Morning baskets are a popular way to add family learning time to your homeschooling day. But what is a morning basket and how do you use it?
What is a Homeschool Morning Basket?
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The concept of the morning basket is derived from the ideals of the Charlotte Mason homeschooling method, but it is easily adaptable to many different styles of education. It might also be called circle time or morning meeting. The basic idea is to bring everyone together and do some learning as a family or group. It’s an easy way to include topics that you might otherwise forget or skip in your learning, review what you’ve been learning so far, connect and chat with each other, memorize things, read books, and touch on subjects that are of importance to your family. All the resources needed to work through this time are kept in a basket or something similar and portable so that it is easy to transport as needed and is easy to access. The goal is to have a relaxed, fun, simple time together covering different things for short periods of time.
What Should You Include In Your Morning Basket?
Just like homeschooling is unique for every single family, a morning basket is going to look different for every single family. What one family will include might not be in another family’s morning basket. But here are a few examples of things that you might want to include or that are commonly seen in lists:
- a read-aloud book
- art appreciation
- music appreciation
- character study
- Bible reading (for faith-based homeschoolers)
- memorization (of poems or passages or Bible verses)
- Prayers or Meditation Time
- Audio stories
- Review of lessons learned
Some other ideas:
- History or Geography
- French or another second language
- The National Anthem
- Fitness breaks (like yoga or activity challenge cards)
- Mindfulness activities
- Team Building exercises
- Math flashcards
- Brain teasers / Puzzles
- Conversation Starters
Does everything have to be books?
Some people will answer this with a resounding yes. They fully feel that everything you do with your kids in morning basket time should be quality literature and book-based studies. Other people are more relaxed and use a variety of resources to make their morning times personalized. You need to decide what works for your learning goals and your family.
Some Ideas For Your Morning Basket
- Usborne’s Famous Paintings Cards.
- A Year of Art Appreciation for Kids: 52 Artworks Your Kids Should Know
How To Use A Morning Basket in Your Homeschool
How people use a morning basket is as individualized as the content included in it. Some people decide to use a morning basket right at the start of the day, completing all the things inside said basket before moving on to individual studies and activities. Other people spread it throughout the day – breaking it up into chunks of learning at different times. Some people use the read-alouds and other activities that involve sitting around meal times when their audience is captivated and available to sit still for a few minutes. It can be used as the primary core of your homeschool day or it can be a small extra – it’s really dependent on your family and how you run your school.
One common method is to divide up the content by days or in a looping schedule – where you just go onto the next topic regardless of the specific day until you get back to the start and begin again, combined with a few every day regular activities.
The goal is to keep everything short. Activities should only be 10-15 minutes each and vary between activities. For example, a period of listening to a story might be followed by a hands-on art activity, which could be followed by an open discussion about a picture of a famous painting, and then another read aloud.
Here are some examples of other families and how they use a morning basket in their homeschool:
- Homeschool On: What is a Morning Basket (Podcast Episode)
- Organic Mothering: A Charlotte Mason Morning Basket
- Learning Mama: How We Homeschool: Morning Time
Pam Barnhill is the well-known name behind many great morning time resources. She has a podcast full of ideas and special guests, as well as completely pre-planned morning time schedules you can purchase from her store. (She even has a free sample month you can download!) Above all that, she also has a new book about Morning Time called Better Together.
Morning Basket In Our Home
Although our family has never been as intentional or consistent with morning time as I would have liked over the years, we have had a routine of meeting together in the morning to have what we call Morning Meeting. The goal is to have everyone up, fed, and ready to go by 9 am when I call them to the living room couch. This is our one time of day where we all gather together and talk. During this time, we have done things like Bible time, listening to classical music, and having conversations about what we’re planning to do that day or this week. We also use this time to just talk about concerns or ideas – kind of like a family meeting. It’s my chance to connect with my gang as a family and give them an opportunity to connect with each other. Our basket is actually an IKEA storage box that fits on the shelves we added into the living room – and it’s where I keep everything we need for that special morning time.
Do you use a morning basket? What do you include and how does it look in your house?