YMB #21 Why Shakespeare? A Conversation with Ken Ludwig

Shakespeare. Whatever feelings you have about the Bard, we can all agree that he was the most influential English writer in history. But why should I bother with Shakespearean language for my littles in Morning Time? Won’t there be plenty of time for that when they are older?

More importantly how would I introduce such a daunting mass of literature? What if I don’t know much Shakespeare myself? What if I don’t even think I like Shakespeare?

Ken Ludwig is a playwright and father who has an infectious love of Shakespeare. He began sharing his love with his children at a very young age. Recently he published How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare, a book detailing this surprisingly simple way to teach the Bard’s great works to our children.

Come and enjoy as Ken tells us why and how we should teach Shakespeare, as well as how we can handle the harder concepts. Most importantly, Ken encourages us to push past our fear and enjoy Shakespeare in our Morning Times.

YMB #21 Why Shakespeare?

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 21 of the Your Morning Basket podcast. I’m Pam Barnhill, your host, and I am so happy that you are joining me here today. Well, to say that Ken Ludwig’s excitement for Shakespeare is infectious is a bit of an understatement. It’s kind of hard to talk to Ken about Shakespeare and not get a little bit excited yourself which is certainly what I did today. It was a really fun conversation that we had. So we talk about Ken’s book How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare; we dig into the method that he developed to teach his own children and that you can use to teach yours, and then also we dug a little bit deeper into the why it’s important to teach Shakespeare, how to handle some of those more difficult parts, and is there any virtue to be found to hold up to our children in the Bard’s plays. And I think you’re going to be pleasantly surprised with everything that Ken had to share with us. It’s a wonderful interview, so sit back and enjoy.

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Ken Ludwig is an internationally acclaimed playwright, a Shakespeare aficionado, and the author of the book, How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare. He holds degrees from Harvard, Haverford College, and Cambridge. Ken has written 22 plays and musicals and has had six shows on Broadway and seven in London’s West End. His work has won numerous prestigious awards including two Tony’s and two Lawrence Olivier awards, which is England’s highest theatre honor. His plays have been commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Bristol Old Vic. In How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare Ken draws from his experience of introducing his own two children to the Bard through memorizing passages and talking about characters and storylines. He joins us on the podcast today to discuss why Shakespeare should have a place in Morning Time. Ken, welcome to the program.
Ken: Well, thank you very much. I’m thrilled to be here.
Pam: We are so excited to have you. It is always wonderful to speak with somebody who is so passionate about their topic, and you really are.
Ken: I really am! I am thrilled to be here, partly to talk to you, and partly to talk about my favorite subject in the world which is Shakespeare, especially kids learning Shakespeare from a young age.
Pam: Well, do you remember your earliest experience with Shakespeare? What made you love him as much as you do?
Ken: I do, actually. When I was a boy, I was about 10 years old, I think, my parents a few years earlier than that had been to New York, had seen the famous production of Hamlet with Richard Burton and when it rolled around to be my 10th birthday some years later they got it in their heads to buy me the recording of that production of Hamlet with Richard Burton. It was an LP recording, those old discs, and they gave it to me for my birthday and I started listening to it and listened and listened and listened, and I just loved it. I fell in love with, I guess, his voice - Richard Burton being one of the great Shakespearian actors of all time – and I fell in love with the material itself and I ended up memorizing large chunks of it, all of the soliloquies and other parts of the play. I literally wore those vinyl discs down until they were useless. I actually have since bought another set, which I could get on E-bay. And so I just fell in love with Shakespeare and started seeing it as much as I could and started reading as much as I could.
Pam: So, do you think that this love, this early love that you developed for Shakespeare at about age 10 was, kind of, pivotal in your decision to go into the theater and acting?
Ken: Absolutely. I remember going to the theatre when I was a youngster, too. My mother’s family lived in New York and when we would visit my grandparents, every year we would go see a Broadway Show, one Broadway Show a year, it was a big treat. And even when I was six years old I remember very well going to the theatre and at the time thinking, ‘This is what I want to do. All I want to do is be in the theatre for a living.’ And then Shakespeare got me and I was really hooked.
Pam: Let’s talk about your own children for a minute. What about their experiences with Shakespeare? As a parent did you always know that you would want to introduce them to Shakespeare early, or was there a moment when you realized, ‘Hey, this is something I want to do, I think it’s a good idea to start when they’re young.’
Ken: Well, it took me by surprise. I never thought about teaching them Shakespeare per se, I loved it myself, they were growing up, and the older of the two kids, my daughter Olivia, reached first grade and came home one day from school and said, “Daddy, I know a bank where the wild time blows.” And I was just rocked off my feet because that’s a line from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and I said, “Where did you learn that, Olivia?” and she had learned it in school. Her teacher was an English woman who loved Shakespeare and decided it was never too early to start teaching kids a little bit of Shakespeare, that they could memorize it easily. And indeed she knew about four or five lines by the end of that week that her teacher was teaching her. And that’s when a light bulb went off in my head and I thought, ‘I love this stuff so much myself and why don’t I try to teach her some Shakespeare. She’s 6 years old, she’s got an open mind, she’s not afraid of it yet which is a plus because kids as they get older and adults all over the world (we’ll talk about that in a few minutes) think Shakespeare is daunting. It sounds confusing when you first hear it. But when you’re a youngster, a just have an open mind and you lap it up the way you would a nursery rhyme. So, after her teacher taught her these first few lines, I thought, ‘Ooh, I’m going to try this.’ So my experiment was that she and I would snuggle up together, open a book (is what I started to say) but I did better than that, what I did was I typed out on my computer whatever I wanted her memorize and I did it in very large type, she was just learning to read at the time, in an attractive font, I used Comic Sans which is easy to read and fun to read, and I think at 20pt, and I typed out “I know a bank where the wild thyme blows, where oxlips and the nodding violet grows, quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine, with sweet musk-roses, and with eglantine.” So those four lines which are four lines from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and it’s when the Fairy King, Oberon, is telling Puck, his mischievous second in command, where to Tonya (the Queen of the fairies) she sleeps, this bank of flowers. And that description of flowers is so beautiful. I typed those four lines out, those are the ones she had learned at school, and we went over them, and she knew them pretty well, and I explained to her what certain words meant, that she might not otherwise understand. It’s really – you know, you have kids – and presumably everyone who’s listening to this podcast has kids and knows that when they are young and their minds are open, and they’re smart, they’re all smart, and if you explain to them very simply what the situation is, and then I would word by word, phrase by phrase, and line by line, teach her the lines - those first four she knew from school, and then that particular group of lines is 10 lines long and it’s the first passage in my book. And it’s a great one to start kids with and she learned all 10 lines in no time at the end of, I’d probably say, virtually at the end of that hour together (we spent one hour on Saturdays and one hour on Sundays) and my theory developed was that the best way for kids to learn Shakespeare was to memorize it. I think memorization has taken a bit of a hit in modern education and I don’t think it should. I think memorizing poetry is a great way to make kids familiar with the sound and the meter of their favorite authors and to really embed it in their heads so it becomes a part of them. And so I started teaching her passages from my favorite plays and she really took to it. And that’s how I fell into teaching my kids Shakespeare.
Pam: And then this is the method, this very same method – and I have to tell you that we have really latched onto this, I think it took my kids less than two weeks to memorize that first passage – and then we were doing a poetry tea party with our friends, and that was the passage my son chose to recite at the party.
Ken: Oh great!
Pam: You’re right, their minds are so open and receptive and never once do they look at you and go, “Mom, I can’t do this!” They just do it.
Ken: They do. Exactly, they just do it. And they love it. It’s fun, they feel a sense of accomplishment. They can see that their parents are proud of them. And often, early ones I chose are rhyming couplets. It’s easier because you’re always moving towards the rhyme, “I know a bank where the wild thyme blows, where oxlips and the nodding violet grows…” so that’s kind of like a nursery rhyme.
Pam: Yeah, it really is. And just the rhythm of the words and then we’ve taken, kind of, phrasing method that you’ve used, you’ve broken down all of these Shakespearian lines and they are printables available on your website where you’ve broken them down into the phrases, and we have actually started using those for other pieces of memory work that we want to memorize as well.
Ken: Oh good.
Pam: Breaking down these poems into these natural phrases within the poetry. But, tell us about your book. This is what you’ve done- you’ve taken this method that you’ve used for all of these years to teach your children and you’ve turned it into a method that now I, as a parent, who might have this fear of Shakespeare, can use myself easily with my children.
Ken: That’s exactly what I’ve done. And the book is two-fold, I think, in that way you describe it, which is it is, first of all, the message of the book is very simple and clear which is: don’t be afraid of Shakespeare. The underground trick of the book is that it’s actually as much for adults as it is for children because so many of us, and my friends who are in theatre, which is most of my friends, look on Shakespeare as something a little frightening and the notion of the book is that it needn’t be. It is a foreign language, don’t fool yourself. There’s no reason to think you would hear Shakespeare and be able to understand it and speak it right away. Treat it a little bit like a foreign language. Imagine if you heard a play in Italian, and you didn’t speak Italian? You wouldn’t know what they meant in those first five minutes, but if you started to learn Italian and learn a word at a time, and a phrase at a time and memorized a bit, it would start to become clear. Well, Shakespeare isn’t as nearly hard as a real foreign language. It’s mostly accessible, 80% of its accessible right away. But because it was written 450 years ago, and because words have changed over that time, some words we don’t use anymore, some had slightly different meanings, it can seem a little confusing. Message one of the book is don’t be afraid, embrace it, open your mind, Shakespeare is not only fun to do, is not only great to do with the kids, but the fact of the matter is Shakespeare is the bedrock of western civilization in the English language. It is absolutely what you need to know if you’re going to be an educated person in our society who uses it to open the gates of all the rest of literature, because all of literature since Shakespeare is somehow based on Shakespeare. Jan Austen and Charles Dickens and Charlotte Bronte and Henry Fielding, right up to modern authors. Ian McEwan and all the good novelist and prose writers of today know their Shakespeare and base things on Shakespeare, base stories and their phrasing and you need to know Shakespeare if you’re going to be a really intelligent person in our society and open those gates to literature. That’s the message of the book; open your mind to Shakespeare, it’s easy if you take your time and follow the method. So the second part of the book is this method, and the method grew out of teaching my daughter. I had no idea in the world that I would ever write a book about it. I had no idea in the world that I was really evolving any method or anything new. But in trying to impart my absolutely love of this language and love for these stories so much a part of my own being in wanting to share it with my children, what it evolved to was pretty simple, which was “ah, wait a second, I’ll break it down into short passages, start with the ones that are most accessible to children (usually the ones from the comedies) and have them memorize these short passages. And by memorizing them, these become part of their body language. It just becomes part of them. So when my daughter went off to college she was able to take to college with her about 1000 lines of Shakespeare that she could just rattle off, admittedly, I got really enthusiastic about it, so we continued to do Saturdays and Sundays from age 6 right through 16 or 17. I mean, yes, it became harder as she was on the tennis team and doing this and that and the other and we’d have to really say, “OK, this is Shakespeare time” and did we miss a couple of times when she got as old as 14, 15, 16 – now and then – but not too many because we loved doing it. It was a special time together and she loved it, and she just loved learning the stories and saying the words. And she knew it made her special, so she literally, to this day, can rattle off hundreds and hundreds of lines of Shakespeare.
Pam: I think this is one of the wonderful things about the book and the method that you’ve put forth here is that it didn’t grow out of this desire that you had to make your kid the smartest or turn it into some parlor trick or something like that, it grew out of a desire that you had to share your love for something with your children and I think that’s what makes it a wonderful approachable method that parents can use.
Ken: Well, thank you. That is absolutely true. And I don’t think if I had wanted to make it, I like the way you put that- like a parlor trick or a way to smarten them up, I don’t think I’d have succeeded, because first of all, I don’t think I could have informed myself about a subject that I didn’t love and I don’t think I could have imparted it to my children the same way. This was just to share something I love. And let me say, most parents who will read this book will not already have the background I had in Shakespeare, I taught it to myself, but it was just my quirky own particular interest and love, because I’m a playwright and I love language, but it’s easy to do and the trick is to stay ahead of the kids just a couple of pages, not even a whole chapter. If you’re a parent, and you go, “OK, listen, I don’t particularly know my Shakespeare too well, let’s start with this first chapter. Ken tells me that I’m going to teach them these first two lines of this passage by Oberon, the King of the fairies.” If you spend time with the first two pages or three pages of the book and learn them yourself you’re ready to start with the kids.
Pam: Right.
Ken: Because you’re ahead of them.
Pam: And you do lay it out there for us and explain a lot of the little nuances of the passage that we’re learning and what the different words mean and why they’re fun or why they’re important and give us that background knowledge that we need, for those of us who might not be quite as knowledgeable about it there.
Ken: Thanks for saying that. And that’s exactly the idea. And having it tied to the stories is so important. The first of the plays that I focus on is A Midsummer Night’s Dream which is about the fairyland and lovers who escape into a magic wood that is very accessible and the second one is Twelfth Night my own personal favorite among the comedies along with Much Ado About Nothing. And I just opened the book -- I have it here next to because I knew we’d be chatting so I just grabbed a copy off my shelf – I just opened it randomly and I’m on chapter 14 on page 83, if you have it handy, and it is the beginning of the discussion of passage 7, the nature of Shakespearian comedy. So I lay out the story of Twelfth Night and the story opens with a young woman (this is the second scene) who’s washed on shore in a country she’s never been to, she thinks her twin brother who is on the voyage with her has drowned. Her name is Viola, her brother’s name is Sebastian. But in the gorgeous opening of this scene, it’s very, very simple, and how it somehow magically reels us in to this woman is almost beyond description. It’s hard to describe. In the previous scene we have heard a man, who she’s going to fall in love with later, named Orsino, use really big, highfalutin language because he thinks he’s in love with someone and he says, “If music be the food of love, play on, give me excess of it, that surfeiting, the appetite may sicken, and so die.” So he’s, kind of, full of himself and he’s full of beautiful purple language, and in the very next scene which is 20 lines later, all that happens is this lovely open young woman named Viola gets washed onshore and her opening line is, “What country, friends, is this?” and the captain says, “This is Illyria, lady” and she says, “What should I do in Illyria? My brother, he is in Elysium. Perchance he is not drown’d: what think you, sailor?” and the captain says, “It is perchance that you yourself were saved.” Well, that’s one of the passages I suggest that kids learn. It’s a little dialogue between these two people and it’s just so simple and it’s self-explanatory, but somehow, in his absolute genius Shakespeare manages to catch her simple open heart, her love for her brother because this whole play is about the love of a brother and a sister, and they look for each other throughout the whole play, and so in those four simple lines we’ve really captured the essence of the whole play. So it gives us a basis to tell the story of the play to our kids. And as I say, my kids just love this stuff.
Pam: I think some of the genius in Shakespeare is how he manipulates the language to, in the way people speak within the plays, that tells you about their character. It’s not just what they say but also the words that they use and how they say it and the kind of language they use. I’m thinking of even characters that were slightly confusing like Caliban in The Tempest where sometimes he’s in iambic pentameter and sometimes he’s in prose and you’re trying to figure him out.
Ken: That’s very astute of you to say that. That’s exactly right. Shakespeare tells us everything in his language. And once you hear somebody speak, you kind of, get a really good sense if they’re good-hearted, if they’re evil, if they’re plotting, what they’re up to, and that’s really smart of you – that’s exactly right.
Pam: Well, let’s talk about some of the challenges that some families might have with Shakespeare that go beyond the fear. So, if I’m over my fear of Shakespeare, a little bit, and I’m ready to maybe work on some of this with my kids – now, you’ve told me that one of the main reasons that I should study Shakespeare with my children is because he is the bedrock, or the foundation, of all western literature since his time. So, do you have any other reasons why we should push past some of these fears and difficulties and study Shakespeare?
Ken: I do. I think certainly one of them is as simple as increasing our vocabulary, learning how to read literature. Literature of any age that predates us in a significant way, let’s say Dickens or Austen, is not readily, it’s not as easily readable as Harry Potter and it’s because it was written 100 or 200 years ago, so reading Shakespeare teaches us how to read literature. It also teaches us really good moral values as does Dickens. I keep going back to Dickens and Austen and Bronte, but as do most major authors, they’ve thought very hard about life and they’ve thought through problems that we all encounter and how we face them and that’s what literature does for us, and it makes us think harder about doing unto others as you would have done to yourself, it makes you think about compassion and heart, and good and evil, and all kinds of love- the love you have for your wife and husband as well as the love you have for your children, and for your siblings, because Shakespeare is filled with stories about all these interfamily relationships. So it makes you think harder and therefore you get smarter and smarter. It just makes you smarter because you’re thinking about things that are important. To go back to the earlier part of your question, in addition to being exposed to it and fighting past your worry about your fear of it, what else can you do to help fight past that? And that’s something that I talk about early in the book, which is part of the technique I haven’t talked about yet, is making sure you, and then your kids, understand every word of each line, and therefore, every phrase, and therefore what it really says, because once you really understand what it says, you can’t really memorize until then. I’m, sort of, looking through the book right now to see a good passage to use as an example. Here’s four lines from Twelfth Night when Viola, she’s in disguise as a young boy named Cesario, he’s talking to a woman and Viola’s master wants this woman to fall in love with him, the object of affection is Olivia (my daughter’s name, by the way) and Cesario says, “If I did love you in my master’s flame with such a suffering, such a deadly life, in your denial I would find no sense, I would not understand it.” So, you can’t memorize those four lines until you really understand what each of those words means. If, as if you turned to someone and you said, “I don’t understand why you don’t love my son, if I did love you, in my master’s flame…” what does flame mean? Flame is obviously Shakespeare taking the word and using it in an original way that I don’t think has ever been used since, “if I did love you in my master’s way of loving, if I did love you in the same way my master does, in my master’s flame,” I want to suggest the word flame is fire, and someone has fire in their heart and in this case it’s the love of a man and a woman, not sibling love. So it’s, “If I did love you with the flame of passion the way he did with such a suffering, such a deadly life, in your denial I would find no sense.” Well, maybe if you were talking with a younger kid, what does denial mean? Denial means saying no to something. So until you understand all the words in those four lines you’re not going to understand the passage and you can’t really memorize it with any integrity. So, an important step in this is going slowly enough that you understand every word of the passage.
Pam: OK, yes. That makes perfect sense that you would need to have a good understanding of what’s being said in order to embody it and make it your own.
Ken: Right.
Pam: Which leads me to my next question: there are some parts of Shakespeare I’m not so sure I want my kids to understand at 8 or 9 years old. So what should I do as I’m introducing my kids about some of the violence and maybe innuendoes in Shakespeare? How do you handle that?
Ken: Two answers. One is this book particularly is gauged so that these passages, I don’t start the book with Macbeth, I don’t start it with King Lear (in fact, I don’t think I quite get to King Lear in the book as much as I would have liked to, I couldn’t cover everything) so the passages in this book are gauged so that if you use the ones that I’ve chosen, the kids aren’t being exposed to anything before they should be because I chose them carefully for my kids, because I didn’t want my kids exposed to that either when they’re 6, 7, 8. 9, 10 years old, I don’t really want them thinking about this famous, the long poem Shakespeare wrote The Rape of Lucrece. I don’t want them thinking about rape or horrible things like that at age 9 and 10 years old. And then in terms of after that, they’re going to grow and understand what they’re going to understand the way they do with everything. God knows they’re exposed to so much with television and movies. I remember my mother and dad taking me to a movie when I was a kid and later seeing them looking at each other thinking, “Oh my God, what did we do?” And I didn’t know what they were talking about because I didn’t understand the thing they were worried about me seeing. I didn’t get it, it was gone over my head, and I think kids will absorb those things when they’re ready, and I don’t think there’s anything in Shakespeare we need worry about. I mean, Shakespeare is filled with all the things that life is filled with- life and death. In Romeo and Juliet, which is one of the earlier plays the kids get exposed to, when they get exposed to it, which normally at school when they’re in maybe 7th or 8th grade, when you’re in 8th grade you’re 14 years old, right? When you’re 14, 15 years, you’re going to learn about the sad realities of death in Romeo and Juliet, the tragedy does revolve around the deaths of Romeo and Juliet, and when they’re ready to take that in, I wouldn’t be using that with my daughter when she’s 7, 8, 9, just because they’re not going to understand it in any profound way, but by the time they’re 14, 15, and 16, they probably have almost certainly lost a grandparent and may be seeing things that makes that reality have meaning to them. When they’re little that doesn’t have any meaning to them. Then it’s appropriate.
Pam: So we’re just going to, kind of, drip out the full content of Shakespeare over the times that it’s appropriate for them to finally come to realize those later plays that maybe a little deeper and darker and have more things in there that are suited to older children?
Ken: Absolutely. I think approaching Shakespeare, choosing the right material to make it age-appropriate for the kids is very important.
Pam: I took my daughter, oh goodness, it was almost two years ago now, so she would have been 8½ or 9 years old to a local university production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and there were a few moments where it got a little racy there, Titania and Bottom had gone off together and there was a little bower set up and the fairies were doing their silly thing around there, and it completely went over her head.
Ken: That’s exactly right, that’s exactly it! You go, “Oh well, why shouldn’t they be sleeping together, mom? We all sleep. We all take a good nap together.” Yeah, absolutely right! And when they’re ready, they’ll understand it.
Pam: I was not going to offer explanation, she was just enjoying the play for what she saw.
Ken: That’s great.
Pam: Well, you know, at Your Morning Basket our tagline is “Truth, Goodness, and Beauty for your homeschool day” so could you help me out in finding some truth, goodness, and beauty in Shakespeare? Do you have some examples of virtuous characters or eternal truths, and you’ve already touched on these with the importance of family and the relationships there and all of his examples of love and things of that nature, but do you have some virtuous characters that you could share with us from Shakespeare who we could hold up as examples?
Ken: Absolutely! Absolutely! There are dozens of virtuous characters in Shakespeare, who we love for the goodness of their hearts and we love for the good deeds they do at the same time. All the comedies I’ve been talking about are filled with those kinds of characters (not all the characters are that way) Oberon and Titania are a little spiteful with each other, the king and queen of the fairies, but the four lovers, Hermia and Helena, and Lysander and Demetrius are all good kids, they’re all good teenagers who mean well and don’t want to offend. Poor Hermia doesn’t want to offend her father but she can’t live under certain rules at the age she is. Beatrice and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing – they’re an older couple who are in love and they’re funny, but they have such good hearts. Beatrice says at one point, “A star danced and then I was born.” It’s her way of expressing the fact that she’s good humored, that she always has a twinkle in her eye, and always likes a good laugh – those are my favorite characters. Imogen in Thimblelane is a woman of pure heart and love and saves her country as well as discovers in the course of the play, two long lost brothers who she comes to love. The comedies and romances are filled with people we want to emulate. The comedies tend to fall in to characters who are good natured and then the pompous silly characters the ones who are good natured like to show up for their pomposity, so in Twelfth Night my favorite, favorite character in all of Shakespeare, Viola, who was just talking about a moment ago, who gets washed up onshore, couldn’t be of pure heart, couldn’t be more virtuous, and in the course of her life in Illyria, the country she comes to live in, we meet Malvolio who is not a villain. He is also of good heart, but he’s teased because he is a servant and he’s in love with the mistress who he serves. He’s like the butler and she’s the woman he works for and he’s secretly in love with this wonderful woman named Olivia. So, if I was … gee, I could make a list that is dozens of pages long about virtuous characters in Shakespeare but start with Viola, start with Beatrice and Benedick, and Imogen.
Pam: Well, there are certainly some eternal truths and lessons that we can learn from the not-so-virtuous characters in the tragedies as well, I’m sure.
Ken: Absolutely. In Hamlet, Helonias, the old overly talkative, sort of chief-of-staff to the king is not himself a very good man but he gives a famous series set of advice to his son who’s going to France; it ends with “to thy own self be true and it must follow the night, the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.” And his famous advice to his son as he goes off into life, even though he’s a bit of a pompous fool, it’s a moment that Shakespeare must have decided, ‘Well, I know he’s a bit pompous, and I know he’s overbearing, and he causes trouble in the play, but I have a moment here in the play where I have a father giving advice to his child, as his child goes off into life and I’m going to give him the best 12 lines I ever wrote!’ and that’s one of the great passages in all of Shakespeare.
Pam: It’s a lovely example. One of the things that I believe about Shakespeare, personally, is that you shouldn’t just sit there with your book and read it silently to yourself. Reading it aloud yourself, memorizing passages, are all wonderful, but Shakespeare was really meant to be experienced, to be seen. So what are some qualities that parents should look for in a good Shakespeare production to share with their children? Which movies should we look for? Which, even local productions, what kind quality should we look for in that, to choose the right ones?
Ken: Go by the reputation of the acting company you’re going to see. Here, your local situation, some will be probably spectacularly good and sensitive and wonderful, and some might miss the mark, and that’ll depend on the quality of the director and the actors, and how they interpret the text, whether they’re true to it, or whether they go off on a tangent. Some of these local productions will go, “Oh, I have a new way of looking at Taming the Shrew, I’m going to set it in the wild west. (I’ve seen two or three productions of Taming the Shrew set in the wild west) and that doesn’t mean by nature that it can’t be a good production, they have a lot of heart and be interesting, but if somebody’s going to imprint something a little off the mark on Shakespeare you usually go in at least with a question mark in your mind. It’s more likely you’re going to get a good production from a company that is tried and true and overtime has served you well. When you get into the larger sphere, you know that if it’s got – I’m on the Board of Governors of the Folgers Shakespeare Library here in Washington, D.C., we do three productions a year, we’ve recorded all the productions so the Folger recordings are terrific. They’re tried and true and they’re wonderful. The Royal Shakespeare Company, or the RSC in Stratford, England has done great productions of Shakespeare for 50-60 years now. They’re just a Mecca, they were the greatest place for Shakespeare in the world for a period of about 25 years. Another equally great place now is the Globe Theatre in London. And these are not inaccessible because the RSC puts a lot of its things out on DVD, and The Globe now puts all of its productions out on DVD (started this just about three or four years ago). They have the best production ever of Much Ado About Nothing- terrific! One of The Tempest I just saw. Virtually all of the plays are available from The Globe and the RSC, great audio productions from a company called Arc Angel has done all of the plays and they’re easy to get on DVD or to stream them. And you’re absolutely right, Shakespeare was meant to be heard and spoken and seen, and that’s the best way to get to expose them. And let me add, if somebody has a Shakespeare comic book, great! More power to them, any way to get exposed to it. There are a lot of graphic novels these days, novels with drawings and less words, more drawings, and that’s fine too. Most of these people spend that much time doing something or doing it out of love and if you have the essence of the play that way for the first time, or retellings of the stories for children, that’s great, that’s great. Start there.
Pam: All excellent advice. Well, Ken, thank you so much for joining us here today to talk about your book and about your passion for Shakespeare and share this with us. And, where can people find the book and find you online?
Ken: Well, thank you for asking. The book is titled How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare. It’s certainly on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I’m glad to say it was a best-seller on Amazon about four weeks ago, it hit one of their best seller lists and I was thrilled with that. I took a picture of it on my phone!
Pam: I bet.
Ken: Easily available in all bookstores. I was just in England two or three weeks ago and I went into The Globe bookstore and there it was, and I went into the National Theatre Bookstore and there it was. So I was thrilled with that. You can also go to HowToTeachYourChildrenShakespeare.com (it’s a lot to type out). It was published by Random House and still is, now in paperback, so they set up that website for it. The best place probably to go is my website, my own website, which is just simply KenLudwig.com and there’s links there to purchase the book through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. And, also, I encourage people, if you can, to tweet me. I’ve got a Twitter feed that is simply @Ken_Ludwig and I often post pictures of productions of my plays. A lot of my plays, as you can imagine, are based on Shakespeare. One I wrote called, Shakespeare in Hollywood that I was commissioned to do for the Royal Shakespeare Company is about the production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Hollywood. There was a very famous production in the 1930’s with Mickey Rooney and Olivia de Havilland and I [**inaudible 40:15**] in the play that we’re back stage filming of it, and Oberon and Puck turn up (the real Oberon and Puck) and that one’s based on A Midsummer, and several of my plays are based on Shakespearian themes.
Pam: That sounds like fun.
Ken: So my website’s a good place to find those.
Pam: We will post links to all of those websites and also your Twitter feed (which sounds like a lot of fun) in the Show Notes of this episode so people can find that really easily.
Ken: Oh great.
Pam: Thank you.
Ken: Thank you, Pam. It’s been a pleasure, I really appreciate the time and I can tell you share my enthusiasm for this, so that’s great.
Pam: Oh yeah, it’s a lot of fun.
And there you have it, episode 21 of the Your Morning Basket podcast. Now, for today’s Basket Bonus, what we have for you is a little cheat sheet to help you really seek out the good themes and the virtuous themes in Shakespeare’s plays. What we have done is we have taken many of the plays that Ken talked about and has passages from in his book, How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare, and we’ve pulled out some of the virtuous themes for you. I actually have a ‘dream team’ of helpers here, my podcast manager, Mary Reiter, and her husband, Dr. Jeffrey Reiter, have worked together on this project. It’s so nice to have wonderful help like this. They have helped me pull together this list for you of some of the virtues in these Shakespeare plays so we can talk about these themes with our children as we’re memorizing these passages and hiding these words in our hearts, so I hope you’re going to find that really useful today. You can find that over in the Show Notes for this episode, you will find that at EDSnapshots.com/YMB21. Also there, you’ll find links to a number of the resources that Ken and I talked about for making Shakespeare more accessible to your children as well as his own website where you can find out more information. Also, there, if you are so inclined, there is a place that walks you through how to leave a rating or review for the Your Morning Basket podcast in iTunes, so if you would like to do that we show you exactly how. And to all of you who have already left a rating or review for the Your Morning Basket podcast we just want to say thank you so much for doing that. The ratings and reviews you leave in iTunes help us get word out about the podcast to new listeners and so we really appreciate it. We’ll be back again in another couple of weeks with another great Morning Basket interview and until then, we hope you keep seeking Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in your homeschool day.

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Thanks for your reviews

  • A wildly encouraging and equipping podcast for homeschool families.
    by Eryn Lynum from United States

    As a homeshool mama of four (Ages 2-9), Pam's podcast has been an increidble encouragement to me. Not only that, but I have discovered so many helpful resources for focusing on what is lovely and true during our homeschool days. I love that it is not overwhelming in nature, but instead a gentle help for moving forward one day at a time in our homeschooling adventure.

  • Best podcast for homeschooling/variety of topics
    by Bethetal from United States

    I love this podcast for so many reasons. (1) Pam is friendly, funny, humble and kind (2) She covers a multitude of topics (one at a time)- I have learned about nature notebooks, classical music study, narration, living books, Shakespeare and so much more. Whenever I have a question about a new (to me)HS term or practice, I come here to listen to Pam interview someone about it. Her interviewees have all been all-in on their respective areas of interest/expertise and I love the way she interviews/asks questions to really let the guests shine as they speak. I have changed the structure of my homeschool, found books for my kids and me, purchased materials, and found inspiration due to this podcast and I can’t recommend it enough! This podcast has shaped my homeschool in so many positive ways, most of which I probably can’t even articulate yet, as the changes have been done inside of me. Thanks, Pam!

  • Great!!!
    by Eloblah from United States

    I love the variety of things that are talked about on this show for homeschooling - things that I would never even think about including or doing - with easy ways to do them. Very much recommend this podcast

  • New home schooling mom
    by A prit from United States

    I am listening to the past episodes and loving it. This podcast has helped me develop my own homeschool. So many ideas!! I love morning time so much, we do a nightly family time so my husband and public school attending son. We do all the things instead of watching tv, playing ps4, and YouTube. My kids hang around me every evening asking if we are doing family time. I can tell they love it but don’t want to admit it.

  • Morning Time Magic!
    by DrewSteadman from United States

    I am so excited Pam is back to her morning time focus for 2020. Our homeschool has been shaped by the rich ideas and practical wisdom shared here.

  • Yay! Morning time is back!
    by Homeschooler in Germany from United States

    I was so happy and excited to learn that Pam is shifting her focus back to Morning Time for 2020! I’ve missed the morning time exclusive podcast and can’t wait to hear her back in my earbuds.

  • So excited for 2020!
    by JCrutchf from United States

    I absolutely LOVE this podcast and was so disappointed when I realized you were not actively producing it! I’m NOW relieved to know there is a whole year of episodes ahead! I’m beginning my homeschool journey with 4 little ones very close in age and my style falls somewhere in the Classical and Charlotte Mason. I found your podcast by chance via Instagram recommendation as I was doing research on “morning menus.” Your content is beautifully philosophical but at a level most parents will be able to grasp and appreciate. Filled with truth, beauty, and goodness! Your episodes fill me up and leave me feeling inspired personally and in regards to my children’s education. Everything is so good! Please don’t stop producing ever again! I’ll be grateful forever!

  • So glad Your Morning is back!!!
    by alissajohn2020 from United States

    So glad to have the morning basket podcast back! Thank you for bringing it back!!

  • So good I ran out of gas.
    by JoanieHummel from United States

    This podcast is awesome! It was recommended to me a few years ago by a very wise and experienced homeschool mom but I didn’t start listening until I saw it come up a few more times on Facebook, recommended in various groups (in particular, episode number 41). I wish I had picked it up years ago! So much great information, I’m learning so much! Be careful though, I was so interested listening to this podcast that I didn’t notice how low my gas tank was getting! I ran out of gas and as I write this review I’m stranded on the side of the road waiting for a friend to come rescue me! Happy listening!

  • Knowledge Goldmine
    by A.J. Edwards from United States

    I’ve just been eating up every episode of this brilliant podcast over the past few months. The guests are stellar and Pam’s interview style is wonderful. She gets each guest to the meat and potatoes of their topic but it’s anything but a plain meal. This is a feast for the homeschool mom’s mind. I know I’ll be revisiting many of my favorite episodes again and again. Feeling so inspired by each guest!

  • Myths and fairytale truths for homeschoolers
    by Allierhn from United States

    Mind blown! I’m listening to the myth podcast and it’s absolutely perfect. It is answering so many questions I’ve struggled with my whole life. It helps me to view our curriculum and informs my teaching so much more.

  • Super Helpful!
    by Jennlee C from United States

    I can’t speak highly enough about this podcast. It has been a huge inspiration and a practical help to my homeschool! Thank you so much Pam Barnhill and everyone else who contributes to this. It has been an amazing blessing to me and my children… And possibly generations to come!

  • Practical Inspiration
    by Mamato3activeboys from Australia

    Not only am I inspired by each episode of this podcast but I have actually put so many of the ideas into practice in our own morning time. Such a huge help as I seek to inspire my non-stop boys to truth, goodness and beauty. We are now memorising poetry as they jump on the trampoline and they love Shakespeare. That's a parenting win in my book!

  • So many great ideas!
    by Parent 98765 from Malaysia

    Thank you, Pam! I’m now bursting with inspiration and can’t wait to start our 2019 school year with a strong morning time routine.

  • Joy
    by Ancon76 from United States

    My heart is enriched and I can’t wait to learn more.

  • Just what I was looking for!
    by Joey5176 from United States

    I was looking for morning basket ideas—simple ones. These podcasts are giving me a picture of a good morning basket.

  • Wow!! What amazing nuggets of knowledge
    by HeRo84 from United States

    This is truly life changing information for me as a homeschool mother. Thank you Pam for this amazing series.

  • Love it!
    by s chenvmv from United States

    I love all of Pam’s podcast but this one is prob my favorite. I love to listen to all her guest and see the different ways a morning time can be done

  • Excellent
    by W.A., R.A. Hall from United States

    Love this!

  • Love, love, love this show
    by SarahPMiller from United States

    And I'm not even a homeschooling mother! But I've created a Morning Time for my children nonetheless, and I wouldn't have been inspired to do it -- nor could I have done it -- without this podcast. It's my favorite, and I get something out of every single episode.

  • Wonderful resource!
    by honebubble from United States

    This podcast has changed what I thought I could offer my children, my family and myself... I never would have believed that it would be possible to live a life as so many people actually do. Thank you for these tools and for what you do to help women, teachers, moms and all those on this path. You are amazing and I just can’t get enough, each episode teaches me so much!! Thank you again!

  • A wonderful podcast!
    by NoName2018 from Canada

    Great ideas and interesting guests - thanks Pam!!

  • Insightful, Inspiring, Life-Giving Podcast
    by Mackenziechester from United States

    I love this podcast. It has turned cleaning my kitchen into a really valuable part of my day. There are great tips here for gathering your family together and finding ways to share the things you are passionate about but can never quite find the time to fit in to a typical school day. So many ideas, so many varied topics. Great, inspiring guests. Life-changing podcast. Thanks so much for sharing these ideas!

  • Such great choices of guests
    by andinic from United Kingdom

    This podcast is inspirational for your homeschool plans. Pam Barnhill has a delightful interviewing style and her guests share their insights and enthusiasm for their topics. Among my favourites are the episodes with Cindy Rollins, and Angelina Stanford. Don’t miss this encouraging podcast!

  • Great
    by WifeyKayla from United States

    Some great interviews and very helpful for figuring out the flow of our mornings.

  • Interesting ideas
    by Lisa1932 from Canada

    Just started this podcast. There are some very interesting ideas here on how to create quality time with your children, learning together and focusing on the things that are most important in life. Great hearing other moms' stories too.

  • WARNING: This podcast will revolutionize your homeschool!
    by JoysTeacher from United States

    Honestly, I started listening to this podcast because I had run out of other homeschool podcasts to listen. I really didn't think we needed a morning time! I homeschool one teen daughter and I thought the concept was too "baby" for us. WOW! I was completely wrong!! We needed a morning time, and it has changed the climate and the productivity of our homeschool. The habit was so important to us, we still do morning time when we are one break. (And neither of us is a "morning" person). Pam is an talented interviewer and will not waste your time (her time is precious, too)!

  • Excellent!
    by Jodylleigh from United States

    I'm really enjoying the ideas and tips Pam bring up in this podcast!

  • Truly an inspiration!
    by Soaring2him from United States

    I have started a morning basket just because of listening to this podcast. Pam sold me on the beauty of having a morning basket. I love all of the ideas I've gleaned from listening and I've implemented many of the ideas I have heard about through this podcast. It's really helped simplify some things in our homeschool day!

  • Easy to listen too, incredibly practical
    by HarrisFamily0323 from United States

    I really enjoy Your Morning Basket. Pam is a great host and I have taken away many practical ideas and had many unrealistic expectations corrected. I don't listen to all the episodes, but the ones I've thought were pertinent to my needs and have been able to apply something helpful to our homeschool. Thanks Pam!

  • So helpful for this new homeschooling mom
    by klund08 from United States

    I'm planning our first homeschool year and have really enjoyed this podcast! The interviews are great and I enjoy hearing from different homeschooling moms and how things work in their family. I'm excited to start Morning Time with my kids!

  • You've made my school year!
    by Lizzie O' from United States

    Pam, I wrote you an email when I first felt it placed on my heart to homeschool my now 6 & 8 year old children and you responded with a warm response. I then began to listen to every podcast you have (all 3!) and I have been so very inspired and encouraged in so many ways that it would take up too much time here to explain it all. This Morning Basket podcast is really a light for me and my children as not only are they the recipients of our mornings of gathering but so am I. I have learned so much from your guests (and you!) and have been able to take tips/ideas to add to what my own mornings look like. We truly have experienced Truth, Goodness and Beauty. God certainly has chosen you for this type of work and serving to others. Thank you for what you do!

  • Thanks Pam!
    by BraveMomma from United States

    So many great ideas every single week! Thanks!

  • Truth, goodness, and beauty
    by I'm Sonny from United States

    Need I say more? I am deeply grateful for this profound and practical resource as we seek to surround our children in the truth, in goodness, and in things beautiful. I leave feeling encouraged, refreshed, determined and equipped.

  • Very encouraging
    by .....hk..... from United States

    So helpful with recommendations for new things to do in morning time.

  • A wonderful podcast full of useful tips!
    by Klarnold79 from United States

    I have listened to almost every episode over the last few months on my morning runs and they have made me look forward to running! I have learned so much and have been inspired to add truth, goodness and beauty to our homeschool days. Thank you so much!!

  • Wow! Talk about a solid series!
    by KastenbauerFamily from United States

    Each episode is fabulous alone, and when you've been listening for a while, they all continue to be full of new information!

  • Hope for the weary
    by MomToTheMasses from United States

    I enjoy the variety of topics covered as well as Pam's cheerful personality. Thank you for being a cup of cold water for so many homeschool mamas.

  • Great guests and host
    by My Life as a Rinnagade from United States

    I love the people Pam has on and all the great morning time tips! Thanks for a wonderful show :).

  • Mamma of Five
    by Mamma of Five from United States

    The ideas, information and encouragment that Pam shares through the different guests and talking about the purpose and practice of Your Morning Basket has been a huge blessing to our family. Helped me to practically see how to bring truth, beauty, and goodness to our day.

  • Great Homeschool Resource
    by KS Becky R from United States

    I have just started listening and am gaining so much knowledge and practical advice. I can't wait to keep listening to more.

  • Really great!
    by BeeGerW from United States

    I love hearing all these ideas!

  • californiafamily
    by californiafamily from United States

    I absolutely love Your Morning Basket podcasts. Pam interviews excellent people & so far, I've incorporated information from each podcast & have purchased many items that the interviewee's suggest. I think all families could benefit from this even if they don't homeschool! Thank you so much!

  • Love Pam's podcasts
    by Flourishing Mama from United States

    There are many homeschool related podcasts that I enjoy, both for their content and the host. But I must say that Pam Barnhill's podcasts are top-notch for the following reasons: 1) the content is both relevant AND in-depth, 2) she NEVER interrupts the guest speakers with incessant (annoying) "uh huhs," "ummms," and such, 3) she provides multiple lists and links to supplemental materials that are really useful and interesting, and 4) she shares forms she's created even though she could make you pay for them. She has a gift for tapping in to the issues homeschool moms are REALLY dealing with. Thanks Pam. Keep up the good work!

  • First Things First
    by Lukenoah from United States

    Every episode inspires me to start my day bringing my children the true the good and the beautiful through our family time.

  • So helpful!
    by jofcrich from Australia

    Every time I see that I have a new podcast from Pam Barnhill I know it's going to be good. Every one I have listened to (which is all of them!) have helped, inspired and encouraged me in some way or another. Pam is so good at summarising what her interviewee has just spoken about; a great knack which helps me distill the main ideas from all that good conversation. I really like that she always has links to whatever is discussed so that I can go back to it in the future and find what I need.

  • Great resource
    by Ejs0928 from United States

    Such a help for a new homeschooler. Highly recommend that you check it out if you'd like to learn more about starting your day with morning time.

  • Amazing!
    by CDefnall from United States

    This podcast is filled with great information to help you take full advantage of morning time or all together time in your homeschool. It also has great tips for extending your child education whether they are in public or private school as well. We all want to aid our kids in thier success and no matter if you are a homeschool parent or a public/private school teacher this podcast will enlighten you and provide valuable information you to to better help your students.

  • Inspiring and enlightening
    by spycej from United States

    One of my favorite podcasts and I love and subscribe to all of Pam's podcasts. Thank you for the fabulous interviews.

  • Must-Listen for Homeschooling Moms
    by DaffodilSocks from United States

    This podcast has revolutionized how I homeschool my young children. A must-listen.

  • One of my favorites
    by FaithAZ from United States

    Love Pam and all of her podcasts - can't wait for new episodes!

  • Great Ideas
    by Hiphooray from United States

    Just found this podcast and have been listening to them over the summer break. Pam is a great host and has fun guests and together they bring a lot of inspiration to the concept of morning time in homeschool. Thanks for the great resource!!

  • TaraVos
    by TaraVos from United States

    I would not be exaggerating if I said that I have learned so much from this practical, encouraging podcast that has changed our homeschool. Thank you Pam!

  • Lots of useful information
    by Kristizy from United States

    This podcast does a great job finding guests who give a ton of practical help to make morning time enjoyable and educational for everyone. I always feel reenergized after listening to any of Pam Barnhill's podcasts.

  • <3!!!
    by Momo35556 from United States

    I love this podcast! So helpful and encouraging.

  • Lovely & Inspiring
    by kashley75 from United States

    Thank you so much for this podcast!

  • Such a wealth of information!
    by Jeaine6 from United States

    There is so much wonderful information to be found in these podcasts. I can go about my daily chores and fill my homeschool mom cup simultaneously! They allow me to look at areas of our hs that need improvement or just need new life and feel encouraged while I'm listening. Thank you!!

  • Encouraging & inspiring
    by God's Ranch Hand from United States

    So thankful for this podcast! I look forward to listening to each episode when it comes out.

  • Homeschool Professional Development!
    by Jo.W.17 from Canada

    As a new-ish homeschooling mama, I've found this podcast super encouraging and helpful. I would highly recommend it!

  • So Helpful!
    by KGMom2Four from United States

    I love the practical application that comes from this podcast! Thanks!

  • A Lovely Show!
    by Webseitler from United States

    This podcast has become my most favorite podcast on the subject of homeschooling. The topics discussed often go right to the heart of why I'm doing what I'm doing in our home--and God has really used the great advice shared in this show to help me be a more confident (and calmer!) teacher. Thank you, Pam, for creating such a great program! Already looking forward to next season.

  • Awesome homeschooling resource!
    by Liddleladie81 from United States

    This podcast has absolutely changed my perspective on homeschooling, in a great way! All of the guests have been wonderful and I leave each episode feeling both sad that it is already over, and encouraged and excited to figure out how I can use what I’ve learned! It has a great flow to it, very light but meaningful, informative, encouraging….I could go on and on! Absolutely LOVE this podcast! Thanks to all involved!

  • Great hosts!
    by Homeschool_chat from United States

    I always look forward to this podcast!

  • Practical, helpful & concise tips
    by sproutnchic from United States

    This podcast continues to help. I appreciate the Pam Barnhill's professional, organized, yet warm interviewing style of some well-picked guests.

  • So refreshing and helpful
    by a. borealis from United States

    I've really appreciated the depth and breadth of Pam's look into Morning Time and also the practical ideas and tools to make it work. It is so inspiring! It helps me think through my own Circle Time, realizing what an opporunity I have. There are so many great ideas for additions and tweaking my approach. I am loving it.

  • Awesome!
    by Apples20091 from United States

    This podcast has been so helpful and packed full of practical ideas to use with my children!! Some of the episodes I have listened to more than once!!

  • Encouraging and Motivating!
    by Cat11223 from United States

    Pam makes this morning time concept so attainable! She gives great ideas but simple ways to begin. These tips and recommendations reach far beyond just morning time and are benefiting our entire homeschool and family life!

  • So many ideas!
    by Speterson781 from United States

    This podcast is full of amazing ideas to grab my kids attention first thing in the morning. I love listening to Pam and her guests. Pam asks such great questions of her guests!

  • A Favorite for Homeschool Encouragement!
    by JamesDWitmer from United States

    I have been so encouraged by Pam's podcasts on Morning Time. She walks you through many of the wonderful activities that you can choose to include in your homeschooling, and also the details about how to do it! It has truly been a blessing. Thanks Pam!

  • Perfect for the Homeschool Mom
    by JoshJamie from United States

    I just stumbled upon the "Your Morning Basket" podcast this weekend. I have already listened to 2 episodes, and they are wonderful - perfect for the homeschool mom. I am going to share this on my Periscope channel tomorrow. So great!! Jamie @OurLittleSchoolhouse.

  • SongsofJubilee
    by SongsofJubilee from United States

    I love the idea of a morning basket, and this podcast has helped me learn a lot about the different ways it can look! I love all the different subjects she discusses within it!

  • Love it!
    by Ekrasovec7 from United States

    This podcast has been such a blessing to me! Informational and insightful, it opens a window into how other families incorporate morning time into their day, as well as what they fill it with. This has completely changed the rhythm and content of our days for the better. Our whole family has fallen in love with morning time! Thank you!!

  • So encouraging!
    by A Merry Heart from United States

    I absolutely love this podcast! It has been so encouraging as I begin to implement Morning Time with my 5 girls. I have listened to them all & can't wait for more!

  • This podcast has changed our homeschool
    by Momof4athome from United States

    Pam has relieved some of the pressure to "get it all in". We now begin our day with the good true and beautiful in an almost effortless way and are all enjoying our time together before the "serious" subjects! Yay for the morning basket! Her guests are all lovely people you would want to have over for tea. I love this podcast.

  • Refreshing
    by Bless-Us-3 from Canada

    I am loving this podcast. I just stumbled across it after hearing the recommendation over at Read Aloud Revival. I have been wanting to start 'Morning Time' for a year now so this is giving me direction and so many wonderful and helpful tips and suggestions. I love Pam's enthusiasm and personality.

  • So helpful and inspiring!
    by KSR1 from United States

    I was lucky enough to find YMB and Pam’s other podcast, Homeschool Snapshots, when I started my first year of homeschool this year. These 2 podcasts have been SO helpful to me with getting ideas for morning time and the rest of our homeschool day. I am very grateful for the excellent work Pam has done on both of these podcasts, and I hope they continue for many more years!

  • Inspiring
    by Jaranda98 from United States

    This podcast was inspiring and encouraging. It was a good blend of practical and theoretical and exactly what this tired homeschool mom needed to hear today to rejuvenate.

  • An inspiring and encouraging podcast
    by Kellibird1111 from United States

    Very well done! I really enjoyed listening! Very practical and informative.

  • Honey for the Homeschooling Heart
    by SuperNOVAmom from United States

    Pam lays out a feast of homeschooling topics that are relevant, helpful, and validating. The show is well organized and her interviews are clearly well thought out. In addition, Ms. Barnhill's relaxed and warm personality puts one at ease. It's like going to your favorite homeschool conference without leaving home!

  • I love this podcast, great content!
    by Sara V from United States

    These podcasts helped transform our homeschooling!

  • Great parenting resource
    by sullivanjessicak from United States

    I absolutely love this podcast. The show is well organized with great guests and helpful information.

  • Thank you!
    by Nasiatel from United States

    I'm so happy that I found your podcast, it has truly blessed our homeschool life!

  • Wonderful help in my homeschool
    by BT and Jessica from United States

    This is a great resource for all homeschoolers (and I would say any educator). I am challenged to make sure I am giving my children truth, beauty and virtue through the morning ritual of our morning time. I’ve learned of new books to share with my children, how to incorporate fine arts, good habits for our day… I could go on and on. Pam asks great questions and has wonderful guests.

  • Top Notch
    by Wvshaddox from United States

    Excellent inspiration and tips for homeschoolers! I have learned so much from this podcast.

  • Great Morning Time tips!
    by redhedcatie from United States

    I have gotten SO many practical tips from this podcast! A must listen for homeschoolers!

  • So Inspiring!
    by Frau Linds from United States

    Another home-run podcast! Pam has a knack for inspiring great things in your homeschool! And the wonderful thing is she doesn't leave you with the "lofty ideal," but offers practical tips, aids, etc. all while encouraging you the whole way. Each interview is professionally done and such a joy to listen to! Thanks, Pam, for putting your heart into this! 🙂

  • Wonderful!
    by Kellybireta from United States

    Like having a cup of coffee with a friend. So helpful and informative.

  • Excellent practical advise!
    by Foxycook from United States

    Really enjoying this so far!

  • Very encouraging!
    by WMGardener from United States

    This was been a great podcast about Morning Time! How encouraging and informative to hear from other homeschool moms who are in the midst of it all!

  • A great resource!
    by gejake from United States

    Very inspiring and informative as I begin my homeschooling journey

  • Love This Podcast
    by Earthmuffins from United States

    I have finally had opportunity to listen to this podcast and regret not doing it sooner!!! Very informative and encouraging.

  • Full of Goodness, Truth and Beauty
    by CJMance from United States

    This is such an inspiration to get the beautiful ritual of morning time established. Thank you Pam!

  • Great Podcast!
    by Greggtrisha from United States

    I'm so excited about this podcast! My kids range from ages 4 - 11, and I've been needing to reduce my workload a bit. I'm using the fantastic things I'm learning here to combine all my kids together for read-alouds, Bible time, memorization, and some other fun things. Thanks so much, Pam! I love your other podcast as well!

  • Treasure
    by TasmanianBec from Australia

    I am so glad I found this podcast. Morning Basket / Circle Time / Morning Time - lots of interviews with families who make this part of their day a treasure for years to come. Just getting started homeschooling, and this is going to help shape our days. Thanks Pam.

  • Jeannie in Ohio
    by Jeannie in Ohio from United States

    Loving learning about how so many families are using Morning Time in their homes!

  • Wonderful ideas for creating your best morning time.
    by Flowerpetal2 from Australia

    The ideas presented here are wonderful, it's great to hear how different families put together their morning time and how we can all make this a rich but simple time of beauty in our schooling days.

  • Excellent Host
    by meghanlou from United States

    Pam Barnhill is a truly excellent host and producer of podcasts. They are a pleasure to listen to, full of applicable and inspirational content. Unlike other podcasts in this genre, which are produced at home, Pam's podcasts never make me cringe because of awkward pauses or bad sound quality. Another of Pam's strengths is her ability to reflectively listen and summarize what she's heard from her guests in a way that wraps up the different segments of her interviews. Well done, Pam!

  • Helpful and fun!
    by HornGal88 from United States

    We’re just starting out with morning time and this podcast has been an invaluable source of inspiration and ideas. Keep up the good work!

  • LOVE IT!
    by sassercj from United States

    I’m always counting down the days until the next podcast…one of the best homeschooling podcasts out there!

  • Among the Best I’ve Heard
    by More Like Mary from United States

    I’m a bit of a podcast junkie so when I say that this is among the best, that’s really a compliment! Pam is an excellent interviewer. She re-states main ideas and summarizes information in a way that is helpful and not condescending. She asked poignant questions and stays on topic. Her guests are phenomenal and I’ve learned so much from each episode. So far, this podcast is “big picture” homeschooling talk with lots of tips for implementing lofty ideals into daily life. The perfect combination. I will be looking forward to many more of these!

  • Gave me the tools I needed!
    by Momofmany:) from United States

    This podcast is amazing. (I am spoiled now; the quality alone is superb!) I have listened to the four current episodes several times and now understand "morning time" in a way I never have before-- in particular, the schole part. I've longed for restful learning for ten years, and now I have tools to actually do it. Our whole family has benefitted so much. Thank you, Pam!!

  • What’s important
    by sncstraub from United States

    Pam Barnhill’s new podcast on Morning Time is a great help to those of us who are homeschooling. I’ve only listened to the first episode so far, but it’s wonderfully encouraging to hear Cindy Rollins’ talking through her own experiences with Morning Time. I’m looking forward to listening to more episodes with others who are focusing their schools on the important things - the true, good, and beautiful.

  • New listener and hooked!
    by Bytesofmemory from United States

    I just started listening to the first podcast this morning and I am completely hooked on this podcast. I took the advice in the first podcast and just started with morning time. Instead of trying to “give birth to an adult” morning time I just started doing something and will add things in as this becomes a habit. Thanks for the wonderful tool!! I am now off to listen to episode 2!!

  • Great!
    by Wvshaddox from United States

    Encouragement for homeschool.

  • A Gift to the Homeschool Community
    by HGPII from United States

    This podcast is so well done, informative, and just what the homeschooling moms needs. It includes achievable, sound suggestions as well as an abundant dose of inspiration. I can’t wait to revamp my Morning Time and watch the results!

  • Encouraging and informative!
    by sarahdempsen from United States

    I have enjoyed Your Morning Basket from its first episode! I am a second generation homeschooler and just started our own family's homeschooling journey. Thanks to YMB, I implemented our "circle time" starting our second week of school and it has been such a blessing to me already even its very simple form of prayer, Psalm, Mother Goose, and then read-aloud time with my kindergartner. My 2 and 4 year olds also love it and it encourages me to include things in our day that might get left out, like nursery rhymes and simple children's songs! Thanks to Pam and YMB I feel like I am starting out with a great centering tool and routine that can be expanded and adapted as we grow!

  • A great resource!
    by Bookgirl630 from United States

    Your Morning Basket Podcast is a great resource for to help implement morning time into your homeschool day. I have enjoyed every episode so far.

  • Thank you for wonderful bonus at the end!
    by Caj312 from United States

    I just discovered this show and listened to the first 4 episodes. All were inspiring and I loved the useful links at the end of the show that help me improve my homeschool days! Well done and I look forward to the next episode.

  • One of my VERY favorites
    by Dianna @ The Kennedy Adventure from United States

    I’m a bit of a podcast junkie, but YMB ranks among my very, very favorites. If you’re a homeschooling mother, or a mom who wants to connect with your children and show them truth, goodness and beauty, this is a must listen. Kudos, Pam, on a another amazing podcast series.

  • Timely
    by AggieRudy3 from United States

    I’ve been trying to figure out morning time on my own, but Pam with this podcast has figuratively sat down with me and explained how to get things going. I’m so glad to have this resource at the beginning of my family's homeschool journey! The Basket Bonuses have also been so helpful.

  • Thanks!
    by heyh2 from United States

    Thanks for the new podcast. Loving it!

  • Wonderful podcast with practical advice
    by Victorzvaliant from United States

    Thank you Pam for a great podcast, I am really enjoying it. I always come away inspired and with ideas I can use!

  • Changed our Homeschool Morning routine
    by HeatherinSC from United States

    I have been listening to the Your Morning Basket podcasts recently and Pam's blog writings about creating morning time traditions with your children and I feel like it has made a huge positive difference in our homeschool. I love Pam's ideas for creating a restful learning environment and focusing on truth, goodness, and beauty as we begin our day together. I listen to these podcasts over and over and take notes!

  • Excellent for homeschooling veterans and newbies
    by ASnow512 from United States

    I'm very new to homeschooling and I'm still deciding if our family will pursue that path. This podcast has been such a wealth of information and a wonderful encouragement!

  • Inspiring and Uplifting
    by vabjohnson from United States

    I was immediately inspired to create a more cohesive structure to our homeschool mornings. This podcast is full of helpful suggestions to make morning time meaninful for every type of homeschooling family. I've already implemented many of the wonderful suggestions and I can already see the benefits! An absoulte must for the homeschooling family!

  • Bringing Joy
    by Louisiana Mommy T from United States

    What an amazing podcast! This podcast has wonderful suggestions for bringing joy to (or back to) your homeschool. Everything is doable and enjoyable for the children and parents alike. Keep up the wonderful work!

  • Great podcast!
    by corew50 from United States

    This is our first year of homeschooling and I am really enjoying the concept of morning time. It is a sweet way to start our day together and this podcast has been amazing! Enjoyable, super practical, and filled with lots of creative ideas. Thanks for creating it.

  • Inspiring, yet practical
    by mamato3cs from United States

    Pam's Your Morning Basket podcast is one not to be missed! She and her guests inspire and spur me on to do great things in our homeschool, but it's not just adding more to my to-do list. There are practical suggestions for how to make morning time a refreshing and vital part of our day.

  • Super Helpful & Encouraging
    by Sanibel4ever from United States

    I have been homeschooling for a many years. I like that I can count on Pam to make to make it worth my while (and my short amount of time!) for a listen. As always, practical info I can start using right away.

  • Great Poscast
    by Sarah B R from United States

    Love Pam's interviews. I learn much from each poscast!

  • A Joy to Listen to!
    by Cude 🙂 from United States

    I am thoroughly enjoying this new podcast! I love to listen to people who encourage me on my homeschooling journey and I have added Your Morning Basket to my list.

  • JUST what I needed!!!
    by Foodie in Training from United States

    This is our first year homeschooling (Kinder) and this podcast has been INCREDIBLY helpful and a GREAT source of information!!! I cannot wait for more to come! <3 THANK YOU!!!!

  • Practical - worth a listen!
    by Bloggerific! from United States

    As a homeschooling mom of 6, my free time is limited. But I always come away with some practical, useful tips from Pam Barnhill. I love to listen if I’m alone in the car (rare these days!).

  • Well done [FIRST NAME]
    by MattMcWilliams from United States

    WOW… Your Morning Basket Podcast is flat out awesome. Good production quality. Easy to listen. Very impressed Pam. Keep bringing it.

  • Inspiring and refreshing!
    by BugTurner from United States

    What a great podcast. At first I was dubious whether you could have an entire podcast series about homeschooling using morning time, but now that I have listened to two of them, I see where Pam is going with this. It is affirming for me in what I am trying to do in our homeschool, and at the same time inspires me in ways to improve and refine our time together as a homeschooling family. I would recommend this to anyone who is looking to simplify their homeschool efforts while simultaneously enriching their family's experience!

  • Brilliant
    by SHTirm from United Kingdom

    I absolutely love it. Ever since I read about morning time, I wanted to know more. This podcast clearly explains what to do and how to do it. Episode with Cindy Rollins was brilliant. It gives you the overall idea of morning time practice, as she is doing it for 27 years. Andrew Pudewa in second episodes shared some insights about memorisation, which really makes so much sense. Pam asks clear questions and then repeats the main points in answer, which is very helpful, especially for new homeschooling mums. Overall this programme has everything one can ask for to get inspired and motivated. Thanks very much for putting so much effort. Well done.

  • Excellent!
    by RC5476 from United States

    I have really appreciated everything Pam Barnhill puts out. I have been introduced to so many great homeschoolers and their resources through The Homeschool Snapshots podcast, and I love that she is digging deeper into a great homeschooling practice on her new show, Morning Basket. It is definitely on my Must Listen list each week!

  • Bring the best you to your homeschool
    by mystiewinckler from United States

    Our Morning Time is the best part of our homeschool, and Pam’s podcast helps us learn how to make it even better and encourages us to pursue the true, good, and beautiful still more. So helpful!

  • Inspiring!
    by Mamato8 from United States

    I've only recently found out about Morning Baskets, after 14 years of homeschooling. What a find! And now to have these podcasts to help guide me along on my new journey! I've been sharing this like crazy, and my morning routine is fabulous now! Thank You!

  • Education to Educate
    by Isaac in St Louis from United States

    I have gained so much from these first two early podcasts. I am grateful to you, Pam. Thank you for offering this as we strive to fulfill our sacred duty and privilege to give our children an education. Please continue. I see such great things coming from this. I rank this up their with Circe’s offerings.

  • Wonderful
    by BGTwinsMom from United States

    When you're on the homeschool "circuit" it's easy to become one of Andrew Pudewa's groupies. So the excitement level for Pam's newest podcast doubled when I opened it on my iPhone and saw Andrew's name. I was remiss in not reviewing her first segment. Pam is a wonderful interviewer and has the ability to make conversation with her guests based on their answers and move seamlessly to her following questions. That is not easy to do. Highly recommend this to parents who Homeschool. Encouraging, motivating, and validating.

  • So Inspiring!
    by bethenyn from United States

    So inspiring! This podcast is what I needed to get our homeschool off to a great start this year. I will not miss an episode.

  • Inspiring and thought provoking!
    by Pascualamb from United States

    I've always thought memory work was so important in my 8 years as a teacher in a high school setting. I often required memorization and was criticized for this requirement. I recently decided to homeschool my children and this podcast was so affirming to me. I am glad to be able to follow my instincts as a teacher and give my kids what they deserve! Thank you for this wonderful podcast that inspired me to make memory work an important part of my homeschool.

  • Affirming & helpful
    by BOLDturquoise from United States

    I knew I would enjoy this podcast but I didn't know that I would LOVE it! As our family has moved more and more towards a simplified homeschool method, this podcast is just the thing to reaffirm our choices and continuously inspire us with new ideas. I can't wait for each new episode!

  • Inspiring
    by Amongst Lovely Things from United States

    This is just the kind of podcast I need to breathe life into my homeschool year. I’m so grateful for this new show, and Pam is a talented host. I won’t miss an episode!

  • Delightful...a Must Listen
    by 1coltsfamily from United States

    While I have heard Cindy Rollins speak about morning time before, I was pleasantly surprised to glean many new nuggets of wisdom that I can incorporate right away into our morning time. I always enjoy listening to Pam and find her questions spot on! The podcast is a wonderful balance of inspiration and practical tips. Can't wait for the next one!

  • Your Morning Basket
    by inakamama from Australia

    So lovely and inspiring! Looking forward to more...

  • Helpful & inspiring!
    by starlingsfive from United States

    A great resource for homeschool moms and so well put-together. Full of useful information, not fluff. Pam has a wonderful conversation style that keeps the show moving at a steady pace. I wish I didn't have to wait so long for the next one!

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