I really appreciate the idea of doing calendar and circle time within a normal classroom setting. It’s a great way to settle the kids, help them to focus on routine, and to discuss any changes to the daily schedule or pressing issuing that need to be addressed in a group setting.
However, as a homeschooling mama to ONE child, it’s a little more difficult. I’ve admired the cute public school boards, and even envied the calendar boards used by other homeschooling blogger mamas. I “built” what I thought would be an amazing calendar board, and after a month, my son was DONE with it. Here’s what it looked like the last time we attempted to use it… (oh, how pathetic it looks!)
This year, I STILL want to do calendar time, and even include for him an opportunity to sing traditional “circle time” songs that I’ve discovered he’s never heard. BUT, I wanted it to be more independent of me “leading” the circle time, yet at the same time, to be interactive similar to a group setting.
Our solution: youtube playlists combined with calendar notebooks! (How we used a calendar notebook with this playlist will be my next post!)
Today was day #7 for our current school year, and so far, he LOVES the calendar time! He sings the songs everywhere he goes, and it has drastically helped him to gain several sets of “new information” in an appealing way… AND, in attempting to stay true to the Montessori method, he even has the (semi)freedom to choose which songs he wants to hear!
WHAT I DID:
I created a free account on youtube, which for most people means that they are wanting to add youtube videos to cyberspace, but it also allows you to set up playlists. I set up a “mandatory” playlist called “calendar time”, which he will use this playlist with his calendar notebook, to replace the wall calendar time that I created last year.
Here’s what is on our “calendar time” playlist: (all hyperlinked to their respective youtube videos)
Pledge of Allegiance
Months in a Year
Days of the Week
What’s the weather?
Skipcount by 2’s, 5’s and 10’s (a favorite!)
Vowel bat (another favorite!)
Likewise, he and I have set up 3 additional playlists that he can choose from, to be played after the calendar time playlist. These are “circle time” songs that he sings. Each of these playlists contain 5 songs that he and I have pretty much agreed upon. He has the freedom to choose which of these 3 sets of playlists that he would like to sing along with.
Examples of songs that we’ve included:
- classic early childhood songs (ABCs, “Twinkle, twinkle”, “Wheels on the Bus”)
- nursery rhyme songs (“There was an old lady who swallowed a fly”)
- Bible verses, books of the bible, etc set to music
- yoga moves
- jokes (Aikman wanted to add some humor into the playlist, to which I obliged… his current favorite is this sugarpot version of “I’m a little teacup”.)
When we initially set up the playlists, we sat and watched several sets of educational youtube videos. He then chose which songs to put into each list, AND he even rearranged the order the songs within the playlist, so that it is exactly the way he wanted it.
Here are our favorite youtube channels that have GREAT sets of songs to choose for your playlists: (scroll through the list on the right hand side of the page to see the videos)
HarryKindergarten -- BY FAR our favorite channel to select from!
SuperSimpleSongs -- made by a teacher for ESL children; Aikman LOVES any of them that has that goofy guy with the puppets – the same guy who is in the Days of the Week video mentioned above!
Cullen'sABCs -- she’s a preschool teacher, whom Aikman has adored for nearly 2 years!
Seeds Family Worship – Bible verses set to music
Does anyone else use a creative way of doing calendar or circle time with their kids?