The concept of the morning basket is not a new one, but that’s the hippest thing to call it these days. I’m a little late to the game on the morning basket trend, I am woefully (or perhaps blissfully?) ignorant of trends (what gave me away? Was it that I’m still using the word “hip” to mean “current” or “trendy”?). However, I do remember the same concept was used during my student teaching days, except it was called “morning meeting” and it mostly singing loudly with guitar music and involved a calendar. This is a tad different.
So, what’s a morning basket? Well, in basics terms, it’s a collection of items and subjects that you cover with your students first thing in the morning. I started a morning basket because it was the beginning of the winter here in Seattle and I was feeling that seasonal blah. Starting school in the mornings was becoming dreaded around here and I felt that a little change of pace was needed for C and A. I swapped around some things and freed up a bin and went around gathering activities we haven’t worked on in awhile and some of the less rigorous academic subjects we cover but haven’t been very consistent with. I’m most impressed with myself that I didn’t use this as a excuse to get a new bin or visit *swoon* The Container Store, good for me. I did however buy some new materials, so maybe not so good for me. It was exciting to plan and spice things up. I am a big planner and naturally I wrote out a chart and planned themes for the whole year. Yes, planning and spread sheets spark joy for me. As you can see below our theme right now is Lent.
Here is peak at our current morning basket for February/the beginning of March:
First things first, I am not a morning person. I can’t stress this enough. I am not a “ have breakfast ready and have already worked out by the time my kids wake up” mom. To do that I would have to be up by 4 am. Do I wake up at a ridiculously early time? Yes, but not by choice. Everyone else in my family are morning people so I just go with the flow. Our kids wake us up, and that’s just fine with us. I cannot remember the last time I set an alarm. However, I had to stack the deck in my favor and the morning basket was a great way to do that. While the kids are eating breakfast, and I want to sit in a stupor and drink coffee, I put this Bible audiobook on. I found this on Amazon, and while it is probably not the best version out there, I appreciate that it’s not quite a “ kid bible” version, but also not the full complicated text. I was reading the gospel everyday but the kids just were not grasping it and I had to spend a long time giving a “momily” each time to explain it. This audiobook helps take some of that off my plate.
Once I am caffeinated and the kids have completed their morning check lists (brushing teeth, making beds, etc), we sit down and read. Over the next couple months we are working through The Children’s Book of Virtues, an artist from our art book, a symbol explanation from the Church, a chapter from our current read aloud, and poetry from Christian Rossetti while they color, do the Spirograph, play dough, or some other hands on activity. I switch out the activity every week, this week it’s the Spirograph and coloring. This plan sounds like a lot of reading, but it is usually only 30-40 minutes, as everything but the current read aloud is very short. Here are the texts I am using;
I mentioned that the kids color during our read aloud time. We have a plethora of coloring books that we have gathered over the years. Most of them were in our church “kids bag” and getting zero use, so I pulled them out, relocated them, and sure enough now they are really interesting again, ahah! These are perfect for our Lenten theme that we are doing now.
While I read our history, either supplemental or the main text, A really enjoys coloring in this coloring book.
The current Lenten activity that the kids most look forward to each day in the morning basket is rolling their Lenten blocks! I’ve posted about these before on Instagram, but I’m not on any social media anymore so I thought I’d give an update about our blocks here. A few years ago I bought three wooden blocks for each kiddo, one block for each of the pillars of Lent; prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. They got to paint them a color, blue for C and purple for A. Then we brainstorm ideas for each block that is personalized for them, based on age and preference. For example, offering up yogurt one day wasn’t a sacrifice for C since he doesn’t like it, but an apple, that’s a different story! I also make sure they are age appropriate. A painting pen worked well for writing on the blocks, then I sealed them with modge podge. Well, the kids out grew their blocks in terms of age and space. So, instead of the one inch blocks I used before, we made three inch Lenten blocks this year and put down new ideas that reflect their capabilities in the aspects of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.
That’s our current morning basket folks! Do you have a morning basket? I’ve found ours to be very fun way to start our day before heading right into the denser subjects like math that require at least two cups of coffee before I can start them. Hey, maybe our morning basket should be renamed to the more appropriate “A Saving Grace for a None Morning Person Homeschooling Mom” ? Then again, that’s kinda a mouthful, especially if you have trouble forming sentences at 5 am. Morning basket it is.