YMB #116 Summer Reading and Morning Time: A Match Made in Homeschool

Summer is for fun and what is more fun than a summer reading program and Morning Time. In this episode Pam and member success manager Laney Homan talk about the Traveling Through the Pages FREE summer reading program that encourages your kids to stretch outside their comfort zones and read widely this summer. Laney gives a number of great ideas of how to use the program and the accompanying Morning Time plans. Don’t miss this practical episode.

Pam:

And that’s one thing I’ll say about the Summer Reading Program for us. I use it as structure for my kids and they don’t really recognize it as such. It is something other than school for them. So they get really excited about it because they are like, we’re on summer break. We don’t do school in the summer, but they get really excited about this. And I’m like, it’s kind of like sneaky learning, I guess.

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

Hi everyone. And welcome to episode 116 of the Your Morning Basket podcast. I’m Pam Barnhill, your host. And I’m so happy that you’re joining me here today will every summer for the past five or maybe even six years, we have done the summer reading program here pambarnhill.com. And we have always had a free packet of reading materials, summer reading materials that you could download for your kids. We have about three different versions that we trade out every single year. And this year we’re actually doing our original set, the traveling through the pages Summer Reading Adventure. And you can find that at Pambarnhill.com/read.

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Now also along with our summer reading program, we have our Summer Adventure Morning Time Plans. And this is a small four week set of plans. When you download the free summer reading adventure, you get a special offer on this set of Morning Time plans. If you want to take us up on it. And it's a great way to get your feet wet and check out what a pre-made set of Morning Time plans is all about. Totally up to you. If you want to check those out or not, but we do think you will enjoy them.
Now I've got our member success manager, Laney homerun with me on the podcast today. Laney is a mom of eight kids from young adult all the way down to first grader. And she's going to be talking about the different ways that she has used not only the summer reading program in the past years, but also the Morning Time plans. And she's just got some really creative ways that she has made these things work as tools for her in the summer to get various goals accomplished, to do various things with her kids. And so she's used them in different ways in different years. So this is a really fun conversation. Laney's got a lot of great ideas to share with us and now on with the podcast.
Hey everyone. And Welcome. I am joined today by the Your Morning Basket plus member's success manager. Miss Laney Homan a mom of eight kids. Laney, how old are they now? Oh, gosh, let's see. My oldest just turned 23 in January two months ago and my youngest is six. She'll be seven this summer. So I have 23, 21, 18, 15 than I have 11…
And a few more down to six.
I can't even remember their ages, fifth grade 10 and then eight and almost seven this summer. So it's crazy.
Yeah. Yeah, it is. It sounds like it. So, but everybody is first grade or above at this point. And so you're like the perfect mom to talk to about summer reading, which is what we're going to be talking about today. We wanted to talk a little bit about the summer reading programs that we have here at Your Morning Basket plus, and then the Morning Time plans that go along with them and let Laney talk a little bit about how she uses them in her big family to add in a little summer reading time. Cause I have to say, you know, now that my youngest is 12. This is not something we do anymore. You know, I don't get to say let's do fun summer reading, but Laney is still doing it. So hence, we have her on.
But yeah, so I wanted to start out by just telling everybody a little bit about the summer reading program and how it got started. And it really got started with a dissatisfaction that Jessica who writes our Morning Time plans that she had with our local library, summer reading program, she thought it, the one that our library was using, I think they do like the national ones, was a little bit silly and wasn't really encouraging kids to, well, she wanted something that would encourage kids to read outside of their normal genre because she had kids who were readers. Right? But they, they would get stuck in ruts and they would read just one thing.
So they would like get stuck reading like all adventure books or all mystery books or all books about dogs. I don't know if you ever had anything like that where like your kids just wanted to read about one topic all the time, but that was happening. And she really wanted to encourage her kids to read more widely. And so we came up with this summer reading program goodness, I think back in 2017 was the first year we did it. And the main purpose was to encourage kids to read widely. Laney, do you remember the first time you guys ever did one of the summer reading programs?
I don't remember what year it was. It just kind of, sometimes those years just all blurred together, but I know it's probably been about that time 2017.
Cause I feel like it's probably been about five years ago. I know we've used these plans several times because you have several sets and we've kind of rotated through some of those sets with my kids. So we haven't used them every single year. So I think it probably was about five years ago that we first started using these plans because I had more little ones that couldn't read and some of my older kids were the ones that were using them at the time.
Yeah. Yeah. So this original set of plans, what we called it and that's, this is the one. So we rotate through. So we have this set, we have our Enchanted Journey set, which is a little more fairytale and fantasy based. And then we have our race across space, which is a little more science and technology based. And then this first set, this is the one we're featuring this summer because we rotate through this first set. We called Traveling Through the Pages, a Summer Reading Adventure. And so this one was more generic in kind of the topic, but it really did the, we really stayed true to that purpose of trying to get kids to experience a lot of different things. And so the Morning Time plans that actually go along with this set are very much geared towards that as well. And so it comes with a passport.
So the summer reading program, which is absolutely free on the website and you can get that by going to Pambarnhill.com/read, it comes with a reading passport that has just a bunch of different ideas in there for your kids to do.
And so just to give you a couple of those ideas. So it has like read a book about a girl your age, and then of course read a book about a boy your age, read a fairy tale, read a book about animals, read a book about insects, read a biography, read a science experiment book and do an experiment.
And I think there's even, I'm looking read a craft book and do a craft on here. And so we really did try to get them reading all different kinds of books using this fun reading passport that they could, they could mark off. So do you remember doing this one with your kids?
Yes, I do. And one of the things I really love about it is sometimes when I go to our local library, my kids do migrate to sections of books that are character driven sometimes or just kind of stuff that is a little less interesting to me, for sure. And I love the way that it gets them searching the shelves in different sections, even as I'm trying to kind of let them pick out some of their own books, but they're not, they're not always going to the same little section or little book shelf in the library.
And so it kind of gets them in some ways, finding the books for the different categories, functions like a little scavenger hunt for them. And it really gets them to kind of broaden their search of like, oh, and that my kids are super driven by the whole like bingo type thing that you give them a checklist and tell them that, you know, check all of these things off and then they're like really, really motivated to do that. So it encourages them to really look beyond their typical comfort books, I guess.
Yeah. And one of the things I love about the way the categories are set up here is that first of all, when it says, read book about insects, it doesn't say that it has to be fiction or nonfiction.
So they still have, even though they might never choose a book about insects to read, they still have the freedom to either choose like James and the Giant Peach, which obviously would count as a book about insects. You know, because you have all these bugs in this giant peach or they could go to a DK book that is very specifically nonfiction about insects.
So even though we are trying to stretch them into different directions with their reading, it still gives them some freedom to be able to pick and choose. And then I love that you mentioned kind of the motivation by the checklist thing. The other thing I really love about the passport is because it's not a bingo thing that, you know, there's nothing that says they have to fill in every single square on here.
It's a passport, you know, and yeah, you don't necessarily get a stamp from every country in the world on your passport. You know, you just go to the ones you want to go to. And so I think that's something that's really fun in here, but it, it is motivation for those kids who love that kind of thing. But then it's also fairly low pressure for the kids who might look at a game board or something like that or a checklist. And think oh, I've got to do all of these things. Yeah, no, I agree with that. It is definitely low pressure and that, I mean, that's one of the things that we, we tend to do. I kind of, I introduced this to my kids at the beginning of the summer is we're kind of winding down school, but I want them to keep reading. And our, you know, our summer really does focus a lot on the reading and we drop most of our other school stuff, but it lets them kind of have something that they can then have the, I'm trying to think of the right word, but where they get to choose, you know, it gives it, it gives them a little bit more freedom of choice and what they want to do for the summer. And yeah, maybe that's a good word is, is ownership of how they want to. So they know they have to read and this gives them a lot of ideas and helps them to think outside the box and encourages them to kind of seek out newer things, but they're getting to choose. And so it's not super high pressure around here. We let them, you know, if they want to do it great. And it's not like a forced thing in our home, but usually they're so excited about the, and they love the fun graphics and things like that. So if the kid, you know, one, kid's getting their passport stamped, well that's challenge to the other kids sometimes that helps them motivate each other. And, and they, they really enjoy that aspect of being able to choose and they get to choose books through the school year. Sure. But then they're, they're assigned so many more things as they're independent readers. And so they have a little bit less time. So while I want them to keep reading, I think they really like that freedom.
Okay. So you were telling me about how you use this as a unique strategy to get more time with your little ones. So share that because I think some other, some other moms might be interested in that one. So our homeschool has a really wide variety of ages.
And throughout the school year, sometimes it's really difficult to feel like I'm giving the attention to the younger ones that I want them to have for maybe that one-on-one independent reading time, like with mom not independent reading time, but just that, that those individual lessons, I guess, and my older kids, I spend a lot of time doing school with, I have high school all the way down through elementary school and have had for years.
So in the summertime, as we wrap up our schooling at the end of May, usually in the summertime, I don't have lessons with my older kids for the summer. And so high schoolers, if they want to keep working on particular classes, they usually choose something that's fairly independent. And my time as mom has really freed up quite a bit in the summer.
So I take that opportunity to really hone in on my younger kids and we actually kind of increase their school load, but it's viewed as a special time with mom. They get this one-on-one time with mom and we have enough time in our day that I can devote that to them on a daily basis rather than kind of hit and miss throughout the week. Whenever they're part of the mix of everybody else's schooling.
And they participate in a lot of the things that we do throughout the school year, but in the summertime that’s special time, because they get to work more closely with just mom on a consistent basis because I have more capacity and more time to offer them for that. So we really hit their reading lessons hard in the summer, and that is exciting to them as they get to kind of experience this.
And we use the summer reading program as a motivational tool sometimes to get them excited about it. But while I'm having those focus lessons with my little kids, my older kids can be a little bit more independent. And like we just talked about, they get really excited about kind of expanding what they're doing and having a lot of freedom and autonomy for choosing what they're reading and not feeling like it's like, okay, same routine. We have to come in and sit down for school every day. But it's a win-win for me because my little kids get the mom time where they get the one-on-one focus. And then the older kids use the summer reading program at the same time to kind of have their independent reading times.
I love that. I love that, you know, it's enough. The reading program is enough structure that you feel like it's something that your older kids can do. Like it, it keeps that upper elementary, lower middle school group busy so that you can work with those little ones, but then it's also enough freedom and flexibility that they still consider it fun and exciting and want to do it. So I love how you use that as a tool to, to carve out that time, to work with those little ones. And I think the idea of if you are a mom with a large family and you have little ones that you feel like are maybe not getting the consistent attention throughout the school year, I love the idea of like spending a little bit of extra time with them in the summer. I think that's a really smart idea for doing that. So I love it.
Okay. So in the summer reading program, there is that passport that we've mentioned a couple of times. There's certificate. There are some bookmarks, another page that's really interesting to me that I have often thought I've never done it, but I need to do this. That it's the reading bucket list. Have you ever used that one and where it has all the different places that you could read?
Cause I've often thought I need to do that myself. I have one child who really liked the reading bucket list. He was really just kind of enamored by that. And I think there were, there were some of them like, oh gosh, it's been awhile and I don't have it in front of me, but I think there was one that was like, like reading in your bed with a flashlight or something like that. You know? And so I have, I have kids who have maybe gotten into a little trouble for that in the past because they do it, you know, when they're staying up late and I'm like, no, you've got to actually get some rest. And so it was fun because it was like almost permission to do some of those things during the summertime or they have, like I said, we have a much more laid back schedule in the summer. And so that's one thing I'll say about the summer reading program for us. I use it as structure for my kids and they don't really recognize it as such. It is something other than school for them. So they get really excited about it because they are like, we're on summer break. We don't do school in the summer, but they get really excited about this. And I'm like, it's kind of like sneaky learning, I guess, because they, they do kind of have this structure, but I have found that using the summer reading programs really just gives them a lot of self motivation because they're excited about trying to, like you said, whether it's checking things off or, and some of the other ones, there's like a map to color as they read certain things in this one, you know, getting their passport stamped, they have opportunities to do things that they feel and they're working towards the reward. You have the little reward coupons.
Okay. Well, let's, let's talk about those because I know rewarding reading can be a little bit controversial. We actually call them Celebrate Reading coupons.
Yeah. That's a, that's definitely a better term.
So do you, how do you do, how do you manage those in your house?
I try to limit them, honestly, my kids, when they have something like a celebration or a reward, they like work aggressively towards that. And it sort of loses the laid back feel. That's just a personality thing for my kids. And so then it becomes like this. Sometimes it has become a high stress thing where I have a kid who's like, I have to read more because I have to get, and I'm like, no, that's not, we're not, it's supposed to be kind of a gentle thing.
So I have a story for you real quick. Okay. So this is funny and I'm, I'm not going to say which kid, because I don't want to embarrass her. But one year Sarah Makenzie sends me a voice message. And she said, I need you to get on here, so we use Voxer, which is a walkie-talkie app. And she says, I need you to get on here and leave a message and tell this child that they don't have to finish the summer reading program by a certain date that you created it. And they get to pick their end date because she had one particular child who was a little stressed out over the fact that the summer reading program was not going to be finished by the time that that child felt the summer reading program should be finished. So I actually did. I actually left a Voxer message and said, you get to choose when summer is over. Right. It doesn't like it doesn't have to be, I think it was like they were going back to school right after labor day. And I made mention of the fact, you know, like technically fall, doesn't start until September 23rd. So it's not just your kids.
Well, I have, you know, some of my kids are not that they're not that intensely motivated about meeting deadlines, but some of them really do kind of latch onto that. I have this to do, and it must be done. I'm like, when you start stressing out about that, then you stress mama because you're asking all the time about things.
So that kind of bringing them back to the celebration thing. I tend to try to do group success with the kids. So they have to individually earn their little celebration things, but usually whatever our reward is, is something that we're all going to do together. So we kind of all earn it together and it, we, it's a family culture type thing that they're going to work together they're going to encourage each other to do it, but they know like this isn't going to happen until X date. And it's not real hard and fast, like, oh, the ten-year-old didn't finish. So they're not going to participate, but I'll try to set up something like, Hey, when we meet this goal, you know, maybe we'll go to the zoo. Or in our state last year we had this summer passport where you could get into museums and zoos and different like children's discovery centers across our state for free.
And so we would choose like one of the destination events that we could do for free from that passport app that we had. And then that would kind of guide our like celebration type things. Like, Hey, when we accomplish these things, then we'll go. So it's not necessarily, if you don't do it, you don't get the prize. But, it's one of the ways that I kind of try to get them to work together. And then they have more of that like family culture, where they're all excited about something, rather than making it a competition between them. I don't need anything in my world that helps to create competition between my children or promote any kind of extra sibling conflict. So that's why we do that. They have plenty of opportunities for competition and other areas.
Yeah. Well, in, in the way we created it with the, there's a page full of celebrate reading tickets inside the summer reading program, and they all have a box underneath. They all have a blank box and you get to write in what is good for your family, what you're willing to do.
So it's not like we've predetermined the prizes to be like a PlayStation 3 or, you know, ice cream or whatever. Like it's. So if your family doesn't do ice cream, you can put, you know, granola, crunchies, or whatever you want to in there. You know, if you don't play PlayStation. So the things we suggest are like going to buy, you know, going to the bookstore to get a new book, like dinner out like a book club meeting with mom or dad to discuss the book or going bowling as a family or something like that, you know, kids bowl free happens in the summertime. So that's, that was always one of my favorite like summer activities to award my kids with with going bowling because they were bowling free and they didn't even know it.
So you write what you want in there. And we actually made the boxes, just the right size for some little scratch off stickers that you can get from Amazon. And so you can put the, you can print them on, cardstock write the things in there, put the scratch off stickers from Amazon on, and they can actually use a coin to scratch them off if they want to. So that's another thing.
Well, let's talk about the Morning Time plans. So the summer reading program is absolutely free. You can come to Pambarnhill.com/read, get your passport, get your certificate, get your little reading tickets, your bookmarks, the bucket list Laney and I was chatting about, which has some really fun things on there, like read while eating ice cream or while drinking lemonade or while you're on a trip or under a full moon. So just a lot of fun things that kind of makes reading exciting. There's a reading log and then some coloring pages in there, but then we also have the companion Morning Time plans. So Laney, tell me a little bit about how you've used the Morning Time plans with in conjunction with the summer reading program.
So we've used these two ways over a couple of different summers. And one way is, like I said, we, my kids do not consider the summer reading program school. They view it as something totally separate. They usually get very excited about it. And they're like, it's almost like a mark of the end of our school year. They're like, okay, we're done with school. We don't have to do this. And then they get really excited when I'm like, okay, here's your summer reading packet. And this is what this looks like this year. So sometimes we have used the Morning Time plans kind of at the beginning of the summer, as we're transitioning into a more laid back schedule as my, like I said, my responsibilities and what my days look like change quite a bit during the summer, our routines change quite a bit. So it helps us to kind of make that transition from our normal school year to keeping a little bit of the structure in the morning, by doing our Morning Time stuff. Or sometimes we'll do the Morning Time plans in the afternoon, like as a quiet time kind of thing. We'll, we'll do all gathered together and, and kind of have that few minutes. And so we'll use it as like a time that we're backing off of our regular schedule and easing into our summer. And then even if I want to say that we're going to do Morning Time all summer. Usually we only get through several weeks of that before it starts falling off because our summer gets really busy and active and then our plans fill up.
And so it's one of those things that kind of slowly drops off. So it helps to kind of transition them into whatever we're doing for summer. And that has been really helpful for them rather than just a okay, we're stopping school. And now everybody's like, it's a free for all. And everybody's running around being wild with zero structure to their day. We kind of keep that Morning Time piece, and I've really enjoyed the summer Morning Time plans for that, that correspond with the summer reading.
The other way we have used it is on the flip side, on the opposite end of summer. And we, I sometimes like to start back to school a little bit earlier than the public school in our town starts back.
And the kids aren't real crazy about the idea of starting back to school because they're seeing all the other kids still not in school yet, and time to start school. So what we'll sometimes do is kind of at the end of the summer, but I know several weeks before we're going to start back into our traditional curriculum, I'll kind of pull everybody back in we'll use the Morning Time plans as like a really gentle easing back into some of that structure.
And then when it's time to actually start school again, it's not quite so foreign. And it really just depends on our summer schedule as to how we do that. But usually when I'm doing the Morning Time plans, it happens either at the beginning of the summer or the end of the summer, the middle of our summer is usually kids just, you know, running around doing their thing. And we're just really busy with a lot of summertime activities.
Yeah, yeah. Lots of VBS and camps and, and all kinds of things like that going on at our house too. Yeah. Yes. So much though. And I think, you know, these Morning Time plans, we always have to provide some kind of structure. You know, when you're, when you're writing a curriculum, when you're writing a set of plans, there has to be a structure. And so what we tell you is this is four weeks, right? But honestly you could spread this out any way you want to. And we have a tracker that comes in here, which is it's basically, we don't call it a checklist because we don't want you to feel like it compelled to do every single thing on it.
So we call it a tracker, but it basically has a little square for every single thing that's in the plans. So the very first thing I would say is like, have a look at it. And if you're like, we are never going to do this art, or we are never going to do this music appreciation, just go ahead and cross those off because it's a tracker, not a checklist, but then use your tracker to track the rest of the stuff. So if your summer is 10 weeks long, it might take you all 10 weeks to do this four weeks. I'm using air quotes. Laney can see me, but you can't this four week set of plans, you know, and that's totally okay. That's actually what we would especially encouraged you to do if you're new to Morning Time. So I think these could be a great introduction to either Morning Time or using a pre-made set of Morning Time plans in a flexible way that's going to fit your family. You know, maybe you've always wanted to do Morning Time. You've struggled getting started. You sputtered around a little bit and you're like, oh, let me try out these pre-made Morning Time plans. Summer is a great time to do that in this little set. I think it's perfect. So this set has Edward Lear for poetry, which has limericks all limericks and then
Super fun, poetry Is super fun. Poetry.
Yes, very kid friendly poetry and then Hungarian folk music. So if we're summer adventures, you're going to notice how these are aligned with those summer reading plans, art from the MET. So you're going to be, it's almost like you're taking a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and then nature is insects. So you might've heard me mentioned reading an insect book earlier. So what you're going to find with this set of Morning Time plans is it's going to, as you're doing Morning Time as a family, your kids are going to be able to turn and mark some things off. They're going to get their passport stamped because of the Morning Time plans that you're, you're doing together into a lot of the activities. And some of the things are in there.
Yes, yes. And I think that one of the ways that I have am looking at using it this summer with the Morning Time plans is as our schedule gets really busy. It's really important for my kids to know exactly why it's coming up in our lives. And so one of the things that I'm thinking is we might have kind of a Monday morning, Morning Time where we all come together and we discuss what is coming in the week ahead. So it's kind of a natural meeting time, but then we can add in some of these fun projects or like art projects, or do a little bit of the Morning Time. The other thing is this takes just a few minutes. The summer Morning Time plans that when I use them in my house, it looks different than our normal Morning Time plan in those school year. Because for us, we have a pretty long Morning Time, but this is not something that occupies a huge chunk of our day. You can just do little bits at a time.
I love that. I love that idea of, and I've never thought about that. This is genius having a Monday morning meeting laying out for your kids, like what the week's going to look like, what everything's going to be. That would be a great time to catch up any passport stamping that maybe you haven't done.
And Monday morning, I mean, this could be like 10:00 AM, 11:00 AM. It could even be 1:00 PM and be a Monday afternoon and do just a couple of activities. And that's a great way to kind of like keep a little bit of structure and the pulse of your kids. This could also be like, you could have the meeting on Monday and then go to the library on Tuesday. So that would give you the opportunity to like, talk about like, you know, what books do you want to look for and those kinds of things. And so it could just be a great touch point in an otherwise more laissez-fair summer.
Well, and I find that it's really important. Like I said, for me to communicate each week, what we're doing because our summer schedule is so varied and flexible. So some weeks we have a lot of activities. Some weeks we have fewer activities and they want to have input in what they're going to get to do. So it's different than the rest of our school year, which has a pretty consistent structure for each week. So each day may look different, but they kind of know what to expect on while we do co-op on Wednesdays and we have Tuesday night Bible study. And so they, they just, they have a rhythm and a routine that develops throughout the school year. And then in the summer, we have a lot more kind of one-off activities or just different things that, that change week to week.
So they really like to know what's coming up for me, gathering everybody around and having this little meeting to say, okay, what's going on this week? Like, I'm assessing what's going on with my big kids. They need to tell me what their plans are and you know, kind of what they're going to be doing throughout the week. But then at the same time, my little kids really need to know. They like to have that kind of security of like, well, what are the plans this week? What's going to be different because they make their own plans in their head. I think we've talked about this before. So they have their own, they have their own agenda. And then when we come in and we disrupt their agenda, then it, it creates tension. And sometimes it's really hard for little kids to adjust to that. So I find that opening that communication and letting them know like, okay, Wednesday this week, this is what we're going to be doing. So they have that expectation. So I use that kind of Monday meeting to pull everybody together. And it's very informal, but a lot of times for the little kids, especially they enjoy doing some, like, we'll do maybe a read aloud or something. And so I see an opportunity there to use the Morning Time plans as part of that kind of meeting.
I love that. I love that. It's so funny. My 12 year old, my kids were over at a friend's house yesterday and stayed over pretty late and came home. And when I had dropped them off in the afternoon and while I was dropping them off, I get a text from the math tutor. So, you know, can Thomas do math at one on Monday instead of two on Tuesday? And of course I texted back, yes. You know, no problem. So he wants in the door at 10 o'clock last night.
And I said to him, oh, by the way, you have math tomorrow at one, instead of Tuesday at two he's like, why don't you tell me these things ahead of time? Like I just found out, but this is very indicative of, you know, their need, right? To didn't know these things at a time. And so I love the idea of pairing that meeting with just a couple of really fun things from the Morning Time plans.
So, you know, use them every single day and do a little bit every day, use them most days, use them the weeks that you don't have anything else to do or use them for this kind of weekly touch point meeting to for just a couple of fun activities to do with your kids. So, honestly, I think that the main message here is there's no wrong way.
Oh, exactly.
To use these Morning Time plans. So do check them out, come and get your free summer reading program. And when you are ready to check out, you'll receive a special offer for the summer Morning Time plans, super inexpensive and, and check those out as well. I think you would really enjoy them. Alright. Well, Laney, thanks so much for joining me here today. I really appreciate hearing all the different ways that you've done the summer reading program and use the plans in your homeschool.
Thanks for having me.
Alright. And there you have it. Now, if you would like links to that summer reading program or any of the other things that Laney and I chatted about today, you can find those on the show notes for this episode of the podcast. So go to Pambarnhill.com/ymb116. We will have that there for you. I remember the summer reading program is absolutely free to take advantage of, and we know kids love it. Now this is the end of our podcast season. We're going to take a little bit of a hiatus this summer is we enjoy some extra time with our families. So we will be back again during the month of July to talk all about Morning Time, some more. We hope you have a fabulous summer and keep on seeking truth, goodness and beauty in your homeschool day.

Key Ideas about Summer Reading and Morning Time

During the summer, many families are looking for a great way to keep kids reading that feels low pressure, especially if the library summer reading program isn’t a great fit. The YMB Summer Reading Adventure and the Summer Adventure Morning Time Plans are great tools to keep some structure on those summer days.

Laney shared some ways she has used the summer reading program in the past and how she might use them this year. She has used it as a great way to focus more attention on the younger children who don’t get as much of her focused attention during the regular school year.

Laney also uses the program to encourage her children to keep reading through the summer in a way that challenges each child individually without causing more competition between siblings.
She also pairs the reading program with the summer Morning Time Plans to ease into summer, ease back into school at the end of summer, or even as a weekly touchpoint to do something fun together and connect as a family.

Find what you want to hear:

  • [3:31] how the Summer Reading Program started
  • [7:51] Laney talks about how she uses the plans
  • [12:06] using the plans to get more time with little kids
  • [17:50] reward or celebrate reading
  • [24:08] pairing the Summer Reading Program with the Summer Morning Time Plans

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Thanks for your reviews

  • 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!