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What Is a Calendar Of Firsts?

Ok friends, after wanting to start a Calendar Of Firsts for a couple of years, I finally got ours going. So what is it? Why will this be a special family keepsake and part of our family nature study? Read on to find out more and see how easily you can start one too!

A Calendar Of Firsts is simply the habit of recording the first things that you notice each year in nature. This practice was encouraged by Charlotte Mason, an early English school teacher and huge proponent of nature study. She said:

It is a capital plan for the children to keep a calendar––the first oak-leaf, the first tadpole, the first cowslip, the first catkin, the first ripe blackberries, where seen, and when. The next year they will know when and where to look out for their favourites, and will, every year, be in a condition to add new observations. Think of the zest and interest, the object, which such a practice will give to daily walks and little excursions.

Charlotte Mason, Vol. 1 p. 54

This trains our children and ourselves to be observant of the world around. To appreciate fresh changes, to notice.

i wish we had this when we lived in the south. To know in anticipate when the first fireflies would arrive in the summer. Or when the first ground bees would dig out of their mounds sometime around February.

What a treasure this would have been to glance through a homemade book that recorded the yearly changes in my own backyard.

A hand bound book with the phrase "Calendar Of Firsts" written on the cover for nature observations.

Where do you record your observations?

A Calendar Of Firsts can be done in many ways. You can write out what you see, or draw a sketch.

I created the Calendar Of Firsts you can find on Etsy and it’s the one you’ll see here. It allows room for a small picture or written note, while leaving out days of the week.

Or, you could use a blank notebook, labeling a page for each month and recording your findings in a list.

Another way I’ve seen is to designate a yearly planner to use for this purpose (not to be used as a planner). If you go this route, ignore the days of the week since the calendar must be useful year after year and days of the week are insignificant for that.

A Calendar Of Firsts In Nature, open to the month of August. It's blank, as there are no recordings yet.
Printed set of papers that will be bound to form a Calendar Of Firsts for nature study observations.

How to bind your own Calendar Of Firsts (or any homeschool materials)

One of my most used purchases, to my surprise, has NOT been a laminator. Ha! It’s actually been this easy to use and small to store Proclick binding machine.

Here’s how I bind homeschool materials. Or, you can purchase the binding machine here.

These are the 5/16 inch Proclick spines I used. They hold 45 pages. There’s also the 1/2 inch spines that hold 85 pages which are more useful for other homeschool curriculum I print.

My tip would be to use thick, white cardstock so your pages are sturdy. It allows you to print double sided without seeing through the pages too. Since this will be used year after year, the sturdier the paper the better.

Should each child have their own Calendar Of Firsts?

This is going to be our family’s notebook. However, it would be possible with older kids to give them each their own. You could also print off half size pages and glue them into a nature journal.

You can find this in my Etsy shop, or just use a blank journal and make your own with a ruler and a pen!

More Nature Study Posts For You

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