Thursday, January 10, 2013

Academic Year 2013: Circle Time

We start our day with Circle Time, which is a blend between Memory Work and some read-alouds.  It's actually almost all Memory work.  I've scheduled about an hour and a half with my 3 children.  I'd love to add something like Cindy's True-Goodness-Beauty project, but haven't.

I utilize the Simply Charlotte Mason Memory Work system, but I use a notebook, not a box.  Boxes with cards aren't accommodating to long poems or Bible selections.  It would also require three copies of the same things as my children aren't always working on the same selections at the same time.  Finally, they are much more likely to be spilled and spread about all around the school room.  Ask me how I know.

We do our Circle Time approx 4 days a week, so I created this chart.   I number each grouping of Memory Work, then put the numbers on that chart.  You can see pictures from my notebook here.

I don't give the children copies of what they're memorizing, it is all done orally.  It is a capacity I want them to Work on.  I read, they repeat. Each school day.  We generally add 1 stanza of poetry, 1 verse of a Hymn, 1 Bible verse, etc. each week.
We start our Circle Time each morning with either the Doxology or Gloria Patri, alternating by month.

Then, we pray together, including prayer requests from the children, missionaries from our denomination, and other requests as needed.  We also pray for our day of school.

We start with our newest "Daily" hymn.  I read and they repeat the new verse for the week.  Often we talk through what it means.  Then, we sing the hymn starting with verse 1 through the verse we're working on.  We use the Trinity Hymnalwith Hymns for Kith and Kin, Hymns for a Kids Heart, or Listen While we Sing (no one plays piano well enough yet so we use a mp3 playlist that has all our hymns on it). You can see the hymns we've learned and the ones we plan to learn this year here.

Over the past two years, we've learned the Apostle's Creed and Nicene Creed.  We recite them, alternating by month.  I try to do the Doxology and Nicene Creed the same months and the Gloria Patri and Apostle's Creed the same months.

We do Bible verses one verse at a time.  We're still (years later) reviewing Gen 1 daily, but we've learned Galatians 5:22-23, Ps 1, Ps 100, Ps 130, Matt 5:1-12 and are currently working on  Philippians 2: 1-18.

We're also working on The Catechism for Young Children  We Work on a page until they have it down pretty well.  Then it moves through the SCM Memory System chart.  M-girl has finished, N-boy is close, they need to recite for members of Session at church, then we'll start the Westminster Shorter Catechism.

Again, I just recite and they repeat.

This year I've moved our Covenantal Catechism study into this point during Circle Time.  We do a small bit every day, reading from the Bible or the book.  Working on the lesson's memory work daily.

Then, we're reading a devotional book called The Heavens right now.

I'd like to add a "Bible Song" here ... some Jamie Soles or Judy Rogers or Wee Sing kinds of songs.
We use IEW's Poetry and love it.  We follow the same sort of system, working on one stanza per week.  I usually read the poems, but sometimes let Mr. Pudewa do so on the mp3 player.  We don't use his system, but the SCM system.  The children are in Level II, although on different poems.

I usually read some poetry after they're done with IEW, a page or so from an anthology per day.  Right now we're reading from Poetry For Young People: Edgar Allen Poe.  I'm planning to read from the Robert Frost book from the same series next.
We do skip counting (these are cute charts).  In the past we've used History from Hannah's Grammar Stage Memorization, but for this year I was able to buy a set of used Veritas Press cards, so we're going to use those.  Science related to our current studies from Living Memory. And the children love Geography Songs.

We do some reading at the end.  We alternate weeks reading from Parables from Nature and Tina Packer's Tales From Shakespeare. I hope to switch to Lamb's Shakespeare when we're done with Packer's.  I just read enough each day to finish a selection in a week.

We're adding two weeks of Composer Study then two weeks of Artist Study at the very end.  I'm using Opal Wheeler's books for Composer Study.  Right now, The Story of Peter Tchaikovsky is our selection.  Ambleside studied Manet and Degas when they studied Tchaikovsky, so we'll follow up with a couple weeks of those artists.

A couple of notes ... 
It often helps if we stand when we sing.  Everyone focuses better. Assuming they aren't dancing.

One of the most important parts, to me (and we generally don't accomplish it) is on Saturday we try/want to/ sometimes do "Recitation for Daddy" where they must stand and recite/respond clearly and as grownuply as they're able.  It's a nice carrot when we're on  schedule ... "You're going to have to recite it on Saturday ..."


  1. We do a lot of the same things! :) You should get CC science cards- thy are great!

  2. I'm fascinated, especially by the music!


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