YMB #22 Picture Study for Morning Time

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is on my Homeschool Field Trip Bucket List. Yours too? I want to share the wonder and awe I felt as I looked at the larger than life paintings for the first time.

But how? I am no where near the Met. I know little to nothing about art, except that I do like to look at it. Is this enough? How do I start a picture study with my children? What are we looking for? How can I expect them to respond?

Emily Kiser to the rescue! In this episode of Your Morning Basket, Emily answers these questions and more. She gently tells us how we can add picture study to our basket in baby steps; exposure, enjoyment, and analysis.



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

Hi everyone, my name is Pam Barnhill, and I would like to welcome you to episode 22 of the Your Morning Basket podcast.

Now, studying the works of great artists is one of the enduring ways that we can bring beauty into our homeschools during Morning Time and also into the lives of our students. It’s also one of those things that many moms find just a little bit intimidating. Well, never fear, we have a great guest today who is going to walk us through the Charlotte Mason practice of picture study and how we can bring picture study and also picture talks, which was something new I learned about today, into our Morning Time and study those things with our children.

Our guest is Emily Kiser, and she is a mom, a student of Charlotte Mason, and also a studio art major. She also is the author behind the Simply Charlotte Mason picture study portfolios, which is kind of a great all-in-one package for doing picture study in your homeschool. So I was delighted to have Emily join me today. It was an enlightening and wonderful conversation. I learned a lot, and I think you’re going to learn a lot as well.

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Emily Kiser is a mother of two with a love for vintage books, beautiful art, and Charlotte Mason style homeschooling. Emily and her mother are the cofounders of the Living Books Library, a private lending library with more than 17,000 books (a great many of them lovely out-of-print works for children). She is also one of hosts of A Delectable Education, a podcast dedicated to discussing the philosophy and methods of Charlotte Mason education. Emily writes the picture study portfolios for Simply Charlotte Mason, and she joins us today to share about incorporating the practice of picture study into Morning Time. Emily, welcome to the program.
Emily: Thanks for having me, Pam.
Pam: Well, start off by telling me a little bit about yourself and your family.
Emily: I have been married to my husband for just over three years, and we're organic produce farmers in the rural mountains of Southwest Virginia, and we have two young boys who keep us very busy. And prior to that I lived at home with my parents, and I'm quite a bit older than my youngest siblings who were adopted. So I got to help homeschool them and have been involved with the library with homeschooling families for the last 10 years or so.
Pam: And were you homeschooled yourself?
Emily: Just the first three years of my education, and then I went to public school actually. I'm the oldest of six and various in and out of public school instances for them and then my youngest three siblings have been exclusively home schooled.
Pam: So you've actually had a great mix of both and you've kind of seen things from both sides?
Emily: Oh, yes.
Pam: How did your own interest in art and picture study begin?
Emily: I was thinking about this and I think it was because my parents were so inept in this area. My mother is blind and my dad was just culturally illiterate growing up, for the most part, especially in the visual arts, and so they recognized that as a deficiency. And we lived kind of in this isolated, little community far away from any cultural center, and so they just made it a priority every time we went to the library we would check out prints mounted on boards, they would buy us art books at garage sales, and every time we went on vacation or visited a larger city we always went to the art museum. And so I think it was just that natural exposure from a young age that made me interested in art. And then in college I majored in studio art, but I went to a liberal arts college, so I had to take four years of art history, and I just loved that learning, kind of tying all the threads together of artists that I had grown up looking at their works.
Pam: That's interesting that it was something your parents knew that they were really kind of deficient at and couldn't really give that to you other than to expose you and that was where your love grew out of it. It was not like they had to lecture you for hours at a time or tell you, “oh this is…” they didn't have that knowledge themselves but they were still able to impart that gift to you simply by exposing you to that great artwork.
Emily: Exactly. And I got interested in picture study because when I moved home after college my mom had always wanted to read Charlotte Mason's works but they weren't available in Braille or on audio. And so I volunteered to read them to her, kind of trying to figure out this whole homeschooling thing, and so we just started reading and I was just so pleasantly surprised at what a value she placed on art and picture study in her curriculum, so that kind of got me on a tangent of that, and I've taught homeschool art classes ever since I've graduated from college, and I've always done picture study to some degree and that's been honed over the years.
Pam: Oh, wow! That's fascinating. What do you think picture study brings to a Morning Time setting where a family is all gathered there together sitting and learning with each other?
Emily: Well, the first thing that comes to mind is silence and I think quiet in the morning is always a good thing.
Pam: I agree.
Emily: And I say that kind of tongue in cheek. There are so many good things but really you have your children sit quietly and look for several minutes and it's just a nice calming, different kind of lesson than you usually have and a different tone can be set to the day. But I think studying great art together adds such a dimension to family culture. It's an inherently beauty filled lesson, and I think there's certain ideas that can only be represented visually through art. We only have language that can talk in simile and metaphor about some of the things that are portrayed in pictures, like color and form and nuance of expression; things like that that we need art to communicate to us. And so it's just a different type of lesson than we normally have when we read books or talk or listen to music. It's just a different set of ideas that we can engage with.
Pam: A lot of times we're reading out loud to students but even though a student reading a book for themselves is a visual thing, the practice of looking at a piece of artwork is different visually than reading a story to yourself.
Emily: Right, because they're still dealing with verbal language, right? We're still thinking those symbols on a page we might make a picture in our mind but it's different than just taking in something that's purely visual and, I guess, abstract in a way that we just have these shapes and colors to take in, instead of symbol language.
Pam: Right, so it is very much a different part of brain probably that's processing.
Emily: It's helpful, I think, because it helps break up those lessons and gives your mind a rest from maybe the normal activities that we do in a homeschool morning.
Pam: So as you know a Charlotte Mason would say, “use different parts of the brain for different short lessons.”
Emily: Yeah.
Pam: If you're reading a passage in the Morning Time, then putting in a picture study in between two readings is going to satisfy that requirement to use a different part of the brain and let it rest.
Emily: Right, she said a change is as good as a break, and so as we change from one activity to the other we're still able to give our full attention, which can be an exhausting process for a young child to use their full attention, right? …
Pam: Yes.
Emily: … for a long span of time but to have a mental shift in activity gives them that break where they don't feel fatigued and then they're ready to come back to the next lesson fresh too.
Pam: Okay. Well, that is awesome. But let's talk some more about some of the direct benefits, I guess that would be an indirect benefit; so let's focus on some of the direct benefits of doing art study. So what are some of your favorite works of art to look at with children?
Emily: You know, there's so many I can't narrow it down. I think my favorites have been those pieces that have caused a spark of recognition in any child. I live in a rural area and so I often like to start with Millet, who painted peasants working in the fields, because there's a similarity people who live around where I do are familiar with haying and farming and bringing in the harvest, but it's different because we have machinery to do those things, and they are using their hands and hand tools. So, having some similar connection but also it's interesting to them because it's a different application of what they’re used to. It gives them questions and they can engage in it in a different way.
Pam: So striking a balance between the familiar and the unfamiliar?
Emily: Exactly. Yes. It's kind of like a little hook to get them in but then there's enough to make them curious and wonder about the rest of it.
Pam: So if a family lived say, close to the ocean, instead of seeking out works of farming or something like that, they might actually consider starting with paintings of ships on the water or something?
Emily: Sure. Like Turner would be great. I also love artists who have stories communicated in their pictures. Like, I think of Rembrandt as quintessentially a story teller in his pieces, even his portraits or single figures seem to be communicating a story and a lot of times those are Bible passages or historical events. But those are great to engage little children, young children, or people new to picture study and because they want to explore and figure out what's going on.
Pam: Right. I was just thinking about that Bible story depicted in art would be great because so many children are familiar with the story that they kind of make a connection with that piece of artwork from the very beginning.
Emily: Exactly.
Pam: Well, when we listen to a piece of music, we're listening for certain things, like tempo and dynamics and instrumentation. So what are some of the things we might be looking for when we look at a piece of art?
Emily: Well, this is kind of complicated because I think the first steps have to be exposure to good art and then comes enjoyment from looking at art and then experience. And after all of those things are taking place, then we can start to bring analysis in. Like, when we go out in nature and we find a buttercup with our child, very young child, we don't start taking apart and pointing out the petals and the stem and the sepals and the stamens and all of those things and giving them those terminology words first. They're having a connection and enjoying. So after that happens, then, yes, we do. I recently was able to attend a conference where John Muir Laws was speaking, and he's a naturalist and an artist as well, and he was encouraging us to keep our nature journals and always be asking three things: I notice, I wonder, and it reminds me of. And I really liked that as it connects to picture study because I think we can use those same criteria, look for those same three things every time we approach a picture. So that's really simple and can be done with any picture no matter what it is of. But building those connections and relationships with the piece before we start putting on those formal terminologies, and as they grow and become more accustomed to doing picture study and are more familiar with various artists, we can start giving them those terminologies, like light and dark areas is probably a pretty elementary one. Our eyes are naturally drawn to the lightest parts of pictures first and noticing that and noticing how the artist is able to balance, that's another thing we can look at. Their composition, like, if there's something that’s very striking in one part of the picture, what is on the rest of the picture that makes it balance visually. Those are compositional techniques. Like, we often see artists using diagonal lines or triangles. If we were to draw imaginary lines between the major objects in a picture, we might find a triangle, sometimes a circle or a square. Those things, I think we can teach to youngish children. Foreground and background, the foreground being the part of the picture that appears to be closest to us. And then the background, the things that are in the distance behind the foreground figures. One good question that's really helpful to ask children just to start them thinking about all those kinds of things is: Can you tell what time day it is in this picture?
Pam: Oh, that's interesting.
Emily: And then, how do you know? Sometimes it's really ambiguous but they'll really engage with that and look deeply and think, ‘I wonder, maybe it's because they have this kind of outfit on, it's more nighttime.’ Even if you can't tell from the light of the picture, but a lot of times the light and the quality of the light is different, right? In the morning or the afternoon or midday or evening. And those are all clues that our children can pick up on even if we never really went outside and said, “Oh, look at how the morning light makes all these figures look this color.”
Pam: Right.
Emily: Or the evening, how everything gets kind of rosy and warm toned as the sun begins to set. They can pick up on those things and notice it without us even teaching them.
Pam: I know just enough about Charlotte Mason to know that she was really for a synthetic as opposed to an analytical education for young children. She wanted them to look at things as a whole and experience things as a whole and embody them as a whole before they began picking them apart. So, would there have been a different time in a child’s education in a Charlotte Mason school aside from picture study where they might have picked apart and analyzed art? Was picture study just for that synthetic study of art?
Emily: It's more like it gradually builds on itself. So for the youngest students in the lower half of elementary school they would pretty much just be doing a picture study where they're describing what they see. We might do a picture talk occasionally and that's more to get the child to notice things, like, you're leading them with open ended questions to look more deeply at something maybe they hadn't noticed before. You're guiding their discovery, you don't have an end goal or you're not trying to get a certain answer out of them, but you're trying to help them learn to look more deliberately at the piece of art. And then as the next stage, like upper elementary, they might start to maybe not even have names for those compositional terms that I was describing, but they could draw the main objects on a scrap piece of paper after they had looked at it, still from memory. So just kind of a little drawn narration of what the picture was, and then moving into the teen years, they actually started studying an art history book. And I think that's where they started getting a lot of those terminology, fitting an artist into his historical context into the art movement that he was a part of and how those fitted together and came out of one another. That all would be happening junior high and high school and then they could reproduce details of the picture again from memory. But I don't know that she was ever having them really analyze and critique an art piece. It was more based on enjoyment and appreciation and reverence for the skill of the artist than trying to break that down and figure out why that piece was made the way it was, if that makes sense.
Pam: Yeah, it does. And so just like Sonya Schaffer taught me they that there were different kinds of narration and that a student's skill and types of narration changed as they got older, what you're telling me is that they're really different kinds of picture study. And the same picture study you do with a six year old is the not necessarily going to be the same kind that you do with a 14 year old?
Emily: Or it could be the same; you could have children of multiple ages looking at the same picture, but what they produce is going to look different. Based on their maturity level and engagement with the piece based on how long they've been doing it.
Pam: Let's break this down and give people, walk them through what a picture study might look like. And so let's start by talking about the artist itself, because Charlotte Mason didn't advocate jumping willy nilly from artist to artist every week; did she?
Emily: Right. She thought we should study at least six pictures by the same artist. And I will tell you, I have done picture study with all kinds of children and most recently was able to participate in an after-school program in the inner-city school in the city closest to me is a very poor school, and I went in and did picture study with the kindergarten and first graders and just using a few pictures week after week, they really do get a sense of the style of the artist without you having to lecture them on that. That they visually pick up on when you have several pieces in a row by the same artist, they learn to recognize that. Much as we would recognize similarities in a family and can see, “Oh, you look like your mom” or something like that. That each piece really does represent one artist to them. So if we jumped around and went, first, we're going to do a picture but Monet and then we're going to do a picture by da Vinci, and then we're going to do a picture by Monet or Michelangelo, we're not going to have that breadth of their work where they really pick up on that visual identity of the artist.
Pam: Right. And really become familiar with that artist. So we're going to start by studying the work of a single artist for at least six pictures and those six pictures would be spread ideally over six weeks?
Emily: Well, it doesn't have to be quite so formulaic as that. Charlotte Mason did one artist per term and her terms were about 12 weeks long. They had three of them in a year. And so they didn't do a new picture every single week in her schools. You could. My portfolios that I've put together, sold through Simply Charlotte Mason, have eight pictures; so you can choose the six you want to study or you could do all eight if you wanted. But a really good idea when you begin picture study, when you've selected your artist that you're going to study for the next unit or whatever you want to call it, is to read a brief biography of the artist because that forms a relationship for your children with the man or woman behind the pictures. And Charlotte Mason’s often called relational education; so I think building that relationship with the person is important.
Pam: Right.
Emily: And then for the next lesson, after you've read the biography, you might pick one picture and have the children look at it and you tell them to look at it quietly, without talking, and then you might want to give them a little bit about, how big is this picture in reality?
Pam: Because so many pictures that we see on a computer screen are an 8 ½ x 11 piece of paper can be as large as a wall in our house.
Emily: Exactly. And so if you can tell them dimensions and maybe relate that to something maybe they might be familiar, like, this is as big as the window in our dining room or as big as this whole wall in front of our hour house. Just to give them an idea of the scale of the picture as they set out to look at it and then they look at it quietly until they can make a picture of it in their mind's eye. So I always have children close their eyes and if you can see the picture and all its detail then you know you've looked close enough, but if you can't, open your eyes again and keep looking until you can fill in all those details.
Pam: Oh. I love that because I never know quite how to explain to my kids how well they should have looked.
Emily: Yes. Yes. And I usually do not tell the name of the piece before we do that. And there's been several very cool “Aha” moments when I've done this with a group. I remember one, we looked at Rembrandt's The Return of the Prodigal Son and this young man gave this wonderful, beautiful narration full of spiritual analogy and said, "And it even kind of reminds me of The Prodigal Son." But he didn't know that, he had never seen the picture before and then when I told them the name, it was just like this reinforcement; he was able to have that opportunity to make that connection without me suggesting it and then it was just affirming that he really was reading the picture rightly. And that's happened with many children that I've had but that example was so cool and I always remember it. So when they're done, when they have the picture firmly in their mind's eye, I have them turn the page over or depending on how cooperative they are sometimes I collect them and then they narrate and just tell me what they saw and that, like we were just talking about, can change. That pretty much happens throughout; you would narrate first and then if you're going to do some of those drawn narrations, that would happen after that time. And you don't want to interrupt and suggest things, and I usually let one child say something and if there's multiple children, like in Morning Time in a family, then another child could add and then another and another. And sometimes they'll disagree with one another, and we'll say, “Well, we'll have to check that out after we're all done.” So that is a really cool thing that happens too.
Pam: So you would let the disagreements just lie fallow until everybody was finished and then you would turn the picture back over to check those things out?
Emily: Yes. And sometimes it gets quite heated. You know, "I disagree with this person."
Pam: I can't imagine it getting heated.
Emily: But I think that's so telling, how much they care about it and how deeply they're engaging. It's not just a competition, they are testing themselves. Did I see this rightly? I really have formed a connection with this picture, and I care that it's described in truth.
Pam: Right. So you said something that made me pause for a second there. You indicated through your description there that every child would have their own copy of the picture.
Emily: Oh, yes.
Pam: And so this is really important even in a family of, say, three children that I need to have three copies of this picture?
Emily: Have you tried to do picture study with three children looking at one picture before?
Pam: Yes.
Emily: How did that go?
Pam: I don't know if it was me or the one picture or what.
Emily: I would do this with my two brothers, and they had a hard time and they both could clearly see the picture. So I think that every child should have their own ideally. I mean, I would rather a family do picture study and only have one picture one copy of the picture than not do picture study. But, ideally, every child would have their own copy, yes.
Pam: Okay. Okay. That's just.
Emily: It really does go a long way in that peaceful, tranquil, silent “looking at” time.
Pam: Nice morning quiet we're going for in the Morning Time?
Emily: Yes. And, you know, sometimes they get really close to see all of the detail in it so that can be annoying if your brother is putting his face right in front of where you're trying to look.
Pam: Okay. So you've indicated; so we're sitting in the circle at Morning Time, and we're going around, and we're doing oral narrations. Would there ever be a time when a child, obviously 10 or older, in a Charlotte Mason household, would do a written narration of a picture?
Emily: Sure.
Pam: Or would it only be oral or drawn?
Emily: I think you could do written narration from pictures. We like to switch up what a child writes for their narration. They're not always doing the same lesson. So they could absolutely do a written narration from their picture study and at the end of the term all children would have to do an exam on the artist and so if they were doing written exams, they would have a written narration at the end of term on describe one piece by the artist.
Pam: So that's what an exam would be like, you would have them describe one piece?
Emily: Yeah.
Pam: And they just choose their favorite or you would choose for them?
Emily: I think it was up to them to choose which piece they wanted to. Or maybe there would be two suggested and they would describe one of either of those. But they would get some choice in that.
Pam: And so what are you looking for? How, as a mom, do I know I've been successful at picture study? What's my child going to tell me? And then, how should I react to what they're telling me?
Emily: Well, I think the sky’s limit on what they could tell you. I think it's really helpful to keep in mind the developmental stages that children go through and that young children really are going to tell you mostly of what they see. A little bit older kids might start to try and figure out the story or what's going on in the picture. Older students might do more of what they thought of or could it be connecting to other stories they've read or things that it reminds them of. So I think that grows with the development of your child; so you're probably not going to get super in-depth amazing. I had a six year old in this class I was teaching this past semester, who, we were looking at Winslow Homer, a watercolor by him, and he said, and it was two Caribbean men hoisting a sea turtle out of the water, and this little six year old said, "I notice that the shadows where they are are different than shadows where we are,” and I was like, "Oh, what do you mean?" And he said, "Well, when I cast a shadow on the ground it's black, but I notice that their shadows are kind of brown." And I was like, well, that's an awesome narration from a six year old. So sometimes they surprise you. But I think just what you should expect is that you can tell that they really looked at it and engaged in it. And if your child, over and over every single picture tells you the same generic thing, he's probably not looking very carefully.
Pam: So what do I do about that, Emily? I have this child. This eight or nine year old child, I have one downstairs who is giving me the same thing every single time; so how can I turn this into something that is engaging him more than what it is?
Emily: Well, there is probably something more going on. Charlotte Mason would say you have to get the will on their side. So probably in the moment is not the time. But has he ever seen a picture in a museum like face to face? Or has he read a biography or a story about the artist that really made him really have a connection? It just takes one little spark, like even a child seeing, "Oh, I saw a Monet printed on an umbrella at the store today." Some little hook usually does the trick but as far as in your lessons, I might set aside a time when he's in a good mood, maybe having something good to eat, and just talk about how every artist in the world had important things to say. And I wonder what message the artist that we're studying has to tell us. And just give him a little thought like that to chew on. And it's a sad thing for them if they don't learn the pictures deeply. They can get through life, they can survive, but they're missing out, they're not going to have that gallery hung, they're not going to have as many relationships in as many directions if they're not engaging in picture study. So maybe it depends. You have to be kind of tread lightly and it might be that your child you can have a conversation with about that.
Pam: I love your advice to not try to address it right there at the point of the lesson but try to engage them with that umbrella in the store or taking them to the museum or sharing with them that extra interesting story about the artist.
Emily: I would look at local, even in my very small town, we have a very small art museum, and we had a pretty substantial exhibit, I think a van Gogh came through a couple years ago, I mean, just pieces that you would not normally see in the little mountains of Southwest Virginia and if you check out opportunities like that and know something is coming, you might want to set aside: before that Rembrandt exhibit, we're going to study Rembrandt. Or maybe we'll do it the term after, and we'll go to the museum and look at the works and then we'll study them more in depth. I think it could go either way, and it might just depend on your children; how engage they are already in art study but seeing a piece in person is nothing like looking at the printed copy, so I think that might be inspiring to a lot of kids.
Pam: Oh, yes. I think so too. So, one last question about the actual practice of doing a picture study. You indicated a few minutes ago that you would, when a child was doing a picture study narration, you would kind of prompt them with a question, but I'm almost certain that you're going to tell me that I'm not supposed to quiz my child. So how do I know what kind of questions I could ask and what questions I shouldn't ask?
Emily: So the first thing I would just let them narrate and then after that you do have more leeway but first they need to express. Because narration is really how we change short-term memories into long-term memories. So narration is the process. I mean, yes, brain research is actually affirming this but if we know something we can teach about it, and you do realize how much you do not know when you try and explain it to someone else. So if a child is able to narrate, then they're putting that picture, they're cementing it more in their long-term memory. So that's the first step. But afterwards you can have a short talk about it. I usually tell a name and that sometimes just opens a whole discussion of what people were thinking. Or maybe that meant this, you know, and having new ideas. Knowing the name of picture and then think I said earlier about picture talks, these might be a separate lesson, maybe on those off weeks in your semester when you're not doing you a new picture, you can do a picture talk and really you're using open-ended questions to engage them. You might share, like if it was a Rembrandt picture, and you read the Bible passage that the picture was depicting, then you might ask them, "Well, who do you think the figures were in the picture?" We might read The Parable of the Prodigal Son and look at Rembrandt's Return of the Prodigal. And they might have to identify who is the prodigal? Who’s the father? And who are these other figures in the background of the picture. And even if they're wrong, I mean, there isn't really right or wrong. Rembrandt didn't write an essay that he hung with his picture. The picture speaks for itself; so our children are just learning that, “Oh, these figures are representative, and I wonder why he pained it this way. And why this one and if this is right then maybe this other expression of this other figure means he's the elder brother who is very proud and is disgusted that his father is welcoming back his brother. So really open ended. What did you notice? What did it make you think of? What do you think they were doing in the picture? Does it remind you of anything? Anything you've read? Anything you've seen? How does it make you feel? And you can always do the time of day thing (what time of day do you think it is?).
Pam: Right.
So a picture study is where the child is looking at the picture and then narrating it back to you verbally? But a picture talk is where you're showing a picture and you're starting off by asking them these open-ended questions?
Emily: And you might give some of those details that they wouldn't necessarily know. Maybe there's historical significance to some of the objects in the picture. Or why did Rembrandt depict people dressed as they were when he was alive but they're really people who lived in Bible times? Some of those things you might give a little of that and then ask them what they think about it or why the artist made that choice. And I would do a picture talk on a picture that they've already seen before. She doesn't spell that out so much and there might be times you do it with a new one, but I like them to have the opportunity to connect with the picture before they take away too many of the ideas I might want to talk about.
Pam: So would it be that if I had one of your picture study portfolios and they're eight pictures in there?
Emily: Yes.
Pam: I might do a picture study the first week with the picture and then three or four weeks later bring it back as a picture talk?
Emily: Sure. Or you could do a picture talk in the same lesson if you have time and you want to make the lesson longer. After they've been able to narrate, you could do that too. And have maybe there really was some big thing that you don't think they picked up on and, “Oh, this is the significance. This is the Turner's painting of the Burning of the Houses of Parliament. And they had this fire and, you know, you tell them a little bit about the historical event that he painted I might do that right after because, otherwise, it's kind of this abstract picture of all these hazy colors and some smoke and you don't really know what it's of.
Pam: Right. And as you're doing these picture studies with the kids, if some of these narrations, especially by younger children, are not so much reluctant children but younger children, are kind of sparse in the beginning, is it okay to model for them like you would a regular narration?
Emily: I would. And I think that, again, is going to depend on your child because some kids that makes them intimidated, right? If they think their mom can narrate and do it really well, some children are just shut down by that but sure. And I would encourage all moms to participate in picture study and narrate right along with their children and study the pictures at the same time.
Pam: Okay. That's great. Let's talk about a little bit about the picture study portfolios because you really do include in there everything I need to do this picture study and picture talks with my kids. So kind of tell me what's in the packs.
Emily: Sure. It all comes in a folder and they're color coordinated by time periods. So if you're trying to connect your artist to the historical time period that you're studying, the dates are on the outside of the portfolio. And then inside there is a booklet that has instructions on why picture study is important and how do picture study in case you forget any of the details I've tried to share today. There's a biography of the artist, and I deliberately chose biographies that were accessible to be read aloud to younger students but were so well written that older students would not feel like they were being talked down to. I include book lists usually of additional books if you were really interested and wanted to learn more about an artist and books because I love books. And then there's eight printed pictures of full sheets; so 8½ x 11 that don't have the titles on the front or the back so that you can tell them afterwards and they're coded and are really nice. And then in the rest of the booklet, it has a little thumbnail of each of those prints so you will be able to match up, “OK, so this is really the title of this picture,” and then below that I have the dimensions and where it's located and then the picture talk notes so; if there is some important background information that you, the mom, don't necessarily know or might want to learn more about yourself or to share with your children or if they ask, that you might be more well informed and ideas to kind of direct those picture talks.
Pam: So really everything I need to do either a picture study or a picture talk is in that folder?
Emily: That was my goal.
Pam: Except for extra copies of the pictures!
Emily: But you can, you don't have to get a full portfolio, you can order just individual sets of prints from them as well.
Pam: So you can add those on?
Emily: Yes.
Pam: at a slightly reduced rate?
Emily: Yes.
Pam: To have everybody have their own copy. So, let's say we're studying van Gogh, he's our artist of the term, between our picture studies, what would you display? One of those pictures? Would you display all of those pictures? Would you display only the ones that you've studied? Or would you not display any of them?
Emily: Absolutely display them. I don't think there's a right answer here. I know from reading various things from Charlotte Mason that she often had her children look through multiple pictures as they were reading the biography. So they were able to quietly sit and look at the pictures of the artist as the biography was read aloud; so really you could display all of them and then just turn one to another and that might be an option. I tend to, even if I showed them the whole array of pictures at the beginning, I tend to just put up the one that we've studied and then keep adding on so they may have a first glimpse and then when they might have chosen one, that they really liked and that's kind of exciting when they get to that, Oh, this is the week we get to look at my favorite picture.
Pam: So it's not like a pop quiz, like, I have to hide it until it's time.
Emily: No, no, enjoyment; enjoyment is the key. We're wanting them to appreciate art and I don't think it should be a quiz.
Pam: Do you know how many artists you've done, now?
Emily: Well, I have done technically 18. Fifteen are published, three more will be coming out by the end of 2016.
Pam: So a great array of artists from different time periods, and we can find those at SimplyCharlotteMason.com in the store over there and where can we find you online?
Emily: I am at LivingBooksLibrary.com, that's our library site and, also, ADelectableEducation.com, that's our podcast. And both of those have Facebook pages; so I think that's probably the best way.
Pam: Great. Well, Emily, thank you so much for being with us today and sharing all of this wonderful knowledge. We really appreciate it.
Emily: Oh, you're so welcome. Thank you, Pam.
Pam: Now, for our Basket Bonus for this week, Emily has graciously put together for us a list of those developmental milestones that she was talking about. So what we have for you guys to download is a list of those developmentally appropriate responses that your child might have during picture study. Now, there's always going to be variants in these kinds of things but you can print out the list and stick it in your Morning Time binder and say, hey, this is the kind of thing I might expect my six year old to be telling me during picture study, while my 14 year old might be capable of this other thing over here. So I think this handy list is going to be something that helps keep our expectations in check as we begin to work through picture study with our children. It's going to be a handy tool that I know it going to find a home in my own Morning Time binder as well. So you can get links to that and all of the resources that Emily and I chatted about today at the show notes for this episode. You can find that at EDSnapshots.com/YMB22. There you can also find instructions on how to leave a rating or review for the Your Morning Basket Podcast on iTunes if you are so inclined. The ratings and reviews you leave on iTunes help us get word out about the podcast to new listeners. And to those of you who have taken the time to do that, we thank you so very much for doing so. We'll be back again in a couple of weeks with another great Morning Basket interview and until then keep seeking Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in your homeschool day.

Key Ideas about Picture Study in Morning Time

  • Picture study brings beauty to Morning Time.
  • Some ideas, such as shape, color, and the nuances of facial expression, can only be expressedvisually. Picture study allows our children to access and form relationships with those visual ideas.
  • When first introducing children to great art, exposure and enjoyment are far more important thananalysis and technical understanding

Find what you want to hear:

  • [3:20] Emily’s early art experiences
  • [5:39] why do picture study in Morning Time?
  • [6:35] using different parts of the brain
  • [8:36] some of Emily’s favorite artists
  • [9:50] paintings that tell stories
  • [10:48] start with experience and enjoyment
  • [11:43] I notice, I wonder, it reminds me of
  • [12:09] terminology more experienced students can begin to use
  • [14:13] how picture study progresses in Charlotte Mason education
  • [17:35] doing at least 6 pictures per artist
  • [19:25] picture study step by step
  • [23:14] one copy of the picture per child
  • [24:48] narrations during picture study
  • [27:29] troubleshooting
  • [30:51] questions to ask about pictures
  • [31:44] picture talks
  • [35:58] Simply Charlotte Mason portfolios
  • [38:07] displaying pictures

Leave a rating or review

Doing so helps me get the word out about the podcast. iTunes bases their search results on positive ratings, so it really is a blessing — and it’s easy!

  1. Click on this link to go to the podcast main page.
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  3. Once your iTunes has launched and you are on the podcast page, click on Ratings and Review under the podcast name. There you can leave either or both! 

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!



  • Tasmanian says:

    Hooray! Emily Kiser and Pam Barnhill together at last!

  • Mimi Pollack says:


    I have questions for Emily. I homeschool a single child. In order to keep it more exciting, my plan is for us to do picture study together (where we both study the picture). From watching Sonya’s video on picture study from Simply Charlotte Mason, I thought I would take turns with my child, each of us narrating while the other would follow along by looking at a copy of the picture. So each of us would take turns being the teacher and the student. Now, after listening to Emily’s description of the kids taking turns within the narration, each child saying one thing and the next child adding something, I am wondering about a couple of things. 1) In that scenario, is the child whose turn it is limited to saying only one thing? 2) When doing picture study with my one child, should be both narrate in that fashion, with the picture face down, and then check our narration against the picture when we are done narrating (including any disagreements)? Thanks!

    • Emily Kiser says:

      Hi Mimi,

      Thank you for your comment! In answer to your first question, no, children aren’t limited to just “one thing.” I have sometimes had to impose a limit to one thing when doing Picture Study with a large group in a classroom setting, but after everyone has had their chance I will often open it up for further observations. I would absolutely encourage you to join your child for picture study–both of your lives will be enriched! Your second question is exactly what I would recommend: you both study the picture until you can see it in your minds’ eyes, then turn it over and narrate to one another. You can take turns starting, but I would usually encourage your child to go first and you can then add your own observations and connections after he/she is finished. Then by all means turn the picture over and look at the details the other person described that maybe didn’t stand out to you as much.


      • Mimi Pollack says:

        Thanks, that will be a nice change from what I was doing with my high schooler, which was we each took a turn doing the complete narration while the other one looked at the picture (without correcting). I think my young one will enjoy doing it together as a team. I know the richness!! We love picture studies and often the titles will take us into investigations on Google and YouTube. Simply delightful.

  • Brittany says:

    Emily, I am very new to picture study and am wondering if I should start with something basic like Rembrandt for the first artist with my 7 and 5 year olds or would it be better to choose an artist more in line with what we are studying in history (we’re going through Beautiful Feet Early American)? Which portfolio would you suggest for the first one? Thank you!

    • Emily Kiser says:

      Hi Brittany,

      Thanks for listening! I’m so glad you’re considering sharing the feast of Picture Study with your children!

      I really don’t think there is a right answer to your question. I do like to tie the artist into the time period being studied–the ideas of the age will be portrayed in the pictures and that gives a deeper idea about the era for your kids. That’s not a hard and fast rule though, especially for younger students. If you wanted to, you could pick Rembrandt or Vermeer or Velasquez (and depending on if you get up to the Revolution, your children might enjoy Gainsborough who painted a British “red coat” in his uniform after he returned from fighting in America!).

      Otherwise, I would choose one that you or your kids might have a small connection with already. Truly, whichever you choose you will development a connection with just by looking at his pictures and reading the short biography of him.

      I’m sorry I can’t be of more help–it’s like asking me to choose which of my children is my favorite. They’re *all* my favorite!!

      • Brittany says:

        Thank you so much for replying! We will be doing the Revolution pretty soon, so I think I will go with your suggestion of Gainsborough. I am ashamed to admit that we really do not have a connection with any artists so far… we’ve done a few random picture studies here and there but nothing that’s really connected with anyone in particular. I can’t wait to see which artists you come out with next!

  • Elvina M. says:

    Hello Emily Kiser, so thankful to listen to the conversation between you and Pam. I am looking for the developmental milestone list that Pam mentioned below. Where can I download it from? I was looking at this website and could not find it. Thank you so much for your help.

    Original Transcript as Reference:

    Pam: Now, for our Basket Bonus for this week, Emily has graciously put together for us a list of those developmental milestones that she was talking about. So what we have for you guys to download is a list of those developmentally appropriate responses that your child might have during picture study. Now, there’s always going to be variants in these kinds of things but you can print out the list and stick it in your Morning Time binder and say, hey, this is the kind of thing I might expect my six year old to be telling me during picture study, while my 14 year old might be capable of this other thing over here. So I think this handy list is going to be something that helps keep our expectations in check as we begin to work through picture study with our children. It’s going to be a handy tool that I know it going to find a home in my own Morning Time binder as well. So you can get links to that and all of the resources that Emily and I chatted about today at the show notes for this episode. You can find that at EDSnapshots.com/YMB22

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