Morning Basket – Term 2 Plans & Printables


How is your Morning Basket going? A friend asked me: “How can I plan a Morning Basket? I’m not sure what to include – my kids are young and I’m overwhelmed looking around at all the plans and ideas.” Let’s see if I can offer a few ideas for Morning Basket that might simplify the process if you’re trying to plan.

  • The younger your kids, the simpler your plans should be.
  • If you’ve got toddlers, keep your plans simple.
  • Keep your season of life in mind as you plan!
  • Choose 1 – 2 books to read aloud in your Morning Basket each term (our term is 12 weeks, but if you use quarters or semesters then plan in that chunk).
  • Choose a couple of things you’ll do every day. Here is what we do everyday:
    • a read aloud
    • reading from the liturgical year (saint picture book, saint or feast of the day)
    • memory work (we work on a prayer and a poem each term)
    • 1 – 2 of our variable offerings (see below)
  • Choose the things you’ll rotate throughout the week – these are your variable offerings. Here is how our week breaks down:
    • Monday – Picture Study & Faith book
    • Tuesday – Plutarch (or) Civics Reading & Geography
    • Wednesday – Poetry reading (or) Shakespeare & Folk Songs
    • Thursday – Church History & Story of the Bible
    • Friday – Nature Walk & Virtue/Habit/Character reading

I made a printable for you to use if you’d like to have something to use for starting your plans. Sometimes (a lot of times!) it helps to start shopping your shelves, stacking books on a table in front of you, and getting some ideas on paper. From there, plans have a way of funneling themselves into something more and more useful!

I thought I’d share a little printable I made for you – use this as your brainstorming sheet as you plan with your stack of potential books. Print one…print several (they’re free!). Jot down your read alouds for the term, the memory work for the term, and use the weekly grid to list the lesson/what you’ll read each week.

Click to download –> Morning Basket Blank – for planning a term

This is an editable Microsoft Word version –> Morning Basket Blank – for planning a term

Or you might prefer to use this planning grid –> Morning Basket blank grid


We’re well into our Term 2 plans and I thought I’d share what we’re doing. This term, we’re focusing a little more on civics since we have an election coming up in November, so I’m reading aloud on that topic more often now.

Click to download –> Morning Basket 2015/16-Term 2

Here are the books we’re using in this Term’s Morning Basket:

Read Alouds this Term:

  • Rush Revere and the Star Spangled Banner by Rush Limbaugh – We’ve enjoyed all the books in his series.  They bring light-hearted, often humorous, story lines to particular points of American History and my kids enjoy the perspective of his books for learning about aspects of American History.  (Note – these books contain no political inferences whatsoever.)
  • On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder – the Little House Books are just so good. No matter how many times I read them I find in them such unassuming treasures and delights that they sweep me away!

Monday – Picture Study & Faith Reading

Tuesday – American Government & Geography

  • The Everything American Government Book by Nick Ragone – I’m reading sections of this book aloud to further understanding of the electoral process. It’s over my 2nd grader’s head, but it works well for upper elementary+. For this term (in anticipation of the upcoming election), we’re focusing on the chapter: Presidential Primaries and Elections.
  • Geographical Reader for Elementary Schools by Charlotte Mason – These lessons are short and simple and I just read one lesson/week. These are geared more for my younger set.

Wednesday – Poetry & Folk Songs

  • Favorite Poems Old and New edited by Helen Ferris – this book is such an old and dear friend. For many years we’ve enjoyed it as part of our Morning Baskets. I hit a little bit of a wall in planning my poetry this term, so rather than spinning my wheels endlessly, I grabbed my old friend and decided to enjoy it anew.
  • Happy Land: Musical Tributes to Laura Ingalls Wilder by Dale Cockrell – I’ll share a little more about this resource in a future post! For now, just know that this is an absolutely delightful collection of folk songs that are featured in the Little House book series and we’re enjoying it so much! I really can’t wait to come back and share the printables and history I found while researching this rabbit trail!

Thursday – Church History & Story of the Bible

Friday – Virtues & Nature Study

Before I go, I have one other new addition I want to share with you – Scrunch Maps! Foldable, squishable, packable, un-rippable, stuff-in-your-Morning-Basket-and-go, scrunchy maps!


I have the World scrunch map and the United States scrunch map. I got them because we use our wall maps with our map dots when the kids are narrating and showing me where something is, but when we read from our Morning Basket, we’re usually all piled up together on a couch and we’re not looking at our wall maps. The scrunch maps, when folded, fit in the palm of your hand.


If we read about something in Little House, we just pull out the US map, give it a quick shake, and take a look. It’s very soft, almost fabric-like. It feels almost like a soft tyvek material and behaves like tyvek – it will fold and fold and fold again and will even take some pulling, but it doesn’t rip. (I haven’t tested just how much pulling the scrunch maps will take, but my toddler has taken off with it running through the house and it survived…so…).


The maps are soft enough that they will lay flat easily or drape across your laps! You don’t ever have to be without a map again because at $10 each, these are so inexpensive you could replace them each year if needed! Think of the possibilities:

  • Limited wall space for wall maps? Purchase a set of scrunch maps!
  • Give your child a scrunch map for the year and let them use a marker to draw and circle all the geographical points of interest from their yearly reading. Replace it with a new map the next year.
  • Are you looking for an inexpensive map that won’t be off-limits for your preschooler? Scrunch map.
  • Need a simple gift for a homeschooling friend? Scrunch map!

I just throw ours into our Morning Basket so that they’re with us whenever we need them!


How are your Morning Basket plans working for you? Have you discovered a new tool to share? Let me know!

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  1. We just got a scrunch map at Christmas (it was a gift from the 12 day of Christmas gifts that we do). We have the world one and it’s been highly used already. It’s so easy! Before we had to remember where we left the globe and go get it and then return it back. (The globe stand was broken and the globe has been rolling around the house since then. I think it’s time to toss it because it keeps rolling off every place I put it, lol!) I also got a new basket for morning basket for Christmas. It’s pretty and can sit out with books in it and there is no need to hide it and get it out of the way.

  2. Thanks for the printables. I have a twelve year old who is not a morning person, a two year old who still sometimes has trouble sleeping through the night, and I’m in my eighth month of pregnancy. Morning Basket time is very special to me so I wanted to share how we are making it work. We are doing Bible memory and a read aloud everyday, and on Mondays we try to do poetry. That’s it! If things are too crazy and we don’t make it to poetry I just push it to another day. Or another. Last week it didn’t get done till Thursday, but it got done. Also our read aloud is almost always on audio. Much easier to play legos and drink coffee when you just have to listen. I’m hoping to add just one more thing next year, maybe picture study. Hope to help others who may be overwhelmed at the thought of a full morning basket.

  3. Thank you so much for the printables! I have been using the planning grid for this current term, and it totally helped me organize what I wanted to accomplish. Excited about the word doc version too!

  4. Dear Jen,

    First of all, let me just say what a singular blessing you have been in my homeschooling journey for the past five years. I am so grateful for all that you share with us. This is truly a ministry, as you share your God–given talents with us! Thank you for being so faithful and generous with your gifts to God, your children and us!

    I love this post – we have used a morning basket for years, thanks to you! It is my favorite homeschooling time. I love how you broke the subjects up by day, instead of using the same books every day–not only are a wide range of topics covered in a systematic way, but it also keeps boredom away! That’s important for sanguine-cholerics like myself! 😉

    I have the book “Laying Down the Rails”, but it would always stress me out when I read it because I felt that I could not to transmit the virtues as eloquently as the book. It never occurred to me to actually read it to the children! I know that it is written for parents, but that makes perfect sense to just read it to the kids! 🙂 Thanks for that tip!

    We have the Dale Cockrell “Happy Land” CD, as well as the two others in the collection. Our family loves this wonderful little collection of music! What a treasure of our country’s history! Laura Ingalls Wilder said “If you want to know the spirit of those times, then you should listen to these songs.” Plus, it makes reading the books more fun when you can sing the songs instead of just reading the words!

    I am definitely excited about the scrunch maps – another homeschooling problem solved! 😉
    Thank you again for all that you do for us! God bless you!

    1. Oooh– I see that for “Laying Down the Rails”, there is a handbook and a child’s companion book. I guess I should probably invest in the companion book! LOL

  5. Thank you for sharing the Little House music collection! We have been working through the songs mentioned in the Little House series for our folk song selections, so this will be such a fun addition for my kids!

  6. Very cool maps, what a great idea! I know it sounds lazy, but I hate getting up and going into another room where the wall maps are if we have been reading on the couch all cozy!

    For your children’s memory work, do they memorize the things you have listed as well as the poems you select for the year? I always have mine doing separate poems because they are three years apart in age and that is just how I started them out; I don’t know that there is a better way. In another year they will both be working from the same St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism, so that will make that part of memory work easier at least.

    1. Yes, Erin – different poetry selections because my kids are 3-4 years apart, too. But then we’re always working on a prayer or something in common. It’s always easier learning memory worked that is shared.

  7. Thank you so much for this lovely post! My home school philosophy is a combination of classical and Charlotte Mason. We are expecting baby number 7 in the fall. I felt like my mornings weren’t going the way I wanted last year. I have heard about morning baskets here and there. Thank you for your post! It helped me tremendously with planning for this year. I also think it will be great after the baby is born. I can sit and be confident we will get our morning basket in for the day. I am going to start off slow and focus on beginning each morning with scripture, Catechism, Saint of the Day reading, or something along those lines. Each day I assigned a different focus. One day is poetry tea time, Shakespeare, nature study (we have been studying one flower per week in our garden since this past spring), African study (my in laws are living in Africa as missionaries), and I completely borrowed your Government/Civics idea. I also LOVE those maps. I purchased both of them! We do our reading (classic literature)/Rosary as a family with daddy at night. We are actually on day 500 something without missing a day of reading. Thank you for helping me to focus! God Bless!

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