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Our Reading Basket: Reminisces & Plans

read basket 1


A constant of our home education journey is reading, over the years we’ve read, cried, laughed and devoured hundreds of books together, these ‘friends well met’ are now part of our family culture. Initially, when life was simpler we began our day with reading, as our dynamics changed this ‘time together’ shifted and continues to periodically as we seek the best way to meet our ever changing needs. It has also undergone name changes over the years, originally it was our ‘gather together time,’ eventually we called it our ‘reading basket time,’ another popular term for some is ‘morning basket.’ Regardless, we’re simply together; reading, discussing and memorising our way through a pile of selected books on various topics, a favourite time of our day.


In the early years when all our children were younger than eleven years old, life was simpler and our reading time together reflected that. In truth there were days when we continued reading for hours, long past the ‘allotted time.’ Our children however did grow older, our dynamics changed and whilst we continued reading together we experienced a shift. No longer did we read together for hours ‘on end’, nor did we continue to all read together, it grew into a time spent with the younger children whilst our teens read to themselves. I long mourned that time and late last year I recommitted to reading to all our children not just the middles and youngest when I began reading to our teens as well. Some families manage to read to all their children together but we our not one of them. Our age spread of sixteen to two years is too wide, finding age appropriate books for our middles/youngest would mean our teens needs are never meet. Too they find the noise, restlessness and questions of younger siblings too distracting at a time they wish to focus. I’ve since found a solution in which the needs of all are being met, we now have two/three gathering times with some crossovers; one for the youngest, another for the middles and another for the teens. Our teens are treasuring this focused teen time and so am I, this is a precious time in which we can engage in deep conversations, connect emotionally and share our souls. This time together is really what it’s all about.


Our reading basket can be divided into two sections; Faith and Reading with the contents enjoyed at different periods in the day. When selecting our books I’m influenced by our term plans, a period of ten weeks; our study focus for our various subjects, our memorisation plans, the liturgical year, our interests, these all are taken into account as I select books off our shelves. Sharing our reading basket plans with you for this term, Term 2, 2016 as the simplest way to explain.


Faith Basket

On an ideal day we all gather together for prayers before commencing lessons. During this time we pray and sing a hymn chosen by each child in rotation. In this way we naturally cover faith memory work for prayers and hymns. Some terms we also focus on catechism questions.

Whilst the children are still all together we read the saint/feast of the day and some days our current faith book, this term being Treasure & Tradition: The Ultimate Guide to the Latin Mass by Lisa Bergman. We are also enjoying different saints novels for each ‘group’ which are read at separate times of the day.

Truth is, it’s been a while since we’ve enjoyed a solid rhythm during our Faith times, so we’re rather keen for success this term.


Reading Basket

Our reading basket consists of daily reads and reads that are rotated through on a weekly loop. It also contains books for three separate gathering times for our different age groups. The age groups are divided thus:

Youngest – refers to our five year old and by shadow default our two year old as well. Whilst our five year old can and does listen to much of the middles reading basket, this term I’d like more focus on him to ensure he isn’t ‘lost in the shuffle,’ I’m expecting our seven year old will often choose to listen in too.  A new ‘basket,’ a new time commitment.

Middles – refers to our five, seven, nine and eleven year olds. Our eleven year old is a girl, the rest boys. I tend to aim at the two oldest of this group, the others ‘tag along’, hence why sometimes our newly five year old and occasionally our seven year old lose interest.

Teens – refers to our sixteen year old son and fourteen year old daughter. I find their maturity and gender differences most noticeable at this stage, finding reading material that is suitable and interesting for both is a challenge.


dybk feb 1


Daily Reads

Reading a chapter or two a day of each book means we will finish most of the books before term end, we will then simply select another.


Read Alouds

Saints Novel


We read and chat about a couple of poems a day. Thursday night is recitation night for the girls who have chosen to memorise a poem each week, longer poems may take them a fortnight to learn. Some terms all the children are encouraged to memorise poetry, not this term though as I’m being realistic regards our time.
Weekly Loops

We will rotate through the following on a weekly loop.
Monday Faith & Geography



Happy to share booklist, is anyone interested?


Tuesday – Faith & History 




Wednesday – Shakespeare & History


  • All – Midsummer Night’s Dream

Children are performing this play later in the year with local home education group. We’ll be reading, watching, memorising and rehearsing.  This block will be used to ‘keep us up to speed.’



Thursday Church History & Science

Church History



FridayVirtues & Science




Related Reading & Podcast:

Wildflowers and Marbles: Morning Basket

Ed Snapshots: Your Morning Basket

Sweetness & Light: Morning Basket

Ordo Amoris : Morning Time Moms

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  • Sarah Pavel

    Your crew are in for some good books this season! Kon Tiki brings back happy memories – I read, re-read, and re-re-read that one all through high school and am looking at it on the bookshelf now. It might be time to introduce my husband to it!

    Did you listen to the recent Your Morning Basket podcast on teaching Shakespeare? It seems like it would tie nicely with your plans.

    • Erin

      So appreciate your feedback on Kon Tiki as I was worried it mightn’t hold their interest, feeling reassured now with my choice.
      Oh I’m soo far ‘behind’ with podcasts, however thanks to your tip, I’ll shuffle that one up the list.

    • Erin

      You’re a research family 🙂 and you may not realise it but you inspire me in that arena.
      Small steps at a time, just start with one book, one chapter a day. A basket might be too big a step to begin with.

  • Sharyn

    You made me buy a book… but I forgive you 😉 This morning sickness is really knocking me for six right now. Wish I could just sit in your house and listen to you read all these books. Do you enjoy the ‘morning basket’ as much as the kids do? I do.
    Loved reading through your list, and Manning Clark’s History of Australia is on it’s way 🙂 Yay, can’t wait to read it!

    • Erin

      I appreciate your forgiveness, I read Manning Clark in College, apparently he is now considered ‘controversial’ but I don’t recall ‘anything’. Do you know he has a children’s book too? ‘History of Australia’ co-authored with Meredith Hooper and Susanne Ferrier.
      Oh I’d love you to visit too and happily read to you and yours 🙂 Take care my friend xx

  • Jess

    You’ve given me so many ideas. Thanks for posting. I’d better be careful around your website, I might end up breaking the bank.

    • Erin

      My pleasure, enjoy your look around and have your tab open at your local library, hopefully they can save your bank balance.

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