Tuesday, February 22, 2011

homeschooling {circle time}

The first thing we do to kick off our "school" portion of the morning is circle time.  I must disclose here that I began doing this a bit grudgingly.  I had wanted school to feel more organic and breezy, but Moonpie wanted it to be more official feeling.  I have now come to really enjoy our morning circle time.  It has turned into a time that we discuss what our day/week holds, enjoying good poetry, music and stories.  Here is our break down:

  • We come together and sit on the living room rug.  Moonpie has probably already set up our area with comfy pillows and our circle time basket (which I should have taken a picture of - sorry about that!).  In our basket we have a small calendar, a book of poetry, a bean bag, and a book of songs.

  • First off we look at the calendar and discuss the day of the week, the date, the month and the year.  It goes a little like this: "Today is Tuesday, February 23rd, 2011.  Yesterday was Monday, tomorrow is Wednesday.  What is something special we do on Tuesdays?  Go to the library!" etc.  

  • We read our poem for the week.  Usually we have a specific poet we are studying, however we are currently reading out of Favorite Poems Old and New: Selected for Boys and Girls Helen Ferris Tibits (see carousel in sidebar for link).

  • We sing songs out of our Wee Sing books ( I always find these while thrifting).  I like to choose a song that has motions to go along with it, or we might play instruments.

  • We read a seasonal story out of our season basket each day.  Since yesterday was President's Day, I read to them out of our book Little People Who Became Great: Stories of the Lives of those Whom Every Child Should Know Laura A. Large.  This book came to my through my Great Aunt's estate.  If you can find it, buy a copy!  It is such a wonderful book.  My children actually clap after I read them the short biographies.  Yesterday we read "The Little Boy Who Once Was Poor" the story of Abraham Lincoln.
After circle time is over we usually move to the table for Bible study.  I mentioned yesterday that we are very flexible with our schedule.  I am also very flexible with my planning.  After reading about Abraham Lincoln we decided to look up how big the cabin was that he lived in as a child (18 ft x 16 ft).  We then went outside and measured out what this would look like.  

Designing the interior of the cabin.  Beds, table, fire place and stool all added.

For some reason my children thought it looked huge.  So we started adding everything a home would need.  After the parent's bed, Abe's bed made of leaves and the table were added, they began to see how small it actually it was.  

Buddy working on Ma and Pa's quilt.  And as always, enjoying his picture being taken.
This was a great exercise.  And totally not planned.  

Moonpie working on Abe's bed of dried leaves.  She even added a stack of books tucked in between the "logs" in the wall!
After this we moved to another unplanned activity- building a log cabin out of biodegradable packing peanuts.

Moonpie's little cabin and grass.  Lots and lots of grass.

Buddy adding his grass.

I enjoy this about homeschooling so much!  When an idea comes to me or one of my children on a whim, we can go with it and see where it leads.  Today we will pick back up where we left off in our studies of Ancient Greece with just a bit of catching up to do.

Like I mentioned above, before we started doing circle time, I dreaded it.  It sounded too contrived and laborious to me.  I have found that it is really very easy to put together and is a wonderful time to review concepts, share thoughts and have some fun!


The Farmers said...

This is so encouraging to me. I love that this looks different for everybody.

Courtney said...

Thanks for letting us take a peek at what homeschooling looks like in your home! I was wondering, when and how much do you "plan"? Also, what resources do you use?

Amanda said...

Mandi, I swear we have the same brain. :). I love how your day went! And I love how even though we think the same way, we have different families so they lead us to do different things... So fun!

Aleesa said...

You are so blessed to be able to homeschool. I dream about this but mine and Matt's personalities do not gel with homeschooling. We tried it for a short time and it did not go well :) He needs a classroom and mucho socialization. Even after a day of school, he is still begging to go out and play with neighborhood friends!
I love reading about your family's experience and can't wait to learn more.