Every morning, after breakfast and before we begin our school work (much of which, these days, is done independently), we enjoy our "morning basket" time. This is an idea that I borrowed from Jen at Wildflowers and Marbles and is explained in great detail here.

While the routine varies slightly each day and is quite flexible, the essentials remain the same. We do not do each thing every day, the only constants are morning prayers and catechism.

  • Light a candle
  • Morning prayers
  • Saint of the day reading
  • Catechism
  • Devotional reading 
  • Seasonal story and poetry: Selections can be liturgical, nature or holiday-related
  • Character study and memory gem
  • Picture study
  • Review schedules for the day (assign independent work)
  • Blow out candle
Last year all of our morning resources fit neatly into one basket (hence the term "morning basket"). This year I'm not quite so organized, but most of our reading for the week goes into the basket shown above.

While I'm reading the kids usually color a page from my stash of vintage, Catholic, Bellerophon, and Dover coloring books (I'll be adding some from Pomegrantate Press soon also). I'm a firm believer that coloring is a soothing activity at any age, though some mornings they prefer to sculpt with clay or modeling beeswax. M, in particular, is very fidgety and this seems to help her stay "present."

Overall, our morning basket time provides a nice foundation for the day and allows us to get focused in a gentle and beautiful way.

I've elaborated a bit more on the details below.


Following our morning prayers, most days begin with a reading from Saints for Young Readers for Every Day and a picture from Saints: A Year in Faith and Art, unless it is a Marian feast day or we have a Catholic Mosaic selection to read. This is usually followed by lesson work from St. Joseph's Baltimore Catechism No. 2 and sometimes a related story from the Angel Food for Boys and Girls series by Father Brennan. There may be other devotional reading as well; for example, we're currently reading from Our Lady's Book by Lauren Ford.

Seasonal Story and Poetry:

When we first started utilizing a morning basket, I included a variety of picture books (for example, see last year's September list). Many of these books were chosen from the excellent book lists in Cay Gibson's A Picture Perfect Childhood, liturgical books from her Catholic Mosaic.

Now, I alternate picture books with selections from several of the anthologies listed below (don't be deterred by the use of "kindergarten" in two of the titles, the stories are generally suitable for all ages). These are the books that I refer to most often, though I also pull stories and poems from 19th- and early 20th-century magazines, readers, and other sources. I am currently working on compiling most of my favorite material into four seasonal volumes for ease of use.
Holiday Stories:

These are the books I had printed from Google Books to have on hand for holidays. Right now I've only given thought to Thanksgiving since it's our next "major" holiday. I'll be selecting Christmas books most likely next month. A more complete list of holiday story collections can be found here.
Character Study:

Character study is something I'd hoped to incorporate into our morning basket last year, though never got around to it. Happily, this year it may actually happen. I've been pulling together my own program, again thanks largely to teacher's resources from the 19th- and early 20th-century. I hope to be able to write more about this shortly.

September's theme is kindness, with a more specific focus each week. There are related weekly "Memory Gems," stories, and poems. I'll be alternating these selections with the other nature/liturgical/holiday stories and poems that we read daily. We'll spend approximately five minutes per day on our Memory Gems.


Though music is not usually a focal point of our morning basket time, I do often have something playing softly in the background. Currently we're listening to Hildegard von Bingen's Canticles of Ecstasy, next up will be Biber's Rosary Sonatas.

Picture Study:

My selections for picture study this month were all borrowed from an old education magazine and were once quite commonly used in schools. I will generally display one picture per week to study and print the 8" x 10" pictures myself using Google Images and our color printer. When I'm not able to print the picture (which can happen for a variety of reasons), we view it on my lap top. Ideally however, the picture should be on display in the classroom for the week.

A quick search for any of these pictures in Google Books will bring up very specific study questions; for more general guidance, I've created this cheat sheet. Finally, an easier option altogether would be to have a copy of Picture Study in Elementary Schools by Williams Wilson printed (I may yet do that!).

September Pictures:
  • The Gleaners - Millet. Breton.
  • September - Zuber.
  • Harvest Time - L'Hermitte.
  • Harvester's Return - Seifert.
  • In the Field - Adam.
  • End of Labor - Breton.


  1. Anonymous said...
    Congratulations for your blog !
    I loved it (and I'm not a child anymore...). I'll keep coming. All the best, Katia Weber.
    Kristine said...

    Thank you so much for the kind comment! I've been a bad blogger lately, but plan to resume regular posting later this week. :-)


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