Because my daughter was in a classroom setting for preschool, she learned this daily routine as “circle time.” I’ve kept the name despite the fact that, as it is usually just the two of us, we hardly qualify as a circle.

The specifics of circle time change each month, so I’m going to try to post a monthly update.

composer of the month

This month our composer is Ottorino Respighi. I was obsessed with Ancient Airs and Dances, Suite No. 2, Movement IV as a kid, and I figured she might like it too. (I believe there exists footage of me “conducting” said piece. I was 12. It was not cute. I would pay to have it destroyed.) While we listen to our composer, I might fix her hair for the day or look over my planner. I try to keep it under five minutes.

Calendar time

My beloved $7.99 Aldi planner (this is the third year I’ve used one, which has got to be some sort of personal record) comes with a few pages of calendar stickers. She picks one an appropriate one for the day (today it was “Don’t forget” because we have a grocery order to pick up), places it on the day’s square and says the day and date. “Today is Monday, August 8th, 2022.”

I also use this time to record the previous day’s events in our 10 Year Journal.

Psalm of the month

If you need to be convinced, listen to our friend Brian Moats.

We picked Psalm 2 because she was already familiar with it from music camp. We’re chanting because we’re weird/cool like that.


We review our current prayer requests, and she picks a few that she wants to pray for, usually including one about more playdates with her friend.

I start with this prayer from the BCP.

Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us in safety to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

hymn of the month

It would be reasonable to pick a hymn we often sing at church so she’ll be able to participate more fully in worship, but alas, I am often unreasonable. My thought process is that she’ll pick up those hymns just by singing them Sunday after Sunday. This is a chance to teach her those hymns we never sing. When she’s old enough to watch her mother’s beloved The Night of the Hunter, she’s gotta recognize Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.

This month, we’re singing “To God Be the Glory” by Fanny Crosby. We often sing the hymn of the month at family worship and/or bedtime. Little Brother gets in on the fun too. If you’re anything like me, a crying baby makes you forget literally every song or lullaby you’ve ever known. Hymn of the month to the rescue.

Poet of the month

We own this collection of poetry by Edna St. Vincent Millay, so I started there, perhaps unwisely. Millay’s rhythm is appealing, but the subject matter is probably not appropriate for a five year old. Oh well. Luckily, she tends to gravitate toward the least problematic ones. The other night, we had candles at dinner and she recited “First Fig.”

Anyway, I read three a day, adding a new one each day and dropping the oldest. We often read the new one twice, because does anyone understand a poem the first time through?

Folk song of the month

We love Elizabeth Mitchell.

Fairy tale / nursery rhyme

I found a copy of The Riverside Anthology of Children’s Literature at a Goodwill Outlet. It’s beautiful, but it’s also massive. I read her a few pages each day.

Scripture Memory

Nothing complicated here. We say our verse. Pretty soon, I need to work on a system to review previous months’ verses.

This month it’s Psalm 119:30. “I have chosen the way of truth; your judgments I have laid before me.”

wisdom and the millers

I grew up with these books and am mostly reading them for nostalgia’s sake. I need to start pre-reading them though, because our values do not always line up with the Millers. When we’ve read all the Miller books we have, we might add in some other kind of virtue/character training. I’m open to suggestions.

Bible Story

We’re still working our way through a children’s storybook Bible. When possible, we act it out with props and my pipe-cleaner figures that I should probably trademark and make millions off of. I also try to have her re-tell the story to C at some point during the day to help solidify it in her brain.

If I can only do one thing with her a day, it’s usually circle time. We don’t worry too much about kindergarten academics in this household.

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