Thursday, September 22, 2011

Our Calendar

After weeks of planning and putting the pieces together, I have finally finished our morning time calendar!

We have been using it for a little while, unfinished, but I am really pleased with the finished product. We have tried doing this several different ways and right now the way that works best is for me to do the parts while Boogie is eating breakfast. I have tried doing this in the playroom after he eats breakfast but he is too distracted by his toys and not interested. While he is in his high chair, I have his full attention. I will ask him questions and then do what needs to be done. So, right now, we do calendar time and Bible time with the felt board during breakfast.

The calendar has a lot of different aspects, as you can see, and he doesn't understand a lot of it, obviously. But it is another tool that he enjoys for the visual aspect and songs right now, and will grow into the other parts over the next couple years.

I used an Elmer's tri-fold foam board. On the left panel, we have our seasons wheel, our daily weather mat, and Boogie and my personal favorite, and (as far as I know) a brainchild of mine called "what should Daddy wear today?" Boogie LOVES this. We talk about if Da Da is hot or cold, wet or dry. I made a whole bunch of felt clothes for different temperatures for his Da Da to wear and when I have this down at his level, if he is in the right mood, he will just try and put everything on at once! I got the paper doll pattern and the clothing patterns from this site. I laminated and hot glued my husband's head onto a felt cut out of the paper doll pattern. Then cut out the clothes in different colored felt, adding stickers or marker designs to make them look like Hubby's clothes when possible. This raincoat and hat is Boogie's favorite because I glued yellow plastic from a shopping bag over the felt to make it more raincoat-y.

The seasons pictures are from here. The images for the weather mat came from all over the web. I just chose the ones I liked best.

In the center, I have the months of the year on binder rings. I bought these for a dollar at Target. The calendar and numbers came separately, also from the dollar section at Target.

The days of the week section, under the calendar, was inspired by Mari-Ann at Counting Coconuts. It's just laminated cardstock pockets for the days and popsicle sticks with the words "today", "tomorrow" and "yesterday" to move around.

The bottom of the center portion is the color, shape, and number of the day sections. The color section is a dry erase board from walmart. The idea is that Boogie can scribble the color of the day all over it or that I can write it or both. I made the shape of the day background in Word, and added velcro. The shapes are all cut out of foam. Boogie loves velcro and foam. The number of the day background is another word document, with a magnet behind it to use number magnets with. On the far right is a sign language alphabet book I made from printables Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations put together.

The right panel holds the most important part- the weekly Bible verse and our prayer book. The Bible verse printables come from Totally Tots and correspond with a letter of the alphabet. The verses come from Songs for Saplings, which we bought because music is so easy to memorize. I have the page in a sheet protector with the holes cut off so it is easy to change each week. When we change it I am going to put last week up on the cabinets in the kitchen until we run out of space, for review.

The prayer book contains pictures of family members and friends. Each morning we look through all the pictures and name the people in them, then pray for one person or family. Boogie really likes seeing these faces each day.

The last item on the right side is the letter of the day, using an alphabet printout, also available from Totally Tots and also with a magnet behind it.

When I was planning this whole thing out, I  was especially inspired by Carisa at 1+1+1=1 and Jolanthe at Homeschool Creations, two blogging homeschooling mommies whose sites have really motivated me.

I wanted our calendar to utilize as many different types of fastenings as possible so Boogie could be exposed to a variety of things for his fine motor skills. A quick summary- the seasons wheel is an arrow spinner, the weather has four corners to stick in, the clothing part is felt, the months (and sign language and prayer book) are flip books on rings, the dates and shapes are velcro, the days of the week are movable popsicle sticks, the color is a dry erase board, and the numbers and letters are magnets.

So far, Boogie has been enjoying this little routine, and I look forward to including him in it more and more as his skills develop.

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