A Review of Your Morning Basket along with The Big Basket planning tools for inspiring meaningful Morning Time

I’ve been talking quite a bit about Morning Time lately.  If you are unsure what I mean by Morning Time, I recommend you read this post.

I was excited to receive and review the Your Morning Basket book and resources from Pam Barnhill at Ed Snapshots.  

Through her blog and her podcasts,  Pam offers so many great resources and so much encouragement to home schoolers.  I absolutely love listening to the Your Morning Basket podcasts!  They are so informative with so many fantastic guests… I always feel refreshed, inspired, and pumped to get up and get to it.  (This is impressive, considering it is usually near midnight by the time I get a chance to listen!)  I actually just finished listening to one about Narration with Sonya Shafer from Simply Charlotte Mason.  (SO helpful and informative!)

So, about the book and planning tools…

If you are new to the idea of a family learning time or are seeking to implement a more meaningful Morning Time (family time/circle time) into your homeschool, this book will BLESS you.  I have been doing Morning Time with my children for quite a while (or at least a version of it) and I still learned a ton and felt super inspired and encouraged by the Your Morning Basket ebook.

I also love how Pam not only offers the ebook but also couples it with practical planning tools and hands-on help for getting started.  I’ve heard so many Moms say things like, “Oh, I love the idea of a rich, Charlotte Mason-inspired family and Morning Time – but I have no idea where to start…”.

So, if that’s you – here is a great place to start, Mamas!

What’s in Your Morning Basket?

I love this book!  There is so much packed in, yet it is an easy, quick read… which I know so many of us need!  Even though I’m very familiar with Morning Time, I learned quite a few new things, was exposed to exciting thoughts,  and felt super encouraged and refreshed as to the ‘whys’ of this wonderful practice.

Your Morning Basket
Click on the photo to link to Your Morning Basket.

Chapter headings include things like, Why Do Morning Time?, Morning Time Subjects, How Long Should it Take?, On Getting them to Be Still, How to Plan Morning Time, Morning Time FAQs, and further resources.

I love Pam’s discussion of Morning Time being a way of bringing ‘Truth, Goodness, and Beauty‘ to the beginning of our homeschool day and to the forefront of our minds.  Through the ‘3 Rs – Ritual, Reading, Relationship’ we introduce our children to insightful and beautiful ideas, meaningful scriptures and character training, and (hopefully) infuse our homes with that deep-rooted family experience we are so longing for.

The book whispers words of wisdom and also offers a ton of practical advice.  A whole chapter is devoted to giving wonderful suggestions for potential Morning Time ‘Subjects’ along with great suggested resources to use in every subject area.


There is also planning help for getting started and encouragement for Moms who are doing Morning Time with little ones.  This is a fantastic resource.

Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from the book:

“Schole, which is a Greek word that means ‘restful learning’, is learning with time for contemplation and discussion – unhurried, free from anxiety, and full of wonder.  So often our schoolwork has a tendency to be reduced to the utilitarian.  We complete check off lists, learning necessary skills with little thought to life-giving learning practices  The ritual and pace of Morning Time forces us to slow down, enjoy, and savor ideas as we encounter them together…”

“The habit of a warm drink and a few moments of contemplation creates in me a disposition for a very good day.  Children also need to get their days off to a good start.”

“Our job is not just to shape their intellect, but also to flood their affections with beauty.”

The ‘Subjects’ in our Morning Time:

Bible and Scripture Memory Work
Poetry Memorization and Reading
Hymn Study
Character and Habit Study
Nature Study and Natural History
Art, Artist Study and Picture Study
Music Appreciation and Composer Study
Shakespeare, Fables, Folk Tales
Hero Admiration Readings
Other Memory Work: Prayers, Blessings, etc.
Greek/Latin Roots

History and Literature happens as a family, usually at lunch time.  This is sort-of part of our ‘Morning Time’ though it happens later in the day, if that makes sense.

To see some of the actual resources/books, etc. we are using this year for Morning Time, click here.

How I used the Planning Tools…

Alright, so maybe I’m a bit strange, but I LOVE planning things – especially homeschool things.  Not that the things I plan always happen, but in theory, and on paper – they look GREAT.  *cough*

Anyways, planning charts, weekly grids, and outline sheets are SO up my alley.  I create a lot of my own, so I’m a bit picky about them.  Having said that,  I found the planning tools from The Big Basket to be really helpful and easy to use.   (I actually really liked them in lay-out and design!)

The planning sheets really helped me envision what our Morning Times will look like and then, made it simple for me to plug them in daily so all I have to do is open up my binder and get going on any given morning.  *breathe and smile*

Pam also completely walks you through how to start planning a Morning Time using the planning tools right in the ebook.  So nice!

So, this is different for me because I did not have a Morning Time Binder like this in the past.  I would simply write down what I wanted to do in a separate planning book.  The problem is – I often couldn’t find what I was looking for and I had to juggle too many books and print-outs.

Even though we had our Morning Basket, if we were singing a certain hymn, I’d have to fetch the hymn book… if we were memorizing a poem, I’d dig out the poem book to the right page… if we were learning a morning prayer, I’d find THAT book too – so much juggling.  And with antsy kids… yeah.

Having a binder with print-outs of a lot of our memory work and daily activities for Morning Time has been SUPER helpful, so I’m very grateful to the Your Morning Basket tools for that!

So, our binder has the Morning Time Plan schedule at the front (this is part of the Big Basket planning tools I link to below), as well as tabs and sections for every day of the school week plus a daily tab.  (I also added sections for Morning Time Ideas and Other… but not sure that’s really relevant…)

It’s fairly straight forward.  The ‘daily’ tab contains things we do every day (this includes our current poem we are memorizing, a morning prayer we are memorizing, and our scripture verse).  

The Monday through Friday tabs contain things we do specifically on each day.  So, if its Tuesday, then I flip open Tuesday and I automatically have our poem, “What are Heavy?” by Christina Rossetti, and our Picture Study prints with question cards.  The other things we do on Tuesday are Habit and Character Study (which will be out of our Laying Down the Rails book), and usually French, which is practicing common words out of an Usborne book.   We would have already covered our Bible, Scripture Memory, and Poetry readings because they are in the ‘daily’ tab.  

We still use a TON of books apart from the print-outs in the binder, but the binder has helped HUGE with organizing all the tid-bits together.

Make sense?

Also note, Pam offers tons of fabulous advice about organizing in the resources.

Here’s a peek at how I used the planning tools and some of the stuff we put in our Morning Time Binder:

Here is one of the planning sheets – I didn’t use it exactly as Pam outlined, I just fiddled with it as a rough draft for our weekly plans for different Morning Time ‘subjects’ and which day they worked best for our schedule and to spread them out in a way that made sense.

This is now my ‘good copy’ (feel like I’m back in school!) for our Morning Time Schedule/Plan.  This is very helpful for me when it comes to planning.  I can pull this out and plan our readings with certain books, poems, Art and Picture Study, Music Appreciation, etc.  
Who knew there were dividers that extended LONGER that page protectors!?  This is new to me and I was WAY to excited to find out about these, buy them, and use them in our new binder.  Honestly, having almost the whole binder be in page protectors and STILL seeing the tabs? *GLORIOUS!*  
Our Morning Time Binder/Book and some of the stuff you’ll find in there – a print out of the Aaronic Blessing we are learning, a poem we’ve memorized and use for review, and Map Drill of Canada with Province/Territory tabs- ready to go for our Friday Morning Map Drills.

Some more of the things in our Morning Time Binder – SQUILT sheets for Composer and Music Study, Hymn print-outs for lyrics, Picture Study prints and question cards, poetry print-outs, and reusable Map Drill prints and word/Country tabs.

Having things ready like this is SO helpful, especially with wiggle boys joining in for Morning Time.  This was my Monday morning “Daily” tab – a poem along with our weekly memory verse is right there and ready to go.

This is a sort of Morning Time board area.  This is right beside our kitchen table where Morning Time happens.  We’ve mounted our current memory verses, our current Habit/Character focus (kindness), some special people/needs we are praying for with our map of persecuted nations, special thoughts, quotes, scriptures, as well as our picture study print for the week. 

A peek at one of our Morning Times this week.  Arctic Aesop’s Fables, Poetry Memorization, and some easy and fun Greek/Latin lessons.

I really enjoyed The Big Basket, which included the following:

  •  Your Morning Basket ebook    
  • 6 Morning Time Snapshots
  • Binder forms and Binder Covers (planning sheets for getting a quick and efficient start)
  • A 6-week email mini-course for planning Morning Time
  • A Binder Tour Video (very practical, detailed how-to of organizing a successful Morning Time Binder)

There is also The Little Basket which gives you the Your Morning Basket ebook, Binder Forms and Covers, and the Binder Tour Guide.  I would strongly recommend either.

Your Morning Basket
Click above to link to Your Morning Basket.

I think these kinds of resources are by far the best things to invest in for any homeschool.

Especially those looking to embrace a more Charlotte Mason, family-centered learning structure.

The reason I value these types of resources so much is because I am not purchasing a one-time or one-year ‘program’, I am purchasing tools that will help me learn how to implement my own program, year after year!

And, friends, from the bottom of my heart – learning how to plan and implement a meaningful Morning Time is one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself and our children.  It will be a skill that will continue to grow and develop and bless our children (hopefully, prayerfully) more richly than I could even imagine!

Morning Time has been transformational and so deeply meaningful for our family… I encourage any family to try it!  You won’t regret investing in time together.  This is an intentional way to focus on what is lovely, write truth on our hearts, and learn together in a very memorable way.

Your Morning Basket Guide

This is honestly one of the best resources I’ve EVER purchased for our homeschool!!!

Consider checking out my Morning Time board on Pinterest for more ideas:

Follow Cassandra’s board Morning Basket / Morning Time on Pinterest.

*This post contains Affiliate Links


  • Unknown

    I just wanted to say I love all your posts! I pin every one of them and it dawned on me that I never comment to tell you how much I appreciate them… So Thank You… For your inspiration and all the information you provide us πŸ™‚

  • Megan Russell

    This post was so helpful for me. I am going to start Morning Time like THIS with my kids. I feel so disconnected from them with all of us rushing off to do math, or science, or grammar. I really love this concept. Thank you.

  • Melanie

    Thank you for this post. I have been homeschooling since 1999, so you'd think I would have it all figured out by now…. However, I have been feeling at a loss and this sounds just like what I need to do!

  • Unknown

    Thanks for this! I've just started morning time this year and it would help to have dividers for each day; neat!! Currently there's too much have to flip between things.

  • Sarah

    I have one child going into 7th grade and the other is going into 3rd grade- do you think the Morning Basket Package would have helpful ideas for older kids? Just wondering if this would work with older kids….thanks for any feedback!

    • Cassandra

      So sorry I'm only replying now! (Wow. I'm behind!) YES! IT would help with kids of all ages… not sure if you ended up purchasing it or not but Morning Time is awesome for all ages, including adults. πŸ™‚

  • Unknown

    Id like to do morning time in theory, ive got a sort of crazy schedule though
    At breakfast we do a Bible story, short devotion and our prayer sticks. Sometimes we use Prayer Points from Samaritans purse for a mini geography lesson.
    But my 4 year old will be in preK 4 days a week starting in Sept..so I will need to leave at 830 to take him to school, and we wont be back till 1. All the kids (11,8,4 and 2) will go with us, and we will have to do this at least twice a week.
    I am struggling with coming up with a way to make it work?
    My 2 year old still naps and Id like my 4 year old to participate in much of our morning time as well..
    So maybe do it after lunch/afternoon snack time? Do part of it at bkfst and part at snack time (prob during nap time)?
    And for hymns, songs do you have them sing along to a youtube video, CD, or just read it?
    Im mainly wanting to do a few fun read alouds, like Little House on the Prairie, Runaway Ralph to start, a nature study using the Handbook of Nature Study (they have a weekly challenge), and a character study, maybe a Fruit of the Spirit study ive got.
    I want it to be more a fun, snuggle up on the couch time..

    • Cassandra

      To be honest, I love that Sarah Mackenzie calls her "Morning Time" Symposium… because it rarely happens in the Morning… hehe. Its often like that here too. Quite often actually. I'd say, do your family time when it works best. Afternoon, evening… whichever! πŸ™‚ And for Hymns, we just pick a hymn, listen to it several times on a CD or online, and then sing it together from a print out. Sometimes I play Uke or I'll encourage my son to play along… pretty simple. Just do what feels right for your family. No matter what you end up doing, it will be enriching and memorable!

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