Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Circle Time (Round up the troops, and get along!)

One of our very own TOS Review Crewmates, Kendra of Preschoolers and Peace offered her e-book Circle Time for our use and review. Now.... don't let the title of the book, OR the fact that her blog name includes Preschoolers make you decide that this isn't for you, because all of your children are older. Circle Time, Together Time, Unit Time, or whatever *you* want to call it (So that your teenagers won't balk at the title) is a useful time for everyone.

The contents of Circle Time cover the following topics:
  • Planning a Circle Time That Works for You ~ This chapter deals with organizing and planning what you want your circle time to look like, and what you want to accomplish during that time. Kendra includes a couple of sample schedules. They could be considered a little sketchy if one requires step-by-step instructions, but are fine for someone who just wants to get an ideal of what to include, and how things might flow.
  • Strategies for a Peaceful Time Together ~ Kendra goes a little more in depth in this section, although I wish there had been some more detail. She gives us a peek at her "memory box" that is used on a daily basis, memory binders, and prayer boxes, but I would have liked a few more specifics, especially regarding the memory box. For instance~ she has listed on Tuesdays Ten Verses Cards, National Geographic Presidents cards, and Psalm 127. I know this is a little superfluous to the scope of the main idea of Circle Time, but I'd like a clearer picture of *how* she uses those~ do they read through the entire set of verses/presidential cards, and the whole Psalm, or do they just work on one verse/card at a time?

    Beyond that, she discusses some ways to keep the littlest learners (or crawlers) happy, or at the very least somewhat occupied, while everyone else is participating.
  • How to Get Your Kids on Board ~ Making "Circle Time" cool (Might involve a name change that doesn't evoke thoughts of pre-schoolers sitting on carpet squares... OR it might involve some "older-kid" driven participation..)
  • Questions From Moms Like You ~ In this section Kendra answers some of the questions that she has received from moms who are exploring the Circle Time idea. Her answers are what she does, with an emphasis on the fact that every family is different, so it's really a matter of finding what works for you and yours.
  • Words of Wisdom From Other Moms Who Do Circle Time ~ Similar to the previous chapter, only this time it is Kendra more or less interviewing a couple of veteran "Circle Time Moms" to glean from their ideas, and to show that can be more than one approach.
  • Resources, Activities, and Ideas  ~ Kendra links to specific Circle Time resources on the web including her blog and her Pinterest board, as well as a Resource Page which links to books and some sites with material that is highly suitable for Circle Time.
  • Printable Planner Sheets ~ A few printable sheets that are intended to help you plan and organize your time.
Going back to the title of my post (Round up the troops, and get along), I have found that having a "Circle Time" is one of those things that really *does* help my troops to "get along" as well as to get our day going, so here is what I have done with Circle Time.

Because it is summer-time, and the kids have had a variety of schedules,  I decided to keep our "Circle Time" fairly light~ We used a couple of inspirational/devotional books for discussion and read-aloud and we had a prayer time. This puts us all on the same page, and really, starting our day with Scripture, stories and prayer really does make a difference in attitudes... I can tell the days that we miss!

Following that I started something I've wanted to do for quite awhile, reading a poem each day (At this point from The Golden Books Family Treasury of Poetry, which has been sitting around, NOT being read for far too long. Next we read my Middlest's history, as that is accessible to all three of my kids, from 6-16 (and this way I'm helping to fill in some of the blanks that my Eldest might have).

Because our Circle Time tends to be first thing in the morning (usually), I have *not* taken pictures of my kiddos, for which they are grateful. We can typically be found sitting in various locations (Rocking Chair, Love Seat, or floor) of the living room, unless we're outside in the yard on a blanket.

I kind of think of Circle Time as expanding on the whole idea of devotions, and organizing your days in a Unit Study sort of way, even if you aren't really doing a Unit Study. I do have to say that I would not be able to do a long Circle Time (2-ish hours) with everyone, like Kendra does, because I can't take two hours from my high-schoolers day, but we certainly can squeeze in 1/2 hour with her before she goes off on her own, and I can add a little more with Middlest and Youngest before Middlest goes off to do his math and other grade appropriate work.

Not So Nutty Nitty Gritty 
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1 comment:

  1. We're enjoying Circle Time as an addition to our day, too. I like your idea of reading poetry each morning. We've read through 25 Truths together and are spending time in prayer. The kids have even enjoyed sharing a song of praise and worship via YouTube on their phones. :)


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