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I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my daily digest via email or RSS feed. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Morning Basket Resources for Protestant Homeschoolers

Morning Basket Resources for Protestant Homeschoolers


Truth, beauty, and faith building.

That's our morning aim. We gather together at the start of our school day for purposeful group learning. Honestly, if we can spend a small bit of time each morning reading good books together...books that breed character, books that foster faith, books that point our hearts towards God and each other...I will consider the day a success. Even if the rest of the day gets derailed.
(This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for full details.)

Our Morning Basket Routine


For the last nine years, our morning basket time has been a homeschool anchor. A non-negotiable in the schedule. As with all things, it has had to ebb and flow to meet the needs of our ever-changing household. But, the main elements and overall purpose of this morning time ritual has remained a steady fixture to our learning. 

Although there are many who would cram lots of tedious academics into a morning routine, I like to keep this time simple. Easy. 

You'll find no math drills or history timelines in our basket. We don't spend hours reciting vocabulary words. And we don't read a fiction novel. Those are all worthwhile endeavors that we do and have done daily. But we pin those elsewhere on the schedule and save our morning time for what matters most.

To us, a morning basket is a launching pad; a short time together to regroup and refocus. It lasts about a half hour, most days. And always consists of the following elements.
  • a call to worship (You can find out more about that here>>)
  • hymns and praise songs (We learn a new hymn each month.)
  • memory verse practice
  • manners/character building
  • faith building (In the form of a Bible story, a theology lesson, a missionary biography, or a Bible reference/Jewish history lesson.)
After we've rotated through all of our basket items, we each grab a book that we are currently reading, spread out around the living room, and read independently for fifteen minutes. 

family reading in the morning


Our morning starts TOGETHER. 

Our Favorite Morning Basket Resources

While morning basket time and a Protestant faith are not mutually exclusive, it does seem that a great majority of the resource suggestions found online begin with a Catholic premise. (Please understand, I am in no way trying to be divisive. A faith discussion should never come from an US vs. THEM posture. I am just merely trying to provide some suggestions for those of us who wish to foster an evangelical/Protestant faith.)

Here's a list of our favorite resources from the past nine years. 

Hymns/Praise Songs

For pre-K through second grade


Hymns- This is a CD of traditional hymns sung by a children's choir. 


For elementary and above


Hymns for a Kid's Heart- This is volume one of a four volume set. Each book teaches a handful of hymns, gives biographical info of each hymn's writer, and provides a short devotional story to go along with it.


Just for Kids Hymnal- This is an illustrated hymnal with sheet music and words for traditional hymns.


Kickin' It Old School- Here's a CD of old school hymns with a modern beat from The Go Fish Guys.


Hymn Index- This is a simple guide for how I teach hymns to my kids and a list of the ones we've learned so far. 


Scripture Memory

For pre-K through second grade


My ABC Bible Verses- This book provides a verse and short devotional for every letter of the alphabet. It pairs well with a letter-of-the-week lesson plan.


My ABC Bible Verses for the Psalms- This book provides a Psalm and short devotional for every letter of the alphabet.


Children's Bible Learning Cards- I love these cards! Not only are they in our preferred ESV, but they give my little ones a picture to look at while we practice our weekly verse.


The ABC Bible Verse Book- This is a board book with shortened versions of Scripture for toddlers and really young preschoolers. 


For elementary and above


Bible Memory Plan for Kids- A 52-week Bible memory plan that provides verses and discussion points. (Since we like using the English Standard Version of Scripture, this one doesn't really work well for our home. But, it would be great for those who use KJV, NIV, or NLT.)


Seeds Family Worship Albums- These are exceptional worship CDs of Scripture set to music.


Hide 'em In Your Heart- Here's another series of Scripture based worship CDs.


Well-Versed Kids- This is a series of 3x5 verse cards that divides popular Scripture verses into easy-to-navigate categories. Sadly, it is no longer in print. I include it here in case you ever see it at a used curriculum sale. 

Fighter Verse Pack- Here's another great family verse pack. You can also access this series on the Fighter Verse app. 


Manners/Character Building

For pre-K through second grade


Right Choices- This book can lean towards a child-centered view of faith instead of a God-centered view. But, I think it still has value for helping to teach right behavior.


A Child's Book of Character Building- Don't let the lack luster cover fool you. This book is a great one for beginning Bible-based character training. There are a few school scenarios included in the stories. 



For elementary and above


Manners Made Easy for Families- As this is currently out-of-print, a hard copy is rather expensive to purchase. But, you can get the digital version relatively cheap.



Everyday Graces- Consider this a living literature anthology for teaching manners and character through classic children's literature. 




Bible Stories

For pre-K through second grade


The Big Picture Story Bible- This is an exceptionally well-written narration of major stories in Scripture and how they ALL point to Christ.


The Jesus Story-Book Bible- Some of the phrasing in this Bible can be a bit confusing for really little ones, I think. But, the overall message points to Christ in every story.


Read Aloud Bible Stories- This five volume set is one of the rare Bible story books that are truly understandable by toddlers. The pictures are big and basic and the words are very simple and repetitive. 




For elementary and above


The Book for Children- This is a narrative of Scripture split into 170+ chunks. It could be considered a family devotional Bible.


The Children's Illustrated Bible- I especially love the real photographs and interesting historical/cultural tidbits in the margins of this Bible storybook.


The Egermeier's Bible Story Book- This is a classic that has been reprinted numerous times FOR A REASON! I have my mother's childhood copy.


Journey to the Cross- This is my most favorite Easter season resource. We read it nearly every year and continue to glean new truths from its pages.  




Theology/World View

For pre-K through second grade


Big Truths for Little Kids- Consider this a Protestant catechism. Although I love the simplicity of this book for really little ones, there is one catechism statement on page 143 that I always skip as I don't think it portrays an accurate description of Believer's baptism.


Leading Little Ones to God- The daily readings are rather long, but can be separated into smaller passages for really young children. 



For elementary and above


God's Names- This is the first book in a series of six. Each volume focuses on some element of basic theology including the promises of God, the providence of God, and the wisdom of God. To be clear, these are written from a Calvanist view point.


The Ology- Basic theology is told in short narrative story form. There is one section about baptism that is kind of vague, but which can be used as a talking point for further discussion.


Who Am I?- This is the first volume in a fabulous world view series by Apologia Press. While we don't use this specifically for our Morning Basket time (but elsewhere in our day), we know many families who do.




Missionary Biographies

For pre-K through second grade


Stories from Africa- These are simple missionary stories with large black-and-white pictures for little ones. When my daughter was in Kindergarten, this was her most favorite book we read all year long.


Little Lights Missionary stories- This is a series of short picture books each featuring the life of a famous missionary from around the world. 




For elementary and above


Hero Tales- This is the first in a series of short biographical anthologies of Christian heroes.



Christian Heroes: Then and Now- This is an exceptional biography series of missionaries and contemporary Christian heroes. It is a MUST READ collection for morning time.


Window on the World- This book is one part geography/cultural study and one part call to action and prayer.


History Lives Series- This 5-volume set can lean towards a Catholic view of faith, but I think it is worth reading for the sake of general church history.


Ten Boys Who Changed the World- This is a collection of biographies about ten boys who did great things for God and the world.





Bible Reference

How the Bible Came to Us- This is a chronological history of how the Bible was written and transcribed. It details the lineage of various version of Scripture and tells how they have each spread across the globe.



What the Bible is All About Handbook for Kids- This actually makes a great resource for kids AND adults who would like to know more about the background of each book of the Bible.



Daily Life at the Time of Jesus- This ones's illustrated with beautiful photos of the people, the culture, and archeological discoveries of Israel.



Children's Guide to the Bible- It's a basic pictorial reference book. Kind of like a mini encyclopedia of the Bible.



Other Resources 

Arnold Ytreeide Novels- A small collection of historical fiction novels to be read during the Advent and Easter season.


Jungle Calls- This is a trio of fiction books loosely based on the adventures of Rani Snell, missionary to Peru. I've not read this series. But, it came highly recommended by a blog reader.


Building on a Rock series- I have not read this missionary series, but it came highly recommended by a few blog readers. 



At the end of my life, my heritage of faith will be the only thing of value I'll pass on to my children. Everything else will be temporal. Fleeting. A vapor. 

From Scripture, I am charged to tell the Truth so "the next generation might know them." (Psalm 78:6a) 

And so, I tell the Truth daily. 
I gather my basket and I gather my children. I hold out hymns, verses, Bible stories, and heroes of the faith and in doing so, I build a legacy. I share God's great love story and slowly, He presses it upon the hearts of my children. 

For more on Morning Basket Time

How We Teach by iHomeschool Network

11 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for this--love the detailed list. Very useful.

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    1. You're welcome, Ivy! Thanks for reading.

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  2. I wish I lived closer to you! This is our first year to homeschool. My Peyton is in the 7-8th grade depending on subject. We are going Friday to get our morning basket items.

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    1. Oh how exciting! I'd love to know what you end up choosing.

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  3. I think I will incorporate this idea with our family this year.

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    1. Yeah! You'll have to let me know how it goes and what you decide to use in your basket.

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  4. Great ideas for morning time! We went thru the God's names & God's promise book in that series this past school year. I like the hymn study idea. We tried to do a hymn study and my kids thought the CD was to little kid sounding. I finally just quit using it. Which one of the cds would you suggest for 10 to 12 year olds? The missionary stories sound very interesting. My kids love the Brinkman adventures audio series. Thanks for sharing your ideas!

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    1. We never used the CD for the Hymns for Kids study either. Too clumsy and time consuming.

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  5. I love this post. Can you recommend Your Morning Basket by Pam Barnhill? Does it really help organize/plan the Morning Basket? I'm very interested, but it seems so pricey for something that's digital. Also, FYI, the link to buy from your link isn't working. Thank you.

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    Replies
    1. Sarah, I think it depends on how organized you already are. I don't find her materials necessary. But, I've been doing this for several years. It's a great resource if you are new to a Morning Basket Routine. Please note, her resource suggestions are from a Catholic perspective as she is Catholic.

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