Morning Time Plans: History Series

Morning Time Plans: History Series

The name Morning Time Plans sounds like this might be preschool material, but don’t be misled. These digital lesson plans for grades one through six cover history, geography, nature study, art, music, poetry and memorization, and some math—all in a single PDF file for each plan. This review focuses on the Morning Time Plans that revolve around history, but there are other plans based on literary works, geography, seasons, and Catholic liturgical seasons, as well as some just for preschool.

How the Plans Work

There are eight history-themed Morning Time Plans, each taking about one semester to complete. So two plans per year are used to cover four time periods labeled as The Ancients, Middle Ages, Early Modern, and Modern Times.

These plans gradually become more challenging. For example, there are more picture books for the first three years than for the fourth year. The historical themes rely on more videos for the last two years, some of which were created for older audiences. And art activities use more varied media in the last two years.

For the primary grades, these plans can provide your curriculum for everything except math, reading skills, and handwriting. Beyond third grade, they can provide a substantial part of your curriculum, but you will need more thorough coverage of the core subjects.

The Morning Time Plans reflect Charlotte Mason’s influence with their frequent integration of subject areas around historical themes, the use of living books, nature studies, picture studies (of art images), art activities, and poetry appreciation.

The plans for The Ancients and Middle Ages include Christian content while Early Modern has very little and Modern Times has none. The publisher notes that many of the videos and resource books include or are based on evolutionary assumptions, and the instructions encourage parents to preview resources and discuss problematic content with their children.

Rather than relying on textbooks, the plans use online resources, library books, and a few resource books you will need to purchase. All Morning Time Plans have lists of picture books and information books (that should be available from the library) related to each week’s theme. Plans for Ancient Times and Middle Ages require The Handbook of Nature Study (available free in the public domain) and Exploring Nature with Children for science, which will be used frequently throughout those two years. Optional math activities use PDF bundles from Math Geek Mama: the Warlord Bundle for Ancient Times and the Sir Cumference Bundle for the Middle Ages. (Early Modern and Modern Times use free internet resources for math activities.)

The plans do not include activity pages, worksheets, discussion questions, or tests that you find in more traditional programs. It’s up to parents to lead discussions about the books, videos, and activities.

Music, art appreciation, and art activities all include one or more internet links to music, art images, information, or activity instructions. Convenient lists let you know what art supplies and resources for nature studies you will need. You might also need supplies for geography or other subjects from time to time.

Two different types of lesson plans make up the bulk of each Morning Time Plan, and you can choose which to work from depending on how you like to schedule your time. Both formats break assignments and activities down under the headings

  • Prayer (only in the plans for the first two and a half years)
  • Memorization
  • Focus
  • Digging deeper
  • Poetry
  • Geography
  • Math
  • Music appreciation
  • Art appreciation
  • Art
  • Nature study
  • Reading aloud

The first two categories, prayer and memorization, are to be worked on daily, while other categories will vary as to the number of days per week. The first type of plan charts out each of 14 weeks, one category at a time. The second type of plan charts all the categories for a week together (except prayer and memorization). It looks like the second type of plan rearranges the same information from the first type of plan so that you can see all you need to do for one week on only one or two pages. You might work on something from every category almost every day, or you might work on memorization (and prayer if included) every day, then also choose one to three activities from other areas to work on each day. Parents can always skip entire subject areas or substitute other resources or activities.

A reproducible, weekly Block Schedule chart near the front of each book can be filled in with specific plans for each day. The chart has space for notes so you can keep track of details, options, or substitute activities.

The lesson plan for each category for each week might list chapters or pages to be read from a particular book, brief directions for an activity, or links to online resources. (Images of artworks and poems to be read are included toward the back of each book.)

The most detailed instructions are provided for music appreciation and nature study. More explanation about how to teach each subject is available via videos linked on the two or three introductory pages of each plan, which explain what is to be done for each category. Still, it’s simple enough to use that many parents can skip the videos.

A few read-aloud books related to the time period are incorporated into each Morning Time Plan. For example, for the second semester of Ancient Times, you will read The Young Carthaginian and Detectives in Togas, spending about seven weeks on each book, assuming your children will wait that long to find out what happens.

Children will memorize prayers, excerpts from historical speeches and Shakespeare’s plays, and other included content. They will experience hands-on activities primarily in art and nature study. Overall, there’s a nice balance between online resources, read-aloud books, discussions, and activities, as long as parents initiate discussions.

Be aware that some activities and content will be beyond the level of children in the primary grades. For example, the vocabulary, length, and content of many of the poems will be too much for some young children. Parents might read a few stanzas rather than entire poems, substitute other poems, or skip the poetry if it’s not appropriate for their children.

Following are some details on the plans.

Ancient Times

Ancient Times intermixes Bible stories with studies of ancient cultures to teach about the period up through the Roman Empire. The first term includes prayers taken from the text of the Bible, memorization of passages from the book of Isaiah, reading the book Lech Lecha (focused on the biblical story of Abraham and Sarah), and Jewish history from the Bible, all of which make this plan most appropriate for Jews and Christians.

The second term introduces Confucianism and Buddhism along with stories of Jesus, and students will memorize excerpts from Act II of Julius Caesar.

Read-aloud options for Term 1 are either The Golden Goblet or The Cat of Bubastes and either Black Ships Before Troy or The Wanderings of Odysseus. For Term 2, the read-alouds are either Ben Hur or both The Young Carthaginian and Detectives in Togas.

Middle Ages

Topics featured in the first term are the First Christians, Early Britain and Beowulf, Monasteries and Monks, Book Making and Illuminated Letters, Cathedrals, Charlemagne, Vikings, Leif Erikson, the Norman Conquest, Castles, Castle Life, Everyday Life in the Middle Ages, Knights, and the Crusades. The second semester covers stories of King Arthur, Richard the Lionheart, Robin Hood, Genghis Khan, Saint Patrick, Marco Polo, Joan of Arc, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci. Children also learn about the Aztec, Mayan, and Incan civilizations; the Magna Carta; China; the Black Death; and the Renaissance.

Term 1 introduces prayers by Christian saints and memorization of the beatitudes (from the Bible) and the Nicene Creed (the oldest statement of beliefs shared by most Christians). Much of the music studied is from Christian liturgies, and most of the art has religious themes. The second term of Middle Ages includes two prayers but otherwise has much less religious content than the first term. In the second term, students will also memorize a passage from Act IV, Scene 3 of Shakespeare’s Henry V.

The read-aloud books for Term 1 are either The Tale of the Cid and Other Stories or both Adam of the Road and Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Term 2 read-alouds are Ronia, The Robber's Daughter and Men of Iron or The Adventures of Robin Hood and King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table.

Early Modern

Both terms of Early Modern focus primarily on the United States rather than the entire world. However, the first term includes a week each on the exploration and settling of Canada, Queen Elizabeth, and Shakespeare, while the second term includes a week on the French Revolution and Napoleon. The first term covers the period from the 1400s up through about 1700, while the second term covers colonial times through the early 1800s. Both terms devote a week to the study of Native Americans.

The first term includes prayers selected from Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers plus the memorization of Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 18” and an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence. Term 2 has no prayers, and students memorize the Preamble to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The read-aloud books for the first term are Calico Bush and Indian Captive: The story of Mary Jemison or Stowaway and The King’s Fifth. For the second term, the options are either Mr. Revere and I and Toliver's Secret or Johnny Tremain and Carry On, Mr. Bowditch.

Modern Times

Modern Times: Term 1 focuses primarily on the U.S. but includes some broader topics that touch on the rest of the world. It begins the first two weeks on abolition and the Trail of Tears, then covers westward expansion in the U.S. and three narrower topics: The Mexican-American War (including the Alamo), the Gold Rush, and immigrants (focusing on Ellis Island). Week 8 is about Queen Victoria and the Victorian Age, Week 10 focuses on Canada, and Week 14 on Japan and China. Between these topics are the U.S. Civil War, Industrialization, Inventions, and Women’s Suffrage. Students memorize Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address” and “Duties of American Citizenship” by Theodore Roosevelt.

Modern Times: Term 2 also has a primary focus on the U.S. while covering some world history. Threads in this study are World Wars I and II; the Great Depression; Communism Around the World; Segregation and the Civil Rights Movement; Music, Art, and Culture in the 20th Century; the Space Age; Modern Presidents; Notable People of the 20th Century; Conflict in the Middle East; Science in Modern Times; Technology; and The Last 20 Years.

Students memorize excerpts from speeches by F.D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, William Faulkner, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. The heavy concentration on war as well as the level of the videos linked in the lessons make this Morning Time Plan better for older students. For example, the linked video Conflict in Israel and Palestine: Crash Course in World History depends on students' familiarity with biblical history, Islam, the geography of the Middle East, the United Nations, and much more. And the hour-long TNC: 172 Kennedy-Nixon First Presidential Debate, 1960 relies on students' understanding of the political parties and events leading up to this historic debate, as well as their ability to sit through an hour-long formal debate filmed in black-and-white.

For the first term of Modern Times, the read-aloud books are The Great Horned Spoon, The Perilous Road, and either Moccasin Trail or Bound for Oregon. The books for the second term are The Winged Watchman and The Impossible Journey or the three books: Miracles on Maple Hill, Enemy Brothers, and Blue Willow.


Morning Time Plans make it easy to present learning across the curriculum in a unit-study fashion. They might serve as the core of your curriculum or as supplemental material depending upon the ages and needs of your children.

Pricing Information

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$28 each

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Instant Key

  • Need For Parent or Teacher Instruction: high
  • Learning Environment: family or one-on-one
  • Grade Level: grades 1-6
  • Educational Methods: real books, music, multisensory, memorization, interactive, hands-on, drawing activities, discussion, creative activities
  • Technology: PDF, online
  • Educational Approaches: unit study, eclectic, Charlotte Mason
  • Religious Perspective: Christian or secular

Publisher's Info

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