YMB #78 Civics and Current Events: A Conversation with Jill Hummer

Professor and homeschool mom Jill Hummer joins me on this episode of the podcast to talk all about teaching civics and current events in your Morning Time. We chat about what Civics is, exactly, as well as the best ways to bring a living knowledge of citizenship to your kids. We also discuss age-appropriate ways to include civics, what to do about current events, and how you can make citizenship a natural part of your homeschool and family.
 

Pam:

This is Your Morning Basket, where we help you bring Truth, Goodness, and Beauty to your homeschool day. Hi, and welcome to the Your Morning Basket podcast. I’m Pam Barnhill, your host, and I am so glad that you are joining me here today. Well, on today’s episode of the podcast, we are going to be joined by Jill Hummer. Jill is the owner and author at Silverdale Press, but she’s also a college professor and a homeschooling mom. We were so happy to find her because we’re going to be talking all about current events, civics, and studying the election. All of those things are very important this fall, and we wanted to talk about how homeschoolers could be doing that in their homes and in their Morning Times. Jill was the absolute perfect person for this conversation. So, I’m not going to give anything away. We’ll get on with it right after this word from our sponsor.

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Pam:
Dr. Jill Hummer is a homeschool mom of four kids ages 11, 8, 7, and 4. She spends most of her time juggling life as a homeschool mom with her job as a professor of history and political science at Wilson College. She is the author of the book, First Ladies and American Women: In Politics and at Home. Jill has spoken at presidential libraries and has been featured on C-SPAN and The History Channel, but what she loves most is sitting on the couch reading books to her kids. Along with her husband, Jill is the founder of Silverdale Press, which provides high quality homeschool curriculum and Unit Studies to enrich your whole family. Jill, welcome to the podcast.

Jill:
Thanks, Pam. It's great to be with you.

Pam:
Oh, I love having you on here. We have been looking for ... This is like our 70-something episode and we've been looking the whole time for somebody to come on and have a great conversation with us about current events, and so we were just so thrilled.

Jill:
Oh, thanks, Pam. Yes, I'm excited to talk to your audience about current events. I love talking about current events.

Pam:
Oh, I think this is going to be so much fun. Well, start off by telling us a little bit about you and your family and how you got started homeschooling.

Jill:
Oh, yes. That's a good question. I came to homeschooling reluctantly. I think you said in my bio about my kids and their ages. So my oldest is going into sixth grade and my youngest is a preschooler, and we've been homeschooling for the last five years, so ever since my daughter was in first grade. I came to homeschooling probably very reluctantly. I remember when I was in graduate school, I was working on my dissertation. I was engaged at the time to my husband and we were driving somewhere and we were talking, and I remember him mentioning that homeschooling was something that we should eventually consider for our kids, which of course we didn't have at that point. And I remember thinking, "What? Homeschool?" That sounded like the craziest idea. But my husband was homeschooled back in the 90s when it was a little less common than it is today and he really loved it.

I went to public school and I was, at the time, very career focused and I was thinking, "We're going to have two kids and they're going to school." And we have four kids and we homeschool.
So it wasn't an easy decision. We prayed about it for years before we made the decision to homeschool. So it was not something that was very obvious to us, or to me, from the beginning. But definitely felt strongly led in that direction, and we love it now. I can't imagine doing anything else.

Pam:
It's so funny how somebody else out there has different plans than what we do.

Jill:
Yes, right, exactly. Exactly.

Pam:
Oh, goodness. Well, let's talk a little bit about this idea of ... Well, let's start with civics. When we think about the idea of civics as a subject in school, or not even as a subject in school, just as a part of our daily life as citizens of a country, what exactly is it and why is it important for us to study it?

Jill:
Yeah, that's a great question. We get the term, "civics," of course, this goes back to our classical training, from the Latin word, "civicus," which means just relating to a citizen. This is the idea of, we'll talk about Ancient Greece, going back to Ancient Greece, was that you would educate young men at the time to become leaders so that they could deal with civic matters. They needed to have an education that gave them the kind of thinking skills necessary to engage in that focused thought and reflection that could lead to the betterment of their own cities and societies. So really, civics is, I think of it as training for citizenship, ultimately. I believe that it is our job as homeschool parents to undertake this training of our kids for citizenship.

Pam:
Okay, so when we're talking about civics and having discussions with our kids about civics and having them study civics, we are training them for citizenship.

Jill:
Absolutely. And what we're after is to direct them (our kids) towards this enlightened engagement with their communities, with policy, with the global community, and equip them with the knowledge and skills to function as citizens. So, it's not so narrow as you need to know the three branches of government or what the Supreme Court said in Brown v. Board of Education. When we're talking about teaching civics, it is definitely more of a training for citizenship.

Pam:
Okay, so that kind of leads into what I wanted to ask you next is, when I think about civics and I think about doing things like, memorizing the three branches of government, it sometimes can feel like a little bit of a snooze fest.

Jill:
Sure, sure.

Pam:
I'm not denying that that's important information to know, and I'm just going to come right out and say it, I know that information. If for nothing else than to not embarrass my former teachers on late night television when somebody stops me and asks me these questions.

Jill:
Oh, sure.

Pam:
But how do you make it more about what you said, enlightened engagement, and less about just memorizing how our government is set up?

Jill:
That's a good question, and it's one that, for me...I became interested in civics not through anything I learned in school. Civics was kind of a lifestyle for, I don't want to say all members of my family, but politics and public affairs were always talked about around the dinner table, at family gatherings, and I find that that is not the case, at least among the college students that I teach. I find that that is probably a pretty uncommon scenario.

So how I grew up, my grandfather was very active in civic affairs. He always said that his goal was to have the longest obituary possible, and he did, because he was involved in everything. Volunteer firefighter, he served on the city council of his very small town in Pennsylvania, so we're not talking about national affairs here. But he was a great example in that he was always engaged. He didn't graduate high school. He was the child of immigrants. He didn't have any kind of formal education. But he was one of the most enlightened citizens by virtue of his interests and activism that I've ever known in my life. So his life has always been a really great example to me of how we can instill that value of citizenship beyond what we think of as a traditional kind of classroom, memorizing the three branches of government, memorizing the powers of the president kind of education.

Pam:
Right. Okay. I'm loving this and I'm sitting here thinking about my family. It's been on our list, this year especially. My kids have finally reached an age where we're able to have these really great conversations and we can engage with each other and it's a presidential election year and I'm thinking, "Okay, this is it. This is the year where we're going to really kind of dig into civics and citizenship." And I'm just thinking, "They're going to hate it." But when you talk about that lifestyle of civics and not just treating it as a school subject ... My husband and I have these conversations all the time. What I'm thinking now after hearing you talk is that we need to pull our kids into these conversations that we're just naturally having.

Jill:
Oh, absolutely. I think that is critical. Absolutely bring your kids into the conversation. We were always, I mean, there was never the notion that kids couldn't participate in these discussions, which were constantly happening. They weren't always civil, however, they did happen and they were good. It is a time where kids can wrestle with these bigger ideas and they're not ... I really don't believe that everything should just be civics and public affairs is necessarily an adult subject. I believe that that's something that the whole family can engage in. So yes, I completely agree. Draw your kids into that conversation. It's not something that just the parents can do.

Pam:
Well, and you mentioned that they weren't always civil conversations about civics, and I think this is so important because we have forgotten as a society how to have a conversation where we might disagree with each other without hating each other. And in a family, this is a place where you can disagree with each other and you're not going to end up being uncivil or hateful or anything like that. I mean, this is the place to learn how to do that.

Jill:
Oh, absolutely. And there were never any damaged relationships, even though there were disagreements, right?

Pam:
Right.

Jill:
This wasn't a place where everybody agreed, and it's still not ... with what the next person was saying. But they never led to any damage in relationships. And you're absolutely right, that is a critical skill that we need to be able to have these debates without damaging relationships within the family, with our friends, with our coworkers one day. We need to be able to engage in civil debate.

Pam:
Yeah, yeah. So what age would you start teaching kids about ... not just bringing them into conversations, but also doing something maybe a little more formal, whether that be just as a homeschool subject or in Morning Time, which is what we talk about here. What age do you think is a good age to start talking with children about government and civic responsibility?

Jill:
I think that even starting in the preschool years, there are things that maybe not as part of a conversation, but there are ways to ... If you want to get into ways to teach civics to very young kids, I can talk about that really quickly.

Pam:
Yeah, give me some ideas.

Jill:
Okay. For your very youngest kid, again, you're not going to be sitting around the dinner table talking about water quality or something like that. But, I mean, I remember, for example, my daughter when she was in preschool took a class at our co-op. It was called Community Helpers, but what it really was was civics. They went to the fire station, they went to the police station, they had people come into their classes. I can't remember who, but I can think of some ideas. You could ask your local officials to come and talk to your co-op. You could make a meal for your local food bank. You could invite a news reporter or somebody from your Chamber of Commerce, all of these.

So that's what they would do. They would go out and they would have people come into their class and just talk about what they did and how they helped the community, what some of their jobs were like. It took a lot of logistics. I give a lot of credit to that co-op teacher because that was a lot of logistics to coordinate, but she did a fantastic job bringing the community into the class and bringing the class out to the community. Again, that is training for citizenship. "These are the people who help our community, this is what they do." It gives them a vision at a young age of how they can help and that they could one day participate. So I think that when they're very little, preschool age, lower elementary school age, focusing on your community and what you have around you is a really great idea.

As they get older, I would say you can start bringing, without ... And again, I'm going to try to talk about civics in a non-dry and boring way, like memorizing the three branches of government. Then I think as they get a little older, maybe older elementary school, one of the things to do, and this is probably something a lot of families are doing anyway, is to read biographies of great citizens. These could be presidential. As a presidential biographer myself, presidential biographies are my go-to because that's what I know. It doesn't have to be even somebody who was elected. It can be Sarah Josepha Hale, the mother of Thanksgiving; Ida Tarbell, a muckraking journalist. It could be anybody, any citizen who did something, was able to distinguish himself or herself through their acts of citizenship, through their contributions to their communities. So reading biographies of great citizens with your kids is another way to really talk about citizenship without it being dry and boring.

And as they get even older than that, I know a lot of homeschool families will read Plutarch's Lives in their homeschool. I mean, Plutarch wrote that to provide models of citizenship to his readers and the American founders. I mean, that was required reading in the founding generation, Plutarch's Lives. They all read Plutarch's Lives. They knew that they were living in this great historical moment because they read Plutarch's Lives. So as they get older, bringing Plutarch in, that's always good.

And then in Morning Time you mentioned, I think ... Well, I know memorizing the three branches of government can be boring. If memory work is part of your Morning Time, and this is probably a good thing for kids of maybe all ages to do, but it doesn't hurt to memorize the Preamble of the Constitution. It doesn't hurt to memorize the Bill of Rights. It's not that long, the first ten amendments. It doesn't hurt to memorize the Gettysburg Address. It doesn't hurt to memorize some of the great speeches. It doesn't hurt to memorize the beginning part of the Declaration of Independence. If you're really ambitious, you can memorize the whole thing, but I wouldn't necessarily do that. So memory work, that's a way of teaching American values and, therefore, civics to your kids without necessarily using a dry textbook.

Pam:
Oh, these are great ideas. I'm going to go so far as to say not only would it not hurt to memorize those things, it's a really good idea.

Jill:
It is a really good idea.

Pam:
I'm just throwing it out there.

Jill:
No, it absolutely is a really good idea to memorize all of those things. All of our founding documents are so important, especially if we're living in the United States. It's a great way to pass along ... And since we're not in school, some of that is ... I think children here in the public school system by reciting the Pledge, if you're still doing that, that's one way to infuse children with our founding values. But by doing this kind of memory work, that's, I think, another way that homeschoolers can really capture some of that as well.

Pam:
Okay. Jill, those were fabulous ideas. I love it. You just hit all the different age groups and gave us some really great things that we could be doing in our homeschool.

Jill:
Sure.

Pam:
I want to talk a little bit about the election year.

Jill:
Okay.

Pam:
It is an election year. How is this year a little bit different? What kind of things should we focus on this year that stand out to you?

Jill:
Well, okay. First of all, and maybe you can ask me a little bit about how this year, I'm happy to answer specifics about how this year may be different than other years, but I think that in terms of talking about the election or bringing the election into your homeschool, what you can do as a homeschool parent, I think that what your children see you do, as far as the election, may be in some ways more important than what you necessarily can teach them. For example, again, and this goes back to cultivating the habits of citizenship. The most important thing you could probably do for your kids this election season is take them to vote, if we can go vote in person. I don't know if we can, but even if you live in a state where you have to do a mail-in ballot, have them sit down and fill out, not fill out the ballot with you, but watch you fill out the ballot yourself.

Allow them to participate in voting. I remember my parents, of course, they always voted and they always took my sister and me to vote. No matter young, older, we always all went to the ... It was a family activity. We went to the polling place together. I remember sitting in the booth with my mom while she filled out her ballot. I remember her talking to me about it while she was filling it out. Then when I was finally old enough, I would go and vote with them myself. And so that was a huge example, because we really need to train up our kids to become voters because so many young people choose not to exercise that right that they have when they reach age 18. It's very sad to me. So I think that's really one of the most important things that make voting and talk about the importance of voting, making it a family activity is hugely important.

Another thing that you can do is to find ways to participate, and as a homeschooler, this is a great time to get involved in the election. I think personally that you learn more by participating than you do by necessarily reading about it in a textbook. Every year, my oldest daughter and I have worked the polls on election day. That is our activity. My husband will take the kids and we signed up to volunteer for a congressional race, actually for a US congresswoman, and we went onto her website, filled out a volunteer form, and if you fill out a volunteer form, somebody will call you. Their people are desperate for volunteers. And so we got many, many calls asking for help and the thing we chose to do was to work the polls on election day where we stood outside, handed out literature, talked to people who were coming in. My daughter did most of the work. She's much better at that than I am, and she really loves it.

Jill:
But that's one way we chose to get involved in the elections. Now, will we be able to do that in 2020? I don't know. Still to be determined. And other ways you can engage as a family. Watch the debates together. As we've already mentioned, talk about the issues around the dinner table. Bring your kids into the discussion. So there are so many ways to get involved in the election.

Pam:
Awesome, awesome. And if you haven't started any of this yet, it's not too late, right?

Jill:
Oh, no. It is not too late. It has hardly even begun, so it's definitely the ... The general election, I think, will start kicking into high gear. There will be more to see as the summer rolls on and into the fall, so it is not too late. The fall is a great time to get started on it.

Pam:
Awesome. Okay, so what tips do you have for parents who feel like their own knowledge of civics or the government is lacking? What should they focus on to prepare themselves for these discussions and things?

Jill:
Oh, sure. That's a great question, Pam. I think my biggest suggestion here would be don't focus on what you don't know. We're all not experts in government and civic affairs, and that is fine. I would take the approach, try to see yourself as a co-learner along with your students. Consider yourself a facilitator of family learning rather than a teacher. You could ask your child something about what he or she is interested in, "What about the election do you want to study of the election?" And then learn it together.

I wouldn't necessarily recommend that parents do their own deep dive study session, because who has time for that? But if the election is something you want to study with your kids, definitely take the approach of seeing yourself as a co-learner, see yourself as the facilitator, and learn along with your kids. That sets a great example of lifelong learning for them, I think.

Pam:
Yeah, yeah. I think so, too. We talk about that so often in Morning Time, that you don't have to be the expert in Morning Time. You can just learn right along with your kids.

Jill:
Absolutely.

Pam:
If you find your education is lacking in this area, teach it and it won't be anymore.

Jill:
That's exactly right. That is exactly right.

Pam:
Yeah. Well, let's shift a little bit to the idea of current events. We've talked about civics, which is the training for citizenship, and we've talked about the election, which is something that's happening right now this year. But what about just in general about current events? What are current events, and then why do we want to teach these to our kids?

Jill:
Sure. Well, I mean, current events is pretty much ... it's anything that's happening anywhere around you. So in your local community, in Africa, in the Middle East, anything that's going on right now. And current events span ... again, we're not just talking about civics. Current events can include economics, it can include business, it can include arts, it can include technology, it can include health. So anything that's happening now that's newsworthy I would consider a current event. That was my definition. What was your other question, Pam? I'm sorry.

Pam:
Why do we want to bring these in and talk about these with our kids? As opposed to ... We only have so much time in a school day, right?

Jill:
That's right.

Pam:
And we've got to be teaching science and we've got to be teaching history and math and things like that, so why do we want to dedicate a little bit of time to current events?

Jill:
To current events. I would also say that current events, it's something that may not fit easily into your school day. I think that many homeschool families would agree that they are important. They may not be able to tell you exactly why, and I can tell you exactly why. But Morning Time is a great time to include current events. I think it's kind of like ... I'm a student of the liberal arts. I'm a practitioner of the liberal arts. I feel like Morning Time is kind of this center for the liberal arts in our home education, and I think current events definitely can enhance many of the liberal arts topics because it helps our students make connections between theory and practice, between history and today, between what they might be learning in nature study and something that's going on in the world of science today.

So I think that it's kind of a place for our students to make some of those practical connections between liberal learning and what's going on now. So that's one reason. Another reason is that current events helps us to increase knowledge. It helps us to increase our knowledge in all kinds of areas, including the ones that I just mentioned. Especially if you're doing newspaper reading. Newspaper reading can really help build language arts skills. I personally feel, and this is a belief of mine, that something has been seriously lost in this era of digital news that we're living in. Children don't see the rich language of the newspaper sitting around and they're not really able to page through its pages. But I think that reading the newspaper in particular really does help us develop a better vocabulary, better reading skills, stronger spelling skills, better writing skills.

I think more importantly, though, I think that current events discussions can help prompt kids to really wrestle with big ideas. If your homeschooler is puzzling through a moral issue or heard something that maybe disturbed him or her, did she see something that challenged a belief? I think discussing current events provides, or at least allows, parents, especially of older children, a forum through which children can really talk through those difficult ideas, big questions, complex issues. So that's another benefit.

I think that studying current events importantly ... You and I know, Pam, that homeschooling is all about building relationships, and I think that current events discussions really do help to bring families together. It helps us connect with our kids over important topics. It's a way for families to strengthen their beliefs and values. I think far better for a child to wrestle with some current events issues at home with mom and dad, brothers and sisters, than on the playground or in another public forum where parents aren't there to moderate the discussion, right?

Pam:
Right.

Jill:
So I think that it really allows you to sort of pass along… to help your kids view current events in light of your own family's beliefs and values. Those are some of the practical through bigger picture higher level reasons for studying current events.

Pam:
I love it. Great reasons. Great reasons. Okay, so, now we have the reasons. What about the resources? What are some of your favorite resources for current events with your kids?

Jill:
Okay. I can give you some resources, and I'll also say that at our website, silverdalepress.com, we have a free download in our free resources section where these are all listed. So if you don't remember them, that's okay.

Pam:
Yeah. Just give us a couple of your favorites and then we're going to send people over to get that free download. We'll link to it in the show notes and they can get the comprehensive list. I had a look at this myself yesterday and there was really great insights into each of the resources on the list and I thought, "Oh, parents are going to love this one." So I definitely want you guys to go and download the list from Silverdale Press. But Jill's going to give us a couple highlights right now.

Jill:
Yeah. I think the main point of our resource list, I put this together for families because I really wanted them to be able to pick and choose to fit their needs. I think that you really do need to consider your own family and where your own family is before you pick a current events resource. Think about who your kids are, think about what they like, and then maybe choose a resource accordingly. I'll give you a few examples.

One of my favorite resources is your local newspaper. The reason I say that is local newspapers are great. Typically they have softer news content, so that's more appropriate for younger audiences. They also really give some ... If you're studying your community and your community helpers, they are also a great resource because they provide a lot of local coverage. So appropriate for young readers, kind of softer content. It's always good to support your local community by subscribing to your local newspaper.

I subscribe to The Wall Street Journal, and that's because of my job. This may seem a little bit odd. My kids do read it. I find that if I set it out on the kitchen table and if they're sitting down for breakfast, they will pick it up. Do they understand it all? No, of course not. Do they read the finance section cover to cover? No, they don't. But I'm thrilled when I see them paging through The Wall Street Journal because I know that they're at least picking up bits and pieces. But if you have a high schooler who ... Do you have a budding entrepreneur or a future business leader in your homeschool? I think The Wall Street Journal is a great publication. I read it because I really like their national coverage and for the work that I do, it's good to be reading that kind of national coverage. So The Wall Street Journal has been a favorite publication of mine for a really long time.

If you like international news, I recommend the BBC. If your family's interested in other cultures, the BBC, British Broadcasting Corporation, has a great website. If you like videos, and my kids like videos, so I'm thinking of maybe doing a little bit more of this next year. I think CNN 10 is a great resource.

Pam:
We love CNN 10, yeah.

Jill:
Oh, okay, great. Yeah, CNN 10. You know, Pam, right? 10-minute news shows geared to students. My kids, we haven't done it, but I'm thinking about it for our Morning Time this year. I'm thinking that they would really love CNN 10. They're at really good ages for it. Easy for moms, enjoyable for kids. Who doesn't like educational screen time, right? It's really great.

A lot of Christian homeschoolers, of course, like Al Mohler's podcast, The Briefing. It's news and commentary from a Christian perspective, so if you want to give your family a Christian commentary kind of view of the news, I recommend The Briefing.

And let's see. One more resource, I have a list of 10 on our download. But another one that I like and am familiar with, and this may be for the busy family, is SRN News. If you grew up driving around in your car listening to the radio like I did, you'll be familiar with the SRN News. It's a national news network for Christian radio stations and they cover topics of interest to the Christian radio listener like religion, cultural trends, faith and public policy. It's a headline service, meaning they're not really going into depth about anything in the news like if you listen to a podcast or if you read an article in The Wall Street Journal, you'd get a lot more depth. But if you're a busy family and if you like your news in bite-sized audio bits, go to SRN News, listen to their top and bottom of the hour headlines, and you're still going to get some news in your Morning Time and it'll be quick and dirty, but it'll be effective as well.

So those are some of the resources that I highly recommend. There are lots more, though. The good news for families is that there are a wealth of resources for families for studying current events.

Pam:
Yeah, and the little snippets like in SRN News give you a jumping off point.

Jill:
They do.

Pam:
It makes you kind of well rounded in your understanding of what's going on, but then if somebody takes an interest in something like a rocket launch or something like that, some debatable topic or whatever, then you could jump onto it and go a little bit further and study a little more and have deeper discussions.

Jill:
Yes. That's a great point, too. That's another great thing about studying current events, because if they do tend to spark interest within your children, you can kind of see what they're interested in and then maybe follow up with a short unit study, maybe give them a topic to explore and research on their own and maybe write a small position paper on or something like that as part of their language arts curriculum. So there are a whole host of different ways current events can feed into your other subjects in your other disciplines in your homeschool.

But I think, one, current events are a critical part of your day. Definitely, Morning Time is a wonderful place for them. And two, before you pick a resource, and there are so many resources out there that make it easy for moms, definitely just think about your family, what your kids are interested in, what kind of time you have. Are you busy? Are you pressed for time? Do you have the time to sit around and read a lengthy article from The Atlantic or another news magazine? And then pick your source.

Pam:
Yeah, yeah, okay. So this was the Homeschool Current Events Quick Start Guide from Silverdale Press, and we're going to link to this in the show notes. And just to let you guys know, it has some more of the reasons that Jill talked about today. Why study current events, the steps for getting started, five engaging questions to ask while you're studying current events, and then the resources that Jill told us about a few minutes ago plus more, because there are 10 resources in total. So you're going to want to go download that.

Well, Jill, let me ask you one last question before we wrap it up. If you're sitting in a Morning Time situation and you have multiple age kids, you've got your whole family there in a wide spread of ages, how do you tackle some of these difficult current event conversations with your kids in an age-appropriate way? Do you have any guidelines?

Jill:
Yeah, that's a good question. I do have a few things to think about. It's never easy for parents to talk to their kids about sensitive topics. And of course, I do scan the newspaper. If there's a really sensitive topic, I'm not going to set it out for my kids to flip through that day if there's something disturbing on the front cover. But even if you're watching CNN 10 or clicking on the BBC, sensitive topics will inevitably come up. But again, in your homeschool day, it's better to talk about it here than your kids hash it out for themselves elsewhere.

But studying current events with different ages, so sensitive events ... The first thing I would tell parents is to use their wisdom and pray about it if there's something that comes up and your child has some really difficult questions. That's always a good first step. Another tip I have is to ... When you're studying current events and there's a sensitive topic or a disturbing topic or an unpleasant topic, the fact that there is unpleasantness and inappropriateness stems from the fact that we live in a fallen world. So always start with scripture. There is nothing new under the sun. Every topic that you could imagine that is disturbing to us today is in the Bible somewhere, I would venture to guess. That's a pretty broad statement, but it's a great time to learn about human nature, to understand that a lot of the things that we're seeing are consequences of the fall.

So those are my first two suggestions. My third suggestion is to really ... If there is a sensitive topic that comes up and you want to talk about it with your kid, one thing you could do is read an article about it. If it's really sensitive, send your younger kids to the other room to color with crayons or something. But one thing that I have been suggesting to parents whenever there is something disturbing in the news is to pair the article with maybe a classic text that addresses the topic.

So if it's something like racism, talk about the current event, read the article, but also, one thing that you could do to make it a little less disturbing is to, and even if you wanted to include your little kids here, pair it with a classic text like the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, for example, or John F. Kennedy's 1963 address to Congress on a Civil Rights bill that he was about to propose. I forget the name of the address. Pairing an article with a classic text on the subject may be one way to help your kids to think about an issue without necessarily engaging in the really disturbing stuff. Do you kind of understand what I'm saying?

Pam:
Yeah, yeah.

Jill:
Okay. I mean, I wish I could think of a great way to avoid sensitive topics, but I think the fact is that they'll probably come up, and it's important that we as parents, that we do have a plan for dealing with them, that we think a little bit about how we're going to handle them before. But always pray about it, start with scripture, and try to pair your articles with some classic text to give your students a broader context for maybe understanding them.

Pam:
Oh, awesome. Some really, really great tips there. Well, I just want to point out you can find Jill online at silverdalepress.com, and so many good things there. The Current Event Guide, which is absolutely free. Also, a presidential election unit study if you are like, "Okay, it's time to study the election but where do we begin?" Which is eight lessons, and it is current for 2020. And then some fun White House unit studies as well, right?

Jill:
Yes. Yeah. So as a presidential scholar, one of the things that I like to do is to ... I am very passionate about helping homeschool families engage with the presidency, which is kind of the topic that I know best. And I love unit studies and making the holidays special, so along with our presidential election unit study, we also have unit studies about the presidency and the holidays. So there are lots of connections between the presidency and the holidays, too. But Morning Time is great. When you hit a holiday, Morning Time is a great time to infuse the holidays into your homeschool, I've found.

Pam:
Definitely.

Jill:
Yeah, yeah. So that's what we have.

Pam:
Well, Jill. Wonderful, wonderful. Well, do go check that out and we'll include a link to that in the show notes. Jill, I cannot thank you enough. This has been such a fun conversation. I really appreciate you coming on and talking to us about how we can infuse our homeschools with not only the study of civics, but how we can create a lifestyle of civics in our home and the idea of civics as enlightened engagement with the community. So thank you.

Jill:
Thank you, Pam. It was so much fun talking to you. Thanks for having me.

Pam:
And there you have it. Now, if you would like links to any of the books and resources that Jill and I chatted about today, including the Current Events Guide and other resources from Silverdale Press, come to the show notes for this episode of the podcast. Those are at pambarnhill.com/ymb78, and we'll have links to all of those over there for you.

Now, we'll be back again in a couple of weeks with another great interview, this time with Jessica Waldock from The Waldock Way. Jessica's also the owner and moderator of the Morning Baskets and More Facebook group. Jessica's going to be coming on to talk to us all about doing themes in your Morning Time, following a specific theme every single month in your Morning Time, kind of like we're doing with our Morning Time Explorations right now. So Jessica and I are going to be chatting about why you might want to do themes in your Morning Time and how making the switch to doing a thematic Morning Time really saved Morning Time for her family. Jessica's also a mom of one, so that is a unique Morning Time situation. So if you are a mom of an only, you're going to want to listen in on that. So, so much fun in a couple of weeks. Until then, keep seeking Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in your homeschool day.

Key Ideas about Teaching Civics and Current Events

Practically speaking, the idea of civics is training our students for citizenship in society. Our goal is to direct them towards enlightened engagement with their communities. We can do this by inviting conversations about politics and public affairs at the dinner table and family gatherings. Providing a
safe place for our children to learn how to discuss difficult topics and disagree without damaging relationships is a necessary skill.

Civics begins with teaching students about those who work and serve the community. It also includes providing examples of exemplary citizenship through books and biographies. Memorizing historic documents allows students to interact with the founding values of our country.

Find what you want to hear:

  • [2:43] meet Dr. Jill Hummer
  • [6:04] definition of civics
  • [8:26] engaging our kids with civics without memorizing dry facts
  • [14:00] teaching civics: ideas by age group
  • [19:16] ideas for memorization
  • [20:20] what to focus on in an election year
  • [24:36] tips for parents who aren’t confident in their knowledge of government
  • [26:22] teaching current events
  • [31:50] Jill’s favorite resources for current events
  • [39:20] ideas for tackling sensitive current events topics

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Thanks for your reviews

  • A wildly encouraging and equipping podcast for homeschool families.
    by Eryn Lynum from United States

    As a homeshool mama of four (Ages 2-9), Pam's podcast has been an increidble encouragement to me. Not only that, but I have discovered so many helpful resources for focusing on what is lovely and true during our homeschool days. I love that it is not overwhelming in nature, but instead a gentle help for moving forward one day at a time in our homeschooling adventure.

  • Best podcast for homeschooling/variety of topics
    by Bethetal from United States

    I love this podcast for so many reasons. (1) Pam is friendly, funny, humble and kind (2) She covers a multitude of topics (one at a time)- I have learned about nature notebooks, classical music study, narration, living books, Shakespeare and so much more. Whenever I have a question about a new (to me)HS term or practice, I come here to listen to Pam interview someone about it. Her interviewees have all been all-in on their respective areas of interest/expertise and I love the way she interviews/asks questions to really let the guests shine as they speak. I have changed the structure of my homeschool, found books for my kids and me, purchased materials, and found inspiration due to this podcast and I can’t recommend it enough! This podcast has shaped my homeschool in so many positive ways, most of which I probably can’t even articulate yet, as the changes have been done inside of me. Thanks, Pam!

  • Great!!!
    by Eloblah from United States

    I love the variety of things that are talked about on this show for homeschooling - things that I would never even think about including or doing - with easy ways to do them. Very much recommend this podcast

  • New home schooling mom
    by A prit from United States

    I am listening to the past episodes and loving it. This podcast has helped me develop my own homeschool. So many ideas!! I love morning time so much, we do a nightly family time so my husband and public school attending son. We do all the things instead of watching tv, playing ps4, and YouTube. My kids hang around me every evening asking if we are doing family time. I can tell they love it but don’t want to admit it.

  • Morning Time Magic!
    by DrewSteadman from United States

    I am so excited Pam is back to her morning time focus for 2020. Our homeschool has been shaped by the rich ideas and practical wisdom shared here.

  • Yay! Morning time is back!
    by Homeschooler in Germany from United States

    I was so happy and excited to learn that Pam is shifting her focus back to Morning Time for 2020! I’ve missed the morning time exclusive podcast and can’t wait to hear her back in my earbuds.

  • So excited for 2020!
    by JCrutchf from United States

    I absolutely LOVE this podcast and was so disappointed when I realized you were not actively producing it! I’m NOW relieved to know there is a whole year of episodes ahead! I’m beginning my homeschool journey with 4 little ones very close in age and my style falls somewhere in the Classical and Charlotte Mason. I found your podcast by chance via Instagram recommendation as I was doing research on “morning menus.” Your content is beautifully philosophical but at a level most parents will be able to grasp and appreciate. Filled with truth, beauty, and goodness! Your episodes fill me up and leave me feeling inspired personally and in regards to my children’s education. Everything is so good! Please don’t stop producing ever again! I’ll be grateful forever!

  • So glad Your Morning is back!!!
    by alissajohn2020 from United States

    So glad to have the morning basket podcast back! Thank you for bringing it back!!

  • So good I ran out of gas.
    by JoanieHummel from United States

    This podcast is awesome! It was recommended to me a few years ago by a very wise and experienced homeschool mom but I didn’t start listening until I saw it come up a few more times on Facebook, recommended in various groups (in particular, episode number 41). I wish I had picked it up years ago! So much great information, I’m learning so much! Be careful though, I was so interested listening to this podcast that I didn’t notice how low my gas tank was getting! I ran out of gas and as I write this review I’m stranded on the side of the road waiting for a friend to come rescue me! Happy listening!

  • Knowledge Goldmine
    by A.J. Edwards from United States

    I’ve just been eating up every episode of this brilliant podcast over the past few months. The guests are stellar and Pam’s interview style is wonderful. She gets each guest to the meat and potatoes of their topic but it’s anything but a plain meal. This is a feast for the homeschool mom’s mind. I know I’ll be revisiting many of my favorite episodes again and again. Feeling so inspired by each guest!

  • Myths and fairytale truths for homeschoolers
    by Allierhn from United States

    Mind blown! I’m listening to the myth podcast and it’s absolutely perfect. It is answering so many questions I’ve struggled with my whole life. It helps me to view our curriculum and informs my teaching so much more.

  • Super Helpful!
    by Jennlee C from United States

    I can’t speak highly enough about this podcast. It has been a huge inspiration and a practical help to my homeschool! Thank you so much Pam Barnhill and everyone else who contributes to this. It has been an amazing blessing to me and my children… And possibly generations to come!

  • Practical Inspiration
    by Mamato3activeboys from Australia

    Not only am I inspired by each episode of this podcast but I have actually put so many of the ideas into practice in our own morning time. Such a huge help as I seek to inspire my non-stop boys to truth, goodness and beauty. We are now memorising poetry as they jump on the trampoline and they love Shakespeare. That's a parenting win in my book!

  • So many great ideas!
    by Parent 98765 from Malaysia

    Thank you, Pam! I’m now bursting with inspiration and can’t wait to start our 2019 school year with a strong morning time routine.

  • Joy
    by Ancon76 from United States

    My heart is enriched and I can’t wait to learn more.

  • Just what I was looking for!
    by Joey5176 from United States

    I was looking for morning basket ideas—simple ones. These podcasts are giving me a picture of a good morning basket.

  • Wow!! What amazing nuggets of knowledge
    by HeRo84 from United States

    This is truly life changing information for me as a homeschool mother. Thank you Pam for this amazing series.

  • Love it!
    by s chenvmv from United States

    I love all of Pam’s podcast but this one is prob my favorite. I love to listen to all her guest and see the different ways a morning time can be done

  • Excellent
    by W.A., R.A. Hall from United States

    Love this!

  • Love, love, love this show
    by SarahPMiller from United States

    And I'm not even a homeschooling mother! But I've created a Morning Time for my children nonetheless, and I wouldn't have been inspired to do it -- nor could I have done it -- without this podcast. It's my favorite, and I get something out of every single episode.

  • Wonderful resource!
    by honebubble from United States

    This podcast has changed what I thought I could offer my children, my family and myself... I never would have believed that it would be possible to live a life as so many people actually do. Thank you for these tools and for what you do to help women, teachers, moms and all those on this path. You are amazing and I just can’t get enough, each episode teaches me so much!! Thank you again!

  • A wonderful podcast!
    by NoName2018 from Canada

    Great ideas and interesting guests - thanks Pam!!

  • Insightful, Inspiring, Life-Giving Podcast
    by Mackenziechester from United States

    I love this podcast. It has turned cleaning my kitchen into a really valuable part of my day. There are great tips here for gathering your family together and finding ways to share the things you are passionate about but can never quite find the time to fit in to a typical school day. So many ideas, so many varied topics. Great, inspiring guests. Life-changing podcast. Thanks so much for sharing these ideas!

  • Such great choices of guests
    by andinic from United Kingdom

    This podcast is inspirational for your homeschool plans. Pam Barnhill has a delightful interviewing style and her guests share their insights and enthusiasm for their topics. Among my favourites are the episodes with Cindy Rollins, and Angelina Stanford. Don’t miss this encouraging podcast!

  • Great
    by WifeyKayla from United States

    Some great interviews and very helpful for figuring out the flow of our mornings.

  • Interesting ideas
    by Lisa1932 from Canada

    Just started this podcast. There are some very interesting ideas here on how to create quality time with your children, learning together and focusing on the things that are most important in life. Great hearing other moms' stories too.

  • WARNING: This podcast will revolutionize your homeschool!
    by JoysTeacher from United States

    Honestly, I started listening to this podcast because I had run out of other homeschool podcasts to listen. I really didn't think we needed a morning time! I homeschool one teen daughter and I thought the concept was too "baby" for us. WOW! I was completely wrong!! We needed a morning time, and it has changed the climate and the productivity of our homeschool. The habit was so important to us, we still do morning time when we are one break. (And neither of us is a "morning" person). Pam is an talented interviewer and will not waste your time (her time is precious, too)!

  • Excellent!
    by Jodylleigh from United States

    I'm really enjoying the ideas and tips Pam bring up in this podcast!

  • Truly an inspiration!
    by Soaring2him from United States

    I have started a morning basket just because of listening to this podcast. Pam sold me on the beauty of having a morning basket. I love all of the ideas I've gleaned from listening and I've implemented many of the ideas I have heard about through this podcast. It's really helped simplify some things in our homeschool day!

  • Easy to listen too, incredibly practical
    by HarrisFamily0323 from United States

    I really enjoy Your Morning Basket. Pam is a great host and I have taken away many practical ideas and had many unrealistic expectations corrected. I don't listen to all the episodes, but the ones I've thought were pertinent to my needs and have been able to apply something helpful to our homeschool. Thanks Pam!

  • So helpful for this new homeschooling mom
    by klund08 from United States

    I'm planning our first homeschool year and have really enjoyed this podcast! The interviews are great and I enjoy hearing from different homeschooling moms and how things work in their family. I'm excited to start Morning Time with my kids!

  • You've made my school year!
    by Lizzie O' from United States

    Pam, I wrote you an email when I first felt it placed on my heart to homeschool my now 6 & 8 year old children and you responded with a warm response. I then began to listen to every podcast you have (all 3!) and I have been so very inspired and encouraged in so many ways that it would take up too much time here to explain it all. This Morning Basket podcast is really a light for me and my children as not only are they the recipients of our mornings of gathering but so am I. I have learned so much from your guests (and you!) and have been able to take tips/ideas to add to what my own mornings look like. We truly have experienced Truth, Goodness and Beauty. God certainly has chosen you for this type of work and serving to others. Thank you for what you do!

  • Thanks Pam!
    by BraveMomma from United States

    So many great ideas every single week! Thanks!

  • Truth, goodness, and beauty
    by I'm Sonny from United States

    Need I say more? I am deeply grateful for this profound and practical resource as we seek to surround our children in the truth, in goodness, and in things beautiful. I leave feeling encouraged, refreshed, determined and equipped.

  • Very encouraging
    by .....hk..... from United States

    So helpful with recommendations for new things to do in morning time.

  • A wonderful podcast full of useful tips!
    by Klarnold79 from United States

    I have listened to almost every episode over the last few months on my morning runs and they have made me look forward to running! I have learned so much and have been inspired to add truth, goodness and beauty to our homeschool days. Thank you so much!!

  • Wow! Talk about a solid series!
    by KastenbauerFamily from United States

    Each episode is fabulous alone, and when you've been listening for a while, they all continue to be full of new information!

  • Hope for the weary
    by MomToTheMasses from United States

    I enjoy the variety of topics covered as well as Pam's cheerful personality. Thank you for being a cup of cold water for so many homeschool mamas.

  • Great guests and host
    by My Life as a Rinnagade from United States

    I love the people Pam has on and all the great morning time tips! Thanks for a wonderful show :).

  • Mamma of Five
    by Mamma of Five from United States

    The ideas, information and encouragment that Pam shares through the different guests and talking about the purpose and practice of Your Morning Basket has been a huge blessing to our family. Helped me to practically see how to bring truth, beauty, and goodness to our day.

  • Great Homeschool Resource
    by KS Becky R from United States

    I have just started listening and am gaining so much knowledge and practical advice. I can't wait to keep listening to more.

  • Really great!
    by BeeGerW from United States

    I love hearing all these ideas!

  • californiafamily
    by californiafamily from United States

    I absolutely love Your Morning Basket podcasts. Pam interviews excellent people & so far, I've incorporated information from each podcast & have purchased many items that the interviewee's suggest. I think all families could benefit from this even if they don't homeschool! Thank you so much!

  • Love Pam's podcasts
    by Flourishing Mama from United States

    There are many homeschool related podcasts that I enjoy, both for their content and the host. But I must say that Pam Barnhill's podcasts are top-notch for the following reasons: 1) the content is both relevant AND in-depth, 2) she NEVER interrupts the guest speakers with incessant (annoying) "uh huhs," "ummms," and such, 3) she provides multiple lists and links to supplemental materials that are really useful and interesting, and 4) she shares forms she's created even though she could make you pay for them. She has a gift for tapping in to the issues homeschool moms are REALLY dealing with. Thanks Pam. Keep up the good work!

  • First Things First
    by Lukenoah from United States

    Every episode inspires me to start my day bringing my children the true the good and the beautiful through our family time.

  • So helpful!
    by jofcrich from Australia

    Every time I see that I have a new podcast from Pam Barnhill I know it's going to be good. Every one I have listened to (which is all of them!) have helped, inspired and encouraged me in some way or another. Pam is so good at summarising what her interviewee has just spoken about; a great knack which helps me distill the main ideas from all that good conversation. I really like that she always has links to whatever is discussed so that I can go back to it in the future and find what I need.

  • Great resource
    by Ejs0928 from United States

    Such a help for a new homeschooler. Highly recommend that you check it out if you'd like to learn more about starting your day with morning time.

  • Amazing!
    by CDefnall from United States

    This podcast is filled with great information to help you take full advantage of morning time or all together time in your homeschool. It also has great tips for extending your child education whether they are in public or private school as well. We all want to aid our kids in thier success and no matter if you are a homeschool parent or a public/private school teacher this podcast will enlighten you and provide valuable information you to to better help your students.

  • Inspiring and enlightening
    by spycej from United States

    One of my favorite podcasts and I love and subscribe to all of Pam's podcasts. Thank you for the fabulous interviews.

  • Must-Listen for Homeschooling Moms
    by DaffodilSocks from United States

    This podcast has revolutionized how I homeschool my young children. A must-listen.

  • One of my favorites
    by FaithAZ from United States

    Love Pam and all of her podcasts - can't wait for new episodes!

  • Great Ideas
    by Hiphooray from United States

    Just found this podcast and have been listening to them over the summer break. Pam is a great host and has fun guests and together they bring a lot of inspiration to the concept of morning time in homeschool. Thanks for the great resource!!

  • TaraVos
    by TaraVos from United States

    I would not be exaggerating if I said that I have learned so much from this practical, encouraging podcast that has changed our homeschool. Thank you Pam!

  • Lots of useful information
    by Kristizy from United States

    This podcast does a great job finding guests who give a ton of practical help to make morning time enjoyable and educational for everyone. I always feel reenergized after listening to any of Pam Barnhill's podcasts.

  • <3!!!
    by Momo35556 from United States

    I love this podcast! So helpful and encouraging.

  • Lovely & Inspiring
    by kashley75 from United States

    Thank you so much for this podcast!

  • Such a wealth of information!
    by Jeaine6 from United States

    There is so much wonderful information to be found in these podcasts. I can go about my daily chores and fill my homeschool mom cup simultaneously! They allow me to look at areas of our hs that need improvement or just need new life and feel encouraged while I'm listening. Thank you!!

  • Encouraging & inspiring
    by God's Ranch Hand from United States

    So thankful for this podcast! I look forward to listening to each episode when it comes out.

  • Homeschool Professional Development!
    by Jo.W.17 from Canada

    As a new-ish homeschooling mama, I've found this podcast super encouraging and helpful. I would highly recommend it!

  • So Helpful!
    by KGMom2Four from United States

    I love the practical application that comes from this podcast! Thanks!

  • A Lovely Show!
    by Webseitler from United States

    This podcast has become my most favorite podcast on the subject of homeschooling. The topics discussed often go right to the heart of why I'm doing what I'm doing in our home--and God has really used the great advice shared in this show to help me be a more confident (and calmer!) teacher. Thank you, Pam, for creating such a great program! Already looking forward to next season.

  • Awesome homeschooling resource!
    by Liddleladie81 from United States

    This podcast has absolutely changed my perspective on homeschooling, in a great way! All of the guests have been wonderful and I leave each episode feeling both sad that it is already over, and encouraged and excited to figure out how I can use what I’ve learned! It has a great flow to it, very light but meaningful, informative, encouraging….I could go on and on! Absolutely LOVE this podcast! Thanks to all involved!

  • Great hosts!
    by Homeschool_chat from United States

    I always look forward to this podcast!

  • Practical, helpful & concise tips
    by sproutnchic from United States

    This podcast continues to help. I appreciate the Pam Barnhill's professional, organized, yet warm interviewing style of some well-picked guests.

  • So refreshing and helpful
    by a. borealis from United States

    I've really appreciated the depth and breadth of Pam's look into Morning Time and also the practical ideas and tools to make it work. It is so inspiring! It helps me think through my own Circle Time, realizing what an opporunity I have. There are so many great ideas for additions and tweaking my approach. I am loving it.

  • Awesome!
    by Apples20091 from United States

    This podcast has been so helpful and packed full of practical ideas to use with my children!! Some of the episodes I have listened to more than once!!

  • Encouraging and Motivating!
    by Cat11223 from United States

    Pam makes this morning time concept so attainable! She gives great ideas but simple ways to begin. These tips and recommendations reach far beyond just morning time and are benefiting our entire homeschool and family life!

  • So many ideas!
    by Speterson781 from United States

    This podcast is full of amazing ideas to grab my kids attention first thing in the morning. I love listening to Pam and her guests. Pam asks such great questions of her guests!

  • A Favorite for Homeschool Encouragement!
    by JamesDWitmer from United States

    I have been so encouraged by Pam's podcasts on Morning Time. She walks you through many of the wonderful activities that you can choose to include in your homeschooling, and also the details about how to do it! It has truly been a blessing. Thanks Pam!

  • Perfect for the Homeschool Mom
    by JoshJamie from United States

    I just stumbled upon the "Your Morning Basket" podcast this weekend. I have already listened to 2 episodes, and they are wonderful - perfect for the homeschool mom. I am going to share this on my Periscope channel tomorrow. So great!! Jamie @OurLittleSchoolhouse.

  • SongsofJubilee
    by SongsofJubilee from United States

    I love the idea of a morning basket, and this podcast has helped me learn a lot about the different ways it can look! I love all the different subjects she discusses within it!

  • Love it!
    by Ekrasovec7 from United States

    This podcast has been such a blessing to me! Informational and insightful, it opens a window into how other families incorporate morning time into their day, as well as what they fill it with. This has completely changed the rhythm and content of our days for the better. Our whole family has fallen in love with morning time! Thank you!!

  • So encouraging!
    by A Merry Heart from United States

    I absolutely love this podcast! It has been so encouraging as I begin to implement Morning Time with my 5 girls. I have listened to them all & can't wait for more!

  • This podcast has changed our homeschool
    by Momof4athome from United States

    Pam has relieved some of the pressure to "get it all in". We now begin our day with the good true and beautiful in an almost effortless way and are all enjoying our time together before the "serious" subjects! Yay for the morning basket! Her guests are all lovely people you would want to have over for tea. I love this podcast.

  • Refreshing
    by Bless-Us-3 from Canada

    I am loving this podcast. I just stumbled across it after hearing the recommendation over at Read Aloud Revival. I have been wanting to start 'Morning Time' for a year now so this is giving me direction and so many wonderful and helpful tips and suggestions. I love Pam's enthusiasm and personality.

  • So helpful and inspiring!
    by KSR1 from United States

    I was lucky enough to find YMB and Pam’s other podcast, Homeschool Snapshots, when I started my first year of homeschool this year. These 2 podcasts have been SO helpful to me with getting ideas for morning time and the rest of our homeschool day. I am very grateful for the excellent work Pam has done on both of these podcasts, and I hope they continue for many more years!

  • Inspiring
    by Jaranda98 from United States

    This podcast was inspiring and encouraging. It was a good blend of practical and theoretical and exactly what this tired homeschool mom needed to hear today to rejuvenate.

  • An inspiring and encouraging podcast
    by Kellibird1111 from United States

    Very well done! I really enjoyed listening! Very practical and informative.

  • Honey for the Homeschooling Heart
    by SuperNOVAmom from United States

    Pam lays out a feast of homeschooling topics that are relevant, helpful, and validating. The show is well organized and her interviews are clearly well thought out. In addition, Ms. Barnhill's relaxed and warm personality puts one at ease. It's like going to your favorite homeschool conference without leaving home!

  • I love this podcast, great content!
    by Sara V from United States

    These podcasts helped transform our homeschooling!

  • Great parenting resource
    by sullivanjessicak from United States

    I absolutely love this podcast. The show is well organized with great guests and helpful information.

  • Thank you!
    by Nasiatel from United States

    I'm so happy that I found your podcast, it has truly blessed our homeschool life!

  • Wonderful help in my homeschool
    by BT and Jessica from United States

    This is a great resource for all homeschoolers (and I would say any educator). I am challenged to make sure I am giving my children truth, beauty and virtue through the morning ritual of our morning time. I’ve learned of new books to share with my children, how to incorporate fine arts, good habits for our day… I could go on and on. Pam asks great questions and has wonderful guests.

  • Top Notch
    by Wvshaddox from United States

    Excellent inspiration and tips for homeschoolers! I have learned so much from this podcast.

  • Great Morning Time tips!
    by redhedcatie from United States

    I have gotten SO many practical tips from this podcast! A must listen for homeschoolers!

  • So Inspiring!
    by Frau Linds from United States

    Another home-run podcast! Pam has a knack for inspiring great things in your homeschool! And the wonderful thing is she doesn't leave you with the "lofty ideal," but offers practical tips, aids, etc. all while encouraging you the whole way. Each interview is professionally done and such a joy to listen to! Thanks, Pam, for putting your heart into this! 🙂

  • Wonderful!
    by Kellybireta from United States

    Like having a cup of coffee with a friend. So helpful and informative.

  • Excellent practical advise!
    by Foxycook from United States

    Really enjoying this so far!

  • Very encouraging!
    by WMGardener from United States

    This was been a great podcast about Morning Time! How encouraging and informative to hear from other homeschool moms who are in the midst of it all!

  • A great resource!
    by gejake from United States

    Very inspiring and informative as I begin my homeschooling journey

  • Love This Podcast
    by Earthmuffins from United States

    I have finally had opportunity to listen to this podcast and regret not doing it sooner!!! Very informative and encouraging.

  • Full of Goodness, Truth and Beauty
    by CJMance from United States

    This is such an inspiration to get the beautiful ritual of morning time established. Thank you Pam!

  • Great Podcast!
    by Greggtrisha from United States

    I'm so excited about this podcast! My kids range from ages 4 - 11, and I've been needing to reduce my workload a bit. I'm using the fantastic things I'm learning here to combine all my kids together for read-alouds, Bible time, memorization, and some other fun things. Thanks so much, Pam! I love your other podcast as well!

  • Treasure
    by TasmanianBec from Australia

    I am so glad I found this podcast. Morning Basket / Circle Time / Morning Time - lots of interviews with families who make this part of their day a treasure for years to come. Just getting started homeschooling, and this is going to help shape our days. Thanks Pam.

  • Jeannie in Ohio
    by Jeannie in Ohio from United States

    Loving learning about how so many families are using Morning Time in their homes!

  • Wonderful ideas for creating your best morning time.
    by Flowerpetal2 from Australia

    The ideas presented here are wonderful, it's great to hear how different families put together their morning time and how we can all make this a rich but simple time of beauty in our schooling days.

  • Excellent Host
    by meghanlou from United States

    Pam Barnhill is a truly excellent host and producer of podcasts. They are a pleasure to listen to, full of applicable and inspirational content. Unlike other podcasts in this genre, which are produced at home, Pam's podcasts never make me cringe because of awkward pauses or bad sound quality. Another of Pam's strengths is her ability to reflectively listen and summarize what she's heard from her guests in a way that wraps up the different segments of her interviews. Well done, Pam!

  • Helpful and fun!
    by HornGal88 from United States

    We’re just starting out with morning time and this podcast has been an invaluable source of inspiration and ideas. Keep up the good work!

  • LOVE IT!
    by sassercj from United States

    I’m always counting down the days until the next podcast…one of the best homeschooling podcasts out there!

  • Among the Best I’ve Heard
    by More Like Mary from United States

    I’m a bit of a podcast junkie so when I say that this is among the best, that’s really a compliment! Pam is an excellent interviewer. She re-states main ideas and summarizes information in a way that is helpful and not condescending. She asked poignant questions and stays on topic. Her guests are phenomenal and I’ve learned so much from each episode. So far, this podcast is “big picture” homeschooling talk with lots of tips for implementing lofty ideals into daily life. The perfect combination. I will be looking forward to many more of these!

  • Gave me the tools I needed!
    by Momofmany:) from United States

    This podcast is amazing. (I am spoiled now; the quality alone is superb!) I have listened to the four current episodes several times and now understand "morning time" in a way I never have before-- in particular, the schole part. I've longed for restful learning for ten years, and now I have tools to actually do it. Our whole family has benefitted so much. Thank you, Pam!!

  • What’s important
    by sncstraub from United States

    Pam Barnhill’s new podcast on Morning Time is a great help to those of us who are homeschooling. I’ve only listened to the first episode so far, but it’s wonderfully encouraging to hear Cindy Rollins’ talking through her own experiences with Morning Time. I’m looking forward to listening to more episodes with others who are focusing their schools on the important things - the true, good, and beautiful.

  • New listener and hooked!
    by Bytesofmemory from United States

    I just started listening to the first podcast this morning and I am completely hooked on this podcast. I took the advice in the first podcast and just started with morning time. Instead of trying to “give birth to an adult” morning time I just started doing something and will add things in as this becomes a habit. Thanks for the wonderful tool!! I am now off to listen to episode 2!!

  • Great!
    by Wvshaddox from United States

    Encouragement for homeschool.

  • A Gift to the Homeschool Community
    by HGPII from United States

    This podcast is so well done, informative, and just what the homeschooling moms needs. It includes achievable, sound suggestions as well as an abundant dose of inspiration. I can’t wait to revamp my Morning Time and watch the results!

  • Encouraging and informative!
    by sarahdempsen from United States

    I have enjoyed Your Morning Basket from its first episode! I am a second generation homeschooler and just started our own family's homeschooling journey. Thanks to YMB, I implemented our "circle time" starting our second week of school and it has been such a blessing to me already even its very simple form of prayer, Psalm, Mother Goose, and then read-aloud time with my kindergartner. My 2 and 4 year olds also love it and it encourages me to include things in our day that might get left out, like nursery rhymes and simple children's songs! Thanks to Pam and YMB I feel like I am starting out with a great centering tool and routine that can be expanded and adapted as we grow!

  • A great resource!
    by Bookgirl630 from United States

    Your Morning Basket Podcast is a great resource for to help implement morning time into your homeschool day. I have enjoyed every episode so far.

  • Thank you for wonderful bonus at the end!
    by Caj312 from United States

    I just discovered this show and listened to the first 4 episodes. All were inspiring and I loved the useful links at the end of the show that help me improve my homeschool days! Well done and I look forward to the next episode.

  • One of my VERY favorites
    by Dianna @ The Kennedy Adventure from United States

    I’m a bit of a podcast junkie, but YMB ranks among my very, very favorites. If you’re a homeschooling mother, or a mom who wants to connect with your children and show them truth, goodness and beauty, this is a must listen. Kudos, Pam, on a another amazing podcast series.

  • Timely
    by AggieRudy3 from United States

    I’ve been trying to figure out morning time on my own, but Pam with this podcast has figuratively sat down with me and explained how to get things going. I’m so glad to have this resource at the beginning of my family's homeschool journey! The Basket Bonuses have also been so helpful.

  • Thanks!
    by heyh2 from United States

    Thanks for the new podcast. Loving it!

  • Wonderful podcast with practical advice
    by Victorzvaliant from United States

    Thank you Pam for a great podcast, I am really enjoying it. I always come away inspired and with ideas I can use!

  • Changed our Homeschool Morning routine
    by HeatherinSC from United States

    I have been listening to the Your Morning Basket podcasts recently and Pam's blog writings about creating morning time traditions with your children and I feel like it has made a huge positive difference in our homeschool. I love Pam's ideas for creating a restful learning environment and focusing on truth, goodness, and beauty as we begin our day together. I listen to these podcasts over and over and take notes!

  • Excellent for homeschooling veterans and newbies
    by ASnow512 from United States

    I'm very new to homeschooling and I'm still deciding if our family will pursue that path. This podcast has been such a wealth of information and a wonderful encouragement!

  • Inspiring and Uplifting
    by vabjohnson from United States

    I was immediately inspired to create a more cohesive structure to our homeschool mornings. This podcast is full of helpful suggestions to make morning time meaninful for every type of homeschooling family. I've already implemented many of the wonderful suggestions and I can already see the benefits! An absoulte must for the homeschooling family!

  • Bringing Joy
    by Louisiana Mommy T from United States

    What an amazing podcast! This podcast has wonderful suggestions for bringing joy to (or back to) your homeschool. Everything is doable and enjoyable for the children and parents alike. Keep up the wonderful work!

  • Great podcast!
    by corew50 from United States

    This is our first year of homeschooling and I am really enjoying the concept of morning time. It is a sweet way to start our day together and this podcast has been amazing! Enjoyable, super practical, and filled with lots of creative ideas. Thanks for creating it.

  • Inspiring, yet practical
    by mamato3cs from United States

    Pam's Your Morning Basket podcast is one not to be missed! She and her guests inspire and spur me on to do great things in our homeschool, but it's not just adding more to my to-do list. There are practical suggestions for how to make morning time a refreshing and vital part of our day.

  • Super Helpful & Encouraging
    by Sanibel4ever from United States

    I have been homeschooling for a many years. I like that I can count on Pam to make to make it worth my while (and my short amount of time!) for a listen. As always, practical info I can start using right away.

  • Great Poscast
    by Sarah B R from United States

    Love Pam's interviews. I learn much from each poscast!

  • A Joy to Listen to!
    by Cude 🙂 from United States

    I am thoroughly enjoying this new podcast! I love to listen to people who encourage me on my homeschooling journey and I have added Your Morning Basket to my list.

  • JUST what I needed!!!
    by Foodie in Training from United States

    This is our first year homeschooling (Kinder) and this podcast has been INCREDIBLY helpful and a GREAT source of information!!! I cannot wait for more to come! <3 THANK YOU!!!!

  • Practical - worth a listen!
    by Bloggerific! from United States

    As a homeschooling mom of 6, my free time is limited. But I always come away with some practical, useful tips from Pam Barnhill. I love to listen if I’m alone in the car (rare these days!).

  • Well done [FIRST NAME]
    by MattMcWilliams from United States

    WOW… Your Morning Basket Podcast is flat out awesome. Good production quality. Easy to listen. Very impressed Pam. Keep bringing it.

  • Inspiring and refreshing!
    by BugTurner from United States

    What a great podcast. At first I was dubious whether you could have an entire podcast series about homeschooling using morning time, but now that I have listened to two of them, I see where Pam is going with this. It is affirming for me in what I am trying to do in our homeschool, and at the same time inspires me in ways to improve and refine our time together as a homeschooling family. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking to simplify their homeschool efforts while simultaneously enriching their family's experience!

  • Brilliant
    by SHTirm from United Kingdom

    I absolutely love it. Ever since I read about morning time, I wanted to know more. This podcast clearly explains what to do and how to do it. Episode with Cindy Rollins was brilliant. It gives you the overall idea of morning time practice, as she is doing it for 27 years. Andrew Pudewa in second episodes shared some insights about memorisation, which really makes so much sense. Pam asks clear questions and then repeats the main points in answer, which is very helpful, especially for new homeschooling mums. Overall this programme has everything one can ask for to get inspired and motivated. Thanks very much for putting so much effort. Well done.

  • Excellent!
    by RC5476 from United States

    I have really appreciated everything Pam Barnhill puts out. I have been introduced to so many great homeschoolers and their resources through The Homeschool Snapshots podcast, and I love that she is digging deeper into a great homeschooling practice on her new show, Morning Basket. It is definitely on my Must Listen list each week!

  • Bring the best you to your homeschool
    by mystiewinckler from United States

    Our Morning Time is the best part of our homeschool, and Pam’s podcast helps us learn how to make it even better and encourages us to pursue the true, good, and beautiful still more. So helpful!

  • Inspiring!
    by Mamato8 from United States

    I've only recently found out about Morning Baskets, after 14 years of homeschooling. What a find! And now to have these podcasts to help guide me along on my new journey! I've been sharing this like crazy, and my morning routine is fabulous now! Thank You!

  • Education to Educate
    by Isaac in St Louis from United States

    I have gained so much from these first two early podcasts. I am grateful to you, Pam. Thank you for offering this as we strive to fulfill our sacred duty and privilege to give our children an education. Please continue. I see such great things coming from this. I rank this up their with Circe’s offerings.

  • Wonderful
    by BGTwinsMom from United States

    When you're on the homeschool "circuit" it's easy to become one of Andrew Pudewa's groupies. So the excitement level for Pam's newest podcast doubled when I opened it on my iPhone and saw Andrew's name. I was remiss in not reviewing her first segment. Pam is a wonderful interviewer and has the ability to make conversation with her guests based on their answers and move seamlessly to her following questions. That is not easy to do. Highly recommend this to parents who Homeschool. Encouraging, motivating, and validating.

  • So Inspiring!
    by bethenyn from United States

    So inspiring! This podcast is what I needed to get our homeschool off to a great start this year. I will not miss an episode.

  • Inspiring and thought provoking!
    by Pascualamb from United States

    I've always thought memory work was so important in my 8 years as a teacher in a high school setting. I often required memorization and was criticized for this requirement. I recently decided to homeschool my children and this podcast was so affirming to me. I am glad to be able to follow my instincts as a teacher and give my kids what they deserve! Thank you for this wonderful podcast that inspired me to make memory work an important part of my homeschool.

  • Affirming & helpful
    by BOLDturquoise from United States

    I knew I would enjoy this podcast but I didn't know that I would LOVE it! As our family has moved more and more towards a simplified homeschool method, this podcast is just the thing to reaffirm our choices and continuously inspire us with new ideas. I can't wait for each new episode!

  • Inspiring
    by Amongst Lovely Things from United States

    This is just the kind of podcast I need to breathe life into my homeschool year. I’m so grateful for this new show, and Pam is a talented host. I won’t miss an episode!

  • Delightful...a Must Listen
    by 1coltsfamily from United States

    While I have heard Cindy Rollins speak about morning time before, I was pleasantly surprised to glean many new nuggets of wisdom that I can incorporate right away into our morning time. I always enjoy listening to Pam and find her questions spot on! The podcast is a wonderful balance of inspiration and practical tips. Can't wait for the next one!

  • Your Morning Basket
    by inakamama from Australia

    So lovely and inspiring! Looking forward to more...

  • Helpful & inspiring!
    by starlingsfive from United States

    A great resource for homeschool moms and so well put-together. Full of useful information, not fluff. Pam has a wonderful conversation style that keeps the show moving at a steady pace. I wish I didn't have to wait so long for the next one!

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