I am deeply indebted to the amazing stay-at-home and homeschooling mom Mari-Ann of Counting Coconuts. She is s certified Montessori teacher, who now stays at home and schools her own two children on the island of Bermuda. I love her blog and have found inspiration in it during this, our first official homeschooling year. As we head into our “Kindergarten” year (although we’ve mainly been working on Kindergarten state standards this year), we are so excited about our new calendar system—which is completely Mari-Ann’s brainchild. I contributed no original thought to this, other than to change one of the pockets to suit our need for weekly memory work.

Interestingly, I never encountered this calendar by reading her blog: I never went back that far in Mari-Ann’s archives. Instead, her idea came to me by way of Pinterest. And just in time, too! I’ve been comparing and contrasting and pricing school calendars for many months and have found none that fit everything we need/want. Mari-Ann’s creation solved my dilemma, and I worked on making one of my own this week.

Here is our new calendar:

Features include:

1) Calendar with changeable-by-month dates (although Mari-Ann made her twelve sets with clip art, I purchased both the calendar and twelve different date sets from the teacher supply store). To use the calendar, I have an ornament (this month, an Easter basket) hanging from the push pins. Katie moves the ornament to the correct day each morning.

2) Seven colorful library pockets underneath the calendar are  labeled with the days of the week and are used to keep track of “today,” “tomorrow,” and “yesterday” with labeled wooden markers (library pockets and wooden markers were at the teacher supply store).

3) Two library pockets on the side of the calendar are labeled “Question of the Day” and “Thought of the Week.” I am planning on rolling these out at the start of next week. The “Thought of the Week” is my own creation, and I left a space to the side of that pocket to pin up the “Thought of the Week.” We’ll practice it daily and try to have it memorized by week’s end.

4) Up at the top is the month and the year (I had a party with my laminating machine this weekend)!

5) To the left side is a list of all the months, to rehearse every morning.

6) There is a space to change laminated cards showing the phase of the moon (I got those from Montessori Print Shop and laminated them).

7) Next to the moon phase space is a place to change the daily weather (made here and laminated).

8) We also keep track of the seasons, using four apple tree pictures I found online and laminated. We did a big project at the start of this year—which we have kept hanging up as a reference—on the way an apple tree progresses through the seasons, so I thought this would be highly relatable for Katie.

* I bought the cork board through Amazon.

Katie organizes her wooden markers, placing the “tomorrow” marker into the “Saturday” pocket.

We have an early roll-out time on Friday mornings for our music class (new term started today!), so we didn’t have a full circle time this morning. We did test out our new calendar/circle time routine yesterday, though. We worked through all the places on the calendar, and then we had songs and reading before heading off to the Rose Haven (see post below). I love, love, love teaching my kiddos!

We have this calendar hanging in our living room, as that was the only room with enough wall space to accommodate it. I’ve actually thought about turning the entire living room into our classroom space… We’ll see…. Right now, we love having our circle time in the bright light that comes in through the living room windows in the morning. Homeschooling certainly is an adventure, and it really does become integrated with everything we do. It is a full time job, and then some. Fortunately, I find that my passion for teaching my children has only increased. Plus, I love a good challenge. 😉

So, a big thank you to Mari-Ann of Counting Coconuts for solving my calendar dilemma! I am so glad that we have it up and running with months to spare before Kindergarten commences!