Deuteronomy 6:6-7

And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. ~ Deuteronomy 6:6-7

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Circle Time by Kendra Fletcher - A Review

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase "Circle Time"? For me, it takes me back to the days before we had children, when I was a preschool teacher. It was the first part of the day, when we gathered the kids together and sang songs, read books, learned the calendar, and so on. But it's been a long time since I've thought of it, although as we began homeschooling, we did do those same activities. And then, along came this little e-book to review, and as I took a look through the content, the ideas started flowing. This could be pretty cool to add to our daily routine.
Circle Time is a 33 page, downloadable, PDF, put together by Preschoolers and Peace .

I think the title of this book is a bit misleading. It really conjures up images of preschoolers sitting cross-legged in front of a teacher singing the alphabet song. And actually, the author herself states that she would probably re-name the book if she were to go back, for that reason. My kids are not teens yet, but the name does sound like it's meant for the younger tots, so we just call it small group time, although the name really isn't critical. But I digress.

With 33 pages, this is a quick read. You also may be surprised to find that the books' definition of circle time goes beyond memory work, and bible study. It includes any and all kinds of schoolwork and activities that include every age. This is the idea, I think. It brings the family together to participate as a group and connect as a family. So this could include anything from singing, to read alouds, art instruction, and even P.E.

Author Kendra Fletcher begins by telling the how's and why's of the beginning of circle time for her family. It brought them together to pray, read the Bible, sing, and basically set the tone for the day. It was/is meant to be a time to make the children feel connected to the family, receive the attention of mom, and just feel loved and wanted. That part resonated with me. I confess that during this particular season of our lives, we have some challenges within our family. I am committed to our decision to homeschool. I love my girls. I enjoy their company, and hearing their thoughts and worldviews as they grow. But too often, I have found myself overwhelmed with circumstances and then speak sharply, or send the girls off to find something productive to do. Sigh.

I viewed this review as a new beginning. We're having a busy summer, but going a little lighter with the schoolwork. This has been a good time to experiment with our own version of circle time. That's the beauty of this e-book. Fletcher gives tips, suggestions, printables, lists of ideas and activities that you might want to incorporate, but ultimately, the sky's the limit. A 2 hour span of time may be a great option for you, but then again, if you have one or more babies or toddlers zipping around, a shorter time frame may be better. There is no right or wrong way to make this work, because you construct a schedule around the needs of your family.

What does this time look like for us? Well, I was excited to think of this in a new way beyond the traditional stuffy circle. We use this as a time for our devotions and prayer, as well as some fun read alouds (the American Girl books are fun summer reads for us). But we've also been using the nice summer weather as an excuse for some extended family walks to various local parks and destinations. Handwriting and art have also had a place, and I really do find the time to have a relaxing effect for us.

I guess I would sum it up by saying don't be fooled by the title and dismiss this resource, because it has no age. The book offers some helpful tips and strategies to create your own small group time. Do what works for you and the interests of your family. I think the idea is a good one, and this is an e-book worth adding to your library.

Preschoolers and Peace

Circle Time

Ages: All ages

Price: $4.99 - Downloadable PDF - 33 pages

Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew

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