I needed a hands-off morning basket routine. Everything I’ve read has morning baskets full of art, poetry, activities, and read-alouds. My mornings are crazy with feeding and cleaning up after three people. We are inching out of the baby stage and have fully landed in the toddler stage. I needed something that my kids can self-start, so I have a hot minute to shower and get ready. Then after lunch, I step in and help with the work they need extra help on.
It took me a while to be okay with this. After all, aren’t traditional teachers with the class all day? But when our kids started a Charlotte Mason two-day-a-week school I got to observe the way the classrooms were run. There were a lot of times the teacher gave the kids the work to do and then sat/stood there just watching them get it done. If my kids can stay on task, I realized it’s okay for them to just do this work while I’m not there. This teaches them to be more independent. I’ve found my younger son colors longer if no one is there watching him. He just gets lost in what he is doing and goes for it.
There may come a stage that I can be more involved in the mornings, if that happens I’ll leave this up. Even as I leave the baby stage, some of you will still be there. I firmly believe we need to know it’s okay if our homeschool days don’t look like traditional homeschool days (whatever that is) and they for sure don’t need to look like classroom school.
What is in a hands-off morning basket?
First off if you have kids younger than second grade, this is going to be really challenging to pull off. I’ve tried at various stages and it’s just now working. I think the personality of your kids can play a huge part in this. But if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work. This isn’t a reflection of you or your kids.
Quiet time Devotional –
I want my kids to start getting used to opening the Word of God for themselves and studying it. If it’s part of their morning basket they are cued and can get going without me needing to be there for that time. It’s a time for them to begin to hear the Holy Spirit and have faith separate from my teaching. If you don’t know what to use for this I made a list of Bible studies for all ages here!
For first – fifth this can be their handwriting curriculum in print or cursive. This is the one that they are doing at school, but I also use Write the Word on my Heart, because it has the letters and letter formation all right there. I’ve also seen this be a time just to copy a poem or passage of a book.
For kindergarten, I use these dry erase books. For Pre-school I use this one instead. The key is anything that they don’t need you standing over their shoulder. If I’m honest this type of thing is going to be hard if your oldest is under second grade. If smaller ones have an older to watch, they will often copy, but if there’s no older kid example it can be hard to make it happen.
Reading Time –
For my older son, this is his time for independent practice. His curriculum encourages 10 minutes of independent reading. My younger son spends this time looking at “Where is Waldo” and “I Spy”.
I very often make homeschooling harder for myself than it has to be. Stripping away the routines and expectations that are dragging me down, and building in things that give me rest is vital for my success. I hope the idea of a hands-off morning basket is helpful for you. If not, I hope you will just put it away without any further thoughts. The last thing I want to do is add additional weight of expectations to your plate! Or maybe it’s just something you need to take and make your own! Change it, make it serve you!