Symposium, and what is working this year
Symposium, or Morning Time, is a concept I have read a lot about and have done in various forms over the years. It is basically a way of creating a specific space, or ritual, of reading aloud and memory work, and making it the most important part of our day.
The word Symposium comes from the Greek and means "to drink together," which is wonderful however for our homeschool this means tea. We have Symposium mid-morning, and promising tea and snacks is a great way to get everyone to the table.
This year Symposium consists of:
A hymn. Usually I begin by playing the Benediction on YouTube, hopefully we will go a little deeper into other hymns and their composers.
Devotions- The Jesus Storybook Bible (still our favorite, we will switch to another when we are through) and Jesus Calling for kids.
Scripture Memory: I have collected in our Symposium notebook many of the Scripture passages we have memorized in the past as well as what we hope to memorize this year. This way we can review several passages, and I can quickly choose the next. Having passages already prepared is key for me to reduce the paralysis of analysis I often feel with Bible memory- which one to pick next?
Poetry: ditto for poems, I have printed the ones we have already memorized, and selections to be memorized (I chose ours this year from The Harp & Laurel Wreath). We can quickly review a few already memorized, and then work on the new poem.
Classical Conversations Memory Work: we review Memory Work lightly and then spend time going in-depth in the subjects with library books, YouTube, Encyclopedia of World History, etc. For example, this week we are reading through an Eyewitness Book of Medieval Life, we watched a short video on the seven biomes, and a video of Charlemagne.
Read Aloud: One of our read aloud books is from the period of history we are studying, and there are more picture books from the library on the subjects from our CC week in Science, Geography, and History subjects.
Famous Paintings: I love this set of activity cards from Usborne Books. One brief card per week with a famous painting, the artist, and a few key facts.
There are educational coloring books for kids to color while I read aloud, or they can cut paper or draw. Generally Symposium lasts right up to lunch, from about 10:30 to noon, and is our favorite and most focused time of the day.
Other things which are working for us this year:
I am giving myself Mondays as a slow-entry day. Generally I work on Saturdays, and so Mondays are for managing the house: cleaning, laundry, groceries, and the library. I take the morning to catch up on email, plan our menu, figure out what books we need. The kids help me clean, round up overdue library books, and try to at least practice piano. We also try to fit in Symposium on Mondays. My fifth year of homeschool, I don't feel guilty for taking this day. Homeschool is about living life together, and we need this day.
I'm trying to take back a daily quiet time- all kids in their rooms reading for one hour. Everyone is happier when they take some space from one another, especially mom.
Just-Because-We-Can days. We want to be about enjoying the freedom that homeschool give us. Who am I kidding, we've always enjoyed our freedom, but we are being even more intentional this year and planning fun days and trips.
One of the values of Classical education is the idea of much not many- to go deeply into a few subjects rather than a thin study of many subjects. The same applies to life. Learning how to say yes to a few things- and do those things really well.
Most of all, I am learning to relax and enjoy our days. I'm learning to laugh more and try to control much less. Everything goes smoother when we take it a little lightly.
I love this permission slip at Brave Writer. I hereby grant myself permission . . .