I still remember when my husband, Bobby, and I first decided to homeschool. (Ironically, it was almost a year after we said up and down that we would never homeschool.) Having been a homeschool graduate, I was ecstatic. Tommy had just turned 2 and was begging us to learn. He asked so many questions and needed to be challenged. We figured we might as well get started… While it was early, I figured we could do simple toddler activities and enjoy our time together. I assumed that as my children got older it would be pretty easy, having 3 children in 3 years, to combine everything for them to learn a good amount of things together… Boy, was I wrong! I wish I had read Circle Time by Kendra Fletcher from Preschoolers and Peace then!
Now, let me be clear. We have always had what we called “circle time”. Here’s how it was supposed to go: About 30-60 minutes of myself with all kids (in the Summer the older 2 are included): Begin with prayer, move right in to The Pledge of Allegiance, calendar time, weather, address & phone numbers, alphabet, counting to 100, quick review of what was learned the day before, memory scripture, Bible lesson, and story time. Ahh.. No. That’s not how it went. Not at all. It either took much longer while I tried to keep Johnny Ben from either escaping the room or dumping out art supplies and Molly begged and cried until I let her get out the crayons or turn on an educational DVD (The DVDs seem special to them because we are only allowed to watch those DVDs in the homeschool room… or I’m just that boring…) while Tommy shouted “Yay! Schools done! Can I play with :insert legos, playdoh, Wii, outside, or something else fun here: now?” or much shorter because I just gave up and moved on to what was next. Every. Single. Day. Kindergartener, Delayed Preschooler, & Toddler. Why did I think it would go so smooth?!
Our circle time made a sudden major transformation about 6 weeks ago. The kids didn’t know what to think and kept insisting I was doing it wrong. They had no idea I had read Circle Time or what I was doing, but after about 2 minutes they finally sat down and went along with it. In the book, there were… wait, I’m getting ahead of myself! I need to tell you about the book!
Kendra Fletcher is a mom to 8 kids of which she homeschools. In a way to spend more time as a family and simplify life by teaching her children of multiple ages at the same time, she has circle time so that they are all able to learn various studies together. In Circle Time, she goes about outlining how she does circle time with her children, what has worked, what hasn’t, ideas for keeping little ones busy, things to use during circle time, words from others who have circle time and how they do it, and how to transition into the rest of the day while everyone does their individual studies.
While the book is a quick read of only 32 pages, it packs quite a punch! I was able to read it, take notes, use the printables, and plan the next days circle time in one night. Since then I have gone back and referenced this little book for more ideas. It has truly been a sanity saver.
The chapters are as follows:
- 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
So back to where I left off… In the book, there are printable planning/idea sheets. The night before our first new and improved circle time, I filled them out and made a goal of how long I wanted our circle time to last. It included starting off with a new way of praying that is explained in Circle Time. (What a hit! The kids now spend time thinking of what they will pray for.) The rest all went so smooth and by the end, everyone was ready to sit down and do what they were supposed to do next. My children have learned a few scriptures (much more easily) and have begun to learn other memory work as well. Even on that first day, we far surpassed my initial goal for how long circle time should last. Mom is happy. The kids are happy. Johnny Ben isn’t trying to escape and Molly isn’t bored. Success! (I would have included a photo of us doing circle time, but we are always so wrapped up in it we always forget to take a picture. :/ Sorry.)
Circle Time is available at Preschoolers and Peace for $4.99 in PDF ebook format.
Circle Time was reviewed by other TOS Review Crew bloggers as well. You can click here to read their reviews as well. Enjoy!