Homeschool Hacks: The Morning Basket

Do you ever ask yourself how Ma Ingells actually made life work out on the praire?

Because I am pretty sure I would have been out on the whole “little life on the praire” gig when I had to tap a tree for molasses, boil said molasses, and then pour it on the 12 feet of snow outside of my log cabin just to make a treat for my children.

(Who are we kidding…I would have been out when the whole “outhouse” aspect came into play.)

For example, when Ma Ingells found herself with a log cabin full of slightly-sick, ever-so grumpy children what were her options? Letting them stir the big pot of lye soap cooking on the back porch to entertain themselves? Darn the socks?

Things are a bit of a hot mess over here at casa de phillips at the moment and I am thankful that watching lye soap boil is not on my list of ways to save the day. Both kids have a cold that is leaving them beyond pleasant and I am running on just a few hours of sleep (I *may* have been at concerts the last two nights. The life of an almost-forty year old minivan driving mama is exhausting some times.). No one wants to do anything other than whine. Amazon Prime Now just saved my bacon with a delivery of iboprohen and Gatorade. Netflix may just be my saving grace for this afternoon.

Pretty sure Ma Ingels had neither Amazon Prime Now or Netflix out there on the praire…

It is times like these that can really test the fortitude of our homeschool. Let’s be honest, no one really wants to pull out the Shurley Grammar book and diagram sentences when they feel crummy. The deal with these colds is that the kids simply have the common cold. They are sick enough to feel (and act) like big blobs of mess but they have the ability to actually do some school.

This is where our homeschool basket really can save the day.


I have been doing the homeschool basket for years. It is simply a basket that holds a variety of teaching tools that we use everyday. For example, our basket holds the following:

*Everything You Need to Know About Science Homework (*)

*Everything You Need to Know About History Homework (*)

*our current read aloud book

*Math Flashcards

*Life of Fred Book

*One Minute Science Mysteries

*A Really Short History of Nearly Everything

*Maps and dry erase markers

*Devotional books for the kids


(*We use these books as extra information in regards to our Classical Conversations New Grammar material. We have a chart that allows us to dig deeper into the science and history New Grammar sentences using these books.)

All of these supplies live in cute little basket that sits by our piano. The cute basket is essential to making this formula work because the basket needs to be accessible at all times. It just does not work for my personality to have a big ugly tub sitting in my front room. (We shall not mention the big ugly cardboard box holding old photo albums that has been sitting in there for a month now). Because the basket is easily accessible at all times, one of the kids can fetch it and we can get some serious learning done.

How do we use the basket?

Well, friends, we simply read the books that reside inside of it. For example, each week we read more about our Classical Conversations New Grammar science and history sentences. We read daily from a Life of Fred book. We always make time for our read aloud. Devotionals are read while the kids eat a morning snack. And everyone loves a good science mystery.

Flashcards really only speak to the heart of one of my children but they are good for the brain so everyone gets a turn.

In 45 minutes (ish) we can cover a lot of learning ground and have some quality discussions. Perfect for those days when learning was low on some people’s list due to the fact they wanted to prioritize “whining”, “arguing”, and “temperature taking” as their top goals for the day.

Bonus: no one had to research “How to make lye soap.”

Do you have a homeschool basket? If so, what lives inside of it?


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