Morning Basket Made Easy: Group Learning in Homeschool - Homeschool Planning (2024)

Morning Basket, Morning Time, Circle Time, Morning Meeting…call it what you want. If you’re looking for ways to simplify your homeschool day and enjoy it more, then a personalized group learning time is for you.

In this article, not only will we discuss the who, what, when,where,why, and how of a Morning Basket in your homeschool.We’ll also discuss how to do your own personalized Morning Basket, including my top 5 tips for getting started.

But this post isnotabout adding something else to your day.It’s about so much more. Keep reading to find out all you need to know about a Morning Basket for your homeschool.

*Note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using the link. Please see my disclosure for more details.

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Morning Basket Made Easy: Group Learning in Homeschool - Homeschool Planning (2)

What is another name for Morning Basket in Homeschool?

Often used interchangeably, some popular names for group learning in homeschooling are Morning Time, Morning Basket, Morning Meeting, or Circle Time. These names are used for a time in the day (it doesn’t have to be morning!) when homeschooling families come together for learning together. The specific name used often depends on personal choice or experience.

With such a variety of names also comes a variety of history and philosophy with each term which we won’t get into here. But when brought down to the basics, these terms all mean the same thing:

All your kids together, learning something as a group at some point in the day.

But don’t let the name you choose put you into a box when you do it. Do what works for you and then call it whatever you want.

What is Morning Basket in homeschool?

Morning Basket is a part of the homeschool day where you gather together all your kids and explore whatever topics you want. You may read books, watch the news, sing songs, or do a small activity. It may be at any point in your day. The part that makes it a Morning Basket, or whatever you choose to call it, is that it is done together as a group.

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Morning Basket Made Easy: Group Learning in Homeschool - Homeschool Planning (4)

What do you do in a Morning Basket?

To do a Morning Basket, just gather your kids together and explore any resources or topics that you like. It can be as formal or informal as you like, and is used for subjects you would like to do as a group. Like a one-room-schoolhouse feel.

Common Morning Basket ideas:

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Who should be included ina Morning Basket?

All your children should be included in a Morning Basket group learning time. It is not just for littles. Even big kids and teens greatly benefit.

Think about how independent teenagers can get. They do schoolwork in their room. And once they drive and go to work, you may hardly see them.

A Morning Basket can be a chance to be together as a family. Even my 8thgrader is becoming so independent, so Morning Basket is a great time for me to be able to see him every day.

Socializing your kids together during a group learning time is great for all the ages. Not only will big children be around, influencing your younger children, but your young children are good influences on your bigs as well. They will all learn from each other even if the topic is not 100% relevant to them at the time.

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Morning Basket Made Easy: Group Learning in Homeschool - Homeschool Planning (7)

When should I havea Morning Basket?

Any time in your day is a good time to have a Morning Basket. Don’t let the name through you off. Call it Afternoon Basket if that helps, or Bedtime Reading. Whatever time of day is good for you is a good time to have a group learning time with your kids.

It can be morning, afternoon, or evening.

You could start your school day with it, end your day with it, or do it sometime in the middle.

You could even do a Morning Basket at multiple times in your day, or split up some of the time between age groups of your kids.

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Many families have found that attaching a Morning TIme to an existing thing you do, like breakfast or lunch, is helpful to get the habit started. Doing it at bedtime is another chance in your day to be together.

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Where should I doa Morning Basket?

There is no certain place you must do a Morning Basket. You may want to do it on the couches in your living room, in your school room if you have one, or perhaps outside on a nice day. Or you may start in one area and move to another depending on the topic your are studying.

My kids and I also listen to a lot of audiobooks while in the car driving back and forth to co-op and other appointments. I consider this time as part of literature in our school.

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Why should I doa Morning Basket?

Here are 5 main reasons to do a Morning Basket in your homeschool. The last one is my main reason for doing it, which shapes so much of what we do at our house.

  1. To add beauty – cover topics that add wonder and beauty to the world
  2. To be together – enjoy being with your kids
  3. To add enjoyment – homeschool doesn’t have to all be drudgery
  4. To be practical – cover the things you may not otherwise do
  5. Simplicity – do the same thing with all your kids instead of teaching separately

You may have other reasons too! To read more in depth about why you should have a Morning Basket, Check out my post 5 Reasons to Have a Morning Time in Your Homeschool.

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Whatever the reason you choose to do a Morning Time can help shape what you decide to include. We all have different goals and a Morning Basket can help you meet those goals for your kids!

Read: 5 Reasons to Have a Morning Time in Your Homeschool

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How do you do a Morning Basket?

There is no “right way” to do a Morning Basket. Just like in every other area of homeschooling, your Morning Basket will be unique to you and your family. Embrace that!

In order to develop your unique style, I have come up with 5 steps to help you create your own Morning basket.

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To help you through these steps, I have created a great workbook. It will walk you through these steps and more as you create your own Morning Basket. Download those worksheets here!

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How to create your own Morning Basket

I have developed a quick process for creating your own Morning Basket in your homeschool. From beginning to end, you could have your personalized Morning basket planned out today!

Let’s get to it!

1. Decide on your why

Deciding why you are wanting to do a Morning Basket will help you navigate all the other things. Why are you interested in incorporating a group learning time into your homeschool?

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Could it be:

  • To add beauty?
  • To be together?
  • To add enjoyment?
  • To be practical?
  • To simplify?
  • Some other reason?

Read: 5 Reasons to Have a Morning Time in Your Homeschool

Expounding on your reason may help you narrow down why you want to do this, allowing you to have a clear vision with how to proceed in the next steps.

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2. Decide on your who

Based on why you’re doing this, you can decide who you want to include.

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  • Are you able to include all of your children?
  • A combination?
  • Will you split them into smaller groups?

3. Decide on your when

What time of day will work well for your family to do a Morning Basket? The answer doesn’t really matter though the timing may be affected by who you include. If your teenager works or if you have a baby to work around, these things will affect your timing.

Also consider how long you think you want to start with. It’s always good to start with a smaller amount of time and work up if you choose. Older children will have longer attention spans than littles.

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4. Decide on your what

Depending on your why, you may come up with different content you will want to include. So what would you like to cover in your Morning Basket?

For ideas that relate to your reasons to do a Morning basket, check out my post 5 Reasons to have a Morning Time in Your Homeschool.

Other things to consider when choosing what to include in your Morning Basket are:

  • Formal or informal?
  • Pre-made plans or DIY?
  • Plan by subjects or a theme?
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Formal or informal?

Some families like to make their Morning Basket a little more formal by lighting a candle, singing together, and ending with prayer. Others start with a loud song to draw everyone together then read a book.

It can be as formal or informal as you like for your family. And that may affect what you choose to include in your Morning Basket.

Pre-made plans or DIY?

There are companies that sell pre-made plans for Morning Basket that do the work of bringing together lots of resources into a plan for you. These lists are often loaded with ideas that make a great starting point to work from.

You also could choose a few resources on your own and build your own Morning Basket. This could be from resources you were already planning on using, or finding a few that interest you. It doesn’t have to be intricate or difficult. In fact, simple is often easier to stick with.

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Plan by subjects or a theme?

When planning out a Morning basket, you may want to choose several subjects to work through that aren’t really connected, or you may want to choose an overarching theme first then work your subjects into the theme.

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Working with a theme as a base is like a typical unit study. You might include a little art, music, science, memory work, and writing all off the theme. Often the plans you buy will be themed like this.

Some common themes might include:

  • Holidays
  • Historical time period
  • The weather
  • A specific book
  • Science topic
  • Geographical location
  • The current season
  • A person like a composer, artist, or inventor

For another way to plan your Morning basket you may just choose a few books or subjects that aren’t related by a theme. Here are some ideas of topics you could include:

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Pre-made plans for Morning Basket

Here are a couple sites you should check out if you are wanting to use pre-made plans in your Morning Basket.

  1. Your Morning Basket Shop by Pam Barnhill – LOTS of options here!
  2. Simply Charlotte Mason Enrichment plans

Some of our favorite resources

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5. Make it yours

Once you have chosen the practical aspects of a Morning Basket, you can now make it yours.

If you are using someone else’s plans, take them and make them yours. Add your own flavor and character. Adjust as you need.

Even with your own plans, remember to change whenever and however you want as you adjust. As time goes on, your needs, desires, and goals will change. It’s ok to adjust your plans to fit.

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Morning Time list

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Morning Time list with options

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Morning Time list with a loop

Loops, lists, charts and blocks

I like to write out the resources I choose on a paper in my planner so I can reference it as needed. I also design a general workflow for our Morning Basket that I work through each day. This is my list I work from each day.

Sometimes i have used a loop to lessen the amount of topics we cover each day. I like to use an actual basket to accomplish this. I place all the books we will use in the basket. We move through each resource as desired, either by an amount of time or number of pages. Then when we are done for the day we stop, whether or not we got through all the books. The next day we pick up the next book and start there. We will loop through the pile as we go.

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For instance, if we have 5 books in our Morning basket, we may only get through the first 2 in one day. The next day, we will pick up and start with book 3 and get through the rest of the 5. Day 3 we will loop back around to the beginnging of the pile and start with book 1. That’s a loop!

You may also use a weekly or daily chart to display your plans if they are more detailed.

You also may choose to block your resources and only do one or two resources at a time but for longer periods. This will help you get through those resources quicker than you might otherwise if doing many books or topics at once.

You may also choose to do different subjects on different days.

However you choose to plan out your Morning Basket, remember to not get stuck in those plans. Feel free to adjust, change, and manipulate any plans you arrange as time goes by. Remember this is your Morning Basket and it is only for you to meet the goals you set.

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Commonquestions about group learning time

These are a few of the most common questions when it comes to Morning baskets in homeschool.

I have a large age range of kids, how do I choose what to use to keep everyone happy?

While it may be impossible to make everyone happy all of the time, there are some ideas that may help some.

I have found it is most helpful to aim content for somewhere in the middle of your kids’ age range or above. It may take a little time to figure out what works for your kids. And it may change over time as well.

And don’t be afraid to do things that may favor one end of the sprectrum asometimes. Big kids enjoy picture books whether they’ll admit it or not, and my 5 year olds can still learn a lot even if they don’t understand everything. Sometimes it’s just about exposure.

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Another way to tackle this difficulty is to break your Morning Basket into sections. You could start with everyone together, then let your littles go play while you do more with your older kids. Or vice versa.

You could also rotate what you do by day or week for variety.

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What should my kids do while I read? They get too crazy.

Most people allow their children to do quiet activities during Morning Basket. It helps keep their hands busy and minds engaged.

Younger children will especially have a hard time sitting still, so allowing them to move a little may help them. And just because they’re moving doesn’t mean they aren’t listening, they may actually listen better while moving!

My requirement for my kids during Morning Basket is that they can do most anything they want as long as they are quiet and can keep listening. I prefer they don’t choose activities that require too much brain work as that could be distracting for them. But they also don’t have to be still.

Be sure to communicate your expectations with our kids to help set the stage for what is ahead.

Here are some activities my kids and others have done during Morning Basket:

  • Coloring
  • Lego
  • Puzzles
  • Crocheting
  • Knitting
  • Sewing
  • Drawing
  • Hang upside down
  • Play with balloons
  • Bubbles
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Crafting
  • Dolls
  • Cars
  • Playdough/clay
  • Kinetic Sand
  • Painting
  • Eat snacks or a meal
  • Jump around an obstacle course
  • Hand stands
  • Aquabeads
  • Climb on a jungle gym
  • Paint nails
  • Blocks

There are so many options!

How do I do this with babies and toddlers?

For quite a while it was a struggle of mine to try to do a Morning Basket with a baby or toddler in the house. I had actually given up on morning time and decided it wasn’t for me after struggling for months. But I tried again when my youngest was older and I will never go back.

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If you have littles in the house, here are some tips you could try:

  • Keep it short
  • Do it during nap time
  • Do it after they’re sleeping at night
  • Have special toys only for Morning Basket
  • Snacks!
  • Do it during a meal
  • Make it a learning time for sitting still (for short amounts)
  • Do it in an area they will play quietly and not need your attention
  • Maybe it’s not your season – take a break till they are older.
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How long should my Morning Basket be?

Morning Basket will range from 10 minutes to a couple hours, depending on the family. You decide whatever works for you and yours. When just starting out, it is helpful to start with a short amount of time and build up to longer if desired as you develop the habit.

I tend to keep ours around one hour for attention. But older kids could do more, and younger may need less.

With a little time, you’ll find your sweet spot.

I have a hard time making things happen in the morning. Do you have any tips?

Getting things rolling in the morning (or any time of day) can be the hardest part. Your kids may be doing other things or having a good time and you don’t want to mess that up.

Ultimately, you just have to do it. You can choose a specific time, set an alarm, and when it goes off, you call your kids in and start. Or you could start when you have finished your morning routines and are ready to do the next thing. Do what works for you.

Something some people do is to play a song on a speaker loud enough for all to hear. Everyone then knows that when they hear that song it’s time to wrap up what they’re doing, grab something to do and sit down for Morning Basket.

This short bit of a transition time is helpful for many people. And can help mom not feel so much like a bad guy.

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Tips for starting a Morning Basket

If you’re wanting to start a Morning Basket in your homeschool, here are my top 5 tips for getting started!

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To read more about these and other tips for getting started with a Morning Basket, read my post 5 Tips for Starting a Group Learning Time in Your Homeschool.

  1. Start slow– Start slow with one thing and add to it as you develop the habit. Just start with 10 minutes.
  2. Be flexible– Allow it to be shaped over time. Change what doesn’t work as needed.
  3. It takes time to develop– All things take time to adjust. Don’t give up too easily.
  4. Don’t overcomplicate it – Keep it simple and enjoyable as you adjust.
  5. Different seasons, different approaches – You will approach things differently over time depending on if you have babies, big kids, multiple, or only one. Allow things to change as works for your family.

Getting started is the hardest part! Give yourself grace and don’t be afraid to try new things and experiment. Every family is different and so every homeschool Morning Basket will have it’s own flavor! Don’t be afraid to make it your own!

Read: 5 Tips for Getting Started with a Group Learning Time in Your Homeschool

Free printable worksheets

If you’re looking to plan out your own Morning Basket, be sure to download these free group learning worksheets! They will help walk you through every step mentioned in this post, from deciding on your why to picking the right time of day!

There are also free worksheets to list the resources you choose and plan out your daily schedule!

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Morning Basket Made Easy

A morning Basket is a great way to enjoy your homeschool more. I hope this rundown of the who, what, when, where, why, and how of a Morning Basket has helped you feel like you can succeed at getting your own personalized group learning time started in your homeschool. By including your whole family in a Morning Basket, you can accomplish whatever you choose in your homeschool!

Related Posts

5 Reasons to Have a Morning Time in Your Homeschool

7 Schedule Hacks to Save Your Sanity

5 Tips for Starting a Group Learning Time

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Morning Basket Made Easy: Group Learning in Homeschool - Homeschool Planning (2024)

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