{Review Crew} Circle Time: Plan the Best Part of Your Homeschool Day!

Until this past year I had never heard of Circle Time.  I was never a classroom teacher and very few of my friends were ever teachers, so Circle Time was not something I heard about often.  But lately, I’ve heard lots of homeschool moms talk about Circle Time and I decided I should learn a little more.  I quickly became overwhelmed with the information and the amount of printables and things that can be done during a Circle Time.  So, after trying to host our own Circle Time this past year, I quickly burned out and we failed.  I have always wanted to get back to having our own little Circle Time so I was excited to review Circle Time: Plan the Best Part of Your Homeschool Day! from Preschoolers and Peace.

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What is it?
Preschoolers and Peace was started by Kendra, a busy mom of 8, in order to provide encouragement and tips for homeschooling older kids with toddlers in tow.  Her blog is filled with helpful advice for parenting little people and is peppered with personal stories and anecdotes from a mom who’s been there.  Because my life is so full of little people right now, I’ve found myself turning to her site often and coming away encouraged and with a fresh perspective. 

Kendra wrote an e-book for moms to provide information and practical ideas for starting Circle Time in the homeschool setting.  Circle Time is simply gathering your family together as a group and having time to learn together.  It’s a time when you can teach various age groups together and have a focused time of learning with all your students together.  What you do during this time is up to you: you can do Bible studies, practice memory work, learn math facts, discuss history topics, read books together, or learn days of the week or other basic information.  The book includes information about different topics to cover and various ways to implement Circle Time in your homeschool.  We had a chance to review the book and put some of her ideas to good use!

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What does it include?
Circle Time: Plan the Best Part of Your Homeschool Day! is an e-book filled with helpful tips and resources for starting a circle time in your homeschool.  This e-book is perfect for moms with children of any ages and especially those who are teaching multiple levels at once.  The book contains helpful planning tips, ideas for activities, lists of resources, and examples of how other families have implemented the circle time techniques and methods in their own homes.

This 33-page e-book is available in downloadable PDF format for $4.99.

What did our day look like?
One of my favorite tips in the e-book was to break up Circle Time throughout the day.  I was trying to fit all of my great ideas into one Circle Time and it made that time way too long!  So, we have several shorter Circle Times throughout our day:

Morning: Our first Circle Time is during breakfast.  This is when we go through our Memory Work Binder and work on our poems.  Each day we also do memory work from one of the subject sections of language arts, poetry, math, science, and history.  We also look at maps and locate states and countries.  Then we talk about our virtue for the week with our virtue cards from We Choose Virtues.  Lastly, we take out our prayer request cards and flip to our next request and take turns praying.

Midday: Circle Time #2 is at lunch time.  We watch a few praise and worship videos.  Our current favorite is the Amazing Grace version from Celtic Woman and Tiger enjoys the Courageous music video.  Then I read from Our 24 Family Ways and we discuss the bible passage and the questions.

Afternoon: Circle Time #3 is when we read aloud together and do some fun preschool activities before Ladybug has her naptime.  We have preschool busy bags and we work on those or play with some toddler type blocks.  I let the older kids take the lead on this Circle Time and they dictate the activities as they “teach” Ladybug her colors, shapes, letters, and numbers.  We read fun board books and picture books together during this time.

So, I’ve found that multiple, short Circle Times work best at our house.  I’ve also seen how I can effectively get multiple things crossed off our to-do list during our time together.  And it’s so fun to learn together with everyone gathered around the table!

What didn’t we like?
I found the book to be a great resource for beginning my Circle Time.  I would have loved a few simple (but pretty!) printables to go along with the e-book.  Printables for writing prayer cards or Bible memory cards or for creating my own memory work pages.  I did some searching and found some blank templates online but I always love open-ended printables since I don’t know how to make them myself! 

What did we like?
There are great ideas for how to keep your younger ones occupied (and somewhat happy) during Circle Time as well as tips for keeping the older kids interested.  It appeals to a wide range of ages!

This can streamline your day!  Think about it, if you’re able to do several subjects together as a group, it cuts down on the time everyone has to spend on school (including you!).

Having a Circle Time means that we remember to cover memory work, prayer time, and Bible reading time.

This e-book makes Circle Time doable and less overwhelming.  She has great advice for prioritizing, starting small, and making this time a habit.

I especially found the examples of Circle Times written by other moms to be helpful.  Seeing what they included in their time and how they structured their day around Circle Time really helped me.

I love the resources listed on her resource page.  I’ve added several of them to my wishlist to enhance our future Circle Times.

What did we think overall?
I really enjoyed reading through the e-book and browsing through all the recommended resources.  This book made Circle Time understandable and accessible to me.  I felt encouraged to start small, keep it simple and short, and use this time as the center, focal point of our day.  Kendra’s ideas encouraged me to see Circle Time as family time when we can share our hearts with each other and we can reconnect and refocus throughout our day.

I have come away with a greater appreciation for Circle Time!  It’s not just for preschoolers and it’s not just about discussing weather and saying a memory verse.  So many subjects can be incorporated into Circle Time and this time together can allow me to cover lots of material in a short amount of time.  Circle Time keeps us faithful in prayer and keeps us accountable for working on our memory work.  We’ve grown to enjoy our times together as we learn from each other and the big kids take great pride in helping teach the younger ones.  We now have successful Circle Times at our house!  This was a great resource for getting started!

What did the Crew think about this product?  Read more reviews here.

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