Sunday, July 28, 2013

Circle Time: Plan the Best Part of Your Day {A Review}

A e-book that helps homeschool moms bring the kids together for a time of learning and fellowship.

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Circle Time: Plan the Best Part of Your Day

The Essentials - What you need to know
• Published by Preschoolers and Peace
Circle Time: Plan the Best Part of Your Day by Kendra Fletcher
• Age Range: For mom of kids of all ages
• A downloadable e-book in pdf form.
• Price: $4.99

The Review

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Have you ever had something small become something meaningful?  That is what happened to me with this little e-book.  It is very unassuming at only 33 pages.  I read through the whole thing while my kids played on the playground in only a couple of days.  It made a huge impact on our homeschool day.  

What is circle time?  I was familiar with the concept in the context of pre-school.  Circle time was the time when the teacher brought together all the children in a circle to read a story, sing songs and do other group activities. Kendra describes circle time as a formal start to their homeschool day.  For her it started as a time of prayer and song and evolved to include other things as well.  A time to bring all the children, even the littlest, into the family circle.  

The book Circle Time is broken into chapters.  The first four chapters are dedicated to defining circle time and implementing it. The next two chapters are full of great advice from Kendra and other moms.  The last two chapters are resources and printables.

Before I read this book I never thought about doing a circle time during our homeschool.  We started back with some homeschool July 1 and I started off with circle time.  It was a really nice, formal way to start.  I had big plans with songs and activities, but as a couple of weeks went by I see the wisdom in Kendra's advice of keep it brief, especially with a little person, especially in summer.

One of my big struggles last year was getting things started off in the morning.  The getting up and getting ready time stretched and stretched.  Just sitting down and getting started was hard.  We are not doing a lot this summer, but thanks to circle time the kids want to get started in the morning.

The thing that made me really want to read this e-book was the tag line "Teach ALL Ages".  My kiddos are 8 years apart.  There is a wide gulf in learning between 12 and 4.  I am always on the look out for good options for learning together.  One of the questions at the back of the book is "What are some of the strategies you use to keep the younger ones happy? Older ones interested?" Clearly exactly what I was looking for.  Kendra and other wise moms give lots of advice on how to tackle that particular problem.

There is lots of great wisdom and practical know-how in getting homeschool done using circle time.  Probably the best thing about this little e-book is that while it gives lots of concrete examples and plans (there are even suggested circle time schedules for fall and summer), it is utterly flexible. There are even a printable circle time wish list - for all those things you might want to do, and an independent work/group work worksheets at the end of the book.  I know that my summer circles doesn't look like Kendra's schedule suggests, but the book gave me the confidence to try out this new way of doing things.

As you can tell, I really liked this book.  It definitely delivers plenty of bang for your buck.   I would highly recommend you read it.  I will end this review with a little story.  Circle time in our house happens at 9:00.  I let the kids watch a little educational PBS television before we get started with school in the morning, so the Little Dude knows when we start.  The other morning I was not together, so I thought well today we will just skip school, it is summer after all.  Right on time, though, the Little Dude comes up to me in my pajamas and said "circle time, circle time".  So we did circle time, and moved on and got the rest of our homeschool day done as well.  Clearly my littlest one loves the structure and the activities of circle time.  It has made a difference in the way we homeschool.


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