Thursday, December 3, 2015

Our {Winter} Morning Basket

Many homeschoolers use "morning baskets," or "afternoon baskets" during the day. They typically consist of a hodgepodge of reading selections, some often religious or spiritual. As secular homeschoolers, we do not use any religious texts in our school, but we love morning baskets!

I feel like if we can only get through an hour of morning basket work and nothing else, then I can happily live with that!

Come take a peek at what's in our winter morning basket. Ours is individualized for my fourth grader who is learning about our home state of California this year. Please feel free to glean some ideas from our basket or comment some of your own suggestions and/or experiences.

Topics we cover:

1. Morning binder
2. Memory work
3. Art/Picture Study
4. History
5. Nature/Science
6. Seasonal Extra 
7. Poetry
8. Shakespeare
9. Biography
10. Read-Aloud

Now, we don't read from every topic every day, but we do most of them.

1. Morning binder

The morning binder consists of a personal information and emotions page, in which he practices writing and signing his name, writing his address and phone number, and documenting his feelings that day. I printed an emotion circle chart with a host of emotions available to choose from.

 Next is a page with a letter of the day. He must brainstorm a noun, verb, adjective, animal, food, and place that all begin with that letter. It's been wonderful practice for him to remember parts of speech. He also writes down the book and author he's currently reading and jots down any spelling words he's working on.
 Then we have a page for Latin words and food. He typically picks a Latin word he's currently learning, writes its meaning, puts it in a sentence, and draws it. I write the name of a food, and he looks it up in our Wellness Foods from A to Z book and records its vitamin/mineral content.
 Because we're studying California all year, I write a different California city every day on this map page, and he searches online for it, marks its location and ours and records which direction that city is from us.
 2. Memory Work

This season, Aidyn is working on memorizing "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost. We only work on this for five minutes a day with the goal of being able to recite it around Christmas.

3. Art/Picture Study

This season, we are looking at California impressionists. Most of the art is of beautiful California landscapes.


Once a week, we observe one painting, trying to copy it into our mind, close the book, and try to relate it back with words. Then we open it up and see if we missed any details. It's fun to hear what he sees compared to what I see, as he's usually more perceptive.

4. History

Again, because we are focused on California this year, we are mostly reading California history books.


Every day, we read a snippet about Native Californians.

Every other day, we read one of the stories in It Happened in Northern California, which is filled with all sorts of interesting stories from our region of the state.


Because early California history has us learning about Native Californians, we are also learning about extraordinary American Indians as well. We read one account per week.
 
5. Nature/Science

Aidyn loves rocks, so we're reading about different kinds of rocks and minerals every other day (or more, as Aidyn demands!)

6. Seasonal Extra

I found a fun Christmas book that explores the etymology behind seasonal words. We focus on one word a day.


What I love about this book is that each word references an old language (often Latin), a famous poet, and Shakespeare! 


7. Poetry

Once a week (usually on Poetry Teatime Tuesdays), we read a selection of poetry. This season is Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold and Antarctic Antics: A Book of Penguin Poems.

8. Shakespeare

This season we are reading an adaptation of Shakespeare's The Tempest, a fanciful story of a magician and his daughter on a strange and haunted island.
 
 The illustrations are absolutely beautiful. We read a small section every day and plan to stretch it out all season.

9. Biography

We are focusing on a famous Californian, Joe DiMaggio.

10. Read-Aloud

So I'm not the only one reading, Aidyn reads a chapter every day from our current read-aloud, Stone Fox.


And that's it! Can you see why if all we do is our morning basket, I would be pretty satisfied? It usually only takes us an hour to get through it, and Jack is nearing an age where he is more receptive to materials we read and takes an interesting in listening along. Eventually my hope is that the morning basket unites us in home learning even if we are at different stages.

Please don't think this is all we do. After morning basket, we typically have a full day of math, Spelling Power, copywork/dictation, grammar, Latin, science (on some days), and outside classes (science olympiad, P.E., writing workshop, and study hall).

Does your family have a morning basket? What kinds of things do you read? Do you do anything special for the holidays? I'd love to hear about it!

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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the ideas! Finding secular ways to do this homeschool thing is tricky and I find myself discouraged when every "good" idea has scriptures related to it!

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