A Morning Basket is a completely optional part of the homeschool curriculum. Don’t feel like you have to have a Morning Basket. That said, I love Morning Basket Time. Let me tell you what a Morning Basket is and the benefits before I tell you how to build your own.
Everyone has a different way of doing Morning Basket. For me, a Morning Basket is just all the things we’re doing as a group. It also doesn’t have to happen in the morning. It makes for a good start to the day, but if morning doesn’t work for you, put it somewhere else in the day.
What goes into your morning basket depends on you. If you’ve got a large family, you might put your history or science spine into your morning basket. Use your morning basket for those extras you wish you could fit in, but can’t find time for. Use your morning basket as a miniature unit study. There is no wrong way to build a morning basket. It usually isn’t “work” in the traditional sense, but a time when we’re going to sit and chat and read and maybe drink some coffee. You may want something for your kids to do while you read (busy hands help keep mouths quite). Some people choose a handicraft, like knitting or whittling. Other people choose a fidget spinner, thinking putty, or a pen and some paper. Do what works for you.
You may even choose to do your whole school day basket style. That’s cool, too. You maybe have a basket for each subject where you just grab something out of it to do today that appeals to you. That may work brilliantly for you.
Why do morning basket? Well, it is a much calmer way to tackle some things. Everything doesn’t need a full plan. Some things you want to read, but you don’t necessarily want to study. Adding these things to the Morning Basket allows you to do those things without the pressure. You can add Etiquette without it being a big ordeal or sucking out a lot of time.
Morning Basket also brings everyone together. It is great for a family with multiple children, even if they do their own thing for school. Just everyone coming together for a little time each day is awesome.
Morning Basket brings about a certain rhythm to the days. You don’t have to do the same thing each day in Morning Basket, but something about that set aside time is familiar without being suffocating.
So what should you put into your Morning Basket? Well, that is up to you. Here is how our Morning Basket goes… this year:
Pray for the day
Scripture Memory Verse (I pick a big chunk of Scripture, not a single verse, and we work on that all term. Memorizing things like The Beatitudes, The Shema, The Ten Commandments, a Psalm– those are great pieces of Scripture that are bigger to memorize.)
Poetry Memory (I pick 1 poem per month for my younger kids. My older kids have 1 or 2 longer poems each term to memorize. Even though they’re all doing different poems, we practice saying them together each morning. My five-year-old surprised me last week at dinner by reciting his high school sister’s poem.)
Read a Psalm. (We take turns reading from the Bible. As soon as my kids can read, I start having them read the Bible out loud during Morning Basket. It is great practice and builds courage for reading the Bible in public at older ages.)
Manners (I only do manners one day a week. My wild boys, surprisingly, love manner. I skipped it last year and they begged for me to do it this year. I do skip some parts, because I don’t think they care about addressing envelopes. Modern Manners and Emily Post Etiquette are both good books to get started. You could also just have a topic of discussion and not a book. Have a month of dinner table etiquette, a month of party etiquette, etc. You can totally do this book free.)
Mad Libs (My kids are just completely in love with Mad Libs. We used to do them once a week during morning basket. Now, I pull them out between reading to break things up a bit.)
Character (I choose a biography or compilation of biographies to read once or twice a week during Morning Basket. I try to choose stories of real people with real character. Some good options: 7 Men, 7 Women, I Am N, Evidence Not Seen, Hiding in the Light, Amazing Grace, The Hiding Place, Trial and Triumph)
Literature (I like to pick one read aloud per term to read to everyone together. These might be books that don’t fit into other categories or simply books that are excellent read alouds. My husband reads to our kids before bed, as well, so we fit another selection in there. Some options: The Mysterious Benedict Society, Nooks and Crannies, Wonder, The One and Only Ivan, The Green Ember)
Extras (You can also add books to go along with history, science, or just books you want to read. It doesn’t even have to be a book the kids want to read. You’d be surprised what they enjoy. My kids loved reading If You Can Keep It. It gave us such great discussion that I wasn’t even sure they were ready for and I couldn’t have scripted if I wanted to. If you’re interested in something, add it in!)
Hymn Study (Some people love adding in hymn studies. Learn about why a particular hymn was written, a little about the author of the hymn, a little about the hymn’s significance, and commit the hymn to memory. We have strayed from hymn study because my kids act like hoodlums anytime I sing or sit at a piano. I like the idea, but it didn’t work for us, so we don’t do it. That is the customization that is so wonderful in homeschooling.)
Maybe you want your kids to learn the Pledge of Allegiance. Maybe you want to just start each day with a quick five minute inspirational thought. Maybe you want your kids to memorize famous speeches or analyze music lyrics. Whatever it is, you can adapt a Morning Basket to fit your family and optimize your homeschool experience. Your Morning Basket may take five minutes or four hours– you do you.
You don’t have to do every piece every day. You can do things as much or as little as you want. I also add a little game to our basket each term for Fridays. (Right now, we’re enjoying the Action Bible Guess-it Game.) Don’t overcomplicate it.
Some people turn their basket into a miniature unit study. Or they toss all their nature reading they aren’t getting around to in it. Whatever you make it, it is a great addition to homeschooling.
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