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    School Prep: Picking Ourselves Up After a Circle Time Fail

    August 1, 2013 by Brandy Vencel

    Circle Time is one of those things that has worked consistently well for me… until this year, that is. A number of factors converged, and I tried doing it less often, only to do it even less than that, and so I’d say we did about a term-and-a-half worth of Circle Time last year. I considered beating myself up over it but the fact remains that the best idea is just to dust myself off and keep plodding on this one.

    This year, I’ve planned a very simple Circle Time. Part of the problem last year is that I just planned too much. As my children get more independent at their lessons, I’ll incorporate more into Circle Time again, but right now each child needs so much that I can’t spend 90 minutes on it, even if that does sound fun to me sometimes.

    If you look closely you’ll see that a lot of the memory work is the same thing that appeared on my last plans and that is because, as I said, we didn’t really do what I wanted us to do. I assume that halfway through we’ll update the poems, but we’ll just see how it goes. I’m not in a hurry.

    For folk songs, I’m mainly doing the AO rotation, but I’m starting us off with the last song of last year because I really wanted to teach the children Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen. I may be able to cram in a fourth song; we shall see.

    For hymns, we already knew the November hymn, which is good. We can usually only learn two hymns in a term, and this way I don’t have to choose.

    The geography is new, and I’m excited about it. I using the books as a reference for me and then I’ll be trying to teach it orally. We may need to go outside for some of it, which means it’ll be the last thing we do for Circle Time on those days.

    So here’s my schedule:


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  • Reply Amanda Nerone August 8, 2016 at 6:29 am

    What’s the age spread with your kids? Do you always use the same recitation pieces for the group? Any time you have different aged kids do more/ different poems, for example?

    • Reply Brandy Vencel August 8, 2016 at 8:36 am

      This is from three years ago, so I think they were 6th, 3rd, 1st, and preschool at that time. Here is my latest plan. It’s for 9th, 6th, 4th, and 2nd. They each choose a poem out of the poetry they read during the previous term’s work, but then we all try to memorize all of them.

  • Reply Anonymous August 12, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    A quick question on your composer study– Did you purchase all of these selections? And when you spend more than one week on a piece, are you just coming back for several weeks and listening to it each time, or is there something more involved? I am really trying to be as simple as possible, so I am hoping there is not a lot more to this!!

    Julie in St. Louis

    • Reply Brandy Vencel August 13, 2013 at 7:02 pm

      Yes, I really did purchase all of these selections. πŸ™‚ I was going to try another approach, but I just kept coming back to the fact that downloading this to my iPod or burning it to a CD was the likeliest way I would actually do this. My goal this year is for composer study to actually happen. πŸ™‚

      I am not very good at composer study, so I can’t really tell you what you *should* do, but in looking at The Creation, for example, it is very, very long. So in breaking it up over 4 weeks, I don’t think we’ll be repeating anything, if that makes sense. You may want to look at the Wikipedia article for more insight in how to do it. Basically, it says that The Creation has three parts. Part I is the six days of creation proper. I plan to therefore listen to the first three days in week 1, the second three days in week 2, and then use the last two weeks for part 3 and part 4. I’m going to read the appropriate Bible passages before we listen. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Diana J. August 3, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    Brandy – Wow, this is crazy! You comment on my blog, then I accidentally find yours! Awesome stuff; can’t wait to read!!

  • Reply Brandy Vencel August 2, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    You are all very welcome. I’m happy to do it. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Anonymous August 2, 2013 at 2:44 am

    Yes, thank you, thank you! As always, I kind of wait to start my planning a couple of weeks after you, as you help get my mind in that mode, and you so generously provide the links as well!
    Julie in St. Louis

  • Reply sara August 2, 2013 at 1:54 am

    Oh my goodness, Brandy! Thank you for sharing. I wish I knew how to do all that computery stuff. The prints were making me crazy.

  • Reply Virginia Lee August 1, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    Hello Brandy,

    I’ve been a lurker for a bit on your blog and enjoy reading it very much. I just spent the last few days trying to figure out the best place to download the art prints from, size them to be printed and what size frames to get so that I can use the same frames over with each new artist we study. This may seem easy, I’m sure I just made it harder. But then I read your post today and had to tell you, thank you. There your prints were, shared with the rest of us, ready to go, easy peasy. Thank you that you take the time to post them for others to use. I am sure you are busy, I know I am (4 kiddos, 7 and under) but you still shared with others your hard work. I probably will not be much of a commenter. But I am a faithful reader. I just wanted to make sure thank you was said. You just saved me so much time. Time that I can use teaching my kids instead of planning. Bless you!

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