Circle Time: Plan the Best Part of Your Homeschool Day {TOS review}

I first learned the term circle time when I stumbled upon Kendra Fletcher’s blog, Preschoolers and Peace, many years ago. I was new to homeschooling, and, to me, she was a seasoned homeschooler. Fletcher was a mother of six children at the time compared to the eight she now has, ages five to 20 years-old. Besides the wonderful information she offered me as a new homeschooler, I found her more appealing, because she also lived in California. That made homeschooling even cooler.

After spending many years in circle time with her growing family, Fletcher has written Circle Time: Plan the Best Part of Your Homeschool Day, which is a 33-page e-book that guides mothers through simple steps to incorporate circle time into their family life. Did I mention that Kendra is also a fellow TOS crew member?

During the earlier years, as I read more about what circle time was on her blog, I realized that we were already doing our own version of circle time. The only difference was that there was no sense of structure to our times together. Not that every minute needed to be accounted for, but rather that I saw areas where we could make circle time more effective for our family by being a little more directed in how it was conducted.

Fletcher originally started circle time as a way to gather all of her children (from toddler to older children) and spend time with them learning together before the rush of the day. They all sit in a circle, which is how the phrase was coined, for this period of the day. The time was especially precious, because it allowed her to spend time with her youngest children and assure them that they too were very important to her. During the course of a day, younger children sometimes get forgotten, especially while mommy is schooling the older children.

Kendra and her children sit in a circle and learn together doing a variety of activities or studying school subjects. Circle time also created a sense of accountability where they are faithful in prayer as a family every morning.

Circle time is a period where all children are included in the experience regardless of their age. You may include any type of subjects or activities for a group experience during this time. If you are questioning what to do during circle time, then you may gather some ideas from Fletcher’s “Circle Time Wish List,” which lists several activities for circle time in areas of memorization, devotions, academics and life skills. You may pick and choose from Kendra’s list or create your own list of things that you would like to cover.

To get you started on creating a circle time experience that is right for your family, Fletcher has you consider some points like daily goals, overlapping subjects that can be completed as a group. She also addresses getting the support of your older children in this effort. This section may be extremely helpful for families with older children, who have already become more independent in their studies and their day.

I think the name “circle time” can be an automatic deterrent to older kids. You don’t have to call it that. Call it whatever you want! Honestly, if I had to do it all over again, I would have picked a name that suited our family better.”

One way she suggested getting older children on board, if they protest, is to include them as a contributor to circle time instead of just as a participant.

If you are a parent who thinks circle time is just for younger children, then reconsider that point. One of the reasons our family homeschools is to be able to spend more time together. Circle time provides that opportunity and can help maintain that family connection, especially if it includes prayer and devotion.

Although I like that there are no exceptions to what can be included in circle time, I really like the time spent in the Word, together. I usually find myself sitting with my older two and then later covering something with my younger child. Yes, that could simply be called Bible study. Guess, what? Bible study may be a part of circle time.

Circle Time has motivated me to start including my youngest child in more of that time I spend with my older two.

Fletcher continues in her e-book with sections on questions about implementation of circle time and comments from other moms who have created a circle time experience for their family. I found both really helpful, because there were questions like mine that were addressed. Plus, I like to learn how other mothers conduct their homeschool days.

I really like the accountability that circle time has created in our family in regards to routine. Currently, we do have devotion, calendar time and life skills, but I may look at adding a few other activities. Take a look at these circle time resources that may give you a good start in beginning circle time in your home.

Fletcher points out that “there is no right way to do circle time.” What she does in Circle Time is gives you direction in getting started and implementing the right circle time for your family.

Circle Time is available for $4.99 as a .PDF download. For such a reasonable price, you will be able to get a start on making more meaningful time in your day with all of your children, together.

You can read more reviews of this item by fellow crew members on The Homeschool Crew Blog.

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One Response to “Circle Time: Plan the Best Part of Your Homeschool Day {TOS review}”

  • Comment from Tiffany

    Hmm this looks interesting. We have circle time but many days it does not go as planned. I will check this resource out. Thanks!

    Our Circle Times have been “hit or miss.” I have found that having a committed time as well as a definite set of activities (not too many) that we do has made this period in our day actually fun and peocutive.

    Tiffany recently posted..Curriculum Selections 2013-2014

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