Hi! I was wondering if you would mind expounding some on the Circle Time that you do with you kids. I remember reading a post on this previously at your site and would love to start some of this with my oldest this fall (she’ll be 4) and need a little more direction. Any tips where to start and what to work on with her? And suggestions for scripture memorization? That’s an area that I struggle with so I need all the help I can get since I want to do it along with her.
Thank you so much!
Starting Circle Time (or whatever you decide to call it) now is a great idea. It has been a part of our lives for so long now that I doubt even the 14-year-old can remember our days without it, although he seldom joins us anymore because he tends to go to work with his dad. Still, on the days he is with us, he participates by leading some of what we do, reading aloud, or quizzing the littlest ones on their catechism.
You asked for tips on where to start, so let’s begin there. The first thing you want to do is to determine what it is you want to include in your Circle Time. This always fluctuates for us, meaning that there are seasons when circle time includes just the essentials like devotions, Scripture memory, and prayer, and other seasons when circle time is a long drawn-out session filled with singing, reading, and lots of laughter. That’s what our current circle time entails and it tends to take up the better part of our summer mornings.
Ideas for Circle Time:
Psalm or Proverb of the day- read one chapter a day. Let the children illustrate something from the passage that stands out to them.
Prayer- my kids are particularly fond of “popcorn” prayer, where we go around the room with each person sharing one thing in prayer at a time. We use the acronym ACTS (Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication) as our guide; the first person calls out one attribute of God in adoration to Him, then the next person, etc. Then the first person begins again by confessing a sin, and we move on around until the prayer is finished.
Songs- We have worked on one hymn at a time, or our favorite hymns with everyone choosing one, or worship choruses we all like, etc. Sometimes I play the piano, sometimes one of the boys plays his guitar, sometimes we just get a little silly and sing at the top of our lungs.
Catechism Review- No, we’re not Catholic. Historically, Protestants have used confessions to teach the truths of Scripture in a systematic way to their children and themselves, and we use the Westminster Confession in our home.
The Children's Catechism goes like this:
Q. Who made you?
Q. What else did God make?
A. God made all things.
Q. Why did God make you and all things?
A. For His own glory.
Q. Why ought you to glorify God?
A. Because He made me and takes care of me.
If you’re not familiar with the different Protestant confessions, take a look at this site.
Special Topic- From time to time we see areas in our lives that need attention. I’ll add some time to focus on those areas and hope to see a little progress. Currently we’re working on manners.
Memory Work- Which verses or passages do you want your children to have committed to memory by the time they leave your home? Sit down and make a list sometime and then begin to memorize together. Competitions and rewards always motivate us when we get lazy.
Cards- We like the variety that flash cards give us. You can search the web for photos of famous landmarks to print out, make cards for the Greek alphabet, Roman numerals, sign language, U.S. Presidents, books of the Bible, and practically anything else you can think of that would be worth memorizing.
I hope this gives you some good ideas to start with. Let us know how it goes!