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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

TOS Review: Circle Time

Circle Time Book Logo photo CircleTimeLogo_zps63dd95c9.jpg When I first heard about "circle time" for home schooled families, a time of day when all the kids (even the little ones) and Mom and/or Dad can come together to start the day and work on group lessons together, I was intrigued, and thus was eager to review Circle Time: Plan the Best Part of Your Homeschool Day.

The 32 page e-book Circle Time: Plan the Best Part of Your Homeschool Day, by Kendra Fletcher, through Preschoolers and Peace, presents the concept of "circle time", a time period, generally in the morning, when the parent(s) and children get together for group teaching time, which could include memorization, songs, prayers, reading together, and conquering some subjects like history and science, if the children do those together.


The book is divided into 9 chapters, focusing on what to include in circle time, suggestions for motivating children to be involved, and parameters for various ages. At the end of a book is a "wish list" for possible circle time activities.


From the Circle Time webpage:
  • Planning a Circle Time That Works for You
  • Strategies for a Peaceful Time Together
  • How to Get Your Kids on Board
  • Questions From Moms Like You
  • Words of Wisdom From Other Moms Who Do Circle Time
  • Resources, Activities, and Ideas
  • Printable Planner Sheets

I was not familiar with the concept of circle time beyond that in a preschool environment, at least not as it's called "circle time". However, we've always done our group activities at the kitchen table, first thing in the morning; science, history, spelling word lists, art, and foreign language. River does participate in most of what we're doing, at an age appropriate level. Our kitchen table is actually our home base for our school day, where most everything is done so we do tend to spend most of the day together, or at least within sight of each other. So, hey, we've been doing circle time and didn't even know it!

I do find our time together doing schoolwork at the kitchen table (after writing all that I think I may start refering to it as "circle time"!) enjoyable. Ideas get tossed around and conversation flows. It's not always groovy, but most of the time it's a positive experience.

After reading the book I've incorporated some new ideas, such as adding more memory work, into our circle time. I've had it in the back of my mind to include more memorization into the kids schooling and have now done so.

On the plus side: Circle Time encourages little ones to sit still and focus and the book provides reasoning and suggestions for encouraging that, circle time is a great way for the family to spend time together and connect, also expanded on in the book, and the book is a full of suggestions for a successful daily circle time. For a new home schooling multi-age family this book serves as both a unique resource and source of reassurance that schooling days aren't chaotic when you've got a plan in place. The book is an easy, quick read written from one homeschooling parent to another.

On the negative: The book is Christian, much of the circle time focus is on prayer, bible memorization, and the like. This isn't necessarily a negative, but it's not clearly stated on the book's website and wasn't exactly what I was expecting.

Circle Time is an immediately downloadable e-book available at Preschoolers and Peace for just $4.99. If you purchase the book and use it I'd love to hear what you do with it and how it works for you and your family.

Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew.

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