Our Homeschool Calendar Time
(and why it’s important)
I absolutely love doing calendar time as part of our homeschooling routine. I utilized it when I was a teacher, and found so many benefits in this jam-packed, yet simple time.
Calendar time is like hitting 50 birds with one stone. Ok, maybe not quite that many, but it is an amazingly rich educational time.
When you teach through a calendar routine, you (sneakily) teach students
- Days of the week
- Months of the year
- Spellings of the months and days of the week
- Letters and sounds
- Upper and lowercase
- Colors and their names
- How to say today’s date
- Yesterday, today, and tomorrow concepts
- Numbers and their order
- Ones, tens, hundreds
- And so many other things if you choose to add them!
Many of these things are state benchmarks or core standards through 2nd grade.
It feels so good knowing you’re hitting so many standards with this super easy and fun time!
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What our calendar looks like
I created my calendar to be dry erase, which is absolutely fantastic since we use it daily. To do this I measured out the different areas I wanted on a poster board, penciled in my design, and went over it with Sharpie. Then I reused a large picture frame (Goodwill, anyone?) to place my calendar poster inside. Tada! Dry erase calendar board!
The large blocked areas include
- Months of the year
- A place to write the date
- Days of the week
- A blank calendar with 5 rows
- An empty spot to write the focus of the week (like letter, shape, color, pattern, etc, depending on the theme)
- A spot to write the memory verse or poem for the week
I use a combo of dry erase markers and Vis-à-vis markers. I use dry erase marker on the board for the things that will change daily (like the day of the week) and I use the Vis-à-vis for the things that need to stay put for the whole week or for the month, such as the letter of the week, the date, the memory verse or poem, etc.
The Vis-à-vis markers are fantastic since they comes off with a wet cloth all easy-peasy, but they stay put otherwise.
We personally start our calendar time with a prayer and our scripture memory verse or memory poem.
Then we sing the months of the year song
I circle the month we’re in before we start singing, and then use a large pointer (hey-o, Dollar Tree!) to point to the months as we go along. As the kids get more familiar with the months, I let them take turns “leading” the song and using the pointer. I like to have my kiddos yell the month we’re in when we get to it in the song so that they can differentiate where we’re at.
Next we sing our days of the week song
I sing it to “The Addam’s Family” theme song, like this one on Youtube . Then we work together to color in the day of the week on the board. I say something like, “If yesterday was Thursday, then what is today? What comes right after Thursday?”
After the days of the week, I start filling in the date on the calendar
Since we do it every day, I either have to fill in just today’s date, or I fill in the weekends’ and then today’s. Then we all count to that number, once again using the pointer to follow along.
I write the whole date up at the top of the board
We practice saying “Today is…” and then the day of the week, the month, date, and year. They each get a turn to practice saying it after we do it all together a few times.
My kiddos then fill out their own dry erase calendar sheet
They use the information we all gathered on the big board and fill it out again themselves. I’ll share more about this below (with a free printable, too!)!
We then go into our focus item of the week
To start the year, we’ll be going over a letter of the week for this section. This is the transition out of calendar time. We use this as a spring board to move on to the related activities from there.
The whole thing only takes about 20-30 minutes, and holds my kids’ attention the entire time. It goes by so quickly since it’s pretty fast-paced. And look at how much they’re learning in that time?! It always amazes me.
50 birds. One stone.
Maybe I wasn’t exaggerating.
As I mentioned above, I have my kids fill out their own dry erase calendar board. Having them practice it on their own really cements their learning…we all learn better by doing, right? I was concerned at first that my then 2 and 4 year olds would get sick of the repetition. We filled them out every calendar time, and they didn’t get sick of it at all last year. They loved it every day. Blew. My. Mind.
Here’s what it looks like:
I put them in thick sheet protectors, which makes them dry erasable.
Note: Make sure the “boards” get wiped off really well immediately after calendar time each day. The longer it sits, the harder it gets to erase. We just made cleaning their calendar boards part of the daily routine, though, and it worked great!
- As we progress throughout the year, I will add a sticky note for them to identify yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
- We will also include patterns, and I can draw different shapes or use different colors on the dates of the calendar to familiarize them with that concept.
- Once they have mastered the name of the numbers to 30, I introduce ones, tens, and hundreds. This is done by adding a popsicle stick to a three-pocket organizer I hang next to the calendar every day we met for calendar time. Once there are ten in the ones pocket, we bundle them with a rubber band and place the bundle in the tens column. And once we have ten of those, guess where they go? Yep! Bundled into the hundreds column. Boom
Again, if you want to grab the free monthly calendar time sheets for your kiddo(s), you can download them by clicking here!
If you’re a homeschooling parent and need a planner for this school year, hop on over HERE to get the free printable that I use!
Do you already utilize a calendar time in your daily routine? What are your favorite parts of calendar time?