Wednesday, July 31, 2013

TOS Crew - Circle Time Review

We have over the years often had a gathering time in the morning after breakfast where the kids and I would read from the bible, sing songs, and pray together before we started our day. But unfortunately, that hasn't stayed consistent. I heard about Circle Time from Preschoolers and Peace and hoped I would get fresh ideas to again implement this in our day.

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Preschoolers and Peace was started by Kendra Fletcher a homeschooling Mom to 8 children ages 20 down to 5. She began by giving workshops on how to homeschool older children with little ones running around and then began her website. She is a speaker and a writer and I am reviewing her e-book called Circle Time: Plan the BEST Part of Your Homeschool Day.

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This time I was smart and had the e-book pdf file printed out for me as I tend to struggle getting a book read if it is electronic. Although the benefit of an e-book is the clickable links. This is only 33 pages but is full of good ideas on planning a circle time that works for everyone in your family. What is Circle Time? It is not original to the author and in fact I know one of my blog friends includes this time in their homeschool day. It is basically a time to gather together as a family to begin the day. Although, it can also work at other times of the day as well.

Some of the Contents of this book are:

  • Planning a Circle Time That Works for You
  • Strategies for a Peaceful Time Together
  • How to Get Your Kids on Board
  • Questions From Moms Like You
  • Words of Wisdom from Other Moms Who Do Circle Time
  • Resources, Activities, and Ideas
  • Printables
I found that Circle Time can be so much more than just reading, singing, and prayer time. Not that those things aren't good and that might be enough for some, especially if you have all young children. But as my children are getting older the routine we once had doesn't fit quite as well. Sure, my oldest will still sing "Father Abraham" and enthusiastically do the actions but I can't say that it would be his top choice. And so this was helpful to see how to add in various aspects such as memorization of poetry and scripture, word of the day, Gratitude journals, and even overlapping subjects such as history and science. The point of this is working together as a family which is one of our goals. Kendra recommends that when you begin you use her printable form included in the book to list each child's daily requirements and when you see subjects and activities that overlap that those would be the kind of things to plan into your Circle Time.

There are sample routines listed and I found myself reading through this book looking up resources as I went very excited about all of the possibilities to include during this time. Circle Time could be as short as 15 minutes or up to 2 hours when including daily subjects. Then all that is left in the day is for the child to do their individual subjects such as math. 

My favorite and simple idea to implement was "Popcorn Prayer" which I have done before but not with the children. You simply use the acronym ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication) and each person takes a turn saying something that fits. So you could begin by telling God, "You are loving", and then the next person would say another adoration. And then go on to confess something such as, "Forgive me for my bad attitude, help me to speak with kind words" and on it goes. This makes it easier for the child and everyone participates to their ability.

I could go on and on about all of the fun ideas to implement into your Circle Time but if you are like me and like to follow someone's lead then this is a great book for you. Admittedly, implementing a time to gather is difficult in the non-scheduled busy summer. And so we didn't get to do as much with this as I would have liked. But I definitely look forward to using this when we begin school again.

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