Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool
Do you ever feel like mornings with your young children fly past in a cacophony of chaos? Wake up, get kids dressed, make beds, prepare breakfast, clean up, sit down for school time.
It isn’t always the most peaceful part of the day, and though homeschoolers are not racing out the door to catch the school bus, at times our mornings can still feel….rushed.
That’s why I love having a circle time with my kids–it gives us the chance to start our day with purpose.
Here’s how to create a circle time that works for your family.
What Is a Circle Time?
A circle time is a morning ritual that takes between five to fifteen minutes and works well for children under the age of eight.
Family members (or classmates if done in a traditional school) gather together, sitting or standing in a circle, to sing songs and do activities together. That definition may sound a bit institutional, which is why I resisted having a circle time initially. But trust me, you can create an intentional gathering time that feels natural for your home.
Benefits of Circle Time
As mentioned earlier, a circle time allows your family to start the day in a mindful way. It’s fun and light-hearted. My kids get a kick out of seeing Mommy do the same silly songs and movements they do, so it gives us a chance to begin the day with laughter.
It also provides young children the chance to add movement to their mornings, which is so vital for little people, especially before sitting down to do any type of formal academics. Little bodies need to move!
Parts of a Circle Time
Three parts make up a traditional circle time:
Many families begin their circle time by lighting a candle. Then proceed to your opening verse. This may be a short poem or Scripture you recite together. Often we will pick one opening verse and use it for the entire week–young children love repetition and it gives everyone a chance to practice and memorize.
Sometimes we will recite one thing we are thankful for that day during our opening verse.
The bulk of a circle time is in the middle, typically singing one or two songs together. If the songs have actions (think Itsy, Bitsy Spider) it’s easy for everyone to join in.
The closing verse allows you to conclude your circle time and then proceed to the next activity in your day. It could be another poem, short song, or Bible verse. We like to end ours with what we call our “good day cheer.”
If you’ve lit a candle you can blow it out after the closing verse.
A Circle Time in Real Time
Of course the best way to learn about a circle time is to watch one, so enjoy!
(And just so you know, I totally bribed my kids with lollipops to ensure good circle time behavior. Not all of our circle times flow quite so seamlessly!)
Add Your Personality
As with anything in life and homeschooling, a circle time only works if you tailor it to your family. Give it your own unique flair and enjoy starting your day with this purposeful ritual.
Have you ever tried a circle time in your home? What do you include?