Our 2018-2019 Morning Basket and Afternoon Basket Learning Time

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Pile of books on a table

Several have asked what I was talking about when I mentioned our Morning Basket and Afternoon Basket in a recent newsletter. So I decided to write a whole post on it and explain exactly what a Morning Basket (and Afternoon Basket) are and what we will be doing for the 2018-2019 school year.

What are Morning Baskets and Afternoon Baskets?

This concept is simply putting items together that your kids can learn together. I have referred to this over the years as “Together School” or “Morning Learning Time”.

What you include in your baskets is totally up to you!

These baskets are perfect for incorporating some of those subjects that you just can’t seem to get to during the homeschool day. Things like art study, composer study, poetry, geography, character studies, unit studies, and more.

What I like to do is divide up our day into our “Basket” learning times and independent learning times. The “Basket” learning times will include the things that we can all do together. The independent learning time is the learning that needs to take place at the table and includes things like math and language arts.

Once you have your subjects all divided up, then you can decide if you want to just have one “Basket” time or two, or more even.

I decided to have a Morning Basket during and right after breakfast, then our Independent Learning Time up until lunch. Then after lunch we will do our Afternoon Basket.

How to Use Looping

One thing I want to point out is that you can use looping to schedule out your “Basket” learning. Looping is simply taking the books and materials you want to work through and put it on a loop. You won’t do everything every day, but just do the next thing on the loop.

If you want to see how I used a loop schedule last year, check out this post where you can actually download a copy of my loop schedule from last year!

I will be using a loop type schedule for our Morning Basket. I will do our Bible every day, but looping back and forth between two books. Then we will read out of The Fallacy Detective a couple days and do a Mad Libs a couple days each week. History will be done every day.

So don’t be afraid to include a lot of different subjects or learning areas in your baskets, but don’t feel like you have to touch on all of it every day.

tubs with books in them

How I Set Up Our Baskets

I am not actually using baskets, but tubs. The idea is to have everything you need for this learning time in the tub. This makes it easy to just grab it, pull out the books and supplies we need, and learn!

Our Morning Basket

We will be working through our Morning Basket during and after breakfast.

books on a table

Below I will list out the books and materials we will be using in our Morning Basket:


I will rotate back and forth between these two books.


I have had this book for a long time and never read it through with the kids. We will just read a couple chapters a week.


I used Marie’s Words last year and my kids learned a lot of new words. So I will be continuing with these this year. I use an index card box and divider to keep track of the words we need to learn and the words learned already to review.


I will be covering more grammar during our writing time when we do our Afternoon Basket, but plan to do a couple Mad Libs a week as a fun review.


I will be using the three volumes of America’s Story for our history this year. I wanted to do a sweep of U.S. history this year, so we will only be using the books to read aloud. Each day we will read a lesson out of America’s Story, then read a chapter out of one of the read-aloud books.

Read-Aloud Books (I chose two books for each of the America’s Story volumes):


Our Afternoon Basket

We will do our Afternoon Basket after lunch — probably around 1:30. We will be doing science and writing.

books and markers on a table


I chose this science so we could all do it together. My oldest will probably supplement with some additional science videos from the Biology 101 DVD set that we have.

This curriculum has a short video to watch for each lesson, and then a worksheet or hands on activity to do.


My kids are not big writers, so we are going to take this slow to get started. I am going to be creating small booklets for my children to use (like the little red booklet in the picture above). They will get to select a topic that they want to create a booklet about — something related to our history or science studies possibly. Each day they will be required to create one page in their booklets.

If found a really neat nature book that I am going to use for ideas for the kids. It is called Nature Connection, and has ideas for every month of the year! Two more books that I haven’t bought yet, but am seriously thinking about getting, are Farm Anatomy and Nature Anatomy. If your kids are interested in nature at all, these books are amazing! Note: They are not written from a Biblical, creation-based perspective (all three of these nature books), so there is some content that I don’t agree with. But mostly these are just good reference books for all things nature!

I will be using ideas from Bravewriter to guide them in using copywork and short writing assignments to fill their booklets. I also purchased A Sequence of English Writing Skills that gives me an outline of skills that my kids need to try to master at different ages.

We will also incorporate some art and drawing as the kids are interested.

Closing Thoughts

So, those are my plans as we begin the homeschool year in about a month from now. I hope this has answered all the questions about what a Morning Basket is and what it is all about. Using this tool is a great way to get in more learning and to also add in a little fun!

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