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C is for Circle Up (part 1)

When they were little, my children loved starting the school day with a check of the weather. We filled in our charts and graphs, wrote the date, signed names, and counted money. It was a fun way to practice skills each morning as we gathered together at our wall calendar.

For a little while, I thought we outgrew this morning gathering time, but I was so wrong. I started implementing it again a few years ago and it has been a huge blessing to my family. With such a variety of ages and stages, it's easy to lose track of where we all are. Gathering together in the morning gives us a chance to share a vision each morning of where our days are going, of where our lives are going. It's just 10 minutes, but it's 10 minutes well spent.

Our morning routine looks like this:

Fabulous Five
Everyone tackles the five things on their morning list before sitting down to breakfast. The lists include things like bed-making, hair-brushing, feeding the dog, etc.

This is nearly always fried eggs or a Dutch Baby. Sometimes it's oatmeal, but they grumble if I do that very much. When it is oatmeal, they add peanut butter or a tall glass of milk. I've found they really must have some protein for breakfast or they are begging for snacks all day long and not focusing.

Circle Up
This is the beautiful beginning to our day. Similar to the idea of starting the first day of a new school year with fun traditions, we mark the beginning of each school day with this Circle-Up tradition. It's not exactly a fun tradition, and it doesn't compare to scavenger hunts and hot cocoa, but it is hopefully a memorable and impacting tradition.

We use this morning time to practice our memory work more than anything else. We implement a sort of cross between the File Card System and Living Memory. I collect poems, verses, speeches and more in a notebook full of things that I want to add into our memory work, and I slowly work them in as we master old material and are ready for new.

Circle Up #2
We gather again after lunch and read a book that we can all enjoy together. This year we've read Johnny Tremain in small, bite-sized chunks to go with our history reading. We've also read The Willoughbys, just for fun. It's a nice transition time for us to regroup before hitting the books again.

Circle Up #3
This doesn't happen every evening, but we try to work in an evening Circle Up with Daddy. Chris reads a short devotion from a catechism book that we will take years to finish. We joke around and share highs and lows of the day before heading off to bed. Some nights, we stop for a movie. Some nights, we settle in for a good reading from Lord of the Rings.

Circling-Up is not a preschool thing. It's not a homeschool thing. It's just a gathering of family. Grabbing a minute to laugh, to listen. With families stressed and running non-stop, these moments are worth the effort it takes to stop and connect.

I'll share more details on the memory aspect of our morning Circle Up soon.

Ben and Me
A is for Aim
B is for Broken

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great ideas! I do a little bit of a circle time with my youngest but I love the idea of doing it all together and adding in other things and doing it at lunch time too. I need to add more to make us more together during the day, especially me being with them.



"Man lives by affirmation even more than by bread." - Victor Hugo