YMB #51 Studying Geography Through Literature: A Conversation with Sarita Holzmann

Sarita Holzmann was a reluctant homeschooler but soon came to love it. With a heart for missionaries serving overseas and the people they serve, Sarita has always had an eye towards bringing geography to life using literature.

On this episode of the podcast she joins us to discuss why geography is important and why literature is the best way to experience that. Get your notebooks handy — there is more than one great book recommendation in this episode.


This is Your Morning Basket where we help you bring truth, goodness, and beauty to your homeschool day.

Hi, everyone, and welcome to Episode 51 of the Your Morning Basket podcast. I’m Pam Barnhill, your host tonight. I’m so happy that you are joining me here today. Well, today on the podcast, I am honored to get to interview Sarita Holzmann who is the creator of Sonlight Curriculum. Sonlight has been around in homeschooling circles for a very long time. It was actually created to help missionary families homeschool their own children. As such, Sarita has a heart for bringing the world to families through the literature and books that she chooses for her curriculum. She is a wealth of resources on wonderful geography stories from around the world, these stories of different cultures from all over the place.

I was thrilled to get to chat with her today about book recommendations and why these stories are so important to our kids. We’ll get on with that interview right after this word from our sponsor.

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Sarita Holzmann and her husband, John founded Sonlight Curriculum in 1990 with the desire to create a complete biblically-based program, rich in real books, and guaranteed to spark a love of literature and learning in families. Today, Sarita and John continue their work with Sonlight with the help of their four adult children. Sarita is joining us on this episode of the podcast to talk about using literature to enrich our study of geography. Sarita, welcome to the program.
Sarita Holzmann: Thank you. I'm so glad to be here.
Pam: We are happy to have you here with us. I told my kids today that I'm speaking to somebody very important on the podcast today. This is an honor. Well, let's talk a little bit about geography. Why is the study of geography important? Why should we include this in our homeschools?
Sarita: Well, I think at the very root, we study geography because it's God's world. As we think about the world that he's made and the various peoples and the different cultures to have an understanding of his world actually honors the things that God has made. I think too, for a more practical reason, we live in a very interconnected world. We want to make sure our children understand the world that they live in, that they're not so provincial in where they live, but they have a bigger understanding of the people that they'll come in contact with throughout all of their days.
Pam: The world has gotten a lot smaller since I was a kid.
Sarita: Right. Boy, isn't that the truth. You go to the grocery store anywhere and there's just peoples from around the world that have come to live among us. It's amazing.
Pam: Yes, very much so. Well, is it geography all about like math and facts and figures? What does literature really add to the study of geography?
Sarita: Well, that's a really good question. Of course, it's more than that because people, while they live in a particular place that can be found on a map, they live in communities that are varied and interesting. I think that's one of the reasons we should study them because when we get to have them, if you're a believer, we're going to meet up with all these people that bring their own unique ways of even praising God to the Father. We'll have a chance to learn about how these people live and how they operate and function. As we read stories that take place around the world, we have a chance to get it a from a grasp, even in how the world is varied, different, and interesting.
It's just a real great way to grow in our understanding of the world where we've been placed.
Pam: The peoples in that world too. It's so interesting to note how different a lot of the-- Even just cultural beliefs are around the world, things that we take for granted that people might actually believe in it. I'm not even talking about religious beliefs here, but just attitudes about family and things like that. We assume everyone has those same attitudes but a lot of times, they really don't, do they?
Sarita: I think that that's true. I think to get back to the root of things, every family, of course, wants the same thing for their children. They all want to have food for their children and clothing and education, but how that manifest itself can be very different. For example, in the Middle East, there's less of an emphasis on girls where they just have a girl that's less desirable or if you traveled to other parts of the world, you have different ways where maybe the foods are different that they're eating, or their worldviews and their belief systems are different. At root though, everybody has the same desires for their kids. It's how it manifests. That's a little bit different.
Pam: It's important to come to the understanding of our similarities and our differences and acknowledge both of those.
Sarita: I think that's a very profound statement. Because we don't want to be afraid of other people, we want to recognize that while they have differences and different ways of thinking about things, again, they are similar as well. We don't walk in fear when we meet other people from other places because in a lot of ways, they're like us. They like to play games. They have squabbles with their siblings, but to be afraid, if we focus too much on the differences, we can lead to fear in those arenas.
Pam: Let me ask you this. I know you have chosen many a book in your day. If we're looking at choosing books to use about different cultures and about different locations around the world in our homeschool, what are some tips that you would give a mom?
Sarita: I would try to do a wide variety of places around the world. One, again, because we want to have our children understand that the world is varied, interesting, unique, and different in different parts of the world. I choose books from a wide breadth of countries. I too would also be looking for stories that have won awards because I feel like we want to be looking for books that are well-written and grasp the heart and understand the culture in ways that maybe we wouldn't even know how to look for. I'd look for books that are both boy and girl books. It's very important for me that we try to have a balance, even in the styles of books that are out there. We don't want to just have male heroes.
We want to have female girls that are working things out in their culture and in their life. A book for that as well. I'd look for stories where kids overcome. We don't want a lot of victims because we want our kids to learn that they can move forward and act in ways that can make a difference. I think that's super important to me. I don't do a lot of books where the children don't win at the end because even though they can struggle, I want them to overcome in the end. That's a personal preference of mine, but that'd be the type of thing I would be looking for. Does that help?
Pam: No, that's a great list. It really is. Well, let's talk about some of your favorite books about different cultures and geography. What are some of your favorite anthologies of stories from other cultures?
Sarita: Well, there's a marvelous collection of stories called Sweet and Sour that are stories from Africa. They aren't animal stories, but they are people and they are set in the different dynasties. That's a very nice collection.
Pam: What about some lesser known stories? Do you have any favorite stories that you've come across that are maybe not as well-known?
Sarita: Well, it's hard for me to know what the audience might known, but a book that I absolutely love is called A Long Walk to Water. It' set in East Africa and it's in a country where the women every day would have to walk hours to collect water for them to use for their home, partially because of tribal differences but in the community there and warfare that was happening. It was risky even for those girls to walk. The story resolves in the end where one of the members of one of the warring tribes actually has a change of heart and comes back and drills a well for one of the communities that had formerly been in tension with the other. Marvelous, beautiful story of redemption and just really pretty. One that our children adore is Seven Daughters and Seven Sons. It's set in the Middle East where the father with the seven sons is honored greatly because he's lucky enough to have had seven sons. His brother has had these seven daughters and he's despised because who wants girls in that particular culture? The story is a wonderful twist of the daughter being someone who's bright and actually makes a difference in her family and ends up becoming famous and does good things for her family, whereas the sons, the seven sons all fall away. It's a great twist on even the difference is that you can have in those types of cultures.
Another one is Shadow Spinner. I love it. It's also in the Middle East. It's a story of a girl who is collected from the marketplace because she's a gifted storyteller. She comes and works with Shaharazad of the fame of the 1,001 Arabian Nights stories, super stories to tell. She brings this girl into her harem and basically seeks to figure out how to get the story still, but it's a marvelous picture of living behind walls and just trying to survive in a society where the culture is so different than our own. Charming story.
Another one that maybe isn't super familiar is Breaking Stalin's Nose. It's set in the Soviet Union during the days of Stalin. It's a beautiful picture of the challenge of living in a repressive society and a comparison even between how do you live in a place where socialism operates and everyone lives in fear? It's quite a story in a way to gently introduce the idea of communism in that way that it can impact our world. Do you need me to stop?
Pam: I think we've blown some book budgets here [laughs] already, but of those, I'd only heard of one of those. That was fabulous right there because there was some wonderful choices. Let's talk a little bit about stories for little kids. Why would we want to study geography in this way with even kids who are five or six years old, and then give me a couple of stories that you would use with them?
Sarita: Sure. One of the reasons we want our children, even at a very young age to read stories that take place in other parts of the world, is because it helps them actually recognize their own society a little more effectively. As we can see things in comparison, we can actually recognize the way that we live. One of my favorites that is really perfect for that each group is Little Pear. It's a story of a little Chinese boy, and he very carefully never steps on his threshold because then the evil spirits would come.
It's just a beautiful, charming picture of a life in a very different culture with a very different worldview. Not scary, not frightening, but just lovely, charming illustrations and a great way to even look at a different part of the world. Picture book that takes place also in China, The Story About Ping, a boy lives on a houseboat and every day, the ducks go out and come back again after they've been out feeding all day. Just a different snapshot of what life looks like in another part of the world.
Pam: What about teenagers? How would you pull them into a study of geography? What kind of books would you use with them?
Sarita: With teenagers, I'd probably do missionary biographies. That's a huge passion of mine because very important for teenagers to recognize that ordinary people can have a huge impact in their world. That's important for me that our kids recognize that God uses just regular, regular people in ways that are amazing. I'd probably hand them a biography of Mary Slessor who was just an ordinary girl, very little education, went into Africa, went back into the bush, stopped the twin. They were murdering twins because they were afraid that they were part-demon-possessed or whatever, and totally transformed the culture just by living life among them and transforming it.
Similarly, you have Gladys Aylward who went over to China and worked with the mule drivers and transformed that culture for the great name of God. It's just amazing to me what just ordinary people can do if we just pick up some biographies and share those with our kids, I think. Story of God's Smuggler, wow, isn't that what we wanted with all of our teenage show? Just a guy who would take his little Volkswagen bug into Eastern Europe then carry in Bibles for the people that were desperate for them and just watched God protect him and keep his life. It's just an amazing challenge and a good thing for our young people to read.
Pam: Awesome. Well, what would this look like in a family? If we were sitting and reading together the stories, what else might we do once we're finished with this story to extend some of the learning there?
Sarita: Well, what we always recommend is that we map every location that we read about in a book. If you're studying the civil war, for example, find out where all those battles happen by putting them on a map of the United States. Similarly, when you're reading a story that takes place in another part of the world, map it. Find out where it is, what does it look like? Another thing we can do is stop and say, "Okay, what cultural differences did you notice? Are there things that we need to be aware of so that when we come in contact with people from this country, we might be able to interact with them a little more appropriately?"
You could even make food from those other part of it, but some of us don't like to cook, but it's a good idea.
Pam: My kids, that's always their favorite part.
Sarita: Perfect. [laughs]
Pam: They're like, "Oh, now, we have to cook from there," and I'm like, "Okay, great. There'll be dishes to do."
Sarita: What a good mom.
Pam: Oh, goodness.
Sarita: If there's other worldviews that come up, I would highlight those and say, "Now, why do you think that they did what they did?" It's based on the way they view the world. For example, Little Pear, when he wouldn't step on the threshold, he had animism as his background and he believed that spirits were there. Well, we don't believe in spirits. It's just a way to open up a conversation about the things and the differences that we can see in the worldviews that are in different books.
Pam: Well, that leads to this question. What do we do about elements from stories, from other cultures that make us uncomfortable?
Sarita: I think the best thing to do is to talk about them. Talk about why you're uncomfortable and why they make you uncomfortable. That's the best way to do because what happens is it's coming from different worldviews. For example, there's a story called The Cat Who Went to Heaven. It's the story of an artist who's supposed to do a mural or a painting for a Buddhist. Part of the trials and temptations that he has in the story are all based on his Buddhist beliefs. To talk about that and say, "Now, what he's thinking is this way. Why don't we have to worry about those? Are there any advantages to the way we look at things?"
Basically, it's just good enough honestly what we want to do as we're parents. As we're educating our children, we want to talk about things so that our children have our understanding and we can explain to them why things make us uncomfortable and we can explain why they are and how we would operate in a different way.
Pam: Well, I know that studying world cultures and different areas of the world is such a huge part of SonLight Curriculum. It's a literature-based curriculum so they're all these fabulous books and stories in there. Tell us a little bit about how you approach studying different areas of the world.
Sarita: I'd be glad to. When we started Sonlight, our original goal was to keep a missionary on the field for one more year by making education easy. Then after we'd been in business for a while, we decided that we would make homeschoolers in the United States need it easier too. We opted to open up our program broader than just that international. We've always had a big international flavor and feel. When we planned the program, we said, "Okay, someone who's living in China as a missionary doesn't want to spend 10 of their 12 years studying American history." Now, where's America again? They've been around for 150 years. China has 6,000 years record, "Okay, how do we do this, Mom?" Our goal from the beginning was to start with the bigger world and give kids the way to understand their world in a big picture, and then focus on American history. That's the direction we've gone. We do a world history in K1 to 6, 7, and then up in high school as well. Then we do American history in third and fourth and then in high school. It's really a different way of even experiencing the world from any other curriculum that's out there. We try to put in a lot of stories that take place around the world, basically give our kids that sense of a global perspective and big-world thinking.
One of our years is very unique, very novel. We studied the Eastern hemisphere which were the majority of the unreached peoples of the world actually live. We start in China we move through Asia, go up into the Soviet Union, hit the Middle East, hit Africa, go to Australia and New Zealand, and then we end up at Antarctic. Very novel year, but it's done where we just focus the whole year on other parts of the world that most of us will probably never actually have a chance to visit, but it's a part of the world that actually needs to hear, we need to learn about and to pray for and be aware of.
Sonlight is a different kind of a program. I speak as clearly as I can about this because I think it's important for our children to recognize that the world is an interesting place, and we do want to focus on that. We want to pray, we want to be aware, and we want to have our kids to be ready to be able to read the newspaper. Now, "Where's North Korea, Mom? Why is it in the news?" "Well, here it is." We've actually learned a little bit about it because it's important to recognize that the world is interconnected and the world has things that we actually need to be aware of.
We want to read stories that take place and understand the tensions in the Middle East because that's in the news all the time. These are places of the world that are important for us to recognize and be aware of. We don't want to be unknowledgeable or unknowing about the things that are important and strategic.
Pam: That's fascinating because you're right. As somebody who tends to look at a lot of homeschooling resources, because I get asked a lot of questions, sometimes I do get the question, where can we learn things that are not so Western hemisphere-specific, and that Sonlight Curriculum, that entire year's worth of Eastern hemisphere is one of the very few unique programs out there that's like that.
Sarita: A lot of our customers will say that's actually their favorite year, mainly because it's so woven together. It gives them a chance to recognize those uniquenesses and differences that we just honestly don't often come in contact with. It's the good one.
Pam: Stories and literature and books are a huge part of Morning Time and what we do here at Your Morning Basket. Another thing that we really focus on is bringing the entire family together or as much as possible, until those teen years get so hairy, bringing them together to learn altogether. Can you talk to me a little bit about how Sonlight could be used with multiple ages of kids? Is that possible to do that with one or two programs?
Sarita: It's absolutely possible and we actually recommend it. Because books, of course, aren't graded. They don't say, "When you're three years old, you read this one and when you're eight year old,--" they're just not. A well-written book covers a wide span of ages. We recommend that families with a wide breadth of ages all gather around one particular program, and then add in math and language arts. Some of those, what we call seatworks to do for each particular child. Then you sit on the couch and you read the histories, the stories, the read-alouds, and all the things that are woven together, all together as a family.
We did it with all of our kids and my kids are widespan and they all did the same program together. It's a way of building unity and connectedness, and you have a whole set of experiences that you've entered into together. It's a huge privilege to be able to sit on the couch, read, learn, study, and do great books together. I'm sure, no as well.
Pam: I couldn't agree more. If there was a family who was interested, you do have people there who can help them choose the right program for a wide variety of ages.
Sarita: We absolutely do. We have Sonlight moms who act as advisors. Just call in, ask for an advisor, play the call you back or connect you right directly through. We'll gladly talk through their experience and how much Sonlight means to them and help you figure out exactly what works best for the range of kids. Absolutely, please call.
Pam: Oh, perfect, because I think sometimes people get the catalogues and they're looking and they're seeing these labels on things. They don't always feel comfortable stepping outside the label and working on something that'll work for them. I'm glad that you guys do that. Well, Sarita, thank you so much for joining me today to talk about literature and geography and how we can use these stories to help bring our understanding and empathy for the rest of the world up to a greater level. I really appreciate it.
Sarita: Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate what you do to advocate for homeschooling families. Keep up the good work.
Pam: Thank you.
Pam: There you have it. Now, if you would like links to any of the resources that Sarita and I spoke about today, including links to all of those wonderful book recommendations that she made, you can find those on the show notes for this episode of the podcast. That is at pambarnhill.com/ymb51. We'll be back again in a couple of weeks with another great Morning Time interview and until, then keep seeking truth, goodness, beauty in your homeschool day.

Key Ideas about Studying Geography Through Literature

Studying Geography is key to learning and understanding the world God has made. Literature based geography allows us to focus on the stories of people around the world and not just places. It is in this way that we can make connections with those from other parts of the world.

Sarita shared a few tips Sarita about choosing books about different cultures. She suggests you choose stories from a wide variety of locations, especially countries that maybe less commonly studied, and get some stories about girls and boys because the perspectives are different. Also, choose stories where children overcome an obstacle or make a positive difference.

After the book is over we often want to find creative ways to extend the lesson. One way to do that would be to find the locations on a map. We can also take time to discuss the similarities and differences of people from the places we read about, and maybe even try food from that country as well. Taking the time to highlight the worldviews of others so you can better understand where the characters in the story are coming from is a great way to engage children in meaningful conversations about other cultures.

Find what you want to hear:

  • [3:07] meet Sarita Holzmnn
  • [3:50] why study geography
  • [4:50] the connection between literature and geography
  • [7:35] tips for choosing books about different cultures
  • [9:20] Sarita’s favorite books about geography
  • [14:17] books for teenagers
  • [15:55] extending the learning when the book is over
  • [17:41] dealing with uncomfortable ideas in stories
  • [19:15] studying geography in Sonlight
  • [23:00] learning as a family

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  • Super Helpful!
    by Jennlee C from United States

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

  • Practical Inspiration
    by Mamato3activeboys from Australia

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

  • So many great ideas!
    by Parent 98765 from Malaysia

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

  • Joy
    by Ancon76 from United States

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

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

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

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

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

  • Love it!
    by s chenvmv from United States

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

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

    Love this!

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

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

  • Wonderful resource!
    by honebubble from United States

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

  • A wonderful podcast!
    by NoName2018 from Canada

    Great ideas and interesting guests - thanks Pam!!

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

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

  • Such great choices of guests
    by andinic from United Kingdom

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

  • Great
    by WifeyKayla from United States

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

  • Interesting ideas
    by Lisa1932 from Canada

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

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

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

  • Excellent!
    by Jodylleigh from United States

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

  • Truly an inspiration!
    by Soaring2him from United States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Thanks Pam!
    by BraveMomma from United States

    So many great ideas every single week! Thanks!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Hope for the weary
    by MomToTheMasses from United States

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

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

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

  • Mamma of Five
    by Mamma of Five from United States

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

  • Great Homeschool Resource
    by KS Becky R from United States

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

  • Really great!
    by BeeGerW from United States

    I love hearing all these ideas!

  • californiafamily
    by californiafamily from United States

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

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

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

  • First Things First
    by Lukenoah from United States

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

  • So helpful!
    by jofcrich from Australia

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

  • Great resource
    by Ejs0928 from United States

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

  • Amazing!
    by CDefnall from United States

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

  • Inspiring and enlightening
    by spycej from United States

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

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

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

  • One of my favorites
    by FaithAZ from United States

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

  • Great Ideas
    by Hiphooray from United States

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

  • TaraVos
    by TaraVos from United States

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

  • Lots of useful information
    by Kristizy from United States

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

  • by Momo35556 from United States

    I love this podcast! So helpful and encouraging.

  • Lovely & Inspiring
    by kashley75 from United States

    Thank you so much for this podcast!

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • So Helpful!
    by KGMom2Four from United States

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

  • A Lovely Show!
    by Webseitler from United States

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

  • Awesome homeschooling resource!
    by Liddleladie81 from United States

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

  • Great hosts!
    by Homeschool_chat from United States

    I always look forward to this podcast!

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

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

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

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

  • Awesome!
    by Apples20091 from United States

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

  • Encouraging and Motivating!
    by Cat11223 from United States

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

  • So many ideas!
    by Speterson781 from United States

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

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

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

  • Perfect for the Homeschool Mom
    by JoshJamie from United States

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

  • SongsofJubilee
    by SongsofJubilee from United States

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

  • Love it!
    by Ekrasovec7 from United States

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

  • So encouraging!
    by A Merry Heart from United States

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

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

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

  • Refreshing
    by Bless-Us-3 from Canada

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

  • So helpful and inspiring!
    by KSR1 from United States

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

  • Inspiring
    by Jaranda98 from United States

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

  • An inspiring and encouraging podcast
    by Kellibird1111 from United States

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

  • Honey for the Homeschooling Heart
    by SuperNOVAmom from United States

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

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

    These podcasts helped transform our homeschooling!

  • Great parenting resource
    by sullivanjessicak from United States

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

  • Thank you!
    by Nasiatel from United States

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

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

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

  • Top Notch
    by Wvshaddox from United States

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

  • Great Morning Time tips!
    by redhedcatie from United States

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

  • So Inspiring!
    by Frau Linds from United States

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

  • Wonderful!
    by Kellybireta from United States

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

  • Excellent practical advise!
    by Foxycook from United States

    Really enjoying this so far!

  • Very encouraging!
    by WMGardener from United States

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

  • A great resource!
    by gejake from United States

    Very inspiring and informative as I begin my homeschooling journey

  • Love This Podcast
    by Earthmuffins from United States

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

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

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

  • Great Podcast!
    by Greggtrisha from United States

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

  • Treasure
    by TasmanianBec from Australia

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

  • Jeannie in Ohio
    by Jeannie in Ohio from United States

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

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

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

  • Excellent Host
    by meghanlou from United States

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

  • Helpful and fun!
    by HornGal88 from United States

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

  • LOVE IT!
    by sassercj from United States

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

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

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

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

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

  • What’s important
    by sncstraub from United States

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

  • New listener and hooked!
    by Bytesofmemory from United States

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

  • Great!
    by Wvshaddox from United States

    Encouragement for homeschool.

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

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

  • Encouraging and informative!
    by sarahdempsen from United States

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

  • A great resource!
    by Bookgirl630 from United States

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

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

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

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

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

  • Timely
    by AggieRudy3 from United States

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

  • Thanks!
    by heyh2 from United States

    Thanks for the new podcast. Loving it!

  • Wonderful podcast with practical advice
    by Victorzvaliant from United States

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

  • Changed our Homeschool Morning routine
    by HeatherinSC from United States

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

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

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

  • Inspiring and Uplifting
    by vabjohnson from United States

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

  • Bringing Joy
    by Louisiana Mommy T from United States

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

  • Great podcast!
    by corew50 from United States

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

  • Inspiring, yet practical
    by mamato3cs from United States

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

  • Super Helpful & Encouraging
    by Sanibel4ever from United States

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

  • Great Poscast
    by Sarah B R from United States

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Inspiring and refreshing!
    by BugTurner from United States

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

  • Brilliant
    by SHTirm from United Kingdom

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

  • Excellent!
    by RC5476 from United States

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

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

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

  • Inspiring!
    by Mamato8 from United States

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

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

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

  • Wonderful
    by BGTwinsMom from United States

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

  • So Inspiring!
    by bethenyn from United States

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

  • Inspiring and thought provoking!
    by Pascualamb from United States

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

  • Affirming & helpful
    by BOLDturquoise from United States

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

  • Inspiring
    by Amongst Lovely Things from United States

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

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

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

  • Your Morning Basket
    by inakamama from Australia

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

  • Helpful & inspiring!
    by starlingsfive from United States

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



  • Sarah says:

    LOVE, LOVE this interview. Thanks for the recommendations. Can you please
    recommend audio stories?

  • Jennifer A Edalgo says:

    This is the first homeschooling podcast I’ve ever listened to, as this is going to be the first year I’m homeschooling my 4 kiddos. Sarah Holzmann was speaking right to me; I just love this whole concept of exposing my kids to diverse cultures and nations through reading aloud. Who knows the discussions that will come or the regions of the world my little ones may feel drawn to??! I have ordered almost every book you recommended from our public library, FREE! Thanks for those suggestions and sure would appreciate any more in the future as well!

  • Sara says:

    I loved this podcast! Thank you so much for making informative podcasts that support our homeschooling classroom.

  • Rachel Rogers says:

    I enjoyed this podcast so much! I’m wondering if the book, “Sweet and Sour Milk” is the same one she referenced in the show? She says Sweet and Sour, and the descriptions are different. Just wanting to find the right book. Thanks!

  • Julie Fisher says:

    I think the book posted for Sweet and Sour is incorrect. It should be Sweet and Sour: Tales from China

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