Thursday, July 25, 2013

TOS Review: Circle Time and a Peek Into Our School Time Basket

When I first thought of homeschooling my {then} two little ones, I remembered thinking how great it was going to be to spend time snuggled on the couch, with a book about some far off place, talking about different languages and places. Or maybe, standing out in our garden pulling apart a plant and looking at all it's different parts. The biggest thing I knew for sure I wanted was to school TOGETHER.

This is something I hear from many moms out there. They may not have had the same initial vision at first, but after a few years of learning at home, they want to have more 'group learning.'  Now, if your children are all little, or a bunch of different ages, this may be a very difficult thing to accomplish!

 My fellow Schoolhouse Review Member and Blogger, Kendra Fletcher, has taken the time to put together a super helpful e-Book called Circle Time.  In this 33 page e-book she discusses

*How to plan a circle time
*Strategies for a peaceful time together
*How to get your kids on board
*Questions from other moms
*Words of wisdom from other circle time moms
*Ideas, activities, resources
*and she also includes lots of printables and planning forms!

Now, some of you might be wondering, what, exactly is circle time.  You can read all about how Kendra and her family put Circle Time into play by reading her blog Preschoolers and Peace (I specifically linked to the 'circle time' category).  But, I thought this was also a good time to tell you a bit about OUR 'circle time.'

We don't call it circle time at our house.  In fact, we actually call it Bible time.  A couple years ago, we started with Bible time, and over the time we have been doing it, just started adding more and more things to our time.  We always start with Bible time, so it still has that name.  But, for the purpose of this Circle Time review, I will call it that :).

Here is a our circle time location.  Just us, the couch, a chair, and a basket full of goodies :).  We start in the late morning and it lasts at least an hour.

Our circle time basket is just an old magazine holder that sits between the couch and chair and keeps our school materials out but not in the way.

These are our current Bible time materials.  Our review product Bible Study for All Ages, two Bibles (one for children and one for everyone), With the Children on Sundays-which has Biblical object lessons that we use occasionally.  There are also printouts of Catechism questions, and JOY prayer cards I printed off another blog.  During the school time, this also includes our AWANA books.

After our Bible time, we move on to our Poetry and Memory work.  We are currently reading poetry from a vintage Childcraft book I purchased at a yard sale.  In the past we have read Mother Goose and other poetry books.  We also take this time to work on our CC memory work.  We are not currently part of the co-op, but I think it is important to continue our memorization.

After singing our song about the Presidents, I allow the little girls to get up and work on materials on their shelves while I continue this time with Charger and Mustang.  We are making our way through all the Presidents (yes we have a ways to go).  We have found the National Geographic presidential series to be a wonderful representation of the presidents and give lots of extra history within the stories.  We read about 2 or 3 pages of a book each circle time.  

Then we move on to something that highlights work on their work-plan.  This is our current book, but it changes often.  We have read books about history, science, cultures, holidays,musicians, artists, anything 'extra' we want to learn about-it goes here.

As a result of reading Circle Time, I began brainstorming what more I wanted to add to this time.  When I came across this little gem at a yardsale, I knew it would fill the language void I was hoping to fill.

After our circle time the big kids are free to begin choosing works on the shelves and I begin a mini circle time/school time with my littles that includes a letter book and a picture book.

As you can see from our basket, as long as the children are doing some math and writing, we have pretty much covered our main school subjects just by doing a little reading while cuddling on the couch! Now, it isn't without a few squabbles and frustrating moments, but I really thought that Kendra's peace keeping ideas were great and I put a few of them to use!

So What Did I think of Circle Time by Kendra Fletcher?

I think that Circle Time is a wonderful read for the new or veteran homeschooler who wants to have group learning time at home, but doesn't have a lot of time to research how to do so.  All the information you need is in one, easy to read, and affordable e-Book.  The book is full of useful tips, great ideas, and helpful examples that even got me thinking of ways to improve on what was already my favorite time of the day.

Circle Time retails for just $4.99 and is available for immediate download from Preschoolers and Peace.

Other members of the crew reviewed Circle Time, and some also gave a glimpse into their circle time routine.  You will want to check out the other reviews!  You can find them on the crew blog.

Thanks for stopping by!

God Bless,

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