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Join Pam Barnhill and Heather Tully as they dive into a unique concept for homeschooling mothers – the Mother’s Morning Basket. This September, join a virtual gathering of like-minded moms as you feed your mind and soul. This session is all about fairy tales!

Not only will this enrich you, but it will also provide inspiration and ideas for your own children’s morning time. Heather brings her 20 years of homeschooling experience, demonstrating how to incorporate picture study, music appreciation, nature study, and more into your routine. 

It’s time to embrace the chance to learn, grow, and share together.

Pam Barnhill [00:00:04]:

Are you ready for homeschooling to feel joyful again? Do you want to build closer relationships, remove some of the stress around planning, and enjoy learning with your children? Welcome to your morning basket. I’m Pam Barnhill, a homeschool mom just like you, and I’m going to show you the magic and fulfillment that Morning Basket or Morning Time can bring to your home school. Grab your coffee or tea and let’s get started. Heather Tully is a mom of ten kids who’s been practicing morning time in her home for over 18 years. As a documentary photographer, she seeks to capture the wonder in everyday life. You can find her, where she shares her work and photos of her family from their Georgia home. Heather is also the co author of the book Gather exploring the Wonder Wisdom, and Worship of Learning at Home. Heather, welcome back to the podcast.

Heather Tully [00:01:01]:

Thanks, Pam, for having me.

Pam Barnhill [00:01:03]:

I think I’m just going to have to give you the unofficial co host title because you keep coming back, but that’s a good thing.

Heather Tully [00:01:13]:

It’s a place to be.

Pam Barnhill [00:01:15]:

It is. Oh, we love having you here. Okay, so right now in August, we are getting ready to kick off a brand new school year, and we wanted to have Heather on because she’s actually doing something special in our Morning Time membership this fall in your Morning Basket. Plus, Heather is going to be leading a Mother’s Morning Basket for the month of September. And one of the fabulous things about this Mother’s Morning Basket, we’re going to tell you all about it and hopefully answer all the questions that you would have. But one of the wonderful things about this is that it’s absolutely free for members. Whether you’re an annual member or a monthly member, as long as you join by August 25, you get the Mother’s Morning Basket in the month of September. Absolutely free. So, Heather, let’s start off by just talking with people about what even is this idea of a Mother’s Morning Basket? Because most people know that gathering for your kids, which we talked about in the book Gather, is when you bring your entire family together and everyone learns together, but then we interchangeably use Gather and Morning Time and Morning Basket. But now we’re like throwing in a whole new term. So what even is this idea of a mother’s gathering or a Mother’s Morning Basket?

Heather Tully [00:02:33]:

Yeah, it’s a time where it’s for mama and it’s usually just you by yourself. But this is going to be a lot of fun because we get to do it together with other moms.

Pam Barnhill [00:02:44]:


Heather Tully [00:02:45]:

Yeah, virtually. Yes. It’s that time where we get to feed ourselves some of those things that we tend to put off when we’re busy in our home school year. So take some time for beauty and for truth, and getting to talk with it and enjoy it with other moms is a huge bonus.

Pam Barnhill [00:03:06]:

Yeah, it is. Now, do you do this kind of practice because you mentioned, like, if you’re doing this as a mom, typically you’re doing it alone. So even though we call it a morning basket, normally we think about everybody gathering together. When we think of a Mother’s Morning Basket, you’re doing it by yourself. Is this something that you do in your home for you?

Heather Tully [00:03:25]:

Yeah, I do it in the morning, usually before most people are awake. I’m often joined by my youngest, Timothy, but I have a time where it’s just me. So Bible reading, time of prayer, and then I pull out poetry for mama. It’s not things that I’m reading with the kids. It’s just a book of poems for me or a novel that I’m reading. So it’s a great delight. And sometimes I read things to kind of flesh out what’s going to be with my gather time with my children later. But I’m kind of doing a deep dive study on my own, so I do that in the morning before they wake up.

Pam Barnhill [00:04:05]:

Yeah, I have a similar practice that I do, actually, and we can link this. I have a whole class, a Mother’s Morning Basket workshop, an hour and a half long workshop that I did that kind of shows you how to set that up. And that’s the practice that I follow. And one of my favorite books of poetry is The Solen Paraphrase, which is a book of religious poems. And then I’m still working through the Bible in a year podcast. And so that’s typically part of my morning time. And that’s the thing, I’m not always consistent. If I were really consistent with it, I would have finished the Bible in a year and a year. But when I do make time for it and when I do it, and I do more times than not, then it really feeds me for the rest of my school day. Sometimes it’s harder to do it in the summer.

Heather Tully [00:05:01]:

It is harder to do it in the summer. And then there’s busy seasons if you’ve got a lot of sports and you’re up late at night. But the beauty is it’s waiting for you. And so it’s a delightful time. And I think it’s good for our kids to see that we’re learning also that they see us as people, that it’s not just schoolwork. This is part of living. We seek out truth, and we seek to learn and grow ourselves.

Pam Barnhill [00:05:28]:

Yeah. Okay. So that’s what a Mother’s morning basket or a mother’s gathering is. So what about this virtual idea? So where did this come from?

Heather Tully [00:05:41]:

So this came from the beach gather that we did. Was that January?

Pam Barnhill [00:05:46]:

It was January. Yeah, January.

Heather Tully [00:05:49]:

And we had such a blast having those mamas gather together, and several mamas were like, we want to do this beyond just once a year. We’re all looking to the next retreat, but we want to meet in between that time and encourage one another. So this became because of you, Pam. That retreat was amazing. Yeah, it was awesome.

Pam Barnhill [00:06:13]:

It was such a fabulous retreat. We had 28 moms come down to the beach in Pensacola, Florida, last January, and that was one of the things that Heather helped me put this on, along with Don Garrett. And we wanted to give moms a chance to be immersed in morning time so they could learn what it was like from the participant’s point of view, not from the point of view of somebody who was having to put this together. And I do remember them just being blown away by everything and just like, oh, my goodness, this feels so good. So they got to feel like what it felt like to their kids, right? This feels so good. It’s so good to be poured into like this. And they really wanted more of that. So we’re going to try to recreate this virtually. We are doing another beach retreat next January. I will link to the page where you can get on the waitlist. We’re not announcing that until September 1. So we are doing another beach retreat. You could come and do it live, but for now, for most people, virtual is going to be the way to go. And so that’s where the idea came from of doing it in September with the your Morning Basket Plus community. So talk to me about what do you anticipate going on during some of these meetings?

Heather Tully [00:07:36]:

Yeah, I’m very excited. So we’re going to base part of it off of your exploration for fairy tales, which is in September. So this has that added bonus of getting to dive a little deeper for you, mama, and then it helps you prep for maybe some things you want to incorporate with your children. But something I’ve learned from Charlote Mason is that as a mama and as a teacher, I need to step back, and I need to be making sure that I’m letting my child do the work. So this time of gathering with Moms lets us discuss and get excited and sometimes make those connections that we got to be careful we don’t do all the work for our kids and so discuss it and then let the children on their own gather time with our families. They can make those connections. So it kind of helps us step back when we can talk about it with friends at another time. So fairy tales is the topic, and I’m so excited.

Pam Barnhill [00:08:36]:

Okay. I love this. I never even considered this as a benefit because yes, so often I try not to get preachy and moralizing and I try not to explain everything too much and all of this stuff. But there are sometimes just things I want to say about what we’re doing. And I feel guilty for saying them sometimes. Like I’m feeding them the answers. And so now I never even considered that I could really dig in and say all the things I want to say when I get to be the student that I don’t get to know. So that’s awesome.

Heather Tully [00:09:10]:

Yeah, it’s going to be a lot of fun. So we’ll go over know fairy tales from Grimms, from Anderson, from Andrew Lang, and then I want to pull in. I have a favorite fairy tale that I had when I was a little girl. I have the picture book, and so I thought I would read that one week and share it. And it’s a Russian version, so we can compare. Okay, so here it is in the original, but here’s a Russian take. So we’ll do that. I think we’ll read a chapter book and discuss it. And it’s optional. If you don’t get time to read it, that’s fine. Just come and discuss. The Exploration has poetry, it has composer, including a ballet. You link to a ballet, which is just beautiful. And, you know, as Mamas, we can just enjoy that on a different level. There’s nature study, so we’ll do a little nature study. There’s handicraft. And then I thought, I have to pull in folk songs. You know me, I’m going to make it sing. I’m going to try to figure out a way to make me muted.

Pam Barnhill [00:10:16]:

But we are going to sing. Love it. Okay, so this sounds wonderful. So are we doing this in the morning?

Heather Tully [00:10:29]:

So we’re not doing it in morning time, so we’re going to have it in the afternoon. Just how it worked. Know, we know it’s your school day, and so you’re likely gathering with your own children or starting your school day. So this will be in the afternoon. And Pam, you have to remind me of the time.

Pam Barnhill [00:10:46]:

Yeah, we’re doing it on Wednesday afternoons, and it’s going to be at 03:00 P.m. Central time. So four Eastern, three Central, two Mountain, and one Pacific. I think I did that right. Time zones are so hard. So, yeah, we are going to do it in the afternoon. It’ll be on Wednesday afternoon. And if you can’t make it if you are a member and you aren’t able to make it live, and we are doing a zoom for this. And so as opposed to some of our events, the events we do with the kids in the community are webinar style events where there’s, like, one or two people on screen and the kids are not they don’t have the option of being on screen, which is just safer for everybody. You all but for moms, we’re going to allow all the moms to be in the zoom meeting together. And so they can speak or you can chat. You can have your camera on, or you can have your camera off. You will have complete control over that, but you will have the opportunity to turn your camera on and actually speak and interact during the class period as well. And then if you can’t come live, you can watch the replay and then we’ll have a space for you to chat in the community about what you’re learning about.

Heather Tully [00:12:03]:

It’s a time to immerse yourself. And so I just think you’re feeding your own your soul, you’re feeding a part of you with other moms getting to be encouraged, hearing. I really want it to be interactive. So even if you want the camera off, I want us all to share. So you’re not coming and just listening to me talk. We’re going to share together. And hopefully there’s some really good singers, some people who can paint will watercolor. And we’ll get a list out. Like, here’s what we’re going over this week. Here’s some things to have on hand. And then we can all share when we do our watercolor. And we can share our artist study print. You can pull it up on the Internet and look at it. So it’d be very interactive and then I hope give you some tools to do with your kids at home.

Pam Barnhill [00:12:51]:

Okay, so yeah, let’s expand on that. So the first part of this is giving mom a chance to be the student, letting her be poured into giving her the opportunity to talk about all these big ideas and say all of these things with other moms. And just really, a lot of us were not educated in this way. And I know for me and probably for a lot of other moms out there, we wish we were. That’s something we feel like we missed. And so this kind of gives us the opportunity to live into that fantasy in some ways. But you touched on the second goal of doing this and that is you might pick up a technique or two that you could then transfer to your own morning time. So talk about that a little bit.

Heather Tully [00:13:40]:

Yeah. So you have these explorations and so they’re by different topics and themes and so we’re taking September’s fairy tale and so you can go to your website and download that PDF. You have all those links there. So we won’t use it. Exactly. We’re not going to use everything in that PDF, but we’re going to use a lot of it because I’m hoping that then by discussing it with other moms and seeing it for the first time, then when you read it to your kids, you have a little bit of background knowledge. So the explorations is so much fun. We’ve enjoyed the ice cream one this summer, my own kids. And so I think it’s just a great way to flesh that out and it’s kind of fun. Teacher know, we’re not sitting down just by ourselves. We get to do it with other.

Pam Barnhill [00:14:29]:

Moms with and also, I mean, you get to watch how Heather does things. So she is going to lead us through a picture study. So if you’ve ever struggled with picture study or you’re like, I don’t know if I’m doing it right or maybe you’ve had a way to do it that you found on the Internet, and it always felt kind of stilted or whatever. Heather is going to be doing picture study. Heather’s been doing morning time for 19 or 20 years now, and so you’re going to be able to learn from her some of the ways that you might do picture study, you might do music appreciation, you might do nature study. And I have to tell you, this was so funny when we were doing the mom’s morning time, the mom’s gathering together at the beach, and we had so meticulously planned everything out and got everything set up and ready to go and everything, and just thought that it was fabulous. And then the mom sit down to do it. And I think it wasn’t ten minutes into the first session we heard. I’ve been making this way harder than it needs to be, which we all.

Heather Tully [00:15:40]:

I think a lot of us tend to overthink it. But if we want to be consistent with a morning time, whether it’s our own or our children’s, it has to be simple. And so we have to keep it realistic. And so I’m going to show you one way. It’s not the only way to do picture study, but I hope your juice is flowing. I hope it gets an idea that you can then continue. And it will be very realistic because I do gathering time this year, I have seven students, but I’ve had a time where I had ten children around the table. They’re not going to sit there with overcomplicated plans that you need to hold their attention. It needs to be short and sweet, keep moving. That’s kind of my style. Very short little lessons. Keep going. And so we’ll be able to do that. And then when we want to dive a little deeper as mamas, what’s fun is when we want to dive deeper and get talking, we can. So that’s enjoyable.

Pam Barnhill [00:16:37]:

I love it. I love it. So it’s just going to be a great way to kind of get a feel. If you’ve ever just been like, I’m not sure I’m doing this right, or I just don’t know if it’s flowing the way it should, or how do we move from one thing to the other? We get this question a lot. Like, how do we move from one thing to the other? And we’re like, really? It’s just like very quickly move from one thing to the other. There’s not a lot of transition there. It’s just bam, bam, bam. And it works. It all comes together. But you’re going to get a feel for that, an idea for that. So I think it’s going to be a great model for moms who are like, I just want to see what it looks like. I just need some help.

Heather Tully [00:17:20]:

Right? I’ve been on here before talking about I’ve had Mamas come and observe our morning time. So this is another way I’m doing it. I’m inviting you into my home and you get to observe me doing morning time. And so I’m really excited to get to do it with other mamas. So it’s an easy way. You don’t have to come over to my house. You can grab a cup of coffee from your own home and you can join me for morning time.

Pam Barnhill [00:17:49]:

Yeah. The only thing I will stress is this is not for kids. We obviously understand that every mom is going to have kids running around in the background or babies on the lap or whatever, but this is not one of our events where you put the kids in front of the computer and they’re the ones who are interacting.

Heather Tully [00:18:07]:

Yeah. This is for you, mama. We’re going to pick a chapter book and like I said, if you have a week where you can’t get to your reading, still come, we can still talk about it. But I want to pour into you because so often we just tend to put that on a back burner. It’s hard to get up early in the morning or to have it in the afternoon without interruptions.

Pam Barnhill [00:18:28]:

Yeah. And we do still have two events in the month of September for your kids related to the fairy tale theme. On the first, we’re doing our Fairy Tales Exploration Expedition which is always a fun event with Trivia and I know there will be a story and just so many fun things to do. And then also on the 14th we have our fairy tale craft as well. I believe it has to do with making little mushrooms. They were super cute. So it was a super cute handicraft with Ms. Shauna who always does fabulous handicrafts. And then we are also going through what we call morning time together that month. And so there will be a daily post in the community from our team talking about how they are doing the explorations with their kids and showing the pictures and all of those kinds of things as well. So it’s really kind of a big hold your hand month where we’re getting you started in doing this morning time thing. So if you’ve never done it before and you want to try it, but you’re like, how do I make this work? We’re really kind of leading you through the process during that month. And this mother’s morning basket, this Mother’s gathering is just another layer that we can add on top of that to really help you dive deeper and it’s a big experiment to see how it goes, right?

Heather Tully [00:19:51]:

Yeah, I think it’s a great way to build that habit. We often talk about like, we want to build habits as mamas for ourselves, but it’s hard. So this is a month of just once a week, let’s build that habit of a gather time for myself and it’s super fun. I mean, it’s just going to be.

Pam Barnhill [00:20:09]:

A so I am so looking forward to it. And Heather’s teaching, so I get to sit back and participate and be I never get to be a participant, so this will be absolutely fabulous. All I have to do is say, OK, Heather, it’s all you.

Heather Tully [00:20:25]:

You go just not talking when I’m talking. Okay.

Pam Barnhill [00:20:31]:

Fine. Well, this sounds awesome. So if you would like to join this gathering time, this Morning basket for Moms, then all you have to do is join your Morning Basket Plus by August 25. So August 25 is our cut off and then our very first class is going to be September 6 in the community. But we’re going to get everybody in the community, we’re going to get you supported and ready to go. So you can also start doing fairy tales, all of those wonderful exploration activities with your kids. And if you’re worried about, oh, can I add this on to what I’m doing? We also have a text service that you can sign up for and we send you one text every day with one exploration activity. And so it’s so easy just to push the link on your phone and do that activity with your kids each and every day. That’s my favorite way to consume the explorations is just have it come straight to my phone in the morning. So, so much fun. So we’ll put links in the show notes for you and those will YMB 138. Or you can just come to the main page and click on Get YMB Plus to join us for this Mom’s morning basket. Well, Heather, you’ve got me so excited. I cannot wait until September so we can do this.

Heather Tully [00:21:54]:

Yeah, I look forward to it. And I’m having fun starting to prep, so I can’t wait to share it in September.

Pam Barnhill [00:22:01]:

Thanks so much for listening to your Morning basket. If you are ready to spend less time planning and more time engaged in learning with your children, join your Morning Basket plus a monthly membership with everything you need to start a morning time practice in your home school to join. Head on over to and I’ll see you there.

Links and Resources From Today’s Show


Key Ideas About Finding Freedom

  • A Mother’s Morning Basket is personal time for mothers to nurture their intellectual and creative interests during the home-school year.
  • The Mother’s Morning Basket involves activities such as Bible reading, personal poetry reading, novel reading, and self-education.
  • The program allows moms to engage and grow intellectually alongside their children. The aim is to foster an environment where learning and growth are seen as integral parts of life, not just schoolwork.
  • The Mother’s Morning Basket is also a teaching tool for mothers. It provides them with techniques to structure their children’s Morning Time more effectively.
  • Keep learning activities simple and realistic for consistency.
  • The Mother’s Morning Basket sessions are expected to provide inspiration, camaraderie, and practical guidance for homeschooling moms.

Find What you Want to Hear

  • 0:32 Meet Heather Tully
  • 1:37 Mother’s Morning Basket
  • 8:30 September Mother’s Morning Time deals
  • 13:51 Learning how to use explorations in your homeschool

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