YMB #79 A Themed-Based Morning Basket: A Conversation with Jessica Waldock

The theme of this episode of the podcast is all about making Morning Time work for your family. I am joined by Jessica Waldock, host of the Morning Baskets and more Facebook community to talk about how using themes saved her Morning Basket. Jessica homeschools an only-child who likes to deep-dive into topics, so a themed Morning Basket is a perfect fit.

In the show we also talk about the difference between themed Morning Time and unit studies, where Jessica gets her theme ideas, and how Morning Baskets can work in a single-child homeschool.

Pam Barnhill:

This is Your Morning Basket, where we help you bring truth, goodness, and beauty to your homeschool day. Hi, everyone, and welcome to episode 79 of the Your Morning Basket podcast. I’m Pam Barnhill, your host, and I am so happy that you are joining me here today. I have a very special guest today on the podcast. It is the lovely Jessica Waldock. Jessica runs the Morning Baskets and More Facebook group, and she also has been doing, writing about, and talking about Morning Baskets on her Instagram account for a couple of years now.

One of the great things about Jessica is she is an example of a mom who was doing a Morning Basket with an only child. This is a question we get a lot, “I’ve only got one kid. Why should I be doing a Morning Basket?” Jessica and I are talking about that today, but then we’re also talking about how Jessica has used the idea of basing her Morning Basket around themes to better meet the needs of her daughter and really make Morning Baskets work for her family. You’re going to enjoy this episode of the podcast. We’ll get on with it right after this word from our sponsor.

Read Full Transcript

This episode of the podcast is brought to you by Your Morning Basket Plus. I'm so excited, guys. New in the Your Morning Basket Plus subscription is our Morning Basket Explorers Club. Now, this club features our brand new Morning Basket Explorations kits. Each month, we present a new theme set of explorations on kid-favorite themes. Coming up in the next year, each month, we will be exploring a new theme, themes like flowers, apples, the farm, gratitude, Christmas around the world, Arctic animals, George Washington Carver, who is a favorite Alabama son, the solar system, the Holy Land, gardening, the flag, and sharks. Oh, boy, we are just getting started. We have so many other ideas.
Each month, we will put out an exploration guide for moms to set up these explorations. These will include a Do It section of things to do during your Morning Time, a Strew It section with ideas to strew for your kids that they can explore on their own, a Further Exploration section with ideas that your family can do outside of Morning Time like something you can do in the kitchen or a field trip.
We're also going to have level-up ideas that are going to help you bring your older students, your middle school students into the exploration with the rest of the family. It's going to be age-appropriate for them. Now, the guides also feature memorization and music to go with each theme. We're going to include MP3 audios of the memory work and the songs just to make it super easy for your family to memorize or sing along.
The Explorer's Club doesn't stop with the guides. Each month, we're also going to have two live events with your favorite Morning Time teachers that go along with these explorations. If you can't make it to the events live, you're going to have access to the replays. Plus, your family is going to be able to submit your findings and activities at the end of each month and receive a special tracking form and monthly stickers in the mail to document your family's journey as Morning Basket explorers.
Your kids are going to love this, it's going to be so much fun. We are so excited about this new journey we get to share with your family. The Explorer's Club is part of the Your Morning Basket Plus subscription, along with the over 40 sets of done for you Morning Time Plans that are also in the subscription. You can join today and get more information by heading to pambarnhill.com/subscriptions for monthly and annual options. We cannot wait to see you there. Now, on with the podcast.
Pam: Jessica Waldock is a writer, photographer, and homeschool mom of one, living in sunny Florida. She founded The Waldock Way as a way to give back to the homeschool community that she loves so much. At thewaldockway.com, Jessica shares tips, tricks, inspiration, and unique resources that help ignite a love of learning in children that will last a lifetime. She inspires families to engage in homeschooling as a lifestyle where relationships come first and interests-led learning prevails. Jessica also has a fabulous collection of Unit Studies on her website and shares generously on her YouTube channel, The Waldock Way. Jessica, welcome to the podcast.
Jessica Waldock: Thanks for having me.
Pam: I'm reading your bio, and this is fabulous. We also need to mention some other awesome thing that you do. This was how I found you. You have a little Facebook group, don't you, just a little one?
Jessica: I do. I have a Morning Basket Facebook group.
Pam: Morning Baskets and More is Jessica's Facebook group. I thought it was important to just put that out there right at the front of the podcast so people could go look it up while they're listening because I know they're going to want to. How long have you had your Facebook group?
Jessica: It has been a little bit over a year. August, it'll be two years that it's been going on.
Pam: I was going to say it's been more than a year. It's been like two years since I stumbled on that group. When I stumbled on it, it was a couple of months after you started it, and you had like 2,000 or 3,000 people on there. How big is your Morning Basket group now?
Jessica: We actually just passed the 20,000-member mark.
Pam: That is so awesome. So awesome that so many moms are out there talking all about Morning Basket and Jessica is supporting them. Tell us a little bit about you and your family so we can get some context for the conversation.
Jessica: Well, I am a photographer by trade. That is what I did until I had Emily. She is our only child, and she is a rainbow baby. She was the kid that we weren't supposed to have and the difficult pregnancy that she wasn't supposed to last through. Honestly, when it came time to send her to school, my heart just couldn't take it. I didn't know a lot about homeschool. Homeschool was not on my radar. It wasn't anything we were going to do, but I started pursuing it because I didn't want to let go of her.
I convinced my husband, "Just give me one year, just let me try preschool." It was just, "Give me one more year." Then, about two years ago, when we hit first grade, it finally was like, "No, we just need to go ahead and say that this is what we're doing forever." Homeschool works for us, our family lifestyle, we love it. The way we can just all learn together, and our life and our homeschool just mesh. It just works so well. We all work together in our homeschool and we also all work together in our business for The Waldock Way.
Pam: Awesome. This is interesting. You have this one child. You've convinced your husband that, "We're going to homeschool," and now, you're this queen of the Morning Basket groups. How did you even get started with Morning Time with one kid?
Jessica: I am not a morning person at all. Me and mornings do not get along. When I first heard about Morning Basket, I thought, "This can't possibly work for me. I'm not a morning person." Actually, it was one of your podcasts that I heard, and it made me feel like it was the perfect thing for a person who's not a morning person because it's a basket with materials you picked out maybe at night when you're a little more lucid and they're just ready to go. You don't have to think about it.
I started trying it out and I thought, "Oh, this is perfect. I can even do this when I'm still half-asleep in the morning. You're just reading a book." As we continued to go down the path of Morning Baskets, they shifted from what I thought was the normal Morning Basket, which will be more your traditional Morning Basket where you have your art, your poetry, and your music, and everything, which is perfect. It's ideal.
That just didn't work for Emily. She is a quirky, intense kiddo, and she really likes to dive really deep into a topic. We slowly started transitioning to our Morning Baskets being more themed so she can dive deep and still get all of that beautiful and goodness out of a Morning Basket, but it's not what I kept seeing as traditional.
The more times Morning Basket kept coming up just on Facebook and Instagram, I thought, "Man, it would be a really great thing if there would be a place where we can all come together and share that there's not a one-size-fits-all for homeschool, especially for Morning Basket," and get inspiration and encouragement for others that you can do a Morning Basket at lunch or at bed, that it didn't matter what was in it or when you did it. It was just doing it that mattered. That's how it happened.
Pam: I love this. To me, I think about Morning Basket, and I think it's perfect for everybody. You just have to adapt it to work for your family. I have people tell me all the time, "I can't do a Morning Basket because I'm not a morning person," and I've never been able to articulate why it would work for somebody who's not a morning person, but you just laid it out perfectly, and it's because you don't have to be really coherent. It's all in the little baskets sitting there waiting for you, all planned out.
All you have to do is pick it up and open up whatever's on top and do that thing. Your kids are going to be up making noise, running around, wanting your attention anyway, so you might as well make it easy on yourself to actually function that early in the morning. I love that. I think that's funny.
Jessica: That's what happened first. I was like, "Wait, maybe I can still do this," and it's the perfect way to, for us, fill her bucket up, give her that attention and that desire that she wants from me first thing in the morning without really requiring too much from me. I opened a Mad Lib and fill in some words, and she laughs her behind off. It's like the perfect meet in the middle for the two of us. I can do it incoherently, and she gets her bucket filled up, and then after an hour, I'm awake and she's ready to start our actual day because she's had that connection with me first thing.
Pam: I love it. Then, you had actually told me one time before that themes were something that really just saved your Morning Basket. I had never been one to do themes in a Morning Basket. I'm more-- actually, this may be shocking to some people, I just pick four or five things I like and stick them in the basket and just pull out what I want to do each day and do it. That's really as complicated as it gets for me, and so I had never considered doing a theme. What do you think it is about-- you had mentioned the deep dive that Emily needs with the theme?
Jessica: She wants to soak up everything there is to know on a topic. When we, for instance, are doing what I consider a more traditional basket and we would do an artist study, we would be looking at, let's just say an image of Van Gogh, she immediately needed to know everything there was to know about Van Gogh. I'm like, "I don't know. I have this short little bio on the painting." That's all I had planned.
That's all that I thought picture study was, but that wasn't enough for her. She needed that intense, all of the knowledge, and I was like, "Okay, there's things I want to get in. I want to do a read-aloud. I want to make sure we're getting a little bit of this, a little bit of that," and it slowly morphed into, "Wait, I can still do all of the things I want to get in and satisfy her need to know all of it by using a theme."
If you pick bugs, for example, there's poetry books on bugs, there's paintings that include bugs, so you can have a theme and still include all of the things that the parent want and still meet their child where they need, if they have that need for needing to know it all.
Pam: Oh, yes, that dive deep. I love this because-- Let's talk a little bit for just a minute. I know I'm jumping all around on you here, but this is a fun conversation. You do Unit Studies on your website where we can come to your website and we can get a unit study on, say, Harry Potter or geography. Tell us a little bit about your Unit Studies?
Jessica: The Unit Studies, just like our Morning Basket, have all been born out of what works best for Emily. She desires that deep dive, and it's just easier if I can then relate everything to something she's interested in. The truth is, the very first unit study I ever wrote is around the Magic Tree House books, Jack and Annie.
Pam: Love those.
Jessica: I do too. She was obsessed with them in kindergarten, and she just walked up to me in her little five-year-old sassy self and said, "We should do school with Jack and Annie," and I thought, "That's interesting, but okay." The more I thought about it, the more I was like, "We really should, you're right," and so I took those books and turned each book into a unit study for her, and that was the first thing that became our product.
It includes really everything except math, so it has playing with charts, copy work, narration, and all of her geography and science, and it incorporates art. It's just a great way to take something she loves and morph it into being able to learn all of the things that I want her to learn.
Pam: How does the theme-- and this is where we were leading to, this was my question, how does the unit study differ from the theme Morning Basket that you're doing?
Jessica: The biggest difference is writing, honestly. At the end of the day, the biggest difference is I do not require her to pick up a pencil or a pen in Morning Basket, and she has all of the say of being able to, "I don't want to do that today." She can lead or something.
The Morning Basket is the connection, so things that I know she doesn't enjoy like writing, or math doesn't necessarily tend to make an appearance in our Morning Basket anymore because it's something that brings her frustration, and that's our time to connect. I've tried to fill it with things we both love, whereas, we both know math has to eventually get done, so that's something that would be where I try to bring it into a unit study and say, "Okay, this is what you need to do." The Morning Basket is all things that we both love, things that we're going to be able to connect and enjoy, and nothing that requires a pen or a pencil. At least for us, that's what the difference for us is.
Pam: Right. Oh, that's interesting. When we were reading your bio, we were talking about just your passion for interest-led and child-led. I don't think Emily is running the whole show over there, but she definitely has a big influence. We're going to talk about only children in a minute, but you definitely live that out in the way you've set up your Unit Studies, the way you've set up your Morning Basket, and the fact that the most important thing for you in that basket time is the connection and how you've adapted things not to look like some other person's homeschool on the internet but to fit exactly what your family needs.
Jessica: She's definitely running a good portion of it. She doesn't run it all, but for us, and maybe it's different when-- I can't speak to a larger family because I don't have a larger family, but at the end of the day, I always remind myself that ultimately, while there's things she needs to know, it's her education, it's not mine. I had my chance at my education, and this is hers. If she want to spend eight months deep-diving into the stars, who am I to tell her, "No, that's not what you do in second grade"?
Pam: Right. I love it. Let's talk just a little bit about this only child thing. Going back, back from where we've been, when you started looking at this idea of a Morning Basket, other than the "I need to get up in the morning and have a slow start to the day," how did you think it would look different than what you were doing the rest of your school day? We talk about community so much and we talk about building the family culture in Morning Basket, I have so many moms who say to me, "I only have one child. Why should I even bother doing this?"
You've given us some really good reasons here. You've given us the, "This is the time where we're going to connect, this is my slow start to the day," but do you have anything else that might be something that a mom of an only could benefit from?
Jessica: Honestly, when we first started, when she was younger, and I know people are like, "How is it different?" it was different in the sense that that's all we did because when they were in preschool and kindergarten, it's really all she needed. It's also a great thing for us that-- I need to feel accomplished, so if at the end of the day, the only thing we did was Morning Basket, I know that we've connected, we've read, which I know that Sarah Mackenzie says it's the most important thing, and I always say, "Okay, we read, I did what Sarah Mackenzie told me to do."
Pam: Sarah will be so proud.
Jessica: It's like we read, we connected, we did something hands-on, we played the game because those are the things that are in our Morning Basket. If we do all of those things and nothing else, we don't make it to table time, our day gets totally derailed, or the washing machine breaks and we have to call an appliance guy, everything just hits the fan. It's still okay because I know we got that done and we hit the most important things.
Whether you have one or whether you have 10, that's a huge peace of mind for a mom. I will say, I do think there are some things that would make it more fun and more difficult if we had more. I guess there’s probably pros and cons on both sides of that. It's just a perfect way. It's everything beautiful and good about homeschool. It really is. It's a way to connect, it's a way to get your must do's and the important things done, it's a perfect way to start your day without having to think too hard, and it's a great way to get in things that you're not going to make time for elsewhere.
Pam: You're saying all the right words. I'm agreeing with you. You're preaching to the choir here. It's funny because my son was in my office with me last week and he was looking over my shoulder. I was on the podcast page or something and scrolling down. He saw the title of one of our podcast from last season which was Help, My Kids Hate Morning Time. Thomas was like, "Why would anybody hate Morning Time?"
I thought, "Oh, that's so awesome that he feels that way," because in the moment, he's not always the most chipper morning-time participant. He has his days. Does Emily feel-- Is it school to her or does she look at it-- You said, "I feel like if I get Morning Time done, I've gotten the most important things accomplished." Does she look at it as school or does she look at it as something apart from school?
Jessica: I don't think she looks at it as school. She obviously knows that she's learning during that time. For instance, we don't school during the holiday season. We take from Thanksgiving until New Year's off. That's how winter is too stressful. I'll say, "We're coming up on our break from school." She's like, "Yes, but we're still doing Morning Basket every day, right?" It's a thing that's like it's just part of our day. It's no different than getting dressed and brushing our teeth in our house. The Morning Basket just happens. I know she knows that she's learning, but I don't think she realizes that it's school.
Pam: This is so nice and stealthy here.
Jessica: It really is because it's just become part of our culture. It's just something that we do. She loves it, and I can sneak in-- "Oh, I'm going to sneak in…” Like Mad Libs, she just thinks they're hilarious. She has no idea, none, that she's doing language arts.
Pam: Right, but she's learning nouns and verbs and different things like that. Let's talk about these themes for your Morning Basket. How do you come up with the different ideas that you use?
Jessica: Sometimes, it's holiday. Obviously, December is always some sort of Christmas. Those are normally my choices. I try to do like if I have a choice this month, she gets the choice next month. Although this year, she gets all the choices, which is slightly stressful for my very Type I personality. This is the first year we're trying that. We'll report back and let you know how that goes.
Pam: Was that a "it's 2020" thing or was that just a new agreement that you guys came up with that would have happened no matter what?
Jessica: 2020 definitely had a lot to do with it. We felt like we needed to give her something to look forward to. She's really enjoyed-- she likes being part of the Facebook group and part of the community. She always calls my followers "her people" like they're hers, not mine. She wanted to do it all. She wanted to pick the topic, she wanted to film the video, she wanted to learn eventually how to write a blog post and edit. She's just taking it all on.
She's like, "I'm doing it all." I'm like, "Okay." I have no problem with that. I try to remind myself it's her education. We pick topics based on her interests, my interests. Sometimes, it's an event coming up. Obviously, there's not a whole lot of events in 2020, but if I know our museum is going to have this huge dinosaur exhibit, and maybe there's not time for me to get a whole dinosaur unit together, then we'll just do a dinosaur-themed Morning Basket because then, we can touch on it and explore the topic and still do all the fun parts of it and then enjoy the museum.
Pam: That's interesting that for you, in your head, a unit study is a much bigger, longer deal than just having a theme for a Morning Basket. If you were going to do something like a dinosaur theme or an insect theme or something like that, about how long would you spend doing that particular theme?
Jessica: As a Morning Basket or as a unit?
Pam: As a Morning Basket.
Jessica: Our Morning Baskets normally change once a month. That's just because it's really easy to say, "It’s July, this is a new one." It's also about as long as we can spend on one topic without it being extremely in-depth. A month is about average, and we spend about 30 to 45 minutes a day during Morning Time.
Pam: How do you choose what topics-- or not so much what topics, but what materials and resources you use to match up with that theme?
Jessica: The four main broad categories that we keep are our read-alouds, hands-on activities for her video while I'm reading aloud, and Mad Libs or trivia because that's her personal two favorite things, so I always make sure that there's one of those in there for her, and then games because that is her love language that we normally close Morning Basket out every day by playing a game.
Pam: You try to match the games with the themes as well?
Jessica: Yes. For instance, we're doing-- she did this one, but we're doing sharks right now. We have a “Top Trumps Sharks,” there's a scariest sharks game, and then “Chomp.” They're either funny and related or they're educationally-related.
Pam: You don't necessarily do-- what I'm not hearing you say is your craft projects are not on your list, and there's not necessarily art or music on the list, but you're getting in those read-alouds, those games, the Mad Libs and the trivia, and the hands-on activity she can do while you read.
Jessica: Yes. Those are my four basics. I will be honest, I stink when it comes to anything crafty. I don't like glitter, I don't like paper, I don't like mess, and I stink at handicrafts. While I tried forever to do it, I have just resorted to "that is not my thing." I leave that to our Chalk Pastel membership and Nana, those kinds of people to teach her because it's not for me. With my personality, that would not be an enjoyable Morning Time for me to be reading and her glitter stick or gluing or cutting across the table from me. There's nothing enjoyable about that for me.
Pam: I love that. What I'm hearing you say is not only is it something that's enjoyable for her, but Morning Basket has to be an enjoyable experience for you as well, and you're going to do the things you need to do to create an atmosphere that Jessica enjoys too.
Jessica: Yes. It's about her, but I want to sit down and enjoy it too. If it's about us connecting first thing in the morning, I don't want to be pulling my hair all at the same time. Unfortunately, for me, those things would put me on edge. I would be a little shorter or a little snippier. "You didn't clean up the mess." That doesn't exactly cultivate that enjoying, connecting start to our day that I want to cultivate with our Morning Basket.
Pam: I love it. Jessica, just the more and more we talk, the more we keep coming back to this idea of you've taken this concept, you were introduced to it, you liked it okay, but it needed some tweaking to really work for your family. Then, you said, "These are the things that I'm going to do. This is how I'm going to make it different from anything else I've seen online, so it's going to work for us and serve the purpose that I need it to serve in our home."
Jessica: That is exactly the reason that I started the Facebook group Morning Baskets and More because I wanted people to see that-- I will not say my way is right for everybody, but my way is right for us. I wanted other people to share their way so that maybe their way would be right for somebody else or just, in general, be able to share that there is no one right way. It's different for every family because every family is different.
Pam: Right. One of the big things is you see people talk about their Morning Baskets online and you get the idea that, "Oh, this is the way you have to do it," but people are just writing about what they know about. I can only talk about the way that I do Morning Basket. For example, when I started talking to you about, "You know, themed Morning Baskets," and you're like, "I've got this. I can talk about themed Morning Baskets."
I'm like, "I can't, so let's let Jessica do it." We sometimes see people who get a little discouraged by the idea of Morning Basket because they feel like they can't do it right or they feel like someone is telling them that there is only one way to do it when really, nobody's telling them that. Somebody's just saying, "This is the only way I know how to do it because this is the way that works for me."
The idea that you've created with your Facebook group where people can go in and say, "There are a ton of different ways to build this relationship, to do these things together as a family, to have this wonderful special set-aside time in our school day, there's so many different ways to do it, as many different ways as there are families." It's such an important message.
Jessica: I remember when I first started originally doing Morning Basket, it just didn't feel right. It wasn't working. It wasn't wrong, but it wasn't working the way I thought it would work for us. I just immediately dismissed, "Oh, I'm not a morning person," or, "This isn't right for us." It took me probably a year of tweaking things to realize that what I was doing wasn't working for us, that the concept wasn't what was wrong.
Like you said, I had seen only one way, and it wasn't a wrong way, it just was their way, not my way. I love the community. I see stuff that I'm like, "Oh, I didn't ever think about adding that or using it or doing it that way." I can only speak about Morning Basket with one where you can see Morning Baskets with multiple. It's just nice to have that community of people to bounce other ideas off of and get inspiration and encouragement.
Pam: I love it. We are going to put the link to the Facebook group, the Morning Baskets and More Facebook group into the show notes for this episode of the podcast. If you are a mom who has heard about Morning Time or who has struggled with Morning Time and you're like, "It hasn't worked for me so far," do go check that out. I'm just going to repeat it again. I say it all the time, but I just want to say it one more time. There is no Morning Time police. Nobody is going to come to your door and tell you that you're doing it the wrong way. You have to do what works for you.
Jessica: I love that.
Pam: Tell us where we can find not only more information about how the Waldocks do Morning Time but also the Unit Studies that you have available as well.
Jessica: For the majority of the studies and everything that we do, you can find me at thewaldockway.com. We also have an Instagram, a Facebook, and a YouTube channel which is The Waldock Way as well. We are probably the most active on Instagram. That seems to be our favorite place to hang out, although we share as much as possible on all of those places.
Pam: I think it's the photographer in you that pulls you over to Instagram.
Jessica: Yes. It's the pretty pictures that draws me in.
Pam: Got to love those pretty pictures, and they are indeed pretty. Jessica's family puts up their themed units every month. They're always gorgeous. I'm always asking her, "Hey, can I borrow a picture of your Shakespeare basket to put on our blog because it's so lovely?" Do go and check out that Instagram account and everything that they have to offer. Jessica, thank you so much. This was wonderfully inspiring because I love to hear somebody taking this concept and absolutely making it work for their family. I really appreciate you coming on.
Jessica: I really appreciate being here. I'm super excited to see what you have in store for themes as well.
Pam: Oh, yes. We have some big theme explorations coming out with our Your Morning Basket Plus subscription. We're going to have more information in the podcast about that as well. Thanks a lot.
Jessica: Thanks for having me.
Pam: There you have it. Now, if you would like links to any of the books and resources that Jessica and I chatted about today including the link to the Morning Baskets and More Facebook group, and also The Waldock Way shop where you can find Jessica's Unit Studies, you will find them on the show notes for this episode of the podcast. That's at pambarnhill.com/ymb79. Also, your transcripts are there, your downloads, and everything else you're going to need to get the most out of this podcast episode.
Also over there are some instructions to help you leave a rating or review of the podcast on iTunes. The ratings and reviews that you leave help us get the word out about the podcast to new listeners, and we really appreciate you taking the time to do that. I'll be back again. In a couple of weeks, I'm going to be talking with Missy Andrews from the CenterforLit podcast, and we're going to be talking all about expectations in your home school, especially those expectations you put on yourself. I think you're going to enjoy that interview. Until then, keep seeking Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in your homeschool day.

Key Ideas about a Theme-Based Morning Basket

Morning Time is not a one-size-fits-all idea. Each family has the opportunity to adapt the concept of Morning Time to meet the needs of their unique family. For Jessica, that means doing a Morning Basket with an only child. She shares that in her family, a “traditional” Morning Basket was not as effective as choosing monthly themes and focusing primarily on connection with her daughter.

The four main categories of resources that Jessica uses for her family Morning Time are read-aloud’s, hands-on activities, Mad Libs or trivia, and games. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list. So, each family should make it work for them and choose things that interest their children.

Find what you want to hear:

  • [4:40] meet Jessica
  • [8:05] Jessica’s start with Morning Baskets with an only child
  • [11:40] why themes work for some kids in Morning Basket
  • [13:30] Unit Studies and how they began in Jessica’s home
  • [15:00] the difference between Unit Studies and Morning Time
  • [17:30] benefits of Morning Time with an only child
  • [21:50] picking themes for Morning Basket
  • [24:28] choosing resources for Morning Time
  • [27:22] making Morning Basket work for your family

Leave a rating or review

Doing so helps me get the word out about the podcast. iTunes bases their search results on positive ratings, so it really is a blessing — and it’s easy!

  1. Click on this link to go to the podcast main page.
  2. Click on Listen on Apple Podcasts under the podcast name.
  3. Once your iTunes has launched and you are on the podcast page, click on Ratings and Review under the podcast name. There you can leave either or both! 

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!