Our Morning Time/Family Devotions for the School Year
As our school year began this week, we are excited to adapt our family devotion time (which Daddy leads first thing each morning) to include a bit of our Morning Time features this year. Due to some time restrictions and added school assignments this year for our eldest daughter (entering 7th grade and doing a weekly co-op for the first time with added responsibilities on her plate), it seemed best to try to have our together learning time first thing in the morning alongside our regular family devotions (which for us, starts around 7:30am, before breakfast and chores).
I wanted to share some of the wonderful resources we are using this year. We will be reading Big Beliefs by David Helm, which contains short devotional readings about the core values of our faith (they take maybe 10-15 minutes to read and discuss, so short and sweet).
Next, we have Catechism recitation time, using the New City Catechism. We memorize one of the 52 catechism questions each week alongside our church for the whole year. The New City Catechism is an excellent modern catechism based on and adapted from Calvin’s Geneva Catechism, the Westminster Shorter and Larger catechisms, and especially the Heidelberg Catechism, shortened a bit to fit in a calendar year. They have an free app available or you can find printed resources as well on their website. Highly recommend this resource!
We are about halfway through Big Beliefs already, since we started earlier this year, so after we finish it this fall, we will move on to Wise Up: Ten-Minute Family Devotions in Proverbs by Marty Machowski, and work on memorizing some specific Proverbs passages. Marty Machowski has produced a wealth of great family devotional resources.
After our Bible reading discussion and catechism, we will practice memorizing a chapter of Scripture together, which we started with Philippians 2:1-18 this year. We simply read the passage out loud together, or rotate reading each verse, and slowly but surely, beautiful truth gets hidden in our hearts. Lastly, we will sing a hymn. We will learn two new hymns every six weeks. This is the first time we will really be doing singing consistently in our Morning Time together, especially as an entire family, and I love the idea of us worshipping the Lord together! We conclude our family devotion time together in prayer. Verses, hyms, poetry and some art work we will study this year are all in a spiral notebook we printed out this year.
Once a week, my husband is out with his discipleship group, so this morning I lead us through a slightly different assortment of resources, including God’s Names by Sally Michael (I absolutely love all the books in this series and highly recommend!), followed by our character lessons, using Lads & Ladies of Wisdom from the Character Corner. We will conclude with praying through 40 Days 40 Bites prayer guide that leads us in learning about the world and how to pray for different countries and people groups.
All in all, our devotional Morning Time takes 30-45 minutes, and is such a sweet refreshing start to our day! Probably the best start to our day!
Since I wrote the Homeschooling Bravely post, earlier this summer, I have been mulling a lot over the importance of training our children in the Word of God and character. I love making these core foundations a priority in our home, and desire to take seriously the command in Deut. 6:4-9, which is becoming the foundation for our homeschool:
“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Talking about God’s Word and commands “when we rise up” each morning seems to be an ideal way to start the day! And how else can God’s words be on our hearts, if we don’t memorize God’s Word with our children, so we have his truth ready and available to fight against the enemy’s lies and temptations?
I also need the regular reminder that true knowledge and understanding can only come through the fear of the Lord, as Proverbs 9:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” So academics should always take second place to cultivating the fear of the Lord in our children hearts.
For more Family Devotion resources and methods that we have used in the past, check out this post: How We Do Family Devotions.
God bless you as you seek to train your children to love and serve Jesus!