If you want to get started doing your own Morning Time your first instinct might be to head to Pinterest. Don’t! Instead, follow these five tips that Pam lays out to help you begin a Morning Time habit in your homeschool that both you and the kids will enjoy
Links and resources from today’s show:
- To download a sample of our free Month of Morning Time plans visit us here.
- To join our free homeschool community of Morning Time moms, you can create an account right here.
- For a done-for-you Morning Time experience complete with over sixty sets of Morning Basket plans, live events where we teach your kids, and support with your new Morning Time habit join Your Morning Basket Plus today!
Pam: Are you ready for homeschooling to feel joyful again? Do you wanna build closer relationships, remove some of the stress around planning and enjoy learning with your children? Welcome to Your Morning Basket. I’m Pam Barnhill, a homeschool mom just like you, and I’m going to show you the magic and fulfillment that Morning Basket or Morning Time can bring to your homeschool. Grab your coffee or tea and let’s get started. I can remember way back like 11 years ago now when I first started doing Morning Time with my kids and I remember thinking, it really can’t be this easy, can it? I mean, it seemed so simple. It seemed too simple that the few small things that I was doing were gonna add up to be something great and wonderful. And so I think there’s a tendency sometimes to maybe try to make Morning Time a little more difficult than it should be.
So my first tip for you today, it's a bonus tip because I haven't even gotten started with the real tips yet. The bonus tip is if it seems really easy, don't worry about it. It is, it is really easy, okay? But seriously, I have five tips for you today. If you are just getting started doing a Morning Time in your home and you're wondering like, what do I do? How can I be sure that I'm going to do this right? Hint, hint, there is no right or wrong way to do Morning Time. You just kind of gather all your kids up together and start doing it. If you're worried though, how do I get started doing this? We've got some great tips for you to help you get started.
So tip number one, when you get ready to start doing your very own Morning Time, do not go to Google our Pinterest and Google how to do a Morning Time. Now, it's entirely possible that you've already done that and that's why you ended up listening to this podcast. But maybe stop here because what I have found is when moms go to Pinterest and they start looking around, you know, how do I do a Morning Time or perfect homeschool Morning Time, or homeschool Morning Time plans or something like that, what they end up looking at is the plans of a mom who has been doing Morning Time for 11 years like I have, you know, for a very long time. And those plans are going to be a little bit daunting to the newcomer.
And your Morning Time should not look like that. Your Morning Time should not look like the plans of a mom who's d been doing Morning Time for multiple years. Now I have to, I joke right now that we have like the world's most boring Morning Time. I have three teenagers, they kind of like, I don't know, it's hard to explain because they'll complain about Morning Time, but they also secretly love Morning Time. Like I can really tell they complain about it less than they complain about anything else, I guess is I guess is how to say that. But it's just reading. That's all we do. We read and we do memory work together. And like this year we're not even singing anything other than the doxology, which we sing every single week or every single day, we probably should get back to singing something. But our Morning Time is like super boring. But four years ago, five years ago, when I was in what I call the golden age of Morning Time, when I had like these upper elementary, early middle school kids, like I had no toddlers, I had no grumpy teenagers, everybody was still kind of liking it. Our Morning Time had a lot of moving parts and if you had found our Morning Time on Pinterest when you were just getting started, you would've been a little overwhelmed by all of the things that we were doing. And so this is why I say don't go to Pinterest or even start comparing yourself to other moms on Instagram with these like beautiful Morning Time plans with all of these different things that they're doing. Because when you start out doing a Morning Time, that is not your goal. When you start out doing a Morning Time, your goal is to just get yourself started, just get yourself started and then you're going to add on all of those other things and it's going to grow organically as you go. And so don't look at somebody else's full blown Morning Time plans and think that's what you should be doing.
That's a sure way to burn yourself out and to turn your kids off of the idea of Morning Time altogether. So that's number one. So where do you go for help if, if you're not gonna go and find all of those wonderful plans on Pinterest? Well, let's keep going. The other tips are gonna help you out.
So number two, the second tip I have is to start small and build slow. Like write this on an index card or a sticky note. Put it on your bathroom mirror, stick it in your Morning Time basket, make bookmarks and stick it in all of the books you're reading. Remind yourself often that you want to start very small and build the habit slowly. So how you're going to do this is you're gonna pick like one thing.
So if your family is already doing prayer or Bible reading in the morning and you're like, oh, you know what? I wanna make this into a Morning Time habit, I wanna add some things to it. Choose one thing. Choose one thing that you want to add to it, and for about a week, do what you've already been doing and you're one thing. And that's it.
And then on the second week, add one more thing and then on the third week, add one more thing. And so build this really, really slowly. It's kind of like boiling the frog. You know, if you have, if you're wanting to boil a frog, I'm not sure why anyone would ever wanna do that. But if you have this big vat of boiling water and you throw the frog in, the frog has the good sense to jump out. But if you put the frog in cold water and turn up the heat slowly, he doesn't realize he's being boiled. That's a horrible, that's a horrible analogy, but everybody uses it all the time. It's the same thing with Morning Time. And your kids, if you turn up the water, the heat on the water slowly, you know, after about a month or two months, you are gonna have this full rich habit and the kids don't realize what hit them. They don't realize that you're now spending 30 to 40 minutes in their day doing some other things because it's just been building slowly over time. Now my second little tip, part of this tip is there's going to come a time when it stops working.
So if you just keep adding things and adding things and adding things and adding things, there's going to reach a point. You're gonna look around one day and you're gonna go, wow, like these kids are giving me all kinds of problems. The preschoolers no longer happy. Like what happened to our Morning Time? And what probably happened to your Morning Time is it got too long.
You kind of went past the tipping point and it got way too long and people are now getting a little antsy. They've realized now what you're doing, they're onto you. So what you do in that case is you just back off on it a little bit. You're like, oh, let's go back to the point where it was working and make it that long.
And then you can start adding in something like a loop schedule. So you can still do all of the fun subjects just maybe not every day of the week. And so it's going to reach a point where you have to dial it back a little bit, but you can find that point. And I tell you what people ask all the time, how long should my Morning Time be?
And the answer is, it should be long enough to meet your goals. It's going to differ for every family. And it also was going to have a lot to do with how old your kids are. So you know, my goals, my kids are very close in age, they're all within four years of each other. And my goal was to be really efficient with my homeschool and to do a lot of subjects together.
And when they were in, you know, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh grade, we were able to do that. And so we spent about an hour and a half to two hours each day doing Morning Time. Our Morning Time right now is not nearly that long. It's under 30 minutes. There have been times when it's only been 15 minutes long.
So it really is going to depend on your goals and the ages of your kids and as to you know, how long it's going to be. Okay?
So we're not gonna go to Pinterest and compare ourselves to other homeschoolers. We're gonna start really small and build slowly. And so habit number three is we're actually gonna tie it to something that we're already doing, tie it to a current habit. And so there are a couple things that you could do. So first of all, like I said, you may all be already be doing like a prayer or a Bible time in your homeschool each day, starting your day that way. And so that would be the perfect thing to tie it to. So you're just gonna start gradually adding one or two things on.
If your kids are younger, breakfast, breakfast is the absolute perfect time to do Morning Time. So if you could sneak in your food beforehand or wait until after to eat, and they're sitting there, their mouths are full, they're eating breakfast, and this is the perfect time for you to start doing some of these Morning Time activities. Now, if their mouths are full, you're gonna wanna start with read aloud, right? So you're reading aloud to them. Maybe you do some picture study so that they can look at the pictures while they're eating. You know, a lot of our families in our Your Morning Basket plus subscription will cast the picture study for art on a big screen so they can look at all the details very closely or listening to some kind of podcast or audiobook.
There are just so many things that you could do to bring Morning Time into your breakfast time and that is a great place to start. Also, you can start by doing something a little bit fun. So one of the things that we did for years and years when my kids were little was we used a song to call our family to the Morning Time table.
And so we had this really fun, upbeat song. Everybody always asked me what song we used, Matt Maher’s All the People Said, Amen. So it's, it's very upbeat, it's a praise and worship song. And we would use that. I would just turn on the music. This means I didn't have to yell, I didn't have to be the bad guy.
And they knew they had until the music ended to get to the table and we would start Morning Time. And so this wasn't a current habit we had, this was something we started later, but the two were tied together something really enjoyable, this singing and dancing and having a good time to this song with the start of our Morning Time habit. So that was really helpful as well.
So if you're trying to establish this, tie this to a current habit, it could also be, I'm gonna sit down every morning and nurse the baby, or I'm gonna put the baby down for his morning nap. That could also be the time when you do your super short, super sweet starting off Morning Time.
Okay, so tip number four is to actually start with something that the kids enjoy. Because here's the deal, you're the mom and you've heard about this Morning Time thing from your friends or from a podcast or from Searchie on Pinterest or scrolling Instagram and you're like, wow, that's beautiful. I always wanted to give my kids poetry and art and music appreciation. Let's do this. And you're really excited about all of that stuff and, and so you tell the kids like, we are going to learn, we're gonna do hymn study, or we are going to learn all about Bach or Beethoven. Well, they've never heard of Bach or Beethoven before. And so they may be a little skeptical. I mean this music doesn't even have any words and it kind of makes me wanna lay over here and take a nap. So you're excited about that, but they are not excited about that. And so what I have found is it's easier to draw kids into Morning Time when you do something that they enjoy doing. So if you have a kid that's really into music, music might be a great place to start. But like Olivia went through this stage when she was in elementary school where she just loved jazz.
And so we did jazz in our Morning Time or movie music is a wonderful place to start and kids off like, oh, that's the star, that's the Star Wars theme, you know? And so that's the kind of thing that would be really good to draw them in. And then from that point, when you have this habit of listening to music established, then you branch out and to and to the other kinds of music. Another thing is like looking at what kids like as far as you have these wiggly boys and they wanna know how things work. And so the way things work might be a great book to start with in your Morning Time or something about architecture as opposed to something about paintings because architecture is an art form.
And so these are the kinds of things you want to lean into your kids' interests and start with those interests when you're beginning Morning Time. And then after you do that, then you can add in something that you think is really cool that maybe isn't something they're used to or isn't something that that's their favorite thing to do. Another thing I would say, especially if you have some older kids and you're trying to pull this in them into this Morning Time habit, is make it relevant by starting with what I call an efficiency subject. So I love the fact that Morning Time is so efficient and I can pull my kids together to to read our history or something like that. And so if you start with something in your Morning Time that is replacing something else in their day and you can show them, look, all we're doing here is all doing grammar together for five minutes and now you're not doing grammar worksheets for 20 minutes, that's a big win. That's a big boon for Morning Time right there. So kids can see like, hey, she's right. We sit here and we diagram this sentence together as a family for five minutes and she's no longer having me sit over here and fill out these grammar workbook pages, then yeah, that is really cool. I'm saving a lot of time over here.
Or we're reading science together so I'm not having to read science over here. All of those things, those efficiency subjects, then you start getting your kids buy-in because they can see like, hey, this is way more fun for me to have mom read a great book to me as opposed to me reading a chapter in a textbook and answering the questions at the end.
And it totally counts y'all. You don't have to have your kids read the textbook and answer the questions at the end. They get so much more from you reading them a really good book and then everyone talking about it in Morning Time all together as a family. I just highly encourage you to do that. So starting with something they enjoy or make it really relevant for the older kids.
And I cannot leave this tip without telling you my Madlibs story. So Madlibs, they're okay, they're not my favorite. You know, there's a lot of potty humor involved in madlibs and silliness and things like that. But between the times that my youngest was about seven years old and about 11 years old, he expected madlibs daily in Morning Time. That was what he came to Morning Time for, was those Mad Libs.
And so as long as I just included a Mad Lib every day and Morning Time, he was perfectly happy to be there and do all of the other things. So even if what they enjoy is a little bit on the silly side, it's okay, put it in there anyway. They might learn a little bit of grammar, but start with something that they enjoy.
Joke of the day, almost all of our Morning Time plans and exploration sets, I would say a good half or more have some kind of joke activity in there where we provide the jokes for you so you can do a joke of the day in your Morning Time and kids love that kind of stuff.
Which brings me to tip number five. If you are feeling intimidated about starting a Morning Time, we can help you do it. We actually have a a couple of different resources for you that are absolutely free that'll help you start doing a Morning Time. And by using our resources then we have taken a lot of the work out for you. We've made it super simple for you. So the very first resource that I wanna talk to you about is our month of Morning Time sample plans.
So it's a month of Morning Time, it's three weeks of plans, and you're like, Pam, three weeks is not a month. And you're absolutely right, it's not, but we call it a month of Morning Time because we haven't overloaded you with stuff. You can just get these three weeks and spread them out over the entire month and you're gonna have a fabulous, wonderful Morning Time. So it's really teaching you that less is more, that this month of Morning Time is three weeks, because at some point during this month, something is going to happen to get you off track. And so you just need less to do. Now here's the other great thing about the month of Morning Time plans. You could actually stretch them out much longer.
Remember I said start small and build slow. So if you start small with the month of Morning Time and you do your family prayer time and then one activity from that month of Morning Time, you could stretch those plans out even longer. So our month of Morning Time plans are not telling you ignore tip number two, it's a way for you to implement tip number two and you can stretch those out even further and just start dipping your toes into things that your children might enjoy.
And we've put all kinds of wonderful picture books in there, all kinds of enjoyable things that your kids would probably like to experience. So month of Morning Time, some Mad Libs, and you are going to be good to go. And we've chosen books for you, we've chosen art, music, poetry, all of those things that can feel just a little intimidating to choose for yourself.
We've done it for you in those plans. Now the second way we could help is with our free community. So you can come on over to community.pambarnhill.com and if you've never downloaded anything from our site before, you'll have to create a free account. And in that community, you can find people who are doing Morning Time on the regular and who are way happy to answer any questions that you might have with lots of different answers because I don't always have the best answer out there.
But the members of the my community can usually come up with a pretty good answer to just about anything, any question you would have. I feel like they've been through it before. And so, you know, just this week we were having conversations about kids who are disruptive and make a lot of loud noises and just talk a lot during Morning Time. What do you even do about that?
You know? And that thread now has 15 to 20 different answers on it. Conversations from moms who have been there, done that. And so we provide that kind of support to you absolutely free in the community if you come over and get that. And then from there, you might decide to go for one of our paid options as well. We have our Morning Time subscription, which has just all kinds of Morning Time plans for you all laid out and just ready to go. So that is the way that we can help you get started with Morning Time.
And hey, there are 128 some odd episodes of this podcast. This is another great resource for you that's absolutely free. You can go back and listen to all of the episodes, just pop 'em in your earbuds as you're going about your day in so many great tips and ideas for getting started with your Morning Time. Actually, I'll put a few of my favorite Getting started episodes in the show notes of this one for you so you can kind of click around and see where I would suggest that you get started.
Okay, there you have it. There are five tips for starting a Morning Time. Quick recap, don't go on Pinterest. Don't compare your baby Morning Time to somebody else's grown up Morning Time. Start small and build slow. You want to just build the habit slowly, tie it to a current habit that you already have, start with something they enjoy and then don't do it alone.
Let us help you get started because that's what we're here for. We love Morning Time. Morning Time has been the single biggest game changer, the most enjoyable thing I do in my homeschool every day and has been for 11 years now. And I just would like everybody to experience that kind of joy in their homeschool. So, so glad you're here. We'll be back again next week.
Thanks so much for listening to your Morning Basket. If you are ready to spend less time planning and more time engaged in learning with your children, join your Morning Basket plus a monthly membership with everything you need to start a Morning Time practice in your homeschool to join, head on over to ymbplus.com and I'll see you there.
Key Ideas about Starting Your Morning Time
- Introduce activities that the kids are interested in to make the process enjoyable.
- Link Morning Time to an existing habit such as prayer or breakfast.
- Start small and build slowly when introducing Morning Time by adding one element every week.
- There is no set “right” or “wrong” way to do Morning Time; it should work for the individual.
- The length of Morning Time should be tailored to the family’s goals.
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- Thank youby mrsbeliever from United States
I take my walks outside two times a day. I enjoy listening to all the knowledge you have on your podcast! I am a mom of 7 and have been homeschooling for 18 years! I’m not a novice but have loved all your advice and input! Thank you for everything you do! I love it!
- Always a favorite!by Lizzie O' from United States
Pam continues to do an amazing job with this podcast. She is a wonderful host, never hurried, asks great questions and really lets her guest share his/her experience fully. The variety of experience & wisdom here is fruit for the homeschooling community at large. I’ve been listening from day one and this podcast continues to be a top favorite. Thank you Pam!
- Morning time will change your lifeby 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 Affirmingby 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!