Our 2017 Whatchamacallit looks remarkably like Whatchamacallit did at the end of 2016. The end of 2016, we made a few small changes from the beginning of 2016, including the name. A year ago we called our Morning Time ‘Circle Time.’ As I began working with moms who call it a variety of things, I decided to call it Whatchamacallit – which is kind of perfect if you think about it. It’s a catch-all name for a catch-all time of our school day.
And it seems like we do catch a little bit of almost everything during Whatchamacallit. As I said in my Circle Time (Beta) post a year ago, we’ve worked our way to this outline over the course of years. I hope to give you some ideas of things you can do, not things that I think you ought to do.
Below is our current outline. You can see our general “Three Big Blocks” as Pam Barnhill calls them. Each of our blocks are approximately 30 minutes. The middle block is always a little longer, but I either drop items or we fudge our time a little. It just kind of works on any given day.
You can also see our loops – whether review loops or new content loops. We tend to do Whatchamacallit four days a week, with a fourth day changing up and doing somethin a little different – whether that’s Mad Libs or Friday Free Write or Ecce Romani.
We start with the greeting (almost) that my friend Kortney taught us when she was on Homeschool Snapshots this fall. I changed the wording a little. I say the first part, the children respond with the rest. That has been a good reminder for all of us.
Our first block is a Worship Block. We sing our opening praise, read scriptures, sing a hymn, review Bible and catechism. I received The Ology for Christmas and we’re adding a page of that aloud. Then we close the first block with a review hymn.
Our second block is the Academic Block. We loop through several different books – Laying Down the Rails, Handbook of Nature Study (supplemented by Nature Anatomy, another Christmas gift), the first My Book House (we have the rainbow set) book, and the Childcraft Mathemagic book. I read a little, the kids narrate a little, and we move on. Then we read a new poem, right now from John Greenleaf Whittier, talk about it as needed, then work on our current poem and one previous poem.
We alternate weeks between Grammar and Writing for three days each. We generally finish one grammar lesson a week and one Writing and Rhetoric lesson every two weeks. I’m not in a hurry. Grammar includes diagramming a sentence together and one individually. You’ll see on this list that Studied Dictation is included. Hope springs eternal that we’ll return to this practice, but in truth, it has been a while.
We also throw two twenty sided dice and spend a few minutes finding the product of them 10 times or so. The end of our Academic Block is reviewing Latin vocabulary (that link is for Latin for Children A, we’re about to start B! Hooray!). I’m not sure why Ecce Romani is bolded in that picture.
The last block is the Beauty Block. During this part of the day we loop through our resources. Right now we’re laying the groundwork to begin Henry V in Shakespeare; are continuing to use Art for Kids: Drawing; our composer for the term is from AmblesideOnline – Dittersdorf; our Artist is Giotto; we’ll work on ‘The Fish of the Sea’ as our folksong; and we’ve been working for a year on counted cross stitch. We’ll keep on keeping on – a little adds up and goes a long day.
We finish with a fun readaloud. Some days I read while the children draw or stitch. Some days our Beauty Loop is short and I can read for a long time. Shakespeare days we may only read a paragraph from our novel – but I try very hard to close every morning time with reading. We started The Chestry Oak by Kate Seredy yesterday and I already have high hopes.
I suppose I could call our blocks Goodness, Truth, and Beauty – but maybe that’s a bit much.
Whatchamacallit (Morning Time, Circle Time, Symposium, Morning Basket …) is for you and your children. It is for filling with what you, the mom, see is important or think would fit well. Don’t feel obligated to put something in it that doesn’t work for your family. This works for mine.