In today’s episode, we examine the world of morning time and its incredible potential for young learners. We’ll be joined by Rachel Monreal, a homeschooling mom who has discovered the magic of morning time and how it has transformed her homeschooling journey with her preschool and elementary-aged kids.

We’ll explore Rachel’s journey through the challenges of homeschooling young children, finding balance amidst the pressures of traditional education, and rediscovering the joy of learning for both parent and child. Rachel will share her insights on including toddlers in morning time, adapting curriculum, and ultimately creating a structured plan that aligns with her family’s core values.

Rachel shares her practical tips for implementing morning time, her favorite resources from our “Little Explorers Plan,” and how she manages to prioritize consistency in her educational routine. Let’s dive in!

Are you ready for homeschooling to feel joyful again? Do you wanna build closer relationships, remove some of the stress around planning, and enjoy learning with your children? Welcome to your morning basket. I’m Pam Barnhill, a homeschool mom just like you, and I’m going to show you the magic and fulfillment that morning basket or morning time can bring to your homeschool. grab your coffee or tea, and let’s get started. Hey there. It’s Pam, and welcome to episode 137 of the Your Morning Basket podcast. I hope you have been having a wonderful summer maybe are getting ready to start your school year. I know that we are getting about ready to start over here, and I’m super excited about even if my boys, they probably aren’t. But I love the fresh start of a school year, and I love the fresh start of a podcast season, and we’re kicking off this season with an interview from one of our your morning basket moms. Rachel Monreal is the great encourager in our community, and she has younger kids, and she really has leaned into using morning time as the heart of her curriculum for all of her kids, and so she’s able to mesh in her younger elementary kids end her preschool aged kids and just really embrace morning time and do so many things together and really build this rich education for the young ones, all the way up to the kids who are in 2nd 3rd grade. So I think you’re gonna love this conversation. And, yeah, just enjoy.
Pam Barnhill [00:00:04]:

Are you ready for homeschooling to feel joyful again? Do you wanna build closer relationships, remove some of the stress around planning, and enjoy learning with your children? Welcome to your morning basket. I’m Pam Barnhill, a homeschool mom just like you, and I’m going to show you the magic and fulfillment that morning basket or morning time can bring to your homeschool. grab your coffee or tea, and let’s get started. Hey there. It’s Pam, and welcome to episode 137 of the Your Morning Basket podcast. I hope you have been having a wonderful summer maybe are getting ready to start your school year. I know that we are getting about ready to start over here, and I’m super excited about even if my boys, they probably aren’t. But I love the fresh start of a school year, and I love the fresh start of a podcast season, and we’re kicking off this season with an interview from one of our your morning basket moms. Rachel Monreal is the great encourager in our community, and she has younger kids, and she really has leaned into using morning time as the heart of her curriculum for all of her kids, and so she’s able to mesh in her younger elementary kids end her preschool aged kids and just really embrace morning time and do so many things together and really build this rich education for the young ones, all the way up to the kids who are in 2nd 3rd grade. So I think you’re gonna love this conversation. And, yeah, just enjoy.

Pam Barnhill [00:01:46]:

Rachaelon Rial and her husband Jimmy homeschooled their 5 kids in the desert of Arizona. Their desired pass on Jimmy’s native Spanish is one of the core reasons that they chose to homeschool before their oldest was born. They enjoy the flexibility of homeschooling since their lives are often busy with ministry and hosting or visiting family. Rachel, welcome to the podcast.

Rachel Monreal [00:02:10]:

Thanks. I’m so happy to be here. Well, I am so excited

Pam Barnhill [00:02:14]:

that you are here. You are such a ray of sunshine in our your morning basket community. Start off by telling us a little bit about your homeschool journey.

Rachel Monreal [00:02:24]:

Yeah. So my mom always wanted to homeschool us, and she would always talk about it. We had some friends who homeschooled when I was younger, although it was still really unpopular thing to do. And so my mom always wanted to do that and always speak highly of people who homeschooled. And so when I was in college, I had a few friends at our church who homeschooled their families, and that was really exciting to me to see these kids who were normal. were homeschooled, who were really thriving, they had lots of educational opportunities. And I thought, you know, not only is this something that would allow us to pass on our our our Christian values, but also to provide all these multitude of opportunities to our kids. It wasn’t limiting. It was actually expanding. And so that that made me want homeschool, and I was really firm and to cited by the time I was, like, 19 or 20, that that was what I wanted to do. After college, I had lots of opportunities while I was going to bible college to tutor. And so then there was more exposure to, like, what the actual practical side of homeschooling would look like as I helped missionaries families to teach their kids to read or kids who are struggling in math, I was tutoring while I was doing school. And then I got a job in education and the more I was in the public education system, the more I realized. I didn’t want my kids there, so it just really confirmed what I already knew to be true which was that home education was the best option for most families.

Pam Barnhill [00:04:05]:

Yeah. Yeah. I I did I had kind of had a similar path to what you were talking about at the end where it was my years in public education really, really showed me, this is not exactly where we wanna be. And, you know, the great news is is by the time that you were resolved to homeschool, it had started getting a lot more popular.

Rachel Monreal [00:04:25]:

Yeah. When I met my husband, he had also decided he wanted to homeschool. And his sister her son was 3 at the time and so she was starting to research it and starting to look into it. So by the time my first was born, her second was born, she was already homeschooled. So it’s like I could kind of, like, say, oh, what do you think about this curriculum, or have you looked into the Charlotte Mason ideas, or have you done this? And and so we were kind of able to explore with each other, and then now we do a lot of the same as she’s her older child is going in high school soon, so I’ve worked in high school, so she kinda asked me more questions about, like, educational things from a high school perspective, and I can still kind of be like, oh, you know, Jamie’s going into 3rd grade this year. I feel like we kinda gotta bump up the history a little bit, and she’s like, well, have you checked out this curriculum? So we’re kind of able to. collaborate a lot. And — Right. — in the past, that was not an option for most homeschoolers. They didn’t have a lot of people around them who wanted to homeschool or thought highly homeschooling. So my sister homeschools, my sister in the homeschools, my mom’s very pro home school,

Pam Barnhill [00:05:40]:

and so we just have a lot of support. Yeah. It’s a great family affair. That’s awesome. That is so awesome. Yeah. Tell me the ages of your kids because I don’t think that’s one of the things that we established. Yeah. How old is my oldest?

Rachel Monreal [00:05:52]:

My oldest is 8. She just turned 8 last week, and my second is 6. So I have 2 girls who are in school now, like, officially registered with the state of Arizona as homeschool students. And then I have a a boy who’s about to be 5 next month. He’s very excited about his birthdays because he’s the last of the five to have a birthday, and he is going to start kindergarten, but we do, like, a very, very slow start. And then I have a three year old who’s potty training. Okay. And a one year old who I’m trying to sleep training those.

Pam Barnhill [00:06:32]:

Yeah. You’re a very busy lady. Very busy for sure. Well, let’s talk a little bit about morning time. When did you first discover morning time? and about how you’ve been doing it.

Rachel Monreal [00:06:44]:

So I discovered it through your podcast, actually, the your morning basket podcast. So I had found plan your year on Pinterest or YouTube, somebody had mentioned it. And I was like, I need this because I I need to know how to plan everything. I need to make sure I can get it all done. And I think I kind of thought plan your year was gonna be more, like, well trained vine. Like, do this and this year. do this and this year plan it all out. And I read it, and it was not that. It was — No. It’s not. — very different. And I remember I was, like, sitting in Chick Fil A while my kids were playing in the playground. And at that time, I had a, like, a one year old, a two year old, and a four year old. And I was like, this is what I need. This is what we need. And but I didn’t do morning time. I I kind of started listening to the pod cast and then I started listening to school age sisters and I started listening to read a lot of revival and all of these people who were kind of of this same mindset of, like, you don’t need to do more. You don’t need to do more. But I was like, I still have to do more. You know, that public education, and having my sister’s son was in preschool at the time, and he was learning lots of things that my kids didn’t know. And I was okay, I have to do these things. I have to meet these standards, and school became bad. It became We were doing the morning time things with dad at night, but they were not associated with school and learning. Right. So so then I decided, you know, something has to change. Something something’s gotta give. And so I went back to my values. I went back to my vision, and I I said, okay. We need to start with the things that are most important, and we need to make make school what it what it was, where when we started she wanted to do school when we started. I wanted to do school. I love learning and I wanted her to learn And now we both hate it and we’re mad at each other and crying every day. And and I also had at the time, I think I had a like a three year old and a two year old and a baby, and I was like, we have to do something where the toddlers are part of what we’re doing. because I can’t just have a kindergartner and then toddlers who just are running around like crazy people. So I had to find a way to include them. And so that’s when I said, okay. We’re gonna do this morning time thing first, and then we’ll do

Pam Barnhill [00:09:22]:

the phonics and the and the math. And so and so that’s when I started doing it. I think about 2, 3 years ago, somewhere around there. Yeah. And and that is the thing is is if you are doing morning time with a child who’s 1st or second grade or something like that and you’re including those younger siblings, really, the only thing you have to do outside of morning time is a little bit of phonics and math, and morning time can be just the biggest part of your day. So so now you have this eight year old and then the six year old and then the one starting kindergarten. So what does morning time look like in your home?

Rachel Monreal [00:09:59]:

Yeah. So the main thing is I had to come up with a structure because I would just pick random things to do, and then we weren’t consistent. and I’ve learned from your podcast mostly probably that, like, consistency was what had to be the key for all of it to work. And I’m a I’m a very big rule follower, so I wanted to give myself, like, boundaries. Like, because if I didn’t, I knew I was gonna be lazy. I wasn’t gonna do it every day. I wasn’t gonna create a program because I had all these little kids, and they want, you know, to watch Dora or whatever. They don’t wanna they don’t wanna do school. They wanna watch TV, and I would be like, oh, yeah. That’s way easier. Let’s just put the TV on or they wanted color or they wanna play outside, so which are good things, and they’re all learning. But we had to do the things that were important. and set them up so that when they get older, they’re used to doing school. And so I came up with this plan and that was It’s the prayer, pledge, verse song. If we do these 4 elements, we’ve done school, and so we start with a prayer, and then we do pledge of allegiance. and sometimes we sing the star spangled banner. Sometimes we talk about patriotic holidays. Sometimes we talk about presidents. So we include that and then we do memory. So we do now we do IEW poetry and Shakespeare, but when we started, we just did catechism. So we did our catechism questions, and I picked up 1 of the recommended verses. We do the Oh, the new shorter Westminster Catechism. And so I picked 1 of the recommended first is from the catechism question, so we’ll do the question, the response, and a memory verse. And then we do a song So we’ll sing a worship song, or we’ll do a hymn study. And then if we’ve done those elements, we’ve done morning time. And then I usually end with a read aloud and a game of some kind. The other thing this we we try to include Spanish, so I’ll I’ve done different ways to do that, but one of the ways I do it is I translate all of our catechism into Spanish, so we do that. I’ve collected some Spanish poetry, so we’ll do some English poetry, some Spanish poetry, and then we use songs that are translated in Spanish for him study in worship songs. And so everything that we’re doing in English, we’re doing a variation of it in Spanish, And either I’ll do both on the same day or at the time, like Monday and Wednesday are English, Tuesday Thursday are Spanish. I’ve I’ve switched it up a lot. But I just have these rules for myself that I follow, so that we’re consistent. So we’re studying all the things we we want to study. It sounds a lot. You’ve made a procedure list for your morning time. Yeah. It’s it is a lot like a procedure this I know I’ve planned it with the plan year year structure in my mind and going through it, picking the resources. I definitely, like, myself those questions. Like, does this follow what our core values are? Our core values are that, you know, we wanna teach our kids our faith, that’s really important. We wanna teach our kids Spanish because we have family that don’t speak English, so that’s really important family relationships are important. And, of course, we want our kids to be able to learn well. So we wanna give them those skills through poetry memories they and introducing things like history and Shakespeare and things like that. So that’s what it looks like. basically, it varies. Yeah. I’ve done a 3 day model. I’ve done a 4 day model. I’ve done a 5 day model. We usually go back to 4 days. Monday through Thursday works best for us because we have busy weekends, and that’s the best way. Like, if we rest on Sunday afternoon, I’m ready Monday morning. We get started. We don’t get lazy, and I can push through. But if we have something come up, we just do school on Friday instead. So I just always try to keep a flex day in there. Yeah. Yeah. That makes sense. That makes sense.

Pam Barnhill [00:14:09]:

So you are a big proponent. When I see you in the community, one of the things I see you talking about most of all are our little explorers plans, which are part of your morning basket plus membership. You can get them separately if you only have preschoolers or you can get them as part of the membership the full membership. And — Yeah. — tell us tell me what you like about those because that’s what I see when I think about when I think about little explorers in my head now about Rachel.

Rachel Monreal [00:14:37]:

Yes. Yeah. Well, there’s a couple things I really love. One thing that I when I first joined the membership, there wasn’t little explored. there was explorations, which was really big at the time. Everybody was doing it, it seemed like. And I tried it, and I didn’t love it because I felt like every recommended activity was going over my kid’s head. It was too difficult to adapt it for them. It wasn’t making it worth it. And one of the big things about membership is it’s done for you. So that’s that’s what’s so great about, like, the preschool plans I was seeing that, and I was seeing that with the explorations, but it wasn’t fitting our family, and I was struggling because I had my own morning time already set up that we were doing, but I loved all these resources, and I wanted to figure out, like, how can I get the most out of the membership. And then after Christmas of last or 2022 or when it was, I I did the little explorers with the Christmas the first time. And it was so rich. It was so good, and I could do all the activities with all of my kids and the baby wouldn’t do it, of course. But all of the kids from the two year old through my then six, seven year old, they were all enjoying it. and they could all take part in it. I didn’t have to adapt anything. I could if I wanted to, if I didn’t have the materials or whatever, but everything was ready to go. I signed up for the text messages so I could just do whatever was sent that day, or, like, I would save all the text messages, and then I could just easily scroll through and say, oh, I wanna do that. And then I’ll pull it up on my phone and we just do it right then. I did look at the booklist ahead of time and try to get as many books as I can, but there’s been months like, especially when I had a newborn where I did not look at anything ahead of time. I didn’t reserve any books at the library. I didn’t print anything. I just pulled up the the little explorers, and I looked at the do it activities, and I said, we’ll do this one. And then we just did it. And so that’s the thing that I love is everything in there is doable for all kids under, like, 10 probably. Now they may not all like it to the same degree, but it’s all doable for kids under 10. If you have older kids, just pick one of the activities with the magnifying glass and it will be most doable for everybody because it’s part of the explorers and the little explorers. And we do a lot of the explorers activities now with the little explorers options like a lot of the plans the way that they were written by the team. They just have, like, very — Mhmm. — be comparable options in little explorers to the explorers. So we always do the live events. My my daughters especially just they love the jokes and they love going to the the exploration expedition kickoff events. And so we do the that, and so then they wanna do the game. And even though we’re doing the little explorers activities, they’re very comparable to what’s on, like, the the map or the bingo board or the like, we’re collecting the shells right now. So Some of the activities are a little different. They don’t do a journal, nature training page. They do a coloring sheet, but we watched the video about crabs or seashells or whatever. So it’s the same learning experience with a age appropriate

Pam Barnhill [00:18:26]:

assessment for them or a base? I love that so much. And, you know, we call it little explorers, and When we first started it, we called it Little Explorer Preschool, and then we quickly changed the name. Actually, I think you largely influenced this. we changed the name to early education because we realized how rich this could be for kids who were up to 6, 7, and you even said ten years old. that there’s so much richness there. You know? And it’s like we about the normal stuff. It’s like, this goes all the way up to adults because You’re listening to music. You’re reading poetry. You’re looking at art.

Rachel Monreal [00:19:03]:

I agree. I think if I had all my older kids, I wouldn’t use Little explorers at all. But because I have so many kids who are so much younger, my one kid who’s eight isn’t gonna convince me to go do the explorers. the explorations because it’s it’s too much that’s over the heads of most of my kids. It’s the way it’s like going back to my vision and my core values is the way I approach extracurricular activities. We love I love theater and drama, and I want to get my kids involved in that, but I won’t sign my first two kids up for drama class because what am I gonna do with my other 3 kids? while my kids are in that class, and I think it’s the same with with morning time. The point of morning time is to build relationships and have all the kids together. So what you wanna find is what you can do with the most of your kids that they’re gonna enjoy and be part of. And that’s why I do it is for the little kids to be part of what we’re doing in school, how we’re doing school. And so if I didn’t have something like little explorers for them. I probably

Pam Barnhill [00:20:11]:

do that for you and I would support it. But but

Rachel Monreal [00:20:16]:

We’d love the live events. We’d love it. But if we didn’t have that, I think it would be a totally different assessment for me in, like, we gonna pay for the membership again this year? Because that’s what we use. And I didn’t mention it a lot in my morning time, but I because I was just trying to give the sure. But what we do is we do add in the little explorers on our flex days we have an extra day, we’ll do, like, a whole bunch of activities. That’s usually how we do it. Or, like, this week, we just started our first term of this school year really early because we’re taking off most of October. And so, like, the 1st 2 days, all we did was the seashell activities and prayer and a little review. And the kids, like, they’re not like, how many of these activities can we do? We wanna learn more about seashells. And so we do a lot of that. We’ll, like, kinda clustered altogether in a couple days over the month. And then when there’s a live event, will just won’t do morning time that day will do the live event. And so that’s that’s kinda how we use it. But I love how flexible it is. I love that you can do it every single day, or you can do it one day a week. When I had a newborn baby at home and the kids were begging to do something, I could just pull it out then and just do an activity every day and not feel like — Right. — a lazy mom. And that’s where those techs definitely come in handy. You just pull it up on your phone and say, okay. Let’s do this one. And, you know and so when I do the explorations

Pam Barnhill [00:21:45]:

with my teams, I don’t plan anything out ahead of time. I just pull up the tag and you’re right, even if you don’t do the one that was sent that day, you can scroll back and pick out another one that you like. And I’m horrible. I always skip the ones that have to do with our projects. I mean, my kids are gonna do our projects. Okay. And so, like, I

Rachel Monreal [00:22:08]:

I remember the first time I, like, finally didn’t feel guilty about using, like, not doing Play Doh or glitter or things was in the community one time. Somebody mentioned it, and I was like, oh my gosh. I found my people. These Because everything on Pinterest and YouTube is like art projects. Like, these big creative art, and I love doing those when I work the schools. I would always love to do those kind of project, but was in my house with my kids on my table where I have put lunch. I was like, no. We’re not gonna do that. We’re not gonna do Play Doh. We’re not gonna do glitter. And I felt bad at first, but then I realized, like, this is life, and the kids are getting the same

Pam Barnhill [00:22:48]:

enrichment in other ways. Yeah. Yeah. So the options are there if you want them. They they do. The team does choose some really great art projects. And we’ve seen some beautiful stuff posted in the community, but you also don’t have to do it. And because you are doing the music appreciation or the art appreciation your kids are getting this wonderful exposure anyway. So what do you think is the kid’s favorite part of morning time in general? How is it impacting your homeschool in a positive way. I think if we ask them their favorite part, it’s

Rachel Monreal [00:23:25]:

probably poetry. They love to memorize poetry, especially my three year old boy who loves poetry. which I never would have ever thought that this three year old boy would like poetry m. He is, like, the most contrary person, and he always wants to be against whatever you’re doing. But when we sit down, we do poetry. Like, he has to say ooey gooey every single day. So that’s for just our personal morning time. But when it comes to the to the membership and the things we have there, my kids love the coloring pages. Every single one of them loves the coloring pages and little explorers, and they love any live event that they can participate in. If they can participate, they love it. So that is really their favorite. They love when there’s, like, a nature study 1 or there’s and anything where there’s questions being asked of them and they can interact — No. That’s awesome. I love that so much.

Pam Barnhill [00:24:25]:

What would you say is the percentage of morning time to your school day? You know? You you have your oldest is eight. And, you know, how are you weaving in what you’re doing this morning time with the other requirements that you have to do?

Rachel Monreal [00:24:43]:

Okay. So percentage wise, it’s probably like 60 or more — Wow. — 60 plus percent. of our day if you count all the kids and all the time that I spend doing school. Morning time probably is that. But you have to remember, I have all younger elementary kids So there’s not a lot beyond that. So our whole school day is about 3 hours on a long day. on a long day, and that includes my daughter’s piano practice and transitions and all of that. So We start morning time usually around 10:30 in the morning and we’re done with lunch after school by 1, usually. Usually, not always. This is — Mhmm. — very general general because I have 5 kids under 10, so things go different every day, but we do morning time around, like, 40 to an hour, 40 minutes to an hour, and then individual subjects. But for my younger kids, that is all they do is morning time. And then from and then, you know, sometimes we do history with dad and sometimes we do Spanish with dad, and sometimes I just do it. But that’s part of morning time too. and we do English and math. Oh, my oldest just says copy work and a math sheet. And then my second, she’s in phonics, so we spent some time on phonics, and she does a math sheet. And and they don’t — That’s that’s awesome. Okay. So my question for you, Rachel, is How do you get all of those kids to sit still for 40 minutes to an hour to do morning time? They don’t. They don’t.

Pam Barnhill [00:26:22]:

Why is it going? It’s still, like, I don’t

Rachel Monreal [00:26:26]:

so this is the thing if I think a lot of young moms have this it’s this public education mindset that we have, that school means you’re sitting down and you’re doing lessons. And it’s very hard to overcome that. I I think I mean, for for people like you, people like me who not only went through public education for most of our lives, personal education, but also then being part of that system and passing it on. Like, I wasn’t trained as a teacher. I was an instructional assistant, but my job was to adapt curriculum for a special ed kids and then assist the teacher in any kind of reinforcing of the instruction. And even in a special ed class, they’re expected to sit in a desk for 6 hours and do their work. It’s nonsense because they don’t do it, and So how could you expect a two year old or a three year old or a four year old to sit down and do a worksheet? You can’t. they’re not going to do it. Or maybe an occasional very left brain girl will sit there and do a worksheet. I don’t know. Like, I can’t what we do is we start with prayer. During prayer, they’re expected to be still and be quiet and respectful because we’re speaking to a holy god. So I expect them to be calm and respectful. Then we do collective agents during collective agents. Those who are overdue are expected to stand and cross their heart and say the pledge if they’re to and under like, I don’t expect them to stand still. I don’t even really them to pay attention to what we’re doing. I don’t expect them to say anything. They each take a turn holding the flag, so that’s part of it, and then they learn the pledge. And as they learn it, they say it. I haven’t ever had to force that too much. I I do, you know, remind them gently to stand. This is our plot. the rest of the time, as long as they’re not disruptive, I don’t I don’t care what they’re doing in if they’re not being disruptive, they’re following our regular family rules, they can they can be part. The when they’re six and older, they’re a student of this school. They’re officially a student, and I expect them to say the poetry. I expect them to repeat all of the answers for catechism, that kind of thing. But they don’t sit still. They do.

Pam Barnhill [00:29:01]:

They stay — What kind of things do they do? Yeah.

Rachel Monreal [00:29:05]:

They color a lot. They eat breakfast while we’re doing it. They eat snacks while we’re doing it. They play with puzzles, and then they play with Sometimes like little toy cars are action figures. They play with pattern blocks. They play with magnets. They we do lots of things. I I have a, like, cabinet full of toys and puzzles that are for school only, and so at the beginning of the day, whoever asks me or if I wanna do it, I just go in, I pick one thing, I bring it to the table, and we do that. And sometimes I don’t bring it out until after memory time just so that the the older kids are actually focused on what we’re doing. but then I’ll bring it out. And then we do that. And they they usually during times I expect them to talk, I don’t give them food or things that are loud. And that’s that’s really the main thing. I don’t do.

Pam Barnhill [00:30:03]:

I don’t do Play Doh or kinetic sand — Okay. — water toys. We loved Play Doh in kinetic sand, but I think we’re older. So I think my youngest when When I’m thinking back to our really big Plato years during morning time, I think my youngest was, like, 4. And so at that point, I could you know, expect everybody. And we had kinetic sand, but not it wasn’t the kind that made, like, this big huge mess all over place. It was the more sticky kind, you know, where it kinda stuck together. Yeah.

Rachel Monreal [00:30:34]:

Yes. My sister-in-law loves it. She loves it with her kids when they were tiny. She’s like, that’s what I would do. I just sit them at the table and they do Play Doh. And I was like, I don’t know. Like, I don’t know. I think I’m not the best housekeeper. I’m getting better, and I think I don’t like — Yeah. — things that make that harder. And having 5 kids has forced me to be a better housekeeper, but part of that is knowing my limitations. and I have one table. I have one table. And so I think there’s moms like me who would love to do these things with their kids, and they know their kids enjoy it. And they feel like they have to do it. I don’t feel like I have to, and so I don’t. And I do have Play Doh. We do have it, and I do bring it out occasionally. But and my mom loves to do it with my kids. So she’ll sit there and deal with them when she comes, but I don’t. I I just I don’t like cleaning it up. That’s that’s really all there is to it. I just don’t like cleaning it up. And so it gets stuck in my wood. Yeah. Well, it and it sounds like they’re really happy to do the other activities. And that’s such a genius idea.

Pam Barnhill [00:31:46]:

You know, we often talk about, like, making the busy box for the toddler, and that box only comes out very school, but you’ve kind of taken this to the entire family of these fun activities that only come out during school time. And I love this fact that you don’t open the cabinet and then let them add it, you actually go in there and pull out the one activity that’s been asked for and let them play with that one for the day. Yes.

Rachel Monreal [00:32:14]:

I think I think it’s just because I have so many who are so little. I think when they’re older, I’ve heard all these kind of, like, really great ideas, and I think that’s where it comes down to the that homeschool and morning time especially is so flexible, so adaptable to whatever your situation is and you can make it work for whatever size of family you have, whatever ages of family you have, you just have to be honest with your limitations, you have to think about, like, what is most important to you and then you can you can go from there. If you start with what everybody is doing, you’re you’re never gonna be able to to pull it back. It’s there was a concept that I learned when I was doing theater in high school and in college. Like, you when you direct to play, you plan out a rehearsed schedule and I think planning for school is very similar. You start with what your dream idea is. Like, if I had endless resources, this is what I would do. And then you say, okay. Well, what is the bare minimum? that I could do, and it would actually be like a deliverable product or something I would want to present. So you start with that bare minimum, with that dream in mind. and you just add a little at a time so you get closest to the dream as you possibly can. If you start the other way and you start with the dream and then you start pulling stuff back, you’ll always be doing too much, and you’ll never get as close as you want to get to that ultimate picture. When you start with the least, and you add a little at a time, that you’ll get closer every time — I love it. Yeah. We actually call that. We have an aim for that in the community,

Pam Barnhill [00:33:57]:

and it That’s exactly right. Start small build slow. And I didn’t realize it was a theater thing too, but that’s that’s so but you’re right. It absolutely applies across I think it’s great for morning time for homeschooling as well.

Rachel Monreal [00:34:15]:

Yeah. It does. It does. It works so well. I think that that’s really it. Like, you can’t you can’t start, like, all board just like everything. We’re gonna start with everything. And like we started school this week, we started just with review from all the things we learned in morning time last year. And then, you know, next week, I’m gonna add a little bit and add a little bit to our morning time. And at the same time, we’re gonna add math. and then we’re gonna add English. And we’re starting a new English program for my older daughter because she begged me to, and I was trying not to, but she begged me So we’re gonna start that last because it’s new for me, and I have to teach it to her. And it’s a different program. So we’re gonna we’re gonna do it once we’ve already started with the stuff we know. And so that’s that’s the way I approach it now. at first I tried to do with the public school way where you start everything on day 1 and you do all the subjects and in their time slot and in their order but

Pam Barnhill [00:35:18]:

We don’t have to. Exactly right. I love it. We don’t have to. That’s why we homeschool. I love it so much. Well, Rachel, thank you so much for coming on and chatting with me today all about morning time and how you do it. Such great nuggets there, and it’s so awesome to see you. really making it work for a family that is you know, you’ve got an 8 year span there, and it sounds like it just brings you guys closer together. every single day, so that is awesome. We appreciate you so much.

Rachel Monreal [00:35:46]:

Thank you. I love the community, so I’m happy to be here.

Pam Barnhill [00:36:00]:

Well, thank you, Rachel, so much for coming on the podcast today. And just a quick note before I send you off, 2, get your homeschool and your morning time ready. In September in your morning basket, plus we are, for the very first time, going to be holding our morning Time for Mom’s series. For Wednesday afternoons, yes, we figured it would probably be better not to do it in the morning for homeschool moms. But for Wednesday afternoons during the month of September, we are actually going to be having a morning time gathering for mamas. And so Heather Tully, my coauthor of The Book Gather, a mom of Ten, who has been doing morning time in her home for well over 18 years now is going to be conducting a morning time just for mamas. And so this is gonna be fabulous because, number 1, you’re gonna get poured into. You’re gonna have this little respite in the middle of your week where you can grab a cup of tea or a cold glass of sweet tea and come and just listen and participate and enjoy all the beauty and benefits of a morning time. and at the same time, you can watch how Heather teaches some of these subjects to you. You can see how she is facilitating these morning time subjects and and mentoring them. And so you will be able to then take some of those things that you learn and use them with your children as well. So we think it is a fabulous situation. The only thing you have to do to take part is join your morning basket plus. Come on over to, and click on get y m b plus to get all the details about how to join Thanks so much for listening to your morning basket. If you are ready to spend less time planning and more time engaged in learning with your children, Join your morning basket plus, a monthly membership with everything you need to start a morning time practice in your homeschool. To join head on over to, and I’ll see you there.

Links and Resources from Today’s Show

Key Ideas about Finding Freedom

  • Morning time can be a rich and enjoyable educational experience for preschoolers.
  • Morning time provides an opportunity to align education with core values, such as faith, family relationships, language learning, and skill development.
  • Consistency is key for a successful educational routine, and creating a structured plan can help achieve this.
  • The “morning basket” or “morning time” approach in homeschooling can bring joy, closer relationships, and less stress to the learning experience.
  • Morning time can be adapted to fit the needs and ages of children in a flexible and adaptable manner.

Find What you Want to Hear

  • [00:02:24] Mom’s desire and positive experience with homeschooling led author to choose homeschooling for their own kids.
  • [00:06:44] Podcast led to new approach in homeschooling.
  • [00:09:59] Consistent structure for homeschooling with boundaries.
  • [00:14:37] Membership offers doable activities for kids under 10.
  • [00:20:16] Love live events, flexible activities, and convenient tech.
  • [00:24:43] 60%+ day spent on kids and school. 3-hour school day. Morning time is main focus. Kids don’t sit still.
  • [00:26:26] Public education mindset is hard to overcome for young moms.
  • [00:32:14] Flexibility and adaptability in homeschooling for all family sizes and ages.
  • [00:36:00] Morning Time for Mom’s series in September.

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