Friday, September 9, 2016

Fall 2016 Morning Basket Plans

So, our school year is now pretty well underway and running pretty smoothly…so I thought I'd share what we're doing over the next few posts.
Morning Basket Plans
Individual Lessons for First, Secondish-Third, and Fifth Grade
Putting all the Pieces Together: Our Daily, Weekly, and Yearly Rhythm
Today, let's talk Morning Basket.
We are still starting our school day with a Morning Walk.  I cannot begin to tell you what a huge difference this has made in our home.  Even on mornings where people wake up cranky and breakfast is kind of a disaster (yes, we have those days in our house, please tell me you do sometimes too?) – this hits the reset button.  We come back to the couch to begin our time together refreshed and ready.
Our Morning Basket lasts 30-45 minutes at the moment, and runs somewhat like this:
Morning Prayer
Bible – Reading, Narration, Discussion
Singing: Hymn or Psalm
Read-Aloud from our Rotation with Narration and Discussion
Singing: Folksong or Latin Song
Swedish Drill
Here are the Resources I'm using for each of those categories this fall:
Morning Prayer:
I use parts of the Morning Prayer service from The Trinity Mission – a nicely organized, user-friendly resource based on The Book of Common Prayer.
Joshua and Judges with the commentary by J. Paterson-Smyth.  Just a note on those: these were the actual commentaries Charlotte Mason recommended for use in her schools.  He was a product of his times (Victorian) and denomination (Church of Ireland, I think), and so there are places where I disagree with him.  This is not a resource to use blindly.  That said, thoughtfully using excerpts and discussion prompts has given us a lot of food for thought and brought these familiar Bible stories alive in a new way.  So they have been a good resource for us.  If you decide to try them, do be sure to read through the lessons ahead of time and decide how you want to handle them.
Hymns and Psalms:
We are mostly following the AmblesideOnline Hymn rotation, although I shuffled a couple around – so the hymns we will actually be learning (one per month) are: Jesus, The Very Thought of Thee; Jesus Lover of My Soul; Be Still My Soul; and Take My Life and Let It Be.  On alternate days, we are continuing to sing our way through Psalm 119 from the Book of Psalms for Worship.
Read-Aloud Rotation:
Pilgrim's Progress (Bunyan) – the actual text.  We started this last year, and then in the craziness of moving this spring it got set aside.  We are starting again from the beginning since it had been 6 months+ since we last touched it.
Taming of the Shrew is our Shakespeare pick this fall.  We had a great time with Twelfth Night during our summer term, so our children are excited to give the Bard another go.  We started off with Lamb's retelling in Tales from Shakespeare, a film version, and making little wooden character people, and now are beginning the real thing.
Child's History of Art: Sculpture  (Hillyer) - I finally scored a fairly reasonably priced copy of this out-of-print gem.  I decided to skip over the painting section since we have learned about a lot of painters through doing picture study, but we are looking forward to expanding our knowledge of art by reading slowly through the sections on sculpture and architecture.
Parables from Nature (Gatty) – We've read through this book once already when Michelle was working her way through AO Years 1-3, where it is scheduled, and now have started over again for the sake of the younger two.  Michelle is enjoying giving it a second listen though – fun to see what she remembers from these stories, and how different aspects of them stand out to her now.
Trial and Triumph (Hannula) – I had originally wanted to keep this book as it is scheduled – stories of famous people from church history tied in with each year's other history reading across AO Years 1-6.  But this is also a book that needs to be read aloud because it has a little more of an anti-Catholic slant to it than I care for, so it requires a bit of editing and discussion. It got to be too much to be reading from three separate places with three separate students in three separate years.  That said…I didn't want to ditch these stories completely, so our compromise was moving it to a morning basket read.  We do pull out our timelines at add each person we read about, which helps them orient themselves to what other historical events were taking place around the same time, so it works out.
Elementary Geography (Charlotte Mason)  - We started slowly working our way through this book last year, and are continuing it into this year, taking time for hands-on exploration and application where appropriate.
In the read-aloud rotation, we shoot for reading a short section from Shakespeare and Pilgrim's Progress every week since these are ongoing stories and I don't want too long to elapse between each reading.  The others have more self-contained chapters, so we loop through them more slowly on the other days, hitting each about once every other week.
Singing, Again:
For folksongs, we are following the AmblesideOnline rotations.  On alternate days we sing Latin songs from Memoria Press' Lingua Angelica.  This fall, we are hoping to learn Angus Dei, Sanctus, and Veni, Veni Emmanuel (during Advent of course!).
Swedish Drill:
Hooray for my lovely friend Dawn for making Drill accessible for us regular folks.  I am pretty much following the outline of exercises and routines she is sharing over at Afterthoughts.  My kids have been loving this!  It also provides a bit of a movement break between our morning basket time on the couch and moving to the rest of our school day.
Other 'group' things that don't fit into Morning Basket or Co-op Time:
In addition to our 'formal' group studies, we continue our habit of reading a family free-read literature choice at bedtime.  My husband leads the Evening Prayer service from the Trinity Mission (portions of it anyway) at supper, usually using the New Testament Scripture reading since we are currently studying the Old Testament during our school time.   We just planted our first garden, which is our 'family project' for now….and when the cold, early-dark, winter evenings set in I'm hoping to spend some time with handicrafts.  

The one thing I am struggling to find a place for is drawing.  We enjoy drawing sessions when we have them, and I originally thought we might regroup everyone after lunch on afternoons when we don't have other activities….but that hasn't worked out as well as I hoped.  Still searching for the best place to slip this in….


  1. I love reading your plans, Jen. Lots of great ideas here. And thanks for the sweet shout out:). It's so exciting to hear that your wonderful kiddos are having so much fun with Drill. Signed, your lovely friend (tee hee)

    1. They are! Very much so. Which makes me happy. So thank you again, lovely friend. <3