We have always done some form of Circle Time. Back in the day, we used it to learn the alphabet, days of the week, months of the year, etc. Now, we use it to memorize Scripture, read books that I would otherwise never get to, discuss character issues, and enjoy poetry and art appreciation.
The name has changed as well. We outgrew "Circle Time" a few years ago. We tried calling it Creche Conference, in an attempt to be witty, but that never really caught on. Last year we found ourselves referring to it as Morning Time, so I just tweaked it into Morning Meeting. I think that will stick quite well.
It seems to work best for us to combine this time with breakfast. The kids participate so much better, which makes me happy, and they wind up eating a lot more than they normally do (since I'm not rushing them to finish and start school) which makes them happy. And, now that we have the baby to babysit, it provides a built-in way to keep him distracted and happy. Which makes all the rest of us happy!
Every year, what we do in this time changes ever so slightly. Some things that I plan never really work out and then I find other things that I want to add in. So this year, my plans for Morning Meeting involves some Loop Scheduling. This makes me nervous, because doing different things every day in Morning Meeting has never worked for me before. If I have to think too much about what we are doing, then I tend to forget stuff which ends up with me dropping stuff. But I'm hoping that the loop, rather than assigning days, will make a difference. Or it might just confuse me all the more. We'll see.
Here's our plan:
Every day, we will:
pray and read the Bible: we were in Acts when school ended last year, so we will just pick up where we left off and then choose another book when it's done
memorize Scripture: We will be working through Psalm 119 and also Colossians 3. I intend to give them Memory Work Binders this year to help us memorize more effortlessly and to help with the distraction factor.
sing a hymn: or actually two. We sing our way through the hymn book (all the ones I know, anyway) by singing a new one every week. But there are some that I want them to know by heart, so we sing those a month each.
practice math facts with wrap-ups: They love this and they compete against themselves. Everybody is working on a different set. When they can do a key in under 30 seconds, they move on to the next.
practice flashcards: we have Latin cards, math fact cards, science vocabulary cards, math vocabulary cards, phonics cards for the little kids, spelling cards, Spanish cards, sign language cards, and probably others that I'm not remembering right now. I'm going to put them all together (separated) in a box and we will just rotate through the different stacks. Ordinarily, we never remember to do flashcards on a regular basis, so I'm hoping this will get them done and done in a fun, competitive sort of way.
read from our current History read-aloud
And once a week we:
work on memorizing a poem
work on memorizing the catechism
work on memorizing a science fact: we will start with the names and order of the planets, Nate knows this, and Kaytie knows 75% but the little kids do not, so we will start with something easy that we can conquer quickly and then move on.
do a Charlotte Mason form of Artist Study
practice our Latin chants and/or prayers
read a poem from 742 Heart Warming Poems which I am only using because it was a favorite book of mine when I was a kid and I have the copy that I read over and over
read from a rotating list of books: Book of Virtues, Little Pilgrim's Progress, It Couldn't Just Happen and Mr. Pipes and Psalms and Hymns of the Reformation
make an entry into our Thankful Journals
The way we will use the loop schedule is like this: from the once a week list, we just do two every day. So if we miss Morning Meeting, then nothing gets left out, we just do the next on the list the next day.
and that's it.
You can read about a couple of our old Circle Times
Circle Time 2009
Crece Conference 2014
If you are new to the Morning Time idea, check out these posts from people who do it better than I
Morning Time Moms
Simply Convivial: What Is Circle Time?
ebook from Preschoolers and Peace
A list of resources from Preschoolers and Peace