YMB #26 Integrating Subjects: A Conversation with Carol Reynolds

It is a question English Moms and Math Moms both dread, “What about the arts?” How am I going to help my child appreciate and love beautiful art, music, and dance? Why should I even bother? Why is this so important when the crowd is clamoring STEM?

Prof. Carol Reynolds is here to answer your questions and more. She is passionate about art, music and how it defines a culture. We are reminded that our children are very expressive beings who naturally find joy in creativity and admire beautiful things.

She encourages us with practical advice on how to help our children keep their natural tendency for creative arts, how to integrate the arts into our everyday lives, into every subject we teach, and how to do this all without a strong arts background ourselves.

With a gentle reminder that the goal is not to produce an artistic prodigy, but someone who appreciates and can discern the beauty in the arts. She also assures us that this can be done without spending gobs of money on lessons or resources but simply by asking the question, “Why is this beautiful, or ugly.” With humor and warmth, Prof. Carol makes the arts sound not only doable for the average homeschool mom but absolutely essential.

Your Morning Basket #26: Integrating Subjects with Carol Reynolds


This is Your Morning Basket, where we help you bring truth, goodness and beauty to your homeschool day.

Hi everyone, and welcome to episode 26 of the Your Morning Basket Podcast. I’m Pam Barnhill, your host, and I’m so happy you’re joining me here today. Well, I thought I was going to be talking to Dr. Carol Reynolds about integrating subjects, and we did and then we talked about 50 million other things as well because that’s the way a conversation goes with a person who is passionate about what they do and that certainly is Professor Carol. She is extremely passionate. We cover a lot of great topics in this interview, and it was a lot of fun to record, and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun for you guys to listen to as well. So sit back, hold on to your seat, and get ready to discover a little passion about the humanities.

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Pam: Professor Carol Reynolds is a champion for art education with a specialty in the study of Imperial Russia. She has a passion for music, history, art, and culture and spent more than 20 years teaching music history at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. She shares her love for the humanities by leading art tours to a wide variety of international locations. Her website, ProfessorCarol.com, is loaded with resources for families looking to dive into a deeper and more integrated study of the arts, including courses for middle and high school students, podcast webinars, and so much more. She joins us today to discuss her integrated approach to these beautiful subjects and what that approach might look like in a Morning Time. Professor Carol, thanks for joining us today.
Prof. Carol: It's my pleasure to be here.
Pam: Well, let's start off by talking a little bit about the arts. Why do the arts play such a central role in human experience?
Prof. Carol: Well, we are defined by many things in our role here on this earth. But one of them is our creativity and our joy, our energy. The very thing that gets all of us all over the globe up every morning, you know. Some of that is hard to describe in terms of an artistic explanation but really we are, if at all possible, very creative and expressive beings, and we see that most of all in our children. We see the joy that they have inherently in anything that remotely resembles creativity. Whether it's singing or dancing or drawing or making up funny animal noises or seeing the beauty of something that someone else has created, they just, they go to it like a duck to water, and we as adults sort of lose a lot of that confidence in that side of our being, but we were created that way divinely created that way, and unfortunately we're living in a time where that has been, as you know, deeply minimalized by so many factors that it seems now to be something that sits on the side as a convenience when you need it.
Pam: I agree. And that whole "convenience when you need it," it's almost like it's become an afterthought as opposed to something that is absolutely central to who we are as a people and, you know, having the importance, I think it deserves to our ability to express ourselves and communicate and live fully.
Prof. Carol: I couldn't agree more. You've said it all right there and everyone who is involved with your audience is dedicated to bringing up the absolute best qualities in each child and in the entire family’s life, there's no question about that. We often forget that among the values that we try to teach and sometimes people call it The Three Transcendentals, goodness, truth, and the third, and this has been there for a millennia, is beauty. And we often forget that it is just as important to try to teach as the things we teach in the way of say honesty and duty and all of these things that we know are the cornerstones of the life of our children as they develop, we're not always sure that beauty is in there as one of those three sister values and yet it is.
Pam: OK. So that's very interesting because this is one of the things that 99.9 percent of my audience would tell you is that they're worried about the right and moral upbringing of their child, but what you're saying here is that we also need to worry about their appreciation and response to beauty, that's just as important as the truth and the goodness that we might be trying to instill in them?
Prof. Carol: Well, that has been a cornerstone of western culture, really, truly going back to the ancients, it's certainly Biblical as well. And yet it's not something that you sit around and say, “OK, here's my notebook; I've got my goodness section; and now, here's my truth section; and oh, I better put a beauty section in.” But in a way, that's also an interesting moral exercise to think about. And we had to think about what is beauty and what is beauty in our time as opposed to other times? In fact, saying that, leads me to one of the most exciting things about studying the arts, is that when we study the arts, we get a window into what was considered both beautiful and dynamic in past eras and, of course, those standards of beauty definitely change or we'd all be wearing powdered wigs and have collars of lace around our necks, right? But still part of a thing that you can say the arts is incredibly useful for if we're going to talk utilitarian, which I try not too much to do but everybody out there is an educating family member; so we need to think of utilitarian's purposes too. But the arts allow to you open up history, well, every discipline, but let's just take history, they allow to you open up history, historical studies in a way that almost nothing else can. I mean, I'm going to stand by that assertion. Because through people's conceptions of what was beauty and what was expression, again whether it's painting, dance, theatre, music, what we might call crafts or utilitarian arts like embroidery and tapestry and wrought iron work and culinary arts (terribly important), fashion, that's all part of this frame of the arts. It's not just something you do at dance lessons. It's all part of one whole and as we look at it historically and see how it has changed, we are studying history on such a vivid plane that it is really difficult even to forget and, of course, we always like to think what we teach could be remembered, right? So it turns up the volume on everything or it opens the doors and floods the light on virtually any discipline. At least that's what I have found in my life.
Pam: This was one of the things I really wanted to touch upon with you today, and this was a message I got this past spring as I was at some of the homeschool conventions, is that one of the things we need to stop doing is fragmenting our subjects out and separating them and isolating them into these little boxes in our students' brains especially, and saying, “OK, now you're going to sit here and you're going to do history and now you're going to sit here and you're going to do science and now you're going to sit here and you're going to do art.” But instead that it's much better (or now you're going to sit here and you're going to do literature) but it’s much better to teach all of these things as an integrated whole and see God's role as the Creator of all of these things but also how all of these things connect and tie together. So can you talk to us a little bit about why that's important to teach things in that way?
Prof. Carol: Well, you’ve just said it. You said it. This is great, because it's hard to assert what you just said and you've come to that understanding over a lot of time dealing with an awful lot of people and, of course, some things obviously do have to be fragmented. You have to say, "Daniel, this work sheet that has to be done on your multiplication has sat here for three days and by golly Ned, we're doing it.” That's a fact. That's just like getting the laundry done or feeding the cat or whatever, things have to sometimes be isolated. But this goal of showing that our human experience is integrated, and as you say, the foundations for this have been laid by God. There's the integration of our highest natures. If we learn to see them, if we learn to identify them, if we trust the process of understanding them, but that scares the beejeebers out of people. That sounds like some kind of a graduate seminar in aesthetics. How do you make that a day to day as you say? How do you approach that on a day to day life? And most parents, particularly now, I think it's fair to say, did not get a strong arts background and maybe we can take a minute to talk about the differences between to where we are now with that and where it used to be, so to speak.
Pam: OK, let's do that. Let's take this little journey of where we might be coming from and then how we can turn it around into some of these day to day practices where we can start turning the tide on this and integrating these subjects again. So what are the differences? What was it between what it is now and what it was like?
Prof. Carol: Well, I give certainly part of it obviously it's the big picture but there was a time when education meant a very specific kind of education. It was for very few people, which obviously we are glad that that's not true any longer and education is widely available, that's huge in our culture. But there was a time when what we called liberal arts education was education and is it was an integrated education and it was based in traditional western culture on what some people like to call classical education today, which is a strong movement now, which I think is one of the many exciting, strong movements in the home education world. I tell people all the time. And believe me I'm in a crowd virtually most of the time where people don't know anything about this. The travels that I do, the work I do for the Smithsonian as a study leader and speaker, I'm out all over the place, literally all over the globe, and people don't know what's going on in American education through the whole homeschooling movement and how it's influencing so many even public education policies; so I love to tell them that. I love to tell the story as they say. But backing up, again, there was a time when things were taught so that you were teaching the ability to learn on the levels, some people call it the trivium, where you learned stages of learning or however you wish to start interpreting that but where you would accumulate the basic understanding and then you would begin to do comparisons and sortings and a sort of a logical or dialectic approach and then there would be the idea that a child at a certain point here and there all through integrated, however you look at it, would be able to present this material and then be ready to step into a more sophisticated (which in the ancient times was called the quadrivium) set of learning opportunities, if you will, a chance to go on to a higher level and in that quadrivium if you look back at the ancient scheme of learning with the Greeks was music. That was one of the four cornerstones along with mathematics; with arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy was music and that puzzles people. They say, “Well what's music doing in there? Why isn't it something else?” We won't take that whole topic on but we have to remember that people understood music as a mathematical skill as much as they did as an artistic skill and it is. Music is math. You've heard that before and a lot of people say math is music. It was a very different world, it was a very different type of approaching education but what it tended to produce through our founding fathers, you go back and look at European royalty who would be sometimes quite well educated (in a different world, of course) but none the less it produced at times a very high functioning person with capacities to learn what needed to be learned. I know that sounds a little idealized but let's just stick with that for the moment. If you have a child who can assess, can accumulate, can integrate, and can present and then step forth into a higher level on any topic, that is an educated person. Is that OK to say to lay that as a ground work?
Pam: Sure.
Prof. Carol: Now, let's get back to the modern times. I'm a child of the fifties, Roanoke Virginia, a mountain city, a railroad city. I never went anywhere, I never saw anything growing up but the backyard pretty much. But I still got a very good education in the public schools there because we had by, as I remember, very vividly every week, three times I think it was a week, the lady, the song lady came and every room had a piano in it, can you imagine that now? And teachers could play and out came the song books and then we had the art and then we had the folk dancing and then we had the school play and everybody was in it and it all maybe sounds a little quaint now. If that were what most six graders were experiencing now.
Pam: No.
Prof. Carol: But everyday you knew you had that component and, of course, you looked forward to that because it was usually quite fun and it also was such a sort of relief to the soul if you would put it together like that. But we came out with a pretty good understanding considering where I was. A socioeconomic level of my education which was not terribly high at that point but nonetheless I had an idea that all that was important, and that if we had May Day and we had the May Pole and we had the May songs and there was a folk dance that went into it and then we looked at May Day as a political, that we understood that it meant something else elsewhere in the world because May first is an important day historically, if you start taking European history and somehow it all swirled together more or less; so I feel that with all my limits I got a very good start in life. And then I got Latin early not because I was in some fancy academy but because it was understood back then that if a kid were really and truly college bound, they couldn't do it before 7th grade but you better get in at 7th grade. But again, we are in a different world now with public education which is why of course so many families have taken a different route. So it is a different world where education is job training, education is, let's just think of this: your English majors are supposed to be reading literature but the rest of us are reading rules and regulations. If you follow that kind of logic. The talented kids play music but for everybody else just put your music on your iPod, right? And we’ve fragmented ourselves and if it's not functional it's not going to be for in the forefront for public educators, it's not. Even if they wanted it to be, it can’t be. And if we can't prove its utilitarian purpose, it's not going to be in there and it's just a sad, sad state of affairs and it leads so many people to minimalize the arts.
Pam: You touched on my next question. So you were saying that the arts kids get to go and do the arts and only the literature kids, only the English majors get to read the literature and everybody else is kind of reading the instruction sheet but there is an importance of art for even those who stem is like the biggest thing these days. But even those kids who are going into those stem fields they really do need to experience the art so why would art be important for someone who might be going into engineering or a more technical field?
Prof. Carol: I’ll give you two scenario; one is, up unto a certain age, there's not a parent out there who or an educator out there who will, usually when I say that you’re in trouble, I'll just stay in trouble, I'm always in trouble, right? But when you look at a preschooler one of the most important tools for learning is the arts. Whether it's finger painting and gluing who knows what together to be whatever kind of rabbit it is today, whether it's the songs, think of how much is learned through songs if they are properly employed. Vocabulary, the syntax of a language, the rhythm of the language, expression, human lessons, proverbs, I mean we can fill ten pages with what you learn through the traditionally solid children's songs whether secular or sacred. You learn something from London Bridge, you learn something from every hymn, text that you teach a child. That is solid learning and it’s done through music. You can memorize so much more if you sing it. You can express so much more if you sing it, on and on. Everybody kind of knows that and you dance this to understand it and sculpt that to understand it. Everybody seems to be on board with that until they get to be the age of what? 4th grade? 5th grade? 6th grade? And then now we’ve got to do important things. We've just tossed out something that you have agreed more or less is one of the things that puts learning into fifth gear. And now we've got to do “important things.” Oh, OK, let's go do some important things because we've got to grow up now and be able to do something. We just tossed out our best fuel, really. And then I'm just trying to think where to go with this because I can go so many directions. The science world, let me just say this, the scientific world is supporting this now increasingly. There's one of my favorite books and some of your parents might really enjoy this, it's short, you don't have to read it all, it's one of those books you grab in the airport, it’s overpriced and short but have to have something to read on the plane if you will. But you can get one cent copies of it used in libraries. It's by Daniel Pink, a Harvard MBA think-tank guy who has written a bejeeberbillion of these successful business books, but he was Mr. Business. Mr. Business publishing guy, all the methodology that you need to be a high-powered business guy. But he wrote this book called A Whole New Mind, and then the subtitle is Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future, it came out 2006 and it's everywhere to be found. A Whole New Mind and basically what he did is he woke up one day and said, “I'm Mr. Science, Mr. Math, Mr. This, Mr. Left Brain Skills, Mr. Success, Mr. Think Tank, and I probably can't draw a circle, you know, I don't know anything about that part of me over my years of concentrating on these other aspects of life,” so he goes and enrolls in an art class and I don't want to say anymore because anybody would enjoy this book and I don't want to spoil it and he does it not out of personal curiosity only but he does it because he also understands something about the business future of this country and of the western world which is the jobs that we think are technological, we think we're a technological culture, that we went through the industrial revolution, and now we had the technological revolution and that's the future. He says, “Uh uh, that's gone, that's over. Those jobs have moved overseas. The people who are building that world now are not in Iowa and Michigan and North Carolina, certainly some things of course but the basic, that basic future has moved overseas.” I think we kind of all know that when we're on customer service hold, right? He said what we are now in, is the conceptual age and he said this is where the exciting future is, the conceptual age and what is that? And he talked about that in the middle after he's put you in that first art class which is quite interesting to read about and he then goes in explaining the conceptual age is where we're going to be using the qualities that define what science knows are right brained qualities. And that's empathy and creativity, flexibility, cultural awareness, the subtleties- all of those things that are part of the artistic side of our nature, the artistic 50 percent of who we are, if you will. And he said this is where we have a future and if we do not train our children, we will lose those job as well. I didn't mean to go off on Daniel Pink's thesis, it's wonderful. I find it a very helpful book because people need to be convinced that I'm not just, oh, she likes symphony orchestra so, of course she's saying it's important. The scientists are saying it's important. They can put those little EKG things on the brain and really see what happens now when a child hears music not to mention tries to make a sounding note on a violin; what happens to all those little brainwaves. How it ramps up and how when we dance what happens to our cognitive abilities. They know that now scientifically and it's very, very helpful for those of us struggling to help get this message of the arts out.
Pam: So I'm sitting here now, and I have a child who is going to be entering “6th grade” this fall and I have another one who is going to be going into “4th grade” this fall; and so basically what I hear you telling me is that as we move forward and doing these important things we also need to make sure there is still time for the arts in our day. It's not that you're telling me to continue the kind of preschoolie things that I did with them where maybe pasting things on to paper but that we need to start exploring (if we haven't been already and we have) but these classical music pieces and the hymns and you were talking about the folk dance and chalk pastels and all of these artistic endeavors that we have available to us, we do need to be doing them and not pushing them aside for learning to write a better paragraph or finishing the long division or something of that nature?
Prof. Carol: And they don't have to be fragmentized as I know you know. Is that a verb? If it isn't I just know I made it up.
Pam: You just made it.
Prof. Carol: Sounds pretty nice; doesn't it? Yes. I was going to say a harder yes. And then the question, of course, is how do you do it? And, of course, people say, “Wait a minute, I have absolutely no talent, I have no background. I can't afford all those lessons, maybe I can afford them but I don't have anybody to drive the kids because I have the little kids. There are 80 reasons. So, first of all let me tell you I'm not talking about how everybody needs piano lessons (although a little bit of piano or instrument study is a wonderful thing). And you hear adults all the time say, I had six months of piano when I was a kid, boy I wish I had more. But you know what? That's six months was really important to me. I mean you hear that kind. So if you can do something organized it doesn't matter how good you are, it doesn't matter if you know if you end up on the New York City Ballet, you're not headed there, you don't necessarily even want to consider a life that difficult that a professional dancer has (which is one of the most difficult lives there could ever be) but the idea if you have an ability to get into some kind of structured lessons that's good but it is not essential and it is not really the goal which is to make the opportunities for your child, your children, your family to be arts appreciative, beauty appreciative, arts aware, and understanding historically. I kind of want to go in two direction. Can I backtrack a minute? I'm missRabTab.
Pam: Sure.
Prof. Carol: Let's look at what we do with sports in this country. And I love sports by the way. I love baseball. When I first became a graduate student, Michael Jordan was a freshman at the University of North Carolina, do think I learned about basketball? You better believe I learned about basketball. I love sports, I'm terrible at them but I love them. But look what we do as a culture, we say that it is good for almost every child to have some experience in some kind of sport. Is that not true? Even if it's one semester that they go out for something. And we take them to some sports, we want and we teach a lot of vocabulary. We teach all; we want them to know the rules of baseball, we want them to understand how tennis works, we watch it at times on TV, we don't say to every child, you're going to be a professional sportsman, correct? Or you have to do this for eight years. We find ways for them to be active as a culture because we value sports in our culture today hugely. Would you agree with that?
Pam: Yes.
Prof. Carol: Hugely. And we don't see that as taking away from anything. We don't see that as hard, it's just something that as a culture we think is helpful for their development, helpful for teamwork and sportsmanship and learning how to deal with relationships and good for their physical health and good for the enough said. Compare that with how we look at the arts as this kind of unattainable, difficult, hard to figure out, how to do thing. I think that contrast is an interesting one to draw. And I think when parents lay that out for themselves they can use what we do culturally about sports to help inform them how they might more easily and naturally approach tackling something about the arts. And to go to the other side of it, the resources now are everywhere. Even if you live in the utter boonies. So much marvelous stuff is available online. There's a lot of garage as we know but there's so much available online that it's staggering, yes?
Pam: Yeah, it really is.
Prof. Carol: You don't want them glued to the computer all the time but you see, if you're doing some kind of, let's say you're studying Louis the 14th, right? Trying to do French history, right? The way you do French history is through the arts. OK, you need some battles, you need a few things but, boy, you want to tell the story of the 17th, 18th, 19th century French culture, you do it through the arts because by golly, Ned, that's what they valued. Look at Louis the 14th, what was valued at Versailles? In our course discovering music we do a whole unit on, unit four is on Versailles because the entire concept of the monarchy in modern European history through the 18th and 19th century until World War I was built on the same model that Louis the 14th put together. It wasn't completely new. The medieval kings had it. The ancients had it but he put the system - it's like setting up a sports system at a college would have been, right? He set up a system of the arts that defined his kingdom and his number one art was court dance which was drilled almost excruciatingly by his courtiers, under force by the way, and the arts of music and of painting, his first institutions, they were called academies where many of them were dedicated to the arts, the money went to the arts, the grandeur, and again, I'm including everything, chandeliers, parquet floors, fashion. All of it integrated as a gesture, as a symbol of power; and so it's not something we have reach out and pay lessons for to find examples of. Boy that was really a long sentence, wasn't it? I'm going to stop for a minute, OK? I get a little wound up about this.
Pam: So what do I do as a homeschool mom and I'm sitting here and I have these moving into the preteen years and the resources that I'm finding for myself are these basically segmented resources, so what can I do to help pull these together and foster this understanding of the arts and use the arts in order to tie some of these subjects together?
Prof. Carol: Well, of course, depending on the age, I'm going to say one thing is that if your student’s ages are appropriate which for us is middle school, high school, some upper elementary, we have some resources that we’ve created just for this reason - that's one thing that we can talk maybe about that in a minute or two, but I think the most important thing is a spirit of inquiry because you can be in any room, any place and you can start, let's go back to beauty, you can start inquiring or asking your kids to inquire about what they see, feel, and hear around them. And if you're at the Sonic Drive In or if you're in the dentist's office, there either is beauty or a lack of beauty. There either is blessed stillness or there is racket going on over the loud speakers that's passing itself off as music. There either is an object of beauty in the room, some kind of, maybe it's ugly or maybe it's not ugly, a flower arrangement or there is a cool looking stripe down the carpet or there is an interesting design above the door jamb or there is something we're not used to looking. We do this with nature studies fantastically, right? We teach our kids to see every leaf, every bug but we forget from a very early age to also start asking them to hear the soundscape which could be the dump truck but it could also be the sound of a violin of a child practicing out the window, less and less of that these days but sometimes still becoming aware of the soundscape. Becoming aware of the color schemes, the textures, the materials. You don't have to buy a thing or do a thing to ask those questions. Now that, may feel silly at first but these are skills. Because what we're really looking at is building appreciative adults. So that's one thing. Does that make my sense at all?
Pam: It does. And I think where a lot of parents might feel caught up in this or feel like they're not feeling comfortable with the process, is how do they know they're not the person standing in front of the waterfall saying, “It's pretty”? How do they know that they're feeling the right thing or saying the right thing, because maybe I like the racket on the radio. So how do I know?
Prof. Carol: So you like the racket on the radio. So let's talk about what the racket on the radio functions as and is it the same thing as the music you listen to, Martin, on your iPod or on your whatever, I don't know what anybody listens to anything on anymore, I'm sure it's not a phonograph. Is it the same thing as the music that Aunt Mary Lou loves to sing when she goes to the Sunday night church thing? Is it the same? What is music? Just even asking that question is a pretty important thing. There isn't a right or wrong in the arts. There are different messages. There are different media. And most people standing in front of a big waterfall are not going to call it pretty, they're going to call it terrifying. So, let's say you're standing right in front of that waterfall and you have the opportunity to do a family trip, what that opens up, of course, is every landscape painting. These we can find on the internet now. We don't have to own the big, beautiful, expensive art books anymore or travel to the museums, although, that's wonderful. What does this sound like in music? And you don't have to know the answers by the way. Questions are what we try to teach with. The kids love the questions. They want to hear their answers. Now, I'm not saying preform, “Oh, I think this waterfall sounds like peanut butter.” “Well, what do you mean by that?” Again, I'm not trying to advocate that this all becomes an exercise in hilarity, I'm not. But we are being touched visually, orally, tactilely, every moment of our lives and we shut most of that out. So I do think that parents worry too much about whether they're putting the right music, it's got to be Mozart for babies or is it supposed to be Haydn? Is it Bach for babies? How much Bach should this baby have? Or should it mostly be Mozart? Was is all that about? Mozart was just a composer who struggled to make a living and did a pretty bad job of it, in most cases. Who the canon of western culture, I think correctly, anointed as possibly the greatest composer ever. Lots of people will disagree with that. That's another conversation. Beethoven, oh, yeah, I know Beethoven. Well, why do you know Beethoven? We do a little free mini course called Seven Days to Beethoven and one of the things I try to do is say, Why is it people who don't know a note of music hardly in terms of classic so called classical music, why do we still know the name of Beethoven? How did that happen? This one guy who was also kind of a mess in his own ability to function in his career, how does he become the great icon? That doesn't happen overnight. That happens through history and that happens because of very specific historical cultural reasons. And no, the parent doesn't know that yet. That's why you do need to use some of the resources that are out there. Someone like me spent a lifetime gathering that together. But you see what I am saying, it's not this menu that if you just pick the right things, you get the right qualities and then you get the right stuff and then we'll all be OK. Bad art can teach you as much as so called good art. People say, “Well, I'm going to have to look at a lot of ugly art.” OK, good. Let's figure out why it's ugly. A lot of it’s ugly because it was painted in the decades leading up to World War I, when the world was turning fairly ugly and I think we can relate to that today, can't we? Again, I'm touching on a awful lot of subjects but again it's hard for me not to see this as such a whole. And I know how frightened parents are of doing this. I don't know if what I'm saying is reassuring or if it's going run them off the other direction.
Pam: What I think I hear you saying is that by having these conversation with our children about the things that are even just around us; so not special records that we go out and buy or CDs or downloads or not even finding special art prints but just about the things that are around us in the doctor's office and in other places. We start tuning their eye and their ear toward discernment about what is around them.
Prof. Carol: You just picked the noun I couldn't get myself to come up with. Thank you so much: discernment. That is one of the major goals, spiritual, moral, and artistic discernment of education. Discernment, and they are very discerning until we teach them to stop being discerning as a culture.
Pam: And so we’re honing that little skill of bringing that back, saying, “OK. Now do you like this? Why is it this good? Why is this beautiful? And just even in the things around them. And so just like nature study teaches you observation this kind of artistic study that you're talking about now and we use the term artistic appreciation but this kind of artistic study that you would be talking about in the world around us is bringing, honing our skills of discernment.
Prof. Carol: Beautifully said. See you get to that in a nice amount of words, and I go and go. So what you’ve just said is perfect because again we're dealing with a parent not confident but so what? You do a lot of other things you're not confident about when you have children, don't you?
Pam: Yes.
Prof. Carol: And that doesn't stop you. You're not confident about virtually anything when you bring them home. And if you understand there's not a right. I don't care how much Mozart your baby hears. It's fine. It's also fine that they hear Appalachian Valley, it’s also fine if you put on Verdi Opera Arias. It's also fine if you put on Fanny Crosby Hymns but the main thing is you sing to them that they hear singing and in our world that's much harder than when I grew up. When I grew up there wasn't probably a person on our street who didn't either play his guitar, play the banjo, play a pump organ, sing in the choir, play the trumpet, not because we were fancy but because we weren't fancy. You see. It's much harder for kids to see somebody whittle, it's much harder for kids to see somebody doing weaving or knitting or all of these things that or decorating cake, really decorating a cake (not just buying a squeeze thing out of the, although I like those squeeze things too), or making a Jell-O salad. Do you know how beautiful Jell-O salads used to be in the 50s? That was your credential as a homemaker - was your beautiful Jell-O salads. We just put some old Jell-O molds up on the wall. Can you tell that that's on my mind? My mother’s. But the point is the world now seems that it's got to be slick, it's got to be fancy, and it's got to be picked out by specialist. And I'm saying to you we are constantly hearing, seeing, feeling, touching, and moving and that is our artistic side and a powerful tool for learning.
Pam: Yeah, so just think about those old domestic arts, they're really lost these days.
Prof. Carol: Yeah.
Pam: Yeah, I agree.
Prof. Carol: Did you ever really watch a relative really iron a shirt starch and iron a shirt? Really, like a work shirt? I had a neighbor, her husband worked for Greyhound Bus and man, watching her do those shirts, that was an art. Is that as much of an art as dancing on point? It’s a different art. But children need to understand craft skill art are coming out of the same well of passion, if you will, and being aware of it and learning to respect it and we want our kids to respect that; don't we? To me one of the things the arts teaches is respect, just as we do with sports, right? We use sports to teach respect, for discipline, for teamwork, for cooperation. The arts offer exactly those same things.
Pam: Okay, well let's talk a little bit about what you offer at ProfessorCarol.com for those parents who still may be a little intimated about the idea of integrating art into their history studies, their literature studies, and things of that nature. So tell me a little bit about what I could do with a middle or high school student and your programs.
Prof. Carol: I have to tell you that I did not homeschool. I never heard of such a thing. Homeschooling in my generation meant that a child was hit by a bus and the public school sent a teacher around once a week, right? That's homeschooling. In our day, I learned of homeschooling really through my own students at SMU starting about the early 90s I remember very specifically and it's not, I need to answer your question, but I will tell you I had a violinist who was homeschooled, who was just spectacular, and I could not figure out where did this child learn to write, where did she, a child she's 20 but, you know, to me she's still a child. Where did she learn to think like this? Where did she learn to integrate her ideas like this? And finally one day I grabbed her and after I turned back a paper and I said, "What high school did you go to?" And she put her head down kind of, you know, it's early 90s, right? And she said quietly, "I was homeschooled." And I couldn't hear her and I said, "You what? What school?" And she said, "I was homeschooled." And of course I made the most ridiculous statement in the world, and I said, "You look pretty healthy now." And she cracked up laughing. And then she said "You don't know anything about what this is; do you?" And I said, "No, I have no idea.” And she sat me down and told me how the cow ate the cabbage basically, and I was astonished. From that point on I began looking for my homeschooled students and as I got, and I did a lot of work in the summers in Germany with our summer program, which I founded in Weimar; so I looked forward to having homeschoolers particularly to be on this program because they were so interested and so dedicated. You know, they were so much frequently, not always, but frequently better versed than anybody else, right? So I became very interested in homeschooling. I retired in 2006. In 2009 I decided to make a course for any high schooler but particularly thinking in terms of those clever homeschoolers that I had had at SMU, right? They were my models, they were the kids I was designing this for, because I knew they could do it. And so we came out with Discovering Music, which is our signature course which covers the arts. It says discovering music but it's art, literature, drama, everything we could pack in, history at the core obviously, from 1600 to the First World War, 1918 approximately. So it's in 17 units with DVD class lectures and audio cassettes and a text or it's all available in an online streamed format and from then we began doing more because that began to work. And we thought, ‘Well, let's do some more.’ People asked us for an American music course; so we have actually done two of those on American art history, literature, architecture, et cetera, and everything we could cram in and both of those covers from the pilgrims and the founding of this country and to basically the 1950s and then I did a course on Imperial Russia, which is my specialty, which is a rather beautiful course, I have to say, because it's Russian czars and all of that crazy, wild stuff that we associate in Russian history up until the beginnings of Bolshevism and Lenin. So that's what that one covers. And then we just came out with a course called Early Sacred Music that goes from temple times to 1400, and we spent three years on that, and I tell you it was worth every minute of it because if you spend enough time on something, you can do something. And all of our courses, Pam, we've had the help of colleagues, former students, people I've taught with and known over the years, some of my own instructors even that I've gone back to. There's dozens and dozens of people who appear in our courses explaining, performing, demonstrating, and much of it's filmed on location partly because of the work I do for the Smithsonian I get to go to these places; so that's what we're doing is build these resources and make them as vivid. Parents say, "What do I need to know? "And I say, "Well, do you have electricity in your house? Can you turn on the DVD player?" And if you can do that, let me do the rest of the work. You know, let me do the work because I've spent my life doing this so that's what I'd say.
Pam: And then when my student takes one of these courses, they're not just getting a credit in some kind of art, it's credits across the board for a lot of different subjects. A lot of humanity subjects; correct?
Prof. Carol: Absolutely. We have people that use it as history credit, part of their European or completely their European history, humanities, religious studies, of course, fine arts if you want it. Part of other disciplines. I can't tell you how many different ways people use our courses; everything from an occasional vignette out of a course, to their co op, a totally 20 minutes in length perhaps, to devoting an entire semester to 2 or 3 units out of one of our courses. I hear we're in public schools, we're in private schools, but I love the different ways that our courses are used because that's the arts. They should be flexible and I'm grateful that they can be used in a flexible manner and parents seem to find that it helps. The kids definitely seem to find that and that's our goal, is we want to be able to help. I know it's intimidating; so I want to take that out of the equation.
Pam: By integrating them this way, do the students respond really well to this?
Prof. Carol: They seem to. They sure seem to. Based on what I hear and of course all ages, I mean, the 6 year old might be watching the 15 year old doing this unit on 19th century American art and music, or you might have the sequence in one of our courses that we shot at Mount Vernon where the miller is actually talking about the soundscape of George Washington's world and how he is the current miller of the reconstructed mill at Mount Vernon has to learn to think in those same terms as the miller would have done in the 18th century and you say, “Well, wait, that's not music.” Oh, yes it is. It's the music of a village. It's the music of industry. It's the music of life. If you go back to most of western history, the mill was the center of a town, right? Or it was critical to life. So, I mean when we focus on those kinds of integrated approach to the arts, we've got something that visually and really substantially any age child up, not any age, but you know, even a 6 year old can find that interesting even though academically the resources, the text, the questions, I have testing materials, exams, projects, you've got to have all that stuff for the high school credit of course but that part set at the appropriate age for the high schooler or the middle schooler but your 6 year old is going to go, "oh, that's cool" and that's what we want.
Pam: Yeah, that's exactly what we want. Well, Professor Carol, thank you so much for joining us here today and just being so passionate about the arts and the integration of these subjects and how we can bring that discernment back to our students. I really appreciate it.
Prof. Carol: Well, it was my pleasure and just don't doubt yourself parents. Any time you point out what is in their world and make them think about it, you are engaging them, that right brain, that artistic part of their being, their souls. You are helping them fulfill that and turn it into a very powerful tool.
Pam: Well, thanks.
Prof. Carol: Thank you, Pam.
And there you have it. Now, if you would like links to any of the books or resources that Professor Carol and I spoke about today, you can find them on the Show Notes for this episode of Your Morning Basket. Those are at PamBarnhill.com/YMB26. Also, in those Show Notes we have some helpful directions for you. If you would like to leave a rating or review for the Your Morning Basket Podcast in iTunes. The ratings and reviews you leave in iTunes helps us get the word out about the podcast to new listeners, so we thank you very much for taking the time to do that. We'll be back again in a couple of weeks with another great interview. And until then, keep seeking Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in your homeschool day.

Key Ideas about Integrating Subjects in Your Morning Time

  • Human beings were created to be creative. The arts enable us to live fully and communicate expressively through the senses. Just as it is essential to educate our kids in academic skills and good character, it is also a priority to help them learn to discern what is beautiful and why.
  • Integration of the arts and humanities makes the study of historical time periods vivid and memorable. Standards of beauty are ever-changing and the question “What was considered beautiful during this time?” opens up the study of history. There is much to learn from examining the music, masterpieces, and cultural practices of a time period, and these are the impressions that will stay with us after our study is over.
  • When we expose our children to the arts, our goal is not necessarily to create professional artists and musicians. We are trying to turn their eyes and hearts toward what is beautiful and instill an appreciation that will last long after the piano lessons, ballet classes, or museum field trips are over.

Find what you want to hear:

  • [2:11] humans are defined by creativity
  • [3:54] not leaving the beauty out of our pursuit of truth, goodness, and beauty
  • [5:12] the changing standards of what is beautiful throughout history
  • [7:06] integration
  • [9:08] changes in liberal arts education
  • [14:00] education as utilitarian/job-training
  • [15:57] learning through songs
  • [17:26] A Whole New Mind by David Pink
  • [19:22] “the conceptual age”
  • [22:08] our goal is appreciation of beauty
  • [22:48] sports analogy
  • [24:52] Louis IVX example
  • [27:10] spirit of inquiry
  • [38:10] Prof. Carol’s courses

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Thanks for your reviews

  • Morning time will change your life
    by RachBoz from United States

    I’ve listened to YMB and Pam off and on for years, and she literally changed my life 7 years ago when I was just starting to homeschool. I’m so thankful for her ministry and encouragement to homeschool moms of all ages! I highly recommend doing morning time!

  • Life Affirming
    by Logandinco66 from United States

    This podcast is amazing and has helped me so much as recovering perfectionist homeschooling mama! Pam gives so much great insight into so many aspects of life and focusing on homeschooling.

  • Life giving!
    by lapatita5 from United States

    This podcast has been so great. It’s so practical and encouraging without being overly preachy or narrow. It gives ideas in a take-what-fits kind of way. I have used many of the recommended resources and ideas mentioned and been inspired by many others. Even the episodes that I found less relevant to me specifically, often had tidbits that I could use. Pam’s podcasts, books, and resources have been a godsend to me in my beginning years of homeschooling, helping me discover my own way to teach my kids in a way that prioritizes what is most important to us.

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

    Pam, My children are almost 11 and 13 and I never sent this review in! I found it sitting here. This is testimony that I am still so blessed by this podcast years later. So here it is: I wrote you an email when I first felt it placed on my heart to homeschool my now 6

  • Love the show!
    by Startup Travis from United States

    Love your content and the guests you have visiting the show! I am a huge believer in using the morning hours well. Thank you for your direction and products!

  • Enjoy the podcast & some thoughts…
    by rufocused from United States

    I enjoy listening to tips on starting and using morning time as I am just starting it this year. We have kind of done it in the past, but when you only have one child you tend to just call it bible, story time, etc… but now that my second one is old enough to join we’re going to have more of a true morning time. I did notice Pam mentioned CNN ten in one episode. CNN can be pretty liberal biased in the main news, I’m not sure if they curb that in the “CNN ten”, but thought I would mention the Daily Wire, which is from a conservative viewpoint (and often covers indoctrination in public schools) and could be fun to compare and contrast with CNN. Our family also recently discovered Daily Citizen from Focus on the Family which has a very Christian perspective, which has been refreshing as news can be so depressing sometimes! Just thought I’d throw that out there… but really do appreciate the perspectives and insights of these women who have been doing this for awhile!

  • Very helpful and pleasant to listen to.
    by Heather homeschooler from United States

    I have listened to many episodes of this podcast and have highly recommended it to others. It has been a wonderful source of inspiration and encouragement. Pam has a great voice and presence and I love that she does not interrupt or talk over her guests. Thank you for your hard work!

  • Always insightful!!
    by method_money from Canada

    Pam always has great great guests who bring great insights and encouragement! I so appreciate her down to earth style and ability to ask great questions! Keep up the great work!!

  • 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!



  • Hilary says:

    I loved this! I always struggled with history in middle and high school, but as a design major in college I started to see history through the lens of fashion, fine art and even industrial design, and it came alive to me. I want my kids to have that experience, and not the date juggling drudgery I had earlier. Thanks, ladies for the encouragement!

  • Dawn says:

    You’re welcome! So glad you enjoyed it!! – Dawn, Community Care Coordinator

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