Well, it looks as if everyone will be spending the majority (who are we kidding? The WHOLE) school year at home this year. No one is thrilled – even us seasoned homeschoolers. But here we are, reliving Groundhog Day over and over.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a huge “play mom.” I have five kids and they don’t need for me to crawl around on my hands and knees in their world of make believe. They have the greatest imaginations and there are enough of them for me to sit and sip my tea instead of playing. This also rolls into games. While board and card games are a lot of fun, I never seem to gravitate towards them on a regular basis.
Insert The Year of The COVID.
I needed to get my act together before we were waist deep in the quicksand of the school year – grasping at anything to just make it through. We love homeschooling, but I need to get out of this COVID FUNK and get my ducks in a row (all five of them) so that we actually enjoy this year. My goal is to not just survive until normalcy, but for us to thrive and find joy in our learning environment.
After talking with a few besties, I decided to jump on the “Morning Basket” train. What’s a morning basket, you ask? It’s simply a basket that you have ready each day (or week – because, well… I’m not a Pinterest mom) with things you will do TOGETHER. Throw away the morning word because you can do it in the afternoon or evening – or on the weekend. What you put in your basket depends on the ages of children you have, but basically, you want a read aloud book, a little lesson, something fun (like a game), and maybe some copy work.
We started using our morning basket this week, and I realized just how amazing it is and that YOU NEED ONE NOW. It helps get everyone on the same page and moves you through your school routine calmly. I pick a game, a book, a bible verse/motivational quote for discussion and copy work (on the top of the page, I have them write a word to describe how they are feeling that day), one of our Mrs. Wordsmith vocabulary words, and a calendar activity. (Because my homeschooled kids aren’t exactly on top of their days and months – haha)
If I have anything that can be taught to the whole gaggle, I do it at this point. (Think: History story can be read together and then the 6th grader can break off to answer her questions, review 1st grade spelling lesson because everyone needs to remember how to spell those basic words, etc).
I then put on a song and have them transition to wherever they want or need to be for their individual work. Thanks to HomeschoolPlanet.com I have my entire school year planned out, down to the page numbers for each day. I can easily bump things, delete things, add things, and merge things with one click, and at the end of the year, I’ll have a transcript for my 4th and 6th graders! (I only put in basics for my 1/2nd grader because he’s working between grades and somedays completes 4 days worth and others nada.)
So what are we loving right now for that morning basket, you ask? Well, HAPPY SHOPPING!!!!! (as always, affiliate links are included!)
I purchased a few fun activities and books that correlated with things we are studying this year (anatomy and astronomy) and a few great nonfiction reads, too. My oldest is choosing a historical figure each month to complete a biography on, so I included some easy read biography books, too. But, you can simply grab whatever books you know your kids will love! (I included a few new ones we just added). And if you are an Usborne Book lover (LIKE ME!!) then head over to my live link and grab something before it sells out!)
Don’t forget to get a few little things for your toddlers to play with quietly… You’ll see I added the flower building kit at the bottom. Mine love this inside or outside on the deck with the watering cans!