YMB #81 Morning Time with Gifted Kids: A Conversation with Colleen Kessler

Today on the podcast I am joined by my good friend Colleen Kessler who is a homeschooling mom of four and a gifted education specialist.

Colleen and I chat about the benefits of a Morning Basket for your gifted kids as well as some of the challenges that moms of gifted and twice exceptional children might face when it comes to getting everyone on the same page for group learning. Colleen gives us practical tips for discussion, activities, and what to do for kids who struggle to hold still and focus.

Full of ideas and encouragement, this episode has something for everyone!


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

Hi, everyone, and welcome to Episode 81 of the Your Morning Basket Podcast. I’m Pam Barnhill, your host, and I’m so happy that you are joining me here today. Well, in today’s episode of the podcast, I am joined by my very good friend, Colleen Kessler. Colleen is a mom of four, twice-exceptional kiddos, and she is also a gifted specialist. Today on the podcast, she’s coming to talk to us all about Morning Basket with gifted kids.

Now, on this episode, we talk about the benefits of doing a Morning Basket with your gifted kiddos. What can you gain from this? Then we also talk about some of the unique challenges that might come up from either having a gifted kid in Your Morning Basket with the rest of your family, or doing a Morning Basket with a whole gifted family as happens a lot of times. So buckle your seat belt. It’s a really fun conversation, and we’ll get on with it right after this word from our sponsor.

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This episode of the podcast is brought to you by Your Morning Basket Plus. Okay, I'm so excited, guys. New in Your Morning Basket Plus subscription is our Morning Basket Explorers Club. Now, this club features our brand new Morning Basket Explorations Kits. Each month, we present a new themed set of explorations on kid-favorite themes. Coming up in the next year, each month we will be exploring a new theme; themes like flowers, apples, the farm, gratitude, Christmas Around the World, Arctic animals, George Washington Carver- who is a favorite Alabama son- the solar system, the Holy land, gardening, the flag, and charts.
Oh boy, we are just getting started. We have so many other ideas. Each month we will put out an Exploration Guide for moms to set up these explorations. These will include a Do It section of things to do during your Morning Time, a Strew It section with ideas to strew for your kids that they can explore on their own, a Further Exploration section with ideas that your family can do outside of Morning Time, like something you can do in the kitchen or a field trip. We're also going to have Level Up ideas that are going to help you bring your older students, your middle school students into the exploration with the rest of the family. It’s going to be age-appropriate for them.
Now, the guides also feature memorization and music to go with each theme, and we're going to include MP3 audios of the memory work and the songs just to make it super easy for your family to memorize or sing along. But the Explorers Club doesn’t stop with the guides. Each month, we're also going to have two live events with your favorite Morning Time teachers that go along with these explorations. If you can't make it to the events live, you're going to have access to the replays. Plus, your family is going to be able to submit your findings and activities at the end of each month, and receive a special tracking form and monthly stickers in the mail to document your family's journey as Morning Basket Explorers.
Your kids are going to love this. It's going to be so much fun. We are so excited about this new journey we get to share it with your family. The Explorers Club is part of the Your Morning Basket Plus subscription, along with the over 40 sets of done-for-you Morning Time plans that are also in the subscription. So, you can join today and get more information by heading to a pambarnhill.com/subscription for monthly and annual options. We cannot wait to see you there.
Now, on with the podcast.
Pam: Colleen Kessler is an author, speaker, and educational consultant with a master's degree in Gifted Education. She is a passionate advocate for the needs of differently-wired kids and their parents. She’s also a homeschool mom of four gifted/twice-exceptional kids of her own. Colleen is the founder of the popular podcast and website, Raising Lifelong Learners and Raising Puppies; a community of support for parents of differently-wired kids on Facebook. She has authored more than a dozen books, like Raising Creative Kids: A Collection of Simple Creativity Prompts for Children, and her soon to be released; Raising Resilient Sons: A Boy Mom's Guide to Building a Strong, Confident, and Emotionally Intelligent Family.
Colleen, welcome to the podcast.
Colleen: Thank you, Pam. It's great to be here.
Pam: Okay, so I read all of that like I had no idea who you are, but we have to tell everybody you and I are like besties.
Colleen: Yes, I love you so much.
Pam: I love you, too. Everybody's at home going like, "Oh my gosh, what a love fest." Colleen and I know each other very, very well. What did Facebook tell us the other day? We'd been friends for six years?
Colleen: Yes, we've been Facebook friends for six years. It was our friendiversary; Pamela and Colleen day. It was so lovely.
Pam: I love how they stick us in the canoe, like you and I would ever be in a canoe.
Colleen: Exactly.
Colleen: Yes, but we've been friends for a long time.
Pam: Yes, so probably a little over six years. We met at a blogging conference and then we've just been friends for a number of years. Now, we go on the road and speak together at the Great Homeschool Conventions when they have them.
Colleen: Right, when there's no pandemic.
Pam: -and there's no pandemic, and we just have a lot of fun doing that together. So, yes, Colleen and I go way back. It wasn't all that long ago that you and I were chatting on the phone and I said, “You know what? We're planning a new podcast season, and we have never talked about Morning Time with gifted and twice-exceptional children.”
Colleen: Yes, and we've been friends for long enough that you should have. That should have been on your radar.
Pam: I'm feeling really bad now.
Colleen: I'm just kidding.
Pam: Goodness. Well, sometimes we have to save the best for last.
Colleen: There you go.
Pam: For the people who don't know you, can you tell the listeners a little bit about yourself and about your family?
Colleen: Yes. Okay, so I'm Colleen Kessler. I write over at Raising Lifelong Learners, and I have a podcast by the same name going into- I think I'm approaching the end of my second year, so I'm about a year and a half in. It's been a lot of fun. Pam was kind of my kick in the pants to get on air and it's been a blast.
I, actually, am kind of a reluctant homeschooler originally. I came into it kicking and screaming. My background, as Pam said, I have a master's degree in Gifted Education, and I taught for a little bit over a decade. Mostly elementary kids who were gifted and are twice-exceptional, which I know we'll talk about in a little bit. I left teaching originally to write full-time. I was writing books for teachers, books for kids, and I left to do that so I could be home with my kids, and get them off the bus after school and make brownies and things.
Then my oldest entered school and it was just not a good fit. The whole idea of like the shoemaker's kids going shoeless; I had this master's degree in Gifted Education and I did not recognize at the time that my oldest was profoundly gifted. I recognized the behaviors that were happening in the classroom and from all the calls that I was getting; that he was falling out of his chair, distracting everybody, pushing the envelope, correcting the teacher and just generally being a disruption in class. So, we sought all sorts of help, including a psychologist, who at one point looked at me after all of the testing and said, “You do realize that he is profoundly gifted, right?” And I hadn't. I had just been focused on getting him to comply.
So my education finally caught up with me. We started looking at what we could do to meet his intellectual needs because we knew then that once we met those, his behaviors, theoretically, should come back in check. But the district that we were in at the time did not start gifted programming until third grade with no exceptions. Then they said it would be doubtful he'd be eligible anyway because he's such a disruption to class; that he needed to be better behaved before he could even be considered for the programs.
So under duress and kicking and screaming, I- freelancer at home, figuring out how to build my own business- brought my son home at the same time that I had a nursing baby and a toddler, and we just got thrown into homeschooling and figured it out from there. I now have four kids. All of them are somewhere along the gifted spectrum. If you talk to them for any length of time, you get that picture right away. They just think a little bit differently than most people their age and around them, but they all have other quirks along with them. Some are just very highly intelligent and pretty organized and easy to get along with. Then there's a couple who are very quirky in their own way. So, I started writing about what we were doing at home. Because I was writing from the perspective of a gifted educator and a parent of gifted kids, it resonated with other people who had fallen into the same kind of, I don't know, adventure as I did. That's where we are now.
My oldest, that first grader I pulled out reluctantly, is a rising senior, and 17-and-a-half, he's building his own freelance business. He's going to be starting college classes in the fall, and basically taking his freshman year of college concurrently with his senior year of high school. That's where we're at now.
Pam: This is so funny to me because knowing your oldest as well as I do now, I'm like, "How did you not? I could see this. How did you not see?"
Colleen: I know. You know that thing, though? When you're in the midst of it with your own kids, you see the problems, you're trying to fix them. Just the way that he thinks, it is obvious. When you talk to him for any length of time, it's very obvious he thinks differently, but that's all I was used to. He was my first, and I was teaching gifted and had been teaching gifted, so those were the kids I worked with. It's the only thing I can think of. I was just so used to working with those kinds of brains that it was just natural that he would have that kind of brain.
Pam: Well, I think this is one of the things that makes you such a great advocate for parents of gifted kids; is you, having been in that place, you know what it's like when the school or somebody else comes and tells you, "This child has a problem. This child is different. We have a challenge here," and your immediate response is, "Let's get this fixed so that this child can do what he needs to do in the classroom," not realizing it's like you immediately go to the fix.
I think all parents do that. They immediately go to the fix when really what they need to do is advocate for their child.
Colleen: Right, exactly.
Pam: So, you know that. You can empathize-
Colleen: Totally, I can validate their feelings.
Pam: -and totally understand what those parents are going through. Let's just back up for just a little bit. For those people who maybe aren't aware; what is gifted and twice-exceptional? And those are two different terms, I realize that, so can you tell me just briefly what those mean, and what's the difference between the two?
Colleen: Yes, so a gifted child, clinically, is a child who, if we were to administer an IQ test, would fall two standard deviations above average. Just to put that into perspective for listeners who might not be familiar with the terms. When we're talking about students who have learning disabilities or challenges with learning, they tend to fall two standard deviations or more below the national average.
Gifted kids are equally discrepant from average kiddos intellectually, as the same kids who are getting special education. In the classroom, they're just on the opposite end of it. Where learning comes a little bit more quickly, or they're understanding complex issues and topics at an earlier age, they need fewer repetitions, historically, to get something. Whereas most kids need like four or five repetitions, and kids who have special needs need maybe 10 to 20 repetitions, a gifted kid needs one maybe two. They're starting to turn off and get bored because things that they've already mastered are being presented again and again, perhaps in a spiral format or other formats like that.
That said, not all giftedness shows with academic subjects; Math, Reading, Language, Arts, Writing, whatever, because it's a way of thinking. Just like a kid with special needs sees the world differently and can do some things more easily than others, a gifted kid is the same. Their intelligence may show up more in creativity or cognitive functions in overall perspective of how the world works, as opposed to a straight academic area.
There's a lot of nuances in it, but clinically, it's an IQ score. Anecdotally, it's a way of thinking and being. They develop in an asynchronous fashion where they're kind of many ages at once. They might be behaviorally very young, academically right on grade level, and then cognitively where they're having conversations way higher. So, they're kind of all over the place. Then twice-exceptional kids are kids who are gifted and also have an underlying, or an additional, or comorbid- as psychologists call it- challenge to go along with it.
I love Dianne Craft is a speaker I saw years ago and I've met a few times. She talks about it as gifted with a glitch. There's something else going on. It's usually psychological, or neurological, or academic, or intellectual, or sometimes even physical. A kid who is twice-exceptional might be gifted and have clinical anxiety, or ADHD, or a learning disability.
One of my kids has dyslexia, sensory processing disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder, but she's very creatively gifted. When you talk to her for a while and let her go down her rabbit trails of storytelling, it's not a typical nine, 10, 11-year-old's kind of stories that she's telling. She can't get it on paper. She's way behind in her Reading and her Writing. Her Math is right on grade level. Her conversations are above grade level.
Twice-exceptional kids are even more all over the place than gifted kids are, if that makes any sense.
Pam: Yes. Sometimes parents feel like, "Oh, my kid is gifted. I've hit the jackpot." We're not talking about kids who are necessarily academic achievers. That's usually a different kid. That's usually like a firstborn academic achiever or even the second-born academic achiever, but that's not necessarily what giftedness means.
Colleen: Right, and that's actually one of the biggest myths or misconceptions. My professor in school-- And I don't know when this is going to air, but if it airs, we'll have to give you a link. I just had this conversation with him for a podcast episode that's coming up. There's like an optimal range of giftedness. It's just enough past that IQ cut-off, where they still get along with and understand everybody in the general population and think normally, but they get things super easily.
Even that is a little bit different because they don't need the repetitions. Whereas like an academic achiever, someone who's very smart, maybe just before the cut-off, very high IQ but not quite in the gifted range; they get things easily, they understand. The best description I ever saw that was; an academic achiever asks what and how, and a gifted kid asks why and what next. So, they're looking for more. Whereas the achiever just wants the answer and wants to know how to get to the answer so they can get it right and move on to the next thing. A gifted kid may never want to move on to the next thing. They might want to perseverate on every nuance of that one topic.
Pam: Yes, that's a great description. Now that we know- we've got a great baseline definition of what a gifted kid is and then twice-exceptional, let's talk about Morning Time. We're going to really dig into, because I know you're going to have a lot of adjustments that need to be made to the standard Morning Time and where gifted and twice-exceptional kids are going to struggle, but let's start with the benefits. What are some of the benefits of having a gifted and twice-exceptional kid in a Morning Time setting where the entire family is coming together, learning together for at least a brief period of time each day?
Colleen: I think the biggest benefit is there's an anchoring for them. A lot of times, our gifted kids struggle with anxiety, and so we want to give them a really safe, strong base. So coming together as a family and doing those beautiful and engaging, enlightening kind of artistic things. If we're talking about the things that we can do with all of our kids at various levels, we can do picture study, artist study, we can read books and Read-alouds together. We can do nature study. We could do all those things that everybody is going to come up with a different product based on the same prompt, but it gives them that space of anchoring and that sense of belonging.
I think that one of the hardest things that kids, especially with anxiety or differences, face is that feeling of; there's nobody else like them. So it gives them a place to always be, every day, a part of others who have the same values and the same feelings, and they're on this team together. I think that that's the biggest benefit; is it just gives them that safe port and structure to build their day off of.
Pam: Okay, yes, I love that and I could totally see that. I was hoping you would give me more than one before we jumped off into the challenges.
Colleen: I can do more. You want more?
Pam: Yes, give me a couple more because I know the challenges are going to stack up, and so we want to-- You know?
Colleen: Yes. The other thing is- another big one is gifted kids- and this is going to fall into the challenges- but they tend to hyper-focus on their own interests, and they can go down rabbit trails and they can be really sunk into a topic. That's great because they get to be experts in something, but oftentimes, they're hard to push out of the things they want to do and like to do. So this gives you a chance to really introduce them to a lot of different things so that they can pick their passions or find their strengths and interests. It also gives you, the parent, a touchpoint so you can figure out what they're getting interested in. You can watch them.
We've got some mutual friends. We've got Cindy West who does Nature Study, and Nana and Trish who do Chalk Pastel Art, but people who do something like that really can spread. Let's use Cindy, for example. We just recently did a nature study with all of my kids, except my oldest. Sometimes, those teens are going to be outliers where you can't pull them in once they get...
Pam: At 17-and-a-half, probably so, yes. Not getting them to the table for nature study.
Colleen: Exactly, and then you shouldn't. He's got other things. So, we're sitting down and the seven-year-old is just focusing on the animal, and he's talking about it, and his drawing is very rough and he's done in two seconds. Whereas my oldest is drawing very intricate designs, and she's getting into it, and she's got the Chromebook next to her and she's finding other examples or other facts to go along with it because it's not enough to just write those few things that we were talking about in a general form. She doesn't do that very often, so I'm noticing that something piqued her interest about this particular topic so I can revisit it later.
Whereas the middle one of those bottom three is starting to show me perfectionism that I haven't seen before. She's now ripped up three different pages because the rabbit and the burrow doesn't look like the rabbit and the burrow on the page or that her sister is making, and so she's getting in her own head. I can see that and address that later, while encouraging on the spot to just keep going and whatever I'm going to do on the spot, but I can file those things away.
When you and I are on the road speaking, I talk often about keeping a notebook or jotting mental notes. I talk about physical notes. Keep a journal that has a page for each of your kids and jot down some of those things so you can go back to them. Because their brains are so quirky and you never know what's going to either set them off or light them up, this gives you a great place and opportunity to see something that you wouldn't have seen otherwise.
Right there in the moment while you're sitting there with them, jot down that note to revisit later, or remind yourself when you're at the library or in a bookstore and you see something, to pick it up because it might be something that can fuel a different interest later. Or you can pull that into your next Morning Time, like, "Hey, I was really interested in this. Maybe you were, too, when we watched that nature study video. So why don't we try reading this poem that ties into it?" It gives you a chance to pull other things in, give them other opportunities for learning, notice where those sticking points are so you can really focus on those one-on-one later. Then give them chances to either move on from a topic that they're clearly not interested in or dive deeper into something. Does that help?
Pam: Yes, I love it. Okay, so we have anchor point in the day, which is so important. Take a kid who might normally hyper-focus on something and spread. We're just going to go all Charlotte Mason on you guys for a minute. We're going to spread this wide feast of ideas because if they're never exposed to this thing, we don't know what they're going to hyper-focus on next.
I think, me as a person myself, I can get so involved in one thing, I don't necessarily look at other things. So, I could totally see how this would work for any child and the gifted child, especially. Then also it gives you the opportunity to observe as the parent, and see where the perfectionism or other things might be rearing their heads; what interests they might have and how you can then further guide things. I love it.
Let's start talking about some of those challenges. Colleen is dealing with four gifted kids. Even if you're dealing with maybe three neurotypical kids and one gifted kid, I have a feeling that there are points of Morning Time and families learning together where there are going to be issues and sticking points. Let's talk a little bit about those unique challenges that moms of gifted kids might face with this kind of learning situation.
Colleen: Yes. First, it's just the catchphrase. People ask all the time, what you asked in the beginning, what's a gifted kid? And there are lots of general characteristics. The truth of the matter is if you've met one gifted kid, you've met one gifted kid. They are as different from one another as they are from the neurotypical population. Because the way that their brains work is they're thinking qualitatively differently about their world, but something is going to pique their interest that might not be an age-typical or a peer-typical thing, and they've got no use for everybody else around them who doesn't find interest in that, or they're going to tell you about it even if you don't want to hear it.
So, they dominate conversations. They think that what you're trying to get them to do is stupid, and they're very verbal about letting you know that. We've got kids who have overexcitabilities, which I can share with you some articles if people want to read more about that because that's a whole another podcast episode. If they have an overexcitability that keeps them moving all the time, that looks like ADHD or has true ADHD; they're on the table and under it, and walking around and getting 72 drinks of water, and they're not sitting still. Then they're poking their sister because their sister is there and someone else is making noises and that's hurting the ears of someone who is sensitive.
So, you've got all these weird things that can be happening, and you're just ready to be done because it's easier. It's way easier. Moms of gifted kids; don't feel badly if you think this all the time. It's way easier to let them go off on their own and focus on their own projects and work with them individually. It's beneficial to have your kids be together because they have that sense of teamwork and family cohesiveness that they need- again, back to the anchor point- but it is really easy and peaceful to send them off in their own direction. So the biggest challenge, really, is making yourself do it because it's hard.
Pam: Okay, so let me just ask; is it worth it? Is it worth it to set aside even just a few minutes a day? Is it worth it?
Colleen: I think so. Absolutely, because you're building memories and you're building shared stories. Yes, it's beneficial for them to have that. I tell my kids often. We get together and we do things like nature studies, and we do things together, but whenever we do things together, we don't do it now-- Especially with a 17, almost 13, almost 11 and seven; because of the nature of my kids' quirks, we don't do whole group multiple subjects or multiple activities or topics. But we are coming back together periodically throughout the day so that we have those shared stories.
We eat all of our meals together and while we're eating meals together, we're talking about what we're doing and bringing in elements of a Morning Time situation into that. I tell my kids, "You've got these shared stories. We're going to be gone one day, and you're going to be sitting around Christmas with aunts and uncles and cousins and your kids with their cousins, you're going to be remembering these times together. Where we played this game, or built this puzzle or watched this video together, and you're going to have that history."
They already do because when they were younger and we were really first diving into it, we did a lot of stuff together. My kids; we started every day with Bible study, and back then we were using Grapevine Bible study because the stick figures were really easy for everybody, and we did every day. The way I got them to the table, you sing a song-- I got them to the table with hot cocoa and Graham crackers.
It was in between breakfast and lunch, so it was like around 10 o'clock in the morning. We would come together. We would do our Grapevine study and have hot cocoa and Graham crackers. Then they would do some of their table work. We'd do some artist study or music study. Then the bigger ones would start to go off, and I'd do more with the little kids because they were still strapped in and it was peaceful that way. But they remember that and they talk about that. Every once in awhile, they'll be like, "Well, could we have hot cocoa and Graham crackers and do something together?"
It's worth it because you're giving them shared stories and touchpoints with each other. Isn't one of the reasons we homeschool to bring our families together? I think about my friends who stayed the course of public schooling after we pulled out. Their kids, while they’re siblings and have relationships together, they wouldn't choose to be together above being with their friends. Whereas, sometimes, my kids do. Sometimes, they choose to get off the roadblocks with their friends, or animal crossing where they're talking to each other and a friend from down the road. They'll choose to get off of that and go be with each other and do something.
So, you're building those opportunities for them. Then beyond that, like we said, you're exposing them to different things. You're learning where their struggles are. I know that my one kid I was going to have trouble test taking because she breaks down when we're focused on something that has weight. I can watch her and I can give her strategies and little baby steps to do some of that in a Morning Time situation because it's fun. We're all together, we're all trying something new, and so you can give them opportunities and experiences with things that might be a little bit challenging later on.
Pam: Yes, that was my next question; is can you use Morning Time as a training ground for-- Let's think about conversation, and a lot of times gifted kids want to dominate the conversation or they want to tell you how dumb they think this is. Is it possible to use Morning Time as a training ground for what's appropriate and what's not appropriate?
Colleen: Absolutely. True story. We were asked years ago- I know this won't shock you because you do know my oldest- but we were asked not to come back to the Natural History Museum classes for a year because my son was very into Science when he was young. Our first couple of years of homeschooling, since we didn't know what the heck we were doing, we did a lot of Science.
We went to these museum classes, and those poor volunteers who were teaching the classes, oftentimes, made mistakes. My son told them what they were saying wrong about the different topics because he really wanted to launch into a discussion about the nuances of it, and they just wanted to get on with the lesson plans. He would become a disruption. So, we were asked, after a couple of times of this happening, to come back when he was ready to sit still and listen and raise his hand and not be called on when it wasn't time to get into that.
Pam: Remind me to tell him the next time I see him about me being kicked out of Sunday School when I was in 10th grade; for the exact same reason, too. So, I can totally feel his pain, and I was much older than he was.
Colleen: That was an interesting time in our life, but pulling together all of us at the table doing things, I was able to model for him when it was okay to share your opinion, how to do it constructively. Because his younger siblings did not know as much as he did about certain topics, and he reacted to them in the same way he did to these other teachers. So, I was able to, in a really safe way, help him understand how and when to do those things. It gives you those opportunities.
Then from a practical standpoint, if we're dealing with kids who have sensory processing disorder, or anxiety disorder, or other big challenges, it gives us opportunities to help them develop the tools to cope when they're outside of our home. My 10-year-old who has anxiety, she draws to step away from the big feelings when she's having them. That strategy was taught to her in Morning Time because we read a book about feelings, and drew what colors were in those feelings, then what they looked like and things like that. I used that to teach a strategy, but it was really a fun art lesson for everybody else. She's now able, a couple of years later, to use that as a tool for coping when things get tough.
It's a great way to not single out one kid, do something fun that can be very, very applicable and practical at a later time.
Pam: I love that. Love, love, love that. That's a great use for Morning Time. If we have families of gifted kids who are like, "Okay, you've convinced me. Maybe I should dip my toes in the water a little bit," are there-- And you're familiar. You've heard me talk about Morning Time enough and you've done it yourself. You're familiar with what some of your standard Morning Time subjects are. What topics do you think are particularly great for gifted kids in Morning Time? Are there any that are particularly great, or is it just pretty much your standard fair raise to their level?
Colleen: Yes. I think, especially until they get into high school- well, even after they get into high school, depending on where their interests and their passions lie- if we're talking specifically content areas, you can easily do History and Science, and then the specials like Arts and Music and stuff for a long, long time. Because we can watch a video on CuriosityStream, or watch CNN 10 News and talk about current events, and apply those to what's happened in history and how those things correlate and go along or don't and are repeating themselves or whatever your thoughts are, but you can get into some really great, critical thinking discussions.
Then if you happen to have a kid who is taking off in Science and they no longer want those kinds of conversations, they want to dive deep into Quantum Physics or something, you can let them go and not do those subjects anymore. Then you focus on the arts, and Poetry appreciation and Music appreciation and stuff like that.
We've been using Art History Kids. I don't know if you're familiar with that membership?
Pam: Yes.
Colleen: It's really wonderful. Every once in a while, my 17-year-old, well, projects are beneath him now. He'll still come down, and he'll kind of be interested in what we're talking about. He might pick up some of the material, he might not but at least he's engaging in the conversation of it, but it's exposing the other kids to a lot more. Arts and Music, things like that, histories and sciences until you see that one of them or more of them are above.
Then it's okay to do the other stuff and then let one of them go. Then do some more stuff and then let another one go. Then do some more stuff. It's okay to scaffold your Morning Time like that, but then the stuff that works forever, really, are the social and emotional things; the feelings and the empathy, like you alluded to earlier. You can talk about feelings with your kids. You can talk about current events and how that's affecting your own situation versus your neighbors.
In light of this pandemic when, especially in the beginning, we couldn't see aunts and uncles. I'm talking great-aunts- my kids' grandparents or their great-aunts. They couldn't see like great-aunt Judy because she just went through radiation a couple of months before. So, we were being cautious, but we were able to talk about those things. "How are you feeling about it? What could you do? Okay. Well, let's do some of our art projects and send those over to her." Then she was able to Skype in a few times or Zoom in, and they showed some of the stuff that they were doing. Then she, I don't know, bought a craft kit on one of her trips out and sent that over for them to do to show her.
So there's things you can bring in that work on the affect once some of the academic stuff starts to separate a little bit too much for you to have the kids together.
Pam: Yes, I like that idea. We're talking about Morning Time with gifted kids right now, but they are still kids and you still have the whole situation where; whereas Morning Time, some of the subjects in Morning Time, especially some of the beautiful subjects, some of the Poetry, some of the art, whatever it is you might be doing, Music appreciation is good for mom. Unless you have a child who's a music prodigy, who just absolutely could tell you a million different things about music, it's good for that child, too.
A lot of the things that we do in Morning Time are not Mathematics where they might be advanced. They can appreciate-- It's appreciation, so they can learn to appreciate as well.
Colleen: Right, and we do a lot of the Reading together, and the Poetry together and things like that. Whereas one of my kids has been- I think she came out of the womb writing. I mean, she's a very good, good writer. There've been a couple of times she's shown me novels she's working at, and at first I don't believe her that she's actually written them. So it is very tedious for her to write Poetry with her younger sister or brother, or even in some cases, to discuss Poetry.
Those are the things I do with the younger two and move her on, but she stays with us for Art projects and Music, and we listen to things. She's a very good singer and she does theater, but she sits with us when we're talking about musical theater or songs, or the evolution of, I don't know, how different movements of music have happened over the course of the years. She can get just as much out of that. So, yes, those subjects are perfect, and like you said, they're great for me because I haven't studied them in that way, sometimes ever and sometimes in a long time, so it's nice to have those connections with my kids.
Pam: Do you ever have any of your kids teach something to the other kids during Morning Time?
Colleen: I don't because for my particular kids, that tends to cause problems. It gets a little bit of bossiness. We've tried and our personalities aren't such that they learn well from each other. They learn well together, but they don't learn well from one another. So, I don't, but if they want to learn something from each other, they will seek each other out. When it's their choice, they're able to be okay with it a little bit.
One of my kids sought out my oldest to teach her how to use Filmora because she wanted to edit some videos and iMovie wasn't doing enough for her. Because it was on her terms, on her timeline and it was something she really wanted to understand, he felt good because he felt like the expert, but she also felt confident asking him because it was her. If I had said, "Hey, come down and teach the kids how to do some video editing because you're really good at it and I know they'd like to do it," it would have caused contention and problems.
That's knowing your kids and knowing their personalities. I think that could be valuable for some, if you have a younger sibling that looks up to an older sibling for some specific reason.
Pam: Interesting. What encouragement do you have for the mom who has gifted and/or twice-exceptional children? Really, a lot of times, I have found moms fall in love with the idea of Morning Time. It's mom falls in love with this picture. While we encourage moms to stay grounded and down to earth, there's also this appeal of, "Oh my gosh, I can get all my kids together, and we can get some stuff done without everybody having to go their separate ways, so I would like to do this." What encouragement do you have for them?
Colleen: First, you're not alone. There's a lot of people out there. It seems when you're dealing with gifted or twice-exceptional kids, you're dealing with a small percentage of the population, so it feels like there's nobody else around you who has kids who are quirky like this. If there's one thing that I would want everybody listening to go away from this conversation with is you're not alone and there are other people like you, and your kids are not broken or wrong. They're just kids and themselves and who they're supposed to be. Remember that as you're going about doing it.
Then, to piggyback off of that, know that your Morning Time just might have to look a little bit different. It might not be something that you can do specific subject areas like we talked about. You just might need to do some more of the Arts- the fine arts and the actual art- and then Music, and social and emotional, Reading-aloud. Listening to audiobooks while you're snacking on something and drawing, or creating out of polymer clay because somebody was interested in that.
I mean, that's actually the kind of thing you're going to end up doing with your gifted kids. You're going to put on an audiobook or you're going to read aloud, and they're not going to sit still because their minds are going, still. You're going to want to pull out playdough or blocks, if they're little, or polymer clay. We did polymer clay recently because it's a really cool medium, and it gives them something to do with their hands.
Gifted brains are different. If your kids are gifted, chances are one or both of their parents are gifted as well. I know that this is something that I've struggled with. It's always funny because people are more easily able to say my kid is gifted or my kid has this challenge or whatever than they are themselves, but I'll say this. I was identified as gifted. I am gifted. When I'm working on a project or I have to focus on something, I have to have something else going on either in the background or with my hands or I can't focus.
I just finished writing a book, as Pam said in the beginning with my bio. While I was in the heart of the writing, I had a movie that I've seen a million times on in the background because my brain would wander if there wasn't something for the wandering part to focus on. A lot of our gifted kids are that same way, so if they're moving around or doing stuff, it's not that they're not focused and listening. They just need to listen in a different way.
Don't get discouraged if it seems like they're not bought into it. They might be bought into it, but their bodies show you something different, and so be creative and try a bunch of different things. You can do it. The benefits are really incredible, and give you a connection with your kids that you wouldn't have otherwise. Especially, if you sent them all off on their merry way in the morning after your morning coffee and their breakfast. Pull them together and do these things, and see what makes them tick and what helps them focus.
I bet you'll be surprised later; some of the conversations you have that you didn't think they even heard or understood that they're bringing up because they did get it and they absorbed a lot more than you gave them credit for.
Pam: I love that. A lot of times when we have kids who are capable of doing things on their own, especially their own particular little thing, we might miss some of those opportunities for connection. So Morning Time is a great place to build some of those connections with our kids, for sure. Colleen, is there anything else you want to add, like you're sitting there going, "Pam totally missed the ball on this one. She missed this question"?
Colleen: No, I think this was good. I think that the only thing that I would want to add is that you know your kid. No matter what anybody says or what you've read, you are the best person to teach your kids. If there is something in you that is saying that Morning Time is a great thing for you to implement, trust that and trust yourself. Don't worry if it doesn't look like your best friend at co-ops who does Morning Time, too. Yours is supposed to look different because your kids are different kids.
There is no prescriptive way to do it. It's all about who you are and who your kids are. That's perfect. God doesn't make mistakes. You have the exact kids you're supposed to have. You are the exact parent they're supposed to have. So, your Morning Time and your homeschool, in general, and your parenting, overall, is supposed to look the way it's supposed to look because it's you; it's unique.
Pam: Yes, I love that. We say that to parents of neurotypical kids all the time. It's like, "You're Morning Time is going to look differently for your family than any other family and it's supposed to. Nobody can tell you that you're doing it right or you're doing it wrong." So, yes, exactly.
Well, Colleen, thank you so much for coming on and chatting about Morning Time with gifted kids. Don't know what took us so long. It was totally my fault, I admit it. Tell everybody where they can find you online.
Colleen: Yes, best place is raisinglifelonglearners.com. My podcast is there. All the things that I'm working on; that's all there. You'll be able to find information about the book that's coming out and sign up for updates there. Everything is there and, yes, head over. Hopefully, I'll see you and ask questions. There's a contact form there, too, along with a voicemail widget. You can ask me any questions that you have about gifted kids. I will admit, I don't get back right away because life with gifted kids, but we get back to everybody who asks the question.
So if you have specific questions about giftedness that you can't find on my site, then let me know.
Pam: Yes, always a great resource. Colleen always has a good answer and always inspires me, too, so thanks so much.
Colleen: Thank you.
Pam: There you have it. Now, if you would like links to any of the resources that Colleen and I chatted about on today's episode of the podcast, you can find them on the Show Notes. Those are at pambarnhill.com/YMB81. Now, also on the Show Notes is a link to Colleen's brand new Learner's Lab at raisinglifelonglearners.com. At the Learner's Lab, Colleen is now offering monthly live lessons, safe conversation space for teens, and also social and emotional skill challenges for your differently-wired kids. So, I encourage you to go check out the Learner's Lab at Raising Lifelong Learners, and we've got a link for you to do that on the Show Notes.
Now, I'll be back again in a couple of weeks with another great Morning Basket interview. Until then, keep seeking truth, goodness and beauty in your homeschool day.

Key Ideas about Art Appreciation

Learning about the lives of great artists, especially quirks in their personalities and their habits, can help us to connect more deeply with them and appreciate their work more. This also allows us to embrace our own artistic process and engage more creatively. 

Art is not about producing the perfect product but about enjoying the process and allowing your creativity to be expressed. Gently guiding our children with art prompts can help them to overcome the fear of the blank page. And for moms who are intimidated by leading art at home, places online like YouTube, Pinterest and Masterpiece Society are a great resource.

Using things like coffee table books and art calendars make it easy to give your kids lots of exposure to great art.  

Find what you want to hear:

  • [4:30] meet Colleen Kessler
  • [7:20] Colleens homeschool journey and discovery of her son’s giftedness
  • [12:30] defining gifted and twice-exceptional
  • [17:54] benefits of Morning Time for gifted and twice-exceptional kids
  • [24:16] challenges moms of gifted children might face
  • [30:45] Morning Time as a training ground to help gifted children
  • [34:10] ideal subjects for Morning Time
  • [37:51] growing in appreciation in your Morning Time
  • [41:15] encouragement for moms and final thoughts

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Thanks for your reviews

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

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

  • Life Affirming
    by Logandinco66 from United States

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

  • Life giving!
    by lapatita5 from United States

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

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

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

  • Love the show!
    by Startup Travis from United States

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

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

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

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

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

  • Always insightful!!
    by method_money from Canada

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

  • A wildly encouraging and equipping podcast for homeschool families.
    by Eryn Lynum from United States

    As a homeshool mama of four (Ages 2-9), Pam's podcast has been an increidble encouragement to me. Not only that, but I have discovered so many helpful resources for focusing on what is lovely and true during our homeschool days. I love that it is not overwhelming in nature, but instead a gentle help for moving forward one day at a time in our homeschooling adventure.

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

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

  • Great!!!
    by Eloblah from United States

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

  • New home schooling mom
    by A prit from United States

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

  • Morning Time Magic!
    by DrewSteadman from United States

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

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

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

  • So excited for 2020!
    by JCrutchf from United States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Super Helpful!
    by Jennlee C from United States

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

  • Practical Inspiration
    by Mamato3activeboys from Australia

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

  • So many great ideas!
    by Parent 98765 from Malaysia

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

  • Joy
    by Ancon76 from United States

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

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

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

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

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

  • Love it!
    by s chenvmv from United States

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

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

    Love this!

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

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

  • Wonderful resource!
    by honebubble from United States

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

  • A wonderful podcast!
    by NoName2018 from Canada

    Great ideas and interesting guests - thanks Pam!!

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

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

  • Such great choices of guests
    by andinic from United Kingdom

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

  • Great
    by WifeyKayla from United States

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

  • Interesting ideas
    by Lisa1932 from Canada

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

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

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

  • Excellent!
    by Jodylleigh from United States

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

  • Truly an inspiration!
    by Soaring2him from United States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Thanks Pam!
    by BraveMomma from United States

    So many great ideas every single week! Thanks!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Hope for the weary
    by MomToTheMasses from United States

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

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

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

  • Mamma of Five
    by Mamma of Five from United States

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

  • Great Homeschool Resource
    by KS Becky R from United States

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

  • Really great!
    by BeeGerW from United States

    I love hearing all these ideas!

  • californiafamily
    by californiafamily from United States

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

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

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

  • First Things First
    by Lukenoah from United States

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

  • So helpful!
    by jofcrich from Australia

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

  • Great resource
    by Ejs0928 from United States

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

  • Amazing!
    by CDefnall from United States

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

  • Inspiring and enlightening
    by spycej from United States

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

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

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

  • One of my favorites
    by FaithAZ from United States

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

  • Great Ideas
    by Hiphooray from United States

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

  • TaraVos
    by TaraVos from United States

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

  • Lots of useful information
    by Kristizy from United States

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

  • <3!!!
    by Momo35556 from United States

    I love this podcast! So helpful and encouraging.

  • Lovely & Inspiring
    by kashley75 from United States

    Thank you so much for this podcast!

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • So Helpful!
    by KGMom2Four from United States

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

  • A Lovely Show!
    by Webseitler from United States

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

  • Awesome homeschooling resource!
    by Liddleladie81 from United States

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

  • Great hosts!
    by Homeschool_chat from United States

    I always look forward to this podcast!

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

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

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

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

  • Awesome!
    by Apples20091 from United States

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

  • Encouraging and Motivating!
    by Cat11223 from United States

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

  • So many ideas!
    by Speterson781 from United States

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

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

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

  • Perfect for the Homeschool Mom
    by JoshJamie from United States

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

  • SongsofJubilee
    by SongsofJubilee from United States

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

  • Love it!
    by Ekrasovec7 from United States

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

  • So encouraging!
    by A Merry Heart from United States

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

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

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

  • Refreshing
    by Bless-Us-3 from Canada

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

  • So helpful and inspiring!
    by KSR1 from United States

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

  • Inspiring
    by Jaranda98 from United States

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

  • An inspiring and encouraging podcast
    by Kellibird1111 from United States

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

  • Honey for the Homeschooling Heart
    by SuperNOVAmom from United States

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

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

    These podcasts helped transform our homeschooling!

  • Great parenting resource
    by sullivanjessicak from United States

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

  • Thank you!
    by Nasiatel from United States

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

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

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

  • Top Notch
    by Wvshaddox from United States

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

  • Great Morning Time tips!
    by redhedcatie from United States

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

  • So Inspiring!
    by Frau Linds from United States

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

  • Wonderful!
    by Kellybireta from United States

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

  • Excellent practical advise!
    by Foxycook from United States

    Really enjoying this so far!

  • Very encouraging!
    by WMGardener from United States

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

  • A great resource!
    by gejake from United States

    Very inspiring and informative as I begin my homeschooling journey

  • Love This Podcast
    by Earthmuffins from United States

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

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

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

  • Great Podcast!
    by Greggtrisha from United States

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

  • Treasure
    by TasmanianBec from Australia

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

  • Jeannie in Ohio
    by Jeannie in Ohio from United States

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

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

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

  • Excellent Host
    by meghanlou from United States

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

  • Helpful and fun!
    by HornGal88 from United States

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

  • LOVE IT!
    by sassercj from United States

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

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

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

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

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

  • What’s important
    by sncstraub from United States

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

  • New listener and hooked!
    by Bytesofmemory from United States

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

  • Great!
    by Wvshaddox from United States

    Encouragement for homeschool.

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

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

  • Encouraging and informative!
    by sarahdempsen from United States

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

  • A great resource!
    by Bookgirl630 from United States

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

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

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

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

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

  • Timely
    by AggieRudy3 from United States

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

  • Thanks!
    by heyh2 from United States

    Thanks for the new podcast. Loving it!

  • Wonderful podcast with practical advice
    by Victorzvaliant from United States

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

  • Changed our Homeschool Morning routine
    by HeatherinSC from United States

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

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

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

  • Inspiring and Uplifting
    by vabjohnson from United States

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

  • Bringing Joy
    by Louisiana Mommy T from United States

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

  • Great podcast!
    by corew50 from United States

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

  • Inspiring, yet practical
    by mamato3cs from United States

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

  • Super Helpful & Encouraging
    by Sanibel4ever from United States

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

  • Great Poscast
    by Sarah B R from United States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Inspiring and refreshing!
    by BugTurner from United States

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

  • Brilliant
    by SHTirm from United Kingdom

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

  • Excellent!
    by RC5476 from United States

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

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

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

  • Inspiring!
    by Mamato8 from United States

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

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

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

  • Wonderful
    by BGTwinsMom from United States

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

  • So Inspiring!
    by bethenyn from United States

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

  • Inspiring and thought provoking!
    by Pascualamb from United States

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

  • Affirming & helpful
    by BOLDturquoise from United States

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

  • Inspiring
    by Amongst Lovely Things from United States

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

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

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

  • Your Morning Basket
    by inakamama from Australia

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

  • Helpful & inspiring!
    by starlingsfive from United States

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