As promised, I am sharing what we are doing in our family to gather everyone up and start our homeschooling adventure for the day. I have a wide variety of ages – age 2, age 6 and a half, age 10 – just to make it all interesting!
I usually ring a prayer bowl to start our day. When the children hear that, they generally come running (or they hide and I have to find them, LOL). I used to start gathering everyone by singing the song “Come, Follow Me” (you can find this song and many others on Lorraine Wolf’s CD of the same name; http://www.amazon.com/Come-Follow-Me-Vol-1/dp/B0009298U2/ref=ntt_mus_ep_dpi_1 ) and then we would sing “Buenos Dias” to a familiar tune, but now that both of my older girls are in the grades, I changed it (although sometimes I still sing it all to our toddler!) Rule Number One: Be flexible!
So, now we say the Collect of the day from The Book of Common Prayer and then we say this prayer, also found in The Book of Common Prayer for “Vocation In Daily Work”:
ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, who declarest thy glory and showest forth thy handiwork in the heavens and in the earth: Deliver us, we beseech thee, in our several occupations from the service of self alone, that we may do the work which thou givest us to do, in truth and beauty and for the common good; for the sake of Him who came among us as one that serveth, thy Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Then each person stands up very tall and says their special verse with hand gestures; my oldest is saying the verse from St. Patrick found in Donna Simmons’ book “Joyful Movement”, (http://www.christopherushomeschool.com/Joyful-Movement-p/chr0004.htm) my first grade child is saying “Straight as a spear I stand/Strength fills my legs and arms/Warmth fills my heart with love” and we say this little verse for the toddler of the family: “I have two little eyes to look to God/I have two ears to hear His Word/ I have two little feet to walk in His Ways/I have two little lips to sing His Praise/ I have two little hands to do His Will and one little heart to love Him still.”
Then we usually have a poem we are reciting – a different one for each older child depending upon what they are studying in school or the season. Last month my first grader learned the poem “Mice” by Rose Fyleman., which tied into using Brambly Hedge for Form Drawing, and my fourth grader learned “Hiawatha’s Departure” from the “Song of Hiawatha” by Longfellow. This month, my first grader will be learning “Black and Gold” by Nancy Byrd Turner and my fourth grader will be learning “Maps” by Dorothy Brown Thompson. Working with the Word is very important in Waldorf Education; eurythmy and poetry recitation are important manifestations of this work.
Then we usually do a movement exercise from the blocks listed by grade on the website www.movementforchildhood.com; here is the link for the movement blocks: http://www.movementforchildhood.com/classroom.pdf . Some of the recommended exercises are further fleshed out using the book “Take Time: Movement Exercises to aid concentration, co-ordination, confidence and control” by Mary Nash-Wortham and Jean Hunt and the book “The Extra Lesson”.
We usually finish with song; this month we will be moving into songs for All Saint’s Day and our upcoming Martinmas celebration. We will also be singing “When Mary Goes Walking” – found in both the Autumn Wynstones and “A Child’s Seasonal Treasury”. Jodie Mesler also has some wonderful Autumn songs in her “Waldorf Autumn Festival Songs” – here is the link to that: http://homemusicmaking.blogspot.com/2010/10/pumpkin-pie-song.html I use a pennywhistle, pentatonic flute, diatonic flute and a regular C flute in our time together. As time goes on, I expect the older children will be bringing their guitar and keyboard to our time as well.
Three days a week or so we have a little time focused on our toddler and we all sing and do verses for him. This month we will be focused on Halloween; I plan to use the sweet little Halloween Circle found in “Dancing As We Sing: Seasonal Circle Plays and Traditional Singing Games” and include the suggested jack-o-lantern song from “Let Us Form A Ring”, along with the well-known finger game “Five Little Pumpkins”.
At this point our circle is completed and we typically head into Main Lesson Work. I usually include mental math, riddles and tongue twisters during Main Lesson time. As you can see, I keep my time relatively short as we have other things to do, but gathering together is still an important way to begin each school day.
If anyone is sharing their October Circle Time on their blogs, please do leave a link below!