Category Archives: Our Homeschool



September is loaded with holidays, observances, food themes, awareness days , historic figures and authors birthdays, science and historic based anniversaries,  and more! So, if you are looking for a reason to celebrate, a classroom theme,  a special topic to study, this day in history trivia, club meeting ideas, or a food to add to the menu, this list of Special Days in September, 2017 has lots to choose from!

Resources for teaching through September, including a PDF of September’s Special Days, can be found at the end of this list.

September Themes

  • ADHD Awareness
  • Alopecia Areatas Awareness
  • Animal Remembrance
  • Atrial Fibrillation Month
  • Baby Safety
  • Back to School
  • Backpack Safety America
  • Be Kind to Editors and Writers
  • Blackpool Illuminations
  • Campus Safety
  • Chicken
  • Child Awareness
  • Childhood Cancer Awareness Month
  • Childhood Obesity Awareness
  • Children’s Eye Health and Safety
  • Children’s Good Manners
  • Church Clipping
  • Classical Music
  • College Savings
  • Conkers
  • Coupon
  • Courtesy
  • Disaster Preparedness
  • DNA, Genomics, and Stem Cell Education
  • Fall Hat
  • Guide Dogs
  • Gynecology Cancer Awareness
  • Happy Cat
  • Hat Month
  • Head Lice Prevention
  • Healthy Aging
  • Hispanic Heritage
  • Home Furnishings
  • Hunger Action
  • Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness
  • Library Card Sign-Up
  • Literacy
  • Little League
  • Million Minute Family Challenge (Sept. – Dec.)
  • Mold Awareness
  • One-On-One
  • People Skills
  • Piano
  • Preparedness
  • Prosper Where You Are Planted
  • Prostate Cancer Awareness
  • Read a New Book
  • Responsible Dog Ownership
  • Save a Koala
  • Save a Tiger
  • Sea Cadet
  • School Success
  • Self Improvement
  • Self-Awareness Month
  • Sewing
  • Shameless Promotion
  • Skin Care Awareness
  • Square Dancing
  • Strategic Thinking
  • Subliminal Communications
  • Update Your Resume
  • Women of Achievement
  • Women’s Friendship
  • World Animal Remembrance Month

September Food Themes

  • All American Breakfast
  • Apple
  • Better Breakfast
  • Blueberry Popsicle
  • Chicken
  • Childhood Obesity Awareness
  • Cholesterol Education
  • Food Safety Education
  • Fruit and Veggies — More Matters
  • Honey
  • Ice Cream Shake
  • Mushroom
  • Organic Harvest
  • Papaya
  • Potato
  • Rice
  • Wild Rice
  • Whole Grains

September 2017 Daily Specials  (the * behind the special day means that the day falls on a different date from year to year)

Sept. 1

  • Calendar Adjustment Day
  • Cherry Popover Day
  • Chicken Boy’s Day
  • Eid al-Adha *
  • Emma M. Nutt Day
  • Enthusiasm Week begins
  • Lazy Mom’s Day * (1st Fri.)
  • No Rhyme Nor Reason Day
  • Nutrition Week begins
  • Self-University Week begins

Sept. 2

  • Bison-ten Yell Day
  • Blueberry Popsicle Day
  • Great Fire of London – 1666
  • Hummingbird Day * (1st Sat.)
  • US Treasury Dept. established 1789
  • Writing Day * (1st Sat.)
  •  VJ Day 1945
  • Vietnam Independence 1945

Sept. 3

  • Afternoon Tea Day
  • American Flag 1st Flown in Battle 1777
  • Buffalo Chicken Wings Days * (Sat. and Sun. before Labor Day)
  • Father’s Day (Australia and New Zealand) * (1st Sun.)
  • National Wilderness system established 1964
  • Penicillin Discovered 1928 (some sources say Sept. 15 and others Sept. 30)
  • Qatar Independence 1971
  • San Marino Independence 301 AD
  • Skyscraper Day
  • Treaty of Paris signed  1783
  • National Welsh Rarebit Day
  • Waffle Week begins * (1st full week)
  • WWII – Great Britain, France, New Zealand, and Australia declare war on Germany Sept. 3-15,1939

Sept. 4

  • Labor Day * (1st Mon.)
  • Inventor Lewis Howard Latimer born 1848
  • Macadamia Nut Day
  • Newspaper Carrier Day
  • Substitute Teacher Appreciation Week begins
  • Missionary Marcus Whitman born 1802
  • Wildlife Day

Sept. 5

  • Another Look Unlimited Day * (Tues. after Labor Day)
  • Bacon Day
  • Be Late For Something Day
  • Cheese Pizza Day
  • International Day of Charity
  • Cowboy/Outlaw Jesse James born 1847
  • Suicide Prevention Week begins
  • Voyager 1 launched 1977

Sept. 6

  • Jane Addams born 1860
  • Coffee Ice Cream Day
  • Fight Procrastination Day
  • Horn Dance Day
  • Iguana Awareness Day
  • Magellan Completed 1st Circumnavigation of the World 1527
  • 1620 – Pilgrims Set Sail to the New World
  • Read a Book Day
  • Swaziland Independence 1968

Sept. 7

  • Acorn Squash Day
  • Brazil Independence 1822
  • Queen Elizabeth 1 born 1533
  • Grace Darling Day
  • Feel the Love Day
  • Google founded 1996
  • Artist, Grandma Moses born 1860
  • Neither Rain Nor Snow Day
  • Raggedy Ann patented 1915
  • Salami Day
  • Superhuman Day
  • Threatened Species Day

Sept. 8

  • Date Nut Bread
  • Iguana Awareness Day
  • Inca Ice Maiden Day
  • International Literacy Day
  • 1519 – Magellan Set Sail for the 1st Around the World Voyage
  • Pardon Day
  • Physical Therapy Day
  • Popcorn Festival begins
  • Stand Up to Cancer Day  * (2nd Fri.)
  • 1st Star Trek TV broadcast 1966
  • Virgin Mary born  20 BC

Sept. 9

  • California Statehood 1850
  • Chrysanthemum Day
  • Clean Out Your Garage Day * (Sat. after Labor Day)
  • Drive Your Studebaker Day * (2nd Sat.)
  • Farmer’s Consumer Awareness Day * (2nd Sat.)
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Day
  • Teddy Bear Day
  • Trail of Tears Commemoration Day * (weekend after Labor Day)
  • Wienerschnitzel Day
  • Wonderful Weirdos Day

Sept. 10

  • Grandparents Day * (Sun. after Labor Day)
  • Hug Your Hound Day * (2nd Sun.)
  • Pet Memorial Day * (2nd Sun.)
  • Sewing Machine Patented 1846
  • Suicide Prevention Day
  • Swap Ideas Day
  • TV Dinner Day
  • Vegetarian Awareness Week begins * (2nd full week)

Sept. 11

  • Assisted Living Week begins
  • Boss/Employee Exchange Day * (2nd Mon.)
  • Day of Service and Remembrance
  • Emergency Number Day
  • Horn Dance * (Mon. after the 4th)
  • Hot Cross Bun Day
  • I Want to Start My Own Business Day
  • Last Night of the Proms
  • Libraries Remember Day
  • Line Dance Week begins * (2nd Mon.)
  • Make Your Bed Day
  • No News Is Good News Day
  • Odd Day
  • 9-11-2001 Remembrance Day / Patriot Day

Sept. 12

  • Ants on a Log Day *  (2nd Tues.)
  • Poets Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning married 1846
  • Chocolate Milkshake Day
  • Cleopatra’s Needle erected 1878
  • Day of Encouragement
  • Lascaux Cave Painting Discovery 1940
  • UN Day for South – South Cooperation
  • Video Game Day

Sept. 13

  • Bald is Beautiful Day
  • Celiac Awareness Day
  • Chocolate Day
  • Author, Roald Dahl born 1916
  • Defy Superstition Day
  • Fortune Cookie Day
  • Milton Snavely Hershey (founder of Hershey’s Chocolate) born 1857
  • Kids Take Over the Kitchen Day
  • Peanut Day
  • Positive Thinking Day
  • Programmers’ Day (256th day of the year)
  • Snack a Pickle Time
  • Uncle Sam Day

Sept. 14

  • Creme Filled Donut Day
  • Eat a Hoagie Day
  • Handel’s ‘Messiah’ composed 1741
  • Holly Rood Day
  • Margaret Sanger born 1879
  • 1814 – Star Spangled Banner Composed by Francis Scott Key
  • World Maritime Day

Sept. 15

  • Battle of Britain Day 1940
  • Author Agatha Christie born 1890
  • Costa Rica Independence 1821
  • El Salvador Independence 1821
  • Guatemala Independence 1821
  • Honduras Independence 1821
  • Nicaragua Independence 1821
  • Felt Hat Day
  • Greenpeace founded 1971
  • International Day of Democracy
  • Dot Day
  • Farm Animals Awareness Week * (3rd week)
  • LGBT Awareness Day
  • Linguine Day
  • Make a Hat Day
  • Neonatal Nurses Day
  • Penicillin discovered 1928 (some sources say Sept. 3 and others say Sept. 30)
  • POW/MIA Recognition Day * (3rd Fri.)
  • Software Freedom Day
  • President William B. Taft born 1857
  • Tradesmen Day * (3rd Fri.)

Sept. 16

  • Anna Bradstreet Day
  • Big Whopper Liar Day * (3rd Sat.)
  • Cinnamon Raisin Bread Day
  • Coastal Cleanup Day * (3rd Sat.)
  • Collect Rocks Day
  • Illusionist David Copperfield born 1956
  • Eat an Apple Day * (3rd Sat.)
  • Gedaliah
  • Guacamole Day
  • Mayflower Day
  • Mexican Independence Day 1810
  • Play-Doh introduced 1955
  • Ozone Preservation Day
  • Papua New Guinea Independence 1975
  • Red Panda Day (3rd Sat.)
  • Responsible Dog Ownership Day (3rd Sat.)
  • Author, H.A. Rey born 1898
  • Stay Away from Seattle Day
  • Step Family Day
  • Wife Appreciation Day  * (3rd Sat.)
  • Working Parents Day
  • Wrinkled Raincoat Day

Sept. 17

  • Apple Dumpling Day
  • Citizenship Day
  • Clean Hands Week begins * (3rd full week)
  • Constitution Day
  • Constitution Week begins
  • Horseman’s Sunday * (3rd Sun.)
  • Pollution Prevention Week  * (3rd full week)
  • Time’s Up Day
  • Singer/Songwriter Hank Williams born 1923

Sept. 18

  • Attention Deficit Disorder Awareness Day
  • Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)  created 1947
  • Cheeseburger Day
  • Chile Independence 1975
  • 1851 – 1st Edition of the New York Times Published
  • Farm and Ranch Safety and Health Week begins * (3rd full week)
  • Global Be Responsible Day
  • Hug a Greeting Card Writer Day
  • Prostate Cancer Awareness Week begins
  • Respect Day
  • Roadrunner Cartoon debut 1949
  • Singles Week
  • US Air Force Founded 1947
  • Woman Road Warrior Day * (3rd Mon.)
  • World Gurning Championships
  • World Water Monitoring Day

Sept. 19

  • Balance Awareness Week begins
  • Butterscotch Pudding Day
  • George Cadbury (founder of Cadbury’s Cocoa and Chocolate Co.) born 1839
  • Mickey Mouse 1st appearance 1928
  • Talk Like A Pirate Day

Sept. 20

  • Artist Dale Chihuly born 1941
  • Punch Day
  • Rosh Hashanah begins at sunset *
  • School Backpack Awareness Day * (3rd Wed.)
  • Women’s Friendship Day

Sept. 21

  • Alzheimer’s Day
  • Banana Festival
  • Belize Independence 1981
  • Coastal Cleanup Day
  • International Day of Peace
  • Malta Independence 1964
  • Miniature Golf Day
  • Peace One Day
  • Pecan Cookie Day
  • Author H.G. Wells born 1866
  • World Gratitude Day

Sept. 22

  • American Business Women’s Day
  • Autumnal Equinox *
  • Band Aid Invented 1922
  • Bulgaria Independence 1908
  • Car Free Day
  • Centenarian’s Day
  • Dear Diary Day
  • Elephant Appreciation Day
  • Scientist Michael Faraday born 1791
  • 1st Day of Autumn
  • Hobbit Day
  • Ice Cream Cone Day
  • International Day of Radiant Peace
  • Love Note Day * (4th Fri.)
  • Mabon *
  • Mali Independence 1960
  • Native American Day * (4th Fri.)
  • Peace Corps established 1961
  • Stonehenge Day
  • White Chocolate Day
  • World Rhino Day

Sept. 23

  • Autumn Stroll Day
  • Checkers Day
  • Fish Amnesty Day * (4th Sat.)
  • Hunting and Fishing Day * (4th Sat.)
  • Harvest Festival (UK)
  • Missionary John Hyde born 1858
  • Innergize Day * (day after equinox)
  • Kids’ Day * (4th Sat.)
  • Author William Holmes McGuffey born 1800
  • Neighborhood Day * (4th Sat.)
  • Neptune discovered 1846
  • Pot Pie Day
  • Rabbit Day * (4th Sat.)
  • Saudi Arabia Independence 1932
  • Activist Victoria Woodhull born 1838

Sept. 24

  • Bluebird of Happiness Day
  • The Bullwinkle Show 1st aired 1961
  • Cherries Jubilee Day
  • George Cross instituted 1940
  • Gold Star Mother’s Day * (last Sun.)
  • Jim Henson born 1936
  • Keep Kids Creative Week * (last week)
  • Monopoly (board game) introduced
  • Punctuation Day
  • Schwenkfelder Thanksgiving
  • Teach Ag Day

Sept. 25

  • Ataxia Awareness Day
  • Bill of Rights ratified 1789
  • Comic Book Day
  • Dog Week begins
  • Family Dinner Day  * (4th Mon.)
  • Greenwich Meantime (GMT) began 1676
  • Homeschool Spirit Week begins * ( 4th Mon.)
  • Mars Observer launched 1992
  • Math Story Telling Day
  • One-Hit Wonder Day
  • Save the Koala Day
  • Poet, Author, Song writer Shel Silverstein born 1930
  • World School Milk Day

Sept. 26

  • Johnny Appleseed born 1774
  • Better Breakfast Day
  • Poet T. S. Eliot born 1888
  • European Day of Languages
  • Composer George Gershwin born 1898
  • The Muppet Show 1st aired 1976
  • Pancake Day
  • Shamu (the whale) Day

Sept. 27

  • US Revolutionary /Patriot Samuel Adams born 1722
  • Ancestor Appreciation Day
  • Chimney Safety Week begins
  • Chocolate Milk Day
  • Corned Beef Hash Day
  • Crush a Can Day
  • Evangelist / Philanthropist George Mueller born 1805
  • Rosetta Stone Deciphered 1822
  • See You at the Pole * (4th Wed.)
  • Stockton & Darlington Railway opened 1825
  • World Tourism Day

Sept. 28

  • Artist Caravaggio born 1573
  • Fish Tank Floorshow Night
  • Good Neighbor Day
  • International Right to Know Day
  • Public Lands Day
  • Strawberry Cream Pie Day
  • Saint Wenceslas Day
  • World Rabies Day

Sept. 29

  • Ask a Stupid Question Day * (last school day)
  • Author Stanley Berenstain born 1923
  • Coffee Day
  • Confucius born 551 BC
  • Physicist Enrico Fermi born 1901
  • Happy Goose Day
  • Heart Day
  • Hug a Vegetarian Day * (last Fri.)
  • Inventors Day
  • Michaelmas Day/ Feast of Saint Michael the Archangel
  • Save the Koala Day * (last Fri.)
  • Scotland Yard Formed 1829
  • VFW Day
  • William the Conqueror invaded England 1066
  • World Maritime Day *

Sept. 30

  • Botswana Independence 1966
  • Family Health and Fitness Day * (last Sat.)
  •  Penicillin Discovered 1928 (some sources say Sept. 3 and others Sept. 15)
  • Hot Mulled Cider Day
  • International Translation Day
  • Mud Pack Day
  • Nelson’s Column Construction began 1840
  • Public Lands Day * (last Sat.)
  • Stapler patented 1841


My (growing) list of September Resources updated for 2017

And here’s the list of my favorite resources for help with any month’s Special Days lesson planning

Free Printable Download  – Special Days in September

How I use Special Days lists in our homeschool blog series :

Special Days and the Evolution of Morning Calendar Time

Special Days and Biographies

Special Days and Geography

Special Days and Science


Special Days in September Activity Companion – E-Book with 120 Activities for classrooms, homeschools, after school programs, and clubs.



make my monthly special days lists by using several sources including old calendars,  holiday books, newspapers, and the web. If you know of a special day that I do not have listed, please comment and let me know what it is so I can add it in.   Below are the links to my favorite online themed calendars.

Happy September!

betty jo


The Great American Solar Eclipse

Monday, August 21 is the date of the Great American Solar Eclipse.  However, there is much to learn and observe before the event!  Below is the collection of online resources we’ll be using for eclipse lessons and to prepare for the viewing.

Everything You Need To Know About the Solar Eclipse – Explanations, Diagrams, DIY Safe Viewing Projects, and more!

Animated and Interactive Eclipse Maps  –  Find out when and where

Eclipses: Crash Course Video

Eclipse Live Stream

Eclipse History –  NASA’s collection of historical eclipses starting with about 5000 BC including Chinese, Babylonians, and Greeks to current times.

Ancient People and the Solar Eclipse  –  Video

Solar Eclipse Folklore, Myths, and Superstitions

Eclipse in the Bible

A Day With Two Dawns  –  Free Eclipse Ebook and Resources from Apologia

Eclipse Kit   –  Resources and STEM activities from NASA

Lapbooking and Notebooking Printables

Eclipse Quotes

Eclipse Vocabulary List with Games and Puzzles 

Free Eclipse Printables and Resources

Eclipse Art Projects

Math Lesson  –  Geometry of a Solar Eclipse

Our town is one of the prime totality viewing spots. We’ve decided to avoid the crowds that are expected at the various events and have our own back yard party.

For the party!

Ideas and Planning Tips

Music Playlist


Sun, Moon, and Stars Coloring Sheets (most of these are suitable for teens and adults)

betty jo




Special Days and Science

There are many opportunities for science lessons on each Special Days list!  Scientist and Inventor birthdays, invention and technology patents, animal days  health related observances and awarenesses, food themes,  conservation topics, weather related themes. discovery and disaster anniversaries, and even more!  (See right sidebar for the current month’s list or use the search bar to access other months.)

For an example of how many science themed lessons are possible from a typical Special Days list,  here’s what some of the August themed science study choices are.

  • Botony – Cactus, Daffodil,
  • Anatomy – Eyes
  • Chemistry – Gold, Nuclear Tests, Salt
  • Health – Immunization, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Fresh Breath, Sarcoidosis, Relaxation,
  • Geology with Labs – Water Quality, Sand, Wind, Mt. Vesuius (earthquakes),
  • Zoology – Catfish, Sea Serpent , Lion,  Lizard, Elephant, Honey Bee, Orangutan, Mosquito, Whale Shark
  • Nutrition, Growing information, and Facts – Coffee, Kiwifruit,Orange, Peach, Papaya, Potato, Zucchini
  • Astronomy with Labs- Solar Eclipse, Meteor Showers, Echo 1, Viking 1 &2, Gemini 5, Pluto
  • Scientist/Inventors/Inventions/Discoveries/Technology – Escalator, Pierre Charles L’Enfant, Neil Armstrong, Mimeograph Machine, Marvin Minsky, Florence Merriam Bailey, Phonograph, Wrench, Aviation, Canals, Roller Coaster, Radio, Lionel Cowen, Lee DeForest, Antoine Lavoisier, Carl Bosch, Charles Franklin Kettering,  Waffle Iron, Kinetoscope, 1st Solar Power Car, Slinky.

I absolutely do not expect to cover all of those science themes and days. I will have to narrow it down as I work on our weekly plans.  Some of our choices will not be a complete study but will be quick review discussion of past lessons. Others might be as simple as an online search of images or video or a definition while other science days will include more in-depth lessons and activities and could continue over several days.

Nearly all of our science lessons for the past 3 years have come from the ever growing Special Days lists. We check with our local library for books and videos. Also, a quick “Google” search will provide all kinds of ideas and resources for a DIY science study.  I highly recommend including the words ” for students”, “for kids”, or “lesson plans” to rule out search results that won’t be of much help to you.  Also, I will often include the word “free” in my search!

There are a few online resources that I tend to use over and over and I’ve listed those by topic below.

Scientists Biographies Resources:

Inventions Resources:

Resources for Animal Days (Zoology):

Resources for health related themes:

Chemistry –




  • Sky Guides                                                                            
  • Text, Videos, Games                                                                     
  • NASA Space Place                                                                                     

This post is actually ‘Part 4’ of a series in which I’m explaining how my family learns across the curriculum with topics selected from the Special Days list. For the series introduction click here. For Part 1,  how we use famous birthdays for biographies with resources, click here. And, Part 3 – geography with resources click here.   Part 4 – electives and extras will be coming soon!

betty jo






Special Days and Geography



Each month the Special Days list will include multiple opportunities for geography studies! (See right sidebar for the current month’s list or use the search bar to access other months.) Some months will have a “Heritage” theme. For example September is ” Hispanic Heritage”  so the countries of  Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America could be included in the month’s lesson plans.  Other geography lessons can be based on Statehood Anniversaries and Country Independence Days which are also included as entries in the Special Days posts. In fact, we just finished a study on The Bahamas that we began on their Independence Day  (July 10, 1973).

Both the kids and I look forward to our geography studies!     We generally include mapping activities, fun facts (natural resources, population, currency, landforms, etc.), event timeline, famous people, key words and phrases of the language or lingo, culture, music, art, landmarks, religion(s), holidays, unusual customs, a recipe, a video tour, a postcard art project, and occasionally another hands-on project.  We have a binder that we continue adding to as we learn about places.

Our local library has a good selection of books and DVD’s to help with geography studies. We also get a lot of our information from web searches using the country’s name and “travel tips.  I find it good advice to preview everything before sharing with your family!

Below is my online “go-to” list when preparing for a geography study.

We enjoy watching  “Geography Now” videos and will check there first when looking for ‘country’ videos.   We will usually find a virtual tour or travel guide on Youtube to watch, too. (When using the Youtube search bar, I will include the words “for students” or “for kids”. This saves me quite a bit of time previewing because bad language or an inappropriate image is less likely) .

“Get all sorts of information on any country including a map, a picture of the flag, population and much more!”

Maps and Facts

Geography Project Ideas

Around the World Craft Ideas                                                                                    

Country Notebooking Printables                                       

States Videos and Facts

States Notebooking Printables                                 

States Lapbook Printables             

Printable Maps                                                         

Blank Timeline Printables                                                      

I will often make a wordsearch or crossword puzzle to include with a country study.

Christian Resources and Prayer Projects for Country Studies

Recipe Collection from Around the World for Families                                                                   

Foreign Language Courses                                                                 

As I’ve said before, I love combining several subjects into one topic!  I keep a daily journal and subject checklist and will often be able to checkoff Geography, History, Art/Music Appreciation and Application, Cultures, Religion,  and various sciences such as Zoology, Geology, Botany during a week long (or longer) geography based study.

Language Arts naturally fits into a geography study with the subjects of

  • Reading Comprehension,
  • Vocabulary,
  • Foreign Language
  • Composition and Penmanship

Math lessons are easily added to a geography study.

  •  Figuring travel time and costs to visit,
  • Calculate currency conversions.,
  • Use map key measurements to calculate distances from home to the place being studies
  • Graphing a map
  • Half a recipe or cook for a party
  • Temperature ranges and averages
  • Statistics  –  Population, Gross National Income, %’s, and graphs
  • Math usages from data – tallest mountains, sea level heights, river widths/lengths, area in square miles  and/or meters.
  • Anything with numbers that comes up during  a Special Days – Geography study.

(This post is actually ‘Part 3’ of a series in which I’m explaining how my family learns across the curriculum with topics selected from the Special Days list. For the series introduction click here. For Part 2  how we use famous birthdays for biographies with resources, click here. And, Part 4, science studies click here).

betty jo




Special Days in August, 2017

The 2017 August calendar has loads of special days!  The following list is made up of August’s holidays, observances, food themes, awareness days , famous birthdays, science and historic based anniversaries, and more.  So, if you want an occasion to celebrate, pick up some trivia, or add foods to your menu, this is the right place for you. And, of course you’ll find multiple opportunities for “on the calendar” themed studies for your family, classroom, homeschool,  co-op/support group, or club.

You will find an easy to print PDF of the list at the bottom of this post.

Special Days and Biographies

I’ve been asked several times, “How exactly do you teach from your Special Days lists?”  The answer to that comes in multi-parts, but usually starts with “Biographies, lots of biographies!”

Every Special Days list includes birthdays of famous people throughout history.  I’ll ask the boys what they know about that author/artist/scientist/historical figure/religious leader.  If they are not familiar with him/her, we’ll do biography study!  Some days we only have a brief discussion about the person, or a review if we had studied him or her in the past couple of years.  Other days we will go more in depth and I’ll include reading resources, videos, and quotes into the lessons.  Some biography studies can be finished in a couple of hours.  Some biography studies catch a bigger interest and I won’t stop the study until that interest is satisfied, even if it means having to cancel my other special days lesson plans for a week or more.  Whoever we miss, we can try to catch next year or the year after when their special day happens again.

This past school year we started notebooking some of our biography studies and plan to continue with this for the upcoming school year.   We arranged the pages in a timeline order and as the notebooks fill up, we can start a new one.  However, the boys prefer projects over notebooking, so we’ll do some of each.

Below is my “go-to” resource list for online resources for biographies, how-to’s, and notebooking printables.  Also, our local library has a wonderful collection of biographies and Youtube has many video biographies suitable for children and youths, so don’t forget to check those when you are looking for resources.

Alternatives to Writing Biographies  –  Biography Project Ideas 

Lesson Plans for 6 sessions of the “Writer’s Workshop  – The Biographical Sketch”

How to Write a Biography  –                                                 

100+ Biographies and Printables (These are short and written for younger readers, however older students will find these helpful as a starting place when researching a historical person.  Also the printables are a useful for work samples for portfolios or history based notebooks)

Artists Biographies  –                                                       

Composer Biographies with Music Selections                         

Kid Safe Scientist Biographies Resources-                                         

President Biographies Resources  –

Church Leaders, Missionaries, Hymn Writers, and Evangelists Biographies

Kid Safe Online Encyclopedia  –  

1000’s of Biography E-books to download or read online

When we write biographies, we generally include the person’s birth and death dates, where they were from, a childhood fact or two, and their accomplishments as adults including spouse and children.  We will usually add a quote to the notebooking page, too.

Biography Notebooking Printables from The Notebooking Fairy






Timeline Facts

For Any Person 

Inventors (from Homeschool Share)

Missionaries  (from the Proverbial Homemaker)

Composers (from Homeschool Giveaways)

Portraits of Historical Figures (public domain)  for when we want a photo to print off for the notebooking page                                         

Sometimes we’ll look over a history timeline to get the idea of what was going on in the world during our subject’s life.                                                   

In accordance with my state’s homeschooling regulations, I keep a daily subject checklist.  On biography days I will check off the relevant History/Science/Art/Music and Reading Comprehension boxes. And, if we made a notebooking page I’ll check off Composition and Penmanship, too.  Don’t you just love it when one topic can cover multiple subjects!

And every now and then we’ll bake and decorate a birthday cake because …

I’d love to hear how you go about biography studies!  Please share about them in the comments.

(This post is actually ‘Part 2’ of a series in which I’m explaining how my family learns across the curriculum with topics selected from the Special Days list.  For the series introduction, Special Days and the Evolution of Morning Calendar Time, click here. For Part 3, Special Days and Geography click here. For Part 4, Special Days and Science click here)

betty jo








Special Days and the Evolution of Morning Calendar Time


Like many other homeschooling families and classrooms worldwide, we used the calendar as part of our early learning activities.   Calendars are the best way to learn the name of the months and days of the week.  Counting down to holidays and birthdays were some of our earliest math lessons. “Morning Calendar Time” was often the highlight of our homeschooling day.  When we started calendar learning with our second child, we added a few things for our oldest, such as the month’s name origin, gemstone, and prominent constellations.  And, this type of calendar learning continued on through the preschool years of children three, four, and five.  Cross curricular and multi- level unit studies of seasons and holidays were extensions from that “Morning Calendar Time” and were something we all looked forward to as we would break from our regular learning.

Then one August morning,  Joshua (child #4) was rather distraught about the lack of a family birthday or holiday being on our calendar.  Our local homeschool support group did not have a party or field trip scheduled for August either. He was so disappointed. There was nothing “special” to look forward to.   His unhappiness was contagious.

At that time, the older children were working on a study of the Middle Ages so we began adding the birthdates of the people we were learning about to the calendar. Then one day, we stumbled upon a food calendar so we added food days to our calendar (and often to our shopping list and menu) and nutrition studies to our schooling.

In September of the next year, we learned that there was a “Talk Like a Pirate Day”! Of course we added that to our calendar and lesson plans. Soon we were discovering odd and unusual holidays for every month. No longer was Joshua going to be sad during morning calendar time because there weren’t special days. In fact, we had collected so many special days, the wall calendar didn’t have enough room for us to accommodate them all! Thus, a Special Days list was started!

The following year we were focusing our studies on US History.  We added presidents, explorers, and patriots birthdays and statehood anniversaries to our list. We also included the opening and dedication dates of state parks and monuments. War related dates were put on the list as well. The following year as we were learning about world cultures and religions, we were able to add their holidays to our special days collection.

A friend, knowing our building interest of  calendar studies, gifted us with an educational activity book that was based off of authors, artists, and composer birthdays. The book also listed the dates for invention patents and historical events.  Yes, you guessed it!  Many of those dates were put on our list!

It was never my intention to turn our Morning Calendar time into a full curriculum, but that is what  happened. Every month offers so many holidays, famous persons birthdays, foods, statehood anniversaries, historic and scientific anniversaries,  foreign nations heritages observances, health related observances,  wildlife  and conservation awareness days, arts, music, and physical activities that we’ve been able to learn more than enough to cover nearly all of our core subjects and elective studies!  Some days we’re even able to incorporate a math lesson with the special day!

This upcoming school year will be our 4th year of having nearly all of our learning coming from the calendar!  We are not even close to exhausting the educational possibilities based on the monthly Special Days lists. And, we are still making it longer! Starting  July, 2017, the updated Special Days lists will included foreign country Independence Days and National Days.

The current month’s Special Days list and resource collections are always accessible from the right side bar of my blog page. Other months can be found by an archive search or search bar (also in the right margin). The lists are updated often.

Along with my friend, Fran from Funschooling, I hostess a Facebook group based on fun learning activities for seasonal themes and special days. You can request to join Fun Days Homeschooling Co-op here. We’d love to have you!

“How do you make your Special Days lists your curriculum?” is a question I hear often.  I’m planning a blog series, “Special Days and …” to answer that “how” question for each subject along with  resources and ideas.

Special Days and Biographies –   How to with resource list

Special Days and Geography  –  How to with resource list

Special Days and Science    –  How to with resource list

I have co-authored an Activity Companion for learning with August’s and September’s Special Days. An October Activity Companion is in the works!

How do you use the Special Days list in your classroom or homeschool?  I’m looking forward to your responses!  And, if you have questions, let me have those too!

betty jo