Family Morning Time

There are so many inspiring parents out there whom have Morning Time or Symposium or Morning Basket and golly, it’s so lovely and feels SO unattainable to me. But I’m not one to give up on lovely, instead I’m all about finding what works best for my family.

Guess what? Sometimes our day starts with Pumpkins lessons. Sometimes it starts with a show. Sometimes our family “morning time” doesn’t happen till well after lunch, so in our home we call it Bible & Nature Study or Bible & History or Bible & Social Studies time.

However our “morning time” slow loop always starts with Bible. Each kid takes a turn choosing a book from our Bible Basket, however I’ve been letting Pumpkin choose even on days that are not his if he wants to read. He generally wants to and I love that. I share something from my Bible and then we do our Good Confessions and Stretches.

I can still hear my mom calling to me as I walked out the door for school “to have friends you must be friendly” “great is He that is in you then he that is in the world” “you can do all things who strengthen you”. And I would repeat them all back to her. Gosh, I’m so glad she did that!

There is life and death in your confession! And man, I’m 38 years old and my confession can still do with some good schooling.

We have not done much in the way of Bible memory yet, but I do want my kids to know what God says about them and have that hidden in their heart. So I picked out a few of my favorite confessions from God’s Creative Power, wrote them in my Bible and each morning we do some yoga type stretches while we make a good confession.

Putting physical movement to this time really helps keep the attention of my little group of Pastries and helps in the transition to our Nature, History or Social Studies reading after.

Overall this time we have, it is a simple simple simple time! It’s about building healthy habits, strong relationships and warm memories. I’m not trying to create somebody else beautiful morning time in my home, I’m creating our own beautiful morning time.

What is the Deal with the Baskets?

I first heard about Fun-Schooling baskets shortly before I received my Mom’s Fun-Schooling Journal and while I loved the idea of them, I just couldn’t imagine how to make them work in the motor-home. Well my desire to try them won out and while they take up precious floor space and can be a pain in the tush to move them all the time, they are wonderful!

Our current Fun-Schooling Baskets

So, how do we use these? In our Slow Row there is a “scheduled” spot to use at least one every other day. But they are used more than that. For example, the other night I was finishing up dinner and the kids were in this in between place. They had just cleaned up and we’re mostly ready for bed and I didn’t want them to be jumping around while I was getting ready to plate the food. So I grabbed our Nature Study in a Basket, set it on the table and invited them to spend some time with it.

And that is exactly what they all did! Each of them picking a book or two to read or look at and when it was time to eat I had to give promises that they could visit with the basket some more before bed time. How is that for some awesome unscheduled learning?!

I like to keep the baskets full of more than just books and have added small games or manipulative to our basket. Because I’m watching our budget as well as weight (RV’s have limits after all), everything currently in our basket is stuff I happened to have everything on hand. Oh, and I like to have items that are appropriate for each age of my children and a few that might be something I would read with pictures to incites them.

Much like Books & Blankets, having these baskets out allows us to spend more time with a particular subject. It’s also given them more opportunities for the spark  that causes an interest to happen. It really is splendid watching them dig into a basket when I let them know “its basket time” even outside of our scheduled school day.


Morning Musings: The Bondage of Fear

Insomnia. Depression. Anger. Fear takes on so many shapes. It looms like a mountain and irritates like a pebble in your shoe. It whispers and lies and builds itself up like the mightiest force in the universe. It smothers out dreams and is like a noose choking out the very joy of life.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

Before I can share how I have overcome the bondage I think its important to share how deep it held me. Fear is something that I have battled most of my life. I can even pinpoint the moment it began to enslaved me.

My father suffered from schizophrenia and was an alcoholic, as long as he took his medication (that was most of the time) everything was wonderful. Seriously, I could not have asked for a better dad! But like all people, he was not perfect and from time to time he would stop taking his medication, and then he would start drinking and then my mom would take me away from the home for the night.

This might have been where fear started but it wasn’t, my mom always made me feel safe. She made the time at the hotel feel like a girls get-away or a stay with friends like a slumber party. But there was one time she was unable to do that.

The summer of 1992, I was 13 years old. We were at a party at my grandparents home and my mom got sick. Really sick! And we ended up taking her to the emergency room.

It was a long night with lots of tests and x-rays of some sort. I can still see the cubical waiting rooms, florescent lights casting odd shadows because they were not all on. Listing to the doctors say things like “strangulation hernia”,  “if she doesn’t start vomiting” and “surgery”.

She was admitted into the hospital that night with talk about the surgery in the morning. My daddy took me home and then some time in the still dark hours the phone rang. “Mommy is having surgery.”

It’s funny looking back as an adult into childhood. Being able to see my reaction and having a greater understanding about what my dad must have been feeling. How scared he must have been.

I don’t remember much about those day that followed. I was thirteen, lost in books and the world of innocence. I don’t know how the surgery went, but my mom ended up in ICU for more than a day before she was moved into a normal room.

It was after she moved into that room that I reminded my dad (again) that he promised to take me to Enchanted Village & water park. He did, we drove the long hours there while my mom stayed in the hospital. He paid the ridiculous ticket price. We rode the Carousel. And then we got into a fight.

What a stupid fight for both of us. He wanted to ride the potato sack slide and I thought is was to babyish. So I told him he could and I would skip it. We both skipped it. Then I wanted to ride the Octopus but he didn’t want to and then I wouldn’t go on it.

We were both being stubborn and bratty. I sobbed and we went home.

We hadn’t even been at the park for an hour. We spent money on gas and tickets and food, money I was to learn wasn’t really in our budget. Hospitals, ICU and surgery is expensive when you don’t have insurance and we didn’t. And I’m pretty sure finances were tight even before that.

I cried the whole way home, then went to my room and took a nap. When I woke up my dad wasnt home, so I cuddled up on the couch with my book.

He wasnt too late getting home after that and went straight to the kitchen. I gave it no thought, the anger and hurt from the earlier part of the day already fading from my heart.

Then I heard the can open.

Most people wouldn’t think twice about that innocent sound. It wouldn’t fill them with absolute fear. But we didn’t drink canned soda in our home, the only time I heard that sound in my house was if daddy had bought a beer.

Daddy was drinking and my mom wasn’t there to protect me.


*I’ve shared this story many times, but have never written it down. This all happened 25 years ago, it’s amazing what time and age does to memories and the ability to see others possible perspectives in a situation. Bear with me and I will continue my story of overcoming the bondage of fear.

Symposium Social Studies

I’ve decided that our mornings Symposiums are missing Social Studies. I know history is considered a social study, but with our love of living books I decided we needed another idea added to our Morning Symposium Slow Loop in order to fit in the long list of books I want us to read and some more varied richness that I feel our week is missing.

I’ve been surprised to discover how well even the younger two are doing with chapter books during our morning time. So Morning Symposium Social Studies will follow that same theme, but I expect we will have more “short” stories on our reading list for now.

Its been on my heart to include more mission and cultural diversity into our weeks, that being said this will be a great time to include some early American historical fiction books as well. Picture books are great for this and are definitely included into our Books & Blankets time, however I really like the idea of making more of those connections and having them slowly looped into our mornings. I expect this will have a domino effect and should naturally spill over into our Hands On time more regularly to.

These are just a few of the books on our reading list, the ones that are a collection of short stories will be sprinkled between the longer books.

Or some mornings I will make it really easy on my self and use Stories Around The World instead.


This post does contain some affiliate links but as always only to things I love and of no extra cost to you.

Morning Time History

Using our chapter books for Morning Nature Study has been splendid! So much so that I needed to take another look at how we were doing Morning History, that hasn’t been going so well. I’ve been simply reading beautiful historical fiction picture books on those Slow Loop mornings and while they are lovely we are just not connecting with them as well for morning time. So I’ve decided I need to move them over to our Books & Blankets time instead and save mornings for chapter books.

I have my eyes on a new history curriculum that we are planning on starting this fall/winter term that looks like an amazing fit for our whole family. Even dad is excited to spend those mornings with us! In the mean time I’ve decided simply read chapter books, that are sitting on my reading list waiting for a turn anyway. The new history we will be starting also follows this pattern of ancient to more modern history. So we will read our books in that order for now as well and create the flow. Plus, I already have these on my book shelf.

Summer 2017 Morning History Reading list




Poetry Tea Time in a Basket

“Put the kettle on.” Was something I heard every time a guest walked into our home. Formal tea time was not something we did because we always had tea time! Now that I have children I find that I’m the same way, the first beverage I offer a guest is a cup of tea. And while I won’t give up my many cups of fortification each day, I do want the magic of Tea Time for our family.

Poetry Tea Time was the answer to finding that magic and my Slow Loop provides just the right amount of regularity we want and need.


So just about every other day (some days we don’t loop) I pull out the teacups my Grandmother gave me for my birthday the year my daughter was born. I fill my tea pot that was my Mum’s, with some decaffeinated tea. I check to make sure the sweeter bowl is full of a stivia based “sugar” and I decide on a little something to nibble. Most of the time I do this myself, but the children are working in turns to serve the other with their Helping & Hosting Hands.

My husband picked me up a box of Red Rose tea recently and the children were delighted to find the glass figurine inside. So, we are now collecting them so that they can decorate our tea time table and be played with at that special time. However, they were very disappointed that they could not help me drink that tea so we could buy a new box sooner. Now that I think about it, perhaps that is way they have been so extra helpful about making me tea these days.

After the table is set and the food is made, I pull out a collection of our poetry and literature books, no ebooks for tea time!

Each one of the kids choose a poem or story for me to read and my oldest picks a few for him to read as well. It’s so fun to hear Macaroon pick up our book of Robert Louis Stevenson Poems and declare, “This is my favorite one!”. Or notice that Pumpkin always picks from Shel Silverstein or that Cupcake will take her time and choose from among all our books.

If time is passing peacefully and their attention holds I will also take this time to read a longer story from one of our anthology books and have lovely conversations. If they are being cheeky monkeys I quickly dismiss them to play outside as soon as they are done with their treats so I can savor the last of mine.

These are the books currently in our Poetry Tea Time Basket.

And these are a few on my wish list for when we have exhausted or just need to freshen the ones we own..


A Children’s Book of Verse

I was ten years old, that was almost 3 decades ago, and I can still see my daddy pulling this book of the shelf in the book store. I was so NOT interested in it, I was to busy looking for Archie comic-books. But he wanted to me to the poem The Owl and The Pussy Cat, so this is the book he bought for me that day.

We went out to eat after, just him and I and he read me the poem. I didn’t get his fascination but I enjoyed that he wanted to share it with me.

I think also, that he may have bought me this book with hopes of enriching my reading. I cannot ask him, he passed away just a few years after he gave me the book. But now that I’m a parent I can imagine myself doing the same thing for my children. Well, I do that same thing for my children.

Pumpkin would be perfectly happy to read Fly Guy every day but I now he needs a little more scope for his imagination. And I know that he would find just as much delight in many books that would not be his first choice. We are building a relationship with books, mostly in the audiobooks and read aloud I choose for us. He may only be 9, but he knows that his mama loves books and so far she has done a great job choose books that he loves as well.

Well, A Children’s Book of Verse is still one of my favorite books ever. The illustrations by Eric Kincaid are so detailed and full of magic. The selection of poems so varied that even as an adult I am enthralled with them.

A few of my favorite poems included in the book are The Highwayman…remember when Anne recited this poem in Anne of Green Gables? Oh, the hours my junior high girlfriends and I spend recreating the drama of that scene quoting that same poem. (You can watch that scene here.)

My Mother Said is another favorite, I think it had more to do with the illustrations then the verse. But I can still rattle it off if asked for a recitation on demand, along with Way Down South Where Bananas Grow.

It’s a splendid book, one I think I should buy extra of so my children can have in their own private collection one day.