Saturday, August 16, 2014

Circle Time - Part 1, the plan

Well week one went well.  Basically we did our work in the morning and played all afternoon - soaking up the last rays of summer (it was 102 most of the week - so we were in the pool or indoors).  After such a good week of solid morning work I wonder why we are adding in all of these other morning responsibilities! But, alas, they do seem to serve a purpose.

The main difference was reading aloud.  We really didn't read aloud at all this summer because we were playing and I didn't really feel up to it.  We listened to lots of books on tape though.  We started back with our morning time readings that typically occur while my kids get breakfast.  This includes:

Watts' Family Vision for Education and Key Ideas for Life - The first is basically our mission statement for education (mostly cobbled together from what I have gathered from those who are older and wiser than myself). The second is a series of 8 quick phrases that I want my kids to understand about our relationship with God and others.  The concept comes from 24 family ways.  I don't have the book but somewhere I found her list, prayed about it for us and this is what I use now.  We do one a week and talk about it from different viewpoints.  This week we focused on "The Big Story: Creation, Incarnation and Recreation".  It fit in really nicely since we were reading the Creation story this week.

Last year we also talked about a core virtues (the four cardinal virtues and then the three theological virtues and added in the few suggested by N.T. Wright's After You Believe - chastity, humility and patience (or LONG SUFFERING).   I would try to focus on how these are developed in community (not just one hero) and how we need God to really guide us into them. This year we are NOT doing it (yet) because it seems like overkill and stories do a much better job.  At some point (middle school) I will probably use Jenny Rallens' (her 2014 talks was AMAZING) approach and then have them trace these through the literature and history that they read (a la Mortimer Adler 103 great ideas).  I still refer to them as appropriate (without trying to moralize) when we are reading stories together.

Bible (following the suggestions from the Golden Bible Book found in Introduction to Classical Studies),

Prayers - I ask the kids if they have any specific prayer requests - often they revolve around Grandma's, legos and friends. We then do two set prayers. This term it is the Collect for Guidance from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer (this is from prayers and reading you could do every morning - no wonder those who do it know their Psalms!)

Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our 
being: We humbly pray you so to guide and govern us by 
your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our 
life we may not forget you, but may remember that we are 
ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

and the Lord's Prayer in Latin (which is being reinforced in Latina Christiana). 

Bible Memory work 1 Corinthian 13:4 - 8, Psalm 1 a few verses from Proverbs 21 (2, 3 and 23).

Motto: Have communion with few, be intimate with one, deal justly with all, speak evil of none. 
I found this in an old hymnal/ prayer book - no idea where - but I really like it.

Latin - Some mornings I try to read Latin.  I am POSITIVE I am pronouncing it wrong but oh well!  Last year we read aloud the translation passages from Visual Latin (that follow the Bible) but this year I am going to try the first history reader from Classical Academic Press that focuses on Roman history - which is one of our interests this year.

Poetry Memorization - There are poems we will get to through Memoria Press's Poetry for the Grammar Stage and Primary Language Lessons (we won't memorize all of the one's recommended there).  I decided that I wanted to work on a long poem because my oldest really does memorize pretty well.  I also wanted to keep it fun (knowing that Hiawatha might be next - but I didn't want to start there).  So, we are doing Casey at the Bat by Lawrence Ernest Thayer.  I was surprised that we both got the first stanza this week.  Today at the library I picked up the Maestro's Classics series that focuses on this poem - it is a fun way for him to listen to it again and again.  I'll probably keep it in the car.  

Poetry - We are also reading The World of Christopher Robin.  In part because I got it for 25 cents this summer and because my youngest is OBSESSED with Winnie the Pooh.  So, I put this at the end and try to draw him back in as we close with a poem or two.  

If the boys are still with me I try to read the book from Proverbs that matches the date.  The oldest isn't quite 8 yet, so I don't push it too often.

This whole process probably takes about 20 to 30 minutes depending on spilled food, whining for more food, if we get involved in a conversation, etc.  So we have this covered by about 8 am!  I am blessed because my husband is home to help take care of the food while I focus on the reading.  I also try to remember to dismiss, as many have mentioned, with "The Lord be With You" and "Also With You."

It worked well this week because we didn't have anywhere to be in the morning.  It might fall apart when we need to leave the house by 8:30 or so.  This week we did this until about 7:45 and then the kids played (often outside, while it was only in the mid 80s) and did their morning round up (chores, teeth, beds, clothes, etc.).  We started our individual work around 9:00.

We are doing Classical Conversations this year so I might add in a few of the memory components here - but I haven't really thought through that yet.  Probably do it mostly in the car like we did last year.

This is circle time - part 1 - later in the day we pick up other weekly readings and oral work - typically in conjunction with a snack or lunch (it helps keep the youngest one occupied).  I'll talk more about what else we are reading in another post.  This year my oldest is having to do more individual work - mostly writing - he tried to put up a little fight, but was fairly easily overcome.  Again, we can talk about that at another time.

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