Throughout last year, I began writing and developing a curriculum that would fit her first grade year and beyond. Something more structured, but not so structured that she wanted to kill me. And I wanted to share it with you. In fact, I'm thinking about writing up a "Grade 1: Complete Curriculum" book that gives you 180 days of lessons with the info and worksheets...but I don't know if anybody would want them. Does anybody read this anyways :) Before I do that though, I would like to outline how I am homeschooling my daughter for first grade.
Our curriculum is broken up into quarters. Each quarter focuses on a different subject in science and history. For example, in quarter 1, we are focusing on physical science and early American history. On the other hand, reading, writing, and math are year-long subjects that progress alongside these subjects. Reading, writing and spelling are accomplished through reading independently, reading aloud, writing essays, and copywork. Art and music are done daily, but we don't schedule them.
She is being educated in history and literature by reading books. We do not use textbooks per say; I did buy We Live Together, a second grade textbook and workbook by Macmillan, and Science by Harcourt, but only as guides (they really help with the planning out of what gets taught and when). We read the books in my house or go to the library and check out books based on what we are learning.
School starts at 9:30 AM and ends at 12:30 PM each day. Sometimes we go over this, but I try and keep the formal education portion of her day limited to three hours. During these hours, my daughter completes her math lesson, grammar lesson, spelling lesson, reads independently for 30 minutes, writes one page in her journal, and history/science. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, we spend some time with science, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we do history. This all can change based on our schedule, but I do aim for consistency with math, reading, and writing.
Now, throughout the day, we do a lot of reading that isn't placed into this schedule. For example, this year, we are reading one chapter per day from the U.S. History Series...that isn't counted in our formal education because I want reading to be thought of as a fun and engaging approach to learning.
A schedule may look like this:
Monday -- Friday
9:30A-10:00A: Spelling and Grammar
11A-11:30A: Reads independently
11:30A-12PM: Writes one page in journal.
12PM-12:30PM: History or Science
After Lunch: Arts, crafts. free play, reading, going to the park...the kid plays until dinnertime.
Formal school doesn't happen on the weekends, but what we are learning definitely bleeds into our days. We walk to the garden plot to pull weeds, water, check on the plants. Depending on the weekends, we may go to a local festival or art show. Hiking always happens and that is a great way to apply science.
Language Arts: Reading and Writing
- Check out the First Grade page to get the resources
- Ordinary Parent's Guide to Reading: We are not starting at the beginning of this book, but during the first week of school, we are reviewing vowel sounds to gradually move back into a formal routine. I am using a free copy from the library. You don't have to buy this, as I will do my best to provide you with the daily instruction; however, if you are like me and NEED it in front of you, then I would pick it up...it's invaluable to your child's reading success.
To be sure that she gets the full scope of basic math, I am teaching her telling time and other exciting stuff with crafts. She's more hands on when it comes to that sort of stuff...something a book just won't cover. I will also have her do addition and subtraction facts daily until she's really got it.
I'm busy making a math workbook that I would be happy to share with you. Oh and I found the Saxon 5/4 and Saxon 1-3 as PDFs. Since I have access to a major printer, I'd be happy to give you a copy for really cheap (just the cost of production). Just email me and I will help you out.
BUT, I am also asking my daughter to keep a running list of interests that arise as we embark on these subjects. For example, we were talking about ecosystems the other day and she asked about ladybugs. I am no ladybug expert, so I asked her to write her question down in her journal. From now on, when she has a question that I cannot answer, then it will go into the notebook. During our weekly trip to the library, we will review her questions and find books that may have the answers...I feel by doing this, I am teaching her the art of investigative research. These books will be supplemental to the science textbook that I am using. Which, I will tell you about later, once I've have time to thoroughly review it myself. I won't promote something I haven't actually read or tried.
This is how our science will be broken up over the year:
Quarter 1: Physical Science(Fall)
Quarter 2: Earth Science (Mid-Fall through Early Winter)
Quarter 3: Biology/ Life Science (Winter)
Quarter 4: Astronomy(Spring)
Art and Music
Art happens every day here. There's no need for formal instruction as we covered color theory last year. Although, I may bring some art history books home from the library.