  • [24:22] benefits and drawbacks of elementary lesson time
  • [30:45] how to make this work for your family
  • [38:35] tips for choosing another family to do elementary lessons with

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