YMB 15 Morning Time with Littles: A Conversation with Celeste Cruz

Celeste Cruz is a homeschooling mother of eight who started to implement Morning Time in her home with a stack of picture books at the breakfast table back when her oldest two children were just 5 years old.

Now with several years of Morning Time under her belt, Celeste is practiced in art of juggling fussy babies, noisy toddlers, and preschoolers with fluctuating attention spans. She joins us on this episode of the podcast to discuss what Morning Time looks like when all the children in the family are preschool age and younger.

Celeste shares some great tips for how to create a Morning Time routine packed with thoughtful, high-quality elements while remaining flexible and accommodating of the littlest learners. She encourages us to find natural lulls in our daily routine during which we can nourish both our children and ourselves with beautiful poems, stories, and music.

Celeste’s wisdom is inspiring but at the same time highly practical, making this an interview not to be missed. Enjoy!

Morning Time with Littles: A Your Morning Basket Conversation with Celeste Cruz Feature


This is Your Morning Basket where we help you bring Truth, Goodness, and Beauty to your homeschool day.

Hi everyone, and welcome to episode 15 of the Your Morning Basket podcast. I’m Pam Barnhill, your host, and I’m so happy that you’re joining me here today. Well, one of the questions that we get asked a lot here at Your Morning Basket is about toddlers. What to do with – You’re trying to do Morning Time with all of those toddlers running about. Now, most of the time we get asked that question when mom has a few older kids and she’s trying to get Morning Time done with those older kids and the toddlers might be causing a bit of a toddler-ish ruckus. Well, sometimes though we get that question when the toddlers are the only group of people in the room.

What do you for Morning Time when all of your children are ages five and under and we have a podcast episode devoted just to that today: for those moms who are wanting to start Morning Time when they have very young children and that’s it in the mix. So we have a wonderful guest today, her name is Celeste Cruz, and she has been doing Morning Time with her kids for about five years now, and she started out when her oldest two were just five years old. Today she’s looking back for us and telling us all about what Morning Time was like when it was just those little guys. It’s a great episode, I think you’re really going to enjoy it, so let’s get started.


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Celeste Cruz is a homeschooling mother of eight young children. She identifies most strongly with the Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling and is a moderator for the AmblesideOnline forums. At her blog Joyous Lessons Celeste writes about Charlotte Mason education, books, nature study, faith, family life, and more. Celeste has been implementing the practice of Morning Time in her home since her oldest two children were preschoolers, and she joins us today on the podcast to share about Morning Time with lots of little ones. Celeste, welcome to the program.
Celeste: Hi, thanks Pam.
Pam: Well, when did you first start doing Morning Time?
Celeste: We have always had a routine of reading to the kids during and after breakfast. I remember when my oldest two were toddlers, I used to put them each in their high chairs and roll them on either side of me with their breakfast, and I’d get my cup of coffee and a stack of picture books and we would just kind of read for half an hour, and they would just eat refills of cheerios and that kind of thing, so that was a really long standing tradition through several babies in our home. When they hit preschool age I wanted to do something more, but I didn’t really want to go to the school-ish route. I was wanting to keep to Charlotte Mason’s vision for early education where you’re having a lot of time outdoors, a lot of free play, but I wanted to add some of the riches in there, so around the time that they were in preschool I first heard about the idea of a Morning Basket. It was actually from Jennifer Mackintosh who I know you’ve had as a guest, we were on the same homeschool forum and she was chatting about how she had developed a morning basket and they were doing that, and I thought, ‘OK, this sounds like the perfect solution for us,’ wanting to transition from just the stack of picture books to something a little more varied, still living and literary. And so from that time until now we have had some kind of Morning Basket going.
Pam: And how old would you say your oldest was at that point?
Celeste: At that time (my oldest two are the same age) they were about, I’d say they were five, and so I would have had a two year old, and a one year old, and a newborn along.
Pam: With the two five year olds?
Celeste: That’s right, when they were more like preschool/kindergarten age.
Pam: And you knew all about Charlotte Mason even at that point?
Celeste: Yeah. We had decided to homeschool even before we had kids. Neither of us was homeschooled but we came across the idea early on, totally seemed like the perfect fit for us, and right away I started looking into different methods. And she (Charlotte Mason) seemed like the perfect fit. So, all the way from before my kids were born we were already, I was already researching and reading and committed to that. So when they came along it was just a kind of natural progression from the toddler years to preschool years and into kindergarten.
Pam: And so right about the time they were five, you saw Jen talking about this online and then her blog, the wonderful Wildflowers and Marbles she’s written extensively there about Morning Time and we’ll link to her Morning Time posts again. She calls it her Morning Basket. And so, what did it look like when you first started doing it? You were moving from the stack of picture books and really wanting to bring more truth, goodness, and beauty into the whole package. So what did that look like?
Celeste: So I grabbed a basket of just how she talked about, I didn’t want to schedule it out too much, so I really put the forethought into just what I was putting in the basket, and then I would just, kind of, let my grabbing it day by day let it be a little more varied. So, I put in my main emphases were to get some poetry and Mother Goose in there. So I grabbed my favorite poetry books, I grabbed a couple of versions of Mother Goose, and we would do also our religion reading during that time, so of course my littles were very little, so I grabbed some favorite books for religion reading, put those in there. We would play a hymn so I had that set up on my computer to play, and we would do a little bit of foreign language, just with the calendar. You know, hello, introductions, that kind of thing, so I had some cards in there, in my Morning Basket. So it was really light. I had some simple little nature study books and that kind of thing and I thought, ‘well they’re all in here then we’ll just see how it plays out day-by-day,’ and brought it with me to the breakfast table.
Pam: So you were still starting at breakfast?
Celeste: Yeah. So what we decided to do was, we begin our mornings with morning prayers before breakfast, so we would come to our little home [**inaudible** 6:28] our little altar. We would do some morning prayers together and then we would head over to the breakfast table, set the table, sit down, and so it would kind of flow naturally from prayers to breakfast and the reason I wanted to do it during breakfast is because I don’t like to have my little ones have to sit down for too long. So I figured, OK, they’re already sitting and eating and that seems like a good time to throw something in there. So we always have done our Morning Basket during breakfast. And then as long as they’ll kind of linger at the table then we’ll continue on, but otherwise I call it quits once everyone starts to get rowdy. So we’d bring our Morning Basket to the table and then while they’re eating (I usually eat my breakfast earlier) while they were eating I would usually just read a few things from each category, just pick whatever I wanted that day, a few poems, a few Mother Goose, maybe a little bit of our religion book. I just used to use post-its and pick up where we left off the next day. So I didn’t schedule it out at all, I just left it, because sometimes it was lasting 10 minutes and then sometimes it was lasting 20-25 minutes, it really just depends. The little ones I would have a little basket of toys on the side I could hold them off a little bit otherwise I was having them head outside, so it was just during breakfast itself plus maybe an extra few minutes after.
Pam: So this is some really great information for moms with young kids. I love the fact that you included that you ate earlier, so great practical information, I was going to ask you about that. And then, you did not force this any longer than what they were willing to sit.
Celeste: Yeah, yeah.
Pam: You let them eat, and let that naturally be a part of what you were doing, and kind of a natural attention holder for them. And then you would push it just a little bit farther but once they started losing interest, climbing down, getting loud, that was just it, you let it naturally be done for the day.
Celeste: Yeah. You would think that having this many kids I would be immune to noise, but I’m not, not at all. So as soon it starts to get a little bit too loud, then I pack it up, I would pack it up for the day and that would be that. And I think that that’s, they did naturally lengthen their attention a little, but I wasn’t really concerned about developing that at all, I mean, it was just as it falls out day by day, and my real main goal in those early years is to get them outside, get them lots of free time, lots of play together, imaginative play and that kind of thing. I didn’t want to take up too much time with the sitting still, reading portion of things. So, I wanted to take advantage of those natural breaks for meals and breakfast was the perfect spot to throw in something a little more literary.
Pam: Right. And you know, I’ve gone back and forth with Brandy and maybe even Mystie as well talking about Charlotte Mason’s habit of attention, and is Morning Time a good place to work on that, especially if you’re letting them do something else while you’re reading? And so that was not your intention at all at that point?
Celeste: I think that’s just something that naturally develops for, I mean, the habit of attention will naturally develop over the course of a year or two years of doing this, just little bits at a time. I think stopping when their attention goes is really important for developing the habit of attention because you don’t want them to get in the habit of giving half attention all the time. Now, I’m not talking about toddlers, of course, but you know when you’re aiming at your oldest kids in that period when you have all little ones, allowing them to go on to what they need to do, what their work is as little kids, which is play, allowing them to do that at the time that their attention naturally wanes.
Pam: Right, that’s a great tip.
Well, let’s talk a little bit. You’ve mentioned religious reading a couple of times, and so I want to touch on what that might mean for the five year old and younger crowd. You’re not talking theology tomes or anything?
Celeste: Not at all, not at all. We would do a little Bible reading and at that time I liked using The Father Lovasik Picture Bible, do a little bit of reading out of that, he has it naturally broken up into stories so it’s useful, you can kind of do one story in a sitting and it’s not too long, and we would also, I love the books from Neumann Press, they’re little Catholic books, it’s now published by TAN, but I, during the years, have collected a bunch of those, and they are so perfect for the little ones.
Pam: Are those the little ones that have the story of Saint Teresa?
Celeste: Let’s see, they have Manners in God’s House, and Their Hearts are His Garden. They have lots of little nice hardback reprints of old Catholic books that are just really neat to share with the little ones. And they also, the Catholic Treasure Box books…
Pam: That’s the ones I was talking about.
Celeste: Yeah, they have the stories of Saint Teresa. Those are sweet too. I think I would pull, I had those all in my basket, so I would just pull from whatever, and once we needed a refresh I’d pull a couple of others from the shelf, so I was just scouting the used Catholic books market and grabbing stuff as I found it to stuff my Basket with.
Pam: And for our Protestant friends the equivalent would be A Child’s Storybook Picture Bible or I’m trying to think what else would be an equivalent resource, maybe, I don’t know if there are any missionary books or anything out there that are kind of picture books
Celeste: Yeah, I don’t know if I would gear to that age range, I’m not sure.
Pam: You know what? I could probably ask Mystie and get some great resources for that age group. So, but very much not theology books of any kind, but just picture books on their level, those kinds of things?
Celeste: Yeah, I think there’s a difference between the kiddie books you’ll sometimes find in religious reading which are very like bells and whistles, kind of fluffy, then there’s …
Pam: Cartoonish.
Celeste: Yeah, a little bit more cartoonish, exactly, and the Neumann Press ones tend to be a little less like that. They’re definitely at the kids level but I wouldn’t call them dumbed down, so they’re kind of a nice balance between something for an older kid and a little kiddie book.
Pam: And I think the kind of difference that we’re trying to indicate here is the difference between the picture books that somebody, like a Five in a Row, would recommend as opposed to the cartoon character picture books that you would just find.
Celeste: The twaddle-y type stuff verses the classics.
Pam: Exactly. Well, what were some of your favorite read alouds during that stage? We’ve talked a little bit about the religious resources but what were some other things that you read to the kids?
Celeste: My two favorite books to read to the kindergarten and younger crowd are the Beatrix Potter, all of her collection of Beatrix Potter, and then Winnie the Pooh. Those two are my ideal little kid books, and I think they can be broken up. The longest chapters, we would never read a whole one in one sitting, it was always just a little bit at a time, so those are definitely great. Also E. B. White books those are great for kindergarten. We read a fun one My Naughty Little Sister is by Shirley Hughes, that’s a little cute one, My Father’s Dragon, the trilogy that’s a nice one. Yeah, those are ones we pulled in kindergarten in the kind of literature slot.
Pam: You didn’t feel the need to get all the way through a chapter? You would cut it.
Celeste: No, not at all, and in fact, I think it’s better to break it up because you do lose interest after a certain amount of time for everyone. You’re going to have, my oldest two had amazing attention spans and could kind of sit and soak it in, but my next two weren’t like that. So it’s definitely personality based, but I think it’s good to watch your kids, see how they’re responding, and whether they’re listening anymore, and then stop when they’re not, so it really depends on the kid.
Pam: Right. Well now, did you ever try anything in your Morning Time during this stage that didn’t work at all?
Celeste: Well, when I was first looking at Morning Basket I thought, after I got my basket together, that I would plan certain days of the week would be certain readings. And I found that didn’t work for me at all, with all the babies also. If I had only had the five year olds maybe I could held to that sort of a plan but most of us that have five year olds don’t just have five year olds. There’s usually one or two or more younger, you’ve got the five year old and you’ve got the three year old and maybe you’ve got the baby or whatever, so I like to keep it a little bit more flexible, so, flexibility definitely. Requiring that they sit still, trying to stretch it a little farther, I would do that once in a while, I would just find that we weren’t enjoying as much and since that was kind of the goal it seemed counterproductive to require that, especially with the toddlers, I sort of got in a habit if the big kids (the five year olds) wanted to keep listening I would have the toddler head on down and start getting ready to go outside so they’d be pulling out their boots and getting in their jackets and this and that, just to extend it a little bit not require they sit in their seat so that was definitely going in with the expectation of not forcing them to sit there, because I’ve done that a few times and doesn’t really help.
Pam: OK, so letting those little ones get up and move around and start, kind of, transitioning to the next activity?
Celeste: Yes.
Pam: Yes, so as long as they’re close enough you can keep an eye on them.
Celeste: Actually, I set it up that they would go outside right afterward to counter it because that was something that my little ones could start getting ready to do, which was great too, because they learned how to get ready to go outside by themselves, they were super motivated and the big kids were still listening with me, so they would get their jacket on, get their boots, get their toys ready by the door and everything, and that extended it an extra five minutes.
Pam: And we should stress for everybody this was probably not like a super hushed quiet time.
Celeste: No. No, my house is never really like that, so I can’t remember the last time it was super quiet here, so definitely not expecting quiet. It is nice when they have full mouths and I do have good eaters, and it might be because of Morning Time actually, now that I think about it, that they’re so good of eaters because they sit there and just, kind of, shoveling spoons in while they’re listening, and so they get in the habit of eating well. Yeah, but no, not really that quiet at all.
Pam: Now, when I’ve spoken before with, I spoke with Brandy about reading aloud during Morning Time and one of the things we talked about was breaking up some of the readings with other things in between. So, did you do that at all?
Celeste: During the breakfast time I don’t break it up because they’re eating and I have the captive audience. But we used to do a thing called (and we still do this) memory work and movement. That’s what I’d call it, memory work and movement. And actually, when they were kindergarteners I only called it that to myself, because I wasn’t really requiring memory work from the kindergarteners, but this is when I would read our poetry, we used to do a poem a month. So in addition to a bunch of other poems I’d have the same poem that I’d read a couple of times a week for a month, and then it would just happen that by the end they would just know because kids are kind of sponges, so during that time they would act it out, depending on, I’d usually choose rhythmic poems, so they could dance around, jump around, whatever. And we still do that, and that started way back from memory work and movement from when they were five and kindergarten. I would have one of them get up and do our calendar work. I had a little calendar board, and we would do it in Italian so whoever was the designated person for the day got to go up and move all the cards and that actually keeps the toddlers busy too because they like watching big brother, big sister presenting it to the family. So, yeah, anytime that you can incorporate it, and I think that’s particularly important if you’re not doing it during eating. During eating they’re captive but if you’re doing it after breakfast, incorporating some of those movements wherever you can is definitely a bonus.
Pam: Right. And then you’d mentioned hymns, correct?
Celeste: Yeah. We were going to a small chapel at the time that had their own photocopied hymnal that they made just for the chapel of their favorite hymns that they would sing very often, and I asked one time if I could grab one and make a copy at home, and they said sure, so we worked off that starting when they were in preschool, and so for years I would play a hymn every morning and they would learn them just from singing along, and we would do the same thing, I used to do also (not just hymns) folk songs, and like patriotic songs, songs from American culture, I guess. Things like the Sound of Music, culture songs that we would know today. I would play them not on a particular schedule but just whenever I noticed we had learned them and they were enjoying them we would move on to a new one to learn.
Pam: Great. That sounds like a lot of fun and something that really small kids could enjoy.
Celeste: Yeah, and my favorite thing to include in the Morning Basket is poetry, because it’s so perfect. They’re shorter than your average chapter and there’s so much variety, especially because it feeds the mom too. And I think the hymns and the folk songs have the tendency to do that too. I wouldn’t play, sort of, children’s albums but I would just choose particular settings that I preferred, so I could enjoy listening to that and I would get some poetry in and get a read aloud in and so it wasn’t just for the kids, but it was also for me.
Pam: And I think kids are just drawn to poetry. People tend to have these ideas in their head about poetry being a little stuffy or a little high brow or something like that, but kids just love the language and the rhythm of it so much.
Celeste: Yeah. No, poetry I especially like collections that include the classics that happen to be beloved by children also, because those are the ones that I enjoy reading and they develop that ear for it so easily, and I think they don’t think of it as high brow at all, if they’ve been listening to it ever since preschool…
Pam: Right.
Celeste: … they think it’s just a natural part of your day. And it’s just so pleasurable and delightful.
Pam: Do you have any favorite poems or collections?
Celeste: Well, let’s see. The ones I used to have in my Morning Basket, I used to have Favorite Poems Old and New by Helen Ferris, The Barefoot Book of Classic Poems, which has gorgeous illustrations, and then I used to have The Golden Treasury of Poetry, and that one’s a really lovely one too, it has some illustrations but lots and lots of great classic poems by famous poets that also children can appreciate.
Pam: Great. Well, when you have a lot of young children, you’re going through a lot of different seasons of life fairly quickly, probably just about the time you got something figured out and set, it would change again. So, how did you go about adapting to that through pregnancies and new babies being born and people getting older?
Celeste: The Morning Basket was one of the things that we didn’t change that much in our day. Even when I had a new baby and I was sitting on the sofa the kids would bring the Morning Basket to me and I could do it straight from the sofa, as opposed to if we were doing more traditional schooling at those ages it would have been slightly harder to keep up, in terms of correcting workbooks and teaching the math lesson, and that kind of thing. The Basket was just nice because it could be done from wherever and it only takes a few minutes a day but I felt like we were getting in some beauty into our day. So the thing that would really change is just how long we spent on it based on which kids were in the house, which little ones were at the table, and how many toddlers there were, and how many babies there were, and who needed to be fed and who needed to changed, and that kind of thing. So it was less what I would put in there and more how long we would spend on it in a given day.
Pam: OK. Well, what do you think was your biggest challenge with doing Morning Time with four / five kids five and under?
Celeste: Definitely by biggest challenge is that I would love to spend more time on it once I get going. I enjoy reading aloud and I appreciate the selections, and they’ll always be a couple of kids who are still in it, they’re like, “Yeah, keep going!” and then there’s also a couple of kids that are breaking down. And so I always feel I have to play to the lowest denominator in that sense, but I just remind myself that we’re getting in that little bit in a day, and it is refreshing to us and this season of life is so short. The time you only have kids five and under, that’s just a few years of your parenting, from toddlerhood to when they’re five is three years and just reminding myself that it was going to be very short lived. And sure enough it is, even now with them slightly older we’ve already changed gears and are able to a little more complicated Morning Basket and that kind of thing. So yeah, that’s the challenge- just dealing with those tantrums and what-not, but that’s the challenge with everything when you have toddlers, not just Morning Basket.
Pam: Morning Basket is not an exclusive place for tantrums when you have toddlers.
Celeste: It’s going to happen whether you’re reading aloud or not, usually, so …
Pam: You might as well read aloud.
Celeste: … might as well throw some poetry in there.
Pam: That’s right. Well, let’s talk about how Morning Time how you saw it bearing fruit even when your kids were very young. What were some things that you saw as a result of your Morning Time in your children?
Celeste: Definitely children that have a taste for those riches, a taste for language, a taste for beautiful music, a taste for rhyme. I think those first born affinities, Charlotte Mason calls them, they happen really early and once they’re there you can draw on those over the whole course of their life. So, definitely I would notice that they would, the kids would make so many connections with the readings that we would have, and take those. For example, we’d read about the bee-loud glade (Yeats) and then outside that afternoon they’d be playing under the hibiscus tree and come in and say, “hey, it’s the bee-loud glade” and you’re like, OK, you know, mom win! But it’s really for them, it’s those connections start forming through those riches that are in the Morning Basket so I would see those fruits within weeks, within months and they just keep getting deeper and deeper as the kids get older. So you’re not only forming that taste for the future but you’re also enjoying the finer things today, the little kids. It’s not just how’s this going to affect them later on, and how’s it going to help them? It’s what they’re enjoying even right now. I felt like I was adding to their experience of beauty in the world. And when can you feel like that when you’re a mom with a bunch of little kids and, you know, it’s not like you’re taking a lot of time and reading and doing lots of study and stuff, no, you’re in the thick of it and feeling like you’re bringing beauty into the world and sharing that with your kids is really a great experience so the fruit for them is developing a taste for those things and the fruit for me would be appreciating them myself and feeling like I was accomplishing something beautiful every day. And we hope that’s what’s happening in homeschooling all the time, I mean, the Morning Basket is a great place to feel like you’re getting that done.
Pam: Right. And it’s hard when you have a lot of really little kids, because a lot of parts of your day is smeared food and …
Celeste: Exactly.
Pam: … potty training and it just doesn’t seem beautiful at all.
Celeste: That’s right. That’s why these kinds of little moments and spaces in your day can make such a difference in terms of how burned out you get. And I think it would also be the case if I was feeling that. Say I had that 20 minute slot and instead I filled it with, “Oh, well, we should really start school, doing kindergarten, I’m going to get some workbooks and we’re going to do a math lesson, and this and that” I’m not saying that reading skills and math aren’t important but when you’re not going to have that the same results as you would, that feeling of beauty from those kinds of things. So I was glad we were able to wait on those a little bit and start off with a gentle introduction to the liberal arts instead. To me it was a highlight and for them it has borne a lot of fruit over the years.
Pam: Well, let’s dig deeper into that for just a little bit. So you’re basically saying that when you had those two five year olds Morning Basket and outside time that was pretty much it. You didn’t start the skill building with things like phonics or mathematics until they were six?
Celeste: Yes. At age six we did history and science and we started bringing in a more structured workload but the years before that, Charlotte Mason says something about letting the child lay fallow for the first six years, meaning making their own connections and spending a lot of time just making physical connections with the natural world and with each other and learning things on their own sort of soaking up that. And I think, I will say, my two oldest were already reading at that time, just on their own, but we didn’t do any reading instruction. My next one wasn’t, she’s just started reading now and she’s seven, and we didn’t do any reading instruction before six. So we would do some math games when they wanted it, during naptime, or instead we would do art. Definitely no particular school-ish structure, the emphases where Morning Basket, time outside, and free play. And I don’t regret that at all because I feel like that just set the tone for our whole homeschool journey. Those years are so little. The kids, they’re so little, they seem, especially when it’s your oldest, they seem like they’re so much older, and so it’s like, ‘oh, they should be starting school’ but they’re really so little still and just watching them develop on their own over those early years is really a delight.
Pam: And so you provided this great environment for them.
Celeste: That’s what you hope, you know?
Pam: Yeah. And looking back now you just said no regrets?
Celeste: No, no regrets.
Pam: You’re very happy with how you did it.
Celeste: Yeah, and I’m doing that still with my current kindergartener and it’s just that the ones after them are easier because you already have a Morning Basket in place and so they’re just sitting in and enjoying all those riches that you already have going with your older kids so it’s really just the first ones that are the trail blazers and that you’re figuring out what you want your homeschool to look like, the younger ones are a little easier.
Pam: Right. Well, let’s talk a little bit about if there’s a mom out there and she has only young children, let’s say all under the age of six and she wants to implement Morning Time and maybe she’s a little hesitant or maybe even feeling a little frustrated and discouraged. What are some trouble shooting questions she could ask herself to figure out which direction to go in?
Celeste: I would say, first, what are my expectations? So, I would say are my expectations too high but I’m not sure that’s really the right method, the right term, I guess, the way to word it, because when we’re thinking about our expectations for Morning Basket, the Charlotte Mason philosophy I’d be thinking, ‘OK, what my expectation is, is I’m going to lay a feast and my kids are going to take what they want from it and what they need from it through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost and that doesn’t sound, I mean, lower my expectation that seems really high expectations but the great thing is it’s the kind of expectation you can find peace in because it doesn’t rely on how much you’re getting done and how many pages you get through and that kind of thing, so I would say do I need to adjust my expectations? Am I being realistic about the stage of life I’m in, and what we can do? If your kids are finishing breakfast in three minutes and running out the door then maybe morning isn’t the best time to do it. Is there another place or another time that you can do a Morning Basket and that they’ll be more receptive? What are the natural lulls in your day where you could fit in something like that? And then, am I choosing things for a Morning Basket that are worth my kids’ time? I think that’s a big one, because, like I said, a lot of things are marketed for kids and it’s the natural thing to, sort of, pick up when you have your oldest ones and they’re thinking about starting school, and I was never actually sure whether they were worth my kids’ time and I’d rather pick things that I know are power-packed with ideas and right language, because if you are giving them the lesser stuff they don’t usually respond as well. So, are the things that I’m including worth their time? Am I keeping it short? How am I going to define success about this? Is it going to be success is that we get through my whole thing that I had planned, or is it, ‘my kids made this or that connection from last month when I read this or that thing,’ the thing that they pull out are amazing some times. So I would say you have to be willing to be super flexible with the little ones and follow their lead in some ways and then also introduce the things that you know are best for them, but at times they’re going to be receptive to that.
Pam: Right. Those are some great tips. And I love the making sure that the things are worthy of your children’s time because those are the things that are generally going to hold their attention and I’m struck by the idea of the old saying ‘stop while you’re ahead.’ If you stop while you’re ahead and you leave them wanting just a little bit more…
Celeste: That’s right.
Pam: … they’re going to remember that experience as a very positive thing because it ended on a happy note, and so when it’s time to do it again that’s the memory they have, ‘oh, this is that great positive thing and I’m so anxious to start because …’
Celeste: And they can’t wait to hear the next part, and you know while they’re waiting for that next part it’s like percolating in the back of their head, it comes out in their play, they’re waiting to see like, “Well, I think this is going to happen,” “no, I think this is going to happen.” They’re thinking, now, they don’t realize it, they’re kind of mentally processing those ideas while they’re waiting to see what happens next, so I definitely think that stopping while you’re ahead is a good way of putting it.
Pam: Any other words of wisdom for moms of all young children and their Morning Time?
Celeste: I would just say be flexible with how you’re planning, make the most of the time that you have, don’t put too much pressure on you or on the kids to get a certain amount done. I think we can think of that Morning Basket time as just setting generous feast and what do you think are the most generous things you can have at the feast? What are the things that you particularly want to share with your kids and include those things only, just keep it really simple. And also, just use that Morning Basket to feed your own self, to get some Mother Culture in there.
Pam: And I think another important thing to think about, too, for moms who are embarking on this journey with young children is you have years ahead of you to do everything, and so Shakespeare does not have to be done with a six year old …
Celeste: That’s right.
Pam: … It’s probably better not done with a six year old.
Celeste: Yeah, yeah. There’s so much time. And the good way of coming at it would be if you think of it as you’re the one praying and you’re bringing your kids along for that, and you’re the one reading poems and you’re bringing your kids along for that, and you’re the one listening to the hymns and you’re bringing kids along for that. I think that they see you enjoying it, you’re getting something out of it, you’re developing your own tastes because a lot of us come to homeschooling feeling like we’re, kind of, adrift - I didn’t do any of this when I was growing up and my education was lacking – and so you’re kind of developing your own tastes at the same time and your kids are sitting in on that and having their own experience of it.
Pam: That’s a great way to look at it. I like that. Well, Celeste, how has your Morning Time changed since way back then? Because we’re talking about a period of time now that was about, what, four years ago for you?
Celeste: That’s right. My oldest kids are nine now. It’s changed quite a bit in the sense that, I would say we still hit, usually the same topic areas. I do aim mostly for my older kids but I try to include the things in Morning Basket now that they’re not going to be narrating so they’re kind of extra readings that we do and that I think the whole family can benefit from. So now we’ll have things like a little bit of geography reading in there, a little nature study reading, you know, some of the content areas that I wasn’t necessarily doing with my kindergarteners. I have now brought into that and so my little ones now are listening in and following along with us but yeah, it’s a little different from when we did just the little ones. We do more memory work (not the little ones, but they sit in and listen to the older kids doing that), we do different poetry, I do one from all of our AmblesideOnline years, so they’re listening to that. I do less Mother Goose, I do Mother Goose at a different time of day when only the little ones are there, so we’ve shifted some things. But we still do our religion there, we still do our read aloud there, and our poetry, and our memory work, so it’s all still part of our Morning Basket, it just looks a little different as the kids get older.
Pam: Is it still at breakfast?
Celeste: It is still at breakfast. We still do morning prayers and then set the table and head into breakfast and the kids know right away that mommy’s going to start reading. And that is something we do in the summer time too. Morning Basket is year round. I don’t do it on the weekends usually because I have other things going on but it’s summer time and it’s really fun scheduling our summer Morning Basket because I pull things that we don’t necessarily need to complete during the school week, like, “Oh this book looks really interesting” but I don’t want to overload my older kids so I’ll throw it into the summer Morning Basket and I do pull in Mother Goose during summer, some of the things for the little ones I’ll do during summer. So yeah, it’s just a year round thing, and has been going on all along.
Pam: Ah, that’s great. Well, Celeste, thank you so much for coming on and telling us about Morning Time with little guys.
Celeste: Thank you.
Pam: Tell everybody where they can find you online.
Celeste: I blog at JoyousLessons.blogspot.com.
Pam: Alright. Well, we really do appreciate it.
Celeste: Thank you, Pam.
Pam: And there you have it. Well for today’s Basket Bonus what we have for you is a printable sheet with two different things on it. First of all, we’ve pulled some of Celeste’s best tips for doing a Morning Time with just young children and we’ve put them on this printable for you to print out, keep in your Morning Time Binder and remind you of those helpful, troubleshooting things to keep in mind as you’re beginning to work through a Morning Time with just young kids. The second thing we’ve put on that sheet for you is a printable book list of some favorite books for reading with young children. Now these are those beautiful rich books that have quality stories in them that are going to appeal to your children over and over again. So if you sometimes wonder, ‘hey, where can I find those really great selections that they’ve been talking about?’ we’ve made this list just for you. Now, to get the Basket Bonus for this episode or any of the other resources that Celeste and I talked about today, you can head on over to the Show Notes for this episode that is at EDSnapshots.com/YMB15. There you can get the Basket Bonus, you can find links to the books online that we talked about, and you can also get a link to Celeste’s blog and the other things that we chatted about today. And, thank you very much for joining us here today on the Your Morning Basket podcast, I hope that you found this episode a blessing to you. And we’ll be back again in a couple of weeks with another great podcast episode all about Morning Time. Until then, keep seeing Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in your homeschool day.

Key Ideas about Morning Time with Littles

Morning Time with exclusively young children is often loud, messy, and short. It is an exercise in flexibility and a balancing act between following children’s leads and introducing them to what we know is good for them as we see that they’re ready.

It’s okay not to have a fixed or elaborate Morning Time schedule, especially with very young children. It is often better to just pick up the basket, start reading, and see how it goes, ending when (or just before) their attention starts to wane.

Beautiful poems, stories, songs, and liturgical practices that nourish mom can feed little ones’ souls too. We can use Morning Time to create a little pocket of beauty in our day for ourselves as well as our children, and our children will learn from our example.

Find what you want to hear:

  • [2:27] how Celeste got started with MT
  • [5:11] transitioning from a stack of picture books to a Morning Basket
  • [6:12] using mealtime
  • [6:51] not scheduling how much to read
  • [8:00] stopping when attention fades
  • [9:07] developing the habit of attention
  • [10:07] religious reading for little ones
  • [12:51] favorite read-alouds
  • [16:45] memory work and movement
  • [18:27] hymns and folk songs
  • [19:25] poetry
  • [21:06] MT during big life changes
  • [23:44] fruit of MT
  • [27:00] starting slow with academics
  • [29:20] troubleshooting questions
  • [31:48] stopping while you’re ahead
  • [33:23] taking your time in the early years, cultivating your own tastes
  • [35:53] Celeste’s summer morning baske

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Thanks for your reviews

  • 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!



  • Danielle says:

    Great episode!

    So, if your oldest is 7 or 8 but the rest of your kids are in this toddler/preK/K range, would you still go this route geared towards the littles? Or would you aim morning time at your oldest?

    • Celeste says:

      Hi Danielle! Popping in to answer: I aim at my oldest kids but always have it in mind that I’ve got the little ones too. For us, that means that I don’t schedule challenging, narrated readings for our Morning Basket. I do those during naptime. In Morning Basket, we keep to poetry, saints’ lives, religious/feast day reading, preschooler-friendly geography and nature study reading (like Hillyer’s Geography of the World or Ransome’s pond study book), a little Italian, songs, Bible (we’re reading through the Epistle to St. James right now), unscheduled literature read-alouds, and such. I keep it very flexible and light. I don’t schedule it out, though I do have a plan for how much I’m guessing we’ll cover so I can stock my basket accordingly. I use post-its to mark where we are and we just move on from there the next time.

      Once I have a broader age range, I think I’ll aim for the middle. I remember that the episode featuring Jennifer Mackintosh talked about this very topic–how to deal with a wide age range. I think Angela Boord’s did too.

      Hope that helps!

  • Amy Marie says:

    Just love this! Thank you, Pam and Celeste! 🙂

  • Jamie says:

    Thank you so much for this episode, it was really great ladies! God Bless!

  • Veronica says:

    I loved this! It was such an answer to prayer. I was feeling very overwhelmed all week trying to get everything “done.” This helped me take a step back and reevaluate our goals. I love the idea of keeping a basket with things that are lovely and full of truth and beauty. We can then dip in as the morning allows. Thanks for sharing such a great resource.

    • Celeste says:

      I’m glad you found it helpful, Veronica. It’s always nice to get a morning burst of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty to brighten up your day! 🙂

  • Shonda says:

    I started this year doing way too much and now we barely do any morning time at all. I have a vision of how I want it to be, but we need to work our way there. My kids are 4 and 7. I plan to rework my plan and do less, but do quality. Also, morning time does not work in the morning for us. I am moving it to after lunch. Thank you for this good podcast for just littles. My son who is 7 acts more like my 4 year old so it’s littles for me!

  • Kristin says:

    This was so great and so encouraging! I’m a mom of 4, ages 5 and under and it helped affirm what my heart already wants to do. It’s hard sometimes to hear other moms talking about their curriculum for Kindergarten when I want to focus on morning basket, outside time and creative play building sibling relationships. Thank you for sharing!

    • Celeste says:

      Your plans for kindergarten sound wonderful, Kristin! So happy my chat with Pam was a help. 🙂

  • Maria says:

    I’m looking into homeschooling my grandson and this was very helpful. Thank you. Celeste mentioned a bible that she uses for the little ones but couldn’t catch the name. Could you please let me know what it is? Thank you.

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