First Semester Circle Time
I haven't written much (if at all) this fall about our homeschool beyond the occasional read-aloud post here and there. Some of that is intentional ... as my girls get older I wonder what to share. And some is unintentional ... there aren't enough hours in the day (and when I do have extra hours, I use them to catch up on episodes of Once Upon a Time because I was sucked into that rabbit hole this fall. Ahem.)
I feel like I'm also at a crossroads with this little blog of mine. When I started writing on it many moons ago, it was a LOT of memory keeping, photos of cute little girls (and eventually a boy), scrapbook / craftiness, etc. I'm not really sure what to do with this space now. I do miss writing. I keep up with our family scrapbooks (a la Project Life), but the daily documenting with photos was something I truly enjoyed. Again, walking this out with girls that are getting older and wanting to respect their privacy. I've thought very seriously about wrapping this space up and stick to my social media of choice, but occasionally I do have the urge to tell a longer tale. Basically, I'm either thinking about this too much or not enough. : )
Anyway, I thought I would stick my toe back in the water of homeschool posts with one about our fall semester circle time. Over the course of last year, I heard a blog post or a podcast about looping your subjects thanks to Sarah Mackenzie and Pam Barnhill. One of the things that I consistently would struggle with in our years of school is getting behind in one or another subject because I scheduled them by day. For example, history on Monday and Wednesday, science on Wednesday and Fridays. I would find myself stuck because I would tend to schedule doctor or orthodontist appointments on the same day whenever they would come up and that would put us behind in that subject (and it was usually on science day). I decided that looking our schedule couldn't hurt - any improvement was better than none.
It's been such a good choice for our schooling this year! I have two main loops that we do every day that we are home. (We average three, sometimes four, good mornings a week at home). We have two loops as part of our morning read-alouds. Our schedule generally looks like:
- Catherine Vos' Children's Story Bible - daily
- A chapter book, looped:
- Burgess' Book of Animal Stories
- Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare by E. Nesbit
- Pages of History from Veritas Press
- History or Science, looped:
That's a lot of reading that I'm getting through, but when it comes down to it, I'm reading only three things each morning. So much more doable and we are making significant progress in each book! Not as much as we do in our after-lunch read-aloud when we plug steadily along with one book until it's done, but I'm finding that rotating through each book about every three days is just enough time for the books to stay fresh and the kids not remember where we left off the last time.
Anyway, if you have heard of looping (or not), it's worked really well for us and I'd recommend it if you find yourselves falling behind in one subject. Science has always been my nemesis but as of December 3, we've now finished our fourth chapter in our mammals book and I like that feeling.