Thursday, March 21, 2013

Morning Basket

I didn't realize I had put together a "morning basket" until Kal-El piped up during breakfast one morning and said, "Hey Mom!  Aren't we going to do our morning basket today?  I like the morning basket."

We have a half wall that separates our kitchen from our family room.  Anyone else who has one of these can tell you that they can easily become a dumping ground for everything no one wants to put away.  Is it time for dinner and there is stuff all over the table?  Put it on the half wall.  Do you have a lego project you don't want to take apart?  Put it on the half wall.  I finally made a new rule about six months ago.  "Unless your name is 'Mom' or 'Dad' you may NOT put ANYTHING on the half wall.  Ever."  This made a huge difference.

After "the rule" the only items on the half wall were things we used at the table nearly every day and want close by.

These items dotted the half wall like a flock of birds on an electrical wire until one day while walking through the craft store I spotted a basket and thought, "That basket is an unusual size.  It is almost the exact same width as our half wall."  Ding, ding, ding...bye bye birds on a wire, hello basket.

And that is how one mom who swore she would never have "circle time" or a "morning basket" wound up with a morning basket.  I still refuse to do circle time.  Three people make a triangle, not a circle.

You can read more about morning baskets at Wildflowers and Marbles.

I have just a few words about the flashcards in the basket.  I'm sure some of you are curious to know why we need them when we have all of the beautiful Montessori memorization materials.  I originally made them because Kal-El wanted them after hearing about them from his friends.  He wanted to do timed drills.  I wrote a post about how badly that turned out.  I wound up using the flashcards just one or two times after Kal-El had completed the memorization materials for addition (without a timer) to see how well the addition materials had worked to actually teach him his facts.  As it turns out, quite well even though he did the work past the "absorbent mind" stage.  Out of ALL the facts with sums from 0-20 there were only ten he didn't internalize.  These were basically any equation in which one addend is 8 or 7 with a sum greater than ten.  He is just working on those ten but I keep all the cards in the basket to keep them from getting separated.  We've been doing them every morning for a few weeks and they didn't seem to be getting much better.  This week I started having him build those equations on the strip board and record them during his work period.  I have noticed significant improvement since then.


  1. that is a good idea, actually :) I was trying to have a group time in the morning with my kiddos, and it was getting boring to the older ones, because they already knew what the younger two didn't yet. I never thought about just using a basket and having fun little things in there that we could cover as a whole before they seperate into their own work for the day. I like the idea of doing some things, like culture, history, etc like that together, if it is a subject that we can do with the age range! So thank you for you idea of the 'accidental' morning basket :) I'll have to keep it in mind!

  2. How nice! We've been trying something a morning routine the past two weeks actually! I had written a post on Monday and scheduled it for today!

  3. What a fun idea! Like you, circle/morning baskets didn't work out here! I do like the idea of having some math review or some devotional stuff at a meal! Thanks for sharing!

  4. We have morning couch time:) Bear improved greatly with her math facts when we noticed that 8+7 for instance is the same as 10+5, or that 8+5 is the same as 10+3, etc. She reorganizes the numbers in her head very quickly.

  5. We have a basket, too!! Ours has our Bible, AWANA books, Catechism Questions, and Prayer cards. I have them in our living room in the old magazine rack (since we don't get magazines anymore). I keep meaning to do a post about it. Maybe I'll get on that!

    I kinda like the idea of having the flash cards, or maybe some trivia cards in there. Good idea!