Jul 6, 2016

Together Time

A couple of Mays ago I read Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie.  

teaching from rest.jpg
It came at a time when I was tired and ready to give up the homeschooling life (not really, but oh, so close).  I had one in college, one going to college, and three “Littles” left at home. We had been on the enrolled in a school, gotta check the boxes, get college applications in, send in the packet of work to the consultant, go, go, go, rush, rush, rush  merry-go-round for three years.  I was exhausted and desparate for something to be different in our homeschool.  With the older two out of the house and the “Littles” still at home years from high school, it was the perfect time to slow down and think through our homeschool plan.  

“Together Time” was one of the first new things.  I wanted a set time to pray together and sing together and talk and laugh and read together.  It’s called “Morning Time” in some of the Teaching from Rest materials, but I was hesitant to call our time that, since I was pretty sure from the outset that “Morning Time” could be at a non-morning time.  But, I knew we would be “doing” this time “together,” so our “Together Time” was born.

“Together Time” can be whatever you want it to be; there is no right or wrong.  Our Together Time plan has morphed through the seasons.  Sometimes it has been several hours filled with prayers, song, religion, grammar, history, and science, and at other times (like now), it is a leisurly stroll...a little prayer time, a couple songs, the current read aloud, and a touch of history and grammar.  A short time to come together during our lazy summer days.

I have organized our “Together Time” materials a couple different ways.  Today, all the books, song sheets, white boards, and supplies are all tucked in to a pretty bag, ready to grab and go wherever we want to be for Together Time.


I also have my binder tucked into the bag.  This binder has the plan and a place for me to make notes of what we have done during our time together.  I have a simple page for each activity.  If the activity is open-ended (like prayers), I make a note of what we did on a quarterly calendar.  

If the activity is more structured (like our history book reading), I have the lesson plan printed and check off and date the work completed.


Here’s a little peak into our summer line-up:
Prayers, Latin Chant, and Hymns…
We just about always start with the Big Three (Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be) then add one or two other favorites.  The leader of the day chooses the extra prayers, as well as the Latin Chant and Hymns.  Popular Latin Chant choices are Pater Noster, Ave Maria, Tantum Ergo, and Salve Regina.  And we sing Canticle of the Turning and On Eagle’s Wings a lot.

Read Aloud…
I always have a “fun” read aloud going.  It is usually a book from our historical fiction list, but we just finished reading Michael Clay Thompson’s charming Mud Trilogy.  Next up, William Shakespeare’s Star Wars Trilogy by Ian Doescher.  I’m as excited as the kids.

We are wrapping up Practice Island by Michael Clay Thompson, which is sentence analysis.  I write the sentences on write boards, and through the week they analyse a sentence a day on their own, then one day during Together Time we go over the lot.

History Reading…
All Ye Lands: Origin of World Cultures just a little bit every day. Slow and steady wins the race, right?


In the fall, we’ll add in some Religion reading, Geography, and more Grammar, Writing, and Poetry.

By the way, my “Littles” are not so little...only the 8 year old is smaller than me.  I have a dear son in 8th grade, a dear daughter in 7th grade, and another dear son in 3rd grade.

It may be time to crack the spine on Teaching from Rest again and see what other gems fall out.


  1. What a great idea! I am going to try to incorporate this into my homeschool as well.

  2. I'm glad you mentioned how old yours are. With a baby coming in mid-October, I know I'll have to pare things down, but I'm never sure (even after this many babies) exactly how to do this. My oldest is headed to public high school for 9th, but I'll have an 8th, 6th, 4th, 2nd, and K (and toddler and new baby). This gives me some great ideas!

  3. Karen, thanks so much for sharing this! I especially love that it is "Together Time" and not "Morning Time". Our kids start school at different times and we've never been able to pull off a perfectly timed "Morning Time" routine. It can be ANYtime, duh me!! Definitely love the idea of putting everything together in one bag too. Cannot wait to implement this next year! Thanks bunches for this helpful post!! :)

  4. Love these ideas. What special time for your family.

    Amy @ TheSaltStories.com


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