• HOMESCHOOL MORNING BASKET - what to include and lots of great resource ideas!
    brain stain,  morning basket

    HOMESCHOOL MORNING BASKET – what to include and lots of great resource ideas!

    Today I wanted to share all about the homeschool morning basket!

    Though, to be honest, our morning basket isn’t usually in a basket, and doesn’t always take place in the morning . . .

    We take the general idea of a morning basket and make it work for our family and I highly recommend you do the same!

    Here I share what to include in your basket as well as lots of great resource ideas.


    HOMESCHOOL MORNING BASKET - what to include and lots of great resource ideas and tips!




    HOMESCHOOL MORNING BASKET - what to include and lots of great resource ideas!


    The Jesus Storybook Bible

    While other kids’ Bibles contain stories from the Old and New Testaments, The Jesus Storybook Bible tells the Story beneath all the stories in the Bible, pointing to Jesus as our Savior. From the Old Testament through the New Testament, as the Story unfolds, children will clearly see that Jesus is at the center of God’s great story of salvation—and at the center of their story too.


    How Great Is Our God

    The bestselling children’s devotional Indescribable: 100 Devotions About God and Science resonated with more than 200,000 kids, parents, and teachers. Now Louie Giglio offers 100 more devotions about God and science that will expand the curiosity of your 6- to 10-year-olds. Including amazing scientific facts, beautiful photography, fun illustrations, and simple activities, How Great Is Our God covers topics like

    • Space and time
    • Earth and weather
    • The human body
    • Animals
    • Plants
    • And more!

    With this science devotional, which is based on Giglio’s well-known “How Great Is Our God” and “Indescribable” Messages, children will embark on a journey to discover more about God and His incredible creation. From the pink lake in Senegal to the earth’s trip around the sun to the water-holding frog that can live up to five years without a drink, the wonders of the universe will deepen your kids’ Appreciation for God’s wild imagination.


    It Couldn’t Just Happen

     “Did Earth begin with a ‘Big Bang’ cosmic explosion?

    Does science contradict the Bible?

    What happened to dinosaurs?

    Is there life on other planets?

    Did we evolve from apes?

    What makes my body work on its own?

    Kids are daily exposed to the theory of evolution by the media and public schools. It’s not safe to assume that your kids will reject that theory. It’s up to us as parents and Christian leaders to make sure our children know the truth about the creation of the world. With thousands of evidences to prove He created and sustains the universe, It Couldn’t Just Happen will fascinate kids with fun activities and examples of God’s marvelous works.


    The Ology

    The Ology is a starting point to learning theology and aims to create a hunger and desire in children to learn more as they grow older. Designed for six-year-olds through preteens, this flexible resource includes built-in adaptations so the entire families can enjoy it together.

    The story begins in the cellar of the old stone cathedral, where Carla and Timothy uncover a life-changing treasure: a carefully wrapped, ancient book known as The Ology. Young readers will discover a tale of adventure, mystery, and wonder, which will lead them to the truth about God, themselves, and the world around them.


    HOMESCHOOL MORNING BASKET - what to include and lots of great resource ideas!


    Dramatic Audio CD - White Gypsy MAIN

    The White Gypsy

    Willy is lost. New sights and new places sometimes seem strangely familiar, but he doesn’t know why. Unexplainable flashbacks taunt him. Stolen by gypsies at a tender age, Willy now longs to discover who he is and where he belongs. A frightening journey by train to a new school will reveal more than he can imagine. Fragmented memories that haunt him in the present will lead to secrets of his past. If only he can remain strong and courageous through the passage! A dramatic tale of loss, sacrifice, hope and redemption awaits you.


    Dramatic Audio CD - Hedge of Thorns MAIN

    Hedge of Thorns

    John is determined to discover the secret that has been kept from him for so long. He must find out what is on the other side of the hedge! Desperate to break through, John devises a scheme, but it places his little sister in perilous danger. In a moment of passion he disregards his parents’ warnings and pushes her through the hedge! John learns that there are grave consequences to crossing the boundaries that God has set for him — an unforgettable lesson that has left an indelible mark on his life. Originally penned in 1611, The Hedge of Thorns has stood the test of time, reminding readers of the importance of God’s protection and boundaries for centuries


    Little Pilgrim’s Progress

    Fifty-five years ago, Helen L. Taylor took John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress and simplified the vocabulary and concepts for young readers while keeping the storyline intact. The result was a classic in itself, which has now sold over 600,000 copies. It’s both a simple adventure story and a profound allegory of the Christian journey through life, a delightful read with a message kids ages 6 to 12 can understand and remember. A new look and fresh illustrations for today’s children enlivens the journey to the Celestial City.


    Tales from Shakespeare

    Discover Shakespeare’s best-loved plays These tales are the perfect introduction to Shakespeare’s greatest plays. Charles and Mary Lamb vividly bring to life the power of Hamlet and Othello, the fun of As You Like It and the drama of Pericles. They never lose the feel of his beautiful language and humanity and convey all of his wit and wisdom. These tales are classic literature in their own right.



    Then Sings My Soul

    In Then Sings My Soul, Book 2, Robert Morgan again delves beyond the songwriter’s inspiration and explains the real-life events, the tribulations and triumphs, and the fascinating details that led to these classic songs of praise.

    These devotional-style stories portray the emotion and drama behind the hymns that have changed many lives throughout history – the people whose walk of faith led them to write these wonderful hymns and the people whose faith was affected by reading, hearing, and singing the songs.


    The King’s Daughter and Other Stories for Girls

    Contains over 40 character building stories for girls. The stories were compiles from a four volume set titled, Sabbath readings. The stories were originally gathered from church papers in the 1870’s, Methodists, Lutheran, Presbyterian, etc. This is the 1910 reproduction, which is when the stories were first illustrated.


    Tiger Tom and Other Stories for Boys

    The stories in this book were compiled from a four volume set titled, Sabbath Readings. The stories were originally gathered from church papers In the 1870’s, Methodists, Lutheran, Presbyterian, etc. We bring to you this 1910 reproduction, which is when the stories were first illustrated. We have found the stories to be truly “a breath of fresh air” in literature for children and youth. May they receive a warm welcome in your home is our prayer.


    HOMESCHOOL MORNING BASKET - what to include and lots of great resource ideas!


    Horrible Geography

    The intrepid explorer can take a trip to the freezing-cold ends of the Earth in the latest Horrible Geography Handbook. This is the ultimate survival guide filled with tips on everything from how to handle a peckish polar bear to how to have a pee without geting frost bite – this is geography at its most perilous.


    Math Appeal

    In this book you’ll learn to see
    How very clever you can be.
    We’ll teach you tricks to help you add,
    Some day in math class you’ll be glad!

    In this follow-up to MATH FOR ALL SEASONS, Greg Tang underscores the importance of four basic rules in problem-solving. Keeping an open mind, looking for unusual number combinations, using multiple skills (like subtracting to add) and looking for patterns will guarantee any child success in math. In MATH APPEAL, Tang continues to challenge kids with his innovative approach to math.


    Bedtime Math

    In, Bedtime Math: This Time It’s Personal, families will find fun, mischief-making math problems that kids can’t wait to figure out. With over 100 math riddles on topics from pillow forts and and sneeze speeds to overfed pets and underwear, kids will find math isn’t just fun, it can be found in their everyday lives. And with three different levels of challenge (Wee ones, Little kids, and Big kids), plus a brand-new Bonus question, there’s something for everyone.
    Just as we all love stories before bedtime, families will find math is equally as fun and engaging. Many generations―kids and parents included―have been intimidated by math, but Bedtime Math is here to change all. We can make numbers fun, and change the world, one Bedtime Math puzzle at a time.


    How Many Guinea Pigs Can Fit on a Plane?

    How many bees does it take to make one jar of honey?

    How many soccer balls would fit inside a hollow Earth?

    How many pieces of gum would it take to stick you to a wall―and keep you there?

    Believe it or not, you can find out the answers to these questions yourself―using math! Combining questions from real readers like you with surprising answers, Laura Overdeck’s How Many Guinea Pigs Can Fit on a Plane? proves that numbers can be fun―and that math is power.


    You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Slave in Ancient Greece

    You are about to experience the life of a slave at first hand in Ancient Greece!

    This interactive series will enthrall young and reluctant readers (Ages 8-12) by making them part of the story, inviting them to become the main character. Each book uses humorous illustrations to depict the sometimes dark and horrific side of life during important eras in history. It’s the 5th century BC, and the Greek civilization is the most advanced in the world. But that civilization is based on slavery, and you, a member of a nomadic people from Asia Minor, are about to experience the life of a slave at first hand! This new extended edition includes a map and a timeline, and a selection of fascinating facts.


    HOMESCHOOL MORNING BASKET - what to include and lots of great resource ideas!



    The anagram game that will drive you bananas! BANANAGRAMS is the award-winning word game that needs no pencil, paper, or board. Players race against each other to build crossword grids and use all their letter tiles first. BANANAGRAMS comes in a small portable banana-shaped pouch so is great for travel, and is perfect for everyone 7 & up.


    Spot It

    Spot It! comes back with a whole new theme, this time camping! The game play remains the same: everyone plays at the same time trying to be the quickest to spot matching symbols. 55 cards, each with 8 symbols on them, 5 different mini-games. You can play each of the mini-games in order, out of order, or simply keep playing the same one.


    Monopoly Deal

    The Monopoly Brand Deal Card Game is all the fun of the Monopoly game in a quick-playing card game. It comes with 110 cards including Property Cards, Rent Cards, House and Hotel Cards, and Wild Property Cards. Action Cards let players do things such as charge rent and make tricky deals. House and Hotel Cards raise rent values. Wild Property Cards help players build Property sets. And, players pay their debts with Money Cards. Be the first player to collect 3 complete Property Card sets in different colors to win. This card game is a great way to play the Fast-Dealing Property Trading Game in as little as 15 minutes!


    Dutch Blitz

    Fast-moving game for up to 4 people

    Two to four players can play this fast-moving game. Recommended for ages 8 and up.

    In Dutch Blitz, each player has her own deck of forty cards, with cards 1-10 in four colors; red and blue cards show a Pennsylvania Dutch boy, while yellow and green cards show a Pennsylvania Dutch girl. Each deck has a different symbol on the back to aid with card sorting between rounds.


    Sushi Go

    Pass the sushi! In this fast-playing card game, the goal is to grab the best combination of sushi dishes as they whiz by. Score points for making the most maki rolls or for collecting a full set of sashimi. Dip your favorite nigiri in wasabi to triple its value. But be sure to leave room for dessert or else you’ll eat into your score! Gather the most points and consider yourself the sushi master!


    HOMESCHOOL MORNING BASKET - what to include and lots of great resource ideas!


    Brambly Hedge

    Explore the natural world with the mice of Brambly Hedge, who made their first appearance in 1980 when the four seasonal stories were published. Ever since, readers have loved exploring the miniature world of the hedgerow and meeting the families that live there.

    In this collection the mice have many adventures, but they always have time for fun and relaxation too. Whatever the season, and whether they are by the sea, in the hills, or simply at home by the fire, there is always someone ready to lend a helping hand.


    Beatrix Potter: The Complete Tales

    This complete and unabridged collection contains all 23 of Beatrix Potter’s Tales in one deluxe volume with all their original illustrations. The stories are arranged in the order in which they were first published so they may be read in their proper sequence. A special section at the end of this volume contains four additional works by Beatrix Potter that were not published during her lifetime


    Adventures in the Big Thicket

    Follows the adventures of a group of small animals living in a bayou in East Texas. Each adventure concludes with a Bible verse.


    Ox-Cart Man

    Thus begins a lyrical journey through the days and weeks, the months, and the changing seasons in the life of one New Englander and his family. The oxcart man packs his goods – the wool from his sheep, the shawl his wife made, the mittens his daughter knitted, and the linen they wove. He packs the birch brooms his son carved, and even a bag of goose feathers from the barnyard geese.

    He travels over hills, through valleys, by streams, past farms and villages. At Portsmouth Market he sells his goods, one by one – even his beloved ox. Then, with his pockets full of coins, he wanders through the market, buying provisions for his family, and returns to his home. And the cycle begins again.


    Tales from Hans Christian Anderson

    A collection of favorite fairy tales by Hans Christian Andersen.


    HOMESCHOOL MORNING BASKET - what to include and lots of great resource ideas!


    A Light in the Attic

    A Light in the Attic delights with remarkable characters and hilariously profound poems in a collection readers will return to again and again.

    Here in the attic you will find Backward Bill, Sour Face Ann, the Meehoo with an Exactlywatt, and the Polar Bear in the Frigidaire. You will talk with Broiled Face, and find out what happens when Somebody steals your knees, you get caught by the Quick-Digesting Gink, a Mountain snores, and They Put a Brassiere on the Camel.

    Come on up to the attic of Shel Silverstein and let the light bring you home.


    Poetry for Young People – Lewis Carroll

    With fantastic characters and enchanting language, Lewis Carroll created magical wonderlands children have always loved to visit. These 26 selections from his classic works have never lost their fascination. “Softly realistic, period-style watercolors effectively highlight the mood of each selection….vocabulary or context notes on just about every page, and the book opens with a brief but illuminating biography.


    Flower Fairies

    Enjoy the classic, complete collection of Cicely Mary Barker’s original Flower Fairies books in this brand-new edition. This collector’s favorite has been redesigned and now features a lavish, eye-catching jacket with silver foil. The interior still includes all of the well-loved illustrations and poems from Barker’s eight original books, as well as a selection of fairy rhymes.



    Ambleside Online – Robert Frost

    Ambleside Online has a number of free resources like a compilation of Robert Frost’s poetry.



    Okay, that’s all I have for today, let me know some of your favorite Morning Basket resources!

  • What's in Our February Brain Box - Our take on a morning basket
    brain stain,  homeschooling as a lifestyle

    Our February Brain Box

    A new month means it’s time to share what is in our Brain Box for the month!

    This is our third month with using our Brain Box and it’s so nice to have our main resources for the month so handy.

    If you missed the previous months you can also check out our January Brain Box and December Brain Box.


    What's in Our February Brain Box - Our take on a morning basket


    I feel like this month we have been getting back to the basics and really simplifying our homeschool. I know I’ve written a few posts in the past about minimalist homeschooling (or at least one), I’ve been meaning to share an updated post on the topic, hopefully in the next couple of weeks!




    What's in Our February Brain Box - Our take on a morning basket


    I put some card packs in our box again this month, the ocean life and food chain one I got from the Dollar Tree.

    Raeca has been really into secret codes lately so I pulled out our Usborne pack of secret codes that you use dry erase markers on and they can be used again and again. I bought the Secret Codes pack years ago and it doesn’t look like they make them any more which is too bad, they are also great for bringing in a vehicle or if you know you’ll be sitting in a waiting room for awhile.


    What's in Our February Brain Box - Our take on a morning basket


    I once again included the Prime Ministers book in this box, I am hoping we can memorize the order of the Prime Ministers (aiming for 5 a month) but to be honest, I haven’t been good at being diligent with that so far.

    I also included The Story of Inventions because the kids have been fascinated by inventions for the last few weeks and this is a great little book.


    What's in Our February Brain Box - Our take on a morning basket


    We once again have a Greg Tang book, this time it’s Math Appeal. I really enjoy going through the riddles and solving the math problems and the kids do as well.


    What's in Our February Brain Box - Our take on a morning basket


    Basic composition books have been the spine of our minimalist homeschool this month. Composition books are actually my personal favorite notebooks to write in and so it makes sense to use them with the kids too. Since Ephraim is in kindergarten he uses the one where the top half of the page is blank (for drawing a picture) and the bottom half is lined.


    What's in Our February Brain Box - Our take on a morning basket


    Brain Quest Cards – (I just realized I forgot to include the grade 3 cards in the picture, oops!) Ephraim finished the kindergarten pack already and has moved on to grade one, Raeca is on the grade 3 one. I enjoy going through these with the kids, it’s a great way to get an overview on a lot of topics and see if there are certain areas where we need to spend more time on. My only complaint is that as we get into the older grades there is more and more American based questions, which, if we were American I bet would be great but since we are Canadian it is a bit annoying. For the most part I just try to think of the Canadian equivalent of the question. But I’m not sure if we will continue to buy the packs, if anyone has an alternative or any suggestions I would love to hear them.


    What's in Our February Brain Box - Our take on a morning basket


    I forgot to include this in my January post but Raeca has been reading a chapter of her Bible every day this year. We got her this Bible right after Christmas and I think it’s a great one for her age (she’s 8). One of our pastors created a condensed Bible reading plan where the major stories/chapters are read and that is what she is following.


    What's in Our February Brain Box - Our take on a morning basket


    Raeca has also been loom knitting. She doesn’t really like projects that take an extended amount of time but I’m trying to get her to work on it a few times a week. We have a cat so this doesn’t technically get stored in our Brain Box (because yarn = kitty heaven), but I still consider it part of the box.

    We have this loom that can be made into more than 30 different configurations, from square to rectangle to circle.


    What's in Our February Brain Box - Our take on a morning basket


    Ephraim has been (pretty much) begging me to go through The Gnome’s Gemstones with him. We got the ebook in one of the previous Intentional Bundle sales and I printed it out and we went through it but then it was more for Raeca’s sake and he was too young, now he’s at the perfect age. Oh, and our “gnomes” ended up being bigger than the suggested size so we improvised and their outfits ended up becoming capes and we now have “superheroes”.

    We’ve had a lot of fun with the Gnomes Gemstones book but I would definitely recommend it for preschool and kindergarten, not K-3 like it suggests.


    What's in Our February Brain Box - Our take on a morning basket


    These aren’t actually in our box but I thought it would be fun to share the books I want to read with the kids this month. We have already finished Island of the Blue Dolphins (on audio) and are currently listening to Number the Stars (we don’t have a physical copy of this book) and then next we are going to read Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM.

    If you are curious about what else we are reading each week you can sign up for the bookish newsletter.

    And that’s all for this month’s Brain Box.

    If you have suggestions of what we should include for March’s box I would love to hear them in the comments below!

  • Our January Brain Box - our take on the homeschool morning basket for morning time
    brain stain,  homeschooling as a lifestyle

    Our January Brain Box

    We are continuing to use our brain box and I changed up our contents from our December box.

    Our Brain Box has a few different purposes. First of all, it helps me to pull out some resources I may otherwise have forgotten about. It also helps me to be intentional in choosing a few different areas to focus on for the month. And because our Brain Box is out in the open the kids will pull out different things throughout the day.


    Our January Brain Box - our take on the homeschool morning basket for morning time


    While some months some of our resources will be repeated, this month I filled it with completely new items.

    One thing that I forgot to take a picture of that is also part of our Brain Box this month is a kids embroidery kit that Raeca has been working on lately.


    Our January Brain Box - our take on the homeschool morning basket for morning time


    Pet Trivia Cards – I found these cards at Dollar Tree, we’ve just been picking a few every few days and going through them.

    Fox Addition Cards – While my big focus for kindergarten is learning to read, this month I want to do a bit of math with Ephraim. These fox addition cards are a good resource for us this month, though hopefully in the next couple of months we’ll move into just using numbers.

    Funny Fill-In – This little booklet is great for learning parts of speech, I love when learning can be done in a fun way!

    Thirty Days Has September: Cool Ways to Remember Stuff – This book is great for learning how to remember things (as it says in the subtitle), and it also has a number of different things to memorize. While I’m not big into the idea of memorizing everything, there are some different facts that I think are cool for kids to learn.


    Our January Brain Box - our take on the homeschool morning basket for morning time


    The Best of Times & Math Appeal – I enjoy Greg Tang’s math books, they introduce different ways and tricks to do math quickly in your head.

    Our Great Prime Ministers – I am trying to teach the kids more about Canadian history this year and one of the things we are learning together is a list of the Prime Ministers of Canada.


    Our January Brain Box - our take on the homeschool morning basket for morning time


    Oh, I forgot, this clock book is one resource that we are carrying over from last month, we didn’t use it much last month and hope to use it more this time.

    Brain Games – Admittedly, we are almost half way through this month and we haven’t cracked this book open yet. Hopefully we’ll use it this week!


    What are some of your favorite resources for January?
    How about for February, what should we add into that box?

  • Our December Brain Box - a take on a morning basket
    brain stain,  homeschooling as a lifestyle

    Our December Brain Box

    Like I mentioned in the post where I shared that we were officially quitting the Charlotte Mason method, we’ve started a little thing we call Brain Stain.

    Brain Stain in our take on the idea of Morning Time though it is not always in the morning so for the reason I didn’t like the name, plus I wanted it to be called something more exciting, my Raeca came up with the idea of Brain Stain.

    During our Brain Stain time we are going through a few of the resources in our Brain Box. Each month I hope to create a (mostly) new Brain Box and today I wanted to share our December box.

    Our December Brain Box - a take on a morning basket

    We only thought of this idea in the first week of December so I feel like this box isn’t as Christmas themed as I would have tried to make it if I had been planning this before Christmas but I’m keeping this in mind for months to come and plan on writing down ideas for future months as I think of them.

    Another reason I am so excited about this idea of Brain Stain and our Brain Box is because it gives me the reminder to be a little more intentional with our month, especially in regards to holidays and events. I often feel like I am a little behind in celebrating holidays so I think this will help give me the reminder I need.

    The idea of Brain Stain and our Brain Box also work really well with how we homeschool without a curriculum, or what I like to call, homeschooling as a lifestyle.

    Okay, on to what is in our Brain Box for December!

    Our December Brain Box - a take on a morning basket

    Dutch Blitz

    The kids have been on a real Dutch Blitz kick lately. Raeca (8) can play by herself but Ephraim still plays with a partner (me). Playing Blitz with only two teams can be difficult because you often get stuck waiting for the same number for a long time so I figured out a way around that – Ephraim and I play with two decks. He still has ten cards in his pile on the table but I have a lot more cards in my hand so that gives us a lot more options and makes the game quicker than normal with just two players.

    How to Remember (Almost) Everything Ever

    I have been wanted to do some memory type games with the kids for awhile and we got this book from our library, so far we’ve done a few of the activities in it and I can’t wait to do more.

    Little Pilgrim’s Progress

    We are still slowly (but surely) making our way through this book. The kids have been enjoying it and always ask for one more chapter. Their love for it definitely faded when we were doing the Charlotte Mason method and I asked them to narrate the chapters but now that we aren’t doing that any more they are back to loving it.

    Our December Brain Box - a take on a morning basket

    The Pupil’s One Vocabulary Speller – Canadian Edition

    This book was actually a vintage find when Raeca and I went to an antique sale in a barn last fall. We have a stack of these books for decoration and she realized this one is for grade three so she pulled it out and added it to our box. I have no idea how much she will actually want to do the spelling activities in it but it’s already been a great history and geography lesson as the first few pages share some of the “most important” words for kids to know to spell and number one is wagon with cows, winter, hen and ice following shortly after.

    Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s Magic

    This is our current read aloud. To be honest, so far I’m realizing that I enjoyed the original Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle more.

    Our December Brain Box - a take on a morning basket

    Looney Tunes Time Book

    This was a book I picked up at Dollarama awhile ago and it’s good for learning time on an analog clock. I haven’t been very good with teaching this kind of time because we don’t own any analog clocks and there aren’t that many around any more.

    On the note about clocks: I have been thinking about creating a wall with basic black and white analog clocks and then having the time for different cities in the world, similar to this:

    But I just need to figure out where that would work in our house first.

    I Broke My Trunk

    We are still working on Ephraim’s reading using mainly the whole language approach. This includes a lot of Elephant and Piggie books, Fly Guy and Dr. Seuss. You can actually check out some of our favorite easy readers here.

    Our December Brain Box - a take on a morning basket

    Tabitha’s Travels

    To be honest, as of writing this post we have yet to start this book but I have good intentions to read it with the kids before Christmas! Then for next year I am hoping to read one of the other books in the series with them.

    Bedtime Math – The Truth Comes Out

    We are on to our second Bedtime Math book – this is currently all we are “officially” doing for math but we take advantage of organic math learning throughout the day and I’m not worried, my kids are both doing really well in math and the lack of worksheets seems to help them actually enjoy it. (That being said, the odd time Raeca actually asks to fill out math worksheets. #nerd)

    One other thing I didn’t take pictures of was that I stuck our Christmas picture books in our box for the month as well. You can see some of our favorite Christmas picture books here and here.

    And there you have it, our Brain Box for December! I think the theme for January’s box will appropriately be: WINTER – any suggestions for that box?