YMB 16 Enjoying Shakespeare Together: A Conversation with Mystie Winckler

“To be or not to be.” “The course of true love never did run smooth.” “All the world’s a stage.” The language, characters, and stories of William Shakespeare have far-reaching influence for us today in our books, our pop culture, and even our everyday conversations.

But despite all this Shakespeare all around us, many of us are still left scratching our heads and wondering how in the world to begin studying the Bard with our students.

We are joined today on the podcast by homeschool grad, homeschool mom, and avid Shakespeare lover, Mystie Winkler of Simply Convivial. Mystie describes how, in just a few minutes a couple of times a week, we can share Shakespeare with our children and create in them not only a familiarity with his work, but also a taste for the beauty of his poetry.

When we focus on experiencing, enjoying, and embodying Shakespeare by memorizing passages, watching plays, and maybe even acting out a few scenes ourselves, we can foster a lifelong affection for this beloved figure in English literature.

Enjoying Shakespeare Together: Your Morning Basket with Mystie Winckler Feature

Links and resources from today’s show:

 How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare


This is Your Morning Basket, where we help you bring Truth, Goodness and Beauty to your homeschool day.

Hi everyone, and welcome to episode 16 of the Your Morning Basket podcast. I’m Pam Barnhill, your host, and I’m so happy you’re joining me here today. Well, today we get to talk about one of my absolutely favorite topics and that is Shakespeare. I do love the Bard. He had a way with words, could tell a marvelous tale, and is simply a delight to read either for ourselves or with our children to share those stories. And so, I’m joined today by my good friend, Mystie Winckler, of SimplyConvivial.com, and we’re going to chat about how she does Shakespeare in her home with a group of kids who are upper elementary to about middle school age. She has a very set pattern that she follows when she’s studying Shakespeare with them, and she’s found that this particular method or procedure that she uses really works well for this set of kids. And hey, it’s all done in about 10 minutes a day. I really think you’re going to like this episode of the podcast. We’re also going to chat about one of our favorite Shakespeare resources for homeschool, and that is How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig. I really think you’re going to enjoy it so sit back and we’ll get started.

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Mystie Winckler is a homeschool grad herself who married another homeschool grad and is now homeschooling five children. She writes thoughtfully about classical education, educational philosophy, homemaking, and more at her blog, Simply Convivial. Through her popular e-course, Simplified Organization, she helps moms examine their own attitudes toward organization and homemaking and equips them to set up their own workable plans and structures. Mystie is one of those people who has great plans when it comes to Shakespeare, and so I asked her to be on the program today to tell us a little bit about how she pulls that off, with a topic that could be a little intimidating to homeschool moms. So, Mystie, welcome to the program.
Mystie: Hello, thank you Pam.
Pam: Well, first of all, tell me a little bit about why you like Shakespeare so much and why you think he’s an important figure for us to study in our homeschools?
Mystie: Well, I do love Shakespeare, and part of that is that I’m an English major, so it’s kind of a prerequisite for being an English major, but I do think it’s just lovely poetry and classic stories. Sometimes Shakespeare is described as almost the inventor of the English language. So much Shakespeare is in our language today. We learn the Greek myths so that we can understand what Shakespeare and other great literature, we almost have to know Shakespeare to understand the expressions that we have today in our language, and the stories are just so good.
Pam: There are so many illusions, especially literary illusions, but also when you get into even more popular culture, like movies and things like that nature if you’re not familiar with a lot of the stories of Shakespeare, there are a lot of things that are just going right over your head.
Mystie: Yes, that’s very true. And you know, a lot of times Shakespeare actually took stories from his own day, or previous stories, like classic fairytales or just stories of the culture, so it’s not like they’re original stories to his own imagination, but more, they’re these cultural stories that we only read them today as his versions but they were just widely known stories that he took and made even more beautiful.
Pam: Right. And stories that are older than him…
Mystie: Yes.
Pam: … so we’re reaching back even further than just Shakespeare. And then the language is just so beautiful.
Mystie: Yes.
Pam: So there’s so much thought, and I remember going to a Michael Clay Thompson, at a convention, he was giving a workshop there on poetics and language, and so many of his examples were coming from Shakespeare, and just the thought that Shakespeare had put into how Romeo is using round vowels and soft consonants like ‘s’ and ‘m’ in the sounds of what he’s speaking but then the witches in Macbeth are using hard guttural ‘g’ and ‘k’ and ‘u’ and things like that, and you just never think about what we’re taking in in language that goes beyond what we’re actually thinking about.
Mystie: That’s true. I think Shakespeare is a great bridge between old English and our modern English because in old English, English poetry was alliterative, where it’s really mean to be heard orally, rhyming isn’t really a thing in the original form of poetry for the English language is alliterative, with the sounds of the words and how they come together within a line of poetry is what makes it poetic, and Shakespeare definitely draws on that sound of the English language, and brings that old feeling of guttural earthy English and brings it up to his time, but then it’s shaped our modern English so much that it’s a scraped bridge.
Pam: Right, kind of a bridge between the alliterative and where we moved into the more rhyming system of poetry, and then, now we’ve come back around from that in the modern era too. So it’s interesting how poetry changes. Well, tell me about some of Shakespeare’s plays. Do you have an absolute favorite one that you like? Just you personally, not so much at this point studying with your kids.
Mystie: I’d say Hamlet is definitely one of my favorites but recently I got a three volume set of DVDs on the kings, so it’s Henry IV, Part I and Part II, and Henry V, and I had never read that play but I saw the movie and it was just so fascinating, so now Henry V is one of my favorite plays and I didn’t really know much about Henry IV, and so now that kind of inspired me. It’s on a list of books to do with the kids.
Pam: OK, very cool. I don’t think I know anything about Henry IV, so …
Mystie: I didn’t either so after watching the movie I’m comparing versions of the movies and reading bits of the play and looking up on Wikipedia, ‘OK, who was related to who and who married who and how did this war happen?’ I like the English monarchy stories.
Pam: I’m actually, kind of, an anglophile myself, it’s a lot of fun. Well, so what about reading with the kids? I know that you’ve read a number of Shakespeare plays with your kids so let’s set the context for this. You do Shakespeare in one of your versions of Morning Time, which is called Elementary Lessons, and this is, kind of, your Morning Time only for older kids, so I think we need to make it clear from the get-go that there aren’t a lot of little kids running around while you’re doing this. This is a more dedicated focused type of Morning Time you’re doing a couple of days a week with an older group of kids?
Mystie: Yes.
Pam: So, what Shakespeare plays have you done with them, and which ones did you like?
Mystie: We started off with Taming of the Shrew. So we’ve done Taming of the Shrew, Henry V, right now we’re doing the Tempest. We did Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and I’m sure we did one more … Oh! We just finished Julius Cesar.
Pam: So quite a few?
Mystie: Yeah, we do two or three a year, and this is our third year.
Pam: Well, walk me through the process of how you, well, first of all, tell me what’s the age of the youngest student that you’re working with here or the youngest you would work with?
Mystie: Well, in our elementary lessons, it’s about 8 and up, but mostly 9, 10, 11.
Pam: So, that’s the age of kids. And then, walk me through the process of how you would do this. How would you start doing Shakespeare with them? And let’s start with, kind of, a pre-reading? How would you prepare them to get ready to listen to or read a Shakespeare play?
Mystie: For the first couple of plays that we did, we started with a biography of Shakespeare, to give them a little background as to the history and who he is and the setting that he wrote them in, now we don’t do that very much seeing as we’ve read a couple and now we just do the plays. And then when we start a new play, we start with a picture book version, and I will start off and read about a couple of pages into it, so we’ll get maybe a third of the way or half of a way through the book, just the picture book version. And then stop, and go around, so I’ll have five or six people around the table and go around and ask to each name one of the characters afterward, so, to make sure they were paying attention. It’s kind of a little mini narration. And then, when we come back for the next lesson, I’ll go around and do that again, and ask them to each name a character that they remember and maybe something about them, so to prompt their memory. Sometimes some of the older kids have already read the picture book because they’re just laying around, so they might pipe up with some opinions or hints about what’s coming, and we finish the book, so reading the picture book version isn’t even just a one-sitting thing. It’ll take two or three classes, or times, before we get through even the picture book version and we’re narrating and we’re starting by remembering who we’re talking about, what’s happened, then read a little bit more, narrate a little bit.
Pam: So, basically at this point, you’re just trying to get the characters down, the plot of the story before you start digging into the language?
Mystie: Yes.
Pam: And, how long? You said it could take two to three times to read this picture book, so how long are you spending at this, do you think, on any given time?
Mystie: About 10 minutes.
Pam: OK.
Mystie: About 10-15 minutes on Shakespeare.
Pam: OK.
Mystie: Yep, and even at that rate, and that’s twice a week, so 10 or 15 minutes twice a week. The very first thing we do every time we do Shakespeare is recite some.
Pam: OK.
Mystie: So, I got this idea actually from Ken Ludwig’s “How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare” book, and where he talks in there about memorizing actually being the key to, not only learning Shakespeare, but loving Shakespeare, so that when you’re doing Shakespeare, you’re actually growing your language skills and also your affection for, this is just something that we do even not just listen to and receive, and so you take about half of a line and it’s on big font, and so one line on your sheet is about half of a line of Shakespeare, and we just go through and it’ll be a paragraph chunk that we’ll memorize, and so we start off every class period, I hold it up so they can all see it, and so it’s not like call and repeat. Everyone sees it and everyone says it altogether.
Pam: So you start by memorizing that passage?
Mystie: So we memorize one or two passages for each play, and we recite the same passage every time we start for that play. So we’ll say that same passage one or two times, twice a week, for six or eight weeks.
Pam: And then they’ll have it?
Mystie: Yeah.
Pam: OK. You know what I love about this is they’re really embodying the language of Shakespeare, they’re internalizing it, they’re making it their own. I actually did the first passage in that book, “How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare” with my kids, the one from A Midsummer’s Night Dream and …
Mystie: I know a bank.
Pam: Yes, I know a bank. It was funny, we had a poetry tea day at our house, where we had a bunch of people over to have snacks and do this poetry slam on the back porch and all of the kids were reading their different poems, and things like that, and my seven year old got up at the time, he was seven at the time he’s almost nine now, and did that poem and you know, he was just so proud of himself, and he really owned that piece of Shakespeare because he had memorized it for himself.
Mystie: That’s awesome. Yeah, when I was putting together my own plans, at first I had ordered it so that we would read a picture book, maybe watch a movie, maybe start reading it, and then start memorizing, but when I read Ken Ludwig’s book he really encourages you to start with memorizing even before you know the story or introduce the story, to start with memorizing. And so I went with that and I was really excited to see how that worked out because then when we are reading the picture book, or watching the movie, or listening to it being read aloud, they light up when they hear those familiar phrases, and then they start putting together the connections of the context, but it just really triggers this light in their eyes when they hear something that they recognize because they know it.
Pam: Right. It’s almost like it’s they’re a piece of the play.
Mystie: Exactly.
Pam: I do love that. I think another thing I love about that book is that he has some really great explanations in there, and I know it only helps if you’re doing the plays that he is talking about in the book, but I think it’s really easy to take some of the ways he explains things and some of the context and apply it to other plays, like “Oh, see how simple it is to sit and have this conversation with my child about this small chunk of Shakespeare,” so now I can take it and apply it to another chunk of Shakespeare, and have the same kind of conversation even if what we’re talking about is going to be slightly different.
Mystie: It’s like a model of this is how to go about it; here are some examples, things you might draw out. It really makes it simple, not where you’re copying it exactly but where you can say this is what it looks like to talk about Shakespeare and it seems like it might be this scary, intimidating thing, but it doesn’t have to be. It can just be, “So what does this line mean?” And talk about what that brought up a little bit.
Pam: And I think sometimes we think about having to take Shakespeare, a play or something in its entirety, and this really gives us permission to take it in smaller chunks and to pull out a piece of language that might be beautiful or worthy or it might be just even pivotal to the plot and to pull out one small chunk and say, “OK, now we’re going to talk about this chunk, we’re going to have a conversation.” And really, that’s all it is, it’s a conversation.
Mystie: Or sometimes we feel like we have to, if we’re studying Shakespeare, then that means analyzing it and that means we have to understand every chunk, or we have to talk about it, and pick it apart, and be able to write a five paragraph opinion essay or something after the fact, like that’s what studying means. But when we’re doing it with our kids in the Morning Time kind of way, I think the biggest goal is really just that we enjoy Shakespeare, and learn to enjoy these stories and enjoy the language and that kind of analyzing, taking it apart, and making sure we understand every little bit, we’re not going to really understand every little bit probably ever. And that’s OK.
Pam: And I think that’s definitely important. We won’t come to a full understanding so we might as well enjoy it.
Mystie: And that’s why it’s so great to come back to again and again because every time you’ll see something a little bit different.
Pam: So far we have memorized a portion of the play and every time we’re getting together and doing this, a couple of times a week, for about 10 minutes we’re going over our memory work, and now we’ve read our picture book, and we’ve kind of had some simple conversations about who the characters are, maybe a point or two about the plot. OK, so that’s our prep work.
Mystie: Yes.
Pam: What do we do next?
Mystie: The next thing we do is typically not in our elementary lessons. At some time, we either watch a live version or watch a movie. So either we know of a local production that’s going on so we’ve planned around that or I have a movie version. And after reading the picture book and starting our memory, the next thing we do is sometime on a Saturday, or sometime, we all get together and just watch a movie with popcorn.
Pam: OK.
Mystie: Because I am of the ‘Shakespeare is meant to be seen and not heard or read.’
Pam: Yes, I’m so glad you said that. Yes. This is one of my pet peeves, is that everybody’s like, “we’re going to do Shakespeare” and they pull out this big, dusty tome, you know, everybody’s got the Complete Works of Shakespeare and they blow the dust off and open it up and sit there and try to read silently these words, and that’s not the way you do Shakespeare.
Mystie: You think any movie classic do we read the scripts, do those get published and we’d read them?
Pam: No.
Mystie: Shakespeare is the script of a play, so it’s best to be seen, especially you get the visual and the actor, the way the actor reads those lines just gives it so much more because he knows what he’s doing and how his whole body language and tone, it gives so much to the meaning and most of the time they know what they’re doing.
Pam: Yes.
Mystie: So, even if you don’t understand every single word you still get the point and you get the beauty of it, so you can just watch the movie like kids watch movies. Little kids don’t care if they understand every single line, they’re just watching and enjoying themselves, and so I think that’s the way we should watch the Shakespeare movies too. If you feel a little lost, that’s OK, just enjoy it.
Pam: Right, and you’ll eventually, and honestly I have found by watching some of these things more than once I understand what’s going on more the second time.
Mystie: Yes.
Pam: So once we’ve done that – so we’ve read our picture book, and we’ve memorized our lines, and we have watched our movie, then do you read the play?
Mystie: Then we read the play!
Pam: OK, so tell me how this works.
Mystie: I am a big fan of audio books and so I use audio books for reading the play. I will give each child their own little paperback version. So I usually have a couple, I borrow a couple, get a few from the library so that each person’s holding their own copy of the play and then usually I use the Archangel production. There are a couple I didn’t prefer that one but so I’ll get either the Archangel or I just listen to samples on Audible and I usually get them off of Audible, and so we will listen to about 10-15 minutes at a time and read along while we listen so they’re getting the visual; they’re following along and listening with their ears, and I think that just hearing the words pronounced well, and with expression, helps the comprehension and I can’t always do that.
Pam: Right.
Mystie: So I just turn on the audio book and you get that actor/professionalism that just helps the meaning becomes more evident, and so that’s how we do the reading of the play. They’re reading with their eyes but also getting it through their ears at the same time.
Pam: And so, do you stop and discuss often? Do you wait until the end of your 10 minute period and talk about things? Do you, I guess, expand upon this in any way beyond just the reading?
Mystie: Only organically. Sometimes it happens but I don’t force it and a lot of times we don’t even narrate after that, because we’ve done the picture book, we’ve watched the movie, so sometimes when I stop it, usually some child will volunteer an opinion about what just happened, and we might talk about that a little bit but for the most part we just take it and then do the next thing, and by the time we get to the end… when we did Julius Caesar, we talked a little bit about “so was Caesar ambitious?” and they all said “Brutus was ambitious!”
Pam: So you do have discussions when they come up but you’re not giving them a study guide or making them fill anything out or forcing anything?
Mystie: No, no, no, no filling in blank spots, no quizzes, and not any real formal discussion, sort of thing. I think my main goal when we do Shakespeare is that they are familiar with it and that they enjoy it and that they will want to come back to it again.
Pam: Why not stop after just watching the movie? Why do you feel it’s important to take that extra step and have them, you know, even though that they’re listening to the audio book at this point, but listen and read the words on the page?
Mystie: Well, I see our Shakespeare studies as being part of their language development and so I think the hearing and the seeing helps them understand what’s going on. It’s a little bit slower than a movie, so it’s a little bit easier. With the movie you’re seeing the action, and with the audio book and reading it you’re really focusing on a lot more on the language, and what’s being said rather than what’s happening. And so I think it really slows that down and I think it helps their language patterns and acquiring good English patterns in their heads and with their eyes so, I can’t prove that there’s any direct correlation but I believe it helps their spelling because they’re hearing and seeing at the same time, so they’re seeing correct spelling, and I think it helps their writing for sure, although they don’t mimic it directly but you can’t really prove any of it directly but I am positive that it just helps their taste form and their recognition of beautiful language.
Pam: Well, you had me at “slow down.” You know, I really think you have an excellent point there with when it’s larger than life on the movie screen, it’s so easy to get caught up in the plot and all of the action and everything that’s going on and focus maybe a little bit less on the dialogue, but when you’re looking at it in a book and you’re hearing it and you’re creating your own pictures in your head, then you’re going to focus a little more on the dialogue and the language.
Mystie: My favorite doing-Shakespeare-with-the-kids story happened with Julius Caesar which we just finished. So we do our elementary lessons with friends. So we don’t have little kids there because they’re with my friend, I have her big kids. So it was actually my friend’s oldest daughter; we had done the picture book version, we’d watched the movie, we’re listening and reading along, and when Brutus is making his speech to the public after stabbing Caesar, he says, “I only killed him because it was in the best interest of Rome and if Rome needs my death then I will gladly offer that also” (paraphrased obviously).
Pam: You mean that’s not how he really said that?
Mystie: And she looks up and her eyes are all lit up and she said, “That actually is going to happen! He’s going to die and it’s going to be good for Rome!”
Pam: She had it all figured out.
Mystie: Yes, it’s foreshadowing.
Pam: Oh, and that’s great. Well, let’s talk a little bit about a few logistical things? So you have this wonderful situation where two times a week you get to bring all of these older kids to your house and do the things you love with them and then all of the little kids go to your friend’s house and she gets to do the things that she loves, which is work with little kids on picture books and things like that, and it’s just a great set up.
Mystie: Yep.
Pam: But what happens if I don’t have that set up? And, you know, I really think there’s a golden age of Morning Time for a lot of families when their kids are in the upper elementary to junior high school where they’re not doing high school yet and everybody’s right there together and you can spend a lot of time doing wonderful Morning Time things. They’re a lot of families that have little kids around. So if you had a lot of little kids around what might you do differently, do you think?
Mystie: If we doing this during our normal all together family Morning Time then I think it still works, I don’t think anything we do is inappropriate for the younger kids, it’s mostly just how disruptive they are and how loud, it’s a little bit difficult to follow along and hear when there’s toddler noises or baby noises going on.
Pam: So how might you handle that? Would you maybe even go a little shorter than, like definitely under 10 minutes?
Mystie: I would definitely keep it at 10 minutes and not go over that. And things like snacks or something, maybe if you fill their mouths maybe they’d make less noise.
Pam: It depends on what you fill their mouth with, but yes.
Mystie: Yes, very true.
Pam: And then certainly you could do the movie time as a special treat after the littlest ones have gone to bed and things of that nature.
Mystie: And even some of them are just still at our house when we’re doing that, they’re just not usually that impressed.
Pam: They wander off. Well, let’s talk about the other, kind of, elephant in the room when it comes to Shakespeare, and that is the off-color humor, the violence, and the adult themes. So you’ve told us a lot of reasons why Shakespeare is a worthy thing for us to study, but he was kind of racy. So what do you do about that?
Mystie: Well, when I was thinking about that for our family, I also thought back to my early exposure to Shakespeare. I think I read the first play when I was around 10 or 11, something like that, and my mom let me watch a couple of movies and I totally did not understand, but I think it planted some seeds, and so that’s one reason why I’m comfortable with if they don’t understand it or even if they say they don’t like it, I kind of let it roll off, well exposure breeds taste, so we’re going to keep exposing you. So myself as a homeschool kid reading it I didn’t see or get any of it, so …
Pam: And by any of it you mean any of the crude humor?
Mystie: Any of the innuendos, any of the ludeness, any of the body jokes, they just totally went over my head, until I was reading at one point when they had the gloss on the side, so where it paraphrases each phrase, so pretty much that one, I think it was Taming of the Shrew, and so you’d read the text on one side and the other side basically tells you what all the jokes mean.
Pam: Right. Yes.
Mystie: And I was quite shocked.
Pam: Well, and you know that’s a really great point to make. We came up with this point, so right now my Scholé Sisters Group is reading The Tempest because our middle schoolers and high schoolers are going to read it next year. And so I thought I will just be really smart, I’ll get the no-fear Shakespeare version which is what you talk about, it has the Shakespearian version on one side and then it has this modern English translation on the other side, and you know, I’m sitting there reading through the first couple of acts and I go to our teacher and I’m like, “We’re not using this version with the kids next year.”
Mystie: Exactly.
Pam: Because they would never understand it, it would completely go over their head. And, you know, if you don’t volunteer to explain it, then that’s where it stays, is over their head.
Mystie: Yep.
Pam: So sometimes by providing them with the copy that lays everything out that’s not necessarily the best thing to do.
Mystie: Yep, yes. So I’m a little bit careful about which paperback version I give which child with that, because they don’t need the literal exactly what this double entendre means.
Pam: Right.
Mystie: But it is there and it’s still good literature. I don’t think that detracts from its quality, and so I just let it roll. If it rolls over their head then that’s fine, they aren’t ready for it, they don’t need to be told, they don’t even need to know what’s there, they just see insults or they see vivid description and they don’t need to know or care to know what’s literally being said or implied, so we just stick with that.
Pam: And yeah, then one day they’re going to be adults and they’re going to be going, “Can you believe mom let us read this stuff?”
What do you do, and I don’t know if you’ve ever had this happen to you or not, but what do you do if you have a kid that just hates it?
Mystie: Yeah, we haven’t had that too much.
Pam: Why do you think that’s the case because you have boys, they’re boys, they’re into boy things, so why do you think they have an affinity or a taste for Shakespeare, or at least to the point where they’re not complaining about it?
Mystie: One of the first plays that I showed them, and I did it before we doing this study, one of their first exposures to Shakespeare was the movie Henry V with Kenneth Branagh, which is very much a war-boy-guy sort of movie.
Pam: Yes.
Mystie: So I don’t think they ever were exposed to the idea that Shakespeare’s even poetry necessarily, although you know we do so much poetry in Morning Time that they don’t have any, they like poetry, but also my husband likes Shakespeare and will watch it with us, and we have Shakespeare quotes that both of us will just use, so I think that for us, partly, it was just part of our family culture already, it was a pretty easy thing to weave in, but I know for my siblings and I it was less that way and for my siblings when some of their first exposure was in that middle school, where it’s kind of cool to resist, you want to be put off, and some of the first things they did were acted out, so this isn’t something that we just study, this is something that we do, and I think that that really helped them quite a bit, just be drawn into it because they were acting, and that was a lot of fun, so they enjoyed it because they were able to do it. I’ve not been good about that, we do a tiny bit sometimes but just having to act it out, then you really own it, and really know it, and it really becomes a part of you.
Pam: And that’s kind of the beauty of Ludwig’s technique. I can’t necessarily, I don’t have the time, or the kids around me, to put together a production. I’ve always read about Melissa Wiley’s backyard productions of Shakespeare and thought, ‘Oh man that would be awesome’ but by using this technique with memorizing, you kind of get a piece of that without having to set up the stage in the backyard and find all the costumes.
Mystie: Yeah, and I think if you do have more of an extroverted active family then something like that could be a great way to get into it. We’re more of the bookish family already so it works for us …
Pam: Right.
Mystie: … to keep it as a memory.
Pam: But, those fight scenes and especially with that movie, there’s horses and swords, and I think that’s a great way … because if you take an 11 year old and their first exposure to Shakespeare is Romeo and Juliet, well, of course that’s “gag” but you know.
Mystie: My boys are not very thrilled with, they like Taming of the Shrew actually, that’s the one we started as our first study, and I think it’s just because the man in there is so rude, but they like that, but a Midsummer Night’s Dream they’re “meh,” they’re don’t really care that much for it.
Pam: But on the other hand if you have a 9 or 10 year old girl like I do …
Mystie: Yes!
Pam: … the fairies …
Mystie: Then they’re dressing up, their fairy wings are suddenly …
Pam: Yes, exactly, and she was just enraptured by a Midsummer Night’s Dream, and like I said, we memorized a couple of the passages from it in How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare, and then one of our local universities was putting on a play, and so we called and made sure that it was going to be age-appropriate and except for a couple of the costumes it was, you know, fairly tame, and I never would have thought I could have taken an 8 year old to see Shakespeare and she would have sat on the edge of her seat for three hours, and just laughing and enjoying like she did, and so …
Mystie: I think that’s a great one to see live if you can.
Pam: Yeah.
Mystie: It’s just fun. So, just being strategic about which plays you pick first. For boys, I think Henry V and Julius Caesar are probably good bets.
Pam: Right. And then you know if you don’t have that family culture that is, kind of, in love with Shakespeare, then I would think being a co-student, a co-learner, not trying to be the person with all the answers, but “hey, let’s do this together, we’re going to learn about this together” …
Mystie: Yes.
Pam: That’s probably a good tactic to take.
Mystie: Yes. And another thing, I have a friend who has a couple of boys and she is just doing Shakespeare in their altogether time and she has them set up their Duplo or Lego people. So while she’s reading out loud they set up the people and they have to knock them over if they die, so they aren’t following along reading they’re just listening, but they have their little people and they have to make them do something appropriate for what they’re hearing, so whether that’s dying or talking or …
Pam: Oh fun.
Mystie: So that’s a great way, too, to have the informal acting out.
Pam: Right, right. OK, so we’ve talked a little bit about good plays for boys. So give me a couple more names. Henry V, obviously, Julius Caesar, do you have another good boy play?
Mystie: Well, I think Taming of the Shrew is actually a pretty good one because even though it’s a romance the guy and the girl are arguing and fighting almost the whole time, and they’re very rude and insulting to each other. He just acts like a brute, throwing food around and just doing bizarre atrocious things.
Pam: So it’s like a Shakespearian food fight, which any boy would absolutely love.
Mystie: Exactly.
Pam: OK, and girls? We said A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I’m still not going to turn my 9 year old loose with Romeo and Juliet, but what else?
Mystie: We haven’t done that one.
Pam: What else?
Mystie: Let’s see.
Pam: Twelfth Night?
Mystie: Twelfth Night, maybe Comedy of Errors. I like Much Ado About Nothing, too. That’s one of my favorites.
Pam: Alright. So what about if you have a mix of different age ranges or boys and girls together?
Mystie: Well, my group is mixed, half boy, half girl. So you know sometimes different people like, sometimes it’s someone else’s favorite play and this other one didn’t like it as much and this one liked it more, especially in that later elementary age, I think that’s kind of good, because they see someone who likes it and they don’t like it, and they start, kind of, arguing with each other (instead of with me) and then I think that’s good because they can see someone does like it, someone they know, someone who’s also a kid like them, and if they can have those kinds of arguments back and forth about why a play is or isn’t good, then I don’t need to …
Pam: You don’t have to say anything.
Mystie: I don’t have to say anything, it’s good for them.
P You can just sit back and sip tea and take the day off. Well, Mystie, tell me a little bit about the resources you have at Simply Convivial for us about Shakespeare.
Mystie: Yeah, I have a post on the five steps that we take, that I use to make my lesson plans for Shakespeare: picture book version, the movie version, the audio version, and have that laid out. And then for every play that we’ve done so far I have a separate post on which audio version I picked, which movie I picked, because for a couple of them it’s taken quite a few movie views to find which ones are appropriate for kids and which picture book I like the most, because I do like to choose a picture book if I can find one instead of a …
Pam: Like Lamb’s or …
Mystie: Like Lamb’s, yeah.
Pam: So why do you prefer the picture book?
Mystie: I don’t really like the language of Lamb and Nesbitt, to be honest.
Pam: OK.
Mystie: I think it kind of Victorianizes Shakespeare which just seems really bizarre to me to take Shakespeare’s very earthy and turn him into this Victorian sounding thing and I think that a lot of the more modern picture book versions have an authentic to Shakespeare feel that was the same kind of mood and tone that Shakespeare was trying to convey, where I think some of the Victorian versions try to turn Shakespeare into something he really wasn’t, so I’m a little biased, I don’t really like the Victorian era.
Pam: You have an opinion on that!
Mystie: I do actually. So my favorite picture book versions are on my blog.
Pam: I was just about to point that out. So if you’re looking to move away from Lamb or Nesbitt, try something else. Mystie puts her favorite picture book versions, and we will link to all of those fabulous resources in the show notes for this episode, and we will also link to How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare, the book and the website, so that you can go and find out more about that as well. Well, Mystie, thank you so much for being on here today and talking with me a little bit about how you do Shakespeare.
Mystie: Thank you Pam, it was fun.
Pam: And there you have it, episode 16 of the podcast. Now for today’s Basket Bonus we have something wonderful for you. We actually have two things. First of all, we have a procedure guide for studying Shakespeare. Mystie has so graciously shared with us her exact procedure for how she studies Shakespeare in her Morning Time, and so we’ve typed it all up for you, made a lovely procedure guide, you know how I love my procedure guide, and you can get that at EDSnapshots.com/YMB16. Now, while you’re over there you’re also going to want to enter our contest to win your very own copy of How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig. The contest will be open until April 19, 2016, so don’t delay, be sure to get over there and enter the contest today, and we’ll choose a winner, and we’ll send out your very own copy of the book. We think you’re going to absolutely love it, and while you’re over at the show notes downloading your procedure guide and entering the contest, be sure you click over to SimplyConvivial.com – that’s Mystie’s blog where she has a wonderful little guide for you. It’s called Five Steps to Begin Morning Time and we’ll have the link there in the show notes for you so you can click over and download that free guide as well. So lots of great Basket Bonuses for you this week. We’ll be back again in a couple of weeks with another episode of Your Morning Basket and until then, keep seeking Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in your homeschool day.

Key Ideas about Studying Shakespeare in Morning Time

The works of Shakespeare are packed with great stories and beautiful language. Familiarity with his plays equips us to understand and appreciate the influence he has had on other great literary works as well as our culture in general.

Shakespeare is meant to be seen, heard, experienced, and enjoyed.

A Shakespeare study can be accomplished in as little as 10 minutes at a time

Find what you want to hear:

  • [2:30] why study Shakespeare
  • [5:50] Mystie’s favorite plays
  • [7:38] best plays for kids
  • [8:29] Mystie’s procedure for starting to study a Shakespeare play (with mostly 9-11 year olds)
  • [10:38] how long does it take to do Shakespeare in Morning Time
  • [10:47] memorization and recitation of Shakespeare passages
  • [16:47] watching movies and/or live productions
  • [19:10] using audio books
  • [20:40] to discuss or not to discuss
  • [26:51] what to do about the off-color humor and adult content
  • [30:07] drawing in the reluctant child
  • [35:25] best first plays for boys
  • [35:59] best first plays for girls
  • [37:21] Mystie’s post on her 5 steps for studying a Shakespeare play

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Thanks for your reviews

  • Always a favorite!
    by Lizzie O' from United States

    Pam continues to do an amazing job with this podcast. She is a wonderful host, never hurried, asks great questions and really lets her guest share his/her experience fully. The variety of experience & wisdom here is fruit for the homeschooling community at large. I’ve been listening from day one and this podcast continues to be a top favorite. Thank you Pam!

  • Morning time will change your 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.

  • 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!

  • 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!



  • I’ve never read Shakespeare. I know some of the stories. I grew up in France & it was never taught in my schools. The question is how to make the language accessible? Not only gor my child but for myself?
    Thank you

    • “For” my child 🙂

    • Mattie says:

      Bonjour Sarah!

      I grew up in France as well! I have found that the picture books and Ken Ludwig’s book make Shakespeare very accessible language for me 🙂
      I hope this helps! Bon courage!

  • Holly says:

    What plays are best to start with when you begin?

  • Abby says:

    You mentioned picture books for Shakespeare. Is there a list of these somewhere?

  • Elizabeth says:

    ‘Can’t thank you enough for this post! I’d already purchased the Ludwig book, in anticipation of beginning Shakespeare. This offered a great way to introduce it into our school year . Blessings.

  • Great podcast. I am just finishing up doing Twelfth Night with our homeschool co-op. I had kids from 13 and to high school. We worked our way through the memory passages from Ken Ludwig’s books most of the kids memorized at least 3 passages and with a small handful who ended up memorizing all 7. I know many of the kids weren’t very excited about the class, but I’ve enjoyed watching many of them decide that Shakespeare isn’t that bad!

    I’d love a link to the “King” DVDs that Mystie mentioned in the podcast.

  • Christine says:

    I wanted to pass along another great Shakespeare resource: it’s called Shakespeare in Bits and is an App or online animated video program that has the complete play acted out on one half of the screen and then the text (with clickable notes, character info, plot summaries, etc) on the other half of the screen. You can also click the text over to “modern” language. It’s a great way to see/read/hear Shakespeare performed all at once! They have about 7 plays done already and I hope they do more!! We have loved the Julius Caesar so far!!

  • Jennifer Martin says:

    Just went back and listened to this one again in preparation for the coming school year. Love the practical and very doable method that Mystic uses in her home. Going to implement something similar in the fall and can’t wait! Thank you so much, Pam and Mystie!!

  • nanoo says:

    You should be a part of a contest for one of the finest sites on the net.
    I will highly recommend this blog!

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