Calendar time or morning meeting is a critical part of the primary classroom or homeschool’s day. Every teacher or homeschooler has a different system that works for them, but I recently overhauled how we ran morning meeting in our homeschool. Sharing the reasoning with you may motivate you to make some subtle changes to improve your kids’ learning!
Before our calendar was a labor of love each month: printing, cutting, and laminating the pieces alone took me a lot of time! My oldest son would also rip days off here and there, and this system wasn’t really working anymore. It made me rethink how we approached this critical time of our day.
In my first and second grade classrooms, I used to build the calendar day by day and have the kids guess the growing pattern. That was standard in our mandated curriculum. Now, looking at the calendar through a different lens with a focus on real life skills, I don’t think this is best practice any longer. No adult calendar leaves days blank or builds a pattern! Adults use calendars to plan ahead. It makes far more sense to have the kids look forward to major events, birthday, and holidays with the entire month at a glance.
Managing time and executive functioning is a HUGE focus in my homeschool, so it is best practice to impart those critical skills to my sons. We have this calendar in our homeschool workspace, but we also have a main calendar on our fridge and a meal plan calendar. When I was in the classroom, I also tacked the monthly lunch calendar to our morning meeting board. To practice patterns, the kids and I now do a “pattern of the day” separately during our math centers. Patterns are important to learn, but should not be the focus during calendar work.
Now, our calendar system is far cleaner and functions more like a daily planner that all adults need to function in the working world! I bought a simple desk calendar from Target and added some labels to make it more kid-friendly and color-coded. Our days of the week labels fit this standard desk calendar perfectly, and add another visual cue for the days of the week. Early on in the year, I actually shaded the colors of the labels to match the day of the week. It really helped the boys learn their days and see the patterns!
My kids now look to the months ahead on our calendar for vacations, upcoming birthdays, and family visits. My 6 year old has better planning skills than some adults I know! I save the old calendars so we can look back on our adventures.
In addition to this system, we also chart the weather, temperature, and sing the songs available in this pack here.
This routine is the anchor in our day. I hope some of these ideas inspire you!
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Hope these ideas inspire you!