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Calendar of Home Activities, Level 1 Review by Lisa Stanfield

Donald and Elaine Johnson
Curriculum Associates
P.O. Box 2001
North Billerica, MA 01862-0901

The Calendar of Home Activities, Level 1 begins with September 2010 and ends with August 2011 and is loaded with so much variety there isn't a family I know that could not benefit from it. So what is it? 365 days of individual suggestions for learning activities that you can do with your children every day of the year--and then some! Not only does each day have an activity, but every month there are also several craft suggestions with instructions to use in addition to or in place of the daily activities. Level 1 is for young learners so this would be perfect for preschoolers or kindergarteners.

Here are some examples of the daily activities:

September 17: "Story Starter: Give your child the following story starter. Ask him/her to continue the story. "I was floating on a cloud with blue sky all around me when...""

October 27: "How Much Is It? Fold a large piece of paper into four equal parts. Have your child write a number from 1 to 8 in each box. Then have him/her draw pictures to show how many each number equals."

February 11: "Animal Homes: Ask your child to draw a picture of a tree. In the tree, draw the different kinds of animals who live in trees."

April 30: "Observing: Take a walk with your child. Talk about things you notice that grow in spring."

August 18: "Money Sense: Using pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters, ask your child to show 27 cents in more than one way. Have him/her do the same for 18 cents and 30 cents."

There are so many opportunities to flesh out these activities. How about reading a book about birds and trees on February 11 before having them draw the tree? They will remember what you read them and likely incorporate that into their drawing. Why not make a leaf rubbings with leaves you collected on your walk? Or draw the squirrel you saw scurry up the tree? Why not use the word "scurry" with your child and point it out when the squirrel does it?

The extra monthly crafts and activities include things like making puppets, word games (for those children who can read), math games, making tasty treats together, letter matching, as well as collages and mosaic making instructions. In the back pages of the calendar you will find the following "Special Purpose Pages": Everyday Words, Grade 1 Reading List, Addition Table, Subtraction Facts, as well as the alphabet with tracing instructions via arrows as well as both upper and lowercase letters to cut out and use for a daily activity or with November's monthly activity.

The calendar was not created for homeschoolers, but it does transition to homeschooling use very easily. It was originally made for parents who asked, "What can I do at home to help my child?" In a busy homeschool it is sometimes hard to set apart the time to do something just for your little ones when the big ones need help with their math. This is a great resource to help you do just that. Some of the activities are going to be below your child's level and some will be above, depending on your child. There is something for every family in the Calendar of Home Activities.

Product review by Lisa Stanfield, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May, 2010