With the opening of Hawthorn Hill Academy being delayed until next year, I have chosen to homeschool my boys this year. I have decided to provide for them everything that they would have gotten from me if Hawthorn Hill opened as planned this fall. Basically, that means lots of free play, and outside time and a predictable, rhythmically day-to-day and week-to-week life. I thought I'd share my early fall "circle time" with you in case anyone else would like to use it with their kiddos. I have used Betty Jones' A Child's Seasonal Treasury, Education Edition as a guideline for me, with my own little favourites thrown in.
Good Morning Dear Earth
Good morning dear earth, good morning dear sun
Good morning dear stones, and flowers everyone
Good morning dear beasts, good morning dear trees
Good morning to you and good morning to me.
My Nice Red Rosy Apple
My nice red rosy apple
Has a secret hid unseen
You'd see if you could slip inside
Five rooms so neat and clean.
In each room there are living
Two pips so black and bright.
Asleep they are a-dreaming
Of lovely warm sunlight.
And sometimes they are dreaming
Of many things to be.
How soon they will be hanging
Upon the Christmas Tree.
Apple Secrets - Betty Jones
Who would think an apple
Red, gold, or green and round
Would have a secret deep inside
When cut it can be found!
I thought this secret only shone
In deep and darkest night
But when I cut my apple
It shines with five points bright!
And now you know the secret
Where shining stars are found
In every crunchy apple
Red, gold, or green and round.
(Cut apples perpendicular to the stem to find the "star" inside, then quarter and give pieces to children to enjoy.
While they eat their apple pieces tell the story of the Apple Elf.
Star Secrets - Margaret Meyerkort
Twinkle, twinkle, little star
How I wonder what you are?
Art a gateway in the sky?
Art a little angel's eye?
Shine your starry light to earth,
Bring a thousand stars to birth.
Stars in seed pod, apple, pear,
Stars in flowers everywhere.
So you guide me near and far,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.
The Skipping Song (Sung to the tune of 10 Little Indians)
Hop on one foot and then the other (x3)
That is how we hop together.
Step and hop and step and hop now (x3)
Soon we will be skipping.
Skip and skip around the circle (x3)
That is how we skip together.
Little Golden Leaves
Little golden leaves, dancing in the trees
Dancing in the trees, oh dancing in the trees
Little golden leaves, dancing in the trees
Down the wind blows them just for me.
Old English Apple Picking
Here stands a good apple tree; Stand straight
Stand fast at root, bear well at top, Hands point to floor, rise above head
Every little twig, bear an apple big, Wiggle fingers of each hand
Every little bough, bear an apple now. Make fists
Hats full! Caps full! Threescore sacks full! Tap head with fists twice; clap three times
Hullo, boys, hullo! Sling imaginary pack on back and trudge around circle
Way Up High
Way up high in the apple tree . Hands up above head like a tree
Two little apples smiled at me Two fists
I shook that tree as hard as a could . Shake fists
and down came the apples . Move fists down
Mmmm, they were good. Rub belly
Autumn leaves are falling down Flutter fingers downward
Orange, yellow, red & brown Continue fluttering downward
If you listen, you'll hear them say Cup hands at ear
Wintertime is on its way Whispering, holding finger to mouth "shhhh"
Yellow the Bracken - Florence Hoatson
Yellow the bracken, Golden the sheaves.
Rosy the apples, Crimson the leaves.
Mist on the hillsides, clouds grey and white.
Autumn good morning. Summer good night.
Today was Luke's first day of school and he was quite anxious about it. I could tell he was worried and so I tried to just go with the flow. In my mind I wanted to do our circle time in the morning, but he wasn't emotionally ready then. Instead I did some laundry and housework that needed tending too, and the boys coloured/drew pictures. Then they moved on to playing with blocks so I enjoyed some knitting with them. I kept waiting for some big out breath of vibrant action from them, but after a busy weekend both of the boys were quite tired. They started to spat a little with each other so I changed the energy of things by going to play the piano. Luke has mentioned a few times that he wants me to teach him how to play, and today he asked again and I decided to test it out a bit. He was really attentive and picked things up quickly. He was so excited and proud, and needed to release that joy outside in play. So, finally, a release of energy.
Finally, by early afternoon, after he had some quiet time, Luke came to me and said, "Mommy, I think I'm ready to do my school stuff now." So, I seized the opportunity and went with it. He was SO excited and happy about it by the time we got to the Apple Secrets verse. For him, it was a great balance of quiet, listening, and active movement, and he loves songs so that worked for us too.
I couldn't have asked for a better "first day of school" for him if I tried. Being able to adjust my plans to his needs and support him in his whole being -- academic, physical and emotional-- made me so inspired and motivated in this year's homeschooling journey.
So, please give your own September Circle time a try, and let me know if any of my suggestions worked for you and your little one(s)! Happy homeschooling!