I first heard about morning baskets about a year and a half ago, from Pam Barnhill’s blog, www.edsnapshots.com. Immediately, I knew that it was going to fit right in with our homeschooling philosophy of coming together to delight in our learning, and beginning our day with a peaceful and intentional rhythm. So I got a (very unattractive) green plastic tub out of my daughter’s closet and filled it with books. Since then, our basket has evolved and improved (the contents and the basket itself.) Around this past June, I decided that we needed a bedtime basket too.
You see, my husband and I both work full-time, mostly from home, and the majority of our homeschooling takes place in the bookends of the weekday (early morning and early evening) and on the weekends. As such, we spend a great deal of time reading before bedtime to supplement our learning. Eventually, our stack of books between the girls’ beds grew and grew, toppled over, and spilled out all over the floor. One morning I was trying to put it into some semblance of order when it dawned on me–why can’t we have an evening basket too? Our morning basket had made our mornings so calm and relaxing, and I loved taking the time to fill it for each new week ahead. Why not make one for bedtime as well?
Unlike our morning basket, which you can read about by clicking right here, our bedtime basket is pretty much all books that we read together. Take a peek inside:
S.T.E.A.M. and Nature Study Books
I always choose about three or four books based on our S.T.E.A.M. / Nature Study themes of the week. We use Blossom & Root Book Seeds for this, and this week’s theme is apples, with Ten Apples Up on Top being the main selection.
This gives us a chance to dive a little deeper into the theme. For our sunflower week, we had six different books in the rotation. I get most of these from our local library.
Geography and Culture Books
Every month, we focus on one continent for geography and culture. I use the book lists from Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time by Jamie C. Martin for most of the selections, and fill in with suggestions from other homeschool bloggers when the library’s pickings are sparse. This year, we are simply enjoying geography and culture through reading. We do have a map on the wall that you can color with dry-erase markers, so we practice coloring the continent in from time to time, but mostly we just enjoy these books together.
This month, we’re reading books that take place in South America. There have been tons of great choices from the library! Usually, we have about four in our basket for the week.
This year, we are continuing to learn French using a variety of different approaches. One of the simplest in just reading children’s books in French at bedtime. We only do this about twice a week, and honestly these books are difficult to come by. Our library has a couple. We ordered a few on Amazon. We have a local French alliance with a huge library, and are considering membership, but it does cost money.
We also have little vocabulary cards in our basket that I got from Teachers Pay Teachers. I choose about five new words a week, and we go over them every single night. Later, during homeschool, we play games like bingo and “swat the fly” to review them. We are learning autumn words right now.
I try really hard to make math as natural and fun as possible. I didn’t have good experiences with learning math growing up, and I don’t want my daughters to feel the same way I do about it. In addition to our homeschool curriculum, we play a lot of games, talk about math that’s occurring in our daily lives (like shopping and cooking), and we read math books at bedtime. My oldest LOVES Bedtime Math, and I can always find counting stories and other great picture books for my youngest at the library. I’m considering Life of Fred: Apples, too. I’ve heard great things about it!
Our Evening Read-Aloud
We have one main read-aloud in our morning basket and a different one in our evening basket. Right now, it’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. These are usually not library books because I use this to build up our library for the girls as they grow older. When they begin reading mostly on their own, I want them to return to these beloved selections and have lots of cozy memories of me reading to them when they were little, all snug in their beds. We always read at least a few pages each night, but there are nights when I hear “one more chapter” at least three times before I call it a night. We go through these pretty quickly.
And, Finally, Our “Every Night” Book
Brice is still very little, so she thrives on repetition. We always have that one book she wants night after night. For about a month, it’s been Dream Animals. We LOVE this book! The illustrations are absolutely beautiful, the words are soothing and sweet, and they always know that it signals the end of “bedtime basket” and lights out for lullabies.
We don’t read a book from every category every night, but we always end up reading several of them over and over. I plan each week’s basket a week in advance, to give me time to request the books I want from the library. To make things easier (and prettier), I made up a little worksheet that I do my planning with–one for the morning basket and one for the bedtime basket. These are free for you to download and use in your own home! All you have to do is fill out the form at the end of the post and you’ll get them in your inbox lickety-split. 🙂
For some great suggestions for bedtime books, and other sleep tips, see this helpful post on Sleep Help.
Do you do a morning or bedtime basket? What kinds of things do you include in yours? Please share in the comments!
FREE Download: Our Morning Basket & Our Bedtime Basket Worksheets
These FREE worksheets are perfect for planning out your morning and bedtime baskets for the week or month. Just add the elements of your choosing in the topics column (poetry, read-aloud, picture and composer study, etc.) and your current selections and you're ready to go! Download yours today--our way of thanking you for being part of the Blossom & Root community!