YMB #6 Jennifer Mackintosh: A Considered BookList

Jennifer Mackintosh has been practicing Morning Time in her home since her oldest, now a homeschool graduate, was a 4th grader. At her blog Wildflowers & Marbles, she has written extensively about how she creates her Morning Time plan and about how she develops thoughtful book lists for read alouds.

She joins us on this episode of the podcast to tell us a little more about choosing those great books, but she doesn’t stop there. She also divulges some of her best time-tested tricks for wrangling energetic toddlers while reading aloud, as well as some helpful advice for continuing to draw teens into the Morning Time conversation.

Jen shares about how Morning Time has been a place for her children to develop and practice important habits like attentiveness, and describes the fruit she has seen as those habits have been shared and passed down from older children to younger children in a natural, organic way.

Perhaps most importantly, Jen urges us moms to be attentive ourselves during Morning Time and to learn alongside our children as we wonder at the natural world, at beautiful poetry, and at living books together.

A Considered Booklist: A Conversation with Jennifer Mackintosh Feature

Pam:

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

Hi everyone, and welcome to episode 6 of the Your Morning Basket podcast. I hope you guys are doing great and I thank you so much for joining me today. I am Pam Barnhill, your host, and this is going to be a fun show. I am talking to Jen Mackintosh from the blog Wildflowers and Marbles. Jen is a blogger that I’ve read for a very long time. She’s done Morning Basket for about 10 years now and yes, she really does call it that. And she always puts together really fabulous Morning Basket plans and really fabulous booklists, and so that’s what I’m talking to Jen a little bit about today. Now we also get into some of the in’s and out’s of doing Morning Time with a wide age range of kids and what do you do about teens who might be a little reluctant to do Morning Time and she has some really awesome advice. Now, before we get into the interview I wanted to let you know that I actually a second podcast that I do. Your Morning Basket is my second podcast, and then I started with the Homeschool Snapshots podcast. That one I’ve been doing a little bit longer and if you like interviews with homeschooling moms, like Jen, the one we have on today, you will really enjoy the Homeschool Snapshots podcast. So I just wanted to make you aware of that. In that podcast I interview homeschooling moms every other week and they’re a lot of fun interviews and you can find that one in Stitcher or on iTunes as well. Let’s get on with this homeschooling mom interview and enjoy the conversation with Jen Mackintosh.

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Jen Mackintosh is a homeschooling mom of five children ranging in age from 18 down to 2. Her family follows the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling, rich in books, nature, and their Catholic faith. Her blog Wildflowers and Marbles has been an inspiration to many, including me, for the past eight years. Her learning space, planning posts, and her step-by-step help for creating a considered booklist provide homeschool moms with practical advice for the day to day. Welcome Jen.

Jen: Hi, thank you.

Pam: I’m so glad you’re going to join me today and talk a little bit about Morning Time.

Jen: I’m thrilled to talk with you about Morning Time. It’s actually one of my favorite things about home education and has been surprising the number of blessings that have come out of it over the years.

Pam: I just want to clarify for our listeners, you do what I’m calling Morning Time but you actually call it Morning Basket in your home, is that right?

Jen: Right, because when we began this I actually, blogging on the internet was just sort of taking off and I wasn’t taking my cues from anyone, I was actually just thinking, ‘hmmm, I think I’d like to do this because my little kids are getting bigger and I want to anchor the day somewhere, I think I’m going to throw everything in a basket, so I think I’ll just call this a Morning Basket’ and that’s how it started.

Pam: I obviously thought that was a great name because I borrowed it for this podcast and that’s Your Morning Basket, and I think it’s an awesome name and I also have a basket that I use as well. Well, tell me a little bit about how you got started doing your Morning Basket work.

Jen: Well, my oldest who’s graduated at this point, I think she was maybe in 4th grade, there was another child and another one on the way and I began to realize that my oldest was starting to do more and more independent work and she was stepping out of our circle, if you will. We’d been doing so much together, reading together, and she was moving on and I began to have a little angst about this. I thought that I was concerned about the relationships and just that I wanted there to be a cemented time or an anchor point in the day where relationships could continue to develop between all my kids, big kids and little kids, and also between my children and great ideas. And initially I just thought I’m going to come up with something that’s ageless in its offering. Something that doesn’t really have a grade level so that means it needs to be a living book, something that’s worthy that speaks to any age, you can read Winnie the Pooh or Beatrix Potter to anybody and they’ll sit and listen. And so I just came up with this list and every year it grew organically and it grew into something big and beautiful and there are years it wasn’t really great and years it was fantastic but it really just started as an idea that I wanted a common point in the day and I thought I’d throw it in the basket and it became the Morning Basket.

Pam: Oh, that’s awesome. Well, how has it changed over the years in your home? Does it look about the same as it did when you started or has it changed somewhat? And I noticed this that you said, “There were years that it was great and there were years that it wasn’t so great.” So can you talk a little bit about the whole journey?

Jen: I’m glad you asked because I posted a little bit about the Morning Basket on my blog and I like to post ideas and of course I post plans, you know the best laid plans of mice and men, but I think it’s really important for homeschool moms because we’re living this vocation 24 hours a day, seven days a week to remember to keep it real and we really have to prayerfully approach these decisions like what Morning Basket’s going to look like because our season of life varies. And so I would say in terms of changes over the years it’s just grown, almost in a way that you should almost expect a low tide and a high tide to look. Sometimes it’s really beautiful and rich and we’re just on a roll and I don’t have tiny little people underfoot and so we can get lots done and then there are other years (I would anticipate next year will be like that for me) I have a toddler running around and I have to be a little bit more flexible and a lot more simple in terms of my expectations. And I think over the years the biggest change for me though really has come as my kids have gotten older and I’ve seen the fruit from the Morning Basket and living it out. I’ll say consistently but I’ll be honest and mean that it’s semi-consistently which means there are weeks, months, oh I’ll admit, there’s probably even a year that I really neglected it. If you look at it like as a whole it yields some rich and amazing fruit and I love what has happened in terms of the older kids and the younger kids and their relationship and the examples that are set and the things that I’ve learned about modeling in the Morning Basket; modeling wonder and beauty, seeing beauty, those are the kinds of lessons that I think I’ve taken away after 11 or 12 years of this and been really encouraged by.

Pam: I love what you’re saying about modeling, because that’s one of the big things for me as we’re doing Morning Time, it’s one of the places in the day where I don’t feel like I have to be teacher, I feel like I can be fellow learner with my children because I experience the same kind of wonder at everything we’re learning in there that they are.

Jen: Exactly. Our Lord says in order to enter Heaven we have to be like little children and I think that the Morning Basket has shown me that I can have the eyes of a child when reading any of our books, reading poetry, learning Shakespeare, I’m a child all over again. And modeling that kind of what wonder and it’s sincere, it’s not forced, the kids get that, they get it. And it makes it so that it’s less of a lesson and more of a relationship.

Pam: I love that. You’ve mentioned Morning Time bearing fruit and you see it as your children are getting older the fruit that’s come out of Morning Time. Can you think of a specific example?

Jen: Yes, actually. Perhaps the biggest example would be the development of good habits. I always, when I talk to moms of young kids, they’re weary and I get it, it’s a tough time, it’s a frantic time, but the investment that’s made with those first kids and teaching good habits like paying attention, not interrupting when someone else is speaking, just the basic things, that investment of time yields tremendous fruit and what I didn’t expect was the investment that I made with my oldest children would yield this tremendous fruit in terms of habit development with my younger kids and that worked itself out in our Morning Basket most of all, because you’d have an older child paired with a younger child and you’d be reading aloud, I’d be reading aloud, and that younger child would be a bit antsy or maybe want to ask a question or maybe get up and do something disruptive and the older child could come alongside and say, “Oh we’re going to lessons just a few more minutes so just sit right here,” So that example, I really didn’t have to teach the younger ones, of course you have to reinforce good habits and virtue building but the example that the older children brought to the table in terms of habit was pretty extraordinary and then I would have to say the other fruit that I’ve seen that has grown so much in our Morning Basket is through group narrations. We follow a Charlotte Mason philosophy of education and as part of that we read wonderful books and I ask the children to just tell me back, tell me what did we read about, what did you enjoy about the story, what did you hear in that? We don’t often get to do group narrations in a home setting because typically we’re working one on one with our 4th grader or our 9th grader but during Morning Basket I may read a book to all the children. I might read Kate Seredy’s The Chestry Oak and I might ask for a group narration and just hearing each of them; the little children have to learn to wait their turn, the big kids have to show respect for a small child’s opinion or their narration and so the give-and-take that’s there in just the 10 minute narration, it’s just extraordinary and I’m not sure that I could really ever know all the benefits that come out of those moments so I guess I would say it’s the habit development, the habit of living out the Morning Basket, and the habits that the children have gathered from being surrounded by these great and beautiful ideas every morning.

Pam: Oh, that’s wonderful. Could you paint a picture for us and tell us a little bit about what a typical Morning Time looks like in your homeschool?

Jen: Sure. And of course I have to preface it by saying there’s never a typical Morning Basket time and especially if there’s a toddler involved, so if there’s a mom that’s listening that has toddlers or littles, I get it. Morning Basket is interrupted, just period. It’s interrupted. So, that aside, we tend to start our day with breakfast and chores and my family, my kids are early risers, I’m not, so I guess the Lord thought it would be a great joke and good opportunity for me to grow in holiness by having a bunch of children that like to rise at 5:30am. So we’re up early, chores are going, and we typically start Morning Basket between 8:00-9:00am, having gotten breakfast and those morning chores out of the way. And we always start with morning devotions; we read from the liturgy, the feast of the day, morning prayers, there’s typically a prayer that we’re working on or a hymn that we’re working on so that’s part of that initial time, and that’s a steadfast unmovable part of the Morning Basket, it begins right there. And from there I typical schedule a variety throughout the week, so it’s not static Monday through Friday it’s varied. So we would start some kind of engaging beauty, some moment where we engage beauty whether that’s through art and we’re enjoying a beautiful picture and we’re talking about it or we’re reading about a composer and we’re listening to his piece, we’re learning a folk song or even taking a nature walk because I typically tag nature walks to my Morning Basket just because I don’t get them done if I don’t put them there, so that moment, that first bit of Morning Basket is a block of time where I like to engage beauty in some way and that varies, and from there I make a list at the beginning of a term of different read alouds that I’d like to approach with my kids and we will probably talk more about this later about how I choose some of those, but I pick from that list and I usually throughout the week have between one to four different read alouds going at once; maybe I’ll read some Little House on the Prairie on Monday and something else on Tuesday and so on and so on, and so it varies and then we typically work on a little bit of memory work, a poem that we’re memorizing together or I’m always uncovering these little holes that I’m missing. I think I shared one time that I realized my nine year old didn’t know the months of the year and so I just make a note to myself and I put into Morning Basket and so we begin to work together on the months of the year. You can learn the preamble to the Constitution, the list is just endless here, the variety of things that you can put in for simple memory work pegs that kids can work on. And that’s it, usually. Unless we’re doing an art project or maybe a science project and all in all it varies depending on whether there’s a toddler involved or not, between an hour and an hour and a half each day.

Pam: OK. That was my next question, how long does it last. Now you’ve mentioned your toddler a few different times and this is the question that I get a lot, is how do you do Morning Time with older children when there’s a toddler under foot? So do you have any tips for moms who have that toddler?

Jen: Well, it’s an exercise in patience that’s for sure. I can see how I’ve grown in not because I wanted to but because I was forced, you sort of feel like you’re on a treadmill at times, but toddlers really are all about exploring their world, so if you ask them to sit down for an hour and a half, of course, that result is going to be frustration for everyone, so I try to anticipate a little of that and brainstorm how I can keep the toddler occupied in various ways, and that works some of the strategy and sometimes it’s just really, put the toddler on my hip and read aloud with holding the book in the other hand, it really is sometimes just that. But I like to keep a little basket that’s small of things that the toddler doesn’t have access to any other time and I refresh that pretty often. This can be as simple as the measuring spoons from the kitchen drawer, but simple things that they don’t typically have access to that would be delightful and intriguing to investigate and if it would buy me 15 minutes, well then, I could probably get a good portion of a read aloud done during that time, so I try to keep these items at hand in one place and if I notice that it’s stale I’ll refresh them and that doesn’t take long with a toddler. And then another strategy is to ask an older child to come alongside and help out and so right now, my son is the oldest person in our Morning Basket time and he’s 14 and I’ll ask him if the toddler’s getting unruly if he wouldn’t mind picking her up and walking to the window and looking out the window while I’m reading aloud. There are a lot of different ways that quiet redirection can take place with a toddler so that you can keep Morning Basket growing forward but there are also times that you just have to accept that this is not the time to be reading aloud. You’re toddler’s melting down for whatever reason and you need to stop. And I do that, I just set it aside and say, “You know what guys, we’ll return to this at nap time.” So Morning Basket can live in a variety of places during the day, one of which is naptime when there are toddlers around.

Pam: That’s something great to remember is that just because it’s called Morning Basket, if you can’t get it all in the morning, it’s something that you could when that toddler’s sleeping as well.

Jen: Definitely. As homeschool moms we have to be flexible if nothing else. It became the Morning Basket because I originally envisioned it would live in a basket and we’d do it in the morning and I love it when it works out so we do complete everything in the morning because I think it’s extraordinary to spring from that common point of beauty and truth and goodness and after that everyone works on their independent work but keeping it real, it doesn’t always happen if there’s a toddler involved, and that’s totally fine. It can be teatime after lunch, I actually love to read aloud while my kids are eating. There’s nothing better than a captive audience of children who are all eating.

Pam: Right.

Jen: Just brainstorm it and get a little bit creative especially when there are toddlers or multiple littles in the house.

Pam: You mention that your daughter was 4th grade when you started doing your Morning Basket and so was there any resistance on her part to this strange, new thing that mom was having all of us do together? And I know there are probably are four year age range between your two oldest, so was their resistance on her part to “oh now I’ve got to go sit with these little kids and do this stuff mom’s dreaming up”?

Jen: Not too much, honestly, because we had always done a lifestyle of reading. We’ve always had this beautiful literary lifestyle and so there wasn’t too much resistance there. She thought it was a little unusual that we were all going to start out on the couch reading rather than she would just go grab her books, but “OK, we’ll listen and see what happens” and it was very simple in the beginning, honestly, because I didn’t have this great wealth of knowledge and sharing that’s out there now which I think is a blessing and a curse at times, because I love to share with other moms, I really love to share with other moms, but in that encouraging it can also be a little bit overwhelming when sometimes as moms we just have to look at the ideas and then turn it all of and just go do something even if it’s really imperfect and then let things grow from there, and so initially things were really imperfect, but they were good, and they grew from there and I think my daughter respond to that it wasn’t unusual that mom was reading aloud, it was just in a different place and a little different time of day and it seemed to grow naturally out of that.

Pam: As someone who has teens because my oldest is 10, what advice would you offer to somebody who maybe has a 13 or 14 year old, maybe even a boy, and they’re like, “OK, I really want to do this Morning Basket, this Morning Time thing with my kids but my oldest is being resistant to it.”

Jen: Right.

Pam: So as a mom to a 14 year old teen boy, what kind of advice would you give?

Jen: There are a couple of things that could be done. I’m a big believer that when those boys are teens (12, 13 years old) it’s time for Dad to take over way more of the instructional time with that young man than me. I’m kind of a cheer leader, I encourage, I get behind them, and to some extent, of course, you still have to discipline and I’m still in a position of authority, I’m still the mom, but I really think it’s important for Dad to get involved. So, if I have a resistant young man and I have had a resistant young man before in a variety of different ways, I get Dad involved right out the gate. And then the second piece of advice would be to approach that young man privately, not in the middle of Morning Basket with a big eruption although I’ll raise my hand and say “I’m guilty, it’s happened,” it’s better, it’s more fruitful if you can take that young man aside and say, “Hey, here’s what’s going on, here’s what I’d like to do, and this is why, what are your thoughts?” Then let them be honest, respectful but honest, and if they’re not thrilled about it then I honestly I wouldn’t force them, mainly because I’ve seen the fruit an example does with the younger children and it could be a bad example or it could be a good example and because I value that so very much I would not force a young man to sit in on Morning Basket, but I’ll be honest, I’ve had an older teen before that’s said, “Mom, I’m done. I’ve been around the block here, I’ve heard these read alouds, and can I sit in on morning prayers and then go on and do my thing?” Of course, yes, I understand that’s fine. And then that same teen, who was a senior at the time, would confess that she was eavesdropping from up in her room for the read aloud, so it has a life of its own and it will plant a seed. And I would say to a parent of a reluctant teen trust that the Holy Ghost can work with those seeds and try not to force too much. The key to this would be coming alongside allowing Dad to help and talking things out with the teen.

Pam: Great advice. See, I’m learning so much about even just teens in general. So this is great. I know that one of your favorite things to do is to look at books and to evaluate books and choose really good books for your children’s school and for your Morning Basket. So let’s talk about some of the qualities that you look for in a book in order for it to make the cut to make it into your Morning Basket.

Jen: So you know that we follow Charlotte Mason’s principles and philosophy and so in doing that I learned a lot, an extraordinary amount actually, about a living book and what a living book is. She placed a great deal of value on it and it was sort of the pivot upon which everything in her curriculum turned, it had to be a living book. And I began to understand what that meant in the early years as I began doing this with my younger children, I began to see the extraordinary value in a living book; it doesn’t have to be flashy but it is living which is to say it’s typically written by an author or could be a group of authors, it could be a collection, it’s written by an author who has a great deal of passion and understanding for his subject, and when that happens and a child reads that author, a relationship forms. The child steps inside the story and there’s this extraordinary relationship that develops; the child meets these ideas and it’s going to be different from person to person so I might read a book and start to really be able to pick up on some of the understory, their back story, their symbolism or meaning, and my child just sees this great adventure that’s taking place, and that’s OK, and I think that’s what I love and value about a living book and that is that it meets the child, the person right where they are, and that is pretty extraordinary when you’re talking about a Morning Basket or this common time, whatever you happen to call it, Morning Time, that allows the books that you choose to be ageless, you’re no longer looking in the 2nd grade section of the curriculum choices, you’re just looking for a great book, so it could be Columbus’ Voyages, it could be Minn of the Mississippi, it could be anything but because it’s living, because it’s written by an author with a passion for his subject, it’s going to touch each of those children and so that would be the quality that I’m looking for. I’m looking for a living, worthy book, a good book so that my children can read these good ideas and grow on them and eventually meet some great ideas and be able to enter this great, grand conversation.

Pam: OK, I want to stop here and unpack this for a minute because no one has ever explained living book to me in quite that way before and so as you’re talking here, I’m making a parallel, comparison between living book and Scripture. Obviously, the Bible is a living book and so thinking about the Bible and how when you read a story in the Bible, let’s say the loaves and fishes story, then for a small child this is a great story of Jesus doing a wonderful thing, there’s a little boy maybe like him who has these loaves and has these fishes, and then a teen might take a few more things from that story, but then me as an adult I can see much deeper layers of that story. I can see all of the symbolism and meaning in that story, and so, that’s one of the things that’s just really awesome about the Bible but no one has explained a living book to me that way before and that’s exactly what you’re saying a living book is, is that a child could take it on one level and enjoy that story and see the fun or the interesting tale in that story whereas an adult might look at that story and be able to peel away the layers of it and see something much deeper.

Jen: Exactly. It’s even just looking at the phrase “living book” (those two words) it implies that a seed has been planted and the seed cannot germinate unless something is living and so we could read something kind of dry and I have before in Morning Basket with really deleterious effects so you could look at that in such a variety of ways and then your example a young child sees things so literally so all of the stories that you’re reading my young children they gather the little meaning out of them and it’s interesting for them but I’ve seen my older kids grow from those stories they’ve heard in their youth that were very literal and begin to make new connections across the variety of different books or ideas or an article they encounter- something someone said and that’s when I began to see the impact of the fruit that something like Morning Basket has over the years because the seed this planted, first with a living book, a living idea, and it has an opportunity to grow; allow this child to grow into the idea and make connections which then furthers understanding.

Pam: That’s great. So one of my other questions for you was you have a pretty wide age range in your house, so how do you choose books to appeal to the entire group and you’ve already answered that in that you choose a living book that can be read and enjoyed on many different levels.

Jen: Exactly. I do actually have a ballpark range, I tend to shoot for the lower-middle so I actually am looking for books that will stretch my young kids a little bit but will still be captivating to all of my other ages, and a living book really decides, it almost challenges you to walk away and say, “I didn’t enjoy that, that was too young for me.” It’s engaging because it’s charming in it’s own essence, so I could read a biography of say, Joan of Arc, to all my kids and though the targeted age range might be 4th or 5th grade they’ll all really enjoy it.

Pam: I’m learning so much, this is awesome. What are some of your favorite resources for choosing books for Morning Time?

Jen: I tried to think of this because I have to go back and pretend I’m talking to myself when I had two kids in elementary school and what did I use and how I looked for things and I would say that I guess I began to build a family of resources that grew over the years. There are three book resources that I could share with you that have just been steadfast friends over the years and they’re still on my shelf 12 years later for Morning Basket. I still pull them off and use them and that’s The Harp and Laurel Wreath by Laura Berquist, Helen Ferris a collection of poetry Favorite Poems Old and New and of course, Gladys Hunt’s Honey for a Child’s Heart. So, those were the three companions I had to start off with, and then I just began looking around for other people, other like-minded friends that were walking this walk and that had found a great book, and I would take a look at it, I would read reviews. Some people have access to great library, I actually don’t here, but if I did have a great library I’d check it out and pre-read, skim it, look it over, you can get a sense of a book very, very quickly. Does it draw you in, are you captivated by the dialogue, are there great ideas or does it seem as those things are being force-fed to you in a cardboard way, an artificial way? To bear our books that parade as living books that I would challenge someone and say is it really living or has someone dressed it up but it’s just a bunch of facts being handed to you in fancy clothes? So I would begin to critique books and reading and I would get to know a group of authors and those would become friends and I would look for more books by that author, authors that were similar. So this big web of again, relationships, began to develop over the years for me so that I had this tremendous pool to pull from in looking for a book.

Pam: Let’s say you’re sitting down, it’s summertime, so you’re sitting down to plan out your Morning Basket for the following year, how do you go about scheduling out these books that you found? Do you plan to read a certain amount of time each day, a certain number of pages? How do you do that?

Jen: I plan the individual kid lessons first because then I know from the period of history to them studying the books that they’re using and in fact, I don’t think there has ever been a year that I didn’t pull one or two books out of their line up to use as a Morning Basket reading, and I just found that that’s always really, really worked well for us. I cover a lot of ground that way. It allows that child to read something else independently and it introduces the other kids to that story at the same time so they can go on reading. It just increases our scope, if you will. So, I plan out the individual plans first and then I pull from that and then I begin to map out a little bit of a Morning Basket plan. And it really is a map, a guide. I plan in terms of pages but I have to look at the book, if it’s a really meaty book I might read only a page and a half because I have to keep in mind that I’ve got a very wide spectrum of ages and attention spans and I want to challenge the youngest but I want them to build their ability to give me their full attention and I don’t want to do that by reading five pages of Winston Churchill, for example. I want to do that by reading one page of Beatrix Potter and allowing them to be captivated and grow from there. So, I have to look at the books in front of me in order to make that decision and I just tend to include on my paper map, on my schedule, it may be a page or it may just be a timeline, it may be even a chapter of a book. And then I have to live it, I actually have to live it out for about a week and make notes to myself and adjust. I can see very quickly that my toddler is not going to make it through a chapter of Little House on the Prairie so that needs to move to some other point of the day or I read a little bit less, those sort of things. There’s so much that goes into that decision but when planning it out I’m typically thinking in terms of a page or a chapter if it’s small and I do want to keep it short and that’s how I get so much in in a day, I keep it very, very short for each selection.

Pam: So, I know that for your children’s individual lessons that they do individual narrations and you mentioned doing group narrations during your Morning Basket. Do you require that your children narrate everything that you read in Morning Basket?

Jen: No, I wouldn’t have enough time in the day and then be able to get to everything else. So I typically, if we go back to our scenario where I’m planning out over the summer what we’re going to read and I’ve chosen three or four books that I’m going to cover in this first term of school here and I’m looking at the books, I consider each of them and their value and what they bring to our family, their stories, and I choose one to have the children narrate. I love to have my children narrate The Little House on the Prairie books because it just covers so much- there’s natural history, there’s so many valuable lessons in terms of family relationship, be it manners that the children offer and my kids get that and I don’t have to point it out to them, those are the kinds of things that they echo back from the story as part of their narration so I set them up for the narration. I’ll let them know at the beginning of the reading, “OK, listen very carefully I’m going to read this chapter and I cannot wait to hear what you think of it, what will happen to Laura and Jack now?” And I begin reading and I finish the chapter and I close the book very quietly and let them think for a minute, nothing time to plan, I can see that they’re still taking in that chapter, and then I ask them, “I’m going to ask you one at a time, ‘Tell me what you thought of that story? What happened first?’” And I’m engaged with the story, I’m wondering right alongside them and that’s sincere, it’s not forced in anyway. And my children just spring from that and I’ll go from one child to the next child and I’m very careful I do not allow interrupting at all during a narration. And so the kids learn from that example and they each take away different things from the story and it’s always really interesting for me to see individual personalities of my children and what each of them takes away from that story. My teen son is rather succinct as one might imagine a teen boy would be, but he’s really included as well, and I really enjoy seeing what he took from a particular story and that tends to inspire another child to offer something else and so these group narrations, the back and forth of them, has been extraordinarily rich and one of the big surprises for me I never saw that coming when we started this.

Pam: And I think a lot of people, I know that this is a conception that I’ve had of narration, is a stilted thing where one child is parroting back a chapter to you but it sounds a lot like your group narrations are more discussion, a discussion that mom doesn’t allow anyone to interrupt but discussion about the different aspects of what they’ve heard in the book.

Jen: Correct. It is really and I think my children and I would imagine all children really respond so much more to a parent that is wondering alongside of them about that particular story rather than someone that says, “OK” and close the book, “Let’s see. They drove from Kansas today. Mark, go! What did we read, tell me the first thing that happened?” It’s a little bit drier. That could work in a pinch and of course you grow into these relationships that your children begin to narrate but I’ve learned that I needed to engage the story just as much as my children and so if I’m asking them to bring their full attention to this reading I better be bringing mine as well, which is another reason why moms can’t multitask when you do this, it’s full attention right there, from the reading and the children through the narration, and in bringing that my full attention I can engage so much more, I’m enriched by this story. I’m wondering, too, what was it like to go across the stream when the wagon was nearly swept away and what happened to Jack, we’re all missing him, what will they do without him? And so I’m allowed to ask these questions and they don’t have to have answers, and I think that’s another rich part of a narration- there’s a give and take between the parent and the child. He’s telling you what he got out of the story and you can tell what you got out of the story too. And you can just close the book right there and just let it be great, and pick up tomorrow.

Pam: Do you think in your telling what you got out of the story too that you’re modeling for children who do not have a lot of experience with narration? Is that a good way to model for them?

Jen: I absolutely think so. I think that you can model both your ability to organize the ideas that you got out of a story. I think it’s great to model questions that don’t have answers because I think our kids often think we put them on the spot, “OK, tell me what you thought of this story” and they’ve got to spit something back out at you, so I think it’s great for them to see the questions here and there’s not an answer and that’s OK. And I think it’s wonderful for them, particularly my older students in the room that are there to set an example, they’re enjoying the story as well, but it’s great for my older students when I ask a little bit of a deeper question, something with a little bit more meaning that again, doesn’t necessarily need an answer, or at least it doesn’t need an answer today, but it almost invariably sparks a conversation down the road for that child. So I absolutely think that this modeling wonder, modeling an inquisitiveness, a desire to know, is very important for our children to see and it begins to help them form questions which are so important for them as they continue their education and education’s all about wanting to know, to see Truth, Goodness, and Beauty and I have to be able to ask questions of something, I have to be able to think critically. So modeling that is very, very important and that happens so often in our group narrations.

Pam: Well, Jen, could you share with me one or two books that you would say were probably your favorite? Obviously, you’re very fond of Little House and that series, but have there been others in your Morning Time that you would say were some of your favorite books? Maybe if someone was just getting started with their own Morning Basket, a suggestion that would be a great living book to start with.

Jen: That puts me on the spot. I would definitely say both classics, The Little House on the Prairie. I love the Little Britches series actually by Ralph Moody, those are extraordinary read alouds. The Chronicles of Narnia were huge hits for our family and they make such wonderful read alouds. It’s those classic books that you think, of course, everyone should read this so I’m going to pick it up and I’m going to open the cover and start reading, but they’re the kind of books, they’re the kind of writing that sweeps you away right alongside the children so I would definitely say they were some of our biggest, some of our most favorite books. Bethlehem Books all of the series, The Cottage at Bantry Bay, they’re just really so extraordinary, so charming, each of them are so different but they captivate.

Pam: Like a true book lover, I say, give me one or two and you give me a whole list. I love it.

Jen: I’m sorry.

Pam: No, it’s great! It’s great, but you can always tell a book lover because they never give just one or two.

Jen: No, that’s just such a hard challenge.

Pam: Well, Jen has not only copious amounts of book recommendations and booklists and sample Morning Basket plans on her blog, she also has some wonderful resources that walk you through how to create a considered booklist of your own, and so we’re going to link you up to those resources through the Show Notes of this podcast. And Jen, I just want to thank you so much for being with me today.

Jen: Thank you so much for inviting me and having me. This has been delightful to chat about Morning Basket time.

Pam: It’s been great.
OK, for your Basket Bonus today we have a handy little PDF download for you and what we’re including on the PDF, first of all, are links to Jen Mackintosh’s best blog posts about creating a considered booklist for your family, so instead of retyping these instructions, what we’re doing is simply providing a handy link for you to click over to her blog post any time you want and to be able, it’s a great meaty, long blog post and be able to see how you would create a booklist for your children for Morning Time or even for individual children in your family. And then in addition to that we’ve pulled out a few of Jen’s favorite resources that she talked about here on the podcast, and then a few of our own favorite resources for where to go online or where to go in books to find some really great booklist to help you choose books to read to your kids. So that is your Basket Bonus and you can find that by going to EDSnapshots.com/YMB6.
And hey, I want to thank you so much for joining me here today as we chatted about one of my favorite subjects: books and Morning Time. It was a lot of fun. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. We will be back in a couple of weeks with another great interview, and until then, I just want to say thank you to everyone who has taken the time to leave ratings or reviews on iTunes. It really means a lot to us when you get over there and do that, and we sure do appreciate it. And also, just to let you know that if you would like links to any of the books or anything else, resources, that Jen and I talked about in today’s show, including the Basket Bonus, you can get that by going to the Show Notes at EDSnapshots.com/YMB6, and we’ll see you in a couple of weeks. Until then, keep on seeking Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in your homeschool every day.

Key Ideas about Building a Considered Booklist

Morning Time is a place

  • to nurture family relationships.
  • to interact with big ideas.
  • to turn our attention toward beauty.

Morning Time can bear fruit as children

  • develop valuable habits and virtues.
  • learn to act as an example to younger siblings.
  • hone narration skills.

Morning Time is an opportunity for mom to model

  • wonder, as she engages with books and ideas alongside her children.
  • attentiveness, as she sets aside distractions and gives her full attention to the task at hand.

Find what you want to hear:

  • [3:00] how Jen got started with her Morning Basket
  • [8:05] Morning Time as a setting for developing important habits
  • [9:22] using Morning Time to develop narration skills
  • [10:43] Jen’s “typical” Morning Time
  • [13:46] Jen’s toddler-wrangling strategies
  • [19:15] getting dad involved
  • [21:46] the qualities of a “living book”
  • [32:22] group narration during Morning Time
  • [35:38] the importance of mom bringing her full attention to Morning Time

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.
  2. Click on Listen on Apple Podcasts under the podcast name.
  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

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

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

  • Great!!!
    by Eloblah from United States

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

  • New home schooling mom
    by A prit from United States

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

  • Morning Time Magic!
    by DrewSteadman from United States

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

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

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

  • So excited for 2020!
    by JCrutchf from United States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Super Helpful!
    by Jennlee C from United States

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

  • Practical Inspiration
    by Mamato3activeboys from Australia

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

  • So many great ideas!
    by Parent 98765 from Malaysia

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

  • Joy
    by Ancon76 from United States

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

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

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

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

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

  • Love it!
    by s chenvmv from United States

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

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

    Love this!

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

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

  • Wonderful resource!
    by honebubble from United States

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

  • A wonderful podcast!
    by NoName2018 from Canada

    Great ideas and interesting guests - thanks Pam!!

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

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

  • Such great choices of guests
    by andinic from United Kingdom

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

  • Great
    by WifeyKayla from United States

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

  • Interesting ideas
    by Lisa1932 from Canada

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

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

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

  • Excellent!
    by Jodylleigh from United States

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

  • Truly an inspiration!
    by Soaring2him from United States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Thanks Pam!
    by BraveMomma from United States

    So many great ideas every single week! Thanks!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Hope for the weary
    by MomToTheMasses from United States

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

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

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

  • Mamma of Five
    by Mamma of Five from United States

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

  • Great Homeschool Resource
    by KS Becky R from United States

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

  • Really great!
    by BeeGerW from United States

    I love hearing all these ideas!

  • californiafamily
    by californiafamily from United States

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

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

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

  • First Things First
    by Lukenoah from United States

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

  • So helpful!
    by jofcrich from Australia

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

  • Great resource
    by Ejs0928 from United States

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

  • Amazing!
    by CDefnall from United States

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

  • Inspiring and enlightening
    by spycej from United States

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

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

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

  • One of my favorites
    by FaithAZ from United States

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

  • Great Ideas
    by Hiphooray from United States

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

  • TaraVos
    by TaraVos from United States

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

  • Lots of useful information
    by Kristizy from United States

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

  • <3!!!
    by Momo35556 from United States

    I love this podcast! So helpful and encouraging.

  • Lovely & Inspiring
    by kashley75 from United States

    Thank you so much for this podcast!

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • So Helpful!
    by KGMom2Four from United States

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

  • A Lovely Show!
    by Webseitler from United States

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

  • Awesome homeschooling resource!
    by Liddleladie81 from United States

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

  • Great hosts!
    by Homeschool_chat from United States

    I always look forward to this podcast!

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

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

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

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

  • Awesome!
    by Apples20091 from United States

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

  • Encouraging and Motivating!
    by Cat11223 from United States

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

  • So many ideas!
    by Speterson781 from United States

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

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

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

  • Perfect for the Homeschool Mom
    by JoshJamie from United States

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

  • SongsofJubilee
    by SongsofJubilee from United States

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

  • Love it!
    by Ekrasovec7 from United States

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

  • So encouraging!
    by A Merry Heart from United States

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

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

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

  • Refreshing
    by Bless-Us-3 from Canada

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

  • So helpful and inspiring!
    by KSR1 from United States

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

  • Inspiring
    by Jaranda98 from United States

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

  • An inspiring and encouraging podcast
    by Kellibird1111 from United States

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

  • Honey for the Homeschooling Heart
    by SuperNOVAmom from United States

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

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

    These podcasts helped transform our homeschooling!

  • Great parenting resource
    by sullivanjessicak from United States

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

  • Thank you!
    by Nasiatel from United States

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

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

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

  • Top Notch
    by Wvshaddox from United States

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

  • Great Morning Time tips!
    by redhedcatie from United States

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

  • So Inspiring!
    by Frau Linds from United States

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

  • Wonderful!
    by Kellybireta from United States

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

  • Excellent practical advise!
    by Foxycook from United States

    Really enjoying this so far!

  • Very encouraging!
    by WMGardener from United States

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

  • A great resource!
    by gejake from United States

    Very inspiring and informative as I begin my homeschooling journey

  • Love This Podcast
    by Earthmuffins from United States

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

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

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

  • Great Podcast!
    by Greggtrisha from United States

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

  • Treasure
    by TasmanianBec from Australia

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

  • Jeannie in Ohio
    by Jeannie in Ohio from United States

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

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

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

  • Excellent Host
    by meghanlou from United States

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

  • Helpful and fun!
    by HornGal88 from United States

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

  • LOVE IT!
    by sassercj from United States

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

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

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

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

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

  • What’s important
    by sncstraub from United States

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

  • New listener and hooked!
    by Bytesofmemory from United States

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

  • Great!
    by Wvshaddox from United States

    Encouragement for homeschool.

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

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

  • Encouraging and informative!
    by sarahdempsen from United States

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

  • A great resource!
    by Bookgirl630 from United States

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

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

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

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

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

  • Timely
    by AggieRudy3 from United States

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

  • Thanks!
    by heyh2 from United States

    Thanks for the new podcast. Loving it!

  • Wonderful podcast with practical advice
    by Victorzvaliant from United States

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

  • Changed our Homeschool Morning routine
    by HeatherinSC from United States

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

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

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

  • Inspiring and Uplifting
    by vabjohnson from United States

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

  • Bringing Joy
    by Louisiana Mommy T from United States

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

  • Great podcast!
    by corew50 from United States

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

  • Inspiring, yet practical
    by mamato3cs from United States

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

  • Super Helpful & Encouraging
    by Sanibel4ever from United States

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

  • Great Poscast
    by Sarah B R from United States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Inspiring and refreshing!
    by BugTurner from United States

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

  • Brilliant
    by SHTirm from United Kingdom

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

  • Excellent!
    by RC5476 from United States

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

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

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

  • Inspiring!
    by Mamato8 from United States

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

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

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

  • Wonderful
    by BGTwinsMom from United States

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

  • So Inspiring!
    by bethenyn from United States

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

  • Inspiring and thought provoking!
    by Pascualamb from United States

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

  • Affirming & helpful
    by BOLDturquoise from United States

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

  • Inspiring
    by Amongst Lovely Things from United States

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

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

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

  • Your Morning Basket
    by inakamama from Australia

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

  • Helpful & inspiring!
    by starlingsfive from United States

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

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  • Great podcast! I love Jen’s blog!

  • Kristin G says:

    I learned so much from this podcast! Thank you, Jen, for sharing and thanks to Pam, for making this available.

  • Jamie says:

    Great podcast!! Really enjoyed finding this and I am looking forward to listening to more. 🙂

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