Circle Time Particulars

Hi Kendra,

I am a homeschooling mom of three girls (6 1/2, 3 1/2, and 1). We regularly incorporate Circle Time into our school day, and it works well for us. I have enjoyed your blog and the many ideas you share. After I read your post today, I wanted to share an idea and also a question.

We, like you, incorporate songs into our circle time. My girls love to sing, and to include signing with our songs. Even the baby requests her favorite song (ho ho ho -- the Hosanna song). One thing I have done that my girls have loved is to find You Tube videos for our hymn of the week. My oldest loves learning hymns each week. We typically choose one to go along with our letter of the week. Many of the classic hymns have videos available on You Tube. This morning we watched one for "It is Well with my Soul." It had an introduction by Bill Gaither that told the story of author who wrote the hymn. It was a story I know, but it was told more eloquently on the video and the girls loved watching it. Perhaps even older kids would enjoy the inclusion of a short video hymn.

Our Circle Time often extends into an hour! I am flexible with the little girls and especially the baby plays nearby. We include our Saxon math meeting in to our circle time, and I make Circle Time our morning reading time too. Everyone has their own books, youngest to oldest, for read alouds. Do you think it is okay to let circle time be flexible with the younger ones playing, or is part of circle time the discipline of everyone sitting together, even if just for ten minutes? I am interested in your opinion.

Thanks so much for your blog and website. I regularly refer new homeschoolers to your site.

Blessings to you,

Hi Becky-

Thanks for the idea! As the ideas roll in, we should all be making a list. And moms, listen: you do not have to do everything on the list! Choose one thing. One thing you love doing and let your Circle Time grow from there.

Your question is: Do you think it is okay to let Circle Time be flexible with the younger ones playing, or is part of Circle Time the discipline of everyone sitting together, even if just for ten minutes?

This, I think, should be entirely up to you. Often we use Circle Time and Family Worship with Dad at the end of the day to capture teachable and trainable moments. Currently our one-year-old son is being trained to sit on my lap quietly for Circle Time, but as we usually begin about the time he wants a morning nap, I do not push him too much. If I can have him sitting with me for five to ten minutes, I call it successful. Soon enough he'll drop that morning nap and then we can stretch his ability to 30 minutes or more.

Teaching a little one to sit still (however and whenever you do so) is incredibly valuable. Doctor's waiting rooms, church, even funerals or other serious events can be handled well by little ones, provided they aren't overly tired or ill.

But if you don't use Circle Time for training, you can certainly train at other times during the day. Really, it's your choice and your decision should reflect your household, your personality, and your family dynamics.

Hope that's helpful-