Setting up homeschool is no easy feat, especially when you live in Chicago in a house as small as some New York City apartments. I see some homeschooling families that have entire rooms dedicated to “school”. I have for years, joked that my house is a “dollhouse”. So, this is proof that you can learn and get creative no matter your obstacles!
My boys’ room, since they’ve entered this world, has been a mini-classroom. Creating meaningful and interactive spaces is always a work in progress as all thriving learning spaces are! My sons and I are building a learning space together, but our whole home and our city, really is our “classroom”. There’s more math at the grocery store than you can find in most textbooks.
We are eclectic homeschoolers. Somethings I do “formal” like school, and other areas are more loose and unschooled. Calendar is one of our more formal times. Our morning meeting takes about 15 minutes and covers a lot of basics in a short span of time. Plus, it’s loaded with fun, songs, and movement.
I’ve been doing a calendar routine with my kids since they were both toddling around. Now that my youngest son is 5, we made the space more formal and even more interactive. Everything you see is velcroed and at kid-height, so it can be moved and explored.
Our calendar is made from a painter’s canvas covered in scrapbook paper. I made the template and the calendar cards (coming soon to our shops). I would like an intern, assistant, or maybe a gnome for laundry and dishes. Who wouldn’t, right? I digress. Everything you see here is laminated and velcroed on, so it can be taken down and explored as needed.
Our clock is from Target. I chose it because I wanted a “real” clock not only a practice Judy clock. I do love Judy clocks, but I also want my sons exposed to a real clock at their eye level. Managing time is all about life skills! Clocks, in addition to telling time, are a great way to count by 5s and skip count. Of course, we used velcro with our clock minute labels, so my “touch and feel” everything children get their learning styles met. You can find our clock numbers here.
The wreath below is our “months of the year” chart. You can make your own months’ wreath with a grapevine wreath, hot glue, and our fun month printables here. I take this wreath off the wall and we sing our month song. Then, of course, we make it interactive by clipping it with the “last month, this month, and next month will be arrows”. How cheesy I get during this routine is contingent on the amount of coffee consumed prior to morning meeting. I’ve noticed this level of caffeine in me also affects my son’s engagement.
Coffee is recommended for all teachers and homeschoolers.
Our temperature and weather charts are interactive. Everything is laminated, otherwise I probably would go through $1,000 a month in color ink. I believe calendar is a #colorinkworthy area in ALL classrooms and homeschools. We use clothespins and dry erase markers to make the space interactive. We also sing our temperature and weather songs each day, graph the weather, and record the temperature. After this work, we typically collapse on our sensory-friendly bean bag for poems and stories. This homeschool is a happy and fun place.
You can grab our temperature pack here and our weather pack here. I think beginning in October, when my son improves at writing his numbers without whining or protest, we may also keep track of the daily temperatures on a blank calendar. I have high hopes.
Our days of the week labels are pint-sized, I did make them in much larger sizes for those of you with ample space, because they are interactive. Notice the theme here: interactive. This is not a laminate and stare type of calendar.
The clips are simply clothespins covered in washi duct tape with our labels attached. Simple. Took all of two minutes. I’m a crafty, artsy girl at heart, but I am also privy that most people don’t have the time. We sing the days of the week song to the tune of the Addams’ Family theme song, which is a standard in most early elementary classrooms. Lately, I’ve started writing a few new ones to keep things fresh. Stay tuned for that!
Our calendar routine takes about 15 minutes total. Here’s the nutshell run-down of what we do:
1.) Cover the month, date, day, and year. Predict the pattern on the calendar cards. Sing the months, days, and seasons songs. Clip and write “yesterday, today, and tomorrow”. This also involves dancing! Or as my son says, “It’s time to shake our booties.”
2.) Weather and temperature. Cue with more singing. Voice coach not included but in my case recommended.
3.) Count with the clock.
4.) Poems. Usually up to five. This helps with fluency in a playful way. My son is already reading two grade levels above, hence why we are homeschooling.
5.) Sometimes we You Tube a few songs that coincide with our weekly plans. Sometime we don’t. Sometimes he is crying and we go for a long walk with our school mascot, Doodle, the Boston Terrier. Last week it was all vowel songs. My son loves You Tube, but fresh air is key for little boys!
As we introduce new skills, we will add in a number of the day wall, etc. We just finished introducing math centers to independence, so I will share our math system and wall very soon!
Stay tuned for more of our learning spaces in the months ahead. Hope some of these ideas inspire some new additions to your classrooms and homeschools!
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Happy School Year!
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