YMB #11 All About Nature Study: A Conversation with Cindy West

Cindy West is a homeschooling mother of three and the author of the NaturExplorer series. She joins us on this episode of the podcast to share her contagious enthusiasm for nature study.

She discusses the importance of this sometimes-neglected subject–how nature study helps us develop keen observation skills, teaches us important truths about our Creator, and gives us opportunities to make connections to  subjects like science, geography, and math.

Cindy has an impressive list of simple, meaningful ways to spend just a few minutes of Morning Time on nature study. So, whether you are a seasoned nature enthusiast or someone who prefers to enjoy the great outdoors from the comfort of your air-conditioned living room, you will be sure to find some great ideas in this episode.

Nature Study in Morning Time with Cindy West: Your Morning Basket Feature


This is Your Morning Basket where we help you bring Truth, Goodness and Beauty to your homeschool day. Hi everyone and welcome to episode 11 of the Your Morning Basket podcast. I am Pam Barnhill, your host, and I am so happy that you’re joining me here today. Well, today we’re talking about something a little bit different on the Your Morning Basket podcast. We’re talking about nature study and what makes this different is when most of us think about doing nature study in our homeschools, we actually think about going out into nature to do it, and that’s a good thing, unless you’re like me and you don’t like to go out into nature. Yes, it is a weakness of mine, I’ve actually written about it before on the blog, about how much I’m not so much a nature person. But I do enjoy looking at nature through my window and I enjoy studying about nature, and I thought ‘well, I’ll marry that particular joy of mine with a little podcast about how to do nature study in Morning Time, when it’s not always practical to get out.’

Now, I am by no means advocating that you should never get out into nature. I do take my children outside a couple of months out of the year when it’s not too hot and not too cold and not too buggy, and I also send them to nature camp every summer, so I do outsource that part. But for people like me, or for additional nature study that you would like to fit into your Morning Time, I think this is going to be a podcast that you’re really going to enjoy. Cindy West from Our Journey Westward and Shining Dawn Books is joining me here today. Cindy has an extensive knowledge of nature study and she just has a whole passel of great ideas for us on how to do nature study in Morning Time. So without any further ado, let’s get on with the podcast and hey, come back and join me at the end, I’ve got a great Basket Bonus for you, for this particular episode. And I just think you’re going to love it.

Read Full Transcript

Cindy West homeschools her three children who are ages 18, 15, and 8. And, actually, that oldest one has graduated and is heading off to college this fall. They follow an eclectic style but identify mostly with the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling. Cindy is also the author of the very popular NaturExplorers Series which can be found at ShiningDawnBooks.com. NaturExplorers books are a unique blend of in-depth science and living literature that bring families closer to nature. Welcome to the show, Cindy.
Cindy: Thank you. It’s so good to be here.
Pam: I am just happy that you are joining me this evening to talk a little bit about nature study.
Cindy: I am so excited. Nature study is my passion.
Pam: Why do you think nature study is such an important practice for families?
Cindy: Because it encompasses so many things. I first thought it was really important once we started Charlotte Mason’s style homeschooling. And then as I got into the why’s: why is this so important? I found in the Word verses that God has really taught us things through nature. And so I realized our Creator has given us all of this wonderful stuff, you need to go learn about it. And when we started first really digging into nature study I began to realize ‘Oh my goodness, all of the things that we can learn beyond about our Creator, science, history, geography.’ There were just so many things. It’s just all encompassing, it’s fresh air, it’s sunshine. It’s just awesome for our school.
Pam: Well, you suggest a lot of literature and poetry selections in your nature study guides. So, why do you think it’s important to incorporate those kinds of things when learning about nature?
Cindy: Well, even before I was a Charlotte Mason homeschooler, when I taught in the public school system, I always thought anytime you could make a literature connection to something, anytime you can make any kind of connection between cued ? [**inaudible** 4:20] subjects to the other, you get to really build a better, more broad, more, I guess, indepth understanding. And so literature and the Charlotte Mason style is hugely important and when we can take something we’ve been studying outside and then read a poem on them, or read a book about, maybe, a squirrel that we had just observed in real life, it just really hits home for the kids.
Pam: So, it kind of makes the connection for them?
Cindy: Absolutely. It makes a connection in learning, but it also makes a connection in their joy, that’s probably not the best way to put that but they get excited after they have read something in literature when they really have seen it in nature as well. It’s sort of an extra level of connection beyond an academic connection.
Pam: OK. So kind of their whole feeling about what it is they’re reading about and connecting that with what they’re studying?
Cindy: Absolutely, yes.
Pam: Well, what are some simple ways that a mom might be able to do nature study, more in a Morning Time setting, because I know a lot of times when I think about nature study, I think about ‘I’ve got to pack everybody up, I’ve got to pack the bags and grab the water bottles, and the field guides, and now we’ve got to go out on this great big long nature walk’ …
Cindy: Right!
Pam: … but what are some things we could do instead in more of a “we’re simply going to do this in our home a couple of days a week?”
Cindy: OK. Well, I’ve got lots of great suggestions for that. Obviously, getting out for the big long nature walks is a goal at some point. We, definitely, in our Morning Time hit nature study about weekly, just sitting around the kitchen table. Oh gosh, I’ve got all kinds of ideas, do you want me to just start listing them?
Pam: Yes, ma’am, I do. Let’s give those [**inaudible** 6:11] something to go on.
Cindy: Alright, let’s do! So many moms during Morning Time will do a “calendar time” where they note the day, they note maybe whether it’s sunny outside or cloudy and several other things that are math related with “calendar time” but I have always suggested that you note something having to do with nature, daily. So, what we have tried to do during that “calendar time” is each day of the week has its own theme. So Monday it’s insect day, maybe Tuesday is tree day, maybe Thursday is flower day. Did I say Thursday? Thursday may be bird day. And you can have maybe five days of those or 10 days, so that every week or every two weeks through every season of the year you would be observing the same thing. So let’s talk about trees for a minute. If Wednesday’s your tree day, then on Wednesday, for the first week, go outside in your yard to a tree and make a quick observation. You might make that in words, you might make that in a quick picture and put it in your calendar. The next week, or the next two weeks, depending on whether you’re doing five days of these observations or 10, you’re going to observe that tree again. May or may not see much change, but over the course of the school year you’re going to notice that that tree definitely has different seasons and different things that happen during that season, as do the insects that maybe you’re studying every Monday, or the flowers that you’re studying every Thursday. Does that make sense?
Pam: That makes perfect sense. And I think that as you’re doing that with your children, you might, at first, have to model exactly what the kinds of things are that you’re looking for.
Cindy: For sure. And that’s a really good point. In our home we like to draw. We like to just look out the window, and this is not a big thing, this is just … even with [**inaudible** 8:09] ‘well, gosh, I’ve got to go and find an insect?’ No! Look out your window. Today is summer, I see some flies, or I see some bees. And just really quickly on an index card a type of [**inaudible** 8:20] that you see. For the tree? Just really quickly, what does the tree look like today? In two weeks, what does it look like again? Two more weeks, what does it look like again? So then you’re documenting this throughout the year, and you can go back and see ‘alright, that’s when we started school what the tree looked like, this is its entire seasons school year and all of the changes that happened through that.’ It really helps with observation skills. It’s just a quick look out your window, it’s not a big deal. It doesn’t take a lot of time.
Pam: OK, I love that. Keeping an observational calendar of various things throughout the school year and it’s just a quick look, a quick observation, and keeping track of that during Morning Time. That’s a great idea.
Cindy: Yes. And you know, you could even have a little blank calendar for each month, the one with big boxes, they don’t have to be huge, but bigger boxes that may be filling up the entire paper, and that’s where you note that, rather than index cards, and then at the end of the year you have your August, September, October, you have all of those and you can go through each thing and see maybe the connections even between all the different things you’re observing each day of the week and the changes that were made.
Pam: That’s a great idea. And then if you wanted to do those little, I know those index card a day things are so popular now, those little i-cad practices. If you wanted to do a series of index cards, you could put them on a jump ring, and then kind of flip through.
Cindy: Oh sure! Absolutely. To me, I like to have less stuff laying around so the calendar in a three-ring binder is a really, I guess, handy way to be able to put something on the shelf and not have it laying around or cards just to find or flip. You know? It’s a little easier.
Pam: OK, so either one would work.
Cindy: OK! Another idea would be a daily or weekly, what I would call, table observation. And this takes just a tad bit of preparation by mom or dad, and you just go out and you get something, maybe the night before, from nature, and then all your kids are sitting around the table and you observe it. You could have them draw what they see, you could have them label their drawing based on some little discussions that you had. You could say, “You guys have to figure out what this is” and put a field guide on the table and let them research and find out what that is. You could even have them do notebooking, which is to me a little bit different than drawing; you draw, you’re drawing. Maybe you’re drawing more for detail, you’re trying to get the line to shading just right. Notebooking is more of you draw this because you’re going to use that as you write just a little bit of detail about it, or as you label it. So, you could put this little table observation piece on there for simple drawing practice or for notebooking which would be writing about what you see, or labeling what you see, or you could get out a field guide and lay it on the table and have them research it. So, simple ideas of what to grab, gosh, anything: a flower, a pine cone, leaves, a leaf, a twig, a clump of grass, an insect that you find, a dead butterfly lying on your porch- just anything small that you can lay on the kitchen table and that everyone can really observe. One quick thing: you may have a magnifying glass around, because if you’re bringing in small things everybody really likes to dig in with the magnifying glass.
Pam: Oh yeah, they do. Yeah they do. OK, so the difference between the artistic drawing and the notebook drawing: the artistic drawing is, you’re doing it more for practicing, your drawing skills and your shading and things of that nature, and then the notebook drawing would be more of a scientific drawing for labeling and because you’re going to add some written details about that object.
Cindy: Exactly! And if you have time in your Morning Time to do both, you could certainly say we’re going to artistically draw this and then we’re going to notebook about it. It just depends how much time you set aside each morning.
Pam: Table Observation was idea number 2. What else do you have for us?
Cindy: Yes, right. I have some really fun games that I have found and that I have made. A lot of our Morning Time is spent in game time, because I like to wake my kids’ brains up in the morning. So I usually call our Morning Time “Brain Training” rather than “Morning Time” or “Circle Time.” So a couple of games that I have found and purchased: one is called Shanleya’s Quest. And it is a print card game, and through this game (I think you can play it several different ways, but we usually just play it one way) but basically, your kids are learning about the types, the plant groups. Several plants are in the nightshade family or the parsley family. This card game helps them understand that and the characteristics for each classification. It’s a super, super fun game. It takes not all of five or 10 minutes to play. Another one I have purchased is called Into the Forest, Nature’s Food Chain Game, again it’s a five or 10 minute game. Essentially, you pass out these cards that have different animals or plants, or decay, things like that on them. It’s almost like you’re playing a game of war and whoever’s at the top of the food chain gets the cards. Obviously, you’re learning about everything from the food chain to different animals and plants. It’s a great little card game. Those are two I’ve bought. I have some others on my wish list that I don’t even know their names right now, but they’re in my Amazon cart on a wish list. So there are more nature card games out there, but you can also make your own. You can play Memory, you can play Bingo, you can play Go Fish, when you just simply print off things from the internet. So, there’s something I’m thinking of in particular right now is animals with their animal tracks.
Pam: Oh fun.
Cindy: Yeah! So you can easily find that printable animal tracks and you could find it free all over the internet. Print two or three, four copies of those off, depending on what type of game you want to play. Laminate them if you want. Print them off on cardstock, then you just play Memory, Go Fish type thing. And they really get to know. Even if you’re not drilling like a flash card, they’re still very much getting to know intimately whatever subject you’re playing.
Pam: My kids would absolutely eat that stuff up. They would love to play games like that.
Cindy: And that’s so super motivating. Number four is flash card drill. But those are not nearly as motivating as games. So, anytime you can find a game or turn something into a game, it is just so much more motivating for kids.
Pam: Right. And we’ll put links into the Show Notes to some of those games that you can purchase that you mentioned, so everyone will be able to find those there. OK, so it sounds like we do have a number four.
Cindy: We do! And that’s just flash card drills. At least one morning a week, and I won’t say that we always do nature flash card drills, but at least one morning a week during our Circle Time is flash card drill of some sort, and nature things can certainly be turned into that. Again, simply print mammals off from the internet or insects, or plant types, or tree leaf, leaves from your tree. And basically, you just turn this into flash cards. You can print them on card stock, cut them out, and then you could have your children identify them, you can have them take these cards and sort them into groups, especially the leaves. Sort them, categorize them. I guess, that could almost be number five, really, because flash carding is sort of counting or what group this belongs in. And then number five would be take these same cards, you can sort with them.
Pam: Right, and make [**inaudible** 17:00] categories then.
Cindy: You can break them down into categories, you can break them down by characteristics, you can break them down into species, and then from that, we could call that part of number five, or you could call that number six. And that would be taking those same things and using it to graph with. So you make a math connection.
Pam: OK, so graphing.
Cindy: I think we will call that number six, because I have some more stuff with graphing.
Pam: OK, tell me about graphing.
Cindy: With graphing, again, takes just a tad bit of effort by the parent beforehand, but go out and collect some leaf, or have the kids do it the day before or the morning before, or if they’ve got some energy and some time, go out and collect some leaves, go out and collect some flowers, collect whatever you can find and sort those, hands on sorting of those, and put them into a concrete graph. Do you know what a concrete graph is?
Pam: I’m thinking it’s probably a graph using real items.
Cindy: It is! It certainly is. It’s things you can touch. So, you actually collected some leaves, you have your kids sort those into like leaves and then they have to make a bar graph, or a circle graph, actually using the leaves. Or if you’re using the flash cards actually using the flash cards. You could, during Morning Time, or as an extension to your math time, you could say, “Let’s leave this graph here because later, or right now, I want you to take a piece of paper and then I want you to draw this graph. I want you to create a concrete graph as a picture graph, or as a bar graph.” So I love whenever I can make connections between subjects I am all over it. And graphing and nature go really, really well together.
Pam: So, tell me a few more things. What if I’m not a very nature-y person? And let’s say I really don’t know the names of trees or any of the characteristics of leaves or what makes a rose different from a daisy, or anything like that. What can I do about that?
Cindy: That’s a great question! Well, that was going to be another suggestion I had and maybe you start with this instead, and that is get a couple of field guides. I really like the Audubon field guides. I think it’s called National Audubon Society of Field Guides or there’s several. Each one of these Audubon field guides focuses on something in particular, like birds or flowers or trees. So you might have to get several of them if you want to talk about several subjects. Another book that is super popular with the homeschool community is the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Comstock, and these books are fabulous for teaching about nature to your kids in short spurts and they’re also going to teach mom. So, if you’re not really comfortable with the official words, the official vocabulary, sorting and distinguishing what you’re sorting, these books will help. And you could take them and you could say, “Well, for the month of August I know we have tons of birds that are flying around our house, so we’re going to spend our Morning Time focusing on birds. And, for the first week, every day we’re going to read a little bit out of The Handbook of Nature Study on birds. And it’s going to be five minutes. That’s our Morning Time for birds. The next week, then maybe we’ll start incorporating some of these other ideas. Plus, the field guides. So we keep learning about birds but it doesn’t get so boring doing the same thing every single day. And then I think by the third or fourth week, you’ve got so much information in your brain that these other ideas won’t be a problem at all.
Pam: So you’re telling me that all I need to do is to spend about five minutes a day, you know, starting by reading some of these things about birds and looking out the windows and observing, and that’s going to be enough over the course of a month. I’m going to have a lot of great information?
Cindy: Absolutely, absolutely. And you know, even if you have kids that are really bored with field guides or they’re younger, you can get library books and five minute library books are plenty of time too. And I guess I should tell you my philosophy really quickly. We pack a lot into Morning Time, but we’re moving, so I’m not spending 30 minutes on Nature Study indoors in the morning. It’s a five minute thing just to reinforce the concept. So 5-10 minutes tops.
Pam: And then it just adds up over the course of a long period of time.
Cindy: Absolutely, especially if after you are reading and been playing off some word pictures for birds, and then maybe you turn those bird pictures into flash cards that you actually identify the birds. Now, over the course of a month then not only are you going to have the background of the information from the five minutes of reading that you have done, but then they’re really going to start recognizing and connecting, and by the end of the month maybe you’re looking out the window and going, “Oh my goodness, I just saw three Blue Jays” and none of you even knew what a Blue Jay was before. You see?
Pam: Right, yeah.
Cindy: Very cool.
Pam: Exactly. Did you have any other ideas for me?
Cindy: Let’s see. Memory Work. When I say Memory Work I probably should use the word recitation instead.
Pam: Yes.
Cindy: And that is where I mean you can grab a poem or a Bible verse or something that is nature related. I like to use these seasonally. So, I believe Stephanie Harrington or Harrington Harmonies puts out seasonal poetry on her website. And I’ll pull one of her poems for the season or a couple of poems and maybe one week I read the poem to them, and then the next week we might work on trying to put at least some of it to memory, because some of the poems are long, and then doing some recitation through that month as part of our nature time. I wouldn’t do that every day. That would probably be a once a week sort of thing for us but you can definitely tie some nature into Memory Work.
Pam: Those are all fabulous.
Cindy: Cool. Good, good.
Pam: Yeah. My thing was “Well, we could put something on the table and draw it” and you just took it and ran with it!
Cindy: Yeah, but that’s perfect! If that’s all you did, that would still be perfect because there is so much learning in observation. And when you ask your kids to observe and then draw there’s even more observation than you could imagine.
Pam: So, let’s talk about that for a few minutes. Why is observation an important skill for a child to have?
Cindy: Oh mercy, for so many reasons. We want our kids to be observant about everything later in life. Think about yourself. If you’re not a good observer you’re not going to make good decisions because there’s so many things that happen we need to be aware of. And that includes the news that we watch, the car that we drive, the things on the stove that are cooking. We just need to be good observers. So that’s the first important skill. But second, when we teach observation, your kids are able to dive deeper and understand more, because they’re used to, not just looking at something and moving on, they’re really looking at something and noticing the details, and to me, then I create kids who know how to notice details. I think I create smarter kids in that they’re inquisitive, they become inquisitive, they want to learn more, they don’t just want to know the surface level stuff, they want to dig deep and they want to know why and how and who, and that’s a good learner.
Pam: Right, the learner who’s going to ask questions.
Cindy: Right!
Pam: OK, so I know one of the ways that you foster observation through your NaturExplorers Series is through either nature journaling or nature notebooking, so that is a great practice for a Morning Time setting. So what advice do you have for a mom who’s wanting to get started with a little bit of nature journaling or nature notebooking?
Cindy: Well, that’s a great idea. And I would think that the best place to start would be that daily observation time. And so, to me, the words are interchangeable, a nature notebook and a nature journal are the same things. Some people tend to think that a nature journal revolves a little bit more around the art side of it while a nature notebook revolves a little more around the labeling, jotting down observation side of it. To me, you do what you want to do each day. If you draw one day, awesome. If you write one day, awesome. If you label one day, awesome. You don’t have to do the same thing every day. Nor do you have to do the same kind of observation. So, daily or weekly, however you’re going to incorporate nature study into your Morning Time, you decide ‘OK, today’s going to be a table observation and that’s where mom goes and gets something and lays it on the table for everybody to observe’ and then you keep a three-ring binder or you keep some kind of spiral notebook where they keep their notes or their drawing or whatever you’re asking them to do in that nature journal, they keep their notes there. The next time you go to meet, maybe you’ll look outside and choose a whole new thing to observe really quick, and they keep notes in that. Make your notebooking typically revolves around the observation of something. And during Morning Time that’s going to be a quick observation on the table, out the window, because you’re likely you don’t want your kids to get outside and be completely distracted from the rest of your day because they want to be out there.
Pam: What are some other resources? What are some of your favorite resources for nature journaling, do you have any?
Cindy: Do you mean resources on how to do it, or things that I use to do it?
Pam: Either one, both.
Cindy: There are all kinds of things. I have a Pinterest Board on nature notebooking and it’s got all kinds of examples of what this is. So if you’re struggling to understand what in the world is she talking about, you could definitely hit that Pinterest Board, I think it’s Pinterest CindyKWest.
Pam: We’ll include a link to that in the Show Notes.
Cindy: OK, very good. And just look for the Nature Notebooking Board, and that will give you tons of “this is what a nature page could look like.” As far as what resources I have around the house to complete that, basically, it’s whatever art supplies float your fancy. Sometimes I’ll just provide them pencils. Sometimes we’ll have colored pencils. Sometimes we’ll have crayons. Sometimes we’ll have water colors. It depends on exactly what your purpose is for them that day. If we’re just doing a quick sketch and then you want them to do some labeling, a pencil or colored pencil is just fine. If this is a little bit more about being artistic, then pull out some more artistic materials, like water colors or colored pencils or markers or oil pastels or something. I think it also depends on what your kids’ desire. So some days you’re going to say, “All we’re doing today is pencils and we’re going to draw this really quick and we’re going to label it and we’re going to move on.” Other days you might ask the kids, “OK, we’re going to observe such-and-such and what kind of materials do you want to use to do your drawings? Let’s have fun. Let’s vote on the materials.” So, go into your art cupboard- that’s the best resource for me.
Pam: OK. Tell me a little bit about your own Morning Time Cindy, how do you do it in your home?
Cindy: OK, well, Morning Time for us is essentially our 8th graders and younger. We all meet around the table with Daddy at breakfast time and we do a little bit of Bible, we do a little bit of discussion, we kind of talk about the day ahead. And then my high schoolers move on and get on about their daily schedule. Eighth grade and below, we actually, I think I told you this, we call our Morning Time “Brain Training” and it’s just this challenge to my kids that we are there to wake up their brain and have a lot of fun. So I approach Morning Time with a game-like attitude; not everything is game like, and not everything is fun, but they get over the not-so-fun stuff because they know we’re always going to do fun stuff. Each day we typically do 1-3 or 4 activities and I try to hit the gamut throughout the week of varied subjects. So, for instance, if we are going to do a nature study for Morning Time, we’re likely not going to do that every single day that week, because we’re also getting in geography, logic, math flash cards, we’re doing a ton. I will give you a day’s sample here: so on Monday morning, for instance, we will (the 8th graders and below) sit around and maybe the first thing we do is I’ll challenge everybody who can remember the Bible verse from last week, and the first person to say it (I mean, they don’t get anything) but it’s just like, “Yes! You’re the winner today!” and I’m not a big rewards, but we do try to make it fun.
Pam: But the competition is its own reward.
Cindy: It’s just the competition, that’s right, just a competition. And then if I’ve done something that’s competition-like, we’ll do something that everybody can potentially win the next time. So let’s say we’ve done our Bible memory from last week really quickly and then maybe we’re going to play a really quick geography card game, and then maybe I’ll pull out the nature observation thing, and they will sketch it really quickly and label what they’ve done. If we’ve studied it before I will expect them to label without help. If we’ve never studied it, I’ll pull out a field guide and say, “Figure it out.” My older kids, my middle school kids, I’ll say, “Grab your phone, figure it out.” So, it’s a little bit of a research moment in there too. OK. So the next day, if we’ve covered that Bible memory from last week and geography and nature, then tomorrow, the next day, might be, let’s start off with a logic game, and that could be something like the game Set, and then I’ll say “Alright. Let’s go through these 50 Latin root flash cards and the first person to tell me the definition gets the card, at the end we’ll see who has the most” and then right after that I’ll say, “Alright, let’s go through our president song and list all the presidents.” And that’s it for the day. So literally we’re taking maybe 15 minutes to do all of those activities, and then we move on with the rest of our day.
Pam: OK, so you kind of have a brief ‘get you up, and get you started’ kind of Morning Time.
Cindy: Exactly. And I do weigh this out, so I will plan that Monday is Bible memory from last week, geography, and nature. Tuesdays are going to be … whatever I just said, I don’t even remember what I just said, but I will lay this out so I’m sure every single day of the week isn’t always nature, always logic, that we’re getting in the geography, and we’ll practice that pretty much for a semester, and then I usually change it up the second semester. We’ll throw some different things in or rearrange or whatever.
Pam: It sounds like you keep them on their toes.
Cindy: Oh yeah. Well, I keep me on my toes, because I get really, really bored with the teacher if we’re doing the same thing all the time. I don’t know if they get bored or not I’ve never let them had the chance.
Pam: That’s awesome. Well, Cindy, tell everyone where they can find out more about what you’re doing and also more about nature study.
Cindy: OK, the best place to keep up with me is OurJourneyWestward.com. That is my blog. I’m actually getting ready to move all of my NaturExplorer studies and other curriculum over to Our Journey Westward and just make one big website out of it all. There at Our Journey Westward you will find me blogging frequently about things like my favorite curriculum, how we implement an eclectic Charlotte Mason lifestyle, how we also include classical learning with our Charlotte Mason style, or unit studies with our Charlotte Mason style. I try to be really encouraging. I want people to have happy, creative homeschools. So that’s kind of my goal; have a happy, creative homeschool and I’ll show you how we do it and give you some ideas. As far as nature study, I have written more than 20 nature study e-books on various topics. The NaturExplorer Series has 19 and that’s 19 different topics in that series, and those are going to guide you. We’re going to give you nature walk ideas and a lot of people buy them just for the nature walk ideas, but we’re also going to give you a whole second section of turning nature study into more in your home, so they’re going to give you follow up activities like science experiments, model making, and research projects. They’re going to give you the literature to include in your home, poetry, composes that it would fit along nicely, artist study that would fit along nicely with the topic, Bible study that will fit along nicely. There are even ideas for co-ops. So if you have a co-op and you’re doing a nature themed co-op there’s some group activity ideas there. They also include several notebooking pages that you can print off and you can just use. If you’re needing ideas for Morning Time these books would have ideas for that for you as well. You don’t necessarily have to be outside to do many of the activities in those books.
Pam: Right.
Cindy: Find me at OurJourneyWestward.com. Right now, you can find the NaturExplorer Series at ShiningDawnBooks.com, but eventually they’ll be over with me at Our Journey Westward.
Pam: That sounds great. And yeah, we have used a couple of your nature study books and they are very thick with lots of great information. One of the things I love about them is I don’t have to go looking elsewhere for the science information about the topic, it’s all right there in the book.
Cindy: Yes. My friend, ex-partner, she’s still a great friend she just chose not to be in the business anymore, she and I sat down and we said, “You know, we want this list to be that a parent can pick up and go with it. You don’t have to do it with a bunch of extra research.” So the book actually starts with usually about three pages of necessary background information for the child or the parent. So you read it really quickly. That way you know to say to your kids and how to lead the discussion and things like that without a bunch of extra research on your part.
Pam: Exactly. So, love them, love them, love them. Well, Cindy, thank you so much for joining me today. You have just given us so many ideas for incorporating nature study easily into our Morning Time and I really appreciate it.
Cindy: Oh, thank you so much for having me. This has been a blast.
Pam: And there you have it, episode 11 of the podcast. Now for your Basket Bonus today, we have for you a nature observation sheet, and this is a sheet that you can hole punch and stick in your Morning Time binder. It has 31 lines on it so you will be able to use one a month, and the idea is that you simply look out your window every day during Morning Time and you record one sentence, one thing that you’ve seen in nature onto your sheet, for the day. And at the end of the month you’ll have a great record of what you’ve seen outside your window during that month of these observations that you’ve made. And over the course of a year or two years you’ll even have a record that you can start comparing months to each other. So what should you write on this sheet? Well, you could note the first hummingbird of the season, the first azalea that’s in bloom, the fact that the bird bath was frozen over or that there was snow or icicles or there’s a squirrel or a red tail hawk, or a chipmunk or a cardinal, any kinds of things like that, even a glorious spider web would make a wonderful one-sentence observation for your nature observation sheet. If you head on over to the show notes for this episode, that would be EDsnapshots.com/YMB11 you can get access to your Basket Bonus and download that, and you’ll also will have all of the links to the resources, books, and websites that Cindy and I talked about today. And, if you would like to leave a rating or review in iTunes of the Your Morning Basket podcast, we would really appreciate that. For those of you who have already done so, thank you so much for taking the time to go out and do that. We’ll be back in a couple of weeks with another great episode of the podcast, and until then keep seeking Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in your homeschool day.

Key Ideas about Nature Study in Morning Time

Through nature study, we hone our observation skills and learn important truths about our Creator. Nature study pulls together content from many different subjects or disciplines. In the context of nature study, we encounter opportunities to deepen our understanding of science, apply math skills, and even enjoy beautiful literature.

Nature study is not only for the hard-core lover of the great outdoors. Nature study can be done in our own front yard, from the living room window, or even at the kitchen table. While all day expeditions into the wilderness can be fun, we can also practice meaningful nature study by setting aside just a few minutes at home

Find what you want to hear:

  • [2:58] why nature study is important
  • [3:53] making literature connections when learning about nature
  • [6:15] simple Morning Time nature study activities (window observations, table observations)
  • [12:45] nature study games
  • [15:58] ideas for using nature flashcards
  • [17:16] nature/math connections (graphing)
  • [18:46] what to do if mom’s background in nature study is not strong; how just a few minutes a day adds up over time
  • [22:27] nature-related memory work (poetry, Scripture)
  • [23:43] the importance of developing good observation skills
  • [25:04] nature journaling/nature notebooking
  • [26:58] Cindy’s favorite resources
  • [28:51] Cindy’s Morning Time, which she calls “Brain Training”
  • [34:13] Cindy’s nature study ebook

YMB #11 All About Nature Study

Leave a rating or review

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

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

Thanks for your reviews

  • 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!



  • Samara Root says:

    This was a great episode! However I do not see a place to “enter my information” to get the basket bonus. Can you help me? Thanks!

  • Shawn says:

    I loved this podcast! I am inspired and encouraged to look at Nature Study in a new and fun way. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Asha Merkes says:

    Wonderful podcasts. I am so thrilled to implement these in my house. I am wondering if you would ever do a podcast on implementing character/etiquette study in the morning basket.

  • Shu Bredthauer says:

    I want to concur all the positive comments above. This is a real helpful episode on nature study with many tips and inspirations. I am looking forward to trying these ideas with my children.

  • Rachael says:

    Thanks so much for this very inspiring podcast!

  • Shonda says:

    I really enjoyed this episode. I love nature, but I don’t know how to study nature. My husband is very science oriented but doesn’t have the time to teach and train me or the kids. This podcast gave me some great ideas and resources to start learning more about nature with my kids. We are hikers and I would love to be more tuned in to what we see when we go out. I can’t wait to inspire my kids to engage with nature and be more informed and love what God has made!

  • Charlotta Bennett says:

    Dear Pam,

    Love, love , love your podcast!
    It has been such a blessing.
    Do you remember the favorite read-aloud that Cindy mentioned that had them laughing really hard?
    We could use a book like that right now 😉

  • Jessica says:

    I purchased the Early Spring Bundle from Cindy. Excited to get started!

  • Chris says:

    Is the Shanleya’s Quest that is linked above to Amazon both the book and the game? Or just the book?

  • Lauren says:

    I’m wondering if it flows enough to skip over the beginning of Shanleya’s Quest where the author makes references to evolution? I’ve only read about it on amazon, and I can’t borrow it from the library. I’m not going to purchase it if evolution is an essential part of the story. What have others done?

  • Raina B says:

    Loved these ideas, thank you!

  • Daksina says:

    This was such a fantastic podcast! At first I wasn’t sure I wanted to listen to it cos I feel so daunted at the thought of teaching nature study but I am so glad I did! It is so full of amazing, easy ideas that I’ve never come across anywhere before. I feel so much more confident now. Thank you!!

  • >