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    Circle Time 2012-2013 Term 2

    January 12, 2013 by Brandy Vencel

    I was supposed to be back in business last week, but my computer was broken and my ten-year-old’s laptop refused to cooperate, so I’m a week late and a dollar short. Actually, after paying to repair the computer and the Suburban, and knowing I have to buy tires for said Suburban next week, I think I’m more like a thousand dollars short, but who’s counting?

    I certainly don’t intend to count that high.


    Below are my Circle Time plans for this term, and below that will be all the resources I’m using. This coming week will actually be Week 4 of the term for us because we continued with our regular lessons during DecemberTerm this year. I didn’t used to do that, but now that we are older, and I have more students, it seems to be a necessity.

    Making hay while the sun shines and all that.

    I find that Circle Time is still a favorite time of the day and I think I intend to expand it as my children grow older. Already I see a huge difference between this year and last year, and I am thrilled with it. We’re beginning to have real discussions, not just between myself and one other child, but between the children themselves.

    So here are the plans.

    Yes, I was in a beach mood today. I ate fish and chips last night for dinner, and I’m pretty sure that is what started it. If I could have taken off to Avila for the day today, believe me: I would have!

    Here are the Renoir selections: portrait and landscape. I usually email these to a print shop and have them printed on cardstock. I frame them and they hang on the wall in the dining room {which is where we do Circle Time} for the term. On the scheduled day of study, I take down the assigned selection so we can see it better. I love having the selections up on the wall.

    Notes on Changes and Tinkerings

    Let’s see. What else is there to say? Oh! Our Bible reading time felt too long. What I mean is, I was losing the children’s attention, and if there is one goal I have, it is have them like {and not hate} our Bible reading time. I looked up the old PNEU schedules and discovered that the schools were alternating Old Testament with New Testament, rather than reading both daily, so I thought I’d try that last term. It worked wonderfully, and the children are back to looking forward to this time.

    I have also added a lot more memory work than usual. There is a good chance this is too much, but we’re going to try it. You may notice that the parable I assigned is the same one from Term 1. This is because we never got to it. That is reality. When it comes to memory work, I would rather overplan than underplan because if I underplan I end up scrambling for new selections in the middle of the term, which I despise doing. If I overplan, I have all sorts of fun stuff in my binder, and then I have less to think up the following term.

    I do not start all of these selections at once. I usually get one spoken thing, and two songs, started in the first week, and then we work up from there. Too much newness is overwhelming for us.

    With that said, I read up on what Miss Mason’s first graders were memorizing and decided we were not doing close to that. One of the schedules assigned six verses from Exodus 3 for first through third graders, plus many other things, so I added that on top of what we were already doing. Other than Psalms, we had not done any Old Testament memorization.

    I also added a government documents section, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. We’re starting with the Bill of Rights because there has been so much debate about the Second Amendment lately that my ten-year-old suddenly asked me, “What are the other Amendments?” and I thought the best answer to that was, “You’ll find out during Circle Time starting next week!”

    Now please don’t think we are tackling the entire Bill of Rights at once. We will start with the First Amendment. Once we know that pretty well, we’ll start learning the Second Amendment. And so on and so forth. I figure it will take us a year or two, but we’ve got time. Maybe they will surprise me and do it faster. Either way, I only printed off the first two Amendments, so that tells you what I am expecting for the term.


    If you’ve posted your Circle Time plans, be sure and link them in the comments. I love stealing getting ideas from you all.

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  • Reply Planning the Best Part of Your Day: Circle Time » Simply Convivial June 6, 2017 at 9:52 am

    […] Brandy’s Circle Time plan […]

  • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts January 15, 2013 at 12:19 am

    Thanks, Bethany! That is very sweet…and you gave me something fun to blog today. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Bethany Littlehomeschoolblessings January 14, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    Hi Brandi! I’ve nominated you for a blog award. You can see the details here: . Thanks for inspiring us!

  • Reply Anonymous January 14, 2013 at 12:43 am

    Thanks, Brandy, for expounding on the conversation piece. I can definitely see where narrating the Bible would lend to some conversation. We actually have done quite a bit of acting out the Bible story, and that has been good, too. I also like your idea on alternating between Old and New Testament, because Bible reading is the longest portion of what I do, and sometimes I do think it may be a bit long. Julie in St. Louis

    • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts January 14, 2013 at 4:06 am

      Ooh! Acting out is great fun! We’ve done that for Shakespeare {the summary tales, I mean–of *course* people act out Shakespeare LOL} and it was such a good time. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Anonymous January 13, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    This is our first year of Circle TIme, with a 10, 8, 6, 5, and 3 year old. I am LOVING having us all together, and will certainly be continuing this for good. However, I find that we have to move at a pretty fast clip in order to one, keep everyone’s attention, and two, get through everything I have scheduled. I don’t feel like we have a lot of time for conversation, which probably isn’t a good thing. You mentioned that you were having more conversation this year. Have you changed something? Slowed down your pace? Asked more questions? I feel we have accomplished a ton after every C.T., but lengthy conversations is not one of them! Your thoughts? Julie in St. Louis

    • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts January 13, 2013 at 11:01 pm

      The conversation thing *just* started happening this year, so part of it might just be the fruit of doing this for a few years? I don’t know; that is just a guess.

      But yes: I did choose to do less. Our Pilgrim’s Progress readings are probably shorter. In general, I think we have fewer items on our list each day. I think also getting certain behavior issues under control was huge.

      Probably the best thing I did was have them narrate Scripture. I didn’t used to do that. I began…oh…I don’t know…maybe a year ago? It took them a while to acclimate, but now they go from narration to discussion, especially with parables. They keep trying to figure out what they mean. πŸ™‚

      By the way, I don’t know that I’d call our conversations lengthy. I think I’m just comparing them to the past, where my oldest would narrate and that was about it, even if I tried to pause a bit extra and leave breathing room. This year, three of the four children are taking turns narrating (and correcting each other if they forget something) and those turn in to little conversations, or someone raises a question or something. It probably isn’t very *long* but there is just a higher level of engagement than I saw in previous years, and I feel like that is a sign we are heading in the direction I always wanted us to go…

  • Reply Jen January 13, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Bramdy, what do you do with your younger ones during circle time? I see you have some fairly challenging titles on your circle time list (like Shakespeare, for example), and just wondering how you handle that with your little ones. I still only have 1 school age child (+ 2 preschoolers), but I do like the way you organize your circle time and would like to move towards doing something like this as my younger 2 move towards more formal school age). Thanks!

    • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts January 13, 2013 at 10:56 pm

      Good question! I think what to do with our preschoolers is the question I have asked the most all along the way. Truly.

      Just FYI: I have increased CT each year. When we first started, I think it was just myself and my oldest. The other three children were sleeping. πŸ™‚

      Okay, so my 4yo is free to leave after Bible reading, and he usually does. We have a great room plan, so our dining room and living room are really one big room. He usually goes to the living room and plays with cars. He often returns for the singing parts. πŸ™‚

      My girls (Y2 and Kinder) are free to leave for Shakespeare. Sometimes, they like to stay and hear E-Age-Ten and I read (we choose parts) and sometimes they choose to start their chores instead. Usually, it depends upon the play, They chose to stay for most of As You Like It, but are leaving lots for King Lear. πŸ™‚

      With the memory work, only E-Age-Ten is actually assigned to memorize the Kipling poem. The girls often memorize his poems, too, but they know that I don’t actually require it.

      The other key is moving fast and knowing when to stop. I have stopped CT halfway through, I have dismissed misbehaving people to do chores instead, and so on. Over time, we built good habits, and that is probably my biggest lifesaver. A lot of people like their preschoolers to be at the table for CT. Mine are *welcome* always, but my youngest would be in trouble a lot if he stayed, versus playing cars he actually heard most of it but doesn’t cause trouble. πŸ™‚

  • Reply ...they call me mommy... January 13, 2013 at 4:26 am

    Thank you for posting this, Brandy!!! I love seeing this…Circle Time is such a great tool!!! My 7yo is learning My Gift right now also…I need to put down our Circle Time plans in concert. I need to add in folk songs to our circle time!

    You’ve given me some food for thought!

    • Reply Brandy @ Afterthoughts January 13, 2013 at 11:01 pm

      I had forgotten about The Gift until recently, but it is such a precious poem for littles to memorize, isn’t it? πŸ™‚

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