This has been a year of extreme interest in homeschooling! Several times a week, over the course of the summer, I have been asked, “What is the best curriculum for….?” I will be the first to tell you that there is no one right answer to that question. Each child is different, each family situation is different, and there are hundreds of wonderful curricula. However, I did want to share what we are using in case it benefits someone who is looking for good options.
There are so many great options, but I think it is important to remember that sometimes less is more when it comes to younger children. They need plenty of time to play and explore. They need to use their imaginations and learn from active life experiences. Even with our list of curricula for my first grader, he will only be doing about one to two hours of school each day.
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My son was very reluctant to start learning to read and so we held off until he showed more readiness. Over the summer we started the pre-reading level of All About Reading. It has been a really great fit for us. He was finally ready and willing to learn how to read and doing it over the summer allowed me to really be focused on him while my older children had a break from regular school work. We will finish that level around October and move right into level 1. In addition to All About Reading, he is going to use Reading Eggs for a little fun reinforcement. He adores getting on the computer to do reading eggs, can navigate the program himself, and earning the eggs seems to be highly motivational for him.
Next, he will be using MasterBooks Math For A Living Education. My daughter used the program for several years and we really find it to be a quality program and a great fit for our family. In addition to the math skills sheets, there is a story woven throughout the book which is engaging and also helps students understand how they use math in day to day life. The Level 1 story involves children at a farm which I think my son will really enjoy.
For science, he will be joining my daughter in a study of anatomy and physiology. As a seventh grader, I will expect much more from my daughter but I think they will enjoy the study together. We are using Apologia’s Anatomy and Physiology course as our spine. I think he will enjoy learning about the various parts of the body and it will be a good course for them to work through together. However, if I just had a first grader, I would probably choose a different book in that same series. The zoology ones are a lot of fun with younger children. This is the last one in the series that my daughter needed to complete and he will go through the series over the course of his elementary years.
For history this year our family is going to study ancient history. My son and daughter will be using Story of the World Volume 1. My high school student will also study ancient history but using a high school level course through SchoolhouseTeachers.com. I have found that the short, story style lessons and the fun projects really make Story of the World a great option for young learners.
For art, he will continue to work on lessons from You Are An Artist Chalk Pastels. He loves doing the lessons with nana and has progressed from her simple preschool lessons to being able to do some of her more advanced lessons. She has so much to choose from and we rotate between choosing lessons that align with what we are studying and just letting him pick lessons based on what looks like fun.
For music, he takes violin lessons from Practice Monkeys. We love this gentle and convenient approach to music lessons and looks forward to them each day. We have also been using a subscription to SQUILT Music over the summer for music appreciation and the children have asked to continue to us that program through the year. Each month there are two new ‘live’ lessons that are done virtually and introduce students to a new composer or musician. In addition, you can access all of the previous lessons as recording at any time.
He will be joining us for Bible study each day and our morning time which will include read alouds, hymn studies, and more. This will give him a good base while still allowing time for free play, field trips, and life learning.
What are your favorite first grade resources?
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Deals and Freebies
Free Makeover Your Morning 5 Day Challenge! This is a great way to help re-focus and get your day off on the right foot.
Harry The Happy Mouse (Free on Kindle)
Illustrated Would You Rather Book (Free on Kindle)
Enrichment Studies has a great free fine arts memory match game this month!
Free Help Your Child’s Memory Book from All About Learning Press!