YMB #28 Morning Time with Boys: A Conversation with Kathy Weitz

One of the struggles we hear about often here at the Your Morning Basket podcast is how do you do Morning Time with boys — especially resistant boys. To answer that question we brought in an expert. Kathy Weitz has five boys all of whom are in their teens or older.

She knows what it is like to do Shakespeare, poetry, and literature with a passel of males and come out on the other side able to tell the tales. We are fortunate that she is sharing those stories and tips with us today.

Links and resources from today’s show:

 The Long Winter (Little House) Old Mother West Wind (Dover Children’s Thrift Classics) Treasure Island Kidnapped (Bantam Classics) The First Four Years (Little House) Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers The Adventures of Peter Cottontail (Dover Children’s Thrift Classics) Where the Red Fern Grows Jabberwocky and Other Poems (Dover Thrift Editions) Goops and How to Be Them (Timeless Classics) The Adventures of Odysseus and The Tale of Troy (Dover Children’s Classics) The Chronicles of Narnia Favorite Thornton Burgess Animal Stories Boxed Set (Sets) by Burgess, Thornton W. (1993) Paperback The Adventures of Pinocchio The Princess And The Goblin: By George MacDonald – Illustrated The Princess and Curdie My Book House Complete Set of Rainbow Edition, Volumes 1-12 Fifty Famous Stories Retold A Picturesque Tale of Progress Complete Set, Volumes 1-9 The Wind in the Willows (Sterling Illustrated Classics) The Hobbit The Bronze Bow The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow (Living History Library) The Red Keep (Adventure Library) The Odyssey Plutarch’s Lives Volume 1 (Modern Library Classics) David Copperfield (Penguin Classics) Great Expectations A Christmas Carol The Space Trilogy (Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, That Hideous Strength) by C.S. Lewis (2011) Paperback The Divine Comedy The Adventures of Robin Hood (Puffin Classics) by Green Roger Lancelyn (2010-03-18) Paperback The Greek Myths (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)



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

Hi everyone, and welcome to episode 28 of the Your Morning Basket Podcast. I’m Pam Barnhill, your host, and I’m so happy you’re joining me here today. Well, many times when we have families who are interested in starting a new Morning Time habit, they might struggle a little bit with getting everyone on board and some of the most reluctant characters to Morning Time might be those boys in your house. So my guest today is Kathy Weitz and Kathy is the mom of six, five of whom were boys, and we’re going to be talking a little bit about how you might entice those boys to join in on Morning Time. We’re going to talk about a ton of great literature selections for boys and girls and we even discuss things like what to do with the little guys and how to work around the noise and the wiggles. I think you’re really going to enjoy today’s episode; so let’s get right to it.

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Pam: Kathy Weitz is a mother of six, including five boys, a grandmother, a long-time homeschooler and the author of the Cottage Press Curriculum offerings which include language arts instructions centered around great literature and seat in the liberal arts tradition. At her blog, The Reading Mother, Kathy shares about her own pursuit of the life well read with posts about classic books, poetry, the discipline of keeping a commonplace book and more. Through The Reading Mother, Kathy hosts the mother culture community, an online group for woman wishing to dive into the great books and great ideas of western civilization for themselves. Kathy has more than two decades under her belt of sharing a daily feast of reading aloud and recitation with her own children and she joins us today to share a bit about what she has learned along the way particularly when it comes to doing Morning Time with boys. Kathy, welcome to the program?
Kathy: Thank you, Pam. I'm glad to be here.
Pam: Well, although you didn't call it Morning Time, you have included a daily reading time as part of your routine since your children were very, very young. Can you describe what this time looked like early on and maybe how it's changed over the years?
Kathy: Sure. Well, in the beginning I had my twin boys and it was five and a half years before their younger brother came along and so for the first couple of years of homeschooling I had them and a couple of little infants and it was pretty easy to do reading we called it Reading Time, mostly, to do that while baby slept. And then all of a sudden I had four children in seven years; four younger children in seven years and it got a lot more interesting. So in the beginning when it was just Josh and Caleb, my twins, we would sit on the sofa and read and do Bible memory and things like that for really, literally hours and apart from that, the only other school we really did on a regular basis was phonics and math. So that was kind of how we were in the beginning. Now as they got older, of course, we added a few other things but then fast forward a few years and I have a baby all the way up to a 13 years old and trying to balance all those needs was challenging. And so there were a couple of little different ways that we did things but there were a few things that pretty much stayed the same; we almost always did it first thing in the morning. That was right after breakfast and chores. And usually my husband would do devotions before he would leave for work because he didn’t have to be at work super early. And then we would do our chores and get right to our Reading Time. So that was one thing that was pretty constant though all the years. When I had really little ones, sometimes we had to move to right after lunch or we'd do part in the morning and part right after lunch just because we couldn't finish everything and keep everybody happy. So that was basically what we did. But our time always consisted of some kind of memory work, usually Scripture, Catechism, poem- my children were always memorizing some poem or another. And then we would usually sing a hymn or two if we hadn't done that with dad and then we would just usually read aloud. We read literature, we read history, we read science books, we read all kinds of stuff and then the other thing we would do as the kids got older and they had more things that we needed to memorize we would add things like Latin chants and phonic drills and math facts and things like that. I tried to group as much as I could during that time and then obviously I had to work one on one with my kids later in the day but as much as I could I tried to group the things we could group that would be review for my older kids and would help the younger kids learn what they needed to learn as well.
Pam: Yeah this is a great message because so often we think about Morning Time as a time to add on the extra things and it's really great for that but I think a lot times we need to think about Morning Time as a time to group together those things that kind of need to be done anyway.
Kathy: Yes.
Pam: And use it to do some of that stuff and so that's a really good message to send and so when you say that with your little guys you were doing math, phonics, and Morning Time or your Read Aloud Time but you were reading a really wide variety of stuff with those boys. You were hitting science and history and picture books and fairy tales and all kinds of things; weren't you?
Kathy: We were. And honestly there was no other science / history / geography curriculum. That was it, that was what we did. Really, aside from what with the boys read on their own, mostly interest led, that was our entire humanities curriculum up until probably middle school.
Pam: Wow.
Kathy: So this was not something tacked on. This was the main deal. This was our daily feast. It really was the main thing we did.
Pam: Right. I love that so much that you weren't doing this and then going out trying to do five or six different subjects separate from this. You know, this had a place of importance at the heart of what you were doing.
Kathy: Right.
Pam: So as your children have got older what fruit have you seen from this practice of Read Aloud Time or Morning Time?
Kathy: Well that I could talk about forever. One thing I'll say right up front is I became a better reader. And I'm going to start with me because I think that's an important thing for moms to think about. It not only benefits your kids (and it does in great ways which I'm going to talk about) but it benefits you. You will become a better reader. You may find it a little awkward to read aloud when you first start and hard and you'll trip over the words but you'll get better and you'll get good and then you'll get really good at it and then it's fun. It's fun to be really good at something. So that's one thing. The other personal thing that I've got out of it is my own education. When I began home schooling my kids, I had a college degree. I had gone to a reasonably good public school but my literary education was very poor. I did have an aunt and a cousin who took me aside and took my reading taste in hand when I was a teenager and it helped there greatly but I was very deficient in history and geography and a lot of those things and so the Reading Aloud Time taught me and put me in a position where I was ready to take on the classics at a later time, a few years after we began homeschooling. So I'm starting with that because I want moms to realize this is your education too. I always tell everyone that our Reading Times, our times that we spent reading aloud together, were the very best thing that we did. It was the thing that kept us homeschooling, it kept me homeschooling. Any time I would get fed up and know that I was doing a terrible job ensure that my children were going to turn out to be psychiatric messes because I was such a mess, I would consider the fact that I would not be able to read for several hours a day to my children and those thoughts went right back on the shelf. So it was a sanity keeper for me in a way. Another thing just to think about all those years, this is a lot of years I’ve read aloud to my children, I'm still reading aloud to my 16 year old, Little Drops of Water and Little Grains of Sand that was one of the first poems that my kids ever memorized. Really and truly makes the mighty ocean and the sand. I mean, it's truly amazing how this little, tiny investment adds up. You have a shared culture with your children. You have quotes, you have characters, you have things that happen during Reading Time that you still tell family stories about. We had a beautiful red fox and a blue heron that would show up in our backyard almost every day when we were reading aloud. And we still talk about that. The year that I was reading Little House to my kids and we were reading about Laura's first four years of marriage and how she made rhubarb pie and left the sugar out, actually my husband was reading that, I actually made pumpkin pie and did not do this on purpose, but I left the sugar out. Pumpkin pie without sugar is not good.
Pam: I would imagine that it's not.
Kathy: And also with The Long Winter, we read that, my husband read that aloud to my kids in 1997, that year as he was reading it, we got 14 inches of snow in Virginia which is not normal. He read it aloud again in 2010, we got 48 inches of snow while he was reading it aloud. Now, that's a banned book. We don't read that book in our house anymore.
Pam: I bet you don't. I bet you don't.
Kathy: We have so many little stories like that. Another real beautiful benefit for homeschool moms who have a lot of children is that as you're reading to your older kids, as you're doing memory work with your older kids, you are previewing for your younger kids what's coming up and they learn - it's amazing how much they actually pick up and remember the things that you think are over their head. So you're making your load, the work that you're going to have do later, you're making it lighter.
Pam: Right, because they're getting a taste of it ahead of time.
Kathy: That's right.
Pam: And it really is amazing how much those little brains will soak up and you don't even realize that they're doing it.
Kathy: That's so true. That is so true. Another thing, Pam, is it freed up our day. If we did not get anything done that day besides our Reading Time, it was okay. I never really worried about it. It also meant that we weren't doing school all day long because we were grouping so many things together. My kids spent tons and tons of hours outside playing because we were finished. And that gave me time to read, to do stuff in the house, to just have a little bit more sanity time too. So that was a big benefit for me. For all of us really.
Pam: So it sounds like you weren't doing a lot of busy work and did you find that their retention and understanding was really good despite the fact that they probably were just listening to you read? And were you having them narrate? Was there some kind of processing that you were doing or were they just listening to you read and maybe having discussion? Was it enough?
Kathy: We did do quite a bit of narration; probably not as much as we should have, looking back, and when I listen to the podcast and presentations on narration, I think, ‘Oh, I wish I’d done more.’ But honestly, I think it was enough. You know what the interesting thing was? We would discuss what we'd read and we did sometimes discuss it at dinner with dad, not all the time, but what I noticed is that whatever we read that day, my kids played later in the day, over and over and over again I saw how their imaginations were formed by what we'd read. So they were reviewing it and rehearsing it not just necessarily in a school-ish way. They were reviewing it and rehearsing with one another and if you told them that they were doing school, they would have stopped.
Pam: So you were sure not to tell them that.
Kathy: I never told them that, I never let on what they were actually doing. One more thing I do want to say about the fruit, I can probably name 10 more things, but this is really important because I have language arts curriculum you know this is important to me but they really did not need tons of prompting when it came to writing. They knew the kinds of things to say. They knew how sentences should be put together. They had really beautiful patterns of speech, even their talking when talking with one another, I would hear it come out. But when they sat down to write between the copy work that we did and the reading aloud, they understood how English worked and how it was supposed to sound. We did do extensive grammar study when they got older but they understood how English was supposed to sound.
Pam: That was the fruit of all of that reading aloud that you did to them- those English patterns being engrained into their minds.
Kathy: I think so. And I think because it was in all of my kids and they all have different abilities, and different levels that they do things, so it was across the board with all of them even with their different learning styles and their different ways of doing things.
Pam: Right. Well, some people might predict that it would be more difficult to draw boys into the humanities with subjects like poetry and art appreciation. In your experience is this accurate?
Kathy: Yes and no. I think it can be. If you start doing this early enough they're not going to know any better. They're not going to know they're not supposed to like it. So that's one thing. But if you didn't and let's say, you have a 10 year old and you're just starting now and he's already decided he doesn't like this stuff, it's for girls, then think you kind of just have to be humorous about it. See the humor in it but persevere and just say, “This just is what we're going to do.” And I think eventually they will come around. My boys did not push back against Reading Time. All of them wanted to go play; they were very interested in getting outside to go play football or building forts or doing whatever it was that they were going to do that day. But they really valued and treasured our Reading Time as well and honestly, the classic books that we read because they had lots of action and battle and all those kinds of things in them and most of the best children's books really are like that, I think they're naturally suited to boys. Especially the classic children's stories and classic stories retold for children, if they're well done.
Pam: Well, let's talk about this for a few minutes. If I am sitting here and I'm staring at this 10 year old across the table from me and he's kind of rolling his eyes at me, are there some particular works that you found your boys more drawn to over the years?
Kathy: Yes, definitely. We just read a lot of children's classics. But think about some of the children's classics. Of course, we read Little House, Narnia, Little Britches. Little Britches, that's a boy book.
Pam: Right.
Kathy: My boys loved that book. Even for a little guy the Thornton Burgess, like Peter Cottontail, Mother West Wind, Chatterer the Red Squirrel, all those books- they're friendly to both boys and girls. Fairy tales can be very princess-y but there are plenty with lots of action and battles. And battles seem to be a good thing that boys like. And lots of good literature has that action, adventure kind of feel. Think of Treasure Island or Kidnapped, books like that. And then, even some more modern books like Where the Red Fern Grows, which is about a boy and a dog.
Pam: Well, what about boys and poetry, Kathy? How should we approach the task of choosing poems whether for memorization or recitation or just reading and sharing aloud? Are there certain styles, subjects, or themes that tend to appeal more to boys?
Kathy: Well, I polled my boys; I sent them a Facebook message last night in our Facebook family group and said, "Guys, help out." So here's what they told me: every boy must memorize Jabberwocky. That was unanimous. We had a poem, a little book by Gelett Burgess, I don't know if you've ever heard of him, he's kind of an older, kind of humor writer and he wrote a poem called The Goops.
Pam: Oh, yes.
Kathy: The Goops they lick their fingers. My kids loved that poem. And he also wrote a couple of other funny poems that they memorized. So humorous poems I think are good and also again action poems. Robert Burns, March to Bannockburn, my boys adore that poem. As a matter of fact, my 16 year old is going to be reciting that for our scholè group in a couple of weeks. So, I don't think I can get him to do the Scottish accent but …
Pam: It would be cool.
Kathy: It would be cool. Old Ironsides is one that one of my boys mentioned. And I will say they all said, "But no Emily Dickinson, mom." Which we have this running feud about Emily Dickinson because I really love her and they are all totally offended that she uses slant rhymes and the rhyme that you expect doesn't show up in most of her poems every now and then. But I told them that it's okay, I won anyway because they know what a slant rhyme is.
Pam: That's right.
Kathy: They know who Emily Dickinson is. They've memorized a good bit of her poetry, like A Book in Autumn and so I look at it as overall win.
Pam: Yeah, despite that they don't necessarily want to recommend her for boys they really do have a good familiarity with her.
Kathy: They do.
Pam: Now, did you show them the trick where they can sing any Emily Dickinson poem to the tune of Yellow Rose of Texas because that probably would have won them over?
Kathy: Or Gilligan's Island.
Pam: Yeah.
Kathy: Or Amazing Grace. I think we did that one once or twice.
Pam: OK, I love those suggestions. And those are actually some of our favorites as well. So you really think that humor is one of the really big themes that would appeal mostly to boys and then once again going back to that excitement and adventure and hero stories. A lot of times in children's literature there are heroes and I think heroes really do appeal to boys. What do you think about that?
Kathy: They do. They appeal to all of us really because the hero of heroes is Jesus. And we're attracted to that; and so I think definitely all of us are attracted to heroes but boys identify in a special way with heroes. And that's what I saw in my boys in the way that they were enamored of certain heroes that we read about.
Pam: Thinking back, you told me at one point you had a 13 year old down to a newborn, and then knowing that you had so many boys, a large number of those little bitty kids had to have been boys. So what wisdom can you share with a mom who's struggling to keep Morning Time going with a bunch of little boys who are maybe a bit noisy and wiggly and even interrupting to the point of just total distraction and frustration for the mother?
Kathy: I had those days. So anything that I'm saying here I probably learned mostly by my failures. Little drops of water, little grains of sand; even if you only get a little bit in each day for a season, it's okay. Also, the principle of short lessons can be helpful. We definitely had two sessions a day when we had a lot of little ones, and we took advantage of nap time for reading. I'm a fan of playpens, and I'm a fan of baby gates, and we used those. There were times when I made little tapes for my little ones with me reciting poems and catechism questions and phonics rules and all kinds of random things, my husband and I both did, and I would put the little ones in their bedrooms, in a safe place, in a play pen or in their cribs with the tape going, not to sleep but to listen and then I would take that time to read with my older kids. So there were lots of creative ways like that that I managed and there were a lot of days when it was horrible. It was just not good and we put it all away and did something else.
Pam: Now, I'm assuming that as you were reading to this audience of boys, they were not sitting perfectly still on their hands?
Kathy: My boys still don't sit perfect, none of them. I have 29 year olds who don't sit still Work with the wiggle. I forget who I co opted that from some homeschool guru. I don't remember who it was. Work with the wiggle. But you can't expect them to sit perfectly still while you're reading. They need to move and that's a good thing and you have to see that as they're not trying to irritate you. They're just doing what they do but on the other hand they do need to learn to sit quietly sometimes. I found that because we had our kids with us in church most of time those two things kind of reinforced each other. They learned to sit still for a sermon at a relatively young age. It was always a learning process and there was always battles that went on to make it happen. But that would reinforce the Reading Time and the Reading Time would reinforce the being able to sit still for a sermon. So I think it's kind of important that you work on it but that you don't expect perfection, really ever.
Pam: Right. So maybe staring with a very small amount of time and trying to grow that time as they get a little older.
Kathy: I used to tell my kids when we would do Reading Time and they would find 40 different ways to mount a sofa; they would have legs up in the air, they would have legs over the edge, whatever, we just had rules about not touching each other, pretty much but however they wanted to sit, however they wanted their head dangling or their feet dangling, I didn't worry too much about. Another thing that I did as they got a little older and I had toddlers and up, I would allow quiet toys. So if they could play quietly with Legos or play quietly with Playmobil without grabbing their brother's Playmobil or Legos - if they could do those things quietly, play with their little cars, I would allow that. They couldn't make noises but they were allowed to have things in their hands. And then the other thing that we did as they got a little bit older was I give them a sketch book. I'd write the date and the books we were reading and poems we were reading and then I would give them a two page sketch book spread and say, “OK, you can draw anything you want on these two pages.” And I gave them Prismacolors and they would color. And actually those are kind of precious keepsakes now.
Pam: Oh, I bet. Now, were they drawing what things that you were reading about or were they just allowed to draw anything?
Kathy: The little ones could draw anything, I would allow my elementary age kids to do it as well and so they were required to draw something that we were reading about.
Pam: OK. So this was kind of a narration based on what you were reading?
Kathy: Yeah, it really was.
Pam: Well, you said, Kathy that you know your boys started young with this and they did it all the way up through school. Did you ever kind of hit a wall with any of your boys (and we won't tell which one it was if you did) maybe in their teen years where they were just completely resistant to participating in this activity?
Kathy: When my older boys were in high school then I had this huge age span. I did enroll my older children in online classes for great books and they had so much reading to do for that, that I had to excuse them from a large part of our Morning Time. They usually had to stay around for at least the memory work or maybe one short thing that we would read. It's certainly poetry, we always read poetry together. But then they would go off to do their own thing but what I would find is they would kind of sneak back in. So they would pick something that they needed to do that they didn't have to think too hard about like making Latin flashcards or doing some kind of math review and they'd sit at the kitchen table while I was in the living room with the younger siblings if it was something they wanted to listen to. But obviously it was just too much to ask them to do all that they needed to do for high school and also sit in on our prolonged Reading Times. But apart from that there were times when they would rather have been doing something else and there were times when I got angry about it but overall it was just sort of what we did and because we had done it for so long they didn't really think about objecting too much.
Pam: What was it that made you really push through against any resistance that you met?
Kathy: I'm pretty hard headed. I knew the value. I could see the value, especially the language arts value of it; so there was that practical part that I knew was really important. And just cherishing the family time made me say, “This is important and it's something we're going to do as a family.”
Pam: Yeah.
Kathy: And I knew the years were flying by when I had these 15 year olds and babies at the same time or toddlers, I realized this is going to be over in the blink of an eye.
Pam: Well, you talked about all of the different classics that you guys have read together as a family and how it really has shaped your family culture. Are there ways in which exposure to the classics in a group or a family setting such as Morning Time is more conducive to the formation of virtue than say, if I just assigned something to my child to read something on their own?
Kathy: I think so because I think it gives you, again, that common culture, the common language to talk about things and we certainly did that. I will say and just one thing that I blamed early on from Charlotte Mason is, you know, she had a real dislike for what she called moralizing. She did not like moralistic stories. So in other words she would say tell the story and get out of the way and let the story do it's magic. And so we didn’t really do separate virtue or character training but I saw my kids applying lessons that they had learned from different characters that we read about. And the other thing I would say about that as a family, in addition to Reading Time, we went to church, and we sat under the preaching of God's word; so they already knew what virtue looked liked because they knew what Jesus looked like, they knew the hero of heroes but we didn’t have extended discussions trying to show exactly how Achilles was like and unlike Jesus, we didn't do that kind of thing. It was more that those conversations would come up naturally at dinner; you'd talk of the rage of Achilles in an incidental way almost. Or you would talk about Odysseus's trickery, things like that, in kind of an incidental way not necessarily strictly saying, “OK, now we're going to talk about virtue and character.”
Pam: So these weren't object lessons you were presenting? The literature really spoke for itself and because, I love the way you put that, because they knew the hero of heroes and because you sat under those church teachings, they really did know right from wrong as they were exposed to right and wrong and heroes, flawed heroes in these stories they really could pick out the good and the bad because they had come to that virtue earlier.
Kathy: Yes. That's right and you want to trust them to do that. And the classics are so great for that because they're so filled with those obvious lessons that you don't even have to point out. And that nobody has to say, “This is good, this is bad” because it's clear.
Pam: Right it's very clear. I guess that just goes back to making sure that you're dealing with young kids with a very clear black and white, right and wrong kinds of thing and then wait until that's really established in them before you get into those grayer areas as they get older.
Kathy: I suppose I wouldn't say that I consciously did that. Literature that appeals to younger children probably is more black and white, so taking those things into consideration is definitely, definitely worthwhile. When I had a bunch of little children we weren't necessarily reading the actual Iliad or Odyssey aloud because I couldn't, I just didn't have time. I have done that now with my youngest boys, we read the classics. That's what we read aloud now. We read the Iliad and The Odyssey and Virgil, and I'm reading Dante right now with my 16 year old. So yes, I suppose that's true that most of what we read in the earlier years was more black and white.
Pam: I haven't really given a whole lot of thought until we started having this conversation but you said the things that appeal to children are things that are black and white; so it's almost like it was designed that way that what appeals to them are the things that they can grapple with and understand at the level they can grapple with and understand it.
Kathy: Right.
Pam: And so the grayer things don't appeal to them and maybe there's a reason for that.
Kathy: Right. One other little thing that Dr. Perrin said last night in a little meeting I was in for scholè groups was he talked about the idea of loving something before you criticize it. And I was thinking about that today as I was thinking about this idea of virtue formation. I think what we want to do, for example, the retellings for younger children of the Greek epics, The Children's Homer by Padraic Colum doesn’t get too much into some of the more gray areas like you talked about but it does teach you to love some of those characters; you can't help but love Hector, you can't help but love Odysseus and Penelope who was a terrific hero. So you love them and then when you come to them again, when you meet them again in high school, you might be a little bit more ready to be a little more critical. But I think it is important that our children have a love for the characters, even the flawed characters, and don't be too quick to rush to judgment but to see the fallenness of man in some of those things and be empathetic. That's another thing that literature does for us. It makes us empathetic instead of being judgmental because that's a virtue also.
Pam: Yeah that's very true. And I love that “loving before you become critical.” So it almost goes back to that Charlotte Mason idea of synthesis before analysis.
Kathy: Yeah.
Pam: Where you take in the whole picture and we really didn't mean for this discussion to be a, "Oh, do we read adaptations before we read the classics?" But I really love where that's gone, it's given me something to chew on and think about as to whether or not maybe we should read those adaptations before we read the actual classics, it's not such a bad thing.
Kathy: I think there are some that are definitely worth reading. I would be careful because there are some very poor retellings but there’s a handful that are just great and you can count on. You can count on Padraic Colum. You can count on the D'Aulaires for their Greek myths. You can count on James Baldwin's retellings for younger children. You can count on Alfred Church, his retellings are good. What do all of these have in common? They were all written before 1950. Something about that 1950 time slot.
Pam: That's just where everything went wrong. No, I'm kidding. But there really was this kind of golden age of children's literature and a lot of it did happen before that point.
Kathy: Yes. So, seek those out. I do think it's worth being familiar with the stories - it's going to be make things go a lot easier for your kids when they get to high school and read the classics. Also, I will say this, as someone, I mentioned that my education happened as I was educating my children. To this day when there's a history subject that I don't know much about, when there's a classic that I have never read before, my first, my default will be, is there a good children's author that's handled it? And I will read that first. I will read the story in history first so that I have a mental picture and hooks to hang the big picture on when I'm working with a book that maybe a little more difficult to read.
Pam: I never tackle a new Shakespeare play that I haven't read before without at first reading some kind of really good synopsis of it, and the ones written for children are usually really, really good.
Kathy: Right. Yeah, they are.
Pam: So the very least you can know who everyone is.
Kathy: Right. That's helpful.
Pam: Well, in your experience, let's kind of go through little boys up through the ages and let's start with really little boys first. What were some of your favorite read alouds? Or maybe you asked your boys this for little boys.
Kathy: OK. Little boys, same as little girls, Little House, Narnia, none of these are going to be a surprise. I mentioned Little Britches and Thornton Burgess. Oh, George Macdonald's Princess and Curdie, Princess and the Goblin. The kids love those and so did I. Aesop's Fables, the My Book House anthologies are excellent. Also history stories like James Baldwin, I mentioned those; Fifty Famous Stories is wonderful and then he's got a couple others in that same series. Picturesque Tale of Progress, which is out of print but oh so wonderful, worth getting, worth paying the $80 bucks or whatever it is to get the whole set. Those are some of our favorites.
Pam: Middle age boys and when I say middle aged, I don't mean 40, I mean middle school age.
Kathy: Well, they better be good for 40 too. You know what Lewis said, no book is worth reading at 10 if it's not equally worth rereading at 50.
Pam: Very true.
Kathy: Pinocchio, Wind in the Willows, Treasure Island, Kidnapped, The Hobbit, Robin Hood, The Bronze Bow- that was one that several of my kids mentioned, they loved The Bronze Bow. Also there's a whole series of books called Living History books. I don't know if you're familiar with them. But they are wonderful. They're also pre-1950, I think all of them. There's Rolf and the Viking Bow and The Red Keep, and there's like a whole bunch. I think there's seven or eight of them- Exodus Books has those. They're really good. Holling C. Holling's books, those are more like science, geography books but those are really, really fun to read aloud.
Pam: OK, and then what about for the teenagers?
Kathy: Well, basically, then you just get into, I think, reading the classics, Pilgrims Progress and we read it in the King James English and that was actually starting in my elementary school kids I read that to them. The Odyssey in 7th or 8th grade, The Iliad, The Aeneid, Plutarch, Shakespeare of course, Dickens, my specific ones the boys mentioned were David Copperfield, Great Expectations, and A Christmas Carol, of course everyone loves that. History, there were some history books too. Dorothy Mill's history books. I think Memoria Press sells those. Those are really good. We read King Arthur, in old English. Not old English but, you know, King James type English which it was written by Sir James Knowles and it was adapted from Malory's Morte - that was really good and the kids mentioned that one too as they really liked that as middle school and teenagers and then we read C.S. Lewis's Space Trilogy last year and as I mentioned, I'm reading the Divine Comedy with my 16 year old. And I will also say that today I picked up and I am reading to him The Wind in the Willows because he's at that stage, he's a history buff and he's kind of in a surly just the facts man stage and so I decided that he needed a little fiction in his life. So moms get to decide those things. And so he's happy with it.
Pam: Well, let me ask you a question that really we hadn't talked about before but has kind of come up through this; so if I am a mom and I have a 10 or 11 year old, even a house full of children where maybe they're in an older elementary age range and I've never read this kind of literature to them before. So they're a little older than the whole Little House thing but even something like Pinocchio and Wind in the Willows to a child who is not used to that kind of language, the level of language, the structure of language like that, it can be a little daunting to try to read that to a child. Do you have any tips for how to start introducing those more complex and even archaic language patterns to an older elementary kid who's really been fed on a diet of not such complex language patterns?
Kathy: I would start with some shorter stories. Like the James Baldwin Fifty Famous Stories. Get them familiar with some of the characters they're going to come across. The D'Aulaires Greek myths and the Norse myths, those are written at a lower level but they're still very engaging, they're still very interesting. And I would give them little doses of the harder stuff. Start reading King James Bible. That's one way, especially read familiar passages from the King James, passages that they might be familiar with in another translation, a more modern translation. That's one thing you can do and have them memorize it. That will help to start getting those language patterns into their heads. And again, reading those adaptations, or the retellings. Actually I call them retellings, not so much adaptations because they really are retellings of the stories and they try to imitate certain features of the actual stories. But so read Padraic Colum's Children's Homer or something like that. That's just a little bit easier than the actual poem itself.
Pam: Right. OK, so I love those ideas. So start with stories that they're familiar with but read them in a new language like with the King James Version. And you also mentioned earlier that moms when they start out reading, read aloud okay, but they get better at it. So is there a place in a situation like this for maybe audio books with a professional narrator might help everybody understand a little better?
Kathy: Well, we certainly did a lot of that. We mostly did it in the car and I think that's a great alternative but it's going to slow down mom learning to read.
Pam: That's true.
Kathy: So you got to balance those two things.
Pam: That's true. Well, Kathy, thank you so much for coming on and just you've been a wealth of information and I think moms of boys and girls are really going to enjoy the podcast. Can you tell everybody where they can find you online?
Kathy: Yes. You can find me at TheReadingMother.net, that's my personal blog and my curriculum publishing company is Cottagepress.net.
Pam: And there you offer literature selections for elementary all the way through high school?
Kathy: Right, it's language arts mostly. There are links to literature selections there but my curriculum there is language arts, it's kind of a complete language arts program that includes the literature, grammar, literature analysis, poetry it's all, all mixed in.
Pam: Writing and everything?
Kathy: And composition, yeah.
Pam: Perfect. Well, we really appreciate you coming on to chat with us today.
Kathy: Thank you so much, Pam.
Pam: And there you have it. Now, for today's Basket Bonus, we have pulled all of Kathy's great recommendations of books for you and made you a printable library list. You can print this out, stick it in the front of your Morning Time binder or take it with you to the library and check off those wonderful books as you read them with your family. Some of those books that your boys and girls might be interested in. And you can find that at the Show Notes for this episode. That is at PamBarnhill.com/YMB28. We link to all of those books there for you as well as the other resources that Kathy and I talked about and you can download the printable book list there. We'll be back again in a couple of weeks with another great podcast interview. If you would like to leave a rating or review for the Your Morning Basket podcast, we show you how to do that on the Show Notes as well. We give you a little link to the podcast page that you can follow to leave us a review. We really appreciate when you do that because it helps us get word out about the podcast to new listeners. So we'll see you again in a couple of weeks and until then keep seeking Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in your homeschool day.

Key Ideas about Morning Time with Boys

  • Morning Time need not be a time to add extra work to our days. We can take many of the items need to get done in our homeschool each day (e.g. math facts, Latin chants, etc.), and group them together to be accomplished during Morning Time.
  • Mom learns alongside her children when reading aloud. With time and practice, we become better and better at reading, we grow to be more well-read ourselves, and we begin to fill in the gaps of our own educations.
  • Children often process what they learn through play. As valuable as narration and discussion can be, it is also critical to allow our children enough time to play, and in playing to act out what they have learned.
  • Learning to sit quietly takes time and practice. We need to “work with the wiggles,” notexpecting perfection, but giving our children opportunities to gradually increase their capacity forsitting and listening

Find what you want to hear:

  • [4:17] Kathy’s daily Reading Time over the years
  • [6:36] using Morning Time to get done the things that need to get done
  • [8:23] how Kathy became a better reader and more well-read through reading to her kids
  • [12:01] how a mixed-age Morning Time helps preview material younger children will learn later
  • [13:35] children process what they learn through play
  • [17:19] some of Kathy’s top-picks of children’s classics
  • [18:23] Kathy’s sons’ favorite poems
  • [21:45] dealing with noise and wiggles
  • [25:00] using sketchbooks during read-aloud
  • [28:17] training in virtue; avoiding moralizing
  • [32:05] how retellings for children help us fall in love with classic stories and characters
  • [35:55] more of Kathy’s kids’ favorite read-alouds
  • [39:00] getting started with the classics with older kids

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

  • 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!



  • Kathy Weitz says:

    Thank you, Pam, for giving me the opportunity to talk about one of my favorite things!

  • Jennifer says:

    Love this episode!! You’ve given me inspiration, a ton of good ideas and so many items to add to our reading list. Thank you!

  • Cindy says:

    “There were a lot of days that were just horrible…” LOL…I LOVE this and “work with the wiggle.” Such honesty and wisdom, thank you! I have three boys – 9, 9, 8 & a three-year-old daughter so read-aloud time can be full of distractions. Your honesty and suggestions were very helpful and encouraging! We love our family time and I am already seeing small seeds of fruitfulness with mine; I love hearing that reiterated by you. Great show!

  • Sarah says:

    This was a great episode, so encouraging to teach to multiple children and still follow CM’s principles. Loved all the book recommendations too!

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