Most people when they think of school think of age segregated classrooms where students all the same age learn the same thing at the same time. In a homeschool though, there are many different ages of children that are in the home. Often people think they the homeschool mama spends her day teaching each child each subject separately. This is not the learning has to be. It is possible to teach multiple children at the same time even with toddlers and infants in the house. Over the last several weeks, I have had an opportunity to use and review Circle Time: Plan the Best Part of Your Homeschool day from Preschoolers and Peace.
"Circle Time is our fabulous, all-ages-are-welcome, group teaching time that allows us to pray together, laugh together, and get to the subjects we often run out of time for."
Circle Time: Plan the Best Part of Your Homeschool Day is a 33 page ebook in PDF format. In this book you will find:
- how to plan a Circle Time that works for you
- strategies for a peaceful time together
- how to get your kids on board
- questions from moms (and answers)
- words of wisdom and suggestions from other moms who do Circle Time
- resources, activities, and ideas
- printable planning sheets
We have done Circle Time in our homeschool for several years, though we do not call it Circle Time, we just call it our morning school work. I was interested in reading and reviewing Circle Time because I think no matter how long you have been doing something, you can always learn something and get fresh ideas from someone else. And I needed some fresh ideas. So I loaded the book to my iPad and started reading while I put Emelia down for a nap one day.
I think a lot of people think of Circle Time as something for little kids, but as Kendra talks about in her book it really is a time for the whole family to be working and learning together (and you don't even have to sit in a circle ; ) Whether you have 2 children or 20 you can plan a Circle Time that works for you. That is one of the things I liked most about this book. It shows that there are many different ways you can do Circle Time. There are many different things you can choose to do or not do during Circle Time. You can plan a Circle Time that works out best for you depending on the ages and abilities of your children. The Printable Planning worksheets that are included will help you get started planning which subjects you would like to put into your Circle Time and which subjects you want your children to work on independently. There is also a printable called Circle Time Wish List that you can put things down that you have always wanted to get to, but have never had a chance. There are organizational tips and techniques that will help you get your Circle Time started or for those who are not the most organized (like me) it will help you be more deliberate with what you are doing in your Circle Time.
There are many suggestions for which subjects/topics can be covered during Circle Time, but of course you don't have to stick to only what has been suggested. As I started reading through the book, and got to the sample schedules, I thought how great it would be if there was a link to the specific curricula/books etc. . . that were being used. Guess what? There is! At the end of the book there is a Circle Time Resources link that takes you to a page that links to resources that they have enjoyed over the years and the ones that were mentioned in the book. Each item has a link that takes you to the vendor page. There are a lot of great suggestions on that page!
In the summer with so much going on it has been hard to have a consistent Circle Time in the morning, but we have been having some time in the evenings before bed and have been doing a read aloud then. I have been using this time after reading the book to plan for our next school year. So in addition to our usual Bible, History,Read Aloud, and Science that we all do together, I have gotten a few new ideas after reading Circle Time. I would like to add in some music appreciation by studying some of the most famous composers and listening to classical selections. I also would like to do the same with artists and their famous masterpieces. Another item on my Circle Time Wish List is to learn Greek.
One thing that there had been more of is suggestions of what to do with the little ones when their portion of Circle Time is over. I know that new homeschooling moms often have a hard time keeping their little ones occupied while working with the bigger ones, especially when they have toddlers. There are some suggestions in the book but I think moms new to the Circle Time idea could benefit from a list of ideas of what to do with their youngest children when their quiet time in the "circle" is over but mom needs to continue teaching the older children.
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