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    School Planning 2014: Circle Time 2014-2015 Term 1

    August 9, 2014 by Brandy Vencel
    Plans, resource list, and inspiration for 2014-15 Term 1 circle time!

    As is our wont, we did not do everything we set out to do last year. I really don’t let this get to me. I over-plan on purpose.

    Allow me to explain.

    If I under-plan, and we finish everything before a term is up, that’s it. We’ll probably read aloud, of course, and we might review what we’ve learned, but that’s all. I won’t add anything to my plans mid-term because I just don’t work that way.


    If I plan more than we need, we never run out of stuff. I won’t go find new things to add, but I’ll certainly pull something from my On Deck tab and move it to the front. That’s simple and doesn’t take brain power I don’t have in the middle of the term.

    So, two things:

    1. Some of this stuff might look familiar and that’s because it’s leftover from last term.
    2. Keep in mind that I won’t finish all of this.

    I only mention this because I have recently been informed that women are notorious compare-ers. That is not a word, but it’s an accurate description. {You know you wish it was a word!!} So, if you’re going to compare, no matter what I say about it, you might as well get my full disclosure.


    Right about now, I’m mourning the loss of my beautiful Scribd previews I’ve always used. I guess a screenshot will have to suffice:

    Plans, resource list, and inspiration for 2014-15 Term 1 circle time!

    Here is a link to the .pdf file.

    Here is a link to the main Circle Time file folder on Drive. I plan to add other things there. Ideally, I’d move my old stuff over from Scribd, but we’ll see if I ever find time for that.

    Resources and Notes:

    • Nicene Creed
    • Scripture:
    • John 1:1-18
      • This may take us all year. I don’t know. We’ve never done a passage quite this long. But it’s my favorite passage, and so I think we should do it. We might do it in Latin, too, eventually.
    • Hymns:
    • Folk Songs:
      • The Rising of the Moon
      • The Outlandish Knight
        • I’ve learned not to plan more than two songs per term. For whatever reason, we do not learn songs quickly, and so three are too many for us. This second song is one that is suggested for AO Year Seven.
        • Did you know that in that second song, “outlandish” basically means that he’s a stranger? It’s possible he’s from the “outland” — the borderland between England and Scotland. It’s also possible he’s just “not from around these parts,” as they put it in the Old West. I just learned that last night. Isn’t that interesting?
    • Poems:
      • Wind on the Hill by A.A. Milne
      • Endymion by John Keats
        • We’re only memorizing the first stanza of the first book so far. E-Age-Twelve read it {the first stanza, I mean} this summer and loved it. Of course, he was rather offended when I told him that wasn’t the whole thing. But we’re memorizing it anyhow. Maybe he’ll end up wanting to memorize the whole thing, or at least the whole first book. That’d be quite the accomplishment!
    • Government Docs:
    • Books:
      • The Mother Tongue by Kittredge
        • I use the long out-of-print hardback. It’s a bit confusing because it is designed to be used with slates. It’s also hard to find. My copy is over a hundred years old. What I linked is brand new. A company took the old and reprinted it in a modern format {as a workbook instead of slate work}. I’m still using the old because that is what I have, but I think this is probably better, which is why I linked it.
      • Stories from the Faerie Queene by Mary MacLeod
        • True story: I was working on releasing my own paperback copy of this — because I own a vintage copy, and it’s very expensive to buy — when this debuted on Amazon. They list the author incorrectly on the front, so I’m a little afraid to suggest it, but until my version is done, this might be your best bet, if you want to use it. It is a wonderful book. I’m seriously in love with it.
      • Minn of the Mississippi by Holling C. Holling
        • I’m combining my three younger students for geography. The little two will do a different Holling selection next year. If we finish up really early in the year, I’ll probably start my living California Geography selection, Cruise of the Arctic Star. My oldest will go ahead and move on to math while we’re doing this since he has already read this selection.
      • Speaking Spanish with Miss Mason and François by Allyson Adrian
        • I was not, not, NOT going to buy this. But in the end I decided I needed the hand holding and I just didn’t have time to prep my own thing. It’s not exactly what I’d like, but it is better than nothing. Of course, maybe I’ll report back in love later on! It’s been known to happen.
      • Anselm of Canterbury by Simonetta Carr
        • Most of you know that I’ve not been doing Trial and Triumph with my younger three. I read it for years to my oldest, and I just couldn’t keep doing it. I needed something fresh. So, we’ve been working our way through Carr’s biographies, and we really do love them. We’ll probably return to T&T next year when my youngest begins his official Year One. My oldest is free to stay or go for this one.
      • Parables of Nature by Mrs. Alfred Gatty
        • I haven’t read this book in a while. The reason was sort of like T&T, except that my older daughter also was also not connecting with this book. Now that she’s more mature, we’re starting with the Year One stories for all three of my younger students. Since my oldest already did this book, he’s free to move on to math if he likes.
      • Nature’s Weather Forecasters by Helen Sattler
        • We’ve been reading this over the summer a couple mornings per week, so we’re about halfway through. This is a natural history selection for all three of my youngers. It isn’t from AO; just something I picked up along the way. It’s excellent. Truly. It’s just hard to find at times. Afterwards, we’re moving on to another book I’ve chosen independently, The Tarantula in my Purse.
        • You didn’t really expect me to read ALL of AO’s early years four times without any changes, did you? The teacher sometimes needs change in order to keep up her engagement, and these books are great. And that’s all I’ll say about that.
      • Ourselves by Charlotte Mason
        • I’m trying to figure out exactly how I’m going to do this. Perhaps some weeks we won’t read it? I know that AO doesn’t schedule it every week. This is, from my understanding, an important book to discuss. I tacked it to the end of Circle Time to make sure it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

    In all, it’s been fun to plan a Circle Time that doesn’t have all the stuff I usually put in — the artist study, composer study, Shakespeare, and the like. It’s got a totally different feel, and I think we’ll all look forward to it. Our enrichment days on Friday will cover all that other stuff {and more}.

    I’m curious to see which I end up liking better — the old way, or this new way. In general, I feel like this way is the way it needs to be right now because of having four students and my own inclination to have trouble following through on a normal schedule for Fridays.

    Ps. I know that some of you used my old version of Circle Time — my enrichment version — for help planning that sort of thing. I hope to write out my Enrichment Friday plans eventually, but for now, my printables for the 2014-15 AO Term 1 artist study of Fra Angelico are here.

    Plans, resource list, and inspiration for 2014-15 Term 1 circle time!

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  • Reply Cameron February 12, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    We have been reading and enjoying the Stories From the Faerie Queene that you mentioned in this post. I am curious what you had your son do in year eight with the Faerie Queene book. I can’t recall the title off hand but the book linked to year 8 of AO sounds like the first part of the poem in its original form with vocabulary and notes. Did you use this or was the Mary Macleod book what you chose as a family?

    • Reply Cameron February 13, 2016 at 1:06 pm

      Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves is the book in question.

    • Reply Brandy Vencel February 16, 2016 at 1:58 pm

      Hi Cameron! I did Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves with my son alone for Year 8, but I did Mary Macleod with our whole family together beforehand. It is fantastic, and I think of it being a bit like how we read Shakespearean tales before we read Shakespeare…

      • Reply Cameron February 18, 2016 at 5:56 pm

        Thanks. That makes sense. We have been reading the Macleod version as a family too. So next year those readings should just help her with the original version.

        • Reply Brandy Vencel February 18, 2016 at 9:28 pm

          I think so. I know they helped my son and me both! 🙂

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