I was inspired today by Brandy and her post at Afterthoughts to record the details of our Circle Time/Group Time/Morning Basket…whatever in the world you want to call it.  With the exception of music (piano/recorder) practice and personal Bible reading (both of which the girls are free to work on as soon as they are finished their get ready routine and chores), I am attempting to begin our school days with our “together” work this term.  I used to think it was better for them to get straight to work on their math and English lessons while their minds were fresh first thing in the morning; but then they would finish their independent work at different times and our group subjects would suffer for it, getting tacked on to the end of a long morning.  I am finding it is much better for everyone, especially the very littlest ones, if we start off our school day together.  Group subjects just lend themselves more easily to snuggles on the couch and sort of ease us into our work.  So, because our circle time looks a bit different each day, here is a peek at our Monday-Friday schedule for together learning…  


  • Memory Work (scripture: John 1:1-12)
  • French (trying out the series approach with materials from Cherrydale Press)
  • Singing (alternates weekly between singing our hymns or folksongs for the term…this term’s hymns are Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart and Take My Life and Let It Be/this term’s folksongs are A La Claire Fontaine and In An English Country Garden)
  • History (read and narrate from The Story of the World Volume 2 – The Middle Ages)


  • Memory Work (poem: Wishing by Ella Wheeler Wilcox)
  • Artist/Composer Study (alternates weekly…this term’s artist – Vincent Van Gogh/this term’s music – enjoying Gregorian Chant in keeping with our study of the Middle Ages)
  • Geography (read a chapter from Seabird by H. C. Holling and a lesson or two from Charlotte Mason’s Elementary Geography)


  • Memory Work (scripture: John 1:1-12)
  • French
  • Shakespeare (reading the story of Othello this term from Leon Garfield’s Shakespeare Stories…will also watch the BBC Shakespeare: The Animated Tales Othello episode when we finish reading the story)
  • History (continue to read and narrate the week’s chapter from The Story of the World)


  • Memory Work (On Thursdays we review something from our memory work from a previous term to keep those things from fading completely from our memories.)
  • Biography/History Tales (still working our way through The Little Duke by Charlotte Mary Yonge)
  • Art Project/Drawing Drill (Last year I was much better at doing an actual art lesson with the kids.  We learned about the seven elements of art.  This year we’ve tried a few more involved projects, but I mostly keep falling back on these drawing drills from Donna Young.  The kids love them.  After we complete them we have fun trying to visualize what we can turn those abstract drawings into.  It’s kind of like cloud gazing.)


  • French
  • History (We go through the discussion questions for that week’s chapter and review what we read about earlier in the week.  Then we do the accompanying map work and pin up any figures we have for our timeline.)
  • Nature Study/Handicrafts (Fridays are a bit lighter with fewer subjects to cover so we have a little longer for Group Time.  We alternate between Nature Study and Handicrafts each week.  This term our nature topic is “Brook, River, Ocean”.  For handicrafts I think we will pick up knitting again.  I taught the girls some basics last winter, and they would like to learn to knit a dishcloth.  We’ll see how it goes.  Winter does seem like the perfect time to choose a knit handicraft for some reason.)

You might be wondering why prayer and Bible reading are absent from our Circle Time.  That’s because we have a family devotional time with Daddy at the breakfast table before he takes off for work.  I’m thankful PJ takes the lead on that.  There are also a couple of books that are semi-Circle Time material.  On Wednesdays the two oldest girls read a chapter from The Burgess Animal Book together and put pictures of that week’s animals into a photo album.  On Thursdays they read a chapter from An Island Story together and narrate to me afterwards.  This frees me up on those two days to have an extra few minutes of one on one time with Belle for kindergarten stuff.  Handing over those two readings completely to the girls has been a big step for me.  I really want to foster their independence, but part of me feels like they won’t get as much out of it if I’m not going through it with them.  I know it’s a big, fat lie.  I just need to hop out of the way more often and let them learn for themselves from the source.  Perhaps it’s really just me that is missing out.  I need to get better at pre-reading (or even post-reading for that matter). 

Do you have Circle Time?  How do you fit those CM “feast subjects” into your weekly schedule?  

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