We’ve been using a morning basket for nearly two years, and I don’t see us stopping any time soon. This is by far one of the most delightful parts of our day, and it’s made it so much easier to include all of the rich experiences that come with a Charlotte Mason approach to homeschooling. We actually use both a morning basket and a bedtime basket, as we do a great deal of our homeschool in two chunks–one in the earliest part of the day, and one just before bed. (You can read about our bedtime basket by clicking here!)
When we first started, with a fairly ugly, green plastic tub no less, I was eager to share it in a few Facebook homeschooling groups. I remember one member of the group commented that she hadn’t even considered morning baskets because she didn’t think they were for secular homeschoolers. The beautiful thing about morning baskets is that they are completely flexible and tailored to your homeschool and the way your children learn. Our basket has come a long way since we started. I’m proud to say we upgraded to a much prettier model from that original green tub. But it’s always brought us so much joy, and gotten our days off to such a peaceful start.
Here’s a little peek into our current morning basket:
Picture & Composer Study
I keep our iPad in the morning basket and we use it for so many things, including picture and composer study. One of the first things we do each day is to look at our painting for the week (this week it’s Monet’s Impression, Sunrise.) Once we’re done with our “basket time” I will pull up our current composer on Spotify (currently Bach) to listen to as we begin our table work. I know it’s more fun to have actual print-outs of picture studies, but we like to keep things very lean (and inexpensive) around here, and find the iPad to do just fine for us.
Nature Lore & Books for Nature Study
Truthfully, we have an entire shelf of field guides, nature books, journaling materials, and mason jars full of seed pods and pine cones. If there’s one thing our homeschool centers around, it’s nature, and we like to start our day out with it. Our Blossom and Root Kindergarten program includes an entire nature study curriculum for the year, built around The Burgess Animal Book for Children and Seed Babies. During our morning basket time, I will read from the nature lore selection for the week, and often we’ll go ahead and do our nature study and journaling activity right after. To keep things simple, I store whatever we need for that week right there in the basket.
French Picture Dictionary & Dino Lingo
Part of our plan for learning French this year includes using Dino Lingo. We’re lucky enough to have a library that offers it through Hoopla Digital, so some mornings include part of a lesson while the girls eat breakfast. So far, they’re learning a lot–though the loud music is a bit off-putting to my adult sensibilities… (nothing Bach can’t erase at the end of basket time, though.)
Blossom & Root Kindergarten Language Arts
Whatever book our language arts is focusing on that week is kept in the morning basket, and Blake will usually do the narration, journaling, or copywork lessons during basket time, right after reading. She really enjoys doing her table work early in the morning, before things get exciting during art or outside play time.
Brave Writer’s Jot It Down & Blossom & Root Kindergarten’s All About Me Book
These each get used once a week, on different mornings. We’ve used Jot it Down for over a year now. We love all of the ideas for writing projects! Last year Blake did several fairy tale projects and animal books. We spent the last couple of weeks deciding what to start with this year. Blake wants to make the photo book about a day in her life, and she wants to make a poster about isopods. We love working on these projects–we never rush, never feel pressured, and never worry about changing our minds mid-project when inspiration strikes.
Our Magnetic Calendar & Captain’s Log
Okay, the calendar itself isn’t in the basket, but we do our calendar, weather, and seasons during basket time. Blake records the date, month, and day of the week in her Captain’s Log from Blossom and Root Kindergarten and the girls take turns changing the magnets (or, in Brice’s case, randomly placing them) on our calendar.
Our Morning Read-Alouds
Our basket time usually ends with two read-alouds: the selection from Blossom and Root Early Years Vol. 2 that Brice is working on, and a read-aloud that I choose, usually related to science or history. (Keep a look out for a review of this awesome book about daVinci later this month!)
Last, But Not Least, Something For Me
There’s something about a great, big mug of spicy chai that makes the morning go so much smoother. I’ve tried just about every kind there is, and Blue Lotus is the clear winner for me. Most were far too sweet, not spicy enough, or just didn’t taste like chai. I even made my own, but it was pretty expensive and time-consuming (for a lady with two little kiddos, anyway…) I discovered Blue Lotus when we were living in Maui and have been a loyal fan ever since.
That pretty much wraps it up. We don’t do every single thing, every single day–not by a long shot–and our morning basket time lasts about forty-five minutes, including breakfast. It has made it so much easier for us to include all of the beautiful art, music, nature lore, and reading that makes a Charlotte Mason approach so delightful–without stressing about how to fit everything in. One of my favorite parts of this whole ordeal is planning what to put in the basket each week. I used to just scribble it on a piece of scrap of paper, but decided it need something prettier, so I whipped up some worksheets–one for morning and one for bedtime. They’re yours to download today, for free–just fill out the form at the bottom of the post to get them sent to your inbox lickety-split. 🙂
(Also, if you want to go directly to the source where we discovered morning time, check out Pam Barnhill at www.edsnapshots.com.)
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!