Saturday, 19 July 2008

Circle Time plan for S2

I have organised my home-made Circle Time "curriculum" into four terms, but they don't go with the school terms except in a very rough way. From Christmas to Easter we study stories from the gospels; from Easter to mid-year we study stories from Acts (and in later years we will incorporate the letters and Revelation). Then the second half of the year is broken in two sections studying the stories from Genesis to Joshua and then from Judges to the Exile (including a few lessons on specific psalms and proverbs where they fit chronologically).

While we were on holidays, Jeff helped me to plan out our topics for these last two "terms" of Circle Time. In the following list, each line refers to a week's worth of lessons (4). It will take us up to the weeks of Advent when we'll begin reading the pre-Christmas stories again.

God's chosen people
Creation, Adam & Eve
Noah & the flood, Babel
Abraham & Sarah
Judah & Joseph
Moses & Aaron - Exodus from Egypt
Moses & Joshua - Wandering in the Desert
Joshua & Caleb - Into the Promised Land

God's promised land
Judges, Ruth
King Saul
King David
Psalms 1, 3, 8, 51
King Solomon
selections from Proverbs
Elijah & King Ahab, King Hezekiah & Isaiah, King Josiah, King Jehoahaz
Daniel, Lamentations, Esther - Exile!
Ezra, Nehemiah - The Return

Memory verses will be taken from these texts as we go along. For example, as the kids already know Gen 1:1, their first memory verse will be Gen 1:27. I also like to add in a few non-verse memory tasks through the year. Last semester the kids learnt the Lord's Prayer (in the version we say at our church). This semester, I'll be teaching them the Apostle's Creed. They love joining in with the congregation in the parts of the liturgy which are familiar.

I'm not sure yet which church songs we'll be learning, but we are loving singing Amazing Grace together at the moment, and occasionally we'll sing kids songs which relate to the stories we're reading.


mom24 said...

Sounds like a great plan! I am sorely lacking in this area and not sure where to head. I don't have the time to develop my own plan so we need to purchase something. J will have his own time in the Word to start the day. Dh does "Bible time" at lunchtime - the kids love it. But I don't have a memory verse plan yet and the haphazard approach we had last year did't provide enough consistecy. Oy!

I am impressed with how well you have planned your Circle Time!

Sharon said...

Thanks for the compliment Andrea. I use the Simply Charlotte Mason Scripture Memory System. It costs a little bit to start up (well, just the cost of file cards to write the verses on and a card holder) but it is very very simple to apply and it has made things much easier for us to keep track of our verses. You can read about it here: /timesavers/memorysys/.

Last year, when we were not reading chronologically through the Bible as a family, I selected a list of verses to memorise based on the theological categories of Revelation, God, Creation & Humanity, Sin, the Person and Work of Jesus Christ (Lord and Saviour), Salvation, the Church and Last Things (Eschatology). This did take some planning and I will be going back to this plan when the kids are in the connection and relationship-finding stage of Logic level learning. (A similar plan would be to study the Westminster Shorter Catechism Q&A and learn their supporting verses as you go through.)

Right now I use a much more haphazard selection technique, however this time our verses are learned in context and the children's memory and understanding is improved as a result. Basically, as we read through the Bible stories together, I take note of verses that seem to stand out to me for what they say about one of the above areas of theological thought. I write it down on one of the cards. Then, when we have thoroughly learnt our present verse, we begin on the latest verse card I have written. If we have been learning slowly and there are several verses we have missed out on, I just put the cards at the back of the holder for another year. We'll get to them eventually - or we won't, because God has something different in mind for us. That's okay!

As to Circle Time, my "curriculum" consists of my Bible, a few story Bibles and several black line master books of Bible colouring pictures. I photocopy a week's worth of pictures at a time, hand one to the kids each day along with their crayons and pencils, and they colour while Jeff reads the related story. Jeff might ask a question or two after the story to help the kids think a bit. I'll read their relevant memory verses three times (they join in when they can) and I usually think up a song to sing (related to the story) on the spot, if we're not working on learning a song from church. Then Jeff prays a simple prayer mentioning an application from the story, or we all pray the Lord's Prayer together. Simple!

Honestly, anybody with access to a Bible can do this themselves without a shop-bought curriculum. I really encourage you to give it a try, because the best lesson from all this the kids will learn is to read their Bibles themselves and think about it, just like Dad and Mum do. it would be very sad if our kids grew up thinking "reading the Bible is too hard for me to do for myself". That's one of the ideas the reformation was fighting against.