Let's talk Circle Time! First of all, if you're wondering what exactly "Circle Time" is. start here:
If you've been around Preschoolers and Peace for awhile, you know that one of the best things we ever chose to do in our homeschool over the past 17 years was to create a group teaching time. Way back when our oldest was probably 6 or 7, we named it Circle Time, as in preschool gathering times, and the name stuck. As I tell folks in my workshops and here on the blog all the time, you can name it anything you want.
The first rule to creating a Circle Time that works for you is this: ignore what everyone else is doing. I mean it. I'll list below past Circle Time plans we've had in our home to give you ideas, but our home is not your home! Glean ideas but dump the rest.
Think through the unique circumstances of your home:
1. How many school-aged kids you have
2. How many preschoolers/toddlers/babies you have
3. Who amongst the above groups can sit and concentrate on you for more than 5 minutes
4. What your daily schedule/routine looks like
5. What you want to accomplish during Circle Time right now
Considering those 5 factors could mean the difference between a successful Circle Time and one that makes you want to stick a knitting needle in your eye.
If you have a lot of little people that need managing, consider a Circle Time that happens during breakfast, while you have a captive audience. Baby is strapped into a high chair, carseat, or content on a blanket or in your lap. Preschoolers are munching on breakfast. Grab a short devotional that is written for a younger audience. Find some of our favorites on the Circle Time Resources page.
If the devotional and a short prayer is all you can accomplish without chaos breaking out, then congratulations! You've just had a Circle Time. Remind yourself that when you read about the Circle Time plans we've had over the years, they were built upon those early years when I was trying to be heard above the Rice Krispies. You're building, too!
What else can you add if your kids really love that time together and are cooperating? I'd suggest something that takes them from sitting and listening to participating. Here are a few ideas (some affiliate links):
- president flash cards
- a short and interesting YouTube video on something you're studying
- hymns or other songs
- Scripture or poetry memory
- jumping jacks, skipping, hopping, hacky-sacks
- reader's theater
- chalk pastels
Sky's the limit! Older kids still like to do something creative or challenging together. Mix it up, and add some things that might appeal to the pre-teens:
- write letters
- play Jeopardy-style quiz games (offer prizes and make 'em good!)
- This Day in History
- Calvin and Hobbes of the day
- Art of the Day
Still needing ideas? Check out the Circle Time Resources page with dozens of ideas to get you started. And the promised posts from the past: