Saturday, April 25, 2015

Curriculum I used for First Grade with my Second Son


When I was homeschooling, I never prepared info on what curriculum I used with my children each year.  Here are some of the major things I used with my younger son for first grade:

We began our day with the Pledge of Allegiance and the Lord's Prayer until my son learned the meaning of the words in those and the meaning of each of them as a whole.  In other years we started our day with Bible work.  You could start your day with any sort of memory work, music, etc.

For our Bible time, I used a variety of things, including DK's First Book of Bible Stories.  It used to come with a CD.  Now it looks like they are sold separately.

Product Details               

We also used a lot of Wee Sing that year.


Curriculum I used with my first grader:  Language Arts:


(This is the new edition.)  This program is very basic and was originally developed for illiterate adults.  It involves lots of directions to write out the words, etc. that is not necessary with little ones.  It is not full of full-color pictures, etc. but should honestly only take up about 5 minutes of time per day to read one or two of the "windows" of words, which will all be in the same word family.  Supplement this with colorful, fun workbooks and/or flashcards and beginning readers, once the child gets a little way into the program, such as Bob books, etc.  This will provide all the color you need!  Also, don't forget to reward the hard effort of beginning readers by reading a book to them after they finish!

The very best part of this program, other than that it is direct, simple, and effective, is that that it is CHEAP.  Many phonics programs cost hundreds of dollars, but not this one!

I utilized some phonics workbooks, such as Reader Rabbit and 100 Words Every First Grader Should Know, etc. with this.  My favorite phonics workbook, I think, is The Complete Book of Phonics, if you can still find it.

Various phonics readers, such as Scholastic, Bob books, Rookie Read About Science books, etc.



Getty Dubay Italic - we used both book A and B during this year.

This is a nice handwriting program, especially for boys.  It is easier for them to write Italic cursive than other forms of cursive.  It is also good for any children who have mechanical problems with writing.   We did two books because the first one involved less writing and I wanted my child to have more writing practice.  The books are not long enough to provide one page per day for a full 180 day school year.

First Language Lessons 1

I did like levels 1 and 2 of this book, written by Jessie Wise, but I later tried to use the level 3 (written by someone else) and absolutely hated it!  The dictation exercises in this provide your "writing" practice for the year.


We used both level A and B during this year of Modern Curriculum Press Spelling Workout.


This program has a worksheet for each day and then you test on Fridays.  As you progress through the books, it really becomes a very nice word study.  We did two books early, while the words were easier, so that we could finish up the 8 book series by the end of sixth grade.  We did a book and a half each of the next two years, and then one book each year for the rest of the time.

Our Literature readings for the year were usually tied in some way to our history, although we also read a lot of books related to our science study of biology (primarily animals).  We talked throughout the year about the difference between fiction, non-fiction, realistic fiction and non-fiction topics narrated by fictional characters (such as Ms. Frizzle)....  We also talked about how folktales, mythology, fairy tales, etc. got started and about how some stories were meant to teach a lesson or impart a moral (Aesop's)....

My reading lists for history and literature, as well as science and geography, can be found here on the blog in other posts or pages.


I used Saxon Math 1.  I found it very repetitive and cumbersome.  I would never use it again.  At the time, lots of people were using two math programs together.  I had used Singapore with my older son and thought I would add this for the younger one.  It was really unnecessary.

I thought Saxon would help me cover all the "morning math" type topics, but I actually preferred other workbooks for that. 

Singapore is an EXCELLENT math program!  It builds an understanding of math that will be important for higher level maths, later.  We actually worked through both Singapore 1 and 2 this year.

Lots of additional workbooks and/or supplies are needed for elementary maths.  Measuring sticks, counters, blocks for practicing place value, some sort of scale, geometry products such as tangrams and geoboards, clocks, money, etc.

One other workbook I used all year:

Here are some additional ideas for first grade math:


Spanish for Children                           (workbook for reinforcement)

I also used Spanish flashcards to help with learning vocab.


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