Our homeschool: Building a wake-up rhythm.
September 28, 2011

Charlotte is 26 months old.  I wanted our wake-up routine to encourage her wonder at the natural world and to kick-start a habit of expressing gratitude.

The morning light is creeping into the bedroom and at once, I am awake.  I feel Charlotte’s warm body against my back, her deep sleepy breath against my neck, her fingers wrapped up in my hair.  I hear the sound of running water as my husband showers.  I watch the sunshine cast shadows along the wall.

My daughter stirs behind me and I feel her stretching.  When I turn over in bed, her eyes are open.  AWAKE!, she exclaims.  MOMMA AWAKE!  I feel a little grumpy and groggy, but I smile.  Good morning, sweetheart, I say.  Good morning, star-shine.  She smiles back.  GOOD MORNING! SWEET! HEART! she parrots, and she plants a kiss on my forehead.

The first thing she wants every morning is milk.  My milk.  I doze while she drinks.  Sometimes we both fall back asleep for thirty or forty minutes.

I sing to her then.  Good morning dear Earth, the song goes and we sign along.  Then we recite a simple version of the Mohawk tribe’s thanksgiving address.  Sometimes we recite an Apache Earth blessing or a poem called “A Circle of Sun” written by Rebecca Kai Dotlich.  Sometimes I tell her a myth about the dawn or the sunlight.  Sometimes we sing “It’s a Beautiful Morning” and get the words all wrong.  Together we wake up slowly.

When we are ready, Charlotte pulls the covers off of me.  GET UP!  GET UP MOMMA!, she insists.  SCHATZI HUN-GEE!  She slides off the bed and runs out of the room and I follow after her, smiling at the slapping sound her feet make on our floor.

Walking down the hallway after her, I have no idea what the day holds.  Maybe today will go smoothly or maybe I’ll be exhausted and overwhelmed and flying a white flag three hours from now.  What I do know is that every day the same floorboards creak beneath my feet as I trail my little girl to the kitchen, and every day I think: what a lovely way to start the day.

It took time to memorize the poems.  It took time to adapt the thanksgiving address to suit our needs.  It took time to find morning stories we enjoyed.  It took weeks to put it all together.  But oh, what a lovely way to start the day.


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  1. By abby g on September 28, 2011

    We have little Schatzi’s too. Little Germans   :)

  2. By abby g on September 28, 2011

    I mean… I know schatzi means “treasure”. My unclear post sounded like I thought schatzi meant little german…

  3. By beyond on September 28, 2011

    what a lovely way to start the day.
    i call my little one schatzeli. (swiss-german for little treasure.)

  4. By Christy on September 29, 2011

    That sounds like a lovely way to start the day.  I’d love it if you would share some of the songs or poems.


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