Let’s talk about all things morning time, or morning basket, or circle time, or symposium, or however you might have heard of this concept. I’m going to explain what morning basket is and then share practical steps on how you can create a morning basket for your homeschool that your family will love.
What is morning basket
First of all, you may not have heard of morning basket. I first heard about the concept of morning basket from Pam Barnhill. She is the first person who really took this idea of morning basket and made it a popular ‘thing’ that homeschoolers do. So I’m going to go ahead and describe morning basket in her own words as,
A morning basket is a time in the day when everyone in the family can come together and learn together about specific subjects.Pam Barnhill
This just means that morning basket involves the whole family. So naturally, you are going to want to include subjects in your morning basket that are not grade specific. Math and language arts would not be a good fit for the morning basket. However subjects like history, or even science might be good for the family. For my family personally, this is the time in the day where I like to include the subjects that bring beauty to our homeschool.
Often, the subjects that usually go in to the morning basket are the ones that tend to get pushed out of the daily schedule in favor of the top priority subjects ie. reading, writing and math. Typically you will find subjects like art appreciation, composer study, poetry or literature study in the morning basket.
One thing that makes morning basket so awesome for homeschoolers is that it is an excellent use of your time. As a homeschooling momma, and especially if you are homeschooling multiple children, those grade specific subjects can have you running all over the place!
With morning basket, everyone is together and everyone is learning at the same time no matter the grade. However, I will say that how long your morning basket lasts does depend on the age ranges of your children.
If you are homeschooling all middle and high school age children, you could very well have an hour to an hour and a half of morning basket. However, if you have elementary aged students, a toddler running around and maybe even a baby… your morning basket will be pretty short. With a kinder/first grader, a preschooler and a toddler, I’m lucky to squeeze out thirty minutes.
We’ve done morning time quite awhile now so we have built up the time frame. Although there is a season for everything. As my toddler gets more active, morning time has been a bit of a struggle as of late.
How to do morning time
Ok so now that you know what morning time is, let’s talk about how you can create a morning basket for your homeschool. I’m going to break this down into four different questions for you to consider.
When to do it
While the word “morning” is in the title ‘morning basket’ this doesn’t actually mean that you need to have your morning basket in the morning. Perhaps your family members are late risers or maybe you know everyone is at their most focused time in the early afternoon. Schedule your morning basket then! (perhaps call it family gather time instead;)
As you look at your family’s daily rhythm, see if you can find a block of time where you know the whole family will be together, in a good place mentally speaking, and can sit still for a time. Speaking of time…
How long to do it
As I mentioned previously, you want to consider your children’s ages. Got toddlers and preschoolers? A ten minute morning basket is probably best. Elementary aged children can probably handle 15 minutes to half an hour. The older your children, the longer they can usually go.
This is really up to you and your unique family situation. If you are brand new to morning basket, just start everyone at 10 minutes and build up from there, no matter the ages. The morning time will usually have a natural flow to it. You want to ease into and out of your morning time to ensure everyone’s enjoyment.
As you work through the morning time subjects your family may want to linger on a certain subject. Conversely, you may zip through another with no further interest. Give yourself a certain time period for morning time, then give yourself room to linger. Basically I wouldn’t recommend scheduling your morning time right before everyone has to be out the door for sports. Likewise, if you schedule your morning time just before naptime, you may have children dropping off right in the middle of it!
Where to do it
Where you have your morning times is really a matter of preference. Of course you want to consider the best place for everyone in the family to meet. Consider the vibe you want to have with your morning time. Is it purely an academic pursuit? (Are you doing history or science in your morning time?) Then maybe do it in the school room or at the kitchen table.
Or maybe you want to have more of a relaxing, cozy morning time. The living room with comfy blankets and pillows might be best to enjoy poetry or a read aloud. Consider taking your morning time outside for nature study or art appreciation.
Contrary to popular belief, morning time can be held anywhere! If you want to make this time a regular part of your day, the only recommendation I have is to be consistent in your location. This helps establish the routine and the expectations of the morning time.
What to include
Now for the fun part. Lets talk about what subjects to include in your morning time. I already mentioned some of the popular subjects but here are a few you may not have considered:
- Bible study
- Scripture memory
- Foreign language
- Computer skills
- Survival skills (think first aid or starting a fire)
- Music theory
- Character study
- Family read aloud
There is so much from which to choose! My suggestion if you’re just starting out is to pick 3 to 4 subjects and go from there. When I first started doing morning time, I wanted to do ALLL the things. I even did a loop schedule to try to get it all in… spoiler alert – that failed fast.
We still have quite a few subjects we do, however I created a more manageable schedule that works perfectly for our family. If you would like to see what’s in our morning time basket, you can check it out here. And that is how to create a morning basket for your homeschool that your family will love!