The View from the Classroom Window

Monday, January 5, 2009

how we start our day - Circle Time!

I wanted to share a few ideas that we do to jump-start our week/day on the right foot. I am sure many of these ideas are age-old & timeless things - but it works, and it might be new for you!? In the morning, we all get ready, eat breakfast, etc - and typically by 8-10am we are ready to begin. Did you notice that was a 2 hour chunk of variable time? We like to be flexible like that. I announce to the girls that we will have "Circle Time in 2 minutes!!" - and they all get really excited. They each go choose a story (I try to encourage a bible story, but no huge pressure) and sit on the flower design on our carpet in our living room to wait for me (this is where you picture angelic girls sitting with books & hands in their laps waiting for mom to float across the floor). Ha!! The more consistent we are, the more anticipation they have for this focused time together. I think it produces faithfulness in me too.

Circle Time
For us, with little girls (ages 5, 3 & 2) we have a variety of activities that we incorporate into our 10-20 minute chunk of time together. The younger ones may not be able to stay focused for long, but we also bring out puzzles or picture books in case they need to be busy. You can be as creative as you want! Here are some ideas:
  1. Read a Bible story & discuss it. Ask lots of questions to get them to share & grasp the truths within. You can also choose ONE book that you go thru during this time: a family devotional, something instructional, etc. This is very character-building focused.
  2. Play guitar & sing songs together. Instruments & dance are a bonus. You can talk about the words to the songs, learn an old hymn - or whatever!
  3. Work on memory verses, or other memory work. Poetry is a great idea for this too, tho we haven't attempted it yet. I would like to help them memorize passages of scripture this way. I hear its very easy!! You can also do flashcards, with pictures of places, famous people, or other things you'd like to memorize. You ideas can be stored on 3x5 cards, in a box, or even a "Circle Time" binder.
  4. Sharing time: this is very ambiguous, but sometimes there have been topics that we wanted to discuss with the girls, or deeper issues we wanted them to think about more - so we try to ask questions, and help them figure out the answers or truths. Other times I just ask a silly question like, "What makes a good friend?" and we talk about it, and try to apply it to our lives. I think the best sharing times have been when I (mommy) have opened up and been vulnerable with them - asking them to pray for me, or share what Dad has been speaking to me. Its so powerful!!
  5. Prayer for others: we have 3 little photo books (the cheap ones) filled with pictures of friends & family - so we can open the book to new pages & pray for them by name. We are always updating & changing the pictures in here. A great spot for Xmas photos! Sometimes I ask the girls to choose a part of their character they want to grow in for the week - and we pray about it together. Its really amazing how they choose "kindness" or "generosity" and really work on it each day.
No matter what you choose - all these things are more important than reading, writing or arithmetic. And it only takes about 10-20 minutes, depending on what you incorporate!

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