I learned very recently that you can buy black contact paper.
This has been a very exciting discovery, because my life is obviously very limited, but I now have a chalkboard in my house. Right on my kitchen walls.
I was the kind of child who wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. I made up my own bulletin boards and hung them on the walls of my bedroom. My kitchen today is a messy bulletin board full of maps and kids' artwork and random articles, this and that. It helps that my kitchen is forty years old and really hasn't been updated and looks like.... Well, I wouldn't put a panoramic view of my kitchen up on pinterest, let me put it that way. But if I had a fancy kitchen, I might not be confident enough to turn it into a classroom either.
And now my decrepit kitchen has a chalkboard! And I didn't have to buy that really expensive chalkboard paint to make it happen.
Thank you black contact paper.
This first picture shows Mary and Lucy's section of the board. It's great, because every Saturday I just write up everyone's jobs with big boxes for them to check off (it is way more fun to make a check mark on the wall with chalk than on a piece of paper, and I'm not kidding about that). During the week, Mary and Calvin use their parts of the board to record new grammar rules they're learning and favorite sentences. They get ten cents for every word they memorize in their appointed foreign language—that's what those tic marks are on Mary's side. And I use the board to remind the kids of their laundry days and the color of cup they can use that day (because my kids go through cups like they are camels, they are always assigned a cup for the day—that's why Lucy's side says Green... It totally doesn't work, but it's a nice idea.)
Battle of the Books with picture books:
Boy, super fancy, huh! But it will function and that's what's important. I have most of these books books checked out from the library now. We've started to read them. As soon as we have read all the books in a particular bracket, we put a check mark by the title. Kids love to write things in chalk on a board. Even if it's just a check.
This hysterical book is already a favorite and it may just win the whole thing:
Bananas in my Ears by Michael Rosen.
Because we are such a deep family...