This past week, I drew up yet another new set of Circle Time plans. It never gets old, really. I can’t help but enjoy the fresh possibilities that come with a new plan. Of course, there are fewer possibilities when you only get three days a week, but beggars can’t be choosers and all that. I make do with what I have rather than planning-as-pretending (in which I overschedule).
Here’s what first term of this year is going to look like:
I’ll walk you through the different parts because I love to talk about resources and who knows? maybe someone out there needs some inspiration still.
But first: let’s have a moment of silence in honor of the fact that it has finally happened. I remember calculating back when my youngest was born that someday all my children would be teenagers at the same time. That time is now. The one thing I didn’t consider back then is that I’d only have three of them still living at home. I have four teenagers, but only three of them have to put up with me on a daily basis.
This is where I tell people stuff that is going to happen. My children used to be frustrated with lack of communication. Setting aside time to explain doctor appointments and activities and such has been so helpful.
We are still using The Wonderful Works of God by Herman Bavinck. We made it through about a third of it during the school year and then we took the summer off and did Calvin’s Little Book on the Christian Life (which is about a perfect fit for summer if you just read a little section at a time).
Naturally, I think it’ll take us three years to finish it. It’ll be worth it; it’s been so great.
It was a little young for my youngest when we started it. I wouldn’t recommend it for 12-year-olds in general. But last year was our first year without my oldest at home and we did a lot of things as a group just because that seemed comforting to my children as they adjusted.
This is what it sounds like. On Mondays, we’ll sing our monthly hymn. On Wednesdays, our folk song. Nothing fancy. If I don’t know the song well, or I’m having trouble sight reading the score, I accompany us on the piano. Otherwise we just sing acapella.
We’re doing the Antoine Watteau study from A Humble Place. I love Rebecca’s artist study resources!
For composer study, we’re doing the Liszt study from Simply Charlotte Mason. The SCM composer study resources are fabulous!
I needed a grammar resource with which it was easy to be consistent. A friend recommended Easy Grammar to me last term and lo and behold! It really was easy. Easy to teach and easy to be consistent. So we’re continuing.
Doing all 12 years of Easy Grammar would be overkill, but doing a few of them would be helpful. They’re sold inexpensively on Rainbow Resource. Just buy the level that seems right for your kids.
I have everyone doing the same level. I teach the concept, they do the page, and then we go through the answers out loud. This means there isn’t work left for me to check later.
I saved this for a long time. While I loved it the first time I did it with my oldest, I decided I didn’t actually want to teach it four times. So I waited until the others could all do it at once. There are about 30 lessons, so we’ll be doing one per week. We have a 36-week school year, so it should work out right.
We’re starting 2000 Years of Christ’s Power (Volume 1) by Nick Needham this year. I’ve had a number of people recommend it to me, and I needed a stronger church history stream. We’ll just keep reading it until (a) everyone graduates or (b) we finish. It might just be me and the dog at the end. We’ll see.
I’m helping write curriculum for a local private school and I have this secret dream of coming up with an upper school curriculum where Needham’s four-volume set is the spine and then various readings from the Church Fathers and other great thinkers of the church are coordinated with it. Wouldn’t that be dreamy?
I don’t know a better way to help kids care about eating healthfully and forming good habits of the body than to just read aloud well-written, interesting books on health and nutrition. And then you keep reading, because sometimes those books contradict each other and that’s important, too. Breath, for example, talks about Dr. Price’s work, but has some interesting thoughts on his findings that contradict — or maybe just add to the conversation.
That’s a wrap!
What are your favorite resources you’re using for your group studies this coming term?
Get the (almost) weekly digest!
Weekly encouragement, direct to your inbox, (almost) every Saturday.