Now that we’re sure the Mayans were wrong, let’s talk about calendars! Probably you all have a calendar of some sort on a wall somewhere in your house (this was my favorite one this year), but they’re not just for making sure everyone gets to the dentist on the right day or knowing the date of the vernal equinox. A calendar can be a great learning tool for kids of all ages!
To start with, the type of calendar you have is not terribly important. I have one similar to this in our school room. I like it because it’s large enough to see from around the room and there is plenty of space in each square. Really, though, you could just print a blank calendar from online and slip it in a page protector in a binder and it would work just fine. Don’t get hung up on the looks as much as what you can do with it.
So what can you do with a calendar? The first thing that comes to mind is teaching the days of the week and the months of the year. Repetition is your friend when you’re trying to teach these things, and if you go over it briefly each day it will begin to sink in without much other work on your part. It’s also a great way to learn about seasons and holidays, too.
As your child gets older, a calendar is a simple way to practice math skills. You can practice counting and number recognition each day as you put up the number for the date—and with even older kids, you can practice different ways to write the date. Patterns are another concept that you can practice on your calendar. If you have number cards for the date, vary the pattern you use each month and see if they can guess what the next date card will look like. Your children might also notice different patterns as they learn their sevens times table, too!
A calendar time can also be a time to review (or introduce) concepts with your kids. You can make your own cards, or there are free ones out there, too, like the ones from 1+1+1=1 that cover many different topics. Carisa also has a wonderful page showing how she covers lots of different concepts during a calendar time. Disclaimer: Please don’t look at these pages and think you need to do all of these things every day! I certainly don’t and haven’t! I do think there are some great ideas to pick and choose from to best suit your child’s needs.
Older students aren’t going to need to review the date and month and AB patterns, but a calendar can still be a good learning tool for them. As they get older, have your kids keep their own calendar or planner to teach them how to keep track of their obligations. Time management is such an important thing to learn—I’m still working on it!
Whatever you do with your calendar, I hope you and your family have a very happy 2013!