If you've never visited Kendra's blog, you are really missing out. She is a wealth of wisdom about kids, parenting, and schooling. It's from her that I learned about Circle Time, and it has really changed how we 'do school.'
Before Kendra, I thought circle time was when little kids at preschool sat on carpet squares while the teacher read a story or sang a song. Our circle time isn't completely different though we don't sit on carpet squares and my 75% of my kids are older than preschool age.
We start our school day with circle time, eating breakfast together, going over the day's schedule and talking about anything special happening that day or week, prayer requests and any 'issues' that need to be addressed. It helps us to all start on the same page and to be of one mind as we work toward the common goal of completing our school day in a way that brings glory to God.
So what do we do? (and know that this will look different for each family. There's no right or wrong way, just do what serves your fam best.)
Recitation - Before the schoolyear starts, I pray for and about each child and have a Bible verse for each of them to recite each morning and memorize over the course of the year. It typically relates to something they are struggling with - ie, being content - or encourages them in something they're doing well with - ie, compassion.
We memorize a hymn or prayer in Latin each year, and this year we'll learn the Pater Noster.
We're also going to memorize Psalm 100 (in English) by reading it each morning. Once we've mastered this, we'll memorize another chapter.
Bible Read Aloud - In the past, I've read things like
The Priest with Dirty Clothes,
or read from their Jesus Storybook Bible.
This year we're doing ancient history and much of our history reading will be from the Bible so we'll do most of our history reading during circle time.
Worship - I also choose a hymn for the year that we learn and sing each morning. The boys don't particularly enjoy this,but I want my kids to learn some of the hymns I grew up hearing. Often if we're having a rough time, I'll just stop everyone and we'll sing our hymn. It's a great way to get everyone (including me!) refocused and back on track. This year's hymn is Hallelujah! Thine The Glory!
Prayer - We end our time in prayer- for each other, friends and/or family who are sick, our nation and its leaders, friends living overseas, etc. And we pray for Dmitry Shestakov who has been in an Uzbek labor camp for the past 3 years for preaching the Gospel. We also pray for the coutnry of Uzbekistan- the gov't, church, people, etc.
It seems like a lot but only takes about 45 minutes depending on how many interruptions we have and how focused we are during the recitations.
So that's our circle time!