YMB #2 Furnishing the Mind: A Conversation on Recitation with Andrew Pudewa

We’re excited to be back with another episode of Your Morning Basket. In case you missed it, episode 1  featured a great introduction to the concept of Morning Time with Cindy Rollins. Now it’s time to get into the nuts and bolts of actually doing Morning Time.

On this episode of the podcast, Pam talks with Andrew Pudewa, director of the Institute for Excellence in Writing, about a key component of a rich Morning Time: recitation.

Andrew shares about the practice of committing beautiful language to memory, language such as what we find in poetry, Scripture, and famous speeches. He discusses how memorization and recitation affect the brain, and, most importantly, he gives plenty of good advice on how to get started. I hope you enjoy!

Links and resources from today’s show:

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization by Andrew PudewaLinguistic Development through Poetry Memorization by Andrew PudewaThe Chosen: A NovelThe Chosen: A Novel1984 (Signet Classics)1984 (Signet Classics)The Death of Christian CultureThe Death of Christian Culture


Pam: This is Your Morning Basket where we help you bring Truth, Goodness, and Beauty to your homeschool day. Hi everyone, and welcome to episode 2 of the Your Morning Basket podcast. I am Pam Barnhill, your host, and I am so happy that you’re joining me today. We have had some great feedback on the first episode of Your Morning Basket and I just want to thank you guys so much for all of that. It’s very heartening to hear that you guys enjoyed it, so I really appreciate it. And today, I am getting to speak with one of my very favorite homeschool speakers, and I’m so excited about this today. It is Andrew Pudewa and we are going to be talking today about recitation and memory work. When I sat down and started trying to think about all of the different components of a Morning Time there were basically four R’s that made themselves evident to me. They are Ritual, Reading Aloud, Recitation, and Relationship. So what we’re going to do over the first few weeks of the podcast is break apart some of those R’s with our guests, and talk a little bit more about them.

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And so, for the next few episodes we’re going to be talking about recitation which is today, we’re also going to be talking about ritual with Dr. Christopher Perrin coming up, and then we’re going to be talking about Reading Aloud with Brandy Vencel from Afterthoughts. So this is where we’re going to break down what I think are the essential pieces of a Morning Time. And I’m really excited because recitation is one of my very favorite things to do with my children and it’s something we enjoy as a family. Andrew and I really talk about some of the different ways that recitation affects your brain, how it can help you, and also some very practical ways to do it. I think you’re really going to enjoy this podcast. OK, one last thing before we get started, promise it won’t take long, I just wanted to thank you guys who have gone out to iTunes and left a rating or review for the show. This is pretty important for podcasts when they’re first getting started because the more positive ratings and reviews you have for your podcast the more people that iTunes tends to share it with, so the more people who get to see it. And so I wanted to give a shout out to RSMomma who left a very nice review out there, she said that the podcast was full of useful information which really makes my day because more than anything else I like to help people out with useful information, so thank you so much RSMomma for going out there and taking the time to leave that review for us. If you would like to leave a review for Your Morning Basket all you have to do is go to the Show Notes for this particular episode. It would be EDSnapshots.com/YMB2 and there at the bottom of the page we show you exactly all of the steps that you need to go to, to get hooked up with iTunes and leave a review for the podcast and we certainly appreciate you taking the time to do that. Thank you so very much. And now, on with the show.
Andrew Pudewa is the director of the Institute for Excellence in Writing, a popular speaker on the homeschooling circuit, he and his wife homeschooled their seven children. Andrew and his family live in Oklahoma where he spends his time running his business and playing with his grandchildren. Welcome to the show, Andrew.
Andrew: Thank you Pam, it’s great to be with you.
Pam: I’m so happy you’re here today. We’re going to talk a little bit about memorization and I know this is one of the few truths that you talk about in nurturing competent communicators, that along with spending a lot of time reading aloud to your children, that memorization is one of the ways that we make better writers of our children. Are there other reasons why memorization might be important?
Andrew: Well, it’s such an exciting topic for me to talk about. My background, as you know, is as a Suzuki violin teacher, and one of the distinctives of Suzuki method music instruction is that the students not only memorize their pieces, they maintain a memorized repertoire, and this builds into their musical mind this large collection of musical patterns and ideas and what we find in teaching music is that children who have a large repertoire of memorized pieces are much more able to improvise and compose and be creative in that more challenging way. So the same holds true with language. When we memorize language we’re building the repertoire of vocabulary, of syntax, of patterns, and of ideas that then allow us to express ideas more fully, more eloquently, more creatively. I think you’re probably familiar with the term “the five canons of rhetoric” from the ancient school, we talk about in the classical mode; they are invention: what to say, arrangement: in what order to say it, locution: how to say what you say, delivery: which is the verbal and physical element of delivery, but the fifth canon I think is the neglected one today and that is memory: the ancient’s would talk about furnishing the mind with memory. Isn’t that a lovely expression “furnishing the mind”?
Pam: Very much so.
Andrew: And we think about, you could buy a lovely house, but if it’s empty what use really is it? Sleep on the floor. But once you’ve furnished the home with beautiful and useful things, then it really becomes of great value. So, I wish we could have many people understanding that memorization is furnishing the mind and when we do it with language then we are equipping our students and ourselves to some degree to be able to speak eloquently, fluently, masterfully later on. And sadly, and you know, I’m sure, as I have become acutely aware, that modern progressive education has essentially dismissed memorization as being useless at best and harmful at worst, and it’s such a tragedy.
Pam: I was actually going to ask you to speak to that because I do have some experience as a school teacher, and there is a large argument out there made by progressive education that memorization is boring for children and it’s out of fashion. And you would disagree with that statement strongly, I’m sure.
Andrew: Yes, I would disagree with it strongly. I think the argument can be traced all the way back to John Dewey who was the first of these modern progressivists that said you don’t really need to memorize information if you can go look it up, you need to be creative, it’s experiential. And of course, yes, nobody’s going to discredit the value of experience and creativity but when you deprive children of the opportunity to memorize quality material then you, in a way, are starving their mind, and I think that’s what’s happened. And what’s funny, is that young children, in particular, well, all children but young children in particular are wired to memorize, it’s their natural inclination, and if you don’t give them good quality language to memorize they’ll memorize garbage.
Pam: I’ve noticed that with my own children as well.
Andrew: So why not give them beautiful poetry, perhaps Scripture if you’re so inclined, excerpts from famous speeches that are more eloquent than we could come up with on our own, and then that will build that repertoire, if you will. You know, Pamela, I found out a very interesting thing not long ago about Frederick Douglass, does that name strike a bell with you, Frederick Douglass?
Pam: Yes, yes it does. And actually, I was going to ask you about this, it was about his speeches, wasn’t it?
Andrew: Yes. Yes, he wrote of course, his book, Autobiography of a Slave, and you then can read speeches that he gave publicly once he was a free man and an orator speaking against the cause of slavery and discrimination, but what’s remarkable is that if you think about his childhood, he must have grown up in one of the worst possible linguistic environments you could imagine. Right? A slave, worked hard on a plantation, abusive situation, completely illiterate until 10 or 11 years old at what time some of the kids he knew were trying to teach him to read by drawing letters in the dirt on the ground, and so complete loss there of that formative period and yet, he became possibly the most eloquent orator that America has ever produced since his time. I don’t know of any speeches that are more beautiful, more moving, given by an American since his. And so it begs the question how did he acquire that ability? Well, it turns out that he said as a free man one of the first books I owned was a book of famous speeches, and we’re talking all the way back from Cicero to Shakespeare to Patrick Henry, everything in Western civilization of great note, a book of famous speeches. He said, “I memorized them.” He memorized the famous speeches of the past, and then that furnished his mind with the tools of vocabulary, the grammatical mastery, and the richness of ideas, that he was able to then bring to his mission in his time and accomplish the great work he did. Isn’t that awesome?
Pam: That’s really fascinating. And when you were speaking earlier about memorization allows us to be creative, that was what I was actually thinking about, was Frederick Douglass memorizing the forms of those speeches, he wasn’t giving the same speech that Cicero gave, but very much like Benjamin Franklin did when he was rewriting the works of great authors from earlier, is Frederick Douglass was using those forms of the speeches that he had memorized to then put his own words and ideas on to be able to give great speeches himself.
Andrew: Yes, and when we think about the acquisition of a skill, anything from swimming or playing a sport to playing a musical instrument or drawing or writing or even speaking well, we’re talking about a skill and all skills must be learned through imitation. We can’t acquire a skill without having something to imitate in the first place, and the better the quality of what we’re trying to imitate the higher our own skill can go. It’s kind of commonsense, if you just do what you can do, you will continue to be able to do what you can do but you will only be able to do what you can do because you’re not trying to do anything other than what you can only do. Did you follow that?
Pam: I think so.
Andrew: But if we have a higher model, a coach and something to imitate, a master works, so to speak, then we can try to do something we couldn’t do on our own. And this is why the great musicians have had teachers that have said play this exactly like me and acquire this technical skill. This is why students of da Vinci copied the Mono Lisa, and this is the power of memorization when it comes to language and of course our speaking skill is going to carry directly into our writing skills as well. People who disparage memorization actually would think about this idea, they would realize how ridiculous their idea to disparage memorization is. If you hadn’t memorized anything you wouldn’t know anything, right?
Pam: Right.
Andrew: If you hadn’t memorized any speech patterns growing up you wouldn’t have any speech patterns to use. If you didn’t know the names of people and places by having memorized them you wouldn’t know anything, and the inverse, the corollary of this is obviously the more you have memorized the more you know. So you almost have to make an argument that it isn’t important to know stuff to validate it isn’t important to memorize. Now the other thing is, of course, the neurological effects of memorization. Can we talk about that a little bit?
Pam: Yes, tell me a little bit about some of the benefits to our brain for having memorized.
Andrew: Think about the way we learn anything. The brain has approximately 100 billion neurons, another trillion glial cells, we’re not sure quite what they do, but the neurons we can look at and what we see is that from sensory stimulus or motor activity the axons of one neuron will connect with the dendrites of other neurons and through repetition those connections, those electro chemical firings, so to speak, will become permanent or semi-permanent connections, so that anything we do, anything we say, anything we take in through our senses, from our mother’s face to how to play a minuet on the piano; anything we learn we learn and can do and can recognize and can experience because we have neurons connected to other neurons. So through repetition, through intensity of experience, and through persistence in reinforcement over time we are able to store information such as six times seven is 42, and that’s because we have a little group of neurons somewhere in our cortex holding the information called six times seven is 42 at our disposable and when we want to do a math problem we see a 6 and a 7, and we think 42, it’s so deeply ingrained through that permanent neuro connections (or at least until Alzheimer’s sets in on us) that we then can think mathematically. Now, here’s the bottom line on brain development: the more neurons you have connected to other neurons the more processing power you have, the more RAM in your CPU of your brain machine, the more thinking strength you have, and what’s really interesting too, is we can study the correlation between SAT and ACT scores and extra-curricular activities, and there’s two subgroups that score average higher on these standardized SAT / ACT types of test than other groups of extra-curricular activities. Do you know what they are?
Pam: Yes, but only because you’ve told me before.
Andrew: Music and drama. And when you think about it you could make an argument and say, “Well, that’s because smart people would be naturally attracted to music and drama,” but it is a chicken or the egg? Think about the fact that music and drama are the two remaining disciplines that we require huge amounts of memorized and mastered repertoire, and I bet you could throw choreographed dance in to boot, but that’s probably a small group of people who do that. So, we even have the empirical support that the idea that memorization, whatever it is, music, dance, Swahili, memorization of any sort grows your brain. And then, of course, what you memorize furnishes the mind. So this is like two sides of a golden coin here. You can grow the brain and you can acquire more useful linguistic information when you memorize beautiful language. I just get so excited about it.
Pam: Well, let me ask you this, do you buy into the argument that some people are just not wired with good memories and they’re not as easily able to memorize as others?
Andrew: What we’re talking about, of course, is the age old argument of nature vs. nurture, of talent inborn vs. acquired ability, and this is where my teacher, Dr. Shinichi Suzuki of Suzuki Method made the huge breakthrough in music, because in his day the idea was ‘well, wait and see if your child has musical talent and then, and only then, if you see musical talent spend your time and money on music lessons for that child,’ whereas Dr. Suzuki came along and said, “Hey, every child in Japan learns to speak Japanese,” which is about the hardest thing you’d ever have to do. If every child can learn to speak Japanese, why could not every child learn to play a musical instrument if we were to replicate the environment, the methodology, the teaching, and starting at the younger age? So, yes, are there some children who are born with ‘better neurology’ than others, absolutely. We can’t dispute the fact that there are individual differences in the way our brains function. But we also can’t dispute the fact that everyone can improve their aptitude by doing it, that’s why Suzuki took the word talent that was supposedly inborn and affixed it with the word ‘education’ meaning that talent can be educated, aptitude can be created. So, it’s never nature vs. nurture, it’s always those things together. So yeah, some children will pick things up faster than others but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t give a chance for children for whom it’s a little more difficult, they just may need more repetitions. But in a way, it’s possible that the children for whom it is a little more difficult actually gained more benefit from the doing of it.
Pam: Right, and that makes perfect sense. Well, you’ve talked about, in relation to writing specifically, that we can’t get something out of a brain that wasn’t in there to begin with, so what kinds of things should we be putting in to these brains? What kinds of things do you suggest that we memorize?
Andrew: Christians, and people of a religious bent, see the value of memorizing Scripture. In fact, a very interesting book, I don’t know if you’ve read it, Pam, is Chaim Potok’s book, The Chosen. Are you familiar with that?
Pam: No, I’m not.
Andrew: It’s a wonderful classic book, and it’s about two Jewish boys, one an orthodox conservative whose father is a Rabbi, and another Jewish boy whose father is a progressive liberal, and their friendship (the conflict between their families and their friendship in New York in the early 1900’s) it’s a great story of friendship but what’s interesting as a side point, is that it’s a window into that Hebrew traditional Jewish culture of memorizing huge chunks of Scripture, huge chunks of the Torah (the books of the law), and huge chunks of the Talmud (the commentary on the Torah), and that the whole culture of the Rabbinic cultures as these Jewish men would get together and argue and have these heated elements of discussion and they could quote huge chunks of both the law and the commentary on the law, and that this tradition of memorization of their faith of the elements of their faith was carried from ancient times all the way up in to the modern age because of that. So I think that you see that in the traditional face, the orthodox Jews, some of the liturgical Christian traditions, the Catholics have lots of memorized prayers that they commit to heart from a young age and retain through their life, and then a lot of evangelical Christians can emphasize Scripture because, of course, these are the words of their faith, the words of Truth, the words that will sustain them through difficult times, and I don’t think I know a single person who’s memorized big chunks of Scripture or even little verses that isn’t happy about that, able to recite a Psalm or two or three or four, or the Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want. Some things we’ve memorized in childhood, they’re a comfort to us in all our life and, of course, the capacity for memorizing Scripture is really limitless, it’s just how much time you want to spend. I met a girl, personally, at 12 years old had memorized the entire New Testament.
Pam: Oh wow.
Andrew: She had spent several hours every day of her life from five or six years memorizing Scripture, and that was just an important thing for her and her family. That’s a little extreme for most of us, I think, but the fact is the more you have memorized the easier it is to memorize new things. That’s true in music too. If you’ve memorized 10 pieces of music and you retain those then memorizing your 11th piece is much easier than, say, memorizing your 2nd or 3rd because new pieces, new Scriptures, new ideas are really the combination and permutation of previously existing musical patterns or linguistic patterns or ideas, so the more you memorize the easier it becomes. But I like to suggest that people also memorize poetry because poets have to stretch the vocabulary and stretch the syntax, they have to use words that are maybe a little less common and use patterns that are maybe a little less colloquial to fit the meter and the rhyme scheme of the poem, and so you get an even broader, more exciting result from the memorizing of poetry, while it may not be as spiritually beneficial, it’s often a little easier because of the rhyme schemes and a little more fun if the poems are humorous then you get this rich vocabulary. I remember when I was probably 12 years old I memorized this short little poem, see if you can recognize where it comes from: scintillate scintillate globule vivific, fain would I ponder thy nature’s specific, loftily poised in ether capacious, strongly resembling a gem carbonaceous. It’s a translation from the simple twinkle, twinkle, little star into synonyms. Scintillate scintillate globule vivific, fain would I ponder thy nature’s specific. So I’m at 12 years old, I’ve learned words like fain and capacious, and what happens is when you memorize it, it moves these words from your passive (i.e. I could recognize them) into your active vocabulary. Ah ha, now I can use them. And of course having a larger vocabulary, active vocabulary allows you to think bigger thoughts, to think ideas. It’s so funny when we consider concrete thinking, you’re almost limited in the things you can think to the words you have to think them in, at least to communicate that. So the larger the vocabulary the greater the capacity for thought.
Pam: Oh, that’s very interesting. My kids and I were listening to a podcast about dogs and their ability to smell. Humans have 5,000 or it might be 5,000,000 scent neurons in their nose whereas the dog has 200,000,000 and one of the things that researchers struggle with in trying to figure out all of the different ways you might could use this capacity, a dog’s ability to smell for things such as working with people with diabetes or being drug sniffers or things like that, the lady said they simply don’t have the words to describe smells. A dog, they’re smelling at such a high level that we don’t have the words to describe these things, and so often, we never even think of what they might be capable of doing, because we don’t have the vocabulary to describe it. Does that make sense?
Andrew: It makes perfect sense.
Pam: So that’s what this made me think of.
Andrew: This relationship between vocabulary and thought as a teacher of writing I always come up against the problem of kids who are stuck. They have that blank page, and they’ll say things like, “I can’t think of anything, I don’t know what to say,” those are synonymous statements for a child, and of course, our writing system is designed to help solve that problem very quickly. But I always found it very interesting, “I can’t think of anything, I don’t know what to say.” You’ve probably read the book 1984 by George Orwell?
Pam: It’s been a few years, but yes.
Andrew: It’s been a few years for a lot of people, and I’m recommending that people re-read it now, because you start to see how Orwell was very prescient in many ways but one of the things that struck me when I read it again about two years was how he goes into great detail about how the state that controlled everything, totalitarian state would issue each year the newspeak dictionary and how each successive edition of the Newspeak Dictionary needed to have fewer words that the previous one because their intent was to shrink the language and if you could have plus good you wouldn’t need excellent, and if you had double-plus ungood you could eliminate the idea of evil and therefore, if you could shrink the language sufficiently you could ultimately make a thought crime impossible. He goes on to quite length and even in the appendix of the book about this relationship between vocabulary and thinking, and of course, it’s a very sad thing. The average active vocabulary of an average American today is about half of what it was a mere 50 years ago, and that was probably less than what it was 50 years before that. So, we’re definitely seeing a decline of vocabulary. In some places you might think you’re seeing a decline in thinking abilities as well.
Pam: Yes, I can definitely see that relationship there. Scripture, most definitely, poetry is another good place to start, and like you, my experience has been that the cadence in rhythm of poetry really do make it enjoyable and easier for my children when it comes to memorizing. So, if you have a family that has little or no experience with memory work at all and they want to start incorporating some memorization into their school day, what is the best way to get started, do you think?
Andrew: I would suggest find some poems that are going to be, especially if you’re have boys in this group, in this family, start with some poems that are maybe a little bit funny, perhaps a little bit dramatic or violent and short, because if you start with a short poem and you can memorize four lines very quickly and easily, then you suddenly realize that wasn’t so hard, I can memorize a short poem. Limericks have a certain pattern. A lot of people, my generation and certainly our parent’s generation, everybody grew up with Mother Goose poems: Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water, Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after. That seems so simple and yet it’s rich in that it has rhythmic pattern, “he fell down and broke his crown” well there’s an unusual use of words, what’s that mean? So it has a vocabulary element, and it’s actually case where if you grow up with Mother Goose you learn in your heart and in your ear to appreciate the sound that you will later here in Shakespeare sonnets “I am the petaminer” and those rhythmic patterns. One of my favorite books is The Restoration of Christian Culture by John Senior in which he says “you must learn Mother Goose as a child to love Shakespeare as an adult.” So, I think we can start with simple things, in fact, you’re probably aware that we have a poetry program called Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization and our first poem is Ooey gooey was a worm, a mighty worm was he, he stepped upon the railroad track, the train he did not see, ooey, gooey.
Pam: Yes! That’s a particular favorite in my house.
Andrew: A five year old can memorize that poem in no time flat. It has an artistic linguistic quality to it even while it conjures up the sad and humorous image of a anthropomorphized worm that didn’t see the railroad and now he’s squashed and lives up to his name. We go from there to something like ‘celery raw develops the jaw, but celery stewed is more quietly chewed.’ What easy little two-four line poems. So you start with that and then the trick, of course, is to recite the poems often enough so that you don’t forget them once you’ve learned them. That’s the real trick. Even some families that do poetry memorization, the kids will learn a poem and then go recite it for the family or recite it at a public speaking class or something, but then they’ll learn another poem but they won’t recite the poem they learned often enough to retain that. So the trick of building the repertoire is essentially to say every poem you’ve learned every day until you don’t have time and then go to every other poem every other day until you don’t have time and then every third poem every third day. Or what you could do is get a bowl or a hat put the poems that you’ve learned on a little card, put it in the bowl and pick out a few each day, as much as you have time for. Recite the poems you’ve memorized and then once you’ve said them all put all the cards back in and start over again. So through spaced repetition you create the potential for lifetime retention.
Pam: It’s actually grown pretty elaborate because we quickly ran out of time for the every poem, every day, and so I have a system (this was inspired by my friend, Mystie Winckler) where I group a bunch of poems together and we review all of those for one term and then we replace them with another set for review, and then we repeat those different sets throughout the year for reviewing. And so we’re able to still learn new ones and have time to review the old ones in the process - definitely some kind of set pattern or even your random pulling them from the bowl until you’ve done them all, but keeping them in the rotation on occasion.
Andrew: Yes, that’s the trick. And when you get a really long poem, then you can just break it into stanzas and treat each stanza as a separate poem that you say again and again until you can say that stanza, then you add the next stanza, and you say that again and again, then you say both of them together until it’s easy and then you add a little bit more and you add a little bit more. So the idea is don’t try to memorize a five stanza poem by saying the whole thing again and again and again, just take the first four lines or so. Say that again and again until that’s easy then add the next part and then add the next part, and then it becomes much less stressful and you’re less likely to forget the order of things. And most of the good poems kind of tell a story or have a logical sequence to them. I’ve got to tell you this, Pam, I almost cried when this happened, the woman drove five hours to come to a seminar that I was teaching. I said, “Oh, you didn’t have to drive so far, I could have come to where you are eventually.” And she said, “I came because I wanted to tell you my son has been doing poetry memorization and he’s halfway through level three.” So that means, according to our system that he’s memorized about 50 poems, I can’t remember but he’s eight or nine years old, it was in that range. And she said, “I wanted to tell you that his favorite privilege is to go to retirement homes and recite poetry for the residents in the retirement homes.” And I almost cried when she said that because, of course, think about it, most of the poems are old, they’re probably the ones these folks grew up with in school, and here’s a little nine year old boy happily coming in, having a reason to share his poetry with other people who’d have a delight in it. Isn’t that just a beautiful idea?
Pam: That is a great story. And you know that everybody is getting enjoyment from that situation, too.
Andrew: Another quick one: there was a women who said, “Oh my son, he balked, he did not want to learn poems and he was complaining and I made him do it anyway and we learned these poems and he didn’t see any point to it, and then he went to a Boy’s Scout camp over the summer and he came home and he was talking about how everyone loved to hear his poems.” He was the most popular kid at campfire because he could recite dozens of poems for the other kids and they thought that was so fun and so now his attitude was completely transformed. He said that he had to learn a bunch of new poems before next year’s camp.
Pam: That’s awesome. That is really awesome. Well, I like to stress that memorizing poems with your kids is not rocket science, so could you walk through the procedure for memorizing something totally new. And you’ve touched on this because you’ve already talked about taking one stanza at a time, but break it down even further than that. I’m staring at Ooey Gooey or four or five lines in a stanza and how do I teach my kids to learn this? What do we need to do?
Andrew: Well, it might vary according to the age of the child, also according to their reading ability. So, let’s talk first about a child who is either too young to read that on their own, competently or confidently, or a child who really has a dyslexic issue or something and reading is just not the primary input method. Here you would have to use, of course, an auditory input method or modeling. So, when I was teaching a preschool I would basically say the line and then have them attempt to repeat it:
Celery raw develops the jaw. Everybody say that. Right, let’s try it again- Celery raw develops the jaw.
I’m going to say the first part (celery raw), you say the second part (develops the jaw). So, you’ve got that one line. So now, people can basically say that and then you add the next line, But celery stewed (but celery stewed) is more quietly chewed (is more quietly chewed) and you just chorus it back and forth and do that for a while and then move on. And then the next day ask, “Does anyone remember ‘celery raw’? “Oh yeah, yeah!” “What does it do?” “Ah, I forgot.” “Develops?” “Oh yeah, develops the jaw!” So, you prompt them, and the idea is like the disappearing word trick. If you’re teaching something (I teach Latin and so I’ll often do this and put up a conjugation or declension on the board and then the kids will recite looking at it, and then we’ll erase one and they’ll recite it, and we’ll erase another one, and erase another one, and pretty soon there’s one word left on the board and they’ll say the whole list of them, erase it and they could recite them all. So, kind of like that only if you’re doing it verbally you can do it with, “Let’s say the whole thing together. Now, I’ll say the first part you say the second part. OK, now I’ll give you the first word, OK, now you do it all.” So you kind of gradually wean them like that. And you can reinforce this by having recordings of the poems that can be played on an iPod if the student has one or likes one, or in the car, when you’re driving, that’s a great place to have poetry recordings going. Very much the same way that Suzuki students would memorize a piece of music. They would have the recordings of that piece, or the whole book, and they would listen to that every day, one time through or a couple of times through, and then they would go to the next piece and take maybe the first line or two and have the objective of learning that, playing it, memorizing that, then adding the next couple of lines and adding the next couple of lines. So, you’re working at it from both sides; you’re working at it from exposure to the whole thing regularly with repetition and then the focused attempting to imitate and recite, and imitate and recite, imitate, recite, with the goal of learning that smaller piece. Does that make sense?
Pam: It makes perfect sense, yes. And I’ve even gone so far, we have your linguistic development through Poetry Memorization Program and the CDs that go with it, but if we ever attempt to memorize a poem outside of that program I’ve used the voice memo app on my phone to be able to create a mp3 that we can then play back where I’m reciting the poem as well.
Andrew: And we all have technology that’s so easy to use now if we just take a little bit of time and figure out how to do that then we can do that. You can do that with Scripture as well, you can create your own recordings of what you want to memorize. And if you advance into excerpts of famous speeches then you can do that as well, you can record those excerpts and listen to them again and again. Meanwhile you’re knocking it off solidly, one line at a time. Now for students who can read pretty well, they can actually look at the poems and memorize them by reading to themselves, kind of like giving themselves the repetition, and then covering up one line, covering up the next line, covering up more than one line, and seeing if they can add the visual input to the auditory input that they are getting externally, or they provide for themselves by saying it again and again. And another thing that can help is writing out the poem. My great mentor, Mrs. Anna Ingham, who founded the Blended Sound Site of Learning upon which much of what we do at IEW here is based, she would have the children copy the poem that they were trying to learn. Sometimes several times they would copy the poem and once they had memorized it she would have them write the poem out from memory. And so then you’re getting a third pathway involved that tactile kinesthetic activity of putting letters on paper. So you’ve got auditory input, visual input, and then the copy work gives even manual or tactile input. So we’re always looking at the multi sensory approach here.
Pam: For those students, we have not done this, we have only done purely the auditory (I’ve had late readers in my house) for those students who are reading the poem for themselves or they’re listening to the poem via recording and they’re reading it for themselves is there a need for them to actually speak the words out loud or can they simply read it in their mind and be able to memorize, do you think?
Andrew: I think that might actually vary person to person. I know that when I’m memorizing a poem I really like to say it out loud to myself and hear myself say it. That just seems to help a lot. But I am, by nature, a very auditory person, I am an auditory learner. I will remember something better hearing it than I will seeing it, so I actually, kind of, have the habit of reading things out loud to myself anyway, though I try not to do it in public where it might disturb people, but I just enjoy the sound of the language auditorily. Not everybody is like that, I know of some people who don’t like to hear themselves reading out loud and would rather just look at it. Then there’s a few people who I have to say have profoundly good visual memory, they can read something a few times and then close their eyes or see it in their brain which is completely not an aptitude I have very much of. I don’t really ever see words in my brain, I hear them in my brain. So that may be different learning style but the great thing about multi sensory approach is that you can help everybody whatever their strength or whatever their weakness. You can capitalize on their strength and you can sure up the weakness as well. I would think that one approach in a family, especially if you’ve got a decent size family with 3 or 4 kids, then you could put one of the older ones in charge of teaching poems to the younger ones, and so then they would have to read it to the younger one and them repeat back, and of course, all of us know that the best way to learn something is to teach it to someone else, so you’d end up, probably, getting everyone memorizing it. Although young ones they need often times much less repetition. I’ve had families say, “Oh my six year old memorizes the poems faster than my twelve year old.”
Pam: Yes, my children always memorize them faster than I do. A lot faster, it’s kind of shameful.
Andrew: Well, we have the excuse of being on the other side of the neurological growth spectrum.
Pam: There you go. Well, what do you think of the trend in classical education these days of memorizing not just Scripture and poetry but spending time memorizing skip counting tables, facts, Latin chart, noun declensions, verb conjugations? We do some of that in our family.
Andrew: Remember what I said in terms of neurological growth, memorization is defacto good because it grows the brain. It doesn’t even matter what you memorize, memorizing anything actually makes neuro connections that make you smarter. Then if you’ve memorized useful things and you can access that and apply it then the activity of memorizing becomes more relevant to you, personally you’re more likely to retain those things and more enjoyable. So, sometimes you’ve got kids who will memorize all the capitals of the states. Are you going to be doomed for life if you don’t know that? Probably not, but it’s kind of awesome to know the capitals of all the states, it can’t hurt you, that’s for sure, and it’s a lot better than asking your phone, “what’s the capital of Louisiana?” It’d be more fun to just know it’s Baton Rouge. Now, Latin, you’re getting into an area I could go on. We might have to have another conversation down the line about the value of Latin because this is just huge, but memorization is essentially the only way to learn a foreign language, you have to memorize the vocabulary and then, of course, Latin being an inflected language, you’ve got to memorize your verb endings that correspond with your conjugations and your noun endings that correspond with your declensions, and it’s cumulative. You not only have to memorize it, you have to maintain that because if you forget it then later on down the line when you’re trying to read or translate something you won’t know it and that’ll be frustrating. So the trick to enjoyment of Latin is to be super solid on your paradigms and you can start with very young children: amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant. amabam, amabas, amabat, amabamus, amabatis, amabant, they can memorize that without even knowing what they’re doing but as you learn the grammar and you learn the first person singular, second person singular, third person, and you start to learn the grammar behind it, then those paradigms become even more rich and useful and meaningful. Certainly math facts is what allows you to do any kind of mental math and it’s just a travesty that schools today, there are literally people out there saying, “Is it really necessary for children to memorize the multiplication tables because everybody can have a calculator anytime they want to? It’s more important for children to understand why six times seven is 42 than to memorize that.” They are so wrong, I could just go on a long diatribe here, but actually when you’re eight years old it’s more important to just know six times seven is 42 than to know why six times seven is 42, but I don’t want to get too far off on that tangent.
Pam: But you don’t see any kind of tension between spending time memorizing facts and spending time memorizing poetry or Scripture, there’s enough room for both?
Andrew: Absolutely. The human mind has probably an infinite capacity for memorizing. The problem we have is that we’re just distracted by the modern life and its entertainments and amusements, and memorizing is an exercise for the brain, it’s not necessarily always going to be effortless. If you want to grow stronger you’ve got to do some sit-ups or push-ups. If you want to exercise your memory you have to do it and of course we’d all rather sit around and watch a video or scan Facebook or just play a video game that doesn’t require the brain activity. But you know, it’s interesting there’s an expression that was in use in the 1800’s and it’s completely died out. You would recognize this expression if you have read books like Anne of Green Gables or Little House on the Prairie or Laddie and the expression is this: I’ve got to go to school and say my lessons. Have you heard that? “Say my lessons?” Nobody today would ever say that because you don’t go to school to say your lessons, you go to school to take multiple guess tests on a tablet, but children 150 years ago were responsible for huge chunks of memorized stuff. That’s actually how you showed that you learned what you were supposed to learn, what you were responsible for, you would basically get an oral examination. Alah Oxford [**Spelling of name** 47:46] in the classical era…
Pam: Or Charlotte Mason.
Andrew: … Or Charlotte Mason, there you go.
Pam: Andrew, thank you so much for being with me today to talk to me about memorization and its benefits and some very practical tips on how we could get started doing it.
Andrew: Sure, it’s been a great pleasure and keep up the great work of helping all the families out there as you do. It’s wonderful.
Pam: I appreciate it.
And now for this episode’s Basket Bonus, we do have a special treat for you guys this week. What we have done is we have taken a few poems that were in the public domain that we thought might appeal to your children and we’ve made a printable for them that breaks down the stanzas and the lines for you to help you go through that recitation process that Andrew was talking about in the podcast, so we separated out the lines so you know to read ‘just this part of the line’ and let the kids repeat, and then read ‘just this part of the line’ and let the children repeat. So we break it down and make it a no-brainer for you, and we’ve also provided mp3 downloads of me reading these poems (sorry, don’t mean to infuse everyone’s children with a southern accent, but I was all I had handy) but we have some little mp3 downloads of me reading those poems. So if you’ve never tried recitation and you’d like to give it a try using some of the methods that Andrew talked about today head on over to EDSnapshots.com/YMB2 and there you can get a link to the mp3 downloads and the printables for the poems. Choose one that you think might appeal to your children and give it a go, and then let me know how you do with it. So, there’s your Basket Bonus for this week.
And there you go, thank you so much for joining me for episode 2 of Your Morning Basket. So I want to encourage you to head on over to the Show Notes at EDSnapshots.com/YMB2. There you can find links to everything that Andrew and I talked about today including the wonderful, wonderful program Linguistic Development through poetry memorization, that’s put out by Andrew’s company IEW. We love that resource, so be sure to check that out as well. And, you can also leave a comment there for either myself or Andrew if you have a comment or question, leave it right there and we’ll get back with you on that one. And I would love to have you join me again here in two weeks for the next Your Morning Basket where we talk about how to bring Truth, Goodness, and Beauty to your homeschool day.

Key Ideas about Memorization

  • A large repertoire of memorized language furnishes the mind with rich vocabulary, correct grammar, and worthy ideas.
  • We equip our children to express themselves well, both in speaking and in writing, by having them memorize and recite beautiful language.
  • Memorization allows us to be creative.
  • When we memorize and recite well-crafted language, we are imitating master writers, and through this imitation we are learning the skills of their craft

Find what you want to hear:

  • [3:50] why memorization is important
  • [6:35] Andrew’s take on the modern trend of avoiding memorization
  • [8:20] the story of Frederick Douglass
  • [10:55] learning skills through imitation
  • [12:15] memorization as a prerequisite for knowing/learning
  • [13:04] neurological benefits of memorization
  • [16:40] Are some people just not able to memorize?
  • [18:57] memorizing Scripture
  • [21:40] The more you’ve already memorized, the easier it is to memorize new material.
  • [22:11] memorizing poetry
  • [23:33] how a larger vocabulary equips us to think bigger thoughts
  • [27:40] getting started with memorization and recitation
  • [28:12] the importance of Mother Goose rhymes
  • [30:17] reciting old material often enough to maintain mastery of it
  • [32:01] breaking down longer poems
  • [34:49] a step by step procedure for memory work
  • [40:30] using different modalities (i.e. saying, reading, writing)
  • [43:04] other memory work, such as math, Latin, geography, etc

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Thanks for your reviews

  • Thank you
    by mrsbeliever from United States

    I take my walks outside two times a day. I enjoy listening to all the knowledge you have on your podcast! I am a mom of 7 and have been homeschooling for 18 years! I’m not a novice but have loved all your advice and input! Thank you for everything you do! I love it!

  • 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!