Monday, October 18, 2010

morning circle

We've added something new this year to start our day of homeschooling. You might call it circle time or morning poetry and song time. It's a time to come together after breakfast and morning chores to be together- usually seated on the living room floor- to have a group activity to start our day off. It has been so enjoyable to start our school time this way and really brings a lot of joy into our home as we start our day of schooling.

I have typically been starting off with asking Nicolas what day it is by reading our blackboard in the kitchen upon which I have written something like this:

Today is
October 18,

along with a seasonal picture drawn in chalk (this month I've drawn a tree with it's branches spreading across the board and it's leaves falling).

It has really helped him in getting a sense of the days of the week and the flow of the days in each month (and eventually the months of the year). These are all things that he has abstractly learned over the last year or two but this morning ritual is really bringing meaning to the unfolding of the calendar year for him.

We then read two poems- one with a seasonal theme and one other that I choose based on whatever strikes me as lively. Over the last few weeks, I have chosen poems that speak to the changing of the seasons from summer to fall for our first poem and other poems that are action verses, tongue twisters or relate to fables or animals for our second poem.

I am loving A Journey Through Time in Verse and Rhyme and have been using it for the last six weeks to choose our morning poetry. Since we are reading the same two poems each day for five days in a row it has been easy to commit a lot of the poems to memory just from hearing them repetitively. There is something magical about watching your children repeat a poem with you and feel excited as they sense what words are coming next in our morning poems.

A few of my favorites have been Working by Molly De Havas, Autumn Poem by Emily Bronte and Class One Song by Trevor Smith Westgarth.

Molly De Havas

The Farmer is sowing his seed,
in the field he is sowing his seed.
The Reaper is cutting the hay,
in the meadow he is cutting the hay.
The Gardener is digging the ground,
in the garden is digging the ground.
The Woodman is chopping the trees,
in the forest is chopping the trees.
The Fisher is drawing his nets,
in the sea he is drawing his nets.
The Builder is laying the bricks,
in the wall he is laying the bricks.
The Cobbler is mending the shoes,
in the shop he is mending the shoes.
The Miller is grinding the corn,
in the mill he is grinding the corn.
The Baker is kneading the dough,
in the kitchen he is kneading the dough.
The Mother is rocking her child,
in her arms she is rocking her child.

Autumn Poem
Emily Bronte
Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.

I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night's decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

Each week I choose a song that we can all sing too. I have chosen songs of praise, songs that we can clap, stomp or bring our own names into and this week, songs that we can sing in the round. I have to say that I am thoroughly impressed with my nine year old's ability to hold her own part in round singing and it has been so great to sing with my children each day. She has practiced it before in her chorus classes and a drama class but it only seems that just now she is getting the concept of holding her tune against another and has the concentration to keep her part with perfect time and rhythm.

There is something very natural to have this time together before starting up with more our more academic lessons and is something I would certainly encourage you to try if you struggling with diving right in to those 'tough lessons' first thing in the morning!

1 comment:

Jessica Torrant said...

Your morning ritual sounds lovely! It's wonderful to think that someday, years from now, your child may come upon a poem and it will bring them back to this time in their childhood and all of the memories that come with it. I am also not surprised how well Sophia is catching onto music. She is a natural performer! Broadway, here she comes! Keep up the great work and ps I love the new "autumn look" for the blog.