So we try to focus on what they can do and who they are apart from what report cards show. Because really, report cards don't really tell you much about a child. If you've read chapter twelve of the book below, you know what I'm talking about. I'm thinking we might read this book in our evening circle time.
(And by the way, I did ask them to consider redoing the book cover because I think having a lone causcasian boy on the cover keeps many people from choosing it)
Circle time was added to our routine in December after I read the book below about how you can have an influence on others around you including your kids.
It's a good book to read. And it prompted circle time at our house. Everyone comes to circle time no matter what kind of day it has been. Two days a week there is no circle time due to schedules and sometimes we only meet for a few minutes because life is crazy. But if we do have circle time, everyone comes. During circle time only positive things can be said. We don't deal with any issues or behaviors. No one can criticize or be rude to another person.
The part of the book that made me start circle time was a story about a father who started a reading time with his daughter after they'd lost other family members and it was only the two of them left. They read at least one chapter of a book every day. They were only going to do it for a set number of days, but ended up continuing it clear until the daughter left for college. They started with The Wizard of Oz. We have a couple different sets of classics so I thought "Certainly we can read a chapter of a book every night." We have done this off and on in the past reading books like The Giver, The Forgotten Door, Number the Stars, Call it Courage and so on.
I chose Heidi to begin with. I thought we could read it and then watch one of the movies based on it. The book I'm reading is from 1924 so the wording is old fashioned. Fun to listen to, but a bit frustrating at times. I find it interesting that a secular classic talks several times about praying to God and asking him for what you want. Then understanding that if it doesn't happen, it's because he has a different plan or he plans to give you what you ask for but at another time. Clara's grandmother tells Heidi this several times. Then later Heidi talks to her grandfather about God and prayer.
Anyway, so we started reading Heidi. And I had everyone start a journal. Since it was near the end of the year, I asked everyone to write down their favorite things from 2014. The next day I asked them to write a wish list for 2015 (I plan to help as many of those happen as are realistic and possible), and then a couple of days later I asked them to write actual goals for 2015. We also watch for interesting or inspiring quotes and share them in circle time and write down the ones we like best. So the journals have a lot of different stuff in them, including notes from the DVD series shown below.
There is no penalty for not writing things down and there is no criticism so that everyone can be vulnerable with their feelings and goals. There are small daily rewards and other rewards like rubber band wrist bands with verses on them for continued good effort (not necessarily results).
We added in watching a DVD series that gives a lot of Bible background, but we can only watch it on the days there are no evening activities. I really recommend this to families who are interested in Bible study. It will give you a better understanding of Bible times and places.
And we've started a character trait of the month. January's trait is Respect. Tonight we went to YouTube for some songs and raps about respect and the three decided to learn a couple of them and perform them on video for me in the next few weeks. It's good to see them excited about working together on this. There is some frustration because one child can act well below age level and annoy the other two. Said child is going in for ADHD testing next week because it has affected school behavior--not being able to stay on task and in the seat long enough to complete a simple assignment or lesson--to the point where repeating a grade has become a real possibility.
So circle time varies every day by what we have time to do and which things we choose to do--read Heidi, talk about goals, talk about respect, and watch the DVD series. Not everything happens everyday. We also need to finish Just for Me: My Family that we started clear back in the summer. We just need to do the last chapter and I think we are going to do the pinata for Valentine's Day. Since each chapter talks about an animal family I promised them a trip to the zoo when we finish the book. That will happen after we do the pinata.
If you have children 5-8, check out the family oriented activities in this book. You can order it HERE.
When we were starting circle time, we were talking a lot about being the light to others and that somewhat became our theme for 2015.
Be the Light.