Are you thinking about next year's curriculum choices yet? Our school year kicked off down here in New Zealand a few months ago, and I'm here to share our first grade homeschool curriculum picks. Hope you are able to find a bit of inspiration!
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Math is one of those subjects that parents agonize over. Am I ruining their life by not providing a rigorous enough math curriculum? Am I expecting too much from my child? I understand. I agonized too, but then I settled on the U.S. edition of Singapore Math. Singapore Math has been a really good fit for The Middle Girl and we chose to continue to use it this year.
We started her formal math learning with Early Bird Kindergarten Math (also from Singapore Math). Early Bird made the transition into 1A very easy, and we most likely could have moved straight into 1B. We use 1A as a review and will move into 1B and 2A this year. Fingers crossed it continues to work well for us!
The Middle Girl was a reluctant reader before we found The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. After a couple of fails with other programs, I read several reviews for The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading and decided to give it a try. I am SO glad I did because it is a perfect fit for us. It makes her happy because the lessons are short and it makes me happy because it is a solid phonics-based reading program. We will continue to work through it along with her reading aloud to us for 30 minutes each day.
This year Zaner-Bloser Manuscript is still the focus. I did buy the first-grade handbook to reinforce and provide some extra practice, but copywork will be the main form of practice. Copywork is built into some of our other first grade homeschool curriculum picks, but I may swap it up and use our read-aloud books to choose selections.
First Language Lessons is our first grade homeschool curriculum choice for grammar. First Language Lessons is an oral grammar program so The Middle Girl can focus on grammar and not her handwriting. First Language Lessons covers memory work, narration, and eventually incorporates a bit of copywork.
I love how the lessons are both thorough and brief! It does require parental input, but the fact that it is open and go cuts down on the amount of time we spend completing it.
Writing with Ease goes along with First Language Lessons and gently introduces children to writing and reading comprehension. Copywork, narration, and exposure to good selections of literature are the focus of the Writing with Ease program. It also reinforces the lessons taught in First Language Lessons.
Writing with Ease is scripted and focuses on learning the parts of writing versus creative exploration. I purchased both the guide and the student workbook. The guide explains HOW to teach writing throughout the years. The workbook complements the book.
Since I do want to provide a creative outlet for my children, Brave Writer elements are brought into our home and we do Jot It Down! family writing projects.
Now that The Middle Girl is reading well, Spelling Workout has been added into our first grade homeschool curriculum. The plan is for us to breeze through Spelling Workout A and move into Spelling Workout B later in the year.
Spelling Workout is a phonics-based program, so it will tie in nicely with her other curricula. Spelling is not combined with the other parts of her language arts because I am a firm believer in little ones being able to focus on one thing at a time.
Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding is a very thorough science program that may be unfamiliar to you. BFSU was chosen because it is comprehensive, aligns with Next Generation Science Standards, and goes beyond other science programs I have looked into.
Each book covers multiple grades and explores all branches of science, unlike most science programs. At first glance, BFSU may make you feel overwhelmed, but there is a companion guide (Early Elementary Science Education) available to makes it more open and go.
We also have a Mystery Science subscription that is a fun add-on to our science studies. If you have not looked into Mystery Science, I highly suggest you do so. My kids all love it!
History & Geography
Is there a classical homeschool family who uses anything other than the Story of the World? We're certainly no exception and have eased into Volume 1: Ancient Times. I did purchase the workbook because it has book suggestions and fun projects. I also have Evan-Moor History Pockets that we will use.
Volume 1 will take over a year to complete because I want my kids to be able to enjoy history. Art, music, and some geography will hopefully be tied in, too. Will it work out? We'll see.
Evan-Moor Beginning Geography is our first grade homeschool curriculum pick for geography. We will cover map skills, landforms and bodies of water, and continents and oceans.
Our art program is an eclectic hodgepodge of things I think the kids will enjoy. Like I said before, I plan to tie art in with history when possible. Art is a combination of picture studies and hands-on art projects to keep it fun.
Honestly, I get anxiety about art. All I can think about is the MESS!! I have to remind myself kids explore and learn through messy play. Messes can be cleaned up.
Music is much like art, minus the anxiety. We do a bit of this and a bit of that. Mainly I plan to expose all of my kids to a wide variety of music to build appreciation. We will also research the composers of The Middle Girl's ballet class music, to make them relevant to her.
PE is not a subject in our house. Our children run around and play outside. They do not need a formal program. Kids just need the chance to be kids.
Ballet is a big part of our daily routine. The Middle Girl stretches and practices ballet each day and takes ballet classes twice a week.
Interest-based unit studies are another extra planned into our homeschool. Child-led studies are crucial in our homeschool because it gives the kids a sense of ownership in their education. First on our list is animals!
1st Grade Curriculum Choices Overview
- Math - Singapore Math U.S. Edition
- Reading - The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading
- Handwriting - Zaner-Bloser Manuscript and copywork
- Grammar - First Language Lessons 1
- Writing - Writing with Ease and Brave Writer Jot it Down! projects
- Spelling - Spelling Workout A & B
- Science - Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding and Mystery Science
- History & Geography - Story of the World Volume 1 and Evan-Moor's Beginning Geography
- Art - Mix n' Match Combination of picture studies and fun projects
- Music - Mix n' Match Combination of appreciation through exposure and relevant composer studies
- Extras - Free-play outside, ballet, logic, and interest-based unit studies
I hope I have inspired you to explore new first grade homeschool curriculum picks for next year or even this year. For first grade curriculum with religion added in, check out this post from Mercer Homeschooling. And, if your homeschool needs a new approach, click here to read the Refresh Your Homeschool Series. Make sure to sign up for the weekly newsletter for more inspiration!