If you’re using BookShark as your main homeschool curriculum, you and your children likely love to read inspiring, educational literature. While BookShark provides plenty of literature as part of the curriculum, some homeschoolers also enjoy incorporating a morning basket into their daily routine.
What Is a Morning Basket?
A morning basket is simply a collection of books on a variety of topics (beyond the ones you’re already using with your curriculum) that you store in a basket and work with daily. Many families choose, as the name implies, to start their day with the morning basket though you can have morning basket routine in the afternoon or evening as well. This is a time when all the children gather for joint learning activities.
What you choose to do during morning basket time is entirely up to you. Some families choose this time to explore other titles by authors whose books in the BookShark curriculum the children enjoyed. One family so enjoyed Grace Lin’s Where the Mountain Meets the Moon that they spent several months reading the rest of her novels during morning basket time.
Other families choose to give each morning basket day a theme:
- Monday is science.
- Tuesday is literature.
- Wednesday is art appreciation.
- Thursday is poetry.
- Friday is literature again.
In this way, the family is able to cover a variety of subjects in morning basket.
You can choose how long to spend on morning basket based on your schedule for the day or the amount of time that you have. For some families, morning basket time is only 20 minutes long while for other families it is 90 minutes or longer.
Really, the beautiful feature of morning basket is that you can use it however it best fits your family.
Why Use a Morning Basket?
Most homeschoolers can relate to days when everything goes wrong. Maybe the dishwasher breaks, or the toddler decides to color on the bedroom walls. Unexpected distractions arise, mangling your entire plan for the day. Can you relate? It happens to the best of us. A morning basket routine is a way to ensure that you get some quality homeschool time in before the chaos of the day may hit. Even if the rest of the day goes awry, you’ve had time to learn via the morning basket.
Kids thrive with boundaries and routines; a morning basket is a reassuring habit that signals a transition to the start of the homeschool day. Morning basket is also a gentle way to start the day. If you have children who aren’t morning people, not much concentration is required to listen to a story that mom is reading. In fact, for some kids, this is the perfect way to slowly ease into daily lessons.
Some moms go over the day's plans with the family during the morning basket time. It may include a review of the family schedule, the daily chores assigned to each person, the weekly menu, and other family announcements.
In addition, morning basket encourages family closeness. If you have children who span a wide range of ages, you may feel like you’re losing family time together as the older students are likely to work fairly independently. The morning can be a time when you all read and work together before the children scatter to do their independent work.
What Goes in a Morning Basket?
If you’re still not sure what to include in morning basket, consider including books based on subjects you have trouble fitting into a regular day: poetry, art appreciation, biographies, fables, nursery rhymes, composer studies. A small, daily dose of a subject goes a long way over the course of an entire school year.
Use picture books, page-a-day calendars, learning activity calendars, writing prompts, and other aids to keep your morning time on track. You may study vocabulary words, Latin roots, common idioms, analogies, riddles, math facts, or songs. Morning time is perfect for memorization and review of what you've already studied. Add flashcards or your history timeline to your morning basket.
Finally, consider including books that teach the character traits and morals you want your children to learn. Focus on a different trait each week or month.
A morning basket is a practical, flexible way to increase the learning in your homeschool day through a consistent daily routine.