In a previous post, I discussed how we have incorporated the Charlotte Mason concept of a “morning basket” into our homeschool. In this post, I thought I would explain how we use our morning basket.
My kids really love to eat breakfast! This meal can go on for a really long time in our house. Before reading about Charlotte Mason, I began reading to my kids at the breakfast table simply because we were sitting there for so long each day! We came to love this time spent together, when everyone was well rested and well fed. We now have a structure to our morning time and we keep all of the components we need in a basket right next to our table. Hence the name, Morning Basket.
Here are the components to our Morning Basket, in the order we work through them:
Calendar – Oh, calendar work. This work has taken so many forms over the last few years because I have changed it up so many times. We started with a traditional “school” calendar with velcro numbers. But honestly, it was too big for our apartment and a pain to keep up with. Why? Because, for my daughters first two years of life, it was her personal mission to rip off every number as many times as she could get at it. She loved to hear that very satisfying velcro sound .
Currently, it’s quite simple: a printed out calendar for each child where they write in the date (handwriting practice, counting practice) and mark off the days as we go. We also use our Montessori bead bars to “make” the date which again affords counting practice as well as number sense work. These bead bar cards are from the blog Every Star is Different.
Books – I keep some high quality, timeless picture books in the basket that we enjoy reading over and over. We usually read 2 – 3 books each morning. The kids choose from the basket or can choose a book from the bookshelf in our playroom where we keep a seasonally rotated selection of books.
Poem – We have a few poetry books for children. I’ve included a list of the books we use in the Booklist section of the blog. The kids often request to hear a certain poem or I will read one that is seasonally appropriate or pertinent to something we are learning about.
Here is a list of poetry books we own and love: (Amazon affiliate links)
A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson (My grandmother read this book to my mom, she read it to me and now I am reading it to my kids. It is so special to us.)
A Child’s Book of Poems by Gyo Fujikawa.
A Stick is an Excellent Thing: Poems about Outdoor Play by Marilyn Singer
Honey I Love and Other Poems by Eloise Greenfield
Slickety Quick: Poems about Sharks by Skila Brown
Hailstones and Halibut Bones: Adventures in Poetry and Color by Mary O’Neill
Insectlopedia by Douglas Florian
Over the River and Through the Wood: A Thanksgiving Poem by Lydia Marie Child
Thanksgiving Day at Our House by Nancy White Carlstrom
Reading Practice – My daughter is currently learning her letter sounds, so I keep a few letters in the basket for her to identify, trace or try writing. Sometimes I will keep a few miniature “language objects” for her to identify the first sound or try to spell phonetically. We do only one of these things each day and it is a super quick activity, taking 1-2 minutes. I will also introduce new phonograms at this time or introduce my son to a new high frequency word. Sometimes he will read a list of words from the same word family, or read out a sentence strip. Sometimes I bring over a few letters from the moveable alphabet and they will spell one word each. This is always very quick and I just plan something to compliment what they are working on at the moment. Again, very simple.
Math Practice – This, like reading, can take many forms. Sometimes we use a random number generator on my phone and will count to the number it suggests for us. Other times we will practice counting backwards from 20 or make a pattern with loose parts. I might give my son a simple addition problem to solve or the kids might play one of their favorite games, Roll and Record. I follow the kids and their interests and always keep it very simple.
Song – We always end with a song. I keep a seasonal playlist on my phone using Spotify and we enjoy learning new songs and singing together.
For where we are in our homeschooling journey and the ages of my kids, this is how Morning Basket works for us. We all look forward to this time of day and really enjoy spending this time together.
If you’d like to hear how another family practices this morning time, take a listen to Wild + Free podcast Episode 33 to hear Elsie Ludicello describe her morning time. It starts around the 8 minute mark. I might have cried listening to how beautiful it is. 🙂
Do you have a Morning Basket or do Morning Time? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!