When our fourth grader (a memory master x 2, just to point out the irony here) did not know his address and phone number at a 4-H meeting, I realized I had dropped the ball. So many times, I’ve said that we’re going to practice and memorize our address and phone number, only to forget as I get caught up in math lessons, reading practice, and language arts assignments.
When our first grader could not name the months of the year, I realized I had dropped the ball. So many times, I’ve said that we’re going to practice and memorize the months of the year and days of the week, only to forget as I get caught up in math lessons, reading practice, and language arts assignments.
The Solution: The Breakfast Notebook
As I attempt to not only plan to do things but also actually implement our plans (a novel concept, I know), I’ve started to lean heavily on organizing our work into notebooks, the latest of which is the Breakfast Notebook. Inside this little notebook, we’ve placed the stuff I forget to review most often with the boys, like calendar study, learning our address and phone number, and everyday, real-world math.
First, there’s the cover…. the school work checklist. Though it looks formidable, it actually takes us step-by-step through the entire day. And there’s something euphoric about checking the boxes on a checklist. (Why else would I add things to my to-do list that I have done, just so that I can check that little box? The boys love checking those little boxes, too.)
Levi does not yet have a school day checklist because he is just following along with whatever his brothers are doing (or NOT following along, but playing in the toy room instead). And, really, he is still just learning to hold a pencil correctly. But that’s okay. He’s three years old.
Download a copy of our daily schoolwork checklists in MS Word format.
An aside: Just to let you know, our school day usually lasts from 8am to 4pm, with several breaks in between (and including breakfast and lunch!). Many times we are finished before 3pm, but sometimes we work on our “fun” activities (like science or history projects) in the evenings or weekends.
A sampling of the contents of our Breakfast Notebook:
|Calendar & Weather Charts from
|Temperature chart from Our Aussie Homeschool|
|Today is.. (math practice) from
|Name Practice Pages from Handwritingworksheets.com|
|Levi’s calendar has traceable numbers from
Motherhood on a Dime.
I’ve also included some of our memory work, like Latin Declension charts (from CC Connected), since the boys will need to know how to spell the declensions for Memory Master later this year…
…and History Highlights and Science Snippets. It’s much easier to get around to reading these if we have to flip across them in the notebook!
Calendar and weather chart pages are consumable. Most everything else is in page protectors so that we can use wet-erase markers for everyday practice.
Our notebooks are a concoction of CC Connected resources and calendar templates from other websites as referenced.
List of what is in our Breakfast Notebooks:
- Bible Verse Memorization Checklist (Seeds Family Worship)
- Write the Date Page (OurAussieHomeschool)
- Days of School Tally (Homeschool Creations)
- Place Value – Days in School (Homeschool Creations)
- 100 Days of School (Homeschool Creations)
- Today is… (math practice) (Homeschool Creations)
- Address & Phone Number Page (Motherhood on a dime)
- Calendar for each month (Homeschool Creations)
- Weather chart to record weather each day (Homeschool Creations)
- Temperature Line Graph (OurAussieHomeschool)
- Handwriting Practice – Name (Handwriting Without Tears for Cursive & Handwritingworksheets.com)
- EveryDay Learning Insert from The Teacher Wife
- My Goals Sheet (Motherhood on a dime)
- My Ideas Sheet (Motherhood on a dime)
- My Reading List (Motherhood on a dime)
- Blank sheets of paper for science practice
For our 4th Grader, from CC Connected:
- Math Drills.doc by danakenny
- Cycle 1 GeoNotebook by CC.pdf by foundations (just the map and key for now)
- LatinNounDeclensions.xls (or for Mac users, LatinNounDeclensions.pdf) by ClassicalConversations
- CC C1 History Coordinated Reading Schedule.pdf by NoGreaterJoy5 (Reading correlations from SOTW, MoH, World History Homework, Kingfisher) – just for reference
- 2012 CY1 HistHighs (4 FINAL) 1st semester.pdf by foundations
- 2012 Cy1 Science Snippets 1st semester(4).pdf by foundations
For our 1st grader:
- Days of the Week & Months of the Year Sheet (along with the 12 Months Are in a Year song.)
- Shapes (1plus1plus1equals1)
- Colors (1plus1plus1equals1)
- Geography Semester 1 with blanks.pdf by KKillingsworth
- AJT SKIP COUNTING Circle and Write Races.pdf by NoGreaterJoy5
- LatinNounDeclensions.xls (or for Mac users, LatinNounDeclensions.pdf, but xls version has two worksheets, one which is a key) by ClassicalConversations
You can also include timeline pages for writing in the timeline events, though we currently use a separate timeline notebook for that. Even though I have it shown as an accordion timeline, you can download the pages and print them as regular timeline notebook pages.
Levi has a notebook as well, but he is mainly just coloring the entire sheet in a haphazard format at this point…
We use this notebook right after our morning Bible time. It takes about 10 minutes to work through if we’re not including our memory work, and about 30 minutes if we are including our memory work. (But take into consideration that my children do not complete a large amount of copywork for memory work practice. That would cause burn out for us, and Stephen especially needs all the gumption and energy possible for EEL chart practice and IEW writing. AND we don’t use every single page every single day.)
The results thus far:
David now knows the months of the year. (But this is because I found a really great song to go along with it.)
Stephen now knows how to spell our address, and he knows our phone number. But we’re still going to practice it for a while!
Stephen is learning how to spell the Latin declensions very quickly.
In a nutshell, the boys really like kickstarting the day with their notebooks. And so do I. 🙂
Calendar Notebook Printables can be downloaded for free from:
Confessions of a Homeschooler
EveryDay Learning Insert from The Teacher Wife