What are you filling your Circle Time with this fall? Will it be a shorter Circle Time because you've got busy little ones and lots of activity, or do you get to linger around the table and cover a variety of subjects?
Our Circle Time will be very, very brief this fall. Two energetic whirlwinds in our littlest guys, plus a full plate of everyone else's school work means we'll be whizzing through Circle Time in only 30 minutes, right after breakfast.
For me, the most important aspects to Circle Time are prayer together and time in the Bible together. If we can include those two elements, everything else can be put on hold until we have more time, like in the summer or over Christmas.
Prayer is easy enough, but trying to study the Bible in a way that speaks to our oldest who are still with us (17, almost 15, and 13) and our youngest (5 and 4) can be very tricky. This summer we discovered Grapevine Studies at a blogging conference I attended, and after a warm and wonderful conversation with Grapevine's author, Dianna Wiebe, I decided that her study of Esther would be perfect for us.
Jack, 14, took time to make his more-than-stick figures
The study of Esther spans 9 weeks, and contains 32 daily lessons. A true Bible study, the entire book of Esther is read, verse by verse, with days to dwell in one passage or another until the end is reached.
What makes Grapevine studies unique and able to span an age range such as ours? Each lesson is drawn, in stick figures, so that everyone has the capacity to record what is learned and discussed regardless of age level or writing ability.
Guideline drawings on the white board. That's the extent of my artistic ability.
We studied Esther, but Grapevine also has studies covering the Old Testament, the New Testament, The Birth of Jesus, the Biblical Feasts, Ruth, Joseph, and the Resurrection. There are studies that cover multiple ages (ages 7 and up) and studies broken into separate age groups. There is even a Spanish language version of the Beginner Old Testament Overview.
Disclosure: Dianna gave me our copy of Esther for review, but after meeting her and hearing her heart, I'd recommend Grapevine studies based on her passion for teaching kids God's Word and the fantastic way in which her family has gone about it. Don't you love it when you get to see God equipping His people well?
Dianna also recommended A Reluctant Queen to me as a read-aloud. My girls (13, 11, and 8) loved it, and we passed it along to my mother-in-law who then bought three copies for her friends. It's good. A little bit of editing for my youngest, but only because she's still very, very innocent.