YMB #20 Song, Stories, and Memories Made Together

Classical music is part of the true, good, and beautiful feast I want to spread before my children. Unfortunately, most days I am at a loss as to how to enjoy it myself. Is there more to classical music than a bunch of strings making, what sounds like to me, just noise?

How do I choose which pieces and composers to introduce? What if we don’t like a piece? Why should I even bother when my child enjoys other types of music?

In this episode of Your Morning Basket, Pam interviews Bonnie Simon, creator of Maestro Classics. Bonnie has fond memories of her parents playing the violin and cello as she went to bed, and Saturday classical music concerts on the radio. She gently explains how you can give your child found memories of classical music through stories.

By using stories and listening to classical music together, we can help our children develop a relationship with classical music that will stay with them their whole lives. Come listen and learn how to make musical memories with your children.

YMB20: Songs, Stories, And Memories Made Together: A Conversation with Bonnie Simon


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

Hi everyone, and welcome to episode 20 of the Your Morning Basket podcast. I’m Pam Barnhill, your host, and I’m so happy you’re joining me here today. Well, we have a real treat for you today. I remember about five years ago heading into my very first homeschool conference and one of the booths that I stopped by was the Maestro Classics booth. There, I think I picked up a copy of Peter and the Wolf; it’s hard for me to remember because now we have so many Maestro Classics CDs that we enjoy as a family. My children love the various titles that we have in our collection, and so I was really delighted to get to talk to Bonnie Simon today from Maestro Classics. We’re having a chat about the role of classical musical and delight in classical music and how we can introduce it to our children in Morning Time. I think you’re going to really enjoy the conversation so we’ll get right on with it.

Bonnie Simon has a deep love of classical music that started in childhood and has lasted a lifetime. She has degrees in both music and music education and has experience as a teacher, a concert producer, and as an orchestra executive. Bonnie is the former executive director of the Washington Chamber Symphony at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. where alongside her husband, Stephen, she created the Chamber Symphony Concerts for Young People series. Bonnie and Stephen went on to produce Maestro Classics Stories and Music series, CDs to help families enjoy classical music together at home. These CDs feature narrated stories such as Peter and the Wolf, Swan Lake, The Tortoise and the Hare, and even Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.

Read Full Transcript

These are accompanied by beautiful music of the symphony orchestra. Today, Bonnie continues to serve as the president of Maestro Classics and the executive producer and creative director of Stories and Music. She inspires and equips families to experience great music together. Bonnie, welcome to the program.
Bonnie: Thank you so much, Pam, it’s my pleasure to be here.
Pam: Well, I am just so excited to get to talk to you because I have to tell you that Maestro Classic CDs are a favorite here at my house.
Bonnie: Oh, that’s great to hear.
Pam: We love them. We have a number of them. We have Peter and the Wolf. We have Juanita the Spanish Lobster, which is hilarious. And we also have Swan Lake as well, so, a lot of favorites.
Bonnie: Great. Well, you have three wonderful ones and of course, there are many others that you will be able to enjoy in the future.
Pam: That’s true. Well, tell me, what were some of your own earliest experiences with classical music as a child? How did your love for music begin?
Bonnie: Well, I guess I was very lucky. When people ask me that question I always remembered going to sleep on Thursday nights because on Thursday nights my parents with friends played string quartets. My father was an English professor and my mother was a biologist but in their early 20’s they took up the violin and the cello, and being somewhat compulsive, they practiced. And so by the time I came along they were playing Mozart, Hayden, Beethoven string quartets, and on Thursday nights we would be sent to bed and they would play. I still hear these quartets and think of those moments, though those many, many decades ago, where I was introduced. But then there were other things that happened in our household. WQXR which was the New York classical music radio station had concerts that were broadcast live and I think they were on Saturday afternoons, and my parents would sit and listen to them. And we were never required to listen but we were required to be quiet. So there were real concert hall manners even though it was happening in our living room and it just wafted in and out and sometimes we’d stay a bit, sometimes we wouldn’t. And then another experience was my father, who had taken up the violin, really loved violins. Some people rescue dogs, my father rescued violins. So he had a small collection of them, and in this collection there also was a quarter sized violin. And I, of course, heard him playing and I wanted to play so I would beg him when he came home from the college to give me a violin lesson. And he very kindly did that, and those were my first violin lessons. But I think the thing that sticks with me more than anything else was our experience of family orchestra. My parents- there were four children in my family- and each of us played an instrument and on Thanksgiving after Thanksgiving dinner my father would announce, “Alright, it’s time for family orchestra to begin” and he pulled out a set of Christmas carol arrangements and we each sat down and began to play these, and between Thanksgiving and Christmas, every night after dinner, we sat down for, I don’t know, perhaps half an hour and we practiced or played together these Christmas carols and then on Christmas Day when friends and family would stop by we would play for them. And of course, at times, I guess, we rolled our eyes thinking ‘do we have to do this?’ but we have all sorely missed it in the years that have gone by when we haven’t done this sort of thing. It was just a very nice tradition that they started. So I grew up sort of feeling that everybody played an instrument, and that this was just part of life. So I was very fortunate that way.
Pam: Yes, you were. It’s amazing that your parents decided in their 20’s “we’re just going to take up playing these instruments” and they started doing it and became proficient at it even as adults. I think that’s wonderful.
Bonnie: It was quite amazing. They have discovered now in doing studies that if you want to ward off Dementia in your later years take up an instrument; seems to be very good for the brain.
Pam: I may have to add that to my ‘to do’ list then. Well, why do you think it’s important to introduce children to classical music, because some people think of classical music as kind of stuffy, so why introduce it to kids?
Bonnie: Well, I always say that classical music is just part of this wonderful landscape of music and that there are all kinds of music. My husband used to say, and I think he was actually quoting Duke Ellington, who said “There are only two kinds of music, good and bad.” And so I view classical music as being like asking your children to taste everything on their plate at dinnertime. It’s an experience that you want to offer them so that they know that it’s out there. For some of them, they’ll like it immediately. This will not be all of them jumping up and down because classical music is very complicated. And so I think that you need to be careful in how you introduce it. You need to make sure you find things that you, as a parent like, because if you don’t like it, your child won’t either. And there are a number of ways if you’re not a parent who’s had experience with classical music to go about finding things for your children. So, I’ll go into that in a minute if you’d like me to.
Pam: Oh, I’d love it.
Bonnie: It’s one of those things that you just have to say, “I’d like my children to be exposed to this because music is a very important part of life.” Just as you go to museums and you go to science fairs and things, music is one of those things. I always say there are two parts; the one part is why introduce kids and the other is to classical music? And with children it’s very interesting. At the age of 2 or 3 you have more synapses in your brain than you will ever have at any other time in your life, and your brain begins to slough off these connections if they’re not used. So, for example, if a child hears Swedish at the age of 2 or 3, they will be able to hear sounds that, as a teenager or as an adult, they will never be able to hear, and its simply because those synapses were used, those connections in the brain, suddenly they said, “OK, you can’t get rid of that one, that’s one we need” and so classical music is the same sort of thing. If you are willing to introduce it to children, the brain will already, just unconsciously is saying, “OK, we need to keep that part” and now, of course, with all of the imaging that they can do with brains, they can see this going on in people’s brains that music actually makes a different part of your brain function. So doing it young is important. They’ve done studies where parents who have taken their children to child-parent music classes between the ages of 2 and 5, where you sit there and pat your lap and you sing some little silly songs and play on a drum and it seems like good entertainment but those children at the age of 5 or 6, if they’re tested for music ability, actually consistently show that they have more musical ability. It’s almost like saying you can teach talent to exposure, which is pretty surprising. The other thing about the kids is anything they learn at an early age stays with them forever. So, a song that they learn at 5, 6, or 7 they’ll probably be able to sing when they’re 50. Childhood’s a very important time. Classical music- there are several ways you can look at it. You can be very pragmatic and say, “This is good exercise for my child’s brain” and studies have shown this is certainly true, or you can simply look at it and say, “I want my child to hear things that are beautiful and that evoke deep emotions” and classical music is one of the ways this can happen.
Pam: You know, it’s interesting you were talking about them having the synopses when they’re younger and those, kind of, firing them and having them for the rest of their lives because you expose them at a young age. We use some of the Maestro Classics which are the fun stories and the things of that nature and then also we’ve just listened to music and it’s something my kids take for granted that we do because we’ve done it ever since they were very little. So I don’t get a lot of push back or ‘Oh mom, I don’t like this’ or ‘This is too hard for me, let’s listen to this other stuff on the radio’ which they like they things on the radio but they also just take the classical music as matter of fact, too, because it’s what we’ve always listened to.
Bonnie: I think that that’s a very good thing and it’s so important and you’re doing the right thing for them. I was very surprised the other day, I have a new puppy and so we’re going to puppy kindergarten, and the dog trainer said, “Now you should put the dog in the crate two hours a day and put on classical music” and I thought, ‘My goodness!’ He said they find it very calming. And I think a lot of parents have found that a lot of classical music is calming and is nice, and if you play it all the time, and it sounds like you do and do it in the kitchen and you put it on in the car, then it’s just part of life, which I think is the best way to have it.
Pam: Well, you mentioned earlier that there are things that parents can do if they don’t have a lot of experience themselves with classical music. So what are some tips that you have for the parent who might be feeling a little bit intimidated about this entire process?
Bonnie: Well, Pam, it’s interesting because my first family concert series that we did at the Kennedy Center, the whole philosophy was we want to educate the parent with the child at the same time, and so you’ll notice on every Maestro Classic CDs they’re always are tracks that really are geared to helping the parent become what I call the instant expert. So when the conducted talks about the music, he’s really telling things to the parent as well as the child so that the parent can go back and say to the child, “Did you hear that? There was the theme that we heard in the beginning” (for example) that the child might not pick up on the first listening on that track so within Maestro Classics there’s certainly the attempt to make a parent feel comfortable in talking about classical music but then just for classical music in general it doesn’t sound like a very nice website but it’s a wonderful website, it’s called KickAssClassical.com. And they have put together 100 of the best loved pieces of classical music and they have actually been very careful to find very good recordings of each one of these, and if you go through their samples on it, so you can listen to a little bit of everything from Beethoven’s 5th to Handel’s Water Music, to something by Samuel Barber and they’ll give you a 30 or 40 second clip from it and then if you decide you want to buy that, you can go there, they have an iTunes or Amazon button you can click and it will take you right to the website. But I suggest to parents that they go to this site and they just begin to click on things and listen to them and when they get to something they like, that seems to speak to them, then they should spend $1.00 and buy the track and listen to it. And in fact, I often say if you have teenagers give them a budget of $1.00 a week and say, “Go on this site and find anything that you like,” and I guarantee that you will find something. And for some people it will be something bombastic and loud like Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture or you may find something like Barber’s Adacio which is overwhelmingly sad and tragic, or you may find the beginning of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, and that may be something where you say, “Oh, I’ve heard that before, I wonder what a little more of it sounds like.” So as a one-stop shopping, that’s one place that I would begin. As far as younger children are concerned, I always say anything with stories is good. So there are, of course, Maestro Classics Stories and Music series but Susan Hammond created Classical Kids and she was the first person in the late 80’s to first want to introduce kids to classical music through stories, and she did a Mr. Bach comes to Call CD and a Mr. Beethoven Lives Upstairs and now there are about 10 or 12 of those that are out there, all of which are wonderful and great ways to introduce kids to classical music, and parents at the same time.
Pam: I love the way that you focus on delight. The most important thing as your criteria for choosing something to listen to is that you like it. I just love that.
Bonnie: That’s so important. I remember my husband, the conductor, saying, “If you don’t feel better when you leave my concert than you did when you walked in, you should have stayed home and taken a nap.” And I think that’s something that we forget with classical music. It is something to delight in. Now, the delighting isn’t always laughing out loud. It may be just something that’s extremely beautiful. But music is entertainment and classical music was created to be entertainment. So, you really need to think about enjoying it and perhaps if you’re not enjoying it, maybe you just haven’t found the right piece or the right performance for you at that time.
Pam: With Maestro Classics you talk about families making new musical memories together. What do you mean by that and why is it important?
Bonnie: I think music, which in a way is the most abstract of all art forms, you hear it and then it’s gone, it’s just gone so it remains only in your head, but music is like smells. Have you ever walked into a place and said, “This smells like my grandmother’s house!” and suddenly all of those memories flood back and music has the same kind of power that you can hear something and you can remember it and the whole experience of that comes back and for the child, the child will remember sitting with the parent when he’s 40 years old, when he has his own children or she has her own children. Those childhood memories and everything that surrounds them will somehow return and you, as the parent, will know you will still be there. You may not be with us physically but you will be with that child of yours that you spent that time with listening together. And of course, family time is important to try to preserve at this point in time where everybody has multiple TVs and now we have iPads and cell phones. There’s a tendency for everyone to go his own way and seek their own entertainment and I feel that kids often miss a great deal by not, sort of as opposed to going outward turning back in to have shared memories with family because it’s not just listening together, it will be the other things that happen when you talk about the music, or when you listen again, or when you say, “Oh yes, I remember- the first time I heard that weren’t we in the car going to Boston?” or something like that.
Pam: So music is a huge part of that shared family culture that you’ll have, that you’ll remember, even as you age and the kids leave home and have their own children.
Bonnie: Absolutely, yes.
Pam: Tell me a little bit about how the stories in music CDs are structured and how we might use them in our Morning Time in our home schools.
Bonnie: I guess that I would begin first with an overarching theme that says, “Don’t view music as a subject, but rather view it as educational entertainment.” So if you take, for example, the Mike Mulligan CD, you have a story with music, that’s something which you should simply listen to with your child and you may find your child wants to listen to it over and over. I actually had a parent come up to me at a home school conference and say, “I have to buy another one of these CDs. My son actually listened to it so many times that he wore it out.” So, that should just be step 1. Then you will discover that your 2 or 3 year old may just sit there and listen to the music. He may not understand the story. Your 5, 6, 7 year old will certainly understand the story. And I would stop there if it’s the morning. And then, the next day, or maybe after you listen to it a couple of times, I would go to track three where there’s the Mike Mulligan song and it’s a new song to listen to, it’s something that is based on the music that you heard in the original story. And then if you find you have a child who you need to take a break from math or something and you’re working say, with more than one child, you can take your older child and say, “Go to the Maestro Classics website, click on Mike Mulligan, go to Math,” and when he clicks there he’ll find a whole range of math activities that center around Mike Mulligan and his adventures; how many men would it take to dig this hole if it took a steam shovel so many days? That kind of thing. Then you can listen to the track which is always about the composer of the story, which is more of a history lesson. It’s trying to surround what you’ve heard with some context, so if you’re listening to the Handel CD, you learn about King George and you learn about the fact Handel may have been a spy. It’s sort of makes the story more whole and more rounded, and then you listen to what the conductor has to say about it, probably on another day. First he begins by telling you why he chose the bagpipes to be the solo instrument in the orchestra. And then he tells you want he was thinking about when he it was being composed and why he chose certain songs to weave into the music and how that has a special name in music. So you begin to learn a little bit about having a musical vocabulary and learning that music doesn’t just come out of a composer like sausage comes out of the machine. But actually there’s a lot of structure and a lot that a composer is thinking about when he’s creating the music, and then you’re almost always invited to listen again to the stories sometimes with the narration and sometimes without the narration. And I like particularly the ones without the narration because it gives children a chance to form their own pictures in their minds and they are discovering that children increasingly having difficulties in creating their own pictures in their imaginations because they’re fed so much video so this is a chance for a child to really just explore their own imaginations as they’re thinking about this. And then finally, there is almost always a play-along, or sing-along, or dance-along track because kids should interact with music. That’s part of the fun of music. So, they are meant to be listened to over time, over many ages, in many parts, and you can put it on in the car and listen to the full hour- everything, or you can have it just as part of your Morning Time as a sort of a delightful interlude and you’ll be surprised at what they know at the end of it. I’ve had parents come up and say, “I couldn’t believe it. My daughter heard something on the radio and she said, “That’s Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake,”” and of course, she was thrilled to have this. And the idea is that children, if they’re exposed in this way, as they get older I always say, “If you have a child who is at Harvard and a friend says, ‘Someone gave me tickets to the Boston Symphony, do you want to come with me tonight?’ the child knows enough to say, ‘What’s on the program?’ and they say, ‘Oh well, Handel’s Water Music is on, and something-and-something,’ and they’ll say, ‘OK, I know what that is, I can do that.’ It’s just part of a general well-rounded education.
Pam: Oh, I love that there’s multiple reasons to listen to the piece again and again and again. You have a little bit of history, you have a little bit of lets move and dance, you have now let’s learn about the music itself, and so there’s all of these different reasons in there to unpack, like an onion, to peel away all of the pieces to this music and enjoy it. And so, I love that.
Bonnie: Right. And the idea is that both the child and the parent, although the parent when they listen to it the first or second time, will of course get everything and the child as he listens to whatever she listens to it over time will discover how much more they get out of it after either they have gotten a little older or after they’ve listened to it more. Part of the beauty of classical music is that it’s like a good book or a good painting. You can go back to it over and over again, over a span of years, really a lifetime, and as you re-read a book, a second time maybe 10 years later, you see so much more than you did the last time. And it’s the same way visiting a great painting- you go back and you just see other things and classical music is the same way.
Pam: Let’s talk about the role of story. So what you have done in many of your Maestro Classics is match them up. Some are overtly done like with Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel or Casey at the Bat, and even Peter and the Wolf, there’s the story of Peter and the grandfather and all the birds and the wolf but how are you tying, why is it important for you to tie story to all of these different pieces of classical music? What role do you think story plays?
Bonnie: Well, each of these pieces of music that’s chosen is really, almost what’s called a tone poem. The music is supposed to tell its own story but it’s very difficult for a young person to understand the story. So, for example, when the Merry Pranks of Master Till this is Tillwood and Spiegel by Schaus and it is one of the great tone poems in all of classical musical but it was written for German children and German children all knew the stories of the naughty boy named Till. But American children don’t know that so if you don’t tell them the story they’re not going to know that there is humor in the music and that music is making fun at times and that there are jokes in the music so having a narration with it is really like having a guide that takes their hand and takes them through the music. Something like Swan Lake was written as a ballet but, of course, it’s a story ballet. So the story is embedded in the music but a young person listening to that wouldn’t know if somebody wasn’t telling them the story as the music went along.
Pam: So, do you think the story adds to the richness of the music for the kids?
Bonnie: Absolutely. Everyone loves story but particularly children love stories. So, on the first level, when many children listen to these, maybe it’s just the story that they hear the first time through and maybe it won’t be until the second or third time that they listen that they’re going to begin to really hear the music and over time they will hear more and more of the music and then, in a case like Merry Pranks of Master Till there is a track that just has the original music without any narration and they’ll listen to that and they will get it. And that’s, of course, what you want. You want them to feel that they have ownership of this music because then they have it forever and then it’s theirs. And of course, when you own something it means more to you than if it’s passing you by.
Pam: Well, I tell you, the Peter and the Wolf story just absolutely delighted my children and I. We did it a couple of years ago and I have these great fond memories of them tip-toeing around the room and being sneaky and being quick- the different sounds of the instruments in there were the different characters and so they were playing those animals based on those sounds. It’s a fun memory.
Bonnie: It is a perfect piece. Peter and the Wolf was set in the late 30’s by Prokofiev who decided that this really was the way to introduce children to classical music. And he had children of his own so he really knew this. And I say no child should grow up without knowing Peter and the Wolf. It is the great classic. So when people come to a homeschool fair and we’re standing there in front of a dozen CDs and they say, “Which should I have?” And I say, “If you can only buy one CD I would buy Peter and the Wolf because your child should grow up with it.” So, I’m delighted to hear that your kids enjoyed it so much.
Pam: They did. Well, have you ever had the experience of seeing a child respond to or connect with a particular piece of music in a way that you weren’t expecting?
Bonnie: Oh yes! The first one was with my own son, Basil, whom I did not allow to watch any TV for his first couple of years and then some friends said, “You are raising a freak, you have to expose him to some things.” And they gave me a video (a VHS tape in those days) of The Red Balloon which is the great French movie which has no talking and only video and music and so he watched that about 200 times and I thought, ‘OK, enough of this, we have to move on,’ and so I got him The Nutcracker video. And so he watched that, again, hundreds of times it felt like, and so I thought, ‘Enough of this, we’re going to finish the ballet craze now once and for all. I will buy him Swan Lake. For sure, Swan Lake will not appeal to him.’ He looked at Swan Lake and he thought it was wonderful, and so he listened to that hundreds of time and continued to enjoy music. In fact, he’s in the music business now. But the other really funny one was several years and I was sitting next to my younger son, who’s in engineering, and he was not the one who got all the music genes like his older brother did, and we were at one of Stephen’s concerts and the Barber’s odacio for strings began to be played and he could barely sit still in his seat. And he said, “Mom! Mom! I didn’t know that that was a piece of classical music.” It was something he had heard in movies and probably in the video game or something and suddenly now it was on the stage being performed by his father and his father’s orchestra and it just took on a whole new meaning for him. So, you never know where these things will come up and some kids just hear music and you wouldn’t ever expect it, but they’re the ones who get up and dance, and some kids are the ones who pick up a drum when they hear asuza march and it’s the beautiful little girl who loves ballet lessons and suddenly that moves her. So you don’t know what music will bring out in your child.
Pam: So we just have to reach for that exposure?
Bonnie: That’s right and watch.
Pam: Well, besides listening to Maestro Classic CDs what are some other enjoyable ways families can experience classical music together, maybe outside of our Morning Time?
Bonnie: Well, the first concert experience I always suggest is an outdoor concert. And it can be an orchestra concert if you’re lucky enough to live near one of the great Tanglewood or Saratoga Springs where major orchestra give orchestra concerts or free concerts in parks, Central Park- the New York Philharmonic gives concerts, or if it’s the town band, the local town band. But outdoor concerts are great places because it’s OK to whisper and if you have a young child it’s ok to bounce up and down and perhaps even walk around the picnic blanket with you, so it’s a very stress-free environment to listen to music. I think concert hall family concerts are great but I caution all parents, I say respect the age suggestions when they say 5 and over. You need to understand that that orchestra wants to sell every seat it possibly can and when it says 5, it really does mean 5 and if you bring your extremely bright 3 year old they’re going to have a tough time, probably, and you don’t want to do that. You want the experience to be a good one. The other piece of advice that I often give is sometimes you will buy tickets to something and you will just know your child has had enough at intermission, and you will not have. You will want to go back for the second half, but you should, at that moment, say ‘We’ve had enough for him, and if I leave now it’s going to be a great experience, and if I make this child sit through the second half they’re not going to want to come with me again,’ so you want greatness in child size portions and you need to respect the fact that children do appreciate greatness but they can’t sit as long as you can.
Pam: So you definitely want to stop while everything is still good.
Bonnie: Yes, that’s exactly right, Pam.
Pam: Well, Bonnie, thank you so much for joining me here today and talking to us about classical music and story and just how we can bring this into and enrich our lives. Could you tell everyone where they can find you online?
Bonnie: They can find us on MaestroClassics (I always say, don’t be embarrassed many people have problems spelling Maestro) MaestroClassics.com and on the website I encourage you to explore because we have free curriculum guides that link every CD to every subject in your curriculum, and we’re very careful about testing all of the links and making sure they’re safe so you can put a child on there and say, “Explore and enjoy these things,” and offers you many activities that you can use if you want to build around the story or the CD that you’re listening to. They’re also a group of articles that are interesting for parents who want to know a little more about introducing your child to music.
Pam: Great. And then the music is available there as well and it’s available on CD and then it’s also available as mp3 downloads as well.
Bonnie: That’s right. It’s also available on Amazon should you want to go that quick and easy route. But most of all, Pam, I want to thank you for having me and thank you for sharing the importance of music with your audience because I think it’s a very joyful thing that we need to spread the word about and you’re being wonderful in doing it.
Pam: Oh, I agree. Well, thank you.
Bonnie: Thank you.
Pam: And there you have it. Now, the Basket Bonus for today’s episode is Bonnie’s quick guide to introducing your children to classical music. On there you’ll find some questions you can ask yourself and some developmentally appropriate activities that you can do with your kids at various ages to start building that love for music that we want to have, in our kids, in our homes, in our Morning Time. So you can find that in the Show Notes for this episode of the podcast along with all of the links and resources that Bonnie and I chatted about today, including the link to the Maestro Classics website. And you can find that at EDSnapshots.com/YMB20. Now also in those Show Notes you can find instructions for how to leave a rating or review for the Your Morning Basket podcast on iTunes. The ratings and reviews you leave on iTunes help us get word out about the podcast to other listeners. And we really appreciate everyone who has taken the time to do that for us. We’ll be back again in a couple of weeks with another great interview, some more information to help you build your Morning Time, and until then, keep seeking Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in your homeschool day.

Key Ideas about Classical Music in Your Morning Time

  • Good music is an integral part of a rich life. Listening to classical music is an experience we can offer to our children through gentle exposure over time.
  • Music can have deep connections to memory, emotion, and relationships. Music needn’t be just another school subject, but can be viewed instead as “educational entertainment.” We should find musical pieces we enjoy and listen to them together, creating lasting memories and a shared family culture.
  • Music and story go hand in hand. It can be difficult for young or inexperienced listeners to “hear” on their own the story that the music is telling, but listeners of all ages can enjoy classical pieces paired with story narrations.

Find what you want to hear:

  • [3:05] Bonnie’s earliest experiences with music
  • [6:42] why classical music?
  • [8:23] exposure to music in early childhood creates lasting connections in the brain
  • [12:07] tips for parents who have little musical background
  • [16:55] musical memories
  • [18:59] how the Maestro Classics cds are structured and steps for using them
  • [25:10] the role of story in music
  • [31:31] more ways for families to enjoy music together; tips for attending concerts with kids

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Thanks for your reviews

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

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

  • Life Affirming
    by Logandinco66 from United States

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

  • Life giving!
    by lapatita5 from United States

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

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

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

  • Love the show!
    by Startup Travis from United States

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

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

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

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

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

  • Always insightful!!
    by method_money from Canada

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

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

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

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

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

  • Great!!!
    by Eloblah from United States

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

  • New home schooling mom
    by A prit from United States

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

  • Morning Time Magic!
    by DrewSteadman from United States

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

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

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

  • So excited for 2020!
    by JCrutchf from United States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Super Helpful!
    by Jennlee C from United States

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

  • Practical Inspiration
    by Mamato3activeboys from Australia

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

  • So many great ideas!
    by Parent 98765 from Malaysia

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

  • Joy
    by Ancon76 from United States

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

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

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

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

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

  • Love it!
    by s chenvmv from United States

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

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

    Love this!

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

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

  • Wonderful resource!
    by honebubble from United States

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

  • A wonderful podcast!
    by NoName2018 from Canada

    Great ideas and interesting guests - thanks Pam!!

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

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

  • Such great choices of guests
    by andinic from United Kingdom

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

  • Great
    by WifeyKayla from United States

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

  • Interesting ideas
    by Lisa1932 from Canada

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

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

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

  • Excellent!
    by Jodylleigh from United States

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

  • Truly an inspiration!
    by Soaring2him from United States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Thanks Pam!
    by BraveMomma from United States

    So many great ideas every single week! Thanks!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Hope for the weary
    by MomToTheMasses from United States

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

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

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

  • Mamma of Five
    by Mamma of Five from United States

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

  • Great Homeschool Resource
    by KS Becky R from United States

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

  • Really great!
    by BeeGerW from United States

    I love hearing all these ideas!

  • californiafamily
    by californiafamily from United States

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

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

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

  • First Things First
    by Lukenoah from United States

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

  • So helpful!
    by jofcrich from Australia

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

  • Great resource
    by Ejs0928 from United States

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

  • Amazing!
    by CDefnall from United States

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

  • Inspiring and enlightening
    by spycej from United States

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

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

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

  • One of my favorites
    by FaithAZ from United States

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

  • Great Ideas
    by Hiphooray from United States

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

  • TaraVos
    by TaraVos from United States

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

  • Lots of useful information
    by Kristizy from United States

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

  • <3!!!
    by Momo35556 from United States

    I love this podcast! So helpful and encouraging.

  • Lovely & Inspiring
    by kashley75 from United States

    Thank you so much for this podcast!

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • So Helpful!
    by KGMom2Four from United States

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

  • A Lovely Show!
    by Webseitler from United States

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

  • Awesome homeschooling resource!
    by Liddleladie81 from United States

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

  • Great hosts!
    by Homeschool_chat from United States

    I always look forward to this podcast!

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

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

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

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

  • Awesome!
    by Apples20091 from United States

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

  • Encouraging and Motivating!
    by Cat11223 from United States

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

  • So many ideas!
    by Speterson781 from United States

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

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

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

  • Perfect for the Homeschool Mom
    by JoshJamie from United States

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

  • SongsofJubilee
    by SongsofJubilee from United States

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

  • Love it!
    by Ekrasovec7 from United States

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

  • So encouraging!
    by A Merry Heart from United States

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

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

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

  • Refreshing
    by Bless-Us-3 from Canada

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

  • So helpful and inspiring!
    by KSR1 from United States

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

  • Inspiring
    by Jaranda98 from United States

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

  • An inspiring and encouraging podcast
    by Kellibird1111 from United States

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

  • Honey for the Homeschooling Heart
    by SuperNOVAmom from United States

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

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

    These podcasts helped transform our homeschooling!

  • Great parenting resource
    by sullivanjessicak from United States

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

  • Thank you!
    by Nasiatel from United States

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

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

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

  • Top Notch
    by Wvshaddox from United States

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

  • Great Morning Time tips!
    by redhedcatie from United States

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

  • So Inspiring!
    by Frau Linds from United States

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

  • Wonderful!
    by Kellybireta from United States

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

  • Excellent practical advise!
    by Foxycook from United States

    Really enjoying this so far!

  • Very encouraging!
    by WMGardener from United States

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

  • A great resource!
    by gejake from United States

    Very inspiring and informative as I begin my homeschooling journey

  • Love This Podcast
    by Earthmuffins from United States

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

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

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

  • Great Podcast!
    by Greggtrisha from United States

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

  • Treasure
    by TasmanianBec from Australia

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

  • Jeannie in Ohio
    by Jeannie in Ohio from United States

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

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

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

  • Excellent Host
    by meghanlou from United States

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

  • Helpful and fun!
    by HornGal88 from United States

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

  • LOVE IT!
    by sassercj from United States

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

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

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

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

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

  • What’s important
    by sncstraub from United States

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

  • New listener and hooked!
    by Bytesofmemory from United States

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

  • Great!
    by Wvshaddox from United States

    Encouragement for homeschool.

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

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

  • Encouraging and informative!
    by sarahdempsen from United States

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

  • A great resource!
    by Bookgirl630 from United States

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

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

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

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

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

  • Timely
    by AggieRudy3 from United States

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

  • Thanks!
    by heyh2 from United States

    Thanks for the new podcast. Loving it!

  • Wonderful podcast with practical advice
    by Victorzvaliant from United States

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

  • Changed our Homeschool Morning routine
    by HeatherinSC from United States

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

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

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

  • Inspiring and Uplifting
    by vabjohnson from United States

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

  • Bringing Joy
    by Louisiana Mommy T from United States

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

  • Great podcast!
    by corew50 from United States

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

  • Inspiring, yet practical
    by mamato3cs from United States

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

  • Super Helpful & Encouraging
    by Sanibel4ever from United States

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

  • Great Poscast
    by Sarah B R from United States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Inspiring and refreshing!
    by BugTurner from United States

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

  • Brilliant
    by SHTirm from United Kingdom

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

  • Excellent!
    by RC5476 from United States

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

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

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

  • Inspiring!
    by Mamato8 from United States

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

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

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

  • Wonderful
    by BGTwinsMom from United States

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

  • So Inspiring!
    by bethenyn from United States

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

  • Inspiring and thought provoking!
    by Pascualamb from United States

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

  • Affirming & helpful
    by BOLDturquoise from United States

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

  • Inspiring
    by Amongst Lovely Things from United States

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

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

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

  • Your Morning Basket
    by inakamama from Australia

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

  • Helpful & inspiring!
    by starlingsfive from United States

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



  • Sarah M says:

    Our family have been Maestro Classics fans for YEARS! I can’t remember where we heard about them, but we have collected 7 or 8 cds from them over the last number of years and my kids (7 and 9) still love to listen to them. I’m happy to also see them at our local library so other kids can enjoy them. 🙂

  • Heidi says:

    I have all the MC CDs (I grabbed them all when they offered a huge military discount a few months ago). But I have to point out that instead of doing Bonnie’s suggestion of buying $1 a week of KickAss Classics, just buy the whole album on Amazon for $5.99!!! And there’s a Halloween album for $6.99!!

  • Emma says:

    This was so wonderful and inspirational to listen to. Such great ideas. Thank you Bonnie and Pam.

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