Thursday, November 13, 2008

Favorite Homeschool Resource: Teacher's Planbook and Calendar of Year-Round Activities

In homeschooling, as in life, I find myself to be quite eclectic. Some of our lesson plans come from Classical perspective, some à la Charlotte Mason, while other have a child-led/unschooling bent. It would not be unusual to learn about Heaven, dragonflies, and Pointillism all in the same day, and I love it that way.

Though I'm eclectic and open to nearly any type of learning, I'm also a planner and want to have some focus. One resource I've found to be nearly indispensable is the Teacher's Planbook and Calendar of Year-Round Activities. I found a copy at Half Price Books for $2 this summer, and thumbing through it, I knew it would help to provide the guidance I craved.

The book is laid out month-by-month, and while the projects therein are really geared more for elementary school aged children, they could be modified for the older set. However, the lists of special weeks, days, and events listed under each month and the related suggested activities are the keys to this book, and that information is applicable to all ages. These lists are what make the book really great. For example, did you know:

  • November 3rd was Sandwich Day, honoring the Fourth Earl of Sandwich and the inventor of the Sandwich? How fun would have been to make a plain ol' homeschool lunch have meaning?
  • Sesame Street first aired on November 10, 1969. Let's watch and/or write about our favorite characters or show segments. (My favorite? When Grover sold Kermit some teeth.)
  • Claude Monet's birthday is November 14 -- hello, trip to the museum (followed by an art project, trying our hand at Impressionism).
  • JFK was slain here in Dallas on November 22 -- let's go down to Dealey Plaza to pay our respects.
  • Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women, was born on November 29, 1832. Let's read some excerpts.
All of these facts, and so many more, are contained within the same November list, and are followed by activity suggestions that can be copied or used merely as inspiration. This book assists in creating creative learning units and in making mundane days fun and educational. I truly love this book, and use it as a starting point for planning out every month.

Even better, this book is a really great homeschool bargain. When I looked it up on Amazon to link here on the blog, I found it can be purchased used for ONE CENT (plus shipping), or brand new for 30 cents. For the compilation of fun ideas and the time savings involved in lesson planning, that's a bargain that can't be beat!

What resources do you use to plan your units or educational activities?
Have you found a good site online for national or local events?


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