Welcome to Build Your Library’s Homeschool Tidbits: Episode 11 – Morning Baskets – Or the Best Way to Start Your Homeschool Day! In this weekly video series, I will delve briefly into a topic related to homeschooling and will share some of my knowledge and expertise as a long-time homeschooling mother of 4 children. Three of whom have graduated!
Today I want to talk about a popular subject, Morning Baskets. What are they? How can I work them into my routine? Morning baskets are fantastic because they are super flexible, and anyone can use them regardless of what homeschooling philosophy you follow. They also make it simple to include subjects you might otherwise skip.
I’m not sure who coined the term morning basket, but the basic idea has been around for ages. When my kids were small we called it Circle Time. It’s basically the same idea. A block of time at the beginning of our homeschool day where we come together and read and/or complete activities. You can include anything you like in your morning basket time. Math facts review, your current read-aloud, poetry memorization, singing, history, artist study, games, or whatever you like! This is what I love most about the concept. You can make it whatever your homeschool needs it to be!
Because morning baskets are so flexible, they are a great way to fit in all those odds and ends you’ve collected over the years. We all have at least one shelf (or a closet full) of cool educational stuff we bought but never used. Put some of those things in your morning basket!
Another reason I love morning basket time is that if my day goes off the rails, we started with the meat of our homeschool day. If we don’t get anything else done, we’ve accomplished a great deal of work just by going through our morning basket.
Every family’s morning basket time will look different because each family is different. I’m currently only homeschooling one child. This particular basket is very different from when I was homeschooling my older children. When we did Circle Time, I was teaching 3 kids together in 2 different age brackets. We would include things like a song of the week, memory work, games to practice skills like math facts or spelling, and things of that nature.
My youngest will be 13 in a few days. For her, I like to include a variety of things in our morning basket, along with some activities we do every day. For example, we always start with our word of the day, our poem of the day, and our memory work. Then we jump into our current read-aloud.
After that, we rotate between several different topics. On Mondays, we read a mythology story. Tuesdays, we learn about an interesting person. Wednesdays are for working on our US State Study. We focus on art appreciation on Thursdays, and Friday we study philosophy and critical thinking skills.
I like changing it up each day because it means neither of us gets bored. There is something different every day, and we can use a variety of resources within those set parameters.
Our morning basket time only takes about 45 minutes, but it’s often the best part of our homeschool day. We can cover so much great material that might otherwise get skipped or forgotten because our homeschool day got out of control, or the math lesson took far too long, or whatever other distraction may have derailed our plans.
First, it doesn’t need to be an actual “basket”. You might just have a stack of books on a side table or one of those fun rolling carts. Maybe you have a dedicated shelf for your “morning basket” type resources.
Second, it doesn’t even have to be in the “morning”, even though the name may imply. Whatever part of your day makes the most sense to you will suffice. Maybe your morning basket becomes a “bedtime basket”. Maybe it works best to do an “after lunch basket”. Simply figure out where it fits the best in your routine, and make it a priority.
Another thing to note, especially if you have very young kids, you don’t have to fit all the things into your morning basket. Whenever you add something new to your homeschool routine, you want to start slow and gradually increase. For the first few weeks, your morning basket time can just focus on reviewing memory work. Or reading a poem and your current read-aloud.
After a week or two, add something else. Perhaps an artist study, or a book of mythology. Do you have a huge stack of picture books you haven’t been able to squeeze in? Throw a new picture book into your morning basket each day. Do you have wide age gaps between your children? It may be beneficial to have separate morning basket time with your bigs and littles.
But remember, morning baskets can be flexed into as much or as little as you want them to be!
I hope that you found this Tidbit helpful! Come back next week for Morning Baskets Part 2, when I’ll be sharing some great resources and fun ideas for things to include!
Until next time, happy reading!
Emily Cook is the author and creator of the secular homeschool curriculum Build Your Library, a literature-based K-12 program infused with the teachings of Charlotte Mason. She writes full-year lesson plans as well as shorter topical unit studies. Emily has been homeschooling her four children in Southern NH for 18 years. She is passionate about reading aloud to children of all ages and loves to share her love of literature with others. She and her family also make incredibly dorky videos about homeschooling, books, and more on Youtube at ARRRGH! Schooling. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. You can also check out her author page on Amazon.