Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Circle Time Planner

Finally.  I'm clearing tons of clutter out from this house, and I'm getting my head back in the schooling game.  Considering we're starting next month (a review month, mostly, but yikes! already?), I needed to figure a few things out.

After a lot of trial and error, I realized I don't like detailing everything we'll do every week.  But I like to have a plan, a guide, options for the month.  So, I came up with this circle time planner for myself.

I was kind of opposed to the whole idea of circle time, mostly because I didn't know how it was going to work with just two kids, only one of which is school aged.  Eventually, I found some things that did work for us.  Starting each day with a song, a verse, a few games, etc. puts everyone in a good mood.  It's a transition from morning chores and play time to lesson mode.

For games, I pick fingerplays (mostly for the little one), tongue twisters, and clapping games (remember those fun playground circles with the intricate clapping combinations? yeah, those) we want to practice or try during that month.  For active math, I plan which addition fact families, skip counting, or multiplication tables we want to focus on (tied to our math lessons for the month), and we can either skip or hop those, or bounce a ball or toss a bean bag back and forth while we recite them.

I simply write the name of the game, poem, or song, then I make a note of the book and page number where I found it (if it's complicated or I need to memorize it).  Sometimes I'll keep printed copies of seasonal poems to keep in my monthly folders, and I'll paper clip them to this sheet.  

So far I like the idea of having several options for things to do all in one place, and still having the flexibility to choose which ones we want to do each week or day.  I print a sheet for each month and keep one in each monthly folder.  If you want to print your own, you can find it here:

How about you?  Do you have circle time, or do you do something different to start your days?  Do you have a favorite morning song, verse, or activity you do for circle time or just to bring everyone together?


  1. I used to really like circle time, even though it was a lot of work and planning, and it got harder to do the more pregnant I was. ;) "Simple Gifts" was one of our starting songs, and I still love it. Another idea is to take circle outside and take a walk to start the day, incorporating movement activities along the way. I always liked that idea, but our neighborhood isn't really good for walking and it didn't work with a newborn to drive somewhere to take a walk. But something to think about!

  2. Let's see, something that brings us all together in the mornings....

    Does a round of nagging and whining count for anything? No? Didn't think so.

  3. We meet at the breakfast table, eat, read a few Scripture verses(chosen from my own daily reading), and sometimes sing a song. This is *supposed* to be the time we work on memorizing things too. . .but the clock is not my friend. :)

  4. We tried morning walks, but we learned we like to take them later in the morning/day when there's less neighborhood traffic and the mosquitoes aren't so buggy. But in the spring we sometimes skip the circle time to spend and extended time in the garden or just hanging out in the back yard before lesson.

  5. Deb, our mornings were just like that for half the year (ok, they're still like that some days!). I really thought my oldest would call me a dork for singing or complain that she was too old for circle time, but she was more into it than the little one!

    April, that sounds lovely. We don't formally work on memorizing, but through listening and reciting and skip counting the memorize all sorts of things without even trying.

  6. Great ideas, and I really like the planning sheet!

    We've never done an official circle time, but I do agree that the day goes better when you start with some kind of opening activity. It helps with the transition from the breakfast/home mindset to the focus/school mindset.

    My kids really like to know what the day is going to bring, so we go over our schedule for the day. I can't get my kids to sing but we talk about the weather, make note of seasonal changes, and discuss what we did the previous day. A game or poem sounds like a great way to get started--we'll have to try that!

  7. I love this. Thank you so much for sharing.


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