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Morning Time is not something that is required by any homeschool method or governing body. Why then do homeschoolers find the practice beneficial to include in a homeschool day? 

In this episode, Pam talks about five different reasons why a Morning Time practice is a worthy addition to your homeschool. She outlines the benefits of why you would want to devote time to doing this year after year.

Pam: Are you ready for homeschooling to feel joyful again? Do you wanna build closer relationships, remove some of the stress around planning and enjoy learning with your children?
Welcome to Your Morning Basket. I’m Pam Barnhill, a homeschool mom just like you, and I’m going to show you the magic and fulfillment that morning basket or Morning Time can bring to your homeschool. Grab your coffee or tea, and let’s get started.
So I’m sharing all of my deep dark secrets with you on this episode of the podcast. I’m a little bit of a social media scroller. I tend to do this when I’m stressed out or tired at the end of the day or stressed out or tired at the beginning of the day. I have a tendency to scroll. I’m more of a social media consumer, though, and so I tend to lurk in the background and just read other people’s comments. I’m not a big commenter.
Recently, about a couple weeks ago I saw that somebody had posted on social media that they had tried Morning Time before in their homeschool, and it really seemed like just a bunch of busy work. Oh, that one got me in the heart.
My thought was, no, no, no. I felt so sad for that mom. I mean, Morning Time, it’s supposed to be joyful. And in our home it is the absolute opposite of what anyone would call busy work. And it made me feel sad and I’m thinking, why does it seem like busy work for some people? But for other people like me, it’s just not that at all. And I think in order to come to an understanding of why that might be, we really have to think about the why we’re doing Morning Time in the first place. Because you know, Morning Time is not on anyone’s list of requirements. There’s no state out of the 50 states in the union, no country in the world that requires kids to do Morning Time on their homeschool requirements.
Now, despite a popular misconception that’s out there, Charlotte Mason never talked about doing Morning Time, much less even requiring it. Of the people who follow her methods, you know, they have to do nature study and they have to spend all this time outside and they have to read living books, but they never had to do Morning Time. So you don’t have to do Morning Time to be a Charlotte Mason or a classical homeschooler.
And I tell you what, despite what some of us fall into at times, just because other folks on social media like Instagram or Pinterest are doing something that’s absolutely no reason, no good reason anyway, to add that thing to our homeschool days. So if none of those are the reason, if state requirements aren’t the reason, and if being a Charlotte Mason homeschooler or a classical homeschooler isn’t the reason, and if you know, because seeing somebody else doing it online is not the reason why, then would we consider doing Morning Time? Why would we consider adding this practice to our homeschool day?
Well, today I have five what I feel are really good reasons why you might consider adding Morning Time to your homeschool day. And when we get back to this, why, when we think about and we really lean into why do this, then it becomes something that’s not busy work at all.
So let’s talk about the five things. The first one I wanna start with is connections. Morning Time really does build connections between you and your kids and within your kids, between your kids and your other kids because as your kids get older, what you’re gonna find is they start heading off to do their subjects separately. They don’t even like to sit at the same table together to work on subjects. You know, when my kids were younger, we gathered around the table for Morning Time and then we would gather around the table and everybody would be working on math or reading or spelling, and I would be working on with one kid or the other. But as they got older, what I discovered is they liked to spread out into all parts of the house. And so if that was the only thing we did, if all we did were those separate subjects, then it would honestly feel like we never got to see each other much because they would all head off to their separate spaces and do their own thing and we would really not get to interact a lot.
My friend Heather Tully, who’s also the co-author of our book Gather in which we talk about gathering together to do homeschool, we talk about Morning Time. She said she doesn’t think that her 15 year old who has a job and works outside the home after school would even see her toddler if they did not do Morning Time together. And so having that touch point in the day where everyone can be together as your family gets older and build those connections together is such a huge benefit of the practice.
They also get this shared experience. They get a shared experience of the books that you’re reading. So we’re all doing A Horse and His Boy together. We’re all sharing that story at one time and can have conversations about that story. But we’re also all studying the same topic. So like right now, my family is all studying World War I, and so we can have these wonderful conversations about what we’re studying and the things that are going on because we’re all studying the same topic.
Now, if you know the seventh grader was doing the Middle Ages while the ninth grader was studying the ancient times, we would not be able to have these great conversations. And so by combining the kids for the single subject, it definitely makes the conversations at our house better because we can all talk about these different topics and we can all cry over the same books.
Okay, so maybe it’s just me who’s doing the crying, the kids are like, mom, are you crying again? We read Across Five Aprils earlier this year, and I just boohooed at the end of this book, which they kind of thought was a little funny. I mean, teens are not very compassionate towards their mother sometimes. But we did get to share that experience together.
And even if my boys weren’t crying, they were still feeling some of the emotions of that book. And even more importantly for us, because not everybody in my family cries, we all definitely laugh. And so by doing Morning Time together, that gives us the opportunity to laugh together, to share a little bit of joy. And so we can share the same jokes, we can laugh at them, we can sing together. And I tell you, it’s really hard to be grumpy when you sing. Actually, it’s almost impossible, I have to say. We sing the Doxology at the end of our Morning Time every single day, except maybe about two times in the history of our homeschool where they have made me so angry during Morning Time by their behavior or their attitudes or something like that.
And I’ve just said, you know what? I can’t even do this. I can’t sing cuz it’s impossible to sing when you’re angry. And so singing just by its very nature, puts you in a good mood 99.9% of the time. And then the other 0.2%, you have to say, I can’t even do this. I’m gonna walk away. And there are days like that even for me. Not every Morning Time is perfect, but yeah, Morning Time builds those connections. It brings you together as a family. And I think that’s one of the most important reasons to add it to your homeschool day.
The next thing that it does is it allows you to pour into your children before you ask them to produce something for you. So this is a really important thing that we don’t always think about.
So I’ve written a couple of books and I have found that when I have really struggled with writing, whether it be books or a blog post or even a podcast script, it’s because I haven’t been reading myself. And so if I sit down at the keyboard and I go to start typing and the words just won’t come, it’s typically because I haven’t been reading something, you know, for my own enjoyment or for my own edification. And so I have to be poured into, I have to have something in my brain before I can in turn pour that stuff out. There’s a great quote by Andrew Pudewa that says, “A brain that has nothing in it to begin with can’t produce anything.” Actually, that’s not what he said.
That was just a complete and total paraphrase of that quote, but that’s essentially what he meant. You have to pour into your children first before you can expect them to produce something for you. You can’t get anything out of a brain that has nothing in it to begin with. That’s the Pudewa quote. Well guess what? Morning Time is the place where they get all the stuff in their brain that they can use later because this is where we get the beautiful things.
This is where we put the poetry, this is where we put the wonderful books. This is where we put the memorization. This is where we’re reading the Bible with our kids. This is where we’re studying the Shakespeare and the Plutarch and all of this wonderful stuff. We’re feeding their brains with it and their brains are contemplating it and they’re chewing over it.
And later on in the day when we’re asking them to write a composition, they actually have words to say, they actually have patterns to follow. They don’t know this, they don’t think about this. This is not something that consciously happens to them, but we’re layering all of these wonderful riches into their head. And later on when we’re asking them to produce something they have a well to draw from, they have something to pull out of. And this is where the Morning Time comes from. I tell you what, when I started thinking about homeschooling my kids years and years ago, the reason why I wanted to do it was because the teachers that I was teaching with at the time told me that they spent all of their time teaching to the test. They never got the time to teach the wonderful, beautiful things that they wanted because they were constantly worried about passing this test during the era of No Child Left Behind. And I thought, I don’t want that for my kids. I don’t want them just studying to pass a test and I don’t want the government deciding what it is they think is important for my kids to learn. And so that was why we started homeschooling.
But once my kids turned seven and five, I realized that I spent all of my time working on phonics, which are very important. You know, I have a kid who has struggled as a reader and so it was really important to do those phonics, but we were doing phonics or math or spelling, and we never made the time to do all the beautiful things that I didn’t wanna miss.
And it wasn’t until I put them together and gave them weight, you know, before I was trying to sprinkle them throughout my day and sprinkle them throughout the schedule and they just weren’t getting done. But once I put them together and gave them some weight in the schedule by calling them Morning Time, then that time of day started getting done and we actually started getting to all of those subjects that I thought were important.
All of those subjects that in turn would feed my children’s minds, fill them with truth, goodness, and beauty. And then they could turn around and use that even if you know unconsciously, subconsciously in their compositions and in their thoughts and conversations and things that we were talking about in their school day.
Okay, so we’re onto number three. The third reason why you might consider doing Morning Time is because it sets the tone for your school day.
Now I tell people all the time, look, you do not have to do Morning Time early. People tell me I’m not a morning person. There’s no way I can do this first thing in the morning. And hey, I get that mornings for the longest time, were not my favorite time of day either. And the idea of like having this big obligation first thing in my school day was not something that I would’ve enjoyed.
But I do think it’s important to consider doing Morning Time first, even if your school day happens later, even if your school day doesn’t happen till the afternoon. So right now our Morning Time is at 10:00 AM. In the past it’s been as late as 11. When my kids were little, they were up early despite my best efforts to help them sleep in.
And so we did Morning Time earlier, we did it about 8:30 or nine o’clock. But it doesn’t matter when you start your school day, I do think you might wanna consider doing Morning Time first. And the reason is it sets the tone for your school day. Because look, it is really tough for kids to transition from playtime into school time. And when you have older kids, when you have teenagers, then they have to transition from, oh my goodness, I just woke up and now you want me to go do math, or you want me to do composition or you want me to do grammar or something like that. And for your little kids, they’re totally immersed in their own agenda. They’re playing, they’re having a really fun time, and all of a sudden you flip a switch and you say, oh, it’s time to do school, come do math. They don’t wanna do that. By starting your day with Morning Time, you’re starting your day with something enjoyable or delightful, even if it’s something just as simple as doing a read aloud with your kids or starting your day with prayer or singing a hymn. Morning Time doesn’t have to be long and complicated, but by starting with something delightful, starting with something enjoyable, then you set the tone for the rest of your school day.
So Mark Twain had this saying that you should eat a live frog first thing in the morning and then the rest of your day is only gonna get better. And the productivity gurus, they kinda lean into that and say, do your hard thing first. Eat your frog first. And that’s great for productivity. But homeschooling is not about productivity.
The heart of homeschooling, what we’re really talking about are the relationships between you and your kids. And so don’t eat the frog first. Actually we have a saying around Your Morning Basket that’s save the frogs. Save the frogs by doing Morning Time first, doing your most delightful thing first to set the disposition for your day, to set the tone for your day. So then when you start doing the harder things, your kids are in this great attitude, they’re in this great frame of mine to go from this wonderful engrossed kind of learning into the other learning that you expect of them.
Okay, so moving on to number four, the fourth why you might wanna do Morning Time is because it is just so darned efficient and I love it. I love anything efficient. And Morning Time is the epitome of homeschool efficiency. The why is you’re gonna be combining your kids for multiple subjects and this makes your life so much easier as a homeschool mom. It is simpler when everyone is studying the same thing because if you’re doing some kind of school in a box, they send you the whole box and you open it up and you’ve got materials for your seventh grader and materials for your third grader and materials for your first grader.
That seventh grader might be studying biology and the third grader is studying the weather and the first grader is studying botany of some kind. And you’re juggling three totally different subjects with three totally different kids. And that is just crazy making for a homeschool mom. But if you take all of those kids and at least combine them for the same topic, even if they’re not all doing the same things for that topic, then that makes your life so much easier.
So let me give you an example. All of my children, and this year I have a 12th grader. I have one who’s 15, I think he’s in 10th grade. And then see, I can’t even remember what grade they’re in. And I have a seventh grader. So I have these three kids in these three grades and we are all studying modern history together.
So we started with the Civil War all the way up into the Modern Age and every single child in my homeschool is doing that exact same history topic. And so what that means is we actually read our spine books together during Morning Time and we are using Stories of the Americas and Stories of the Nations from Simply Charlotte Mason. We’re using volume two of both of those books.
And so four days a week I read a chapter from each one of those books. So two chapters from Stories of Americas and two chapters of Stories of the Nations. And all of my kids listen to that in Morning Time. Now because all of my kids are middle and high school age, they also have separate readings that they read at different times of the day for history and they read these largely independently.
I have some who are great independent readers and then I have some where some books I still kind of help them along, but we’re all studying the same topic together and that just makes my life so much easier. My brain only has to track the one period of time in history and we’re pulling that together with the reading that we’re doing in Morning Time. And so everybody is not in three separate time periods.
We’re doing it all together and I cannot stress enough how important this is for your homeschool and for keeping your sanity as a homeschool mom. If you haven’t ever tried this and you finding your homeschool a little bit crazy making, as you start planning next school year, I would really recommend that you look at doing this.
And if you need some help with this, you can come on over to We have a free community over there and lots of mamas there approach learning in exactly this way and we would be happy to help you get started with that. So it is a totally efficient way to homeschool and just can save your sanity.
And finally, the fifth thing, and this is perhaps my favorite reason why for doing Morning Time is because it just feels like the biggest win at the start of my homeschool day.
And that’s because I know if the day completely goes off the rails after Morning Time, if we get nothing else done, I can still check off all of these boxes. I like to tell people that Morning Time is the way to check off a lot of boxes in your homeschool without railroading it over your children. So I am one of these checklist homeschool moms.
It just feels so good to me to just check a bunch of boxes. And you know, they say, and I’m doing the they in air quotes, they say that you shouldn’t be as concerned about checking off boxes because what tends to happen is you just kind of railroad over the relationships. But Morning Time really kind of gives you the best of both worlds.
It allows you to check off a bunch of boxes while the focus is really still on relationships. So right now, in our Morning Time we do language arts, we do poetry memorization and literature during our Morning Time. We also do history in our Morning Time and then we do Bible. So that’s three subjects right there. Now, my Morning Time I happen to think is kind of boring right now, but it really works for us because I have high schoolers, I have kids with busy schedules and so we’ve really scaled it back over what it used to be. But if we were to go back four or five years in our Morning Time, we were not only doing some language arts and some history and some bible, but we were also doing grammar. All of my kids were doing doing grammar together in Morning Time and we were learning a foreign language in Morning Time at different times.
We’ve done a little bit of mathematics in Morning Time. So there are so many different things that you can do in your Morning Time and just you can mentally or even physically check those boxes off so that if the rest of your homeschool day goes off the rails because the toddler has to have an emergency pediatrician appointment or you have to go to the walk-in clinic for somebody or something like that, you’ve still got so much done. It feels like a massive win. And I don’t know about you, but as a homeschool mom, I need all the massive wins that I can get. And so just finishing Morning Time every single day, massive win, check it off, I feel great. And if we get to nothing else, we have definitely gotten something accomplished.
So there you go. Those are five reasons why I think Morning Time is a good thing to do. And listen, one of these may be your why. Honestly, all of them are my why. This is exactly why I take the time every day to do Morning Time with my kids and why I think it’s the most valuable practice in my homeschool.
If somebody said to me, you could, you know you could only do one thing in your homeschool, what thing would that be? I would tell them Morning Time. And an ideal education really for my kids is Morning Time math and composition learning to write a composition. And that’s really not that far from what we do for most of our school days. It’s the most important part of our day. And honestly, if you could get just one 10th of the joy that we have gotten from Morning Time, then you’ll be very fortunate indeed.
Thanks so much for listening to Your Morning Basket. If you are ready to spend less time planning and more time engaged in learning with your children, join Your Morning Basket plus a monthly membership with everything you need to start a Morning Time practice in your homeschool.
To join, head on over to and I’ll see you there.

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Find What you Want to Hear

  • [1:30] Why can Morning Time seem like busywork?
  • [3:34] Morning Time makes Connections
  • [7:55] Morning Time lets you pour into your children
  • [12:12] Morning Time sets the tone
  • [15:28] Efficiency!
  • [19:04] Morning time gives you a win

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