First of all, a morning basket is sort of homeschool code for the way you start your homeschool day. Not everyone wakes up eager to dive into grammar or the parts of the cell. Maybe morning people. Not me.
Whether you homeschool or not, though, you can definitely use these ideas with your kids. I promise.
I really love morning basket time. Instead of starting our day off with math we start off memorizing little snippets of verses, poetry or Shakespeare. We play games. Stroll the neighborhood and pick up a nature find for study. Sing a hymn. Study a painting in picture study. Read aloud from a book. Listen to a piece of music. Write in a journal.
And then we do math.
In our home, we don’t have an actual basket. [I stole that box in the cover picture from my closet. It had flip-flops in it. Just keeping it real.] I have a list in my notebook and a stash of books and games that I pull from each morning and yes, it looks a lot like the list I just gave you. Of course, we don’t do all those things every day. We spend about five minutes on memorizing. Each day we rotate what we are working on – Bible, poetry, hymn or Shakespeare passages. Then we spend time outdoors. We swim if it’s warm or take a walk. We might look for pinecones or leaves. Then we come home and play a game. If it isn’t nice outside, we stay in and do picture study or listen to music instead. Morning time is leisurely and still takes less than an hour. Some mornings we just sit on the sofa and read aloud while we drink hot chocolate.
*Even if you don’t homeschool this is a great way to sneak in natural learning. You could use this for weekend mornings or school holidays. Your kids will love the walks and games and read alouds and you will love them not looking at screens. It’s a win-win.
The genius of the morning basket is the no-prep nature of the stash. If you have books and games in your house, you’re set! You can always add in a fun extra – see the list below for inspiration!
Here is what is in my stash for this fall! Keep in mind I’ve been collecting for years now…
Games!! We play a game every day. Look for games that can be played in 15 minutes or less. Not Monopoly!
These are our favorites:
Quiddler – an easy word strategy game
Upwords – like Scrabble but you can change the words on the board
Mad Libs – we own a ton of these – good for painless grammar review – “Give me a noun!”
Scrambled States – US geography game
The Geography Game – from My Father’s World – purchased with Exploring Countries and Cultures. We kept this and play it all the time!
Shanleya’s Quest – a book and card game that teaches plant identification
I purchased these two new math games for this year. I’m hoping this will help us to review our math facts without resorting to flashcards.
Memorization! We memorize little bits of verses/passages, hymns, poetry and Shakespeare on a rotating schedule.
This is the book we use for Shakespeare. I saw Ken Ludwig teach this method over on Read Aloud Revival and I was hooked.
For poetry, we use a variety of books. Here are a few of our favorites. We like to learn about the poets and then read their poetry.
We normally use art books (purchased from used book stores) for picture study but this year we will use the picture study portfolio from Simply Charlotte Mason. We will be studying Vincent Van Gogh in our first quarter of school. Click here for more information.
We like to write in our journals. This is the one I bought Ethan last year. I write down memorable lines from the books we read in my journal. It is a good place to stash ticket stubs and favorite photos as well. Or you could buy one specifically for nature journaling instead.
For nature study, we use these books and various art supplies.
For music, we look up a musician, like Bach, and create a radio station with his music. Then we listen to it whenever possible. When we like a piece, we note the name and give it a thumbs up. We read a biography about the musician. I love these from Zeezok Publishing.
And last but not least, our first read aloud this year will be – From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. My daughter absolutely loved this book and I’m hoping Ethan will love it too.
That is a peek into our morning time! Feel free to share your favorites down in the comments. I would love to hear what you are planning to use this fall.