Morning Basket – Ageless, Inspiring…and Still Standing

As we wrap up our year, I’m looking back at a few plans and books to review and chat about.  Without a doubt, our Morning Basket time continues to serve our growing family.  What began around 8 years ago as a common point in the day with shared reading time, has evolved and grown into something that is full, and extraordinarily rich.  At the time, I didn’t see how essential this time would become, but I see it now.


In revisiting my earlier thoughts on the Morning Basket, I came across how I originally began to envision our common time:

I began to brainstorm a basket of inspiration that could be ageless in its offerings, that spanned abilities, that spoke to beauty and loveliness, and gave the day an inspiring start. My idea was to gather a collection of offerings that all the children would want to be a part of…a collection that could almost stand on its own for the day’s work if needed.

I know I’ve landed on something good (not good because I get credit for coming up with it, but good in the sense that all good must come from God) if, after 8 years, that is still my motivation and vision.  And it is.  Our Morning Basket is still ageless, inspiring, and a collection that can stand on its own if that’s what is needed for the day.

And, I’m not alone either – if you’d like even more perspective, you’ll want to listen to Cindy Rollins talking about her Morning Time.  At the time I came up with our Morning Basket, I didn’t know about Cindy’s Morning Time, but I find it affirming that individually we’ve both come up with something so parallel.  It speaks to the universal good of this common time spent together, I think.

So, for background, here are my past posts on our Morning Basket time:

The Morning Basket

Refreshing the Morning Basket

With each new year and each new season, our Morning Basket time has evolved.  Some seasons have been pretty sparse in Morning Basket offerings, and I’ll be honest, in looking back I can see those times as bereft of the richness I want as part of our educational offerings.  I can see overall consistency in our Morning Basket time over the years, but there are definite times that I was less focused.  I’d re-evaluate, and get up and refresh A-gain with the needed self-discipline to roll with a full and rich Morning Basket.  That’s meant as an encouragement – if you’ve tried this before and you’re coming around again to the idea – it still works – brainstorm again and roll with it again!  If you’re enjoying this kind of common time together already (whatever you might call it), then I encourage you to keep living it, make it a priority: it yields great fruit over the years!

Here are some of the benefits that I probably didn’t recognize at first, but over the years, I’ve come to value:

  • Older sibling example to younger siblings.  Since the Morning Basket is the place I keep my virtue/character read alouds, I like that my bigger kids are also modeling good habits during this time.  My little kids do pay attention to this – no lesson planning required!
  • Group narrations – can I just tell you how much I love group narrations!!  All narrations have value, but again, that modeling that goes on in a group narration has yielded enormous fruit.  And a group narration with a variety of ages – enormously valuable! It teaches:
    • narration – the skill of it
    • attention – to the person narrating
    • that someone else’s perspective may be different and valuable
    • prompts rich discussion within the family
    • young children must learn patience in waiting their turn to contribute
    • older children must extend their respect to their younger siblings as the littles narrate
  • The HIGHLY efficient use of time!  In a CM education, all the children may be reading Shakespeare, studying an artist, composer, reading and learning poetry and other memory work, working on a hymn…and more!  Combine all of that into one fantastic time (call it whatever you want), and you have common time spent within the family.  Win-win!


Aside from my perspective, I thought I’d share what has been a fantastic term of Morning Basket work for us, just because I gather so many ideas in seeing how others live out an idea.  This isn’t meant to encourage emulation (I’m definitely NOT a super-hero!  I’m just a mom that brainstorms, lives, falls, gets up and does it all again)…or depression (don’t allow examples shared by other moms to be an occasion of sin: no comparing, fretting, or feeling inadequate!  Use it as a tool for motivation)!!  So…with the disclaimer out of the way…

Click here to download our Morning Basket – Term 3 – 2014

Morning Basket

Picture Study

We’ve really, really enjoyed using the Simply Charlotte Mason’s Picture Study Portfolios this year!  What a fabulous collection that makes approaching a particular artist so streamlined and attractive!  This term we studied Monet, a particular favorite artist of mine.

Composer Study

This term we studied George Friederic Handel and I read a little each week from Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Composers: George Handel.  I haven’t used any books from the Getting to Know… series before, and we liked it.  It’s a little cartoony for my personal preference, but it was engaging and  a good biography for children. (We really enjoy the Opal Wheeler series a lot if you’re studying a composer from her series!).  I use iTunes to assemble particular pieces from a composer when we study the composer.  I typically read ahead in whatever book I’m using for the composer’s biography, and choose specific pieces mentioned and then as we read about the piece, we spend the next week or two listening to it and getting to know it.  Sometimes I can’t find a piece, even in iTunes, and youtube works great as a help for this.  We read about Handel’s Biblical Oratorio, Israel in Egypt, and were intrigued {open door}.  So, I found an excellent performance to watch and we really enjoyed trying to find the plagues as part of the oratorio.

Formal Art Study

This is something that is just plain hard to fit in our day.  I have a few kids to work with, and that means that my involvement in anything is limited.  I finally figured out {I’m slow…I know!} that putting art instruction in the Morning Basket meant that we completed it more, and time spent was more efficient because we were all together.  I’m definitely continuing with this approach!  I’m a long time fan of Artistic Pursuits series for this.  I typically break this out of the morning time and I’ve really hit my stride in approaching it this way.  I like to save this for after lunch, and I have had SO much success with actually getting it done if I let the kids enjoy their afternoon out-of-doors time while I set up our space {without them in it!}: setting out the supplies for the lesson for each child.  No scrambling and looking for a #6 paintbrush during the lesson.  Another duh! moment {see the theme here –> she’s slow but eventually gets it!}: preparing the lesson means a smoother lesson for the children and allows me time to really enjoy it!

Nature Walk Time

I’ll be honest, if I don’t peg this somewhere during the week, then the week slips past and we don’t do a focused Nature Walk.  And then weeks tend to add up.  I don’t like that.  That’s not to say we don’t spend plenty of time out of doors, but there really is so much wonderful value in a focused Nature Walk.  So, I brainstormed some questions that pertain to the season/term, and I keep this simple: we walk in our own gardens, yard and wooded treeline.  {I LOVE taking special walks on wildflower trails and mountain hikes, but some seasons necessitate closer to home walks – so if you don’t walk because you’re intimidated by the thought of getting out and going to nature, bring nature to your windows and walk in your own gardens!}

Story of the World

We don’t use this resource every year or every term, but this year because of our study of Ancient History, we’ve been enjoying the audio version of Volume I, and the Morning Basket is a great place for it to live – everyone can enjoy it.  I don’t do anything over-complicated with this.  We listen, they narrate.  Simple.

Faith and Religion

We start with our morning prayers here and then each morning we check the Liturgical Calendar {Note: we follow the 1962 calendar since we attend the Extraordinary Form of the Mass} and read about the saint of the day.  We primarily use Saints for Young People For Every Day of the Year, by the Daughters of St. Paul (2 volume set), copyright 1963, for our reading.  My little kids love the Liturgical Calendar coloring book which we subscribe to.  {I print the month’s coloring pages at the beginning of the month and then bind them with my Proclick}  I may also read from a Baltimore Catechism lesson here, or another liturgical year picture book.

Read Aloud Time

Covering History, Natural History, Virtue/Character

I try to read aloud from something from Natural History.  This term we’ve been hopping around based on seasonal interest.  I might choose a picture book, or we sometimes read an article from the month’s Nature Friend magazine.

Since Charlotte Mason always integrated reading about national history {obviously, her choices were English history since she was in England} alongside her period-specific history choices, I’ve discovered that the Morning Basket is an excellent place to read aloud our national history book!  This term we read The Chestry Oak by Kate Seredy.  It’s an excellent book, but it wasn’t a good fit for our Morning Basket with the ages I have now.  It was too much for my youngest.  But now we’re reading Nathaniel Hawthorne’s A Wonder Book {admitting the obvious: this is not national history} and everyone is thoroughly enjoying it!

I’ve also been reading a little at a time from Simply Charlotte Mason’s Laying Down the Rails: A Habit Training Companion {we’re still in Book 1…working through slowly}.  This resource (as are all of SCM’s resources) is integrated with CM’s writings, and I like the format.  Each week I read the Parent Prep section which gives me a good sense of where we’re going with the habit we’re working on.  Then, once a week, I read a lesson {sometimes two if the lesson is short}.  Sometimes there may be poetry or other quotes which make excellent copy work or additions to our memory work.  Since we move slowly, we really spend some time adding ideas about a particular habit to our everyday way of life.  We may cover 1 – 3 habits each term {3 is a stretch}.

Memory Work

True confession: I’m still working on a memory work system.  I like the system that SCM describes in their Scripture Memory System because it involves a system of review and repetition, but I haven’t yet committed the time to take it, translate it, and make it a part of how we work.  Maybe a summer project for me?  In any case, I do value making time for memory work.  Inspired by Celeste, I use Evernote to gather mp3 files of audio versions of hymns and folksongs so that I just pull Evernote up when we’re learning something new.


We usually read some Shakespeare as part of the Morning Basket, but we took a break this term.  Now, you Shakespeare purists, don’t throw tomatoes at me, but we just love Shakespeare: The Animated Tales for setting up some context.  {Do preview these – though they are animated, they cover content from Shakespeare faithfully – mature content and all!}  We have so much fun drawing out a character map for a play.  This one is from A Midsummer Nights Dream – it’s so easy to get tangled up in the many love interests!  Merciful heavens!


…and we like Lamb and Nesbit for young children’s reading of Shakespeare. I really recommend Marchette Chute’s Stories From Shakespeare for background before reading a play!  It’s essential for mom/teacher, and often works well when read aloud.

And…in case you’re interested, I’ve compiled a document that details Shakespeare’s works.  It contains notes about historical context of a play, movies that might be based on a play, general content themes and {my own} thoughts on age appropriateness.  I’ll add it here in case it’s a help: Shakespeare 37 Plays–Reference.  {I built this in Pages for mac, so if you have Pages and want the original document so you can add/edit it – just email me and I’ll send it to you!}

Extra Stuff…you know…the stuff you notice your kids don’t know

For example, I recently realized that my 9 year old can’t yet recite the months of the year.  {ugh}  So, I make a note of it here and we work on it in our Morning Basket.  Same with learning the branches of government, name of the President, Congressmen, Senators, important phone numbers, blah, blah, blah.  There’s always something…some little gap I’m noticing.  The Morning Basket gives it a place to land.

I also sometimes throw a little map work in here – nothing complicated here {you know my theme…be simple or…begone! :)} I give the child a simple labeled outline map of an area we’re studying for 5 minutes {set a timer}.  They study it.  Then I give them the same map, unlabeled.  They label as much as they can remember.  Lather, rinse, repeat this enough and a child can learn an amazing amount of basic map work over the years.

In wrapping this up, I’ll add that we spend on average 1 hour to 1.5 hours each day on Morning Basket work.  It’s meaty, so the time investment is there.  BUT…let’s say you’ve got a full day outside the home: errands, a lesson, Mass, stop by the grocery store, then home for dinner and marathon laundry…AND…there is some hope for a day of school lessons, too???  My solution has been to make our Morning Basket time the priority.  And to keep Morning Basket really flexible, I add everything I can to Evernote {free app that I HIGHLY recommend} and my iPad {see if you can find some of your books from your Morning Basket to store on your iPad, many are available free in the public domain and this allows you to read from the book…or your ereader!  It’s a great help in flexibility!} so that Morning Basket is also TOTALLY PORTABLE!  It’s enough.  I don’t make this the rule, but it’s an excellent exception to the rule for a full day and it keeps us rolling forward.


If you’re considering your year(s) past, wrapping up…and if you’re like me and beginning to consider the year upcoming, do consider something that might function as a common time, a Morning Basket.  It doesn’t have to be complicated, in fact it should be simple!  It is efficient in its function in your day which makes it a wise investment of your time.  Living book and Memory work choices can be appropriate for all ages in your home!  And this time may become for you as it has for us: an anchor that nurtures family, inspires ideas, and collects it all in a simple basket.

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  1. Thank you for this! This is the first year that something like this has actually worked for us. It’s much less than what you describe here, but with a 14 yo and an 8 yo, it’s a bit tricky! It has been worth it though, to not give up!!

  2. Wonderful post Jenn! Could you tell me how you incorporate Evernote into your morning basket? I use it mostly for house stuff. I would love to see how you use it for schooling.

    1. Hi Mary Ellen! I’d love to share about Evernote and the Morning Basket! It has been such a helpful tool for me! If you’re already using it to create “notebooks” for your house stuff then you know how Evernote can work, right?

      So, just start thinking of your Morning Basket and make some more Evernote notebooks. You can organize your notebooks in a couple of ways – you could have Shakespeare notebooks, Poetry notebooks…. Or, you can organize by making notebooks called Morning Basket Monday, Morning Basket Tuesday, etc. I do the latter, but I’m excited to really rethink my Morning Basket organization as I’m starting to plan out my summer Morning Basket and I always rethink with a view toward how the Basket would fit us *right now*. So…maybe I’ll change up how I organize our Evernote notebooks.

      After you’ve made “notebooks” you have a place for your stuff to land. I typically clip articles, pdfs, and ESPECIALLY love clipping mp3s. I clip them as I plan for our Morning Basket, knowing what I’m reading or using for Memory Work for the upcoming basket. This past term we’ve been learning The Battle Hymn of the Republic as our folksong, and I clipped an mp3 of it so we could learn by hearing it sung perfectly. My kids even emulate the quieter then more louder singing in one of the verses. I do the same thing for our hymns – I find an mp3 and put it in an Evernote notebook. Since singing is not my particular talent, using mp3s of folksongs and hymns has been a great help to us!

      It’s easy to find poetry/poets online, so I clip the poems we’re working on for Memory Work, and I do the same with the Bible verses we’re working on – (Douay Reims version for memorization). I also clip bibliography articles for authors we’re reading, and great natural history drawing how-to pages to focus on for the term. Sometimes, in my clicking around I come across a rabbit trail that would spring from our Morning Basket and I even keep a Rabbit Trails Notebook in Evernote.

      All of these Evernote notebooks keep all my online support material in one place, so I can just grab my iPad or laptop along with a few books and we’re ready to roll for the day. No searching around during or after our Morning Basket – it’s all in one place and the little bit of preparation time I invested in clipping support material for Evernote means that I’m more *present* and engaged in the daily Morning Baskets.

      As I mentioned, I also like keeping my Morning Basket totally portable, so I also check to see if any books we’re reading for our Morning Basket – poetry, Shakespeare, history, geography, composer – are available on iBooks (also check Gutenberg,, and google books, and…check because sometimes there is a pdf of a book you can grab). Since we often use older books (with excellent writing), it’s not unusual for us to be able to find these for free in the public domain. Then, in *Collections* in my ibooks, I create a Morning Basket collection and move all my Morning Basket books in there.

      I’m sure you could do something just like that on any tablet.

      The point is….now I can grab our iPad and we can head out the door! At least some of my Morning Basket books are generally on there, so there will be reading aloud somewhere along the way for the day. (Trying my hand at audio books on my iPad soon…really want to be able to get some audio books on there!) And, I have my Evernote (which syncs across all my devices –> iPad, iPhone, laptop) so now I have all of our Memory Work, hymns, folksongs, poetry – all on one very portable little iPad and organized in Evernote.

      It’s clear after typing this response that this probably should have been a post all its own!! LOL!!! Maybe I’ll do that soon because pics would help! Anyway….hope something here helps, Mary Ellen!

      1. Just wanted to mention that the Audible app on our iPad gets a HEAVY daily workout. If you have an audible account, it’s really, really easy to just keep the books on the iPad with the free app, but I have to warn you that the books take up a lot of memory. So we’re constantly swapping books in and out on the advice. (Actually what happens is that I archive some in order to get new ones on there, and my 11 yo just keeps adding the old ones back on! So we’re constantly in need of memory. But if you don’t try to keep, like, 20 books on the device at one time, you should be good!)

  3. We also started having a morning time many years ago — gosh, I think it’s been almost 9 years, because I was pregnant with the twins and needed to start the morning from the couch. So we would pray, work on any new prayers we were learning, read the Bible, then several read alouds, and the kids would do art while I read. Compact and efficient. As I’ve added more boys and the ages have stretched out, we’ve had our difficult times and sometimes our morning time has become pretty short — like, 30 minutes or less. This year I decided to keep it mostly for the 10 and under boys, and things have smoothed out a little. We have had a good year reading through a story Bible and learning Latin prayers, vocabulary, and grammar. That was about the extent of what my 3 yo and 6 yo would allow us to do. I’m hopeful that next year we can add to that, because I still find that if I don’t add it into our morning time, too much becomes hit and miss as the day goes on. Your posts about your morning basket are always very inspiring, full of ideas and resources! (And my kids also seem to have a lot of trouble remembering the months of the year, so we worked on that as well! LOL)

    1. Sigh…the months of the year! LOL!!! That’s probably one of the reasons I love the Morning Basket – we’re always discovering some little *thing* that the kids should probably know…like say, the months of the year – and the Morning Basket gives me one place for it all to land.

      And after you commented about the twins and couch learning and doing the Morning Basket you jogged a memory cell and I realized that I had a braindead moment in thinking about how long we’ve been doing MB, too. Because I remember I started *right before* I got prego and sick with my John Paul…and that’s been 9 ½ years now. So, I guess we’ve been doing MB for 10 years, but I only have written plans and records going back 6.

  4. We began doing morning basket time a couple (?) years ago after I read your previous posts on it. (I can’t thank you enough for the inspiration!) Then I read Cindy’s series on morning time and it just confirmed all the more that this was something we needed to keep. It is indeed so rich and just so…living! We do our memory work at this time (with a binder set up like the SCM scripture memory system that you mentioned above, but we also include poetry and Spanish vocab), and I just yesterday realized that I can begin doing ear training and theory as part of their music education during this time, so that will soon be added as well. I was also thinking that eventually I’d like to include some math exploration (games, histories, biographies, puzzles, etc).

  5. I always love reading your Morning Basket updates, they inspire me to continue working on our morning time. Thank you! I plan to try something new in the fall and hope to work out the contents over the summer. I’m trying to balance eight children in this morning time and still tweaking just what to do together.

    1. Oh, I know what you mean, Tristan! This year my age/grade spread in Morning Basket was from 1st grade – 12th grade. Phew! But we worked it out and having those bigger kids present and setting great examples is a HUGE help!! I didn’t ask my big kids to stay for the entire Morning Basket time. They have already heard some of the read alouds already. So, maybe consider your together time in two different *chunks* – one in which you’re all together…and another with littler kids, excusing biggers to go do their independent reading/work. Anyway…just encouraging you!

  6. Your thorough simplicity and elegance never cease to amaze me, Jen. Now, don’t blush my friend! It is true and the world needs more of you. Thank you always for sharing. Even when I’m stranded at a baseball field an unable to comment, know that I’m reading and rooting for you <3

  7. Always love your Morning Basket and CM thoughts, Jen! I love our morning time, when we have done it. The one thing I have trouble with is transitioning from one subject to another w/in morning time. I always feel so awkward. “OooooKay….we’re done with that, how ’bout this book now.” LOL They always want to continue what we are doing (i.e. reading one more chapter, one more poem, one more saint, etc) instead of transitioning also. Wondering if this is just ;the nature of thing, or if there is a *good* way to switch subjects without losing or disheartening them.

    1. Hmmm…the transition. I guess I just don’t worry about it. I take the books out of my basket that we’re going to read/work from for the morning and set them out on my desk each morning. Doing this means the kids can *see* what we’re doing. They know that the Morning Basket is a group of different offerings and they can easily see the lesson plans on the clipboard on my desk: so they know what’s coming up for the day. I typically spend a short amount of time on each subject anyway, and when we’re done, I either ask the kids to narrate….or, if I don’t, like maybe if we’re transitioning from poetry to working on those pesky months of the year, I just say, “Great. We’re done with our poem, now, let’s work on the months of the year. I’ll start you off and let’s see how far you can get on your own. January….” And that’s it. I don’t even take a breath between poetry and memory work – and I don’t invite commentary. It is what it is, and we move forward. I don’t even TRY to make a transition. LOL! We just take the next step forward…so I guess I never considered it very awkward. It’s just a function of the Morning Basket that it’s a basket full of very different delights that we move through as if they’re little stepping stones.

    1. Great question, Abby! I spent a lot of time looking into *baskets* to use in our home because I’m ALWAYS collecting books and things in baskets – I wanted something practical, sturdy, and pretty. Not too much to ask, right? LOL! In the end, I’ve been so pleased with Peterboro Baskets and have been using them DAILY in all sorts of ways, all over the house, including as our official Morning Basket…for over 5 years now. I highly recommend them – they’re made by a family owned shop in the US, very pretty, sturdy, and have been a great investment in baskets!

      You can read through an entire post of Peterboro Baskets here: Blogging Beautiful Baskets. Since it’s an older post, some links may go to baskets that are no longer offered – sorry! Unfortunately, this is the case with the basket I currently use to collect my Morning Basket books – the closest basket to the one I use that is currently available is the Open Office Storage Basket – which is exactly the same as the basket I use, just not quite as wide.

      Hope that helps, Abby!

      1. Hi, I just wanted to let you know that I called Peterboro and told the about the Open Office Storage Basket. I asked her if they had one wider and she directed me to this one:
        They are able to make that one without the lid. I think that would be close to what you have. So all that to say, I was able to get one! Just wanted to let you know in case anyone asked about it again. Thanks so much for your help! I love your blog. It has helped me so much!

  8. I’ve been a long-time follower of your blog, but not a regular commenter. Hi! *waves* Over the last year or two, I’ve been trying to making morning time more regular and well-spent in our house. I’m committed to making it work. How much time do you typically spend–on a good day–with your morning basket? I also wonder about transitions from the subjects within the basket, and then transitioning to the rest of the day smoothly. Thanks for the inspiration!

  9. **nevermind** Now I finished reading all the way to the end and re-read the part about how long you spend with your morning time basket. 🙂

    1. Waving hi, Gina! Hopefully my answer in the comment above yours (to Amy) answers your question about transitioning…which I actually don’t do. LOL! If you have more questions, please do just ask!

  10. I was privileged to hear Cindy Rollins’ talk “The Long Haul: Morning Time” in person at the Circe Conference in 2012. I just found a link to it on the Circe website where you can listen to it for free:

    I listened to it myself this morning and it was just as inspiring now as it was when I first heard it.

    Three other points I would like to make:

    1) Transitions worked best for us when we alternated between activities where the children were more passive (listening to a read aloud) and activities where they were more active, as in picture study, hymn sing, poetry recitation, and so on.

    2) One of the more active items we included in our morning time was practicing our Mountain Ocarinas (see them here The ocarinas are small enough to easily fit in a basket. The tunes were such fun to play that this became one of the favorite parts of our day. I highly recommend mountains ocarinas as instruments for homeschooling families. Including them in “Morning Basket” ensures that practice happens regularly!

    3) In case there are any afterschoolers reading this blog, know that the activities in a “Morning Basket” work equally as well as an “Evening Basket”. In fact, the richness of our experience as afterschoolers with an “Evening Basket” was one of the factors that prompted us to embark on our homeschooling journey!

    Hope this helps! Lisa Ripperton

  11. Thanks Lisa Ripperton for posting the Circe Site. I am enjoying Cindy Rollins’talk and will check back to listen to a few more!

    Our Morning Basket time is a favourite in our day. I also have relied solely on its contents on busy days. The work it takes to assemble it with thoughtful selections proves itself over and over. It has been a blessing for me to know that we are getting solid content covered, even on days when we are busy with other areas of life. It has been a blessing for my children in the relationships that are built and solidified by sharing this time with siblings.

    I am just now beginning to plan for our September-December basket and I appreciate you sharing your selections Jen!
    Our name came as a tribute to the container holding our selections as well- though, ours is not nearly as sturdy as yours! Finding a supplier of sturdy, beautiful baskets that ships to Canada for a reasonable amount has moved to the top of my to-do list! Thanks for the inspiration!

    As always, a beautiful post and very well timed!


  12. Jen, Another lurker here… I would like to know what other subjects do you cover on a daily basis for your 9 and under crowd? As always I have been ever so grateful to have you as a resourceful friend in the online world! Many thanks.

    1. Hi April – thanks for the great question!

      For the 9 and under crowd, in addition to our Morning Basket time, there are daily short lessons in:

      ** religion/faith
      ** math, sometimes via a picture book or a Montessori work, not always a math lesson
      ** history stories
      ** natural history stories
      ** language arts {could be copy work, dictation, narrations}
      ** latin

      1. Jen, thanks. Can you suggest a beginners or primary intro to latin book? I was sure I found a gentle story like book over on Ambleside but have lost the lead. As a back up, I am considering English From the Roots Up. Thoughts?

        1. I’m sorry I’m late to reply to this, April!

          Before you begin Latin, you need to decide if you’re going to follow Classical Latin pronunciation or Ecclesiastical. The difference is simple and applies ONLY to the way a very few things sound – such as the letter ‘v’. In classical you would sound it ‘w’ – in ecclesiastical it sounds like a ‘v’. Since we are Roman Catholic and attend the Latin Mass, ecclesiastical pronunciation is important to us and our choices reflect that. I do have a really great recommendation if you’re looking for classical pronunciation.

          For early Latin, my favorite is Prima Latina by Memoria Press. I don’t ever require anything written – I teach the lesson very simply and then we practice our vocabulary through the week. I usually start it around 2nd/3rd grade, but my 4th child (a daughter) is so bright that she tagged along with her older brother last year enough so that I’m just including her more formally with it this year. I approach it very gently, and incorporate the vocabulary and prayers through our memory work and that makes it simple enough for us to use with just about any age.

          I love almost all that Classical Academic Press offers, and if you don’t mind Classical pronunciation of Latin, I recommend Song School Latin. Their series moves forward from there.

          Here are some Latin readers to look through:
          Elementary Latin readers
          Latin Reader: Easy Selections for Beginners – free at

          Hope that gives you a start, April!

  13. I recently found your blog and LOVE it! This post is so inspiring. We are almost done for this school year but I plan on implementing a morning basket in our home in the fall. I absolutely adore your Morning Basket chart, it is beautiful! Any chance you can make a blank one available for download? Thank you!

    1. Hi Amy – I’m a little short on time right now, but I’d LOVE to make a blank chart for download! Keep an eye out for it! As I find time and work on my lesson plans and Morning Basket plans for the upcoming year {which we try to begin in July}, I upload new plans and charts. I’d probably do it then! Thanks for the suggestion!

  14. Jen, I know this is an old post but I am curious about the Holy Bible pictured in your basket. I didn’t see it linked and would love more info on it. And also your recommendation for a bible for the very young (advanced 3/4 year old) there are so many children’s bibles and I hear such mixed reviews. As a fellow Traditional Catholic, I would enjoy hearing your thoughts and recommendations. Thank you so much!

    1. Nicole!!!! Forgive how long it has taken me to reply!!!

      On the off chance you’re still curious about the Bible pictured in my basket, it’s one of my absolute favorites! The Holy Bible adapted for young Catholic readers, selected and arranged by Elsa Jane Werner and Charles Hartman, illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky, copyright 1960 by Guild Press. It’s my favorite Bible for elementary students (1st-3rd grade). Beautiful illustrations – not cartoony – and lovely!

  15. Hi, do you take all your children on the nature walk? I have six and obviously some teeny tiny ones. I feel like I have to “keep on walking” to make baby happy, but the big kids want to plop down in fields and draw/color/observe…

    1. Hi Erin,
      My answer may not be super helpful to you because it’s a function of our own circumstances. We live very rurally (by choice) and that means that we usually take 2-4 formal nature walks each year. We like the wildflower trails and a few mountain trails, and we have family land that runs by a river and enjoy seasonal walks there. The majority of our nature walks are right in our own yard (which admittedly, is a generous size – we live on 3 acres). So…for our formal nature walks – yes – all the kids, littles and bigs are with me. For our backyard walks, I typically send the kids out. Sometimes I’m with them, but sometimes I’m not. When my younger kids are just beginning to walk and observe, I like to be with them, but the bigger kids do well on their own, and that allows them to plop and journal in place if they like, or take a picture of something and come inside and watercolor, or whatever. I do try to encourage the kids if there may something special or seasonal to see – changing leaves, emerging buds, etc.

      Maybe a nice compromise would be to really begin to cultivate your own yard and gardens as a nature sanctuary so that some of your nature walks can be right in your own spaces. I really enjoy that because the kids can make wonderful seasonal observations by seeing their familiar surroundings most frequently, and it’s also nice in a Book of Firsts!

      I hope something here helps!

  16. Thank you for sharing your inspiring Morning Basket! I cannot wait to utilize this concept into our Charlotte Mason inspired homeschool. You have blessed us!

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