YMB #23 Seeking Truth in Literature

As a child Christin Ditchfield devoured the Chronicles of Narnia over and over again. As an adult she found that she kept returning to the truth’s found in Lewis’ work for guidance. As a result she created the Family Guide to Narnia, a book that highlights the Biblical parallels in the works, to help families see the connections between Narnia and Scripture.

Today she is on the podcast to chat with us about Narnia, what we can learn from stories, and easy ways for us to discuss the deeper meanings of literature in our Morning Time.

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 23 of the Your Morning Basket podcast. I’m Pam Barnhill, your host, and thank you so very much for taking the time out to join me here today. We have a wonderful interview for you today. I got to talk to Christin Ditchfield who is the author of A Family Guide to Narnia. Now, we did talk about Narnia quite a bit, which was really fascinating, but also, we talked about the power of literature to shape us and our children as people. I just really enjoyed getting to sit down and talk to Christin about this. I think you guys are going to enjoy the conversation too, so we’re going to get on with it right now.

Christin Ditchfield is a professional freelance writer, a conference speaker, and the host of the syndicated daily radio program, Take It to Heart. She is the author of numerous books including A Family Guide to Narnia, a user-friendly resource intended to take the reader book by book through C. S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia. In this book Christin illuminates the Biblical truths and parallels that can be found throughout these classics. She joins us today to discuss how reading these books and others during Morning Time can help us turn our attention toward Truth, Goodness, and Beauty as a family. Christin, welcome to the program.

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Christin: It’s great to be with you.
Pam: Many a people approach The Chronicles of Narnia as allegorical. So could you tell us what is allegory and do you think The Chronicles of Narnia actually falls into this category?
Christin: Sure. Many people do refer to them as allegory or allegorical. Technically, from a literary standpoint, an allegory is a story in which every character and event, every detail is meant to be a symbol of something else, and it’s a story within a story, it’s meant to tell another story. And there are allegorical elements in Narnia but we wouldn’t call The Chronicles of Narnia straight allegory or true allegory because it’s not all allegory. There are some characters and events that do represent something else, that do have a deeper meaning, and then there are other characters and events and symbols that are just part of the wild, fun, imaginative world that C. S. Lewis created. And so, if we tried to look for hidden meaning in every single thing, every single aspect of the story, we’ll just get a little confused and frustrated. He wasn’t trying to write a Sunday School lesson or trying to write an allegory, he was writing a fairytale- he was writing the kinds of books he wanted to read. But unconsciously and consciously at times he found himself writing stories that had a much deeper meaning; stories of faith, stories that have touched millions of people for generations, now. And so we can look for those elements and we can be encouraged and inspired by them and millions of people have.
Pam: OK, that’s interesting because I know that Lewis, himself, was pretty adamant about the fact that Narnia was not allegory.
Christin: Right. Maybe if it helps, to give an example, Pilgrim’s Progress is a true allegory. If you think about it, the main character is called Christian, and he was the Christian. And he goes on a journey and he makes progress. And he runs into a giant called Giant Despair, and what does that Giant represent? He represents despair and discouragement that we face in our Christian walk. So that’s a true allegory because pretty much everything in that story is a symbol of what we encounter as Christians on our spiritual journey. He runs into a friend called Hope. And not all allegories are that overt but they’re written that way, as a lesson, in essence, or some kind of moral fable or story. And that’s not what Narnia is at all. But C. S. Lewis didn’t disavow that there was a hidden meaning, that there were stories within the stories. In fact, one of my favorite things is he wrote a letter to a little girl. He talked about Aslan having another name in one of the stories, and that little girl wrote to him and she asked him what’s Aslan’s other name? And he wrote her a letter and said, “Well, I want you to guess. Has there ever been anyone in this world (and here, he references things from the story) who arrived at the same time as Father Christmas, said he was the son of the great emperor, gave himself up for someone else’s fault to be jeered at and killed by wicked people, came to life again and is sometimes spoken of as a lamb? Don’t you really know his name in this world? Think it over and let me know your answer.” So he did acknowledge that the lion came bounding in (as he called it) Aslan, the great lion in his stories is a representation of Jesus and Jesus came into his stories and filled them and he openly acknowledged that and other symbolism all the way through. He was a literature professor but he wasn’t going to use the term allegory either because it’s not quite technically correct.
Pam: OK, great. So, you referenced Narnia earlier as a fairytale. Is that how you would categorize it?
Christin: In the genre of literature it’s fairytale or fantasy literature. Yes. They’re fabulous stories, imaginative, full of characters that don’t appear in real life, as opposed to say, contemporary literature that stories that could happen right now, in our world, in 21st century America. They have characters like fawns, and giants, and there are castles and there are dragons, and there are all these fairytale elements. In the genre of literature it falls into fairytale or fantasy.
Pam: OK, I’m going to stop pop-quizzing you on whether or not Narnia is allegory or fairytale. Let’s talk a little bit about some of the meanings behind, not only Narnia, but some other stories that we might read as well. So, what was your own childhood experience with Narnia? How did those stories shape you?
Christin: An aunt sent me a set of The Chronicles of Narnia when I was a little girl. My family read them later. We enjoyed them together and we enjoyed some of the audio versions on road trips together. But for me, I read them when I was about 7 years old and I was a voracious reader, and I read the entire series, book after book after book, and then I read them again and again until they fell apart. I just loved them. We all find books that speak to us and grab hold of us and for me The Chronicles of Narnia were those books. And right away as a little girl I recognized from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe the story where Aslan lays down his life and dies for a sinner and is raised from the dead in power and glory, I recognized that as Jesus right away. And so then I began to see in some of the other stories where he did and said things that were a lot like Jesus too. But what really struck me was that many years later, as a young adult, I would be in a situation in my life and I would try to think what would Jesus do? What’s the Biblical principle that would apply to this situation? What would God have me do? And I would be running the database in my mind, trying to think is there a Scripture about this situation? And every so often, I’d settle on a scene from Narnia. Something from Narnia would pop up. I would be embarrassed, kind of, you know, in my mind. I’d be like, ‘Ooh, oops- that shouldn’t have come up, that’s not Scripture,’ and then after awhile I decided, ‘Wait a minute. That keeps happening, let me stop and think about it. Why do I keep thinking of Narnia when I mean to look for a Scripture?’ And as I settled in on it, and I thought about that scene or that situation, I realized that it was right out of Scripture or it was a parallel to that scene, that conversation that God had with Cain. It was a parallel to that Scripture from Proverbs; it was an exact, almost word-for-word from what happened with King Nebuchadnezzar, or whatever, and I realized that it wasn’t just The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe that was full of Scripture, but all seven books were full of Scriptural references. And so, I realized how much of an impact The Chronicles of Narnia had, how much Lewis’ writing had, how many of those Biblical principles and Scriptural truths had sunk deep into my heart through these fairytales, through these stories just as I read them and enjoyed them. And I wasn’t studying them, I wasn’t looking for symbolism, I wasn’t really meditating on them but because I read them so many times and those truths were anchored in my heart and then I began to understand them in a deeper way.
Pam: So, what would you say to a parent who was concerned, maybe about some of the magical elements in Narnia or who felt like, ‘You know what? We should be going straight to Scripture for this stuff?’ Why would we use a book like Narnia instead of going straight to the Bible for this kind of instruction?
Pam: If I can answer that in two parts. Why would you use Narnia instead of going straight to the Bible? Well, you don’t have to, but Narnia is a powerful way. There are a lot of books, and whether it’s Narnia or other types of literature, God’s inspired a lot of creativity, He’s given a lot of people gifts to tell stories. And stories are a powerful way to communicate Truth. In fact, Jesus spoke in parables. One of the Gospels said he didn’t speak anything without telling a story; in everything He spoke in parables, because stories are a great way to communicate Truth and to wrap it up in such a way that it’s memorable and that it sinks in, and that we grasp it in a much deeper level. And sometimes we don’t even understand it fully until years later, but we grasp it at the level where we are, and then later, we understand even more and more of that Truth. I think God has given us a literature, He has given us poetry, He’s given us art, He’s given us music- these are all ways that He speaks Truth into our life. So whether it’s Narnia or some other type of literature, I think books are powerful tools, and it would be unwise not to take advantage of all that He’s given us to use anything that we can use to communicate Truth to our young kids we want to do. And then, second of all, the concern about magic and fairytales, I don’t discourage any parent from having concerns about that, I think you should be concerned because there is a lot of literature out there that is not so great. There is a reason to be concerned about magic and fairytales because there is an element of some types of fantasy literature that are connected with the occult. There are some kids that are more drawn to the occult than others. Many people don’t even really enjoy fantasy literature; they can’t really get into it. Some people even tell me, because they know I’ve written some books about Narnia, they’re like “Ah, I could never get into those books, I’m sorry!” they’re embarrassed to say, some people just don’t like it, OK. But some people really are drawn to fantasy literature and when they go from one series to another to another and they’re going to find stuff on the shelves at the bookstore that is not only not Christian but is anti-Christian; stuff that’s full of pornography, that’s full of profanity, that’s full of occult symbolism and paganism and other things that are not desirable, and so yes, a parent should be concerned. And what you do, first of all, is you recognize that you want to look for authors whose world view is one that you value and respect; you want to look for authors with a Biblical worldview. You want to say, ‘Is the good in this book really good and is the evil really evil?’ Are the values and the things in this book as magic represented in a way that is God-honoring or not. You want to know a little bit about the author, about the story line, but you also want to know a little bit about your kids and you want to teach them discernment and teach them right from wrong and teach them to be aware of literature, like I shared with my stories, literature does impact you. What you read does impact you. So be aware of that and do what God leads you to do for your family.
Pam: I like that your answer is, let’s take a look at the worldview of the author and see if that is something that lines up with what we’re trying to teach our children, and then we can feel more confident about what they’re reading even if it does contain some of this fantasy elements.
Christin: And what I love about C. S. Lewis, some of the elements like witchcraft and so on, some of the magical elements, first of all, some of it is very classical literature; it’s the mythology and the classical literature that they’re going to be exposed to as they get older in school, and education, it’s part of world culture and history. But also, that he presents it from a very Biblical point of view. I think most of us, regardless of our views on other book series, and I won’t comment on any because I know we all have different views but at least in C. S. Lewis there’s no such thing as a good witch, witches are always evil and they’re always put to death, which is very Biblical. There’s no confusion about who you should worship, or about what you should do. There is right and there is wrong. There is God, there is Truth, there’s the light side or the dark; and the light is Jesus and God and Truth and the dark is self-serving and evil and occult and it’s very clear, the lines are drawn very clearly. And so that helps me and I know that’s been a help to a lot of other parents as well.
Pam: Great. Well, thank you. You mentioned earlier that you kept going back to these Truths that you had learned through Narnia as you came up against specific situations in your life and you said that you kept coming back to these because you had read them over and over again. So I want to talk a little bit about how we should approach this type of literature with our children as we’re maybe reading aloud to them in Morning Time or as a family. So, do we have to hit them over the head with it?
Christin: No, I think that would be a big mistake. You don’t want to sit there and pound it, take the story and just pull it apart. I think that first of all we want to teach our kids to love reading and to love a good story and to enjoy it. I think they’ll get it. I think they’ll get it just from the story itself. You can read it and just enjoy it together. Maybe ask a few open-ended questions. Make sure they understand what they’re hearing- what’s happening in the story? Who are your favorite characters? What do you think is going to happen next? And then, maybe, out of that very natural conversation about the plot or about the characters, pick one or two points to say, “Did that remind you of anything? That kind of reminds me of a Bible verse. That reminds me of something that we were reading in our devotion the other day. Weren’t we talking about that in Sunday School? Weren’t you asking me to pray for a friend who was struggling with that?” There’s a very natural way. In Deuteronomy it says ‘Talk about these truths with your children as you walk, as you talk, as you sit, as you walk along the road, talk about them very naturally as a part of your everyday life. And if you can just pick one or two points and just work it into the conversation that’s probably the best way to do it.
Pam: So, I don’t have to make a worksheet between [this] happening in Narnia and [this] Bible verse and have them drawn lines and match them up or anything like that?
Christin: Not unless you’re doing it as curriculum. I have written some of that kind of curriculum. I used to be a teacher so I have had the privilege of doing that kind of curriculum and there’s nothing wrong with that, but you don’t have to. I think if you just want to do it as family time in the Morning as story time you should just enjoy reading the story together and ask just a few conversational questions.
Pam: How should our, or should it, our approach change as our children get older? If I’m re-reading Narnia with my kids when they’re older, maybe we read it for the first time when they were 6 or 7, and then we read it a little later, should I try to do draw out those ideas a bit more?
Christin: You could, definitely. And you might ask them if they notice anything, if they find any parallels, if it reminds them of anything Scriptural? Or you could ask them more directly. You could tell them, “You recognize now that there are some Biblical Truth here, what does it remind you of? Or what connections do you find there?” You could, maybe, point out and make an observation yourself and then ask them if they see anything. Another thing you could do, is if you have younger children, is you can give the responsibility to the older children to take charge of story time and to teach something from it. Say, “I’d like you to lead the conversation today, so we’re going to read this chapter, and I’d love for you to ask a few questions, and see if you can find something in this chapter that we could talk about as a family; some interesting plot point or some symbolism or something.” And give them an opportunity to lead the conversation.
Pam: That’s a great idea. So, we still go back to that open-ended questioning and good conversation over anything else?
Christin: I think so. It helps if you do a little bit of homework. We’re all so busy and I know it’s hard to do it but if you can take a few minutes to read a summary if you don’t have time to read ahead, read a summary of the book and now thank God for the internet, or for books and resources that we have, read a plot summary so you know at least where the story is going, read a little bit about the author. If you can look up a little bit, maybe what are the Scriptures in? The book that I’ve written is a guide just for families for that purpose, is to highlight what are some of the Scriptures, so you just have an idea of where you can take it, where could I go if the opportunity arises, and then pray for those teachable moments. I think, maybe, that’s the biggest thing is to pray and ask God to give you eyes to see and ears to hear – where is a teachable moment that I could lead this conversation that will have an impact on my child? Because that’s what you’re really looking for, is an opening in which to have a conversation about a bigger life issue, about something spiritual that will have an impact on them for eternity.
Pam: Oh, I love that because if I’m trusting in the Holy Spirit to lead my homeschool it takes some of the pressure off me.
Christin: Yes, yes! And He’s so good about that. He knows exactly what they’re struggling with, He knows what’s in their hearts. And we don’t have to have all the answers and we don’t have to try and figure it all out. He knows and He can lead us and guide us even when we’re not aware of it.
Pam: You referenced your book, A Family Guide to Narnia, so let’s just take a few minutes to talk about what’s in there and how might parents use that to better experience the books, the series as a family.
Christin: Sure. This book actually came out of my teaching experience. I was working with a homeschool co-op and they asked me if I would teach The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe to a group of middle school boys, and I was reading this story with them and every time we got to the end of a chapter there was a teachable moment. I was surprised at how into the story they were. I thought they were going to blow it off, but they were really interested in the story. And there were so many times when it was perfect for conversation, their hearts were open, they were engaged, and I wanted to say, “Doesn’t that remind you of the Scripture? Doesn’t that remind you of …” but I couldn’t think where that Scripture was. I wanted to be able to quote it but was it Jesus or was it Paul? I know it was somewhere in Genesis, I can’t remember was Cain and Abel – I couldn’t put my finger on, I knew it was Biblical but where was it? And it wasn’t a good time to say, “Hold that thought while I go look for my concordance.” This was before smart phones…
Pam: Before Google.
Christin: Yes, exactly. And at that, I just wished there was a CliffsNotes of Biblical principles so that you could just have it really quick and be prepared. And so through a very long circuitous journey I had the privilege of doing this for families through The Chronicles of Narnia to go chapter by chapter and book by book through the whole series and just look and say, What are the Biblical principles here? What are the parallels? Where does it directly parallel something in Scripture? And where is it in exact word-for-word quote? And if I wanted to make a teaching moment out of it what could I do? Where is something in this chapter that references a Scriptural principle? Where is there symbolism that C. S. Lewis and other scholars have identified that is very clear? This is a symbol of the stone tablets that Moses came down from the mountain, this is a symbol of the cross. Where are the ones that we could guess or think about or could make a connection ourselves? And put it together for parents, for teachers, so you could just flip through really quickly. Read through, get a summary of the story, and read through and take a few points, and then just be ready so that when you have story time you’ve got those points in mind, whether it’s before bedtime or first thing in the morning, or in the car, and you can have those teachable moments, those conversations together. So that’s what I did: the parallels, the principles, a little bit of trivia. One page per chapter, because goodness knows, and you don’t have to do every chapter, but if you have a little bit of information then it can be really helpful, it can help you be prepared.
Pam: Oh, it sounds extremely handy. We’ve talked a lot about Narnia, so what are some examples of other works of literature that contain this kind of deep symbolism or have the potential to introduce our children to important truths? Do you have any others that you like?
Christin: Oh goodness. There are so many great works of literature that have – I mean, pretty much all literature has symbolism because this comes back to something you mentioned earlier – the author’s worldview. Every author writes a story with intention. They all have a purpose. Every author has a message, they have something on their heart they want to say. It might be something we agree with or disagree with, something that we value or don’t value, but they have a message, they have a theme. There is something they’re trying to communicate. So all of literature is rich with symbolism, especially classic literature, you can find a lot of resources. But I’m thinking of A Christmas Carol that’s a great one to do together as a family because you’ve got Scrooge and his reaper and his redemption but there’s all kinds of power in stories of forgiveness. I’m trying to think of some good ones for kids but it kind of depends on the ages of your kids and what their interests are. I always look for ways to capture their interests so what kinds of things? If they’re interested in horses then we go with [these] kinds of stories. If they’re interested in adventure then [these] types, but pretty much every story that you read there is some kind of symbolism in there, there is some kind of world view, and you can talk about what are these characters doing, why do you think they’re doing that, where do you think they’re going next, how do we feel about that, what do we think about that? And draw connections there and this is why stories are so great.
Pam: One of the things that Augustine says is that as educators we should work together on ordering the affections of our children towards Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. So do you think reading literature can help us do that?
Christin: Absolutely, absolutely. It’s fundamental and it’s vital. And there’s another thing about literature in that it opens our mind and it helps us experience the world and it teaches us about other cultures, other countries, other people’s lives and experiences, other eras in history. And this is important because if we’re going to understand other people, I believe God’s called all of us- Jesus called us in the Great Commission to be His witnesses and we’re all called to be effective in communicating the Gospel, and in order to communicate the Gospel we have to be able to relate to and understand other people. And we can’t just stand there and scream at them, shout Bible verses, we need to be able to relate to them and to understand them and to communicate effectively, to communicate with grace, right? And sometimes I run into people whose world is so very small, their life experiences, all they know, growing up on their street, in their city, in their church, in their community, and they don’t understand that anybody else’s life is different than their life. They don’t understand that anybody else’s experience is different than their experience, and they have a very hard time connecting with people at work, connecting with people in other cities and other environments because, really, they just don’t understand that anybody that lives a different kind of life than they do and if you’re going to be an effective witness and effective minister you have to understand that people have different lives. Well, most of us can’t go out and live all of these other lives and we wouldn’t want to, we don’t need to have some of the negative experiences that other people have, we don’t want to live through some of the pain and the suffering and the heartache that other people have to go through but reading their stories can help us understand them better, reading their journeys even if it’s fictional, reading about other cultures, reading about other people’s sufferings and trials, especially you read these stories that take place in different wars, in different places, in history and eras, help us understand the human experience and help us connect and realize the world is so much bigger than us, so much bigger than our experience and help us understand other people’s suffering and other people’s lives so that we don’t have to make the same mistakes that they’ve made and we can be more compassionate and we can be more effective ministers of the Gospel.
Pam: Oh, I just love that. So often we think of stories as just entertainment or something you might learn a lesson from as we were talking earlier, that we could learn these kinds of lessons from the stories that we read, but it sounds like one of the greatest lessons that we can learn from a story is compassion for fellow humans or even empathy for others.
Christin: Yes, just learning what other people’s lives are like and that it’s not all the same as ours. Through a story we can experience what it’s like to be an orphan arriving on Ellis Island in the 1700 or 1800. We can learn what it’s like to live through World War II and to be a nurse driving an ambulance or to be a soldier on the front, we can learn what it’s like to be a soldier in the Civil War. We can read these different stories and we can experience history and we can experience different things like grief, or pain, or loss, or battles and overcome, we can learn about courage, we can learn what it is to stand up for something and to fight for something that you believe in. We can learn what it means to overcome adversity, we can learn what it means to develop your gifts and talents. Reading these fictional stories, many of them are based in history or biographies; they can teach us so much about the world around us and teach us about life and so I think that’s given us a wealth of knowledge and understanding that we can gain. And as well as entertainment, there’s nothing wrong with reading for entertainment, there’s nothing wrong with appreciating the beauty and the joy that reading gives us, but there’s also another purpose there and that’s why I’m glad to see kids reading and I encourage families to read and the more that we can share these stories the more it gives us compassion and understanding for the people in our lives.
Pam: That’s just great. Well, Christin, if people want more information about A Family Guide to Narnia or about you and your other work, where can they find you online?
Christin: Probably the easiest place is my website and blog, ChristinDitchfield.com and my parents spelled my name funny. When I was a little girl they wanted to make sure it had Christ in it so that’s how my name is spelled, Christ in, Ditchfield, just like a ditch in a field. So it’s ChristinDitchfield.com.
Pam: OK, we will include a link to that in the Show Notes for this episode, so if somebody wants to click through it will be really easy for them to find. Well, thank you so much for joining me today, I do appreciate it.
Christin: Oh, thank you for having me.
Pam: And there you have it. Now, for the Basket Bonus for today’s episode we have gone through and collected up a number of the open-ended questions that Christin used throughout the episode and modeled for us to ask of our children and we’ve made you a handy printable of these open-ended questions to slip right into your Morning Time binder, and use with just about every story that you read. So we have that for you, you can get that and links to all of the resources and books that Christin and I talked about today including her Family Guide to Narnia, her own website where you can get more information about her and her syndicated radio show as well. So you can find all of that at EDSnapshots.com/YMB23. And also over there we have instructions on how to leave a rating or review for the Your Morning Basket podcast on iTunes just in case you are so inclined to do so. And for those of you who have already left a rating or review we just want to say thank you so much for taking the time to do that. We’ll be back in a couple of weeks with another great interview. Until then, keep seeking Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in your homeschool day.

Key Ideas about Seeking Truth in Literature

  • Truth can sink into our hearts, and our children’s hearts, through stories, parables, and fairy tales. God gave us Scripture, but he also created us with the capacity to express and understand truththrough art, music, poetry, and stories.
  • Open-ended questions are tools we can use to effectively engage our children with big ideas. This works best when we use natural conversation to discuss truths with our kids in the course ofeveryday life, as we see in Deuteronomy 6:4-9.
  • Literature helps us connect with, understand, and learn to love people, even people verydifferent from ourselves. It helps us develop empathy and compassion.

Find what you want to hear:

  • [1:58] What is allegory?
  • [4:15] what C.S. Lewis said about Aslan
  • [5:26] Is Narnia a fairy tale?
  • [6:19] how Narnia pointed Christin to Scripture as a child
  • [9:15] why read stories other than the Bible?
  • [10:20] being cautious about magic and the occult
  • [13:47] not being heavy handed with the truth; engaging kids through good conversation
  • [15:45] approaching Narnia with older kids
  • [17:16] praying for teachable moments
  • [18:21] Christin’s book
  • [21:02] other literature
  • [22:26] literature helps us understand the human experience and develop empath

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  • 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!