Sometimes, it’s hard to picture something that you’ve never done before.
When I first made the decision to homeschool, I was so overwhelmed, I didn’t even know where to begin. I knew I had so many things to start planning. There were a lot of blogs out there that were an incredible help, so If I’m going to blog, I suppose I should be helpful 😉
For those of you that are trying to decide what “Circle Time” will look like for you, here is our morning schedule.
We begin our morning with exercising. I know, 9AM is way too early for me to be doing jumping jacks and bouncing on pogo sticks. But for Judah, he’s just looking for any outlet to get all that energy out. Especially if I’m about to make him focus and concentrate on work and discipline. So…sometimes we dance. Sometimes we hoola hoop. Sometimes we throw a ball, or play tag. Anything active is up for grabs. He even enjoys exercising with me – sit-ups, push-ups, burpees. Two birds with one stone, folks! If he has an idea, I roll with it. Otherwise, I put a song on the ipod and we just start dancing.
Dance-along songs are great. You know, the songs that tell you what to do…? Some of our favorites are the Greg and Steve Songs. Judah loves the beanie bag songs and the ones where they tell you to act like animals or random objects.
When we’ve gotten some energy out (about 10-15 minutes), we do our calendar. Judah gets to take the labels off and put the new ones on. He reads out loud the full sentence “Today is Wednesday the 14th of August 2013”. Then we count the days on the calendar up to whatever day it is. Lastly, we sing our days of the week song.
We do the one that goes to the tune of “The Addams Family”
“Days of the week (snap snap). Days of the week (snap snap). Days of the Week, Days of the Week, Days of the week (snap snap).
There’s Sunday and there’s Monday. There’s Tuesday and there’s Wednesday. There’s Thursday and there’s Friday. And then there’s Saturday.
Days of the week (snap snap). Days of the week (snap snap). Days of the Week, Days of the Week, Days of the week (snap snap).”
Next we do our Weather Chart. Judah goes and stands on the couch so he can see out the window and I ask him what the weather looks like. We talk about senses and using our different senses (looking with our eyes, listening with our ears, feeling with our hands, etc).
Then he puts the correct weather stickers on the weather chart for today and we discuss what we should wear for that weather.
While we’re standing, we say the Pledge of Allegiance. He repeats after me, but after only a very short time of doing it, he almost knows the whole thing on his own.
(please excuse my not totally painted basement. Another reason I haven’t posted a full tour of our classroom yet! oops)
We then sit down and read a book that correlates with our Unit Study for the week. I have found books at the library that I think he would enjoy. I haven’t done too much research ahead of time because our library isn’t very great about having books put on hold for you in a timely manner. So, I’m just going the week before to get books for our next Unit Study. A new book for every day (unless he asks for a specific one again).
We then do our Weekly Scripture. I found this on the 1+1+1=1 blog, and so far it’s working out great for us. We bought the CD called Songs for Saplings and I printed out the weekly scripture with pictures from her blog. I laminated the pictures and we read them and then sing the song. Then we talk about what it means – ie. What is the bread of life? Etc. I’m not gonna lie, the songs are a little bit cheesy, but Judah is really loving it, and that’s all that matters. Plus, the two of us go around the house ALL DAY singing those darn, cheesy songs!
We are currently studying North America, and I’m breaking it up into countries (US, Canada and Central America). We will be studying the United States the longest, and every day I am introducing a new state. So, we go over to our world map and name all the continents. Then we get out our US map and point and name all the states we have already learned. Then we talk about our new state for the day and I usually have one or two simple but fun facts about that state. Something to help him remember. It might be that we have a family member that lives there, sometimes it’s something like Cowboys live in Texas, or that Georgia has yummy peaches. So far, not only is it helping him remember, but when we get to that state, he is rattling off all the silly, useless facts I’ve been telling him with ease! That kid’s got quite the memory!
Lastly, we lay on the floor and shake all our sillies out. We list off body parts and then shake all over the place.
When we have shaken all our sillies out, we pray. I put on some music that we are currently studying while we do this part (this month, it’s classical music). We pray for a great day of school. We pray for daddy at work. We pray for Dex to take a good nap! (Amen, mommies?) Whatever he wants to pray for. I then ask Judah to close his eyes and *think* about what lesson he would like to start with. This is always hard for him because sometimes he wants to tell me and sometimes he wants to jump up and show me. So, I have really been encouraging him to think about it quietly in his head, and when he is ready he can silently stand up and walk to that lesson. It’s a challenge for a three year old!
Circle time takes us about 30 minutes – which may seem long to some. But he is learning so much in just 30 minutes. In a week and a half of school, he has learned how to read all 7 days of the week plus our full calendar sentence. He can read all the words on our weather chart. He knows almost the entire Pledge of Allegiance by heart. He has learned and memorized two Bible Scriptures, he has learned where 8 states are and can name and point to all the continents of the world. And there’s probably even more that I’m not even aware of yet!
So, what does your circle time look like? Maybe you don’t start your day with circle time, but you do something else really awesome to kick start your morning. I’d love to hear your creative ideas!