Check out these tips to learn how to put together a morning basket. The perfect time to begin your homeschool day and do family studies.
When I first began homeschooling, I only had to focus on helping my kindergartner. We stuck to the core subjects like math, language arts and handwriting. Getting through a lesson in each subject a day was no problem. Then came 1st grade year. It was still not too bad to fit everything into a day, but our calendar had a lot more on it. With more commitments and being gone a lot more, we had to spread things out throughout the day to get through it all. Sometimes even doing a lesson after dinner.
This was all just with one school age child. I knew that everything would change when I added in another…not to mention, we still had not added history or science into our school day!
I also am a huge proponent of reading aloud. The benefits of reading aloud with your children are huge and as an avid reader myself, I want to instill that love of reading in my kids. But again, how do you fit it all in?? How do you fit in the core subjects like math, language arts, and handwriting? Along with history, science, music & art, reading, Bible, etc.?
The answer for our family, and for so many others, is by implementing a morning basket! There are many other names for it out there in the homeschool community, like morning time, circle time, or even a fun name specific to your homeschool family. We are still working on coming up with a name for ours…
What is a Morning Basket?
A morning basket is a collection of books, materials, curriculum, devotionals, music, memorization work, etc. that you want as a family to sit down and complete. When it’s time to begin, everyone gathers in a room to learn together. Get cozy under blankets in the living room or gather around a table if it involves artwork.
Our favorite way to do morning basket time is to take it outside. As soon as the weather is nice, we grab a picnic blanket and take it outside to soak up some vitamin D.
Although the name suggests that it has to happen in the morning, technically you can spend the time whenever it works best for you. It is really just a time that you gather all together to complete family style learning. Morning just happens to be a great time to do it to start your day. If you end up being out all morning on a field trip or for extracurricular activities, you can do it in the afternoon as well. It ends up being a great time to regroup and get back in school mode together.
Note: You don’t necessarily need a basket, but it does save you time if all of your materials are gathered in one location. A leather or canvas bag with a wide base works well for taking everything outside too!
Why Should I Use a Morning Basket?
A morning basket isn’t a requirement as a homeschool mom. But the benefits of using one are huge!
One of the major benefits of homeschooling is that the time spent doing schoolwork is lower than public school students. But when you have multiple kids of various ages as a homeschool family, it is hard to find time to fit in all of the school subjects in a day with each individual child. This is where using a morning basket simplifies your homeschool day drastically.
When you use a morning basket, you learn together as a family. The books and materials you include will allow you to cover a variety of school subjects. My four kids range in age from 8 to 2 years old. I know many homeschool families have an even larger range than this. From youngest to oldest, everyone learns together during morning basket time. I can’t tell you how many things even I have learned during our morning basket time. I love family style learning because the younger kids listen and learn things that they typically wouldn’t be taught at their ages. But surprisingly, they take it all in and participate in some awesome discussions. Don’t underestimate their younger brains!
A morning basket is also a great anchor for the day. It acts as a great transition from breakfast and morning chores, to jumping into school time. Because morning baskets include a lot of read aloud material, it helps your kids get in the school and learning mindset without them necessarily having to do all of the leg work. And while you read aloud, arts and crafts, stickers and coloring, and open ended toys are great options to keep little hands busy.
What Do I Put in My Morning Basket?
The beauty of homeschooling is that you get to make it completely your own. Morning basket time is usually spent covering the topics that are a priority in your homeschool. Topics that you want to make sure get completed every day. Topics that you don’t want to fall through the cracks.
What are some of the reasons you keep your kids out of public school? For many of us, it’s because we want to include topics in their learning that are not covered in schools. We want their learning experience to be the fullest it can be and encompass our family beliefs. Dig into this when choosing the things you want to do during your morning basket time.
If you love art and music but find they get pushed aside often for math and language arts, morning basket is the perfect time to implement them. Do you want to equip your kids with scripture and train them up in righteousness? Morning basket is a great way to start the day. Have a love for Shakespeare and poetry? Add it to your morning basket. Would you like to spend more time learning about music and art? Spend a little time during your morning basket learning together.
Questions to Ask Yourself:
- Can this topic be covered in a small amount of time? – You do have a limited amount of time for morning basket, especially as your kids get older and their core subjects take longer to complete.
- Is it something you have struggled to find time to fit in? – Everyone has those subjects they dream about teaching their kids, but that pesky math and language arts always get in the way! This is the perfect subject to add to your morning basket.
- Is it a topic that provides good discussion for different ages? – Remember, younger kids are more capable than you think and can take part in discussions also, often times thinking of great questions or offering valuable insight.
- Is it something that you personally enjoy? – When you enjoy a topic, your kids notice your energy and it makes them more enthusiastic to learn about it.
Here is our current morning basket plan:
- Play a worship song to let everyone know to gather their things and join me. Once the song is over, we begin.
- Short devotional.
- Read from our children’s Bible.
- Work on scripture memorization. Learning new and reciting a few old ones to refresh.
- Learn and practice a new hymn each month.
- Loop studies (history, science and composer study)
- Current read aloud
- Address any housekeeping/scheduling things.
- End by singing the Doxology together and a prayer for the day.
Note: Most days, our morning basket is split up just a bit. Because I don’t eat breakfast, this is the perfect time for me to sit down with the kids while they are occupied. We typically complete our devotional, Bible reading, and memory verses. Then as I clean up after breakfast, the kids all go do their morning chores and get ready for the day before we gather to finish the rest of our morning basket. This is a great time to play a worship song to gather everyone together again to complete the morning basket.
How Much Time Does It Take?
If you are in a season with a newborn, you might have time to sit for a longer time to read. But if you have a crazy toddler who is into everything, you might want to make it short and sweet or skip it altogether. It’s important for your sanity to start small and add if you can handle more. It’s not as fun to add too much and feel stressed…
On days where you head out for an appointment, play date, field trip, etc., just complete the non-negotiables. You can even do parts of it in the car while you are on the road. Listen to some worship music, recite scriptures you already have memorized, and listen to a kid’s podcast about the Bible (we love Truth Seekers: Bible Stories for Kids).
Because my youngest is nearing 3, our morning basket time has increased this year. We typically go for 45-60 minutes. This allows us to focus on devotional/Bible/scripture time for 20-25 minutes, read aloud from our current family chapter book for about 15-20 minutes, and then finish with our loop studies for about 15-20 more minutes.
As the homeschool mom, you have the ability to assess what is and is not working, reevaluate what your priorities are, and make changes to your morning basket. As your kids get older and can sit still or stay quiet for longer periods of time, you can add more. When you add more to your schedule and enter a season of being on the go more, shorten it. Add more to it again when it’s a more restful season at home.
What are some subjects you aren’t sure how to add to your morning basket? Leave them in the COMMENTS and I would love to help.
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Shop this Post:
- Better Together by Pam Barnhill (so many amazing tips and resources in this book!)
- My favorite basket
- Favorite children’s Bibles and devotionals
- Hymn book
- Poetry book
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