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Join Pam, Dawn Garrett, and Meg Angelino as they bust some myths about those “extras” in homeschooling. We’re airing out all the misconceptions we have heard about Morning Time through the years and today, we’re here to set the record straight. Combining subjects? Totally a game changer. 

Tune in to get a sneak peek into our own Morning Time secrets and see why keeping it simple is key. And hey, don’t stress – remember to find the joy and avoid that homeschool burnout. Whether you’ve got toddlers or teens, we’ll chat about how Morning Time is a fit for everyone. Bring the family in on this one! 🌞📚🎉

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 Film it that morning basket or morning time can bring to your homeschool. Grab your coffee or tea, and let’s get started. Hi, everyone, and welcome to this episode of the Your Morning Basket podcast. I am joined today by 2 members of the Your Morning Basket Team 1 of whom you are very familiar with, if you’ve listened to very many podcasts, and another newer Team member for the podcast. Meg, have you ever been on the Your Morning Basket podcast before?

Meg Angelino [00:00:54]:

I have not.

Pam Barnhill [00:00:55]:

Okay. So introduce yourself and tell everybody who you are.

Meg Angelino [00:00:59]:

Hi. I’m Meg. I’m a homeschooling mom of 2 middle schoolers in Southern Connecticut, and I am the operations manager, meaning I do a lot of the behind the scenes stuff for your mining basket. So, that would be why you haven’t heard from me so much.

Pam Barnhill [00:01:14]:

Yes. You are behind the scenes, but you and I met, Goodness. Like, 8 years ago, maybe?

Meg Angelino [00:01:23]:

Yep. I have been around kind of, Like, first as a, purchaser of, both plan your year, the original version, And original Your Morning Basket, PDFs, and I’ve kind of just stuck around because Morning time was transformation for transformational for our school. So, it’s just been a good place for me, and I love it.

Pam Barnhill [00:01:53]:

Love it. Love it. Okay. So our next team member on the podcast today is somebody you know very well if you’ve listened very often, And that is miss Dawn Garrett. Hey, Dawn. How are you doing?

Dawn Garrett [00:02:05]:

I’m doing really well. We are we’re Started on our school year, and things are moving apace, and we are so I just wanna add a bug. We are so thankful for Meg Because she keeps us all in line, and we she has done such a wonderful job and become such an invaluable part of the team. So I’m glad that she’s getting a chance to share her voice today.

Pam Barnhill [00:02:28]:

Yeah. That’s right. Because, everybody says, how do you do all of this? And, well, Meg and Dawn, that’s how I do all of this. So, yeah, it’s great to have, team members. Okay, Dawn. We know you have homeschooled 3 kids in the past, But what is going on in your life this year?

Dawn Garrett [00:02:46]:

Well, in July, I graduated my oldest, and she’s taking a gap year and working, and she’s doing theater stuff, and she’s having a great time so far. And then I sent my now senior, to community college For the year, so I am homeschooling 1 student in 2023, 2024. She is a junior, And she and I are having the best time.

Pam Barnhill [00:03:15]:

I love juniors. Like, they’re not Seniors yet? And I love I love my senior. You know? She was fabulous. But there is something about when a kid gets to their last year That the senioritis hit. And, honestly, I think for me last year, it hit as much for me as it did for her. Right? So I kinda had that senioritis, but Junior year is when they kind of get a little bit serious.

Dawn Garrett [00:03:39]:

Yes. Yeah. For sure. Yeah. I think so. That’s That’s my been my experience now. Three times.

Pam Barnhill [00:03:46]:


Dawn Garrett [00:03:46]:

So Yeah. Yeah.

Pam Barnhill [00:03:47]:

So and I’m seeing that with my junior too, which is such a a wonderful, Awesome breeze. So, Meg, just to let you know, in a few years, you’ll have a junior, and you’ll be like, oh, this is so lovely. Why can’t I always homeschool a junior?

Dawn Garrett [00:04:01]:

That’s right.

Pam Barnhill [00:04:03]:

2 years. Yeah. Okay. Well, speaking of what’s going on this year in your homeschool, we’re Gonna start kind of a new little segment on the Your Morning Basket podcast called morning time musings, and I’m just gonna kinda bring out a question, regularly. So I would like to know the first question. Question’s gonna vary every single time. But the first question is, What’s working in your morning time right now? Now I’ll all I know all of us recently went back to school, and so we’re kind of, like, Just starting our school year. Meg, I think you’ve been going the longest of all of us. But, what’s working for you right now?

Meg Angelino [00:04:41]:

Right now, I would say singing is working for us. And I wouldn’t have said that last year, with vocal changes and things going on over here. But this Dear, it’s a nice, like, gentle introduction to our morning time, and it’s also been a nice Break between some of our heavy readings. It gives our chant brains a chance to rest and think about something different Before we shift into the next book, and it seems to be working really well right now.

Pam Barnhill [00:05:13]:

Okay. So question. Do you sing more than once in your morning time?

Meg Angelino [00:05:17]:

We do. We sing in the beginning, we sing the doxology, just opening everything up, And then we sing midway through. We take, like, a little song break, and it’s usually a hymn or a folk song. And it just gives us a chance to kind of have that little mental break in the middle.

Pam Barnhill [00:05:34]:

I love it. I love it so much. Okay, Dawn. What’s working for you Right now in the morning.

Dawn Garrett [00:05:40]:

So if you’ve been around morning baskets for a long time, we get a lot of questions about having how do you do morning time with 1 student? Oh my gosh. Morning time with 1 student, maybe because she’s a junior, is amazing. So we get to It’s it’s great. We goes a lot of books that are very Related to her interests? And they’re not necessarily related to each other, but there are things that either I wanted her to have or things about she would like to be a homeschooling mom. So I’ve chose some things to do with her, and we are having the best discussions. Just her and me doing morning time.

Pam Barnhill [00:06:22]:

I love it so much. I love it so much. And, yeah, I okay. So one of the things I’m this has nothing to do with morning time, but I’ll just say it anyway. So my boys have decided they wanna school 4 days a week this year. And so I’ve got one who’s schooling Monday through Thursday, and the other one is schooling Tuesday through Friday. And Monday and Friday, we’re not doing morning time, but those are still my favorite days. Gosh. It’s so easy with just 1 kid, because there’s no bickering. You know? And I know some moms struggle with this in morning time. Just know I struggle with this too, especially with 2 boys who are, like, close in age, but just far enough apart. You know, one of them’s a junior, one of them’s an 8th grader, and it’s like, I get you on the bickering. It’s worth it to push through, totally worth it to push through. But The days that I’ve only got one of them, I’m like, oh, like, the whole day just runs more smoothly.

Dawn Garrett [00:07:20]:

So And yet and yet that that bickering is a great opportunity too. So it’s something important To Yeah. To work through as you’re doing your morning time. So

Pam Barnhill [00:07:33]:

Yeah. And Linda Sutherland talks a lot about that from, Sibley Relationship Lab where, You know, the bickering is where they learn that you can love somebody and disagree with them. And, you know, you may you may not always get along, And we need that so much in the world today that you can, you know, you can disagree with somebody and still love them. And so yeah. It’s totally worth it. Totally worth it. Okay. I would say the thing that’s working for us right now, we are so happy, so happy to have Carl Azuz back.

Dawn Garrett [00:08:04]:


Pam Barnhill [00:08:05]:

Yes. He’s doing the world from a to z, and it’s like we missed him so much last year. It just left a hole in our morning time, and so now he’s back. And, we’ve been watching. The only problem is because we don’t do morning time on Friday, I realized we’re not getting any of the Fridays are awesome. So, but we are watching Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and always getting, just a good look at current events, and it always sparks a conversation.

Dawn Garrett [00:08:39]:

We, we have always done the news stuff before school starts. So it’s like, Get up, read your bible, we’ll play the news, and then you’ll get breakfast. It’s a nice, slow, easy morning, and so my kids even my graduate, even my college are still watching Carl. It’s wonderful to have him back.

Pam Barnhill [00:08:58]:

Yeah. Yeah. It is. Alright. Well, let’s Move into our main topic for today, and that is we wanted to talk about some of the Misconceptions that we’ve heard, misconceptions that people might have about morning time. And we we really wanted to Address some of those because we hear a lot of them. And I think the first thing that we wanted to start with is It has to happen in the morning because we hear, what do you mean morning time? Like, I’m not a morning person. This like, I can’t do this. There’s no way I could function that early in the morning. So what say you guys?

Dawn Garrett [00:09:41]:

We have pretty much always done morning time in the morning, But I don’t think that you have to, by any means. I think I know a lot of people who start in the afternoon, Who’s starting the late morning? I think, I think it it does not have to be a morning thing At all.

Pam Barnhill [00:10:04]:

Yeah. What about you, Meg? Have you always done morning time in the morning?

Meg Angelino [00:10:08]:

We, we’ve had different seasons. So, I wouldn’t say that we’ve always done it in the morning. We mostly do it in the morning. We find that it’s an easier way to kind of transition to our school day. But we’ve had a lot of seasons where we really needed to do it at different times. So we’ve had seasons where it happened at lunchtime And even times where we’ve done it at dinner with dad. So I definitely would say it does not have to happen at In the morning. It can happen at any point in the day. It is about what suits your family.

Pam Barnhill [00:10:41]:

Yeah. There was a time a couple of years ago. So now we start our morning time much later than than Dawn does. We start our morning time at 10. What time do you start, Dawn?

Dawn Garrett [00:10:52]:


Pam Barnhill [00:10:53]:


Dawn Garrett [00:10:54]:


Pam Barnhill [00:10:55]:

Yeah. And what time do you start, Meg?

Meg Angelino [00:10:57]:

Right now, 9 o’clock.

Pam Barnhill [00:10:59]:

9 o’clock. Okay. So we have, like, an 8:30, a 9 o’clock, and then a 10. There was a time a couple years ago where I was just Bragging these big bodies out of bed in the morning and they were so, you know, hard to get out of bed. My daughter is not a morning person, And, we were doing it at 11. So we were starting our morning time at 11 AM. And it you know, I think the most important thing is just to figure out not only what time works what time works for your family as a whole, but then what time works for your other kids. Because there’s nothing that says, like, some of the kids can’t get up and do other things first

Dawn Garrett [00:11:36]:


Pam Barnhill [00:11:37]:

Before morning time if they want to. But, you know, Jessica Waldock is not a morning person, and she mentions, like, she uses morning time to her advantage because she’s not a morning person. Since she has an only child, that only child is very full of energy and up earlier. Jessica’s not ready to go yet, and she’s like, this buys me time. You know, all I have to do is pull a book out of the basket and read while I’m drinking my coffee. You know? It buys me a little extra time to not be a morning person, to wake up slowly. So I think you could definitely use that to your advantage. And then I know there have been some people who have changed the name of it because they didn’t like or their kids didn’t like calling it morning time if they weren’t doing it in the morning? And it really doesn’t matter what you call it either.

Dawn Garrett [00:12:24]:

No. I think, Heather Tully has talked about she had a season with a really hard toddler, like

Pam Barnhill [00:12:30]:


Dawn Garrett [00:12:31]:

A really, really hard toddler, and so they did morning time in the evening when dad could corral the toddler, and, And he was home from work and was able to do that. And that that year, it just that’s when it made sense to do Morning time even though it was after dinner time.

Pam Barnhill [00:12:50]:

Yeah. Yeah. So I think it I think it could definitely be done, anytime at all. Alright. So what’s another?

Meg Angelino [00:12:57]:

Oh, I was just gonna say, I had a time when we did it, like, while the youngest was napping. So I had, like, a kindergarten, and we had a time when we had the youngest napping, and that’s when we did it. And then we’ve also had like, my youngest is an early early bird, so she gets up and does her math before morning time, Before her brother’s out of bed.

Dawn Garrett [00:13:20]:


Meg Angelino [00:13:21]:

We definitely take advantage of that pre pre morning time schoolwork.

Pam Barnhill [00:13:27]:

Yeah. Yeah. And with yeah. So and it’s probably easier for her to do math without him around. So yeah. So okay. What’s another thing that we hear that’s a misconception about morning time?

Dawn Garrett [00:13:41]:

I hear a lot that Morning time is just memory work, and we aren’t doing memory work, so we don’t need to do morning time. But I think Meg has alluded to they sing and they read a lot of book. Pam talks about watching Carl Azus in, the world on The road from a to z. I we’re reading a lot of books. We do a little bit of memorization during our morning time, But it’s just one of many different things that we have smooshed together in our learning time. And I think that that has That alternation of ideas, and and things that you’re studying and things that you’re learning about, and that it’s it’s that Pulling together and making it a family affair that really is what sets morning time apart and makes it special and important. And so don’t yes. A lot of people do a lot of memory work, and we have traditionally done. We’ve done catechism and hymns and, bible and poetry, we’ve traditionally done a lot of memory work, but we don’t all do all only memory.

Pam Barnhill [00:14:52]:

Yeah. Yeah. Actually, I’m gonna make a confession. We’re not doing any memory work at all this year. So I know it’s Crazy because we’ve done it for so many years, but the boys were just adamant. You know? And sometimes, like, it’s like, the years I spent doing Mad Libs Just to keep the peace in morning time, and sometimes you do that. And so next year, I’ll ask again. Hey. Can we do some memory work? But for this year, We’re just, like, going with the ages that they are, and and so we’re not you don’t have to do any memory work at all, and you could still have a great morning time.

Dawn Garrett [00:15:24]:

We’re still in our like, We’ve done morning time 6 times now, since the beginning of the school year. And at the beginning of the school year, we always do a lot of review. But so we’re still reviewing our bible memory work, and we’re singing old hymns that we’ve learned. We haven’t touched the catechism. We haven’t touched the poetry. We’re reading poetry, but we haven’t worked on any of the memorized poetry, and we may not do poetry this year for memory work, just read and enjoy other So I I think I think it can definitely be something that is adjusted year by year. Yeah.

Pam Barnhill [00:16:02]:

Yeah. For sure. Alright. So I hear this one a lot, and it’s the idea that How can I add 1 more thing to my schedule? Like, these are the extras, and I don’t have time for the extras. You know? So how do you fit this in when I have all of this other stuff to do?

Meg Angelino [00:16:26]:

Well, I think some of it is that Whole concept that morning time is family learning. So when you’re learning together, like, we incorporate things like our Science and our history together. So then squishing in a little bit of art or, you know, a hymn study or, You know, just any of those other beautiful subjects that so easily slipped through the Great. Because we’re doing this learning together, and it’s a time saver.

Pam Barnhill [00:17:00]:


Meg Angelino [00:17:00]:

So that would be my argument for morning time.

Dawn Garrett [00:17:04]:

I would love to talk about the word extras in in that statement because, we were watching, Oh, what’s the Robin Williams movie where he’s the teacher from the eighties? The Ed Poet Society, and he’s like, why do we read poetry, boys? You have to learn math. You have to learn English, but why the poetry? He says because poetry is what we live for. It tells about love and life and all of these things, and those are the things that we The the math, the written word, all those things are the things that we do to make a living. These are the things that we live for. And so if we aren’t introducing the things that we live for, then the other stuff, It doesn’t it has less purpose, less meaning, in my opinion. So I don’t love the term extras. I know In the Charlotte Mason world, we call them the riches. My favorite though is the leaven, where the leaven lightens and makes everything rise up. And it it expands the world, expands everything that you’re doing in your homeschool. And so, I know that Wendy k part actually coined both the riches and the leaven. I prefer talking about the leaven of morning it actually makes doing the math Lessons easier. It makes morning time makes doing the phonics lesson easier. It makes all those the science, the history because it just lightens the whole day.

Pam Barnhill [00:18:44]:

Yeah. And so

Dawn Garrett [00:18:47]:

I just wanted to, like, push back on that word extra. These aren’t extras. They are what give meaning.

Pam Barnhill [00:18:54]:

Yeah. I love that so much. And they’re also the things that keep mom from burning out. Because when people say, how do you homeschool for so many years? I mean, think about Heather. How many years? She’s been homeschooling for 20 years now and has how many more to go? You know, her youngest is 6. And so she has quite a few More to go, another 12 years. And so by the time it’s all said and done, she’s going to have homeschooled for over 30 years. And I think in order to do that without burning out, that’s where morning time comes in, for a lot of moms. Sarah McKenzie has a great line. It’s like, Mike, I’m gonna be in my homeschool the longest. Like, all of my kids are gonna graduate and leave. I’m gonna be here the longest, and that’s why, You know, I will still keep doing some of the things in morning time that I enjoy, like reading the poems. We may not be memorizing them, but we’ll read them. Or, you know, this little book of devotions or, you know, right now, We’re using a little made it’s a little book called made for greatness, and we’re reading that aloud in our morning time. I’m getting as much out of it as the kids are. So That’s the kind of stuff I’m gonna keep on doing because that’s the thing that keeps me from burning out as a homeschool mom.

Dawn Garrett [00:20:12]:


Meg Angelino [00:20:13]:

I think too, like, you know, it’s worth pointing out to our children as well as ourselves that All these beautiful things, they all point back to God, and it helps us to make those connections with our other subjects throughout the day That all things point back to him. And so having that having that lens to look through kind of helps us Bring back, which I think ties in really, like, well with what, Dawn was saying about the leaven is, like, it’s all about lightning and Injecting life into into our homeschool.

Pam Barnhill [00:20:54]:

And I just I just wanna go back to the Efficiency thing that Meg touched upon, and this is so important. If you are homeschooling 3, 4, Five children, and you’re planning on putting everybody in a box with their grade number on it and juggle that many sciences and that many histories all at One time. You’re doing something way harder than a morning time right there. And so it is such a good use of your time and energy To combine those kids, and we’ve got to get out of this idea that kids are gonna miss out Or they’re gonna miss something if if we’re trying to combine them together? Because, you know, they’re really not. They’re gonna learn so much from each other. They’re gonna take what they can. You’re gonna teach to the older kids. The younger kids are gonna cycle back through. And, you know, this goes back to what Misty talks about when she says the math This is the character lesson. Learning to sit through the science lesson that you’re doing as a family is also a character lesson. You know? And so learning how to behave yourself, how to hold yourself together, how to be quiet while your mother reads aloud the history book, Those kinds of things. That is a fabulous character lesson, and you don’t have to go out and buy a character curriculum to get that.

Dawn Garrett [00:22:11]:

That’s for sure. I’d love to talk about, like, the wide age ranges that you can come to in morning time where you’re, You know, like, oh, I’ve got this 5th grader, 4th grader, 3rd grader. This is perfect time for morning time, but by the time they’re in high school, We can’t do this anymore. They’re just way too busy. They have all their their, you know, they have to have all their credits For college, they have to have these things and another, and that is a big misconception too because the things that you can do in morning time count toward the hours of those high school credits, so that’s the first thing. And your morning time can mature with your students, even if you have younger students coming up behind. So one of the things that we’re studying this year, for our art Say, we’ve done art study for years years years in our morning time, but there’s this painting again in Charlotte Mason circles called the great recognition, Which shows the Holy Spirit coming down on Pentecost, on the upper room, and then it shows it going beyond and and to Thomas Aquinas, and it shows All of these, all of the learning, grammar, math, everything is from God. And so Rebecca and I are gonna study that this year because she’s She’s an 11th grader, and she can handle walking through that great big painting that has so many ideas Because she has looked at Michelangelo and Monet and Van Gogh and Botticelli and all of these guys over the years. So The maturation that you can have in morning time, it it goes from beginning to end and to mom. I have, Can’t even tell you how much I’ve learned in morning time over 15 years now.

Pam Barnhill [00:24:00]:

Hi, friend. We all know the benefits of morning time, beauty, Enjoy in our homeschool, plus a time to connect and create relationships with our kids, but homeschool burnout can happen. So how can we beat it? Your morning basket plus takes all the planning out of your morning time so you can create space for engaging and starting your homeschool day on the right But with access to over 50 sets of morning time plans, live events, a community, and so much more, we walk right along with you in your homeschool journey? Join us at pam or the link in the show notes, and start creating a morning time you love today.

Dawn Garrett [00:24:46]:

Well, I

Pam Barnhill [00:24:46]:

think there’s I think there’s a fear that If I’m talking to my high schoolers, then the little kids are gonna be left out, and they’re going to miss something. You know? And I think what they gain from being there far outweighs Things that they miss or things that you might perceive that they miss. And that doesn’t mean you don’t take The little ones decide at a different time of day and read them a picture book or something like that, but they are going to pick up and learn so much of what you’re teaching to the other to the older kids. Mhmm. And then if you are doing something that’s a little much for the younger kids, then your older kids can learn patience. They can help you. They can do some of the reading aloud. You know? And, and Sarah McKenzie often talks about nothing teaches you how to die to self more Than taking care of some of your younger siblings. So once again, it goes back to that character education for both groups. And I think we have such a, a notion in our head that if we’re not doing something specifically for 1 person That there were cheating them in some way. But, really, the, you know, the value there is value in Sitting through something that’s not specifically for you. It is for somebody else.

Dawn Garrett [00:26:11]:

So My my daughter was recently babysitting, So it’s not directly morning time, but she was going through our picture books, things that she remembered from when I was reading them to her in morning time years years ago. Oh, I wanna take this one to to go when I’m babysitting Sammy. So so even if you have that wider range, Ask your older kids, what do you remember that we read in morning time? What should we make sure that little Jojo doesn’t miss out on? Right? So they’re a part of the planning. They’re a part of the reading. They’re they are a part of, building that family culture between your High schooler and your early elementary school students. I think that that’s a wise use of time. And what a

Meg Angelino [00:26:56]:

great way to build those oratory skills. Reading aloud. Right? And so if those Older students are reading to the younger ones. They’re getting that read aloud practice. They’re practicing oration, And that is an important skill for moving forward.

Pam Barnhill [00:27:14]:

And that is something I would totally count towards The you know, like a public ski speaking credit for Mhmm. My high schooler. And that’s that’s the thing I think, you know, we We think about let’s start thinking about what we’re doing in morning time and where can we take an estimate of those minutes And move them into a, you know, a credit hour tracker so that we can track those for our high school student. And last year, I counted memory work. I counted the read alouds that we did. I counted the history separate from the literature. So all of that kinds of stuff can be counted, and I did end up giving Aaliyah a a half Credit in public speaking for various things that she had done. And if we had if I had had her read aloud in morning time, I would have counted those minutes towards that public Speaking credit. You know, practicing the oration with, feeling that Meg was talking about.

Meg Angelino [00:28:14]:

And I do think that that is one of those misconceptions about morning time. Right? That it doesn’t count for anything or it doesn’t count for a specific subject. It does in fact count towards credits, for high school. And so just because you’re you’re using that time For something that may not be a you know, specifically math, you know, or, you know, specifically algebra 1 or specifically, you know, English one, It can be broken down into those English credits and, you know, if you’re including math in your morning time into those math credits, and And that that time does go towards their their credit hours.

Pam Barnhill [00:28:52]:

Right. It ends to it.

Dawn Garrett [00:28:54]:

Yeah. And you don’t have to do that Math in morning time or the public speaking in morning time every single day. Like, even if it’s, like, 10 minutes One day a week, that still adds up to something that you can add toward that math card. I know I loop a lot of things in morning time where On these day you know, the net whatever the next day is, we do the next thing. We don’t necessarily just do exactly the same thing every Single day and morning time. Do you do that?

Pam Barnhill [00:29:25]:

Oh, no. I do because my morning time is so simple. You know? So we do pretty much do everything every day, but I’m tracking far fewer things in my morning time. And that’s the beauty of it is, and and so maybe this is a misconception we need to address that you have to have this big long loop of all of these different subjects that you go through. And, Sarah and I even did a podcast one time where she said, look. We do our memory work. We do our bible reading, and we do one thing Until we’re done with it, and then we do something new. So she would do picture study every day. So it would take, like, a 6 week picture study, and she would be done with it in a week and a half because she did it every day. And then she’d say, now we’re gonna do music for the next week. So, you know, don’t Which kind of leads us to one of the other misconceptions about it being hard to prepare for. It doesn’t have to be. It can be Simple. It can be one thing, you know, on top of a read aloud and, you know, memorizing a bible verse or, you know, doing some prayer or something like it can be that simple.

Meg Angelino [00:30:33]:

We definitely have done a lot of different iterations. When my kids were really little, it was sing, Bible, picture book, and one thing. And now we have a whole basket of things that I just Kind of rotate through. I don’t my loop is not as big as Dawn’s, but it’s, you know, bigger than yours. But I literally just go into my basket, pull out a book, and read the next chapter, and then move on to the next thing. So, you know, I don’t think it’s very complicated, because it’s it’s just kind of, like, whatever whatever gets pulled out today is the book we read.

Dawn Garrett [00:31:12]:

The morning time was always really pretty has always been very complicated. Maybe too complicated. I don’t know. But it grew really organically. Oh, I wanna do this too. Oh, can we put this in? And so morning time can grow like that, And so it didn’t seem complicated to me because I was just adding 1 thing at a time, and then it just made sense in my head. But it can be super easy, and it what fits your family? My kids are more 32 months apart, really close in age. We could do a lot together and get a lot of our day done in morning time, and so we did.

Pam Barnhill [00:31:54]:

Yeah. And, you know, there was the, a few years there where we did the history plans, and so we did have a lot of Things going on in our morning time when we were cycling through all of those history plans. And so it was very rich and varied and all of that stuff. And so I think for us, it just goes from year to year, and then also feeling out kind of the hormones I’ve got going on in the house and And the the, you know, the those kinds of things. So I think I think it can totally vary, which kinda brings us to this other misconception on our list That it must be a certain way. And I think I think we’ve already started demonstrating this today that, no, there is no prescribed Fashion for morning time. And I even find that the people who are using our plans in the community still find Fifty different ways to use the plans. Like, for every person that’s there, they have another way to use the plans that we’ve prepared for them to use.

Dawn Garrett [00:32:56]:

Mhmm. I I don’t think any there’s any 1 person in the community who uses the resources the same way as one other person.

Pam Barnhill [00:33:04]:

I just don’t. Yeah. It’s

Dawn Garrett [00:33:06]:

you see 1 Friday.

Meg Angelino [00:33:08]:

1 morning time frame.

Pam Barnhill [00:33:10]:

Yeah. Yeah. And that makes me very proud of them That they’re able to come in there and own that. I mean, I think sometimes we have people who come into the Your Morning Basket Plus membership, and they’re like, okay. Show me where to start because that’s the promise we make with the membership is, like, it’s your easy button. Right? We’ve done all the preparation for you. We’ve Chosen all of the things so you don’t have to do all of the research, and you don’t have to do all of that. So they kind of come in there with, okay. Please show me what to do first. And I think Lainie does a fabulous job with that when she has their meeting with them. She sets them up, and she would, like, Show them which one to do. Right now, we’re all kind of doing fairy tales together and stuff like that, but I don’t think anybody’s there for very long before they’re just, like, off and doing all of the things their own way. So that would be one of the biggest things I think I would stress To listeners is like, this yours is totally gonna look different than somebody else’s.

Meg Angelino [00:34:10]:

And just because we’ve provided you the resource, it doesn’t mean that you can’t make it your own. Like, you can come in and use the parts that work for you and drop the parts that don’t.

Dawn Garrett [00:34:21]:

The the and we’ve recently had a how do I plan a year meeting, When I think both Pam and Lainie said the one of the first things I do is cross off the things that we just are not gonna do. And and that is perfectly Fine. You can totally choose not to do everything on anybody else’s list.

Pam Barnhill [00:34:41]:

Yeah. So Yeah. I can’t tell you. We’ve done those spring 3 point o plans, and we still have not touched Plutarch in our homeschool. I’m gonna come do Plutarch.

Dawn Garrett [00:34:54]:

So okay. So let’s talk about that. I do Plutarch. Pam has never done Plutarch. Meg, have you done any Plutarch? Are you planning

Meg Angelino [00:35:02]:

to have Plutarch book on my shelf that’s getting ready to get pulled out. So

Dawn Garrett [00:35:06]:

Okay. So what about Shakespeare? Speer, do you have you both done Shakespeare in your morning tonight? Yep. Yes. But do you have to do Shakespeare in your morning?

Pam Barnhill [00:35:14]:

No. You don’t have to do it. And it’s Please, if your oldest is 6, don’t do Shakespeare in your morning time.

Dawn Garrett [00:35:22]:

But he always My 6

Meg Angelino [00:35:24]:

year old really loved memorizing, some of the lines from, which one is

Dawn Garrett [00:35:30]:

summer night’s dream.

Meg Angelino [00:35:31]:

Midsummer night’s dream. That one was super Fun and you know? So I can’t I can’t entirely be like, oh, we never did Shakespeare at 6, but we just read, like, the lamb’s Mhmm.

Pam Barnhill [00:35:43]:

Yeah. But don’t be trying to read the actual play.

Meg Angelino [00:35:47]:

No. Don’t read the whole play. It don’t show them the movies. Like, You know?

Dawn Garrett [00:35:53]:

But if you have high schoolers, do you have to do Shakespeare in your morning time?

Pam Barnhill [00:35:58]:

No. You really don’t.

Dawn Garrett [00:36:00]:

No. I don’t. No. You get to.

Pam Barnhill [00:36:03]:

Yes. Yes. You have a few high schoolers and you’re like, you know, I’d like them to have a little Shakespeare before we graduate. Morning time is the perfect place to put that and count that time towards their high school credit. So I have a feeling that next year, if we don’t do it by the end of this year, we might do it by the end of this year because I haven’t chosen all the literature selections we’re gonna do yet. But I feel like John hasn’t done Shakespeare since middle school, so we’re gonna do some Shakespeare before it’s all said and done. And it will get done in morning time so Thomas can get

Dawn Garrett [00:36:36]:

too? Okay. But you don’t have to do Shakespeare. You do not have to do Gregorian chanting. We sing hymns for years. I have never yet done a Gregorian chant And right now

Pam Barnhill [00:36:45]:

I might want to, though. That sounds cool.

Dawn Garrett [00:36:49]:

But, yes, you get to you honestly get to pick and choose what needs what your kids’ needs are, what your you and your children’s interests are, and if Gregorian chant or Plutarch or Shakespeare or poetry? Aren’t on your list? Don’t do them.

Pam Barnhill [00:37:09]:

Yeah. Don’t do them. For sure. But it is also a good way to introduce your kids to things that, you know, here’s the thing at our house. It’s like, we’re gonna do this. You may not like it, but we’re gonna do it we’re gonna do it at least once.

Dawn Garrett [00:37:26]:


Pam Barnhill [00:37:26]:

Just because you never know until you try it.

Dawn Garrett [00:37:28]:

That’s right.

Pam Barnhill [00:37:29]:

So and that’s kind of say that again?

Meg Angelino [00:37:32]:

It’s like the no thank you bite. Right? Yes. When, like, the when they don’t wanna try, you know, the green bean casserole or whatever, you know, you say, okay. You take a no no thank you bite, and you give it a try And see you know, maybe you might it, maybe you don’t. And I I think it’s true with subjects too. Like, I have a kiddo that is not a fan of making art, Loves to look at art. Not a fan of making it. But we try enough types of art, and, like, he’s found some things that he doesn’t mind so much. So, you know, it’s it’s okay to try something for a short period of time.

Pam Barnhill [00:38:09]:

Yep. Yeah. And that goes back to that character building.

Dawn Garrett [00:38:12]:

Yep. For sure.

Meg Angelino [00:38:14]:

Morning time’s a great place to, like, fit in those things that you’re trying for a short period of time. So

Pam Barnhill [00:38:19]:

yeah. Mhmm.

Dawn Garrett [00:38:21]:

Okay. So one other one last one. What fantasy did you have? What mental fantasy did you have about morning time?

Pam Barnhill [00:38:32]:

We were going to sit on the couch in the front of the fireplace, and everybody was gonna have hot chocolate. And I was gonna read to them for hours and hours, and they were just gonna be so quiet and still inattentive? And handicraft. Yeah. Yes. Let’s just start picking this apart from the beginning. So first of all, I live in Alabama, In Southern Alabama. So it’s like, we it gets cold maybe 3 days a year, cold enough for a fire. And then the fact that if you light a fire in the fireplace, you can’t go anywhere because you gotta stay home until it burns out. And then the fact that, like, everybody would be spilling the hot chocolate. Nobody sat still. Nobody wanted to listen for that long. I mean, there’s just so many ways that this little fantasy. Right. There’d be no interruptions. You know? No fighting.

Meg Angelino [00:39:28]:

No fighting. It’d be No worries.

Dawn Garrett [00:39:30]:

Picking. Right? No no no Playing with each other’s feet.

Meg Angelino [00:39:36]:

I still have kids that roll around on the floor during morning time, you know, and they’re not exactly little anymore. I know. Yeah. But they’re still listening. So I guess that’s when that’s really what I wanted, right, was that they were listening to the books. So, So maybe the fantasy is, like, some things have come true a little bit.

Pam Barnhill [00:39:57]:

Well and I will tell you, morning time did not work for us until I was willing to give up that fantasy, move our bottoms to the table, and make it Looked different than what it had appeared in my head, and then it started working. Then it worked for us. But it wasn’t until I was Willing to give up that fantasy that I was able to make it work.

Dawn Garrett [00:40:20]:

And Well, like so.

Pam Barnhill [00:40:22]:

I Oh, go ahead, Dawn.

Dawn Garrett [00:40:23]:

I I know, Pam, you always started With lighting a candle and ended with putting a candle out, we never used a candle. And That was just a that would have been a disaster for my kids to have a candle burning on the table, when they were small. That’s just You you make your own rituals as as you make this process. And we also had to be at a table because on a couch was Just WrestleMania. And so so, yes, sitting at a table. I famously had masking tape Quadranting off my table?

Pam Barnhill [00:41:02]:

You did.

Dawn Garrett [00:41:03]:

I if you want to try that, I recommend using painters skin tape because it will ruin your table, but, it is not morning time is not a recipe for peace and light and joy. It just it’s it’s real people really wrangling with ideas and really wrangling with each other.

Pam Barnhill [00:41:27]:

Yeah. And it’s and it’s worth it. No. You know? Even though even though and I just I wanna get this visual. We may have to put a picture of this. I know we’ve got a picture on the The website we’re gonna have to find the picture to put into the show notes so people can see it, but Dawn did have a round table. It was probably what about 5 foot round, maybe?

Dawn Garrett [00:41:47]:

Not quite that big. I don’t think. It was 4.

Pam Barnhill [00:41:49]:

Yeah. Yeah. And and she had a cross of tape From edge to edge so that every person in her family had their own quadrant that they could not cross, and this was because her children Could not get along in morning time.

Dawn Garrett [00:42:03]:

The tape was mine. So, like, they could they didn’t even get half of the piece of tape. The tape was MySpace.

Pam Barnhill [00:42:10]:

This is how bad it was, and I I can totally relate. I can totally relate. So yeah. So we’ll find a picture and and put it up there for you. But, but, yeah, I I think so too. Alright. Well, I think we have covered a lot of misconceptions today. I feel like we could Probably keep going on and on, but we do wanna keep this under an hour. Hopefully, we’ve dispelled some misconceptions in a way that make Morning time a little more doable for you and a little more real for you, but I I think the biggest thing I want to leave everyone with is, You know, how many years have you been doing morning time, Dawn?

Dawn Garrett [00:42:50]:

This this probably our 16th year. We started with Circle time and calendar is when my oldest was 3, and she’ll be 19 soon.

Pam Barnhill [00:42:58]:

And I think, for us, this is year 11, The 11 or 12 that we’ve been doing morning time, and then what about for you, Meg?

Meg Angelino [00:43:05]:

About 8a half. So

Pam Barnhill [00:43:07]:

Yeah. So with everything we’ve talked about today, It’s obviously still got to be worth it. You know?

Dawn Garrett [00:43:13]:

Oh, for sure. There’s I wouldn’t put it back.

Meg Angelino [00:43:17]:

Yeah. I’ll say this. We had we had a period where, because we’ve had we’ve had all sorts of weird life things happen over the years, and, and we’ve had times where we took a break from morning time, and it was like, when I did, like, end of the year interviews with my kids, it was the number one thing. Like, I miss morning time. When do we get to do morning time again? You know? And, You know? Because I had that moment where I was like, maybe this isn’t working, you know, because all this life stuff is going on, whether it was move or whatever. And, and it it proved to be the thing that was most valuable to my children.

Pam Barnhill [00:43:58]:

I love it. I love it. Well, that’s a great place to end. So If you would like any of the resources that, the ladies and I chatted about today, we’re gonna have to wrangle all of those up for you because I know we’ve mentioned a few. We’re gonna put them in the show notes, for this episode of the podcast, and you’ll find that at 41. So, ladies, thank you so much for joining me. This was fun.

Dawn Garrett [00:44:24]:

Thank you. It was fun.

Meg Angelino [00:44:25]:

It was fun.

Pam Barnhill [00:44:30]:

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.

Links and Resources from Today’s Show

Made for Greatness: A Growth Mindset Journal for Courageous Catholic YouthPinMade for Greatness: A Growth Mindset Journal for Courageous Catholic Youth


Key Ideas about Home-Centered Structures

  • Incorporating additional subjects and activities in homeschooling lightens the day and makes it easier to teach core subjects.
  • Combining children in their studies is a good use of time and energy, allowing them to learn from each other.
  • Morning Time doesn’t have to be elaborate; even one extra activity alongside reading aloud and memorizing a Bible verse can be effective.
  • Morning Time helps prevent homeschool moms from burning out and provides an opportunity to engage in activities they enjoy.
  • Morning Time is suitable for a wide age range of students and can be adapted to each child’s maturity level, with older students even gaining high school credits through Morning Time activities.

Find What you Want to Hear

  • [0:54] Meet Dawn and Meg
  • [4:30] What’s working in your Morning Time?
  • [0:58] Does Morning Time have to be in the Morning?
  • [13:41] Is Morning Time just memory work?
  • [17:04] Is Morning Time for extras?
  • [20:54] Morning Time is efficient
  • [34:41] Does your Morning Time need certain subjects?
  • [38:21] Unrealistic ideas about Morning Time

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