A few weeks ago I spent an evening planning our next nine weeks of circle time. I had determined over Christmas break that I really, really, really wanted to implement circle time into our homeschool day. I hoped that if I planned the work, that I would work the plan ~ and I did, or should I say we did...
We are currently in our eighth week of circle time. I think the kiddos and I would all agree that it has been a wonderful addition to our day.
I have kept the plans pretty simple. We have a four-day school week, with the fifth day reserved for errands, field trips, and other things that come up. We begin each of those four days with circle time. This time includes a devotional, poetry reading, singing, read-aloud, art study, and AWANA verse review.
Devotional ~ We've been using Our 24 Family Ways by Clay Clarkson as our Bible/Christian character resource. Each week a family way is introduced along with a scripture that reinforces the concept that we're studying that week. For example, on week five the family way is "We love one another, treating others with kindness, gentleness and respect."
The scripture verse for that week comes from John 4:11-12 ~ Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. (NIV)
Clarkson has also provided more passages of scripture to discuss that week that pertain to the particular family way, discussion questions, and suggestions for prayer time. I have used some of these additional suggestions ~ the ones that I felt my kiddos could handle ~ to add to our devotional time in the morning.
Singing ~ We also have a time of singing during circle time. My dh and I came up with a selection of hymns that we want our kiddos to learn. I, in turn, chose three hymns from that list ~ and we sing one of these selected songs each day. On the fourth day we sing a traditional or folk song, usually one that the kids already know.
Poetry ~ Each week I have been reading one poem from Favorite Poems of Childhood to the kiddos ~ I read the same poem everyday for all four days of circle time. I think Brandy had recommended this practice in one of her circle time posts. I love how we get to really know the poem by the end of the week, just by simply taking a few short minutes each day to read it.
Art ~ One day each week the kids and I study one page from A Child's Book of Art. We simply study the page (each page usually contains two to three works of art), we talk about the people and objects that we see in each piece of art, colors, things we like, etc.
Read Aloud ~ We are currently reading through Little Pilgrim's Progress (4 days) and Old Mother West Wind(1 day ~ science/nature). The kiddos love this morning read aloud time. They have been especially enjoying my reading of Little Pilgrim's Progress. I usually plan to read two chapters each day, and every day the kids ask for "just one more!" I try not to indulge them each time because if they had their way I would finish the entire book in one sitting :)
AWANA ~ We currently have a first year Spark and a third year Spark in residence. While I read the first year Spark's manual with her, our third year Spark is off in a quiet spot reviewing his verse(s) for the week.
And that's it. This has been such a lovely addition to our schoolday ~ it definitely sets a wonderful tone for the rest of our day...if only I had implemented it sooner :)