Peek Inside our Charlotte Mason Morning Basket for the Early Years

My children are five, three, and one. We are in the very early days of homeschooling. Our family has been doing ‘morning time’ on and off for a couple of years. Whether you call it a morning basket, circle time, Year 0, or preschool, I offer the contents of our basket for inspiration and encouragement.

As I choose books, I take this quote from Charlotte Mason’s Philosophy of Education to heart:

To introduce children to literature is to install them in a very rich and glorious kingdom, to bring a continual holiday to their doors, to lay before them a feast exquisitely served. But they must learn to know literature by being familiar with it from the very first. A child’s intercourse must always be with good books, the best we can find.

Charlotte Mason, Philosophy of Education

To that end, I’d like to point to two resources that I reference frequently for our read aloud books. The first is this list of first chapter books from Read Aloud Revival. They have never read us astray! The second is the curated list of books from Give Your Child the World (affiliate link). This book provides a chapter for each continent, and provides book recommendations based on age range.

Our Early Years Morning Basket

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The Children’s Bible in 365 Stories

My dad read this children’s Bible to me when I was a little girl. Unfortunately, as I read it now to my children, it is literally falling apart at the seams. All is not lost, however, because it is still in print!

The illustrations are particularly striking, and as I read through this Bible again, decades later, they are still so familiar to me. The stories are straight forward, and can be read in a few minutes.

Read Me First: Younger Poems for Every Day of the Year

I noticed several people in my social media feed showing off their lovely books of poetry for every day of the year. Some were nature themed, some were more generic. However, all were quite expensive.

Instead, I grabbed this less pricey book of poetry for young children. It does what it says on the cover: give you a poem for every day of the year. They are on the shorter side, and I have my eye on a fancier book for next year, but so far it’s working well for my kids.

Q&A a Day for Kids (A Three Year Journal)

Since my kids are young, I am taking particular effort to make morning time something that involves their participation. We started out this year by writing down ‘Silly Questions’ and their answers in a notebook, but it was getting hard to come up with questions off the cuff.

Cue this journal. Each day of the year has a designated page with a question, and a spaces to write the answers each year for three years. The idea is that you go through the journal multiple times and watch how the child’s answers change. So far I’m able to fit in answers for both of my big boys, so we’re only using one journal for the two of them.

The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs

Every morning basket should have something in it especially for Mom. This is the sage advice I heeded when putting this rather thick book in our basket: it’s something I want to learn about.

Even though it’s not intended for kids, my boys are still picking up little details. I read about a page a day, because I don’t want to lose their attention. Over the course of it though, we’ve noticed things like tracks and prickly holly on our nature walks.

Audrey of the Outback

Our current read aloud! Set in the Australian Outback, Audrey is a brave, creative little girl, not dissimilar to Pippi Longstocking. We are a few chapters in (there are a lot of chapters, though they aren’t long) and my boys are really enjoying it. I just wish I could read in an Australian accent!

Other Activities

In addition to what we read, we also include the following:

  • The folk song and hymn from the Ambleside Online rotation. We currently watch the videos together each day. I don’t require memorization (although I have personally memorized most of the folk songs this year!)
  • A video in French (currently Caillou)
  • A fun video (currently Jonathan Bird’s Blue World)
  • Three days a week, an activity from the Mathematics Enhancement Programme Reception Year. This is primarily for my five year old, who would have started Reception this past autumn. My three year old plays along.

What should I add to my morning basket? What’s in yours?