Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Crew Review: Circle Time

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One of the things that is central to the preschool curriculum I used with Sassy and MiniMe when they were 3-5, and that I'm now using for Little Bit, is "Circle time".  In that curriculum, it is a time of songs and poems and stories enjoyed together. It worked beautfully and effortlessly with Sassy and MiniMe when they were little, but we've struggled abit more this time around. Little Bit has her own personality, we also have added demands on our day, and she didn't have anyone else her age to join us. The older girls join us sometimes, but they have their own school they need to be working on, so asking them to take too much time out to sing nursery rhymes and such seems like poor time management. . . then this summer, our neighbors, E (6) and J (3) began joining us for school some days. And I was thrilled at the thought of having more kids for our circle time. But still, we struggled . . . all 3 of them are wiggly and interrupt a gazillion times and, some days it's just a struggle! So, just as I was being discouraged, and trying to figure out how to make this concept, that I had so enjoyed with my older girls, and looked forward to introducing to Little Bit, work, Kendra from Preschoolers and Peace offered the Schoolhouse Review Crew the chance to review her ebook, Circle Time.

Circle Time Book Logo photo CircleTimeLogo_zps63dd95c9.jpgI JUMPED at the chance to get some ideas for making circle time work better, not only for the three little ones, but to include the older girls too.

I might have ignored my children and told them to find their own supper so that I could read this ebook the day it arrived. But it wasn't really what I was expecting. Circle Time, as described in this ebook, is really more like the way we do our entire school day. I would call it "family school" or something, more than circle time. And I have to admit, I didn't get any magic remedies for perfecting our preschool circle time (but, with time, the kids have all gotten more used to the routing, we've realized that J is still abit too young to ask him to sit still so much, so sometimes just E joins us, and he and Little Bit are falling into a pretty good routine. The big girls usually at least stay in the room, quietly working on their math or other independent school work and joining us for the parts that interest them, so OUR circle time is working for us now). But once I got over it not being what I expected. There's a LOT of great information in this book!

I think the title might be abit misleading, it's more about ways to include multiple ages in a group family learning time on a regular basis. If you've never considered doing that in your homeschool, I'd encourage you to consider it! It was a logical pattern for us to fall into with the girls being the same age, but it's also been fun to see Little Bit slowly integrate into our family school time. And, as I add some school for Little Bit into our days, it's been natural for the older girls to join her for much of it as well. Afterall, you never really outgrow nature walks and art projects and such do you?

Since we've been doing this, in our own way, since the beginning, I mostly pulled some great resources to add to my wishlist, from this book, but if you have been considering adding some multi-age time to your homeschool day, or if you've never considered it, and want to, this ebook is a wonderful resource to help you decide how to begin, and make it work in YOUR family! It's not a precise, one-size-fits-all "how to" manual, but a wonderful resource giving lots of examples of how it might work with different ages and family sizes and learning styles. In the back are printables to help you plan out what will work for you, and how you want to see this time look in your house.

One of the huge benefits that I see to homeschooling is allowing my children to interact together instead of being separated into different age-levels the way schools do it (which honestly, I'm not sure how else a school COULD do it, so I don't fault them for that, but it's also not what I feel would be best for my children) and this idea of spending time learning together is one way to capitalize on that in a homeschool family.

This is a quick-to-read, .pdf ebook and at only $4.99 it's well worth the price!

To see what other members of the crew thought, click on the banner below.


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1 comment:

LaughingLioness said...

I so agree with you that part of the joy of homeschooling is seeing our kids interact with each other! Great review!