YMB #83: Why Advent? A Conversation with Tsh Oxenreider

Today on the show I am joined by author and mom Tsh Oxenreider to chat about her new book Shadow and Light: A Journey Into Advent. In this episode Tsh and I chat about what Advent is and how Tsh came to celebrate it. We also talk about what the season has to offer all Christians — not just those who attend liturgical churches. With tons of ideas for families and an enlightening conversation about why 2020 may be the best year ever to lean into Advent, I think this is a show you will enjoy.


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

Hey there and welcome to episode 83 of the Your Morning Basket podcast. I’m Pam Barnhill your host. I am so happy that you are joining me here today. Well, today, we’re kicking off a two-episode series all about the season of Advent. It’s going to be so much fun getting prepared for the season of Christmas. That’s what Advent is. It’s all about preparing for Christmas. Our first guest is Tsh Oxenreider.

She has a brand new book out Advent this year. She has really contemplated how we can bring this season into our families and use it to help us have less stress instead of more throughout the Christmas season. I think you’re really going to enjoy this episode of the podcast and it’s going to bring you some peace. We’re going to get on with it right after this word from our sponsor.

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This episode of the podcast is brought to you by our Advent Morning Time Plans. These wonderful morning time plans are four weeks to help you prepare your heart for the holidays. In Morning Time, you can use these with your kids. They make a wonderful addition to your holiday morning time. The best thing about these plans is they are absolutely free. All you have to do to get them is come over to the website at pambarnhill.com/advent.
Enter your email address and you can download your set of plans. Now, they are freshly revamped this year. They've gone from three weeks of plans to four weeks of plans to take you all the way through the Advent season. We focus on Handles Messiah, some Advent prayers, memorizing verses from Isaiah related to the Messiah, some Christmas theme math and some Christmas theme art for picture study, and also some art projects that you can do as well.
There's a little bit of nature study on the side. So, so, many great Advent and Christmas theme activities in this preset of plans we have just for you. Pambarnhill.com/advent to get your set today.
Tsh Oxenreider is a bestselling author, adventure seeker, and guide. She's a mom of three. They live in Central Texas. Her book At Home in the World tells the story of her family backpacking around the world and the lessons she learned while doing it. Her most recent book, Shadow and Light: A Journey Into Advent, guides the reader through the Psalms for the Advent season. Tsh also runs a popular newsletter called Books and Crannies, and leads annual bookworm pilgrimages to London.
She's a podcaster at The Good List. She believes that a library card, a Netflix subscription and a passport are some of the greatest educational tools in the universe. You can find her online at her website, tshoxenreider.com. Tsh, welcome to the podcast.
Tsh Oxenreider: Thank you so much. It's so great to chat with you.
Pam: It's so nice to chat with you. Actually, again, we chatted a few years ago about homeschooling for a different podcast of mine. You've been busy since then.
Tsh: Yes. I don't even remember how old my kids were then. We've done a lot. We've moved a couple of times, probably.
Pam: Yes. I think it was just after you guys had come back from your around the world trip which was so exciting and such a great way to homeschool. And then, yes, I think you were just-- maybe just getting settling into Texas or getting ready to settle in.
Tsh: That's right.
Pam: Yes, about that time.
Tsh: Yes, we were. I remember that.
Pam: Now, you're branching out and writing about Advent. This is so much fun. Before we talk a little bit about what Advent is, tell me, why was it appealing to you to write about?
Tsh: Because it seems like quite a departure from what I typically write about. I've always been intrigued by the idea of old rituals and traditions, I guess. I grew up in a church environment that was pretty detached from that kind of stuff. Not that we thought it was bad or wrong, I just didn't know much about it. I was intrigued by it but didn’t really know what to do with it, really. We used to live overseas. Before we traveled around the world, we lived overseas.
That experience, I guess, opened me up to a lot of different ways and cultures. I was exposed to the more ancient traditions regarding the liturgical calendar and holidays. I put on my backpack and thought, "That's just really fascinating and intriguing. I'm looking at it as an outsider."
But then when we were going around our little trip, I learned a lot about what matters to me and what doesn't so much particularly around the holidays as a parent. The holiday season before this, the one before we left, I just remember of having that feeling of like, "I am just feeling like a scrooge this year."
I just was not super feeling the merriment of the holidays. I was just exhausted. I felt like the culture was just expecting more and more of me. My kids at the time at the age they were, I can look back now and say, "Actually, they weren't really putting that pressure on you. You were putting it on yourself as the mom."
I think I thought in my head my kids want to do something fun and holiday-ish every single day. I just felt burned out. I was actually looking forward to a year off from that where we had all the excuses in the world to not be much for Christmas, because we were living out of backpacks.
It was a delightful Christmas.
I learned a lot I think just as we traveled about more and more church history, Christian history. Fast forward, we moved back to Austin. We started going to a church that is liturgical. This is when I first really became introduced to the idea of Advent in the original universal church meeting. I'd always heard of Advent but I thought of it as December 1st through 24th and the calendars that you buy at the store that have not so great chocolate.
Discovering this gave suddenly the scaffolding that I had been searching for all these years before as a mom for how to anticipate Christmas with the right attitude and the framework and the posture to where it's not let's just dive right into the holiday so that by December 26th I'm sick of it and I want to pack up everything.
Really, the gift of Advent and really the liturgical calendar became a gift, an invitation for me to savor the season "correctly". I'm doing correctly in quotes because I discovered this whole time I didn't need to do all these things I thought the culture was telling me to do. I can actually anticipate the festive season which is what Advent is all about. It's anticipation leading up to Christmas. Not only Christmas Day but Christmastide for 12 full days and then truly enjoy it all.
Pam: There's a lot of freedom that comes from the idea. We can talk more about this as we go. Freedom that comes from the idea of, "I have 12 days to celebrate Christmas. It doesn't all have to be done in one day."
Tsh: Exactly, yes. That's right.
Pam: Just that longing in there and the things that you're talking about, I can so relate to it. Let's tell everybody or for anybody who might be unfamiliar, what is the idea of Advent, because you hit upon something that I think it's so funny. Twentyfour days of bad chocolate, that's not it.
Tsh: Right, not at all.
Pam: Give us a little chit-chit version of what Advent is, what you're talking about when you are saying Advent.
Tsh: Advent is simply-- It comes from the Latin word for arrival. We are waiting for something to show up in that sense. Advent starts four Sundays before Christmas. We're talking almost four weeks depending on when those dates actually fall. In the year 2020, it actually starts November 29th. The year before that, it was actually December 1st. Sometimes, you are right when it's December 1st. It changes every day, every year, the calendar date. It's always the fourth Sunday before.
That actually starts the liturgical calendar, sort of the church's New Year. When we recognize Advent, what we're doing is we're slowly anticipating the arrival of Christ both historically when he was born of the Virgin Mary and in the future when we recognize that one day all the rights will be wrong in our world. So there's a both-and posture that we take with Advent, both recognizing the gift we already have, and the gift of hope we have that, yes, we hope for Christmas in the same way that a child hopes with anticipation for that day, but we also hope for the world. When we look around and we hear all this stuff going on in the news and these natural disasters, and we feel so deeply, especially this year, how broken our world is that we're reminded that we have hope, and one day, it will not be this way.
I love that Advent plays into that. Well, especially during the holiday season, whenever we're looking so intently for some light. In fact, that's why I gave the book, the name Shadow and Light, because there's this historical idea of starting in darkness and moving to light as a way to recognize Advent, particularly with the candles. It's a common tradition to light one candle a week leading up to Christmas day when you got all five candles lit on your Advent wreath before from the previous week and then your Christmas day candles. There's something really literal about anticipation during the season.
Pam: Right, and that coming of the light. Yea, I love it. Where did this start historically?
Tsh: It started many moons ago. We have documents from early church fathers that recognized Advent as a season. I'm trying to remember the exact date and I feel like someone's going to listen to them and look it up and say it correctly. It's out there. It started many, many centuries ago. We have documentation that the early church fathers were talking probably like third through fifth century, maybe up to the eighth century, recognized Advent as a season.
This is an old, old practice that we can join with those who went before us into recognizing it. Interestingly, we see this historical disinterest that the volume was turned down, not only on Advent, but Christmas. Sometime around the 17th and 18th centuries, we're not entirely sure why, but weirdly enough, who brought it back to the forefront was Charles Dickens, at least in the Western world.
His book, a Christmas Carol, and the Victorian Era, in general, dusted off the idea of Christmas being a big deal. We see this revitalized interest in Christmas and, therefore, at least with some church traditions, Catholic and whatnot, bring it back to the forefront, not so much of the church, because it had always been there, but for the everyday families, the people just doing their best to live faithfully. We see this revitalized interest.
Pam: Yes. Here's the deal though. I am so busy in December. Like there's so much that I am having to do, and the idea of adding something to this busy holiday season is a little overwhelming. How can we make this Advent time more life-giving instead of an energy drain?
Tsh: Because one of the reasons I was so burned out was because the thought of just doing one more thing made me want to curl up, and just hide from my children and not do anything else. I completely get it that when you're thinking about the idea of introducing a recognition of Advent in your home, when you hadn't before you're trying to do the math and thinking, "How can I do more for the holidays, I'm already trying to do less?" Well, when I say Advent is a gift, what it's done for me is the scaffolding it's provided, gives me permission to do largely that, which I would do anyway, but slowly.
Just practically speaking, when we do Advent in our home, we started off before trying to do these other things. Like, I don't know if anyone's ever done. At Jesse tree, this is a tradition some people do where you hang an ornament on a separate tree one a day, and you read something from the Bible, starting from Creation all the way to the birth of Christ. Well, I liked that idea in theory, but I found myself if we had some church event to go to, or some work party, as soon as we had to skip a day, the next day we had to then do two.
Then if the kids were up late one night and they needed to go to bed and we had to skip doing Advent, then suddenly we're like three days behind, and before I knew we were a week behind, and it just did not feel life-giving, it felt very draining. I knew I wanted something very open and go, and very much like if we have to skip a date, no big deal because real life, and we can just turn the page and do whatever we needed to do that day with a fresh beginning. I couldn't find anything like that out there. I wanted something that was ecumenical, something that recognized the busy-ness of a typical family yet wasn't watered down or dumbed down.
My children were starting to get a little bit older and just the simple one line or two-liner story and a craft, wasn't going to cut it, plus I'm not a crafty mom. I was really searching for something. What I discovered is the gift of the songs is that it's poetry that it's prophetic and that it recognizes both the dark and the light of life, the hope that we have, and so we can enter into the beauty written in the Psalms in a fairly open and go way.
For us and our family, we literally do the Psalm reading, we listen to music, we light a candle. We maybe, look at a particular work of art for the day, and that's "it". We practice Advent in all sorts of other ways throughout our just daily life in the holiday season. For example, like I was talking about it being an anticipatory posture, we do things like instead of just tossing up the Christmas tree in one night, we perhaps put up the tree and then a few days later, we put on the lights and then a week later, we start decorating the tree with the ornaments a little bit until Christmas Eve and the tree is fully decorated.
I don't know if anyone's ever had that experience of like December 26th you want to take the whole thing down because you just want to declutter your house. The gift of that had been like, “Oh, now all the tree is fully on display. I want to enjoy it, and I want to keep it up for the full 12 days of Christmas because I'm finally enjoying it.” That's just a simple example. There's other ones out there of how we can recognize Advent. It's not doing more, it's structuring what you're already doing through the lens of anticipation instead of just clamoring all for it right away.
Pam: Okay. I love this. First of all, I didn't realize there was anybody else out there who decorated a tree like I do, because that's exactly how I already do it. Well, for one thing, it's overwhelming to do it all at one time and you're right. I would get to December 26th and just be completely ready to take it down. There was no way it was going to make it through Epiphany. It was when I started doing that whole process of putting up just the tree part and then fluffing for a while.
Ours is pre-lit now, but we do let it sit for a few days before we then plug in the lights and then just adding the ornaments gradually. Yes, I love the idea of doing it like that. I will tell you, my Advent wreath comes out and is usually still sitting amidst all the fall decorations for a few days before I finally put those away and pull those in. I don't feel the need to take all of the Thanksgiving decorations down in one day and then whip out all the Christmas decorations at one time. The Advent candle can sit there by the pilgrims for a few days.
Tsh: I think it's helpful to remember that the recognition of holidays is a gift to us. It's not because God needs it or something. It's not like this is some ritual that we're "supposed to do". This is truly for our benefit, and so to recognize it as our benefit means we can do the things that are life-giving to us, and then just set aside the things that just feel like a burden with no sweat.
It's no big deal. Because when my kids were much younger, I don't think we could have done more than light a candle and maybe say a quick prayer and then blow it out or something like that. This day, I've got teenagers, and so it's a whole different story. It's helpful to remember that, it's okay if decorations mix and mingle or that things aren't exactly set up the way you want, and to me, that is the true gift of Advent. There's no hurry on any of this.
Pam: Well, and I love this idea that it talking about the book now that it is an open and go thing and it's okay if you miss a day. I had the same experience with the Jesse tree. It's like we would start off gangbusters, and usually, by about at least by two weeks in, we would have missed a couple of days. Then you have this avalanche of ornaments sitting there waiting for you and you have to do the readings.
If you're a perfectionist, you can't just let it go, and so it does definitely become a burden or even some of the books and they're lovely books. I'm sure, but some of the ones where you have to do a reading every day and the story builds on itself when you get behind, you're like, how are we ever going to catch up? I know a lot of moms out there who struggle with perfectionism, throw up their hands, and say, "Well, we might as well just stop because we haven't done it right."
Tsh: That's right. Our kids, we go to a co-op that's several days a week. We have some mornings that are nice and leisurely and we call it symposium, our Morning Time. We have our symposium, other times we are trying to get out the door. There are some days during Advent where we get to savor it and we do the reading. We listen to the song, we look at the artwork, we talk about it. It could take like 30 minutes to an hour and it's fun.
Other days, it is two minutes or not at all. It's at night and everyone's exhausted. We gotta make lunches. We gotta get ready to head out the door early. We're just like reading the song, lighting the candle and that's about it, and it's totally okay. I basically created the thing I needed as a mom because I could not find it out there. I wanted something that really was rich and meaningful, but also did not add this burden of behindness that we can so often feel during the holidays.
Pam: Yea. I love it. I love the Psalms and you're right. There are Psalms that deal with darkness and lead us into light and then we get into the songs of praise and Thanksgiving. There are 150 of them, so there's a breadth of, you can handle all of the ups and downs and the emotions and there are so many things that they talk about. They're not horribly long. They're beautiful, beautiful words. It's almost like music to listen to and the poetry of them. I think it was a fabulous choice for something of this nature.
Tsh: I wanted something like that because every day has a small discussion question which for parents with little children, they can do on their own, just journaling or maybe talk with their spouse. Then I wanted something if you have slightly older kids, you could talk about, and I didn't want to focus so heavily on all the happy parts of the holidays as though like, what are you looking forward to about Christmas. Although that's definitely there. I wanted to also recognize that second meaning of Advent, the already, not yet, that the world is not yet as it should be so that we can have these discussions with our kids, even during the holidays.
Talking about the orphan and the widow. When it feels like God is not there amongst all the chaos we're hearing, that's important to sit and park on and not ignore with our children. Because these are important discussions that we can have throughout the day with them and this book is an invitation to do just that even during the holidays.
Pam: I love it. I love it. Let's talk a little bit about your experience with the liturgical calendar. You're leaning into Advent, have you embraced some of the other parts of the liturgical calendar as well?
Tsh: Yes, for sure. We're pretty much all in and sold and it takes a little bit of time, especially if you didn't grow up Catholic or grow up in a high church environment, but we slowly integrated more and more into our lives where it's now a solid part of our routine. We mentioned after Advent comes Christmastide and that's 12 days long ending with Epiphany and then you've got a season of Epiphany or Ordinary Times. Some people recognize into Lent.
We do things as a family with Lent as well. Our kids are a little bit older as well, but we usually focus on some issue along with fasting, what we're used to from Ash Wednesday on but also the almsgiving part, we collectively decide as a family, what are we going to focus on? We talk about it over the dinner table.
Now I'm making it sound much more structured than it really is. We're talking very organically throughout our day, over the dinner table, during lunchtime when we're breaking before or after storytime, during symposium, that kind of stuff. We recognize Lent, and then the 50 days of Eastertide, all the way to ordinary time. We really lean into it.
I find, as a mom, it really helps give some, like I said earlier, the scaffolding, but also a sense of time moving forward. One of the reasons we like the seasons is because there's a certain way they feel. Fall feels differently than the spring where we have the renewal and the liturgical calendar helps us embrace those seasons even more because we get to think through the different parts of what the church recognizes every single year again and again, and has been for 2,000 years.
Pam: Yes, it's that journey too. You go on that journey and then you end up on the way to Jerusalem, with Christ and it ends with the Resurrection on Easter. Yes, it's just a wonderful before you head back to ordinary time again. It really is a wonderful recognition and I live in a place where there aren't seasons.
That's one of the beautiful things about the church calendar for those of us here is that it really does help bring some of those seasons in a place where the outside temperature, we really don't get that fall. We really don't get that spring, but it does help move us through the year and recognize that there is a passage of time. There are high times and low times and things going on and so it really does make a difference.
Tsh: Yes. I live in a similar environment too in central Texas. We always, every lent, we work on our backyard garden and I find that that's a really great way to connect the outdoors with what's happening inwardly because Lent is about rebirth and is about from ashes to life and that's pretty much what we're doing with planting a garden. We like to take advantage of, even if it doesn't literally feel super cold to warm by Easter, we're already warm when it starts, we take advantage of it as best we can and we make it work.
Pam: One of the things, when I think about the liturgical year, if you were to go on to Pinterest and type in the liturgical year, you're going to end up with a lot of crafts. You mentioned yourself that you're not a crafty mom. I'm not a crafty mom. What do we do with little kids? Your book is absolutely lovely. I love the fact that you have in here, something to listen to, something to gaze upon. You're really hitting on a number of the different senses in here and worshiping with all of our senses. How can we incorporate little kids into this without having to necessarily resort to the craft?
Tsh: We have a craft cabinet in our house. We have, since my oldest was a toddler where it lives out in front and center of our home so it's in the living room and they can craft as much as they want. I can not enthusiastically and hang things on the fridge whenever they want to take part in crafts. Because I had two out of, three of my kids were super into crafts and one of them still is, and I am talking like random bits of cardboard and, glue and the hot glue gun and nothing fancy.
I just say that as a little addendum to the crafty mom thing, I am all about the tactile experience kids might need for leaning into something like the liturgical calendar that I have had kids that need it. My son, my youngest, he still does the whole making construction paper, holiday decor, and putting it all over the house during the seasons, and that's great with me. I don't mind. I find I'm a storytelling mom. I think it's really great to lean into the thing you are good at. We're big, book nerds over here and I love a good story. We really lean into read-aloud time and storytime in our family. I go with that as my go-to resource for teaching the kids about the liturgical calendar.
In my household, we do a lot of saint stories. We read about the saints, we read about certain festivals and feasts, but through storytelling avenues, not necessarily, yes, of course, we read the Bible, but it's not a didactic preaching kind of method that we do. That's one of the reasons I love the saints so much just because we can use their literal lives as fascinating stories to frame certain events in the liturgical calendar and there's lots of great books out there. I have one that was just published this past year that I just think is remarkable with its illustrations and its storytelling for the saints.
That's a method I use, but if a mom is more into art or music, I think they can lean into those avenues with having a lot of that sensory input with the sights and the sounds. My advice usually to moms who are with littles who don't feel like they can do what they "want to do" which is have some kind of deep theological discussion or just say, “Kids, let's sit down, let me just show you how it works," is to just lean into the thing you're good at as a mom.
Because you're the mom for these kids and that was on purpose and so it's a good thing to do the things you're good at for your kids. They will appreciate that more than you trying to do the thing that is hard for you and, therefore, you do it begrudgingly. That's been my take on it, especially in the early years.
Pam: I think that's such excellent advice because there are ways to do this with food. If you're the mom who loves to cook and that's your thing, there are so many feast days throughout Advent, and then just there are definitely ways to have some special food or you're the storytelling mom and I think we have the same saints book.
I'm trying to think of the name of it. It's in my Morning Time basket.
Tsh: Yes. It's over in our little thing in the living room as well.
Pam: You said wonderful illustration and I think we'll have to find it and put it in the show notes, but I bet it's the same one because it came out this year. Telling those stories and one other thing that you just said that I want to touch on, I mentioned that you have something to listen to and you have a piece of art to look at, but that doesn't mean you have to do everything.
Tsh: That's right.
Pam: If you're the art mom, choose looking at the art and talking about it with your children. If you're the listening mom, if music is your thing, choose that piece. You don't have to do everything. You can choose the things that you like. Then I also love the idea of if you're not crafty, throw the art stuff out for your kids and give them permission to make whatever the reading of the day leads them to make. You don't have to come up with something specific and they're going to be able to get that tactile input that they’re after.
Tsh: That's right. I like to tell moms if they feel overwhelmed at the thought of starting Advent or anything in the liturgical calendar, just pick two things. Pick lighting of the candles and reading. Or reading and listening to the music. Or the art and the candles or something like that. Don't feel like you need to do it all unless you just want to and then you gradually add more.
I think it's helpful for us to remember, especially when they're younger, that a lot of times we put so much pressure on making the holidays magical and memorable for our kids and we forget that kids are pretty good at doing that on their own. That, especially when they're younger, that the holidays just by nature of what they are, are magical to them. Our job as parents is just to provide the space to let that magical imagination flourish.
For me, that looks like focusing on the five senses and that sounds almost too easy, but it really truly is having great music playing in the background. Not that you need to have a soundtrack for your life, but just have a few good go-to playlists for the holidays, have some nice-smelling candles around, have that craft cabinet available for them to make whatever they want. Proudly display their paper snowflakes all over the place and they will remember how your home felt during the holidays so much more than the specific thing you did or didn't do that one day when you felt like you should be doing more and didn't feel like doing it or whatever that is. Because kids are pretty great at almost creating all the stuff themselves if you just get out of their way.
Pam: Well, and something else that takes the pressure off is when you think back on your memories of the holidays when you were a kid, and my mom was always pretty great at it, but there are like one, two, three things, maybe, that stick out from my childhood. It's like these wonderful holiday memories. I have wonderful holiday memories, but I don't have millions, I just-- Your kids, they don't need millions of memories. They just need a few that they can remember really well and they're going to be like, "I had the best holidays. I had wonderful memories."
Tsh: Yes. I usually tell people, "Okay, try and remember, what was your favorite gift you got on your ninth Christmas?" And most people would be like, "I have no idea." It's true. We don't remember, but you might remember how your house smelled during the holidays or that one thing, your mom baked every year or that one tradition your dad did every year that just, you thought was so much fun and that's enough. We don't need to make everything exactly right in order for our kids to have a great Christmas looking back.
Pam: Yes. Very much so. Very much so. Well, why do you think 2020 is the year for this book to come out?
Tsh: Yes, it's funny. So many fellow authors I know that have books coming out in 2020, we laugh because no one would have picked having the pandemic we've had for releasing a book because the release dates and the book tours and the plans have all just gone by the wayside. We've had to rethink how to release a book out into the world, but I keep hearing from more and more people, "Oh my gosh, I cannot wait for Advent this year, more than ever, or the holidays. I am so eager for the holidays."
I think the reason is because in this year of uncertainty, we've all heard “in these uncertain times” enough. In this year of uncertainty, we at least can hope on the surety that our year's going to end with the holidays that we have Advent to look forward to that leads to Christmas. There is something life-giving about knowing that these are things we can look forward to, even if they don't look the way we would want them to.
If some of us always go somewhere in particular like grandma's house or some beloved place, and you can't this year, there is some disappointment to be had, but there's something really inviting about turning our homes into the haven we want them to be in a world that just feels really fraught, and that's actually what Advent does. Advent is inviting us to stop, to slow down, and to remember what actually matters. To me, 2020 is just screaming for that. It's screaming for all of us to stop and remember what actually matters. Advent feels like the perfect invitation to do just that to me.
Pam: Such a great reminder, Christ is what we need and he's going to come. Like you said, Advent is the preparation for not only the first coming of Him as the baby in the manger but also the second coming as well and so just remembering that he is still there, he is coming. It brings reassurance for a year that's been really, really tough.
Tsh: That's right. Even if our holidays look absolutely nothing like we want them to, or like, we feel like they should, there is reassurance that the thing that has truly been recognized during the holiday season for the past almost 2,000 years, that's still true and we need that reminder.
Pam: Yes, very much so. There's an assurance in there. There's something that brings us hope in that idea. Easter was bleak this year.
Tsh: Yes. It really was.
Pam: It really, really was. That's the biggest holiday in the church calendar, usually coming out of Lent. I'm Catholic and so we go home on Good Friday and the church is dark and it's stripped bare and there's nothing in there and we normally walk into the church on Easter morning and it's just overwhelming. I go on Easter morning, a lot of Catholics go on Easter vigil. By the time my kids got big enough that we could actually go to Easter vigil, then my daughter and I were singing in the choir that sang at 7:00 AM.
I was like, "We're not going to do both. We're just going to get up. We have to be there at 5:30 to get ready, so no." It's just like it's so beautiful and so wonderful, and the church, I will say the church was still the same this year. They went in and they decorated and I was watching it on YouTube. It's still the same, but there was a sadness there. That idea though, that the church stayed the same.
Tsh: That's right.
Pam: Even in the midst of everything. I think that's one of the things that we have to remember, is like this is not getting at Christ. This is not getting at the church. It remains the same. Just to have that daily reminder from that fourth Sunday before Christmas, all the way up to Christmas, I think is something that we can all really benefit from this year.
Tsh: Yes. I love how the Catholic church really teaches well the idea of the domestic church and that that is one of our jobs as parents, is to shepherd our kids through this domestic church idea. That's what we can do during Advent. If your parish is still closed, if you still can't embrace the traditions that you normally do out in your community, that you can turn your home into the little haven that it's supposed to be anyway. It's a reminder of our solemn call as parents to shepherd these kids.
Pam: Well, that brings me to the question, how is Shadow and Light ecumenical? How is it friendly to Catholics, Protestants, and then people, just any kind of Christian?
Tsh: The framework for the Psalms actually comes from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, where it's the Psalms prescribed to read every day during Advent on some of the years. I started with that, but then I made sure that all the translations of the Psalms were also in the version approved by the USCCB from the United States Council of Catholic Bishops because I wanted Catholics to feel like this was speaking their language just as much. I lean quite heavily into the Marian perspective of who she is as the mother of God. I, at the same time, don't use a lot of Christianese. I purposely wanted this to be a book even for someone who hasn't stepped foot in a church in a long time but likes the idea of having more of this focus during the holidays. I want them to feel like they are included and welcomed. They don't have to be a certain way in order to open up the Psalms and dig into it. I purposely leave out a lot of that language that, depending on what faith tradition you grew up in, feels so familiar, you don't even notice it, so that it's fairly simple and clear, and open and go, and welcome to anyone.
Ecumenism is a really high value of mine, so I wanted to make sure that all of us could find value and not feel like, "Well, this is almost the right book for me, but it's written by someone like this or someone like that, or they use language a little bit like this that I'm not familiar with." There might be some of that, but on the whole, I try to keep it as wide a berth as possible.
Pam: I think you've definitely done that, as I'm looking through the book. Also, there's a definite literary bit to a lot of the reflections that are in here. I'm seeing references to Dante and Dorothy Sayers. You mentioned book nerdiness earlier, and I think book nerds are going to get this and go, "Oh, yes, she's speaking my language."
Tsh: I basically spoke the language I speak. If you speak book nerd, then you will understand my accent and love it.
Pam: It's so much fun. What about if somebody is celebrating Advent for the very first time? You mentioned you try to make it friendly to them and leave out a lot of that Christianese, you wanted to make it comfortable for anybody to just pick up. Where do you recommend they begin? I'm scrolling through the bookstore, I have no idea, but it appeals to me. I pick it up and flip it open. Where should I start?
Tsh: At the beginning of the book, I talk a little bit about my brief history with Advent. Then there is an entire chapter going through the five Ws and H of Advent. The who, what, when, where, why, and how, because I don't want anybody to assume, or I don't want anyone to think I'm assuming you already know this and that's about it. It is truly an explanation of, "What does the word mean and why do we celebrate it? What resources do you recommend?" I have it linked to the book's website, where it's all these resources you can use, including the playlist and the art, you can just click on.
I try to make it as simple as possible so that if you're celebrating Advent for the first time, you can open it up to day one. It says at the top, "Light the first purple candle," for example, or a blue candle. Then read this out loud, and then read this. Here is the song that you can listen to, and it's linked to the book's website. Here's the art you can look at, and it's linked on the book's website. I wanted as little friction as possible for someone who has never done this before and doesn't want to feel dumb like they're not speaking the right language or something for them to know exactly what to do and just see how that feels. Does it feel like too much?
Then the next day, skip the music and art or whatever it is. If it feels just right, you can consider maybe adding another scripture or reading or whatever. I also include in there, there's a section for 25 days of gospel readings about the birth of Christ. If you really truly would prefer to read from say Matthew or Luke because you really want to lean into the story of Christ, then you absolutely may. You can add that on if you want. Just test it out and see what feels right to you and your family and your situation, starting with day one.
Then when you're done, move the book to day two and just pick up there and then just do exactly what the book tells you to do because I've gone all the way down to the last week of Advent. It can get a little confusing because it just depends on when Christmas Eve and Christmas Day falls on that fourth Sunday of Advent and it will tell you, "Go to December 18 or day this." It's almost like a Choose Your Own Adventure book where you just do what the book tells you to do and then you'll be fine.
Pam: I love that. I think it was last year, we had no fourth week of Advent at all.
Tsh: I think Christmas Eve was Sunday or something like that. I can't remember what it was, but it was a very short Advent. Every year it's different. You never know.
Pam: It is different. As Catholics, we go to church on Sunday and we go to church on Christmas Eve, and you didn't get to double-dip.
Tsh: That's right.
Pam: We had to go Saturday night and Sunday night.
Tsh: That's right. That's funny.
Pam: It's like no double-dipping. You have to go both days.
Tsh: Right, that's hilarious.
Pam: It was so much fun. Oh, boy, I'm so glad you said that about the music and the art because that was going to be my question for you. It says here, "Listen to this." I'm like, "Where am I going to find this? Is this going to be a lot of work for me?" You've actually linked it up.
Tsh: There's an actual Spotify playlist that is part of the book. If you have a Spotify account, you can even just save it to your own account, and then just use that playlist, just day one, day two, but you don't even need that, you can just go to the website and click play. Of course, some of these old hymns or carols, there's many versions of them.
If you don't like the version that I've picked, no big deal, you go find the one that works for you. Personally, I love music, I pick the ones that were most personally enjoyable to me and I think are more universally appreciated. I have a lot of old stuff on there on purpose. I'm a purist when it comes to holiday music. I like it done traditionally and I like it done well.
Pam: Do the hymns correspond to the Psalm for the day?
Tsh: Yes. The art and music all somewhat correspond to the topic of the day per the Psalm. There is a difference between Advent music and Christmas music. A lot of these songs you might not either recognize, or you might associate with some other time other than the holidays. I don't have some of the more traditional holiday songs on there. That's on purpose because you'll find those everywhere. There's no shortage of Christmas playlists you can find, but there's not a lot of Advent ones out there. This is for Advent in particular.
Pam: What about the person who, and I'm asking for a friend here. I grew up not a Catholic, and my family still does not recognize or do anything with the liturgical year. One of the things I struggle with, and this is just me and you talking right now, is I'm already, I'm all in on celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas, but we get to the 26th and I feel like the world has just left me. Christmas is over. You got anything for that one?
Tsh: Me too, because my family-- I did not grow up and in any tradition that recognized 12 full days of Christmas. For me, it's a bit tricky because my husband and I feel a little bit of the outliers among the extended family. What I tell people, because I tell this to myself, give grace upon grace upon grace here. Again, the liturgical calendar is a gift to us. It's not some magic lamp or something we need to do to appease God. That's not how this works. If for whatever reason, you're with extended family, and they have moved on, it's okay.
You don't want to be that person that says, "Guys, it's Christmastide. You can still say Merry Christmas up to January 6th." I advise, do it in a way that's enjoyable to you and to those who also recognize it and let your winsomeness be attractive enough to where other people see the appeal to it without you being dogmatic and preachy. Yes, that looks like, in our family every now and then we will go to a holiday-themed event during Advent that is actually Christmas. We are going to go ahead and eat the Christmas cookies and listen to the Christmas carols and say Merry Christmas because we're not purists about this.
This isn't a dogmatic thing. We notice and lean into the things that we can control, which is what happens in our house. In our home, we will recognize Advent the way is most life-giving to us and do it the way we enjoy, but not sweat the details. In our home, that looks like waiting perhaps till the 12 Days of Christmas to enjoy those Christmas movies at home. If my parents invite us to come over and watch a Christmas movie on December 14th, we're not going to say, "No, it's Advent," we're just going to enjoy it because that's okay. That's who we are.
At home, we might do something differently. We have a group of friends and we do a Christmas cookie trade every year among friends, but we don't do it till the 12 Days of Christmas. That's something we can look forward to because we at least know there're a few people out there who prescribe to the same philosophy that we do. Then I've never yet done this, but I know some families that do a 12th night party for the last night of Christmas leading to Epiphany. It just sounds like so much fun and I've always wanted to do that.
Pam: It does.
Tsh: I guess my advice to people is, you do you and enjoy it and hopefully maybe the extended family will see the enjoyment and want to partake but if they don't, that's okay, because you do you and they do them.
Pam: I think you've hit upon something there that finding people in your community, in your faith community or, just like-minded people who are celebrating in the same way and then being able to do some things with them after the holidays or during the holiday, yes, I even do it myself during the holiday season to continue the celebration. I'll tell you, one thing that I've discovered is that all of the Christmas, like a gingerbread house, decorating kits go on sale, December 26th. So you can go out and buy all kinds of things to continue your 12 days of Christmas celebration at a great discount.
Tsh: That's a great idea, I've never even thought of that. We're going to have to look for that this year. I think that's so true. Sometimes we think the idea of 12 days of Christmas sounds a little stomach-turning whenever you were already used to celebrating Christmas beforehand. If you imagine the Advent as a gift being a delay on that kind of stuff, you're not sick of it by December 25th. You actually want to lean into it and enjoy it all the more, so the idea of gingerbread houses on December 29th actually sounds great fun instead.
Pam: It takes a lot of pressure off of you as the mom. If you're giving yourself the 12 whole days to celebrate, then you can prepare during Advent and take it nice and slow and get the things you need. Even if the world around you, they're doing all of their Christmas celebrations and plays and things like that before the 25th, then you can take that time between the 25th and the 6th of January to do those home celebrations and really have time to do them without having to feel you've got to cram them in between the 1st and the 24th.
Tsh: Exactly. I tell people sometimes that we recognize Advent, not because we don't like Christmas that much, but because we love it so much. It gives us permission to really enjoy Christmas and not just have that-- we all have had that let down on December 26th where it's like, "Well that was it." You don't get that when you recognize 12 full days of Christmas, it's almost like a slow off-ramp into Epiphany. That's just really enjoyable. It's like a road trip where you can just enjoy the ride instead of trying to hurry, hurry, hurry and then you're exhausted, crashing into bed and you're so ready for a normal life again.
Pam: Looking at the weeks that you've set up in the book, the first week is expectation. The second week is preparation, and you're not just talking there about preparing your house, but you're also talking about preparing your heart and then anticipation is the third week. That last week there is gratitude and so I think it's very important as we're talking about all the practical aspects of Advent and Christmas to realize that this preparation we're doing is a preparation of our internal selves for the coming.
Tsh: Yes, and what's nice about that as a mom is that you can actually recognize your kid's feelings a lot, or you can identify with it a lot more than if you're just a mom trying to hunker down and endure it. Whenever you've got this kid that will say, two more weeks till Christmas, and they're saying it with excitement and you hear it with dread like, "Oh my gosh, I've got so much to do." That causes you to panic. Instead, you can enjoy the anticipation with them because there's less of this urgency to it all.
There is this inward journey that you go through. In fact, there's even a little bit of that when you start feeling this, "Okay, I'm ready for things to be over," because what you're ready to be over is that anticipatory feeling, you're just ready for it to go ahead and be here. Once it arrives, you don't have to just dive in the deep end on one day and then be done with it, you can actually just enjoy it instead. There's a lot of that inward peace that comes from this.
Pam: Reflecting on years past, there have been some years where we have been very consistent with our Advent candle and our prayers and then there have been other years where we haven't been for whatever reason. I can remember meeting together as a family to do this. We would usually do it at night before dinner. We would light the candles and say our prayers and just feeling after the Advent season, a little let down because it was such a beautiful practice of us meeting together for those extra prayers every day. I think as families embrace this, they're going find that it's something that they really enjoy.
Tsh: Yes, especially because you can still make it however it works best for you because it's so open-ended. If you need it to be a certain way, then let it be a certain way and let it be the gift that it is.
Pam: I love the reminder that this is for you, God doesn't need this. This is for you, you're not going to displease him.
Tsh: Exactly, there's not some wrong or right way to do this.
Pam: Tsh, tell us where we can find the book.
Tsh: The main website for the book is shadowandlightadvent.com. That's not only where you can buy the book, but that's where you can find all the things that go with it such as the playlist and the artwork to listen to. The playlist to listen to, the artwork to look at. We also have a few things for people who are able to get it in time for Advent such as, I've got a little three-part series, audio series of 101, helping explain the ins and outs of the Advent and how we recognize it. Then I've got a bonus conversation with my friend, Haley Stewart who has slightly younger kids than me. We talk about how we do Advent practically with our kids' ages. All of that is at shadowandlightadvent.com where you can find all the goodies that go with it.
Pam: Love it, love it. Well, thank you so much for coming on and sharing this with us. I think it is a beautiful book and it's really going to be a gift and a blessing to families this year.
Tsh: Thank you so much, it was great chatting with you.
Pam: Now, if you would like links to any of the books and resources that Tsh and I chatted about today, including the link to Tsh's own book and all the wonderful resources available on her website, you can find them on this show notes for this episode of the podcast, that is @pambarnhill.com/YMB83.
Now, also on the show notes, we have the transcript for the podcast and downloads to help you get the most out of listening to the podcast. We include things like key takeaways, some action items for you to do, and just some other ideas that you can use to bring the contents of this episode to life in your own homeschool.
Don't forget to go and download those, pambarnhill.com/YMB83. We'll be back again in a couple of weeks with another Advent interview. This time, we're going to have Genie Shaw on. Genie is the author of our Catholic Morning Time Plans here at Your Morning Basket. Plus, she is also a music major and she has a wealth of knowledge all about music.
She's going to be talking to us all about Advent music and how we can use music that's a little different from the traditional Christmas music we know to bring more of this holiday spirit into our Morning Time. You're not going to want to miss this one. Until then, keep seeking Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in your homeschool day.

Key Ideas about Advent

Advent is a season of preparation that begins four Sunday’s before Christmas. It is intended to be a time of anticipation leading up to the celebration of Christ’s birth as well as a time of anticipation for His second coming. During this Liturgical season, families can slow down and focus on what really matters.

It’s easy to spend the weeks leading up to Christmas doing all of the typical Christmas traditions, only to be left feeling burnt out and ready to take down the tree on December 26th. But, when we realize that Christmas is a season, not just a day, we can free ourselves from the pressure to rush to do all the Christmas memory making in the beginning of December. Instead, we can slow down and allow ourselves the time to really prepare our hearts for Christ’s coming.

Embracing the Liturgical calendar doesn’t have to stop with Advent and Christmas. Living the whole Liturgical calendar is something that all Christians can embrace. It provides an opportunity for families to live the idea of the domestic church, or the church at home, allowing parents to take a prominent role in their children’s faith formation.

Find what you want to hear:

  • [2:50] meet Tsh Oxenreider
  • [4:30] Tsh explains what attracted her to the idea of Advent
  • [8:35] Tsh defines Advent and gives some history
  • [12:45] making Advent life-giving and not draining
  • [22:35] embracing the whole liturgical calendar
  • [26:05] Advent without the crafts
  • [34:00] why 2020 needs Advent more than ever
  • [39:05] the ecumenical nature of Shadow and Light
  • [41:40] where to begin if you are celebrating Advent for the first time
  • [46:40] living Advent while the rest of the world doesn’t

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Thanks for your reviews

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

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

  • Life Affirming
    by Logandinco66 from United States

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

  • Life giving!
    by lapatita5 from United States

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

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

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

  • Love the show!
    by Startup Travis from United States

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

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

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

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

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

  • Always insightful!!
    by method_money from Canada

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

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

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

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

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

  • Great!!!
    by Eloblah from United States

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

  • New home schooling mom
    by A prit from United States

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

  • Morning Time Magic!
    by DrewSteadman from United States

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

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

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

  • So excited for 2020!
    by JCrutchf from United States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Super Helpful!
    by Jennlee C from United States

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

  • Practical Inspiration
    by Mamato3activeboys from Australia

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

  • So many great ideas!
    by Parent 98765 from Malaysia

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

  • Joy
    by Ancon76 from United States

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

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

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

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

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

  • Love it!
    by s chenvmv from United States

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

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

    Love this!

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

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

  • Wonderful resource!
    by honebubble from United States

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

  • A wonderful podcast!
    by NoName2018 from Canada

    Great ideas and interesting guests - thanks Pam!!

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

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

  • Such great choices of guests
    by andinic from United Kingdom

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

  • Great
    by WifeyKayla from United States

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

  • Interesting ideas
    by Lisa1932 from Canada

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

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

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

  • Excellent!
    by Jodylleigh from United States

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

  • Truly an inspiration!
    by Soaring2him from United States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Thanks Pam!
    by BraveMomma from United States

    So many great ideas every single week! Thanks!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Hope for the weary
    by MomToTheMasses from United States

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

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

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

  • Mamma of Five
    by Mamma of Five from United States

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

  • Great Homeschool Resource
    by KS Becky R from United States

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

  • Really great!
    by BeeGerW from United States

    I love hearing all these ideas!

  • californiafamily
    by californiafamily from United States

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

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

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

  • First Things First
    by Lukenoah from United States

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

  • So helpful!
    by jofcrich from Australia

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

  • Great resource
    by Ejs0928 from United States

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

  • Amazing!
    by CDefnall from United States

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

  • Inspiring and enlightening
    by spycej from United States

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

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

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

  • One of my favorites
    by FaithAZ from United States

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

  • Great Ideas
    by Hiphooray from United States

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

  • TaraVos
    by TaraVos from United States

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

  • Lots of useful information
    by Kristizy from United States

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

  • <3!!!
    by Momo35556 from United States

    I love this podcast! So helpful and encouraging.

  • Lovely & Inspiring
    by kashley75 from United States

    Thank you so much for this podcast!

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • So Helpful!
    by KGMom2Four from United States

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

  • A Lovely Show!
    by Webseitler from United States

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

  • Awesome homeschooling resource!
    by Liddleladie81 from United States

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

  • Great hosts!
    by Homeschool_chat from United States

    I always look forward to this podcast!

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

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

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

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

  • Awesome!
    by Apples20091 from United States

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

  • Encouraging and Motivating!
    by Cat11223 from United States

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

  • So many ideas!
    by Speterson781 from United States

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

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

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

  • Perfect for the Homeschool Mom
    by JoshJamie from United States

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

  • SongsofJubilee
    by SongsofJubilee from United States

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

  • Love it!
    by Ekrasovec7 from United States

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

  • So encouraging!
    by A Merry Heart from United States

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

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

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

  • Refreshing
    by Bless-Us-3 from Canada

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

  • So helpful and inspiring!
    by KSR1 from United States

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

  • Inspiring
    by Jaranda98 from United States

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

  • An inspiring and encouraging podcast
    by Kellibird1111 from United States

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

  • Honey for the Homeschooling Heart
    by SuperNOVAmom from United States

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

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

    These podcasts helped transform our homeschooling!

  • Great parenting resource
    by sullivanjessicak from United States

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

  • Thank you!
    by Nasiatel from United States

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

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

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

  • Top Notch
    by Wvshaddox from United States

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

  • Great Morning Time tips!
    by redhedcatie from United States

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

  • So Inspiring!
    by Frau Linds from United States

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

  • Wonderful!
    by Kellybireta from United States

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

  • Excellent practical advise!
    by Foxycook from United States

    Really enjoying this so far!

  • Very encouraging!
    by WMGardener from United States

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

  • A great resource!
    by gejake from United States

    Very inspiring and informative as I begin my homeschooling journey

  • Love This Podcast
    by Earthmuffins from United States

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

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

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

  • Great Podcast!
    by Greggtrisha from United States

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

  • Treasure
    by TasmanianBec from Australia

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

  • Jeannie in Ohio
    by Jeannie in Ohio from United States

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

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

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

  • Excellent Host
    by meghanlou from United States

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

  • Helpful and fun!
    by HornGal88 from United States

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

  • LOVE IT!
    by sassercj from United States

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

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

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

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

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

  • What’s important
    by sncstraub from United States

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

  • New listener and hooked!
    by Bytesofmemory from United States

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

  • Great!
    by Wvshaddox from United States

    Encouragement for homeschool.

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

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

  • Encouraging and informative!
    by sarahdempsen from United States

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

  • A great resource!
    by Bookgirl630 from United States

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

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

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

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

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

  • Timely
    by AggieRudy3 from United States

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

  • Thanks!
    by heyh2 from United States

    Thanks for the new podcast. Loving it!

  • Wonderful podcast with practical advice
    by Victorzvaliant from United States

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

  • Changed our Homeschool Morning routine
    by HeatherinSC from United States

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

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

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

  • Inspiring and Uplifting
    by vabjohnson from United States

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

  • Bringing Joy
    by Louisiana Mommy T from United States

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

  • Great podcast!
    by corew50 from United States

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

  • Inspiring, yet practical
    by mamato3cs from United States

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

  • Super Helpful & Encouraging
    by Sanibel4ever from United States

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

  • Great Poscast
    by Sarah B R from United States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Inspiring and refreshing!
    by BugTurner from United States

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

  • Brilliant
    by SHTirm from United Kingdom

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

  • Excellent!
    by RC5476 from United States

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

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

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

  • Inspiring!
    by Mamato8 from United States

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

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

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

  • Wonderful
    by BGTwinsMom from United States

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

  • So Inspiring!
    by bethenyn from United States

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

  • Inspiring and thought provoking!
    by Pascualamb from United States

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

  • Affirming & helpful
    by BOLDturquoise from United States

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

  • Inspiring
    by Amongst Lovely Things from United States

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

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

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

  • Your Morning Basket
    by inakamama from Australia

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

  • Helpful & inspiring!
    by starlingsfive from United States

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