Friday, November 12, 2010

Morning Collection (our version of "circle time")

Quite a number of years ago, I taught history at a Quaker boarding school.  At the beginning and end of the day, the students and staff gathered together for collection--10 minutes of silence together. At the end of that time, students or staff could share something with the community -- music, a poem, etc.  Now as you can imagine, 10 minutes of silence wouldn't really hold for the kids, but I decided to adapt this idea to bring in a bit more routine to our mornings. We'll see how it goes, but the kids responded well this week.
So here's what it entails: for collection we gather in the homeschool room and hold hands and are quiet for about a minute.  Then I share a poem.  We determine the day and date and choose an artist's picture to add to the calendar (which is from Oriental Trading). We also sing one song together (right now we're learning/singing "My Country Tis of Thee").  I'll use this time to bring in things I'd like to work on as a family -- a few minutes about etiquette/manners, religious studies, or family rules.  Perhaps I'll even just read a story that has a moral and talk about that. At the end, one of the kids chooses a game to play together and then off they go.
The book pictured above is called Come Look With Me. It's an interactive art appreciation book for children. It has large pictures and a series of thoughtful questions to discuss with the kids.   (For example, for Starry Night it asks the kids to pretend they have a paintbrush in their hand and show how the artist painted the sky.  It goes on to point out how the town is done with small strokes and the trees are painted in strong, upward motions.)  I'd recommend this book, especially if you can buy it cheaply used or borrow it from your library.


  1. Thank you for the book recommendation! I'm going to see if I can find it!

  2. Wow! What a cool book... guess what I know I'm buying now! Thanks for the recommendation... (it's my turn in keeping up with old blog posts!)