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My Morning Basket Summer 2017

If you’d asked me about my morning basket last year I would have laughed. 😀 That’s not something we do. We are secular homeschoolers. We don’t study Bible verses in the morning. Morning basket? Nope, not for us, thanks anyway.

Many varied books.

Then I heard the phrase many varied books. It’s a phrase that comes from Charlotte Mason, I heard it from Julie Bogart of Brave Writer last week in one of her periscopes. That phrase really clicked a switch in my brain. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it before, maybe because I’m an all or nothing, read one book at a time, kind of person, or maybe I just wasn’t ready, like my friend Jen suggested. I don’t know.

What I do know, is this concept, and the idea of a morning routine, have set our homeschool on its head. In a totally good way. <3

Like with most things, I take things that speak to me, and twist them around a little to make them work perfectly for our homeschool. The morning basket is no different. I took the concept many varied books, reading small portions of many, varied books in the morning, and made it work for us. When I stopped to think about it, it is exactly like the spark schooling we’ve been doing, but with books. 🙂

This year our homeschool theme is Cultures of Asia. I like to pull this theme into our whole homeschool, and try to infuse as much culture of the country we’re studying into our lives, not just our school, as possible. My goal is to get a feel for what it would be like to live in the country. My true goal would be to spend time in each of these countries, soaking up the culture, but alas, my budget doesn’t allow for that so we will fall into the books and let them take us there.

So… our book basket is more than the basics, it also covers a lot of culture and world people.

On to the books!

My Morning Book Basket

(Click book titles and/or images to learn more about each book.)

World Cultures: 

The Travel Book by Lonely Planet

This is a HUGE, gorgeous coffee table book. I made Hanna carry this one around the library. 🙂 Grow her muscles for gymnastics. We got this at the library, but it’s also in my Amazon wish list, I thought we’d try it out before we buy. It’s a gorgeous book with a 2 page spread for each country in the world. It gives the basics for each country, including a map, the best time to visit, what to read, eat, do, watch to learn more about the country. In addition to information it provides stunning photography of the country. This book is perfect for my book basket.

The Travel Book

The Complete Book of Spices: A Practical Guide to Spices and Aromatic Seeds by Jill Norman

We are super into cooking around here. We found this book at the half price book store “bag sale” and had to have it. I love that the first part of the book is all history. It talks about how the trade routes worked. How spices changed the course of history. It’s really interesting! Then it goes on to provide a 1-2 page spread about the spice. Where it’s from, how it’s used, the flavor it imparts. We just purchased some Cardamom the other day, so we read about it yesterday. Hanna was quite intrigued!

DK EyeWitness: India

I’m in LOVE with these DK Eyewitness books. They are so filled with interesting facts, and gorgeous pictures. They provide the perfect bite size content for my book basket! I love how they really take you inside the culture, and not just give facts like imports, exports and the flag. I love that you can dig into a two page spread and be transported to a small Indian village.

DK Eyewitness: Gandhi

Like I said, we love the Eyewitness book series! The Gandhi book takes you through his life story as well as momentous chapters in history. We studied many activists last year, but we did not get to Gandhi. I’m glad we have the opportunity to learn more about him now.

Sacred River: The Ganges of India

We go boating and fishing in rivers. They are a source of fun and entertainment to us. Understanding that different cultures look at things as simple as rivers so differently than we do is quite incredible. I was watching the CNN show Believer a while back and they did an episode where it started with him floating down the Ganges. Watching and learning about the activities of that river was quite astounding to me. I had no idea. I’m eager to share this part of Indian culture with Hanna.

India: A Primary Source Cultural Guide

Hanna picked this one out of the library. It looks really interesting, and covers topics such as, myths and legends, festivals, education and of course food. 🙂 I think that’s why she got this book… the famous foods and recipes of India. 🙂

People of the World

This is a fairly new book, and it is a 14 day loaner from the library. However, it’s also sitting in our Amazon cart. I just wanted to be able to take a look at it before I picked it up. This will be a long term resource book, along with Travel Book. This book is made by National Geographic, the photography is absolutely stunning. It is organized by continent and human migration out of Africa. It is a deep and rich book. In fact, it may be a little too deep and rich for my morning basket. 🙂 We will have to see how this book plays out and where it fits in our homeschool.


Art Fraud Detective: Spot the Differences Solve the Crime

This book is so delightful! The premise is some of the works of art in the National museum have been forged. It’s the reader’s job to figure out which ones. The full catalog is provided in the lower half of the book, and then you can compare it to the “forged” piece on the top half. The book comes with a magnifying glass, a cast of characters, and all the hints you need to solve the mystery. What a FUN way to get kids looking closely at art! <3

Discovering Great Artists

This one came highly recommended to me. We just picked it up and look forward to working our way through the greats. In addition to information about the great artists it also provides a project for the kids to do in the style of art of the artist. For example, for Monet there is a watercolor exercise. This looks like a fun way to bring more art into our homeschool. We can do the reading in the morning during our book basket time, and then the activity later in the day after lunch. 🙂


A History of Us by Joy Hakim

I’ve been gathering this series for a while now. I love it, and wanted to use it in our homeschool, but didn’t think Hanna would sit and “learn history”. However, with it’s short chapters, and story feel this will be perfect for my morning basket! We’ve already started it and she’s seeming to enjoy it. We’ll work through the series, however long/short it takes.

Women in Science ~ 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Change the World by Rachel Ignotofsky

Hanna found this book at the bookstore recently and asked if we could do women in science for a semester. How am I going to say no to that?! This book is fun, colorful, informative, and the short bios for each woman are perfect for my morning basket. I can definitely see this being a “spark” book, sparking ideas and projects and further study. I’m excited about this one. 🙂

Our Current Arrow: Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

hatchet by gary paulsen arrowWe are implementing the Brave Writer lifestyle into our homeschool this year. Along with Poetry Tea Time (which is a whole other basket lol), Free Write Thursdays (I don’t know how she let me get away with doing them on Thursday instead of Friday! She’s the alliteration queen!), and The Writer’s Jungle (click here for 40% off), we are doing Arrows for grammar, and comprehension. I bought the whole set of last year’s arrows because I really liked the book list. To get us started I picked up Hatchet so we could “practice” during the summer. 🙂 We are really enjoying Hatchet, and are noticing Em Dashes everywhere now.

So there you have it… what’s in my morning basket. I realize it’s a lot now as I go through it all. However, we aren’t reading all these books every day. We are picking and choosing, and reading a bit of many varied books. At least that’s how it’s working today. I don’t know how long these books will last. I think some will last for months, and others will be read relatively quickly and replaced with new books to choose from. The specific country books will change over time as we move from country to country through Asia. We are excited about the adventure that is our second year of homeschool. Subscribe and I’ll send you my new posts about book baskets and our journey via email.

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What about you? Do you have your own morning book basket? I’d love to know what’s in it, and how it works for your family and homeschool. Join us in my private Facebook group for secular relaxed eclectic moms homeschooling older kids. We’d love to you to join the conversation. <3

Talk soon,


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One Response to My Morning Basket Summer 2017

  1. Laura Thorndike says:

    Hi! I’ve just stumbled across your blog via a link up from Weird Unsocialized HS and I feel the exact same way about morning basket. My two are young so we are VERY relaxed across the board (first grade-ish and preschool). Morning basket for us is quite eclectic and we need movement. We have incorporated short readings, yoga pretzels, phenology, calendar work, casual picture study and games for visual acuity, memory and language/math fun.

    I look forward to reading more from your blog. Thanks!!

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