Kendra, of Preschoolers and Peace, has written a terrific little tome called Circle Time. Circle Time is an easy to read, 33 page e-book that will give you the tools to organize your day around your kids, instead of around your curriculum, or what everyone else expects. Basically, it takes the concept of "morning meeting" and makes it accessible to homeschoolers, giving you the tools to personalize this concept for your homeschool, your kids and your life-style, regardless of your kid’s ages, stages or abilities.
Kendra encourages Moms' to think big about their homeschool and what they want to accomplish in it. She includes some great printables (and who doesn't love those?) that help you organize all of the big ideas you have, including memory work, prayers, Bible Study, read-alouds, and more. In fact, whatever you can imagine, can literally be part of Circle Time. One of my favorite pages in this e-book was the printable titled, “Independent work/Group Work.” I’m a big picture kinda gal, and this is just the sort of chart that will make my 5 x7” index cards obsolete! Organization AND good looks, all at once.
Circle Time e-book includes ideas for getting your kids on board, what to include in your Circle Time, what to do with older kids, strategies for a peaceful time together and more! This book is a must read for every homeschooler (and definitely every Mom of pre-schoolers!) to give them the tools to manage their kids and their time in a way that accomplishes what they hope to; getting the things done that you set out to do!
We have actually done Circle Time in the past, when we were part of a classical community. Basically we would gather every morning to go over our memory work, geography, and time-line cards. My kids are all 3-5 years apart in age, and gathering together for something common was a great way to touch base and feel like we were all part of something greater than the individual parts. We still do a ton of memory work, but we haven’t gathered together for it for a long time. Mainly because the kids all get how to memorize and they all do so at their own pace. Flower memorizes math facts more quickly than Cub and he memorizes poetry faster than she does and Feeche blows them both away in speed and accuracy. It’s been one of those things that have “slipped” since the house-fire.
Kendra’s e-book has inspired me to think, and put into action once again, this great concept and expand it beyond our original memory work. Our list includes chants for Latin, Lingua Angelica songs, geography, Bible verses and prayers, art cards, The Hebrew Alphabet and more. Your list will look totally different than mine. And isn't that one of the great things about homeschooling? It's personalized. I'm also working on re-producing a notebook for Circle Time. I had one pre-fire. And, I had one for a co-op that we did too. We actually did Circle Time as a group and gathered for songs, prayers, memory work. So, don't think Circle Time is limited to just your family. This is a great concept for co-ops, class days, camps and Sunday Schools.And, of course, we always have a trusty read-aloud going on. I haven’t thought about read-aloud time as Circle Time, but it is. We often gather in my room at the end of the day, the kids sprawled on our huge bed with art supplies while I read. Dad is often reading the Bible, while listening in on the story (one of the benefits of being an auditory learning- you can "listen" to more than one thing at a time!), and then we do Family Prayers. Circle Time? Yes. It’s more than what you might expect.
If you want to get more done this year, Circle Time is one of the best investments you can make. This is a quick read, but a very worth-while one. It basically teaches you how to organize and manage your homeschool day around Circle Time, allowing you to accomplish more teaching, more learning and more togetherness. What could be better?