Jul 16, 2014

A Gathering of Young Penguins

We call our Morning Meeting/Circle Time by the unique title of Creche Conference. This is because a group of baby penguins is a creche. And the kids liked how important "conference" sounded.

We have our Creche Conference during breakfast every morning. It gives us a little extra time in our day, and the kids find it easier to pay attention when their hands are busy and their mouths are full. I keep a list in my binder of our schedule. The one in the picture above was last year's, this year's is at the bottom of the post. I also keep our memory work and pieces of artwork in my binder so it's handy. The hymn book, Kindle, and other books I need (some of them will rotate in and out) I keep in a small crate that one of the kids will haul to the table every morning. I can't show you pictures of any of this because I don't have it actually printed and/or organized for next year yet!

We always start with me reading a short passage from whichever book of the Bible we are currently working through. I don't schedule this at all. We choose a book (it will be Esther in the fall term) and I just read little bits and have the kids narrate. My Bible separates passages with headings, so it's easy for me just to read from one heading to the next.

Then I read a poem from our current poet. This fall it will be selections from William Blake. I get these straight from Ambleside Online.

Next, depending on the day, I read a tiny bit from a biography about that term's artist (Monday), poet (Tuesday), composer (Wednesday). On Thursday I read part of The Book of Virtues. (this is new because I just remembered a few weeks ago that I own this book... so I thought we might as well use it!)

On Mondays, the kids look at a piece of artwork from the term's artist. This fall it will be Manet, which, again, I get from Ambleside Online. They narrate what they see. Then they work on memorizing the current Bible verse. We are ambitiously attempting to commit Psalm 119 to memory.

On Tuesdays, our memory work is a poem. We have three lined up for the fall: Ozymandias, The Destruction of Sennacherib, and The Charge of the Light Brigade. We will attempt them in that order and when those are all committed to memory we will choose some more.

On Wednesdays, we work on The Mother's Catechism. I am pleased at how much they enjoy this and how easily they memorize it.

On Thursdays, the kids are memorizing the U.S. Presidents in order. This is a rollover from last year, but we are all determined to finish!

Next, we sing two hymns. One changes weekly and we are just singing our way through the hymnal, choosing every song that I know and skipping the ones I don't. The other hymn we will sing every school day for four weeks, in the hopes that we will have fully memorized them. I chose a long list that I knew and loved and then had the kids vote which ones they wanted to learn. I plugged in the unanimous ones first, then the ones with three votes, and so forth until I had enough for the whole year.

We will finish up our Conference each morning with a Wrap-up competition and History read-alouds. I leave that for last so that we can move to the couch if desired and so that we can narrate in whatever form we like without worrying about a time limit.

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