Friday, July 9, 2010

First Grade Curriculum

I've been wanting to write this post for a while, but I'm finally getting a chance to sit down and do it.

For this next school year, I purchased Homeschool Tracker Plus to help me plan and organize school. It took a bit of time to get it started, but so far I really like it! I was able to download some lesson plans and tweak them, and creating my own lesson plans was pretty simple. I really like their online forums as well...I can even get a daily email of the topics discussed. This program should be useful for all the kids throughout their schooling.

I will say that we are following a classical model of schooling and we use The Well-Trained Mind for the basic structure of classes and curriculum, with some changes.

We will be using the following curriculum:
  • Bible--Grapevine's Level 2 Old Testament Overview
  • Language Arts: Writing--Writing with Ease Level 1. Thanks to the advice of a friend, I just bought the workbook and not the text. I also went to Peace Hill Press's site and downloaded the workbook pages so that I could print them off instead of copy them. If you do this, you still want to buy the workbook because it tells you what to do each day in addition to including the worksheets.
  • Language Arts: Spelling--Spelling Workout A and B
  • Language Arts: Reading--lessons 141-end of Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading. We went through lessons 1-140 last year. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't have necessarily stopped at lesson 140, but just stopped whereever we landed at the end of the school year (after 140 preferably). Susan Wise Bauer recommends getting at least to that lesson by the beginning of first grade. Finishing this won't take us the whole school year. We also will be supplementing with Sonlight's reader's list for first grade...we're using the Reader's 2 schedule. We already started with The Beginner's Bible a little this summer because Aidan has caught the reading bug.
  • Langauge Arts: Grammar--First Language Lessons 1
  • Language Arts: Handwriting--Handwriting Without Tears My Printing Book. We are not using the teacher's guide this year. I really think we COULD use a regular handwriting program this year since Aidan is doing so much better with his writing, but we opted to stay with the familiar and let him go through just the workbook at his own pace. He doesn't seem to need the extra activities for fine motor that the teacher's guide gives.
  • Math--Saxon Math 2. We had a difficult time by the end of Saxon Math 1. Math often brings tears in this house. We decided to stay with Saxon one more year at least and try to change things up a bit as far as what manipulatives to use. Aidan is excited to start math again, which is encouraging!
  • History--Story of the World 1: Ancient Times. I am super excited about this. We're actually starting history a couple of weeks early because there are so many chapters and because I want to beat the rush to the library for some of the supplementary books for each chapter. I also bought the workheet pack for level 1 on their site so I can just print out the worksheets I needed instead of copying them. I have an older edition of the workbook, and the pdfs are the newer edition and much nicer.
  • Science--Apologia's Zoology 1: Flying Animals of the 5th Day. I am excited that Apologia has now made Notebooking Journals for each of their elementary science books! We are looking forwarding to studying bugs and birds and such.
  • Literature--Sonlight's Read-Aloud books for first grade. I have collected all of these through Paperback Swap over the last year. I'm already starting to collect the 2nd grade books. We loved the books from last year. We are supplementing with books listed for first grade in WTM; these go with the history curriculum. We are also pulling a few from Ambleside Online's literature books.
  • Art and Music--Harmony Fine Arts First Grade. We're using the option 2 group in Art.
  • Health/Character--Generations of Virtue has a curriculum for Preschool-Grade 4, and we will gradually use that this year. I don't have any of the books, so I added them to my PBS wish list and will also check the library.

For PE, Aidan will continue with taekwondo. Over the summer both kids have been in swim lessons, and we will decide soon whether to keep them in it or not.

We also have the chance to join a local co-op, which meets once every 2 weeks for the morning. We just sent in our registration for it, so we're hoping to get our first choice of classes.

I also gathered together the worksheets for each subject that uses them for the whole year. I divided them into six-week groupings and then paperclipped each week's workheets. I store them in file folders for each set of six weeks. (So I have bible, history, math, and writing clipped together for each week.) I know we will get off of that pre-planned schedule, but I have all the stuff printed off and ready to go. I got the idea for this here, though we will not be saving the worksheets after the fact in this way like she mentions. Instead, we'll file them in 3-ring notebooks per WTM.

We're making a timeline this year!! I'm using Homeschool in the Woods Timeline CD and we'll make a timeline that includes history and bible combined. I made a test timeline myself this past week and I'm really glad I did!! I did it in 2 evenings for the whole year, and now I'll be going through and marking which figures go with which chapters. I did a notebook timeline, in case you want to try to do this too. I think when we don't have little ones, I will graduate to a wall timeline, but I'm afraid Iona might try to pull stuff off the wall right now.


  1. Came over to check out the t-shirts and couldn't help but check this post out! I love to see what other people are doing :) Have to give you a heads up on Apologia. First, I love it! Second, I used Zoology 1 with two first graders, one third grader. Not realizing (until I was discussing issues with Shari Dragovich) that they write the textbooks in order of Creation and difficulty/learning level. As I worked through the first weeks the projects seemed hard (discussing physics of flight...ahem) and Shari mentioned that Astronomy wasn't like that at all. Anyway, we ended up putting it away and did Astronomy this year--even looking at the book thickness was a 'duh' moment! So much FUN stuff to do and VERY on level for all of my kids (now second and fourth grade). Doing Botany this year and will hit Zoology 1 again next year. Maybe you already knew this-but it would have saved me a few weeks of struggling to explain things that were written for older students. I just picked what I thought they would most enjoy (animals vs space?)...anyway--your schedule looks amazing, I love SOTW, sonlight, WTM, etc. All such good stuff!!
    happy learning :)

  2. try fonts for teachers for handwriting and you will see how your life changes
    Julie Wu
    Special Ed. Teacher