YMB #119 Something for Everyone: A Conversation with Colleen Rein

I am joined today by Colleen Rein who is a member of our Your Morning Basket Plus membership and a mom who has been doing Morning Time for a number of years in her homeschool. What I love most about Colleen is all the practical insights she has into making homeschooling work for her family. Today she shares insights and tons of good ideas on how Morning Time can support a diverse group of learners.

Links and resources from today’s show:

Plan Your Year: Homeschool Planning for Purpose and PeacePinPlan Your Year: Homeschool Planning for Purpose and PeaceHome Education: Volume I of Charlotte Mason's Original Homeschooling SeriesPinHome Education: Volume I of Charlotte Mason’s Original Homeschooling SeriesChristmas Around the World ExplorationsPinChristmas Around the World ExplorationsThe Big Bang Theory: The Complete SeriesPinThe Big Bang Theory: The Complete SeriesPlay-DohPinPlay-Doh


Colleen: And the nice thing is it works for both. It works for her because she’s getting to explore all the things and it works for them because I’m not sitting down with them and just going, okay, now here’s the hour and a half that I have for you and your aunt for all these subjects. Come on, let’s go with, fill out the workbook, lets do it. And they’re sitting there going, I wanna go play Lego. Instead, they’re doing it for fun as a family together. And they’re all benefiting from each other’s interests and passions and what they can contribute.

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

Hi everyone. And welcome to episode 119 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, today’s episode of the podcast is another one of those episodes where we invite in a mom, a homeschooling mom, who was doing Morning Time to kind of give you a peek inside her homeschool. How long has she been using Morning Time? What difference does it make in her homeschool? And just some of the different ways that she’s done it and adapted it over the years.

So today we are joined by homeschooling mom, Colleen Rien. She has been a member of our Your Morning Basket community for quite a while and she is always such a giving member. She always has such helpful tips, such wonderful advice. And we just love her. She’s been doing Morning Time since the beginning and her homeschool, and she’s going to be sharing all about it today. Now, if you would like more information about how to do Morning Time in your homeschool, we have a fun challenge coming up later this month. So go sign up for our Delight Four Days homeschooling challenge, where we’re going to take four days and show you how you can bring a little extra delight into your homeschool. Something that you and your kids are really going to enjoy doing together.

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You can find the signup page for the challenge pambarnhill.com/D4D. So that's the number four. Pambarnhill.com/d4d. We'll see you there. And now, on with podcast.
Colleen, welcome to the podcast.
Thank you. I'm glad to be here.
Well, tell us a little bit about you and your homeschool to start us off.
Okay. So we live in Texas and I have kind of always had it on my eye to homeschooll. I was the kind of person that I was introduced to it and I thought, oh, this is interesting. And I looked into it before I was even like married. And then it kind of just ended up where both my husband and I were kind of aligned with that was probably where we were going. And my, my oldest has autism, but he, he was reading it two and a half and he was writing at four. And so all of a sudden I was looking at a kindergarten year where the bulk of what you do in kindergarten was already done. And I was like, what, what am I going to do?
And so other than obviously we were going to progress and reading and things like that, but phonics reading lessons weren't going to take up the bulk of his academic energy. And so I ended up doing like a whole thing on United States geography, cause he was really in a flag. So we did all of the state like symbols and all of those kinds of things and learned about the different states.
There's a little bit of US history while doing our other math and things like that. And I had a four year old daughter at the time that was all like 200% in. Like she wanted to be with us there the whole time. And so doing like family style learning just kind of happened. And then on top of it, the Catholic homeschoolers at the time that were super popular, like Elizabeth Foss and Clay Gibson And I don't even know her real name, but the lady who runs the Shower of Roses blog, like they were all doing some family learning. And so for me, I just kind of connected the two with homeschooling. Like if you homeschool, you do some type of family learning. And so I was really lucky.
I never had to do the like awful, like for me, awful, I should say like, I have to do it all out of a box. It has to be this. And it has to be from nine to three. I never had to worry about that because I already kind of had the good idea to start. I was lucky.
So I love it. I love it. Okay. So it's Jessica at Shower of Roses. Read the same blog. So know exactly which one you're talking about. Love it. And do you have a teaching background? So I have, I don't have a certification. I have taught as a para in a special ed classroom. And then I ended up taking over as a permanent sub for the year in that classroom.
And then pretty much almost every other job I had was working with kids with autism. So I do have a lot of training that in other ways, like how to do like ABA style, behavior modification type stuff, and how to teach kids with that style and all kind across the board. So I did have a lot of experience with working with kids. My thing was like the teacher certificate and stuff is like, that's not, what's going to help you. I honestly think the most beneficial thing is having taught in a classroom is you don't buy into like all the falsehoods that you hear in your head, like in classrooms, no one is ever not wanting to do work or they finished the textbook or, you know, things never going array in a classroom. They're always following the lesson plan.
Well, no, if you've taught in a classroom, you know, that none of those things are true. So I think that's probably where it's helped more than in terms of like actual, like how do I teach homeschooling? It's just such a different prospect that the two don't really combine.
No, they really, they don't really compare to each other at all because it said it's such a different situation. I mean, so much of classroom teaching is about classroom management, you know, because no, not everybody is eager to do the lesson. So when did you first discover Morning Time? About how long have you been doing it?
So I guess that we've been doing it pretty much since the beginning. Now I made my own for the first few years. So I did, we started out with RC history, which is a Catholic history program that I would pull the readings from that and because my two oldest are so close in age, they just shared subjects because my daughter was kind of a little ahead in terms of where she was interests and like ability wise in terms of attention. And so they just kind of worked perfectly together with the content subjects.
So we kind of started out that way and we went with that and I would tinker and I would do my own thing. And then we joined Your Morning Basket in 2019. And that was really helpful for me because now I was in a place where I didn't have to start from scratch every single time, but I didn't feel like I was in a place where it was like, okay, well we finished that year. Now I have to start totally over, you know, where are we going to do here? What are we going to do here? What are we going to hear here? Instead, I had kind of like a buffet of options of like, okay, are we going to do the history plans? Are we going to do the lit plans?
Are we, you know, that I could pick from? And that I really think, joining helped us kind of take it up a notch because all of a sudden I had a lot more resources at my hands and it was kind of like having experts, helping me find the best of everything and I can still change things, but I kind of had somewhere to start.
I wasn't having to start with Pinterest and hours of research. That's really just scrolling. Right, right.
Yeah. I love that. Okay. So I wanted to touch on a couple of things you said, because I think it's important for parents who are looking at this idea of combining their kids for subjects. So you have this kid and I don't know if you watch the Big Bang Theory, but you're talking about like this super smart autistic kid who loves flags. And I'm thinking she's teaching Sheldon, Right? It's like fun with flags, but, and I know your son is a delight, but his show is Sheldon. It just struck me as funny. But so, but he's like Uber intelligent here, he's, he's reading super early and he's doing all of the things so much so that you're like, he's just going to be completely bored in kindergarten. And then you've got this four year old little sister who you, who you're like, well, she's advanced then I'm like, wait a second. You're older kids advanced, but you touched on this idea of her attention span and the content subject. So I just wanted to point out that content subjects are those subjects that are not the skill-based subjects.
Yeah. They're the subjects that are great for combining kids like a history or a science or something like that. And so how, you know, we're thinking like your son is so advanced, how are you saying your daughter's advanced? I mean, what do you mean by that? Why does it make it easy to combine?
So, I mean, a lot of it was just that she wanted to be with, she wanted to learn all of it. And so I, I can't guarantee that she remembered everything at four that we learned that year, but she wanted to be with us. She didn't want to be separate. And so I was like, if you can sit with us and you can do those, and even if it means doing a coloring sheet or Play-Doh or whatever, what I do and why now, like, it's much better than like me trying to teach you where I'm like holding will wave. Like, no, you can't be here right now. Like I have to do that. Sorry. And so I have six kids, right? So as I've had more kids come in,I've had different kids of various levels at a young age in terms of how much interest they are in doing those content subjects.
And so I've kind of worked it on a kid by kid basis. But for her, she was just 100% all in. Like she wanted to be there. She wanted to be asking questions. She wanted to be doing stuff. And so I was like, okay, I didn't, I wasn't like berating her, you know, like I wasn't asking her to do an narration because she wasn't old enough to be required to do those things.
But I'm like, what's it going to hurt you to listen to the picture book or, you know, coloring the picture of the flag or the birds or whatever. And you might not do it at the same level he does, but that's okay. You know, so for us, it's always kind of been, we'll do it together. And the most adjusting I've had to do over time is with having different kids with different levels of tension.
Right. Cause there are some kids like my, my two oldest that will pretty much sit there and I can do school all day with my daughter and she would do it just because she's just like super inquisitive and loves learning everything. I have younger boys that are like very much I'd rather build forts all day.
Yea, to quote Andrew Pudewa
So I do have to balance that. And the nice thing is it works for both.
It works for her because she's getting to explore all the things and it works for them because I'm not sitting down with them and just going, okay, now here's the hour and a half that I have for you. And you're on for all these subjects, come on, let's go with, fill out the workbook with do it. And they're sitting there going I wanna go build Lego. Instead they're doing it fun as a family together. And they're all benefiting each other's interests and passions and what they can contribute.
Oh, I love that. I love that little thing about them all being able to benefit from each other's passion. So that's great. And they're probably getting to do the Lego's during Morning Time. Like I know a lot of people are very big into doing things while you do Morning Time.
I do have five boys. So we do have to be a little careful. Like my rule is a, can't be so much noise, but I can't hear myself read to them and they have to be able to narrate. So I have some kids that can do stuff and narrate, and I have other kids that pretty much have to be sitting next to me or have to be kind of directed attention because they struggle in getting into their own world if they're doing too many other things, it depends on the kid. But yeah.
So this is interesting because I think a lot of times people get into this idea that like if the whole family is learning together, it's all lock step. Actually, I was reading some comments on a Facebook post the other day about homeschool planning. So we had posted it on the Facebook page and said like, what is your biggest challenge with homeschool planning? And there were a lot of answers there, but one thing that kept coming up over and over again with, I have all these different kids with all these different learning styles and you know me about learning style, that's a whole other podcast. I'll link it in the show notes, but I mean, can you do that when you're doing whole family learning, is there a way to meet everybody's needs?
Yeah, absolutely. So that's actually one of the things I really like about the Your Morning Basket membership and what it brought into our homeschool was it was really the first time I was seeing predone plans that had things like a video of the music. So the person would be seeing the concert and as well as hearing it, that had just a cool, like YouTube video of something interesting, like an interesting little factoid that told the story in five minutes, but may have been a 40 page book, you know, and different things like that. So I find I can hit things from different perspective. I have the amazing book lists from Jessica that just are out of this world amazing. But I also have the kind of quirky little videos. That's going to really appeal to one of my kids. So maybe he didn't a hundred percent grasp it from the video that I'm sorry, from the book, the video kind of takes him the rest of the way.
And also you can have different expectations. So like I have a kid that he's a rising second grader. He was not a great narrator though I want to say I having enough boys at this point. I really feel like maybe Charlotte Mason should have said, boys don't narrate till they're seven. I was, I swear, I always see boys at six and I'm like, you can't narrate your way out of a paper bag. I don't say that to them, but that's what I'm thinking. And then they turn seven and it's like a switch hits, but it was a struggle for him. Like, I would have to basically read a few sentences and then stop and have them narrate. Whereas, I could have my daughter who like, she was like one of the best in the worst examples of having a kid narrate right away, because she was one of my early narrators. And so I thought this was what narration was like. She can just spew out like three pages of narration. This is amazing. And then I had a boy that didn't do that. It was like, oh, what's going on here, what's wrong.
And God’s laughing.
Yes! And God’s laughing. And they're all different. And they have different talents. That's what's actually nice about Morning Time, is it gives them different ways. The kid who's does a bang up job at memory work may struggle a little bit with narration, but they may also be really great at picture study. So instead of it just being this one type of learning, right? But, oh, I'm going to be on the hunt for like their best possible learning you have a feast, they're going to be better. And they're going to like some parts of the feast more than others, but there's something for everyone. And there's usually a mode of expressing their learning that works for everyone. But it also requires them to work on the things they're not great at. I don't believe that the kid who struggles to narrate to just be like, oh, well, no big deal. Or the kid who has trouble attending to a book, you just go, okay, you're six. We just don't need to read. We'll just go to this. You know? But I think it helps to have something that's good for everyone, everyone. So they have a little bit of cake to make them happy.
I love that. I love that. Okay. So you started back in the day from the very beginning with these two kids, his five-year old, four year old and you know this great little family learning together. Now you've got six kids. So you've added more. How has your Morning Time evolved or changed since you started?
Yeah, so I've always had like, even when I had that five and a four year old, I would have had a two year old. I have my sons, my oldest about ready to turn 13. I've either always been pregnant, nursing a baby, have a preschooler toddler and usually a mix of both. So I find that people who have large families kind of lean on two specturms, they're either really short Morning Time or not everyone has to be at the table. And there are people that do both and hats off to them. That is not me.
We do a long Morning Time or any time last from an hour with everyone. And then usually another half an hour with my youngest who are doing additional subjects that the other ones are doing on their own. That’s an hour and a half Morning Time even for my youngest students. That’s a long time. So before they are in kindergarten, they are not required to come to Morning Time. They will come in and out. Most of my, like three-year-olds right around three, most of them realize no one's playing with the toys right now. Play room is a hundred percent mine.
In a family of 6, this is a big thing!
I can hear them up there. So I know what they're doing. And they're happy usually doing that. And then they'll bop in and out. Like usually when they hear us when picture study or something like that, they'll toddle in because even a three-year-old can look at it and talk about the pretty picture, right.
And so they'll kind of come in and out. And then once you hit kindergarten, it's kind of like a maturing time in my family. You're going to be here with us. And then once they hit first grade, we add in narration. You now have to narrate. It's not an option. You have to do it. And so we have to learn to work together.
And I kind of joke that sometimes it's a little like that patients joke where you, where you go, oh God, give me patience. Not the opportunities to be patient, just the patience. And it's kind of like, that was homeschooling, right? Because homeschooling is sanctifying. I tell people that a lot. It’s not sanctifying because it's easy. No, I had never read the saint story where they went and their life was easy and perfect. And they never had any trouble and they went to heaven and they were very holy. Amen.
You know, saints become saints through trials and tribulations. Well, it’s the same thing with our Morning Time. If we want our Morning Time to produce virtue, it's going to have struggles. There's going to be times when the toddlers decided to come in and it's climbing on top of someone's head.
There's going to be times when people are arguing about who gets to sit next to mom during the book reading that day, there's going to be times where the older kid is like over it and just wants to be done and go do their own work. But working through those things helps us all become not just better students, but better people. And I just want to tell people like that is not the time when you had your worst Morning Time and you're set up and maybe even closed the book and said, you know what we're done for today? That's it go play, I just, I need a few minutes.
Been there, done that, by the way.
Exactly. That's not the time. We're always tempted to then go, All these plans are terrible. Like I drew up horrible plans. I need to go find something else. No, you don't, you can't have a day.
You could pull up completely new plan. And yeah, you'll have a honeymoon period where it's new and it's fresh and it's exciting and they'll do everything perfectly for about a week. And then you'll be right back where you were before because oh yeah, it's sin at the root of the problem. You gotta deal with that. There's nothing you can do, you know? No, no curriculum is going to get the sin nature of your child. So, you know, that's kind of where I'm at with it. You just have to take the time to work through the problems and treat it as an opportunity to become a better learner and a better person, as opposed to this is terrible, we should just all go to independent learning.
So I can totally understand the temptation because I've had it.
Oh yeah. Oh yeah. Lots and lots of days. For sure. So have you ever had a period of time in your home where you just haven't done Morning Time?
Honestly, not that I can think of. It's just really, really important to me. It's kind of because of how we do content subjects. Even my older kids, like last year, they did history and science on their own next year, my oldest they're that way. My second oldest, she's going to be doing some history with us, some history on our own because I wanted to pull her back in a little bit more. But to me, there's just so many benefits of it. And I liked the immersive aspect of, we use the history plans. It's the bulk of what we use from Your Morning Basket. And I love that immersion of we're studying this period, we're listening to their music, we're looking at their artists, we're doing all of that. And I just can't imagine how exhausting that would be to have to cover that same thing with other kids. If you need a break, like I think like Explorations would be perfect for that or something along those lines. If you just need something else for a week where it's just like, okay, they can't, I put more, more Medieval artists on the board they're gonna, you know, go insane, pull up the Explorations, do something fun there. And it gives them a chance of a little bit of new.
That's kind of how I use Explorations. We don't do it. Like all of the things every month we go in and I usually pick a couple of the books off the list. And then we do like maybe two of the activities a week. And it's kind of that little bit of new and fresh so that things don't get old and the kids get excited. And a lot of times it's stuff that's a little bit more active. So my younger boys like it for that. And it gives us that something without having to quit.
Yeah. Yeah. So what about when you've had new babies or things like that, have you taken like extended breaks?
Okay. So I do Plan Your Year. So I plan in a maternity leave basically, if I'm going to have a baby. So I plan my school year around it. But what I quickly find is once, because I have C-sections, once I've kind of gotten over the physical healing, I find Morning Time works great for when your baby has nursed and they’ve fallen asleep. Like to me, the newborn is not, I should clarify this. I've only had one colicky baby. And it was my second. So no, I would not have done Morning Time. I can tell you if you have a colicky baby, you do what you gotta do to survive. I just want to make sure I'm very clear about that. I I've been very blessed that most of my kids have been like nursing to sleep, you know, throw them up on the shoulder and they're happy while I can read.
So like this last baby, for example, I had in November. So right around the start in December, I was ready to get back doing some, like having a routine actually helps. Yeah. And so it was the Christmas Around the World Exploration. So we just went like gangbusters on that. And there were videos and you know, all kinds of great stuff.
And we could go down all of these rabbit trails that we could go down. And instead of just not doing anything, the kids are doing something they're learning, but I can do pretty much all of it while my baby's sleeping and I'm in the recliner, you know, but we don't have to miss out and I don't have to spend the whole day going. I need you to be quiet cause the baby's gonna wake up and there's going to be noise either way. So we might as well be doing something productive is kind of how I feel about it. But it does change. Like I'm not going to be like, okay, we're doing a two hour Morning Time, whether you like it or not. Like if the baby wakes up, they want to nurse and they're not, you know, sometimes babies are cool nursing while you're reading. And sometimes they're like hitting the book like, no, no attention must be here, mom. In which case it's like, okay, close the books with, do some other activities. It's a great time for the playlist or other types things that I can put up that they can do. So it will fluctuate. But I just, to me, unless I've scheduled it into my year, we don't take a break from Morning Time if I can help it.
Yeah. Yeah. And you, you started to allude to this and then you kind of got off to talking about some other things. But the hardest year after having a baby is not the first year.
Right. It's the, one-year old to two year old. That's like, everybody's like, I'm having a baby next year. How am I going to survive? I'm like, well, you know, after the first three months when you just never sleep and you know, then it's probably going to get a lot easier. It's that second year you've got to watch out for.
Exactly. That's what I just went through. And it's like, it goes from the baby being happy. Like now the baby wants to take the book out of your hand and they're walking around and they're pulling other people's things off their lap. And they're not really at the age where they can be by themselves playing somewhere. Cause we can't, you know, they need to be attended to.
And so that's me as a time for us to really like be teaching patience. So like that's the time for me to tell me all this, like, yeah, I know it's annoying. He just ripped your memory workbook out of your hand, let's put it back with,let’s find something for him to do. And it's, they're learning patience through it. And so yeah, there are days where it has to be cut shorter, but it works. It works. You just have to kind of like, I know a lot of people will say it's a season and if you only have two or three kids, that's true. But like my 13 year old, his entire academic career has been during this season.
Have you ever had a preschool or nurse the baby or been pregnant? So we gotta do school. So I had to figure out a way to make it work and that having those plans and having things to do has really been the center of our homeschool for really long time.
I, it, I love it. So other than like just being the center of your homeschool, what are some other race that Morning Time has positively impacted your schooling?
So I’ve become like an evangelists for Jessica's booklist in Your Morning Basket. So anyone who's homeschooled for like five seconds, they know that you can find book lists galore. Like there are lots of people that put out amazing book lists, but after you've spent like maybe an hour on Pinterest, they all start to look the same.
Most of them have the same five books and those books are on there for a reason. They're really good books and those books will be on Jessica’s list too. But somehow even though I have basically an entire shelf in my library that is books about books and I have all the lists, Jessica finds books that I have never seen before. And they're just amazing.
We were doing birds and I thought we did a bird study when my daughter was like three because we had a dove in our backyard and she wanted to go to library a get all the books. And then we did birds study another time, because it kind of started this long fascination with it and so I have like 20 bird books in the house. I was like, I don't know if I'll even need another bird book. I'll pull all the ones I have. And so I did match up if we had a book about beaks, it wasn't the same, but I was happy with my beak book. We did that book, but I remember I found one, it was about new Caledonian birds. And it was a Scientist in the Field series I think is what it's called.
I never heard about this series before. And I was like, oh, this sounds interesting. It was on Thriftbooks for like four bucks. I bought it. It came in and this book was amazing. I had no idea that there were birds that built tools until I read this book. And it was the level of a book that I read with all of my kids cause it was super fascinating. But you could have completely, if you were doing Explorations for example, and you had a middle schooler and maybe you only have a middle schooler and you're looking at first and you go, oh maybe this is the for little kid. This was a middle school book. You could have handed this to a middle school book. And it was completely at their reading level. It was paragraphs per page. It was super fascinating. It taught the scientific method, like just packed full of knowledge. I honestly think even a high schooler, would have found it interesting, the information. And that's what I find really are the gems in her book lists. It's not just, here's the five picture books that everyone uses that they're great.
But it's these other things that have excellent back matter or will appeal to every age or like for history. She always finds these cool choose your adventure books that aren't the boring, like there's some choose your adventure books as they're really cheesy. Like the point is for the reaction more than it is for the truth. These are not like that, these are great books to teach things.
They're so fun. But my kid who is younger that can lean a little, like this is kind of boring. He's totally engaged. Cause he wants to pay attention because he needs to know the choices so he can pick where we're going next. And so the book lists have been invaluable. So even if I'm not doing a set of plans, but maybe like there's a topic and another subject that we're doing that I want to pick something from I'll do the little, I think we still have that membership right. Where you can go to a site and you can type in the word and it will pull up the plans. I will do that because I will go look at Jessica’s book lists and go, okay, I'll go get some books from here because honestly, and I just straight up buy them. I don't even go to library because I have never read a book from Jessica where I've been like, oh, that wasn't that great. I don't need to own it. I need to own them all. And I’m not buying them all new on Amazon. But like if they're on thriftbooks, I'm buying them because I know I'm going to want them forever. And I know we're going to read them again. So the book lists are definitely like, that's what I always tell everyone about.
Okay. That's so funny. And like, so Jessica has this library like you would not believe in her house. And she truly does kind of have this gift for finding the best books and she finds what she calls these niche books. And it sounds exactly like the one you're talking about with the birds. Another one, this Cottey is mushrooms. Did y'all get that. When did you ever do the mushroom? I think it was in like a seasonal set of Morning Time. It was in like a spring set or something and there was mushrooms and my daughter loves mushrooms. She's a high schooler. She still has this book. It's a picture book, but it's got such great information, like totally as a high schooler, she pulls it out and there's so much wonderful information in there. So yeah, we're just truly blessed with having Jessica and her ability to find these really, really good books. So I love that. And then the index. Yeah. So you can still go in and search a topic in the index and it'll show you where we've talked about it in the plans before. So you can go find that set of plans and pull up the books and follow those rabbit trails to wherever they might lead you. So yeah, I love it.
So what about fruits? What are some of the fruits that you've seen in your kids for Morning Time?
I mean, for me the biggest thing is the relationship. And I know that there are some people now saying it's not about the relationship and I'm just like, I don't know. I think it kind of is. I get the fact that, you know, yes, your kids' education is important. You can't give up that for the sake of relationship, but I don't think anyone who's arguing about relationships is saying that, but I have my oldest and my youngest, I've been taking the pictures of them the last year. And actually, no, I'm sorry. It's my second youngest. My four year old because they're like buddies. They both love being outside, but I'm still at the point because he's a little bit like, and very adventurous where I'm not really comfortable with him being outside on his own. I'm just like, I don't know what you're going to decide to do. So I'm like, you need to find someone and it's hot in Texas pretty much all year round. And so sometimes kids want to be outside and sometimes they're like, sorry, it's too hot. And my oldest is autistic is like, yeah, we'll go outside. And there's been in there. Like we have a big platform type swing that they're sitting in and just swinging away.
And all I could think of, I think this picture was if I had these kids in school or even if they were doing all of their work independently, I would not have a 13 year old and a four year old that just genuinely love spending time together. And that's not because they're intellectual equals or anything like that. It's just, they've enjoyed life together. We've done stuff together. And so the idea that you would spend time apart just because you're younger and just be like, get away from me, you’re only four, I don't want to spend time with you. It doesn't exist because they're used to it and they have to learn to deal with each other and in learning to deal with each other, they actually realize, Hey, I actually like you. I think you're cool. There's things we can do. That doesn't mean they don't have times where they kind of pair off the older kids, go off and do their own thing. And the younger kids go off and do their own thing. But there's not this automatic association that I remember from my own childhood of, ugh, I gotta hang out with the babies.
It's just, what are we going to do? And I just can't think that if we hadn't spent Morning Time together, that that would've necessarily happened. I think if it would have been all of the subjects at their own level individually, especially cause I have a lot of boys, and boys are competitive. I could have just seen it as being like Oh I’m like a level of reading than you are, or like, you know, different things like that. Or, you know, and that's an individual subject, but you know, or I can do this or I've learned that and you haven’t. And I could see a lot of that kind of arguing back and forth. But with Morning Time, it's like, oh yeah, we're all learning about that. And so when they're talking to grandma and grandpa or someone else is, oh, we're learning about this. Or, you know, Ms. Pam does a poem yesterday and it was so much fun and they're all doing it together. It's not just one kid going well, I'm doing this. And the other ones are like, bored because they don't want to hear about it and they don't care what their siblings doing. They're all, they're all enjoying life together. And for me, the other big fruit of Morning Time is that it really does, and I guess it's homeschooling in general, but it allowed us to have time with our larger family.
So when I can schedule a subject, kind of get it done as a family, I can build these breaks down homeschool where grandma and grandpa are coming down and we can not have school that week. They're teaching them about the things that we're learning because they're interested, so they're telling grandma and grandpa all about it and they get time. You know, my mom just passed and all I can think about with all of the years where we were able to take those chunks and do those with her and spend time with her and just think if we hadn't done that, if they had been in school A, we wouldn't have been able to take the time off that we took off because I wouldn't have been able to schedule my school year around it. You know, we do the same amount of days, just different time periods. But then on the other hand, I find that kids who haven't been in Morning Time, who don't do that type of learning, get this idea at a certain age, the grandparents are cool anymore. It's just like, or aunts or uncle, like, they get bored. Like they're just like, oh, let me go play with the kids my age. Whereas my kids, they see a distinction in terms of respect, but they don't see a distinction in terms of like, you're someone that I could still talk to you about everything I'm interested in.
They all come running to the door when my mother-in-law, their grandma comes over, you know, they're interested. So I find that the relationship you build with a family and Morning Time extends outward. So it's not just your own family. It's Hey, I noticed that mom learns with me when we're studying this musician or we're studying this painting or she goes, you know, I don't know, lets look it up. I bet grandma's like that too. So she's talking about something I don't understand. Maybe I asked her a question and we go off and we Search it together. They don't just assume that school is this box that you put it in. And once it's over, you're done, you know, school is really all the time.
Well, you know, we talk a lot about moms learning alongside of their kids and modeling, but I've never thought about it from that, you know, from the opposite direction that when kids have the mom, who's learning along with them and modeling the lifelong learning and things like that, that they're going to assume that everybody else is too. And therefore everybody else is going to be interesting to talk to.
So yeah, that's really cool. That's really cool.
What would you say to a mom who's hesitant about starting Morning Time in her home? Maybe she's tried it before and she's a little overwhelmed.
Yeah. I mean, I think I would recommend joining Your Morning Basket for a few reasons. One is you have pre-made plans and then good premade plans.
So not someone who I'm, someone who's looked into a lot of different, like literature-based curriculums and stuff that navigate really easily to Morning Time. And the problem is what you'll hear most often when people are struggling with those is it's a buffet, you just have to pick and choose. Well, that's really overwhelming if you're also concerned, what if I don't make the right choices?
Like what if I pick the wrong book? What if this doesn't work unless I do all of it, and so having a plan that's doable. And that's one of my favorite things about the plans at Your Morning Basket is they're very sensible. There isn't too much reading. There's not too much of the beauty type stuff. There's things in there to appeal to real kids, varying interests and degrees of liking school. You can take basically any set of plans in there, get your books and start tomorrow. There isn't this, like, there's a schedule in there that you can follow. There's a loop you can follow it's all right there. So that would be my first piece of advice is join there.
The other reason I say join is because the community is amazing.
It's my favorite place on the internet because everyone's super supportive and there's no like I'm in this type of homeschooler and you're not doing it right. You know? Everyone's like, how do you homeschool? And how can I help you meet the goals that you have? It's not about whether your goals are my goals. It's okay, your goal is that your kid really loves reading.
Well, here you do X them that might help. Or this is what helps when I was trying to get a kid passionate about reading.It's not, well, you know, if you have been doing Charlotte Mason, all along, your child would just naturally love reading. Like, you know, there's none of that. There's no judgment. In fact, what you're most likely to hear from people is like, oh yeah, I had a kid like that. It's really hard mama. You're going to be okay. And so I think having a community of people, whether it be a co-op in person or something like Your Morning Basket is super important because on the days where it's really hard, you're not turning around your neighbor who put kids on the bus because that's what works for their family, no judgment. And she's going well, you know, it's a lot easier. The school bus comes to the corner. Put them on that. You're talking to people about the difficulties who know the bonuses of doing it and can remind you when you can't see it yourself. So I would say, you know, you need to have a community.
And I, I really, when you're starting out, I think having a plan that's doable that you can deviate from later if you want, you can add to later. I mean, we add some things that we love that we've done over the years. You know, I might change this out for something else. You can do all of that when you want to, but you have the bones, you have something to start from. So you're not just looking at a blank piece of paper going, well, that sounds great. But my kid just chucked the Lego block and someone, and I don't really know what I'm doing and I don't know if this plan is going to get me anywhere because he came up with it all in her head. There's some security of knowing, okay, Jessica picked that awesome book list. I know if I only get a few things here, I'm good. I know that Genie has set up, like we do the history plan. Her music lessons are amazing. I know very little about classical music. I was totally the person who has a kid. I liked the arts, but when it came to the symphony, I was like, this doesn't have lyrics. I'm not interested. And through from lessons, I such more appreciation now for music throughout time and what it's doing and what it's not doing, but I don't have to be a music expert. Genie’s my music expert for me. She's done it. The lessons are there. Or even if it's not the ones with the lesson, there's a playlist all ready to go and you just have to be ready to come to the table and present it. If that makes sense.
It does. It does. I love it. I love it. And yeah, I depend on these same experts too. I am certainly not an expert at any of these things. So it's really nice to have kind of those resources of the people who have done it before and do have kind of that expertise. So we absolutely love it and love all the resources that we have.
Well, Colleen, thank you so much for coming on and telling us about your Morning Time and so encouraging to moms about what it's like and why they should do it. Some really great nuggets. I think my favorite was like, you know, no curriculum is going to get the sin nature out of your child. I'm going to use that one. I'm going to, I'm going to credit it you.
It would be really nice if it did Because then I'd be like, where's the box? How much does it cost?
We could probably market that one really well, but yeah, so, so much great stuff here. And so we just really appreciate you and all the help that you give in our community. So thanks so much for joining us.
Thank you.
And there you have it. Now, if you would like links to any of the books and resources that Colleen and I chatted about today, including Jessica's wonderful book list and the delight four days challenge that I am inviting you to come and enter into. You can find those on the show notes for this episode of the podcast. That's at Pam barnhill.com/YMB119. We'll have links to everything over there for you.
And Hey, I want to say thank you so much for taking time to listen to us each week, to spend a little time with us. We really appreciate you doing that. It means so much to us that you think we are worth your time to listen to.
And we hope that your homeschool year is going to get kicked off to a great start. I know some of you have already started and some of you, it might be a little bit longer because the weather's still so nice where you are, but wherever you are on this journey, we appreciate you taking us along with you. We'll be back in a couple of weeks with another fun homeschooling interview until then keep seeking truth, goodness and beauty in your homeschool day.

Key Ideas about Overcoming Morning Time Challenges

Morning Time is a great opportunity for families to learn together, and there is usually something for everyone.

Because there are a variety of subjects touched on in Morning Time, it’s easy to find something that every child will enjoy, and they benefit from learning about each other’s interests as well.

Morning Time allows children to work on things they are not great at, also.

Colleen has seen amazing fruit in doing Morning Time together. She has seen that it not only connects her children to one another, but to their extended family as they share what they have learned with others.

One of the things Colleen has found helpful in achieving Morning Time in her home was to use the premade plans from Your Morning Basket Plus. Using those plans has allowed her to rely on the expertise of others making the resources to help her be successful.

Find what you want to hear:

  • [3:22] meet Colleen Rein
  • [12:42] meeting everyone’s needs in Morning Time
  • [16:29] overcoming Morning Time challenges
  • [26:45] ways Morning Time has positively impacted Colleen’s homeschool
  • [31:45] the fruit of Morning Time
  • [37:40] encouragement for the uncertain mom

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