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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Circle Time

This is a review.

Circle Time is an e-book written by Kendra Fletcher, mother of 8 (I only have 2 more to go to catch her!) of  Preschoolers and Peace.

I got to try a PDF version of this book.  Because I am me, and I need paper, I printed it off and put it in a binder for myself. 


So, what exactly is Circle Time?

Here is what it says on the front cover....The Best Part of Your Homeschool Day
- Teach ALL ages
- Include what YOU want
- Enjoy your kids MORE

This is really just an outline of a way to gather all your children a "circle"...and spend some time together.  Simple concept.....not so simple to do in real life....even for us homeschoolers, sometimes, you know?

We actually used to do something like this in Minnesota a long time ago....probably when I only had 3 kids.  I loved it.  The kids didn't seem to love it at the time, (lots of moaning and groaning, etc.) but they still talk about stuff that we did, or books I read aloud to them during those Circle Times!

But, it was something that fell by the wayside...even before we moved.  I can't blame this one on the dreaded move to Georgia....I think it was just general busy-ness and more kids.

Since we have re-started Circle Time, I love, love, love it.  And, you know what?  The kids do too.

For me, it is because I just feel so much more connected with ALL of the kids on a daily basis than I used to.

Kendra has loads of tips for planning a Circle Time that will work with your individual family, strategies to keep it a peaceful time, and how to get your kids on board.

One of my favorite parts of this ebook was the Q&A Kendra did with questions sent in by moms and her real life advice on how Circle Time works at her house.  It has been different in different "seasons" of her life.....and that is okay. 

Circle Time takes planning and time to think about what your goals or wishes will be for your family and Circle Time. Since it is summer, and we are trying to move, we kept it simple.  Very simple. 

Right now, we aren't doing a lot of academic stuff during our circle time.  But, we are doing Bible study and Bible trivia...and we are praying together.  But again, even though we have structure and have planned out the time, it has already morphed into something I hadn't foreseen.

When we first started, I would just open and close our time in prayer.  That changed into me asking one of the kid's to close us in prayer.  Well, if I asked the same kid too often, it resulted in pouting and hurt feelings....which led to me trying to keep track of who I asked to pray yesterday and so on.

So, I tweaked it again, and now, we all bring our different prayer requests before the group. When everyone is done sharing, I have little slips of paper with everyone's name on them in a tin can.  We pick a name and that person starts our prayer time.  We keep going until everyone gets a chance to pray.  Everything and everyone we wanted to pray for gets covered because one person doesn't have to remember them all.  We are all connected and involved.

It is wonderful.

This summer, we have fit in Circle Time after lunch, which means, Rainman is only here for a few times during the week.  But, it is fun when he is there....the kids like to try to stump him with Bible trivia that we have already gone over.  (He is not stumped very often though!)

There have been a handful of times that the older kids were off at church functions, so we had Circle Time with the 4 younger kids....which was fine....but I prefer it when we are all together.

Our time and activities will change when we start school again.  We will cover more academic subjects, I am sure.  I really want to incorporate some Bible memory verses....a place that our training has been lacking.  I also plan to work in some teaching on music theory, orchestras, etiquette/manners, presidents, geography, Latin/Greek root words.  I want to go back to reading aloud to them.  I might also use this time to teach my kids some traditional hymns (remember we attend a contemporary service - so they are missing that great old church heritage of hymns!). There really is a lot we can do together that will help all of them, regardless of their age level, or their individual studies.

If I run out of ideas or need help, Kendra has a Circle Time Resources page on her website that can be used.  

V-girl, almost 4, (the reason Preschoolers and Peace exists) is thrilled to be part of this and her hand shoots up whenever I ask a question...even if she doesn't know the answer.  It is cute.  She is happy and engaged and not disruptive.  I will have Kendra's ideas in my back pocket though come fall and our Circle Time gets a little longer...and perhaps, over her head.  But, for now, she has been awesome.  Hearing her pray out loud for people would melt anyone's heart.  It is amazing the people that she thinks to pray for, and, how she words her petitions to God are just adorable.

There really is nothing better than piling  on the couch with your kids and doing stuff together.  I mean, I like watching movies and shows with my kids too....but, there is something about all of us piled up together and learning or talking that nothing can compare to.

Like I said at the top, this is a simple concept, but it is well worth the money to get Kendra's ebook on how to get started and tips for making it work.  Really. You can get a copy of Circle Time for $4.99.

Like the slogan says, this really has become the best part of my day.  See how the other TOS Reviewers used their Circle Time.