Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Where are your calendars?

I have wanted to give a preview of what we did in school this week. Last month I started my daunting task of making a list and checking it not twice, not even three times, but checking it over and over and over again. It was my list of school curriculum for next year! It is daunting, but I am slightly addicted to curriculum, so the time seems to fly by! Each year I have been ordering samples, and checking PDF files online for all the sample lesson plans of each distributor. Because I am random, I like to see what is out there that we aren't doing as of yet. Sometimes I haven't jived well with the writers of certain curriculum. Sometimes they are awesome, but cost a mortgage payment to buy! Sometimes the learning styles of kids aren't lining up with the way the curriculum is presented.

For instance, my son has the attention span of a fly. He simply needs something that is going to grab him and not distract him. He has to work with his hands in order for his brain to stay focused. My daughter though, loves workbooks! She is the one who loves to have all her work piled before her, and then takes it to another room and finishes it all in one shot. I love her! So out I go into the world of homeschooling curriculum. Let me tell you that this is no small world. Not even Walmart could house all the curriculum that is out there.

Where was I? Oh yes, changing curriculum! Sometimes I find a curriculum that presents things in an awesome way, but it leaves some other aspects out that I loved in the curriculum that I left behind. One thing we changed this year was math. My son was doing just "ok" in math last year. We decided to change companies to do something more hands on. It was a great change, but the new math company didn't have everything included that I was used to having like calendars or clocks.

So what does this hands on mom do? We made our own calendars and decided to call it art! I am actually impressed with my idea, so I have decided to share! I first print off a calendar page from http://www.donnayoung.org/. This is a cool website that offers free printables for calendars, lesson planning, household planning like grocery lists, and lots of other things that I can't remember! Yesterday, we printed off January's calendar onto normal white copy paper.

Then, I took a piece of plain white paper and told the kids to draw something nice for their calendar. One drew herself standing next to her cousin and a snowman that they had just built. (This obviously took place in NY, since Indy doesn't believe in having snow!)

My youngest boy drew himself with his brother and cousin holding swords and ready to fight the world! Some moms gasp at such violence. I personally think it is cute!

My oldest son drew a building with the sun. You have to understand this kid! He just wants to get the job done. No frills. No wasting time. "Let's just do it," is his motto!

After the pictures are done, we staple them to a huge piece of construction paper. I am totally guessing the size, but I think it is a 10x16in. It fits two 8x10 pieces of paper with some room on each side. Here are the pic's to see what we did!

Part of the learning process is that we color in each date as it happens. This way the kids get the concept of dates, months, and days of the week.

This is my boy drawing his building. As you can see he sees something else way more interesting happening in the living room and must hurry up and finish so he can join them.

This is my other boy. He's just proud that he is finally old enough to join in all school fun!

Here are the finished products! I didn't have my 3 year old do one, but I am sure she will want to next time! I am planning all sorts of ideas for the upper pictures. Here is the list I have so far, along with a list of holidays for each month.
January: We didn't do this because I just thought of it right now, but you can take white paper and fold it up an cut pieces out for snow flakes. It maybe the only snow you see if you live close to me. You can decorate it with silver glitter if you are really brave! Holidays: Martin Luther King Jr. B-day, Mozart's B-day, and National Bird Day
Feb: Anything with Valentine's Day! Hearts, Love, kisses on the paper with the brightest lipstick you can find! Come on! What kid wouldn't love that? Holidays: St. Valentine's Day, Ground Hog Day, President's Day
March: St Patrick's Day! Growing up outside of Chicago made me a believer of this holiday! Make clovers or rainbows with pots of gold at the end of them. Take red, orange, yellow, green, and blue construction paper and tare it up into dime to nickel sized pieces. The kids love this! Have them glue the pieces to make a rainbow. You can draw a black pot at the end and take gold glitter and sprinkle the top of the pot for gold! Don't forget Leprechauns! They are fun to draw too! Holidays: St. Patrick's Day, National Pig Day (I never knew!), Vincent Van Gough's B-day (The boys might like to draw this one.)
April: April showers bring May flowers! Make clouds with cotton balls. Have them draw raindrops, or have them dip their finger (notice this is singular!) into blue or gray paint and make the raindrops with their finger prints. Also Easter!!!!! Make a cross or a tomb with the stone rolled away! Make an Easter basket filled with colorful eggs. Holidays: Easter, National Frog month, National Kite Day, Arbor day and Earth day, Firefighters Day, and National Pet Day (Take a picture with your kids and their pet. Put it on their calender. You can have it blown up to a 8x10 for a $1 at Walmart.)
May: May flowers! Get some old magazines or pictures and have the kids cut out pictures of flowers, trees, or anything that is living and growing. Make a collage of all the things we are about to see outside. Holidays: (kind of a boring month!) National Transportation month, May day (May 1), Cinco de Mayo, World Turtle Day, Mother's day!!!!!!!!!!!! (A gentle reminder for them.), Memorial Day
June: Remember that old Barney song, "Mr. Sun, Sun. Mr. Golden Sun, please shine down on me!" Have them draw anything having to do with outside. Balls, pools, parks, or even the sun! Even my 3 year old can draw the sun with a happy face! Holidays: Zoo and Aquarium month, First Hot air balloon flight, Father's Day, Flag Day, International Picnic Day, Paul Bunyan Day, Space Day(Ooooooh! I am thinking astornauts, space ships, the moon, stars, and even aliens if you want to get technical!)
July: Stars and stripes. You could cut out a ton of red, white, and blue stars and make a collage of them. You could tare apart red, white, or blue paper and make fire work pictures with them. Use glitter for the sparkles. After you paste all the paper onto the picture, take a paint brush and brush on Elmer's glue. Sprinkle the glitter on top and voila! Your fireworks sparkle! Holidays: National Ice Cream month (make the biggest ice cream sundae they could imagine! Don't forget the cherry and whip cream.), 4th of July, Beatrix Potter's B-day
August: This is back to school for my kids! Have them brainstorm about either something they want to learn about or something they already learned last year. Draw it. Was it sea turtles? Was it the lunch break? Get them motivated for school. What is there favorite subject? If it is math (that's mine) have them show what they learned last year, like their multiplication facts or something. I used to trace my kids' hands at the beginning of the year to be able to go back and see how they have grown. You could have them make hand prints with paint. It would be fun for a keepsake someday! Holidays: International Clown Week, Watermelon Day (glue real watermelon seeds onto a picture of a watermelon), sports day
September: Fall colors. Find some leaves and place them on to white paper. You can make that your picture. Or! For something a little tricky, but worth the effort. Take your leaf and place it under your white paper. Take a crayon and tare the paper off of it. Lay it on its side and color, pressing hard where the leaf is located under your paper. This should make an imprint and a leaf design similar to your leaf. Use different fall colored crayons for different leaves. Holidays: Labor Day, Grandparent's Day, Teddy Bear Day, Patriot Day (love those history lessons!), Elephant Appreciation Day (make a picture of Horton the Elephant from Dr. Seuss!)
October: Pumpkins, ghosts, gourds, bats, or anything to do with Halloween. Cut a big orange pumpkin out of construction paper. Cut out 3 black triangles and a black mouth. Have them glue them on the make your jack-o-lantern. You can make black bats really easily and take a white crayon to make spooky eyes on them. Holidays: International Dinosaur Month, Farmer's Day, Columbus Day, Pablo Picasso's B-day, Reptile Awareness Day, The Statue of Liberty's B-day (interesting), Halloween
November: Turkeys, pilgrims, Indians, etc. Whatever floats your boat. I like turkeys myself. You can make a body and head with brown paper. Then cut out multicolored strips of paper and make feathers for it, but snipping and fraying the paper. If this is too much for you, try the old tracing your hand and coloring it in to be a turkey. The thumb is the head and the other fingers are the feathers. You could trace dad and mom's hands to make a turkey family! Awwwe! Holidays: National Candy Day (glue candy onto your page), Veteran's Day, National Bible Week, National Cake Day, Thanksgiving
December: Christmas! Or whatever you celebrate. We do Christmas here. You can find pictures of nativity scenes, Christmas trees, or even fire places. Make a Santa face with lots of cotton for the hat and beard. Make Rudolph with his nose so bright (red glitter!). Make the star of Bethlehem with lots and lots of gold glitter! Turn it into a history lesson with making the frankincense, gold, and myrrh. Make a manger with hay. You could use little strips of brown paper, brown yarn, or real hay for the bedding. Another real simple idea is taking a square piece of wrapping paper and having them glue it on. Place a bow on top to complete. You now have a present! Holidays: National Cookie Day, Poinsettia Day, St. Nicholas, Christmas
Make it fun! The possibilities are endless. This is art class and calendar learning combined! Have them repeating months of year and days of the week frequently. Write down all family birthdays, holidays, family trips, or family game nights. You can never forget a family game night if they have it on their calendar! They won't let you. I personally like the family birthday idea, since I can't remember to call them all by myself. My daughter is definitely better at these kind of things than me, and will have no problem reminding me all day until I call the special person to say "Happy Birthday" to them! The kids could then get into the great habit of making birthday cards for all their family members!
One last tool for the projects is this link: http://www.first-school.ws/theme/occasions_index.htm It is a link to a website with free worksheets to color in. They have everything from pictures of presidents to trees. If you need a picture for a holiday, chances are they have it. It's all free! Remember to have fun!
I am thinking that we are getting rid of our current calendars and trying something new and improved! Hey! We did ours on the first day back from Christmas break. My creative juices were not flowing!

1 comment:

Andrea said...

Very cute! Maybe when Hannah is a little older, we'll have her make a calendar for her grandparents for Christmas or something!