When my teens were very small, every morning we had Circle Time. It was our favorite part of the homeschool day. We would literally sit in a circle on the floor and I’d read them picture books, we’d sing songs, work on our letter of the day activities, practice memory work, and play games to practice math.
This time spent together was a way to begin our day joyfully. Circle time was sacred. When we began our school days with 30-40 minutes of stories, songs, and games, we were able to tackle the less appealing subjects (usually math for my crew) more easily, because everyone was in a good mood. The children were happy because Mama had read them a favorite or new favorite story and taught them a new song. Mom was happy, because I had started our day with the things that were most important to me.
As they grew older, our Circle Time tradition evolved into Morning Time. I still read them stories, but the singing and games fell away as we added in other odd-ball topics or subjects that didn’t fit anywhere else in our day – art study, music appreciation, poetry, all of those things that tended to fall by the wayside when we got too busy. Now that they are all teenagers, they don’t really have “Morning Time” anymore. Although I will still read aloud to them and go over what work I expect them to accomplish each day.
But as my youngest came to be school aged, I found myself missing that morning time. So last year I reinstated Morning Time by setting up a Morning Basket just for her. Our morning basket is where I put all the things that I consider to be important – too important to let slip by the wayside when our day got busy.
Morning baskets are a great way to ensure that you get to those important things first. Do you find that poetry memorization often gets skipped, even though you really want to make it happen? Add it to the Morning Basket! Have you been wanting to incorporate a new resource but can’t figure out when it fits into your day? Add it to the Morning Basket!
Note: The following video is from last November, but you can check out more videos about our Morning Baskets at my channel: What’s in our Morning Basket playlist
The beauty of Morning Basket time is simplicity. We never spend more than 30 – 45 minutes on our Morning Basket, so I make sure to choose the best-of-the-best materials to get the absolute most out of our morning. If the rest of our day goes haywire, I can rest in the assurance that we got to the most important things first.
You can include many things in your Morning Time basket – from your daily read aloud, to poetry, to those fun activities and games you bought on impulse but have no idea how to fit into your homeschool. From foreign language to science, you can make Morning Time the best part of your day.
Here’s what I currently have in my 8-year-old’s Morning Basket:
Living history and science books are always a part of our morning time. These are books we read multiple times a week – often daily. Currently we are studying Grade 2: The Medieval World, and we’ve been studying human anatomy at my daughter’s request.
- The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child: The Middle Ages: From the Fall of Rome to the Rise of the Renaissance
- Usborne Internet-linked Encyclopedia of World History
- Human Body Theater: A Non-Fiction Revue
- The Trumpet of the Swan
This is also where I incorporate art history. Because my youngest loves to draw and is currently obsessed with making her own comics, I’ve added this fun Usborne book for her as well. We generally only read from one of these books once a week.
- The Usborne Introduction to Art: Internet – Linked
- Vincent’s Starry Night and Other Stories: A Children’s History of Art
- Usborne Write and Draw Your Own Comics
Mad Libs is my favorite way to sneak in grammar instruction in the early years. What child doesn’t love making up a funny story?! They can learn the parts of speech without even realizing they are learning. We do a Mad Lib story or two twice a week.
These books are a feast for the eyes. I am always looking for interesting ways to teach geography and history and I have been very pleased with this series. Once a week we use Maps and once every other week or so we’ll read from Timeline. Usually we’ll pick it up as it pertains to what we are studying in history.
I especially like that they come with these activity books – my worksheet loving 8 year old can have her worksheet and I appreciate that these don’t feel like pointless busy work. They give you some very creative ways to get the most out of the text. We’ll use these whenever they correspond to the days reading.
Morning Time gives us the freedom to enjoy the rest of our day without feeling like we are always missing those important subjects. After spending our 30 – 45 minutes snuggled up on the couch reading, we can more easily tackle the rest of our day.
Do you use morning baskets in your daily routine? What’s in your morning basket? Comment below, we’d love to hear from you.