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My 6 year old daughter is our First Grade student this year! She’s very excited about the First Grade and I’m looking forward to being her teacher!
A little background: Some of these curriculum choices will not seem like “traditional” First Grade choices. If you’ve been homeschooling for any length of time, you understand that one of the beauties of homeschooling is tweaking curriculum to each individual child. (I love that part!)
My 6 year old needed a little longer to learn how to read. And I would not yet say that she is an independent reader at this stage. During this first month of this school year, my focus with her is an intense study of phonics and practice, practice, practice with reading.
So far, so good. 🙂
I have many things up my sleeve to help my daughter achieve reading success.
The biggest thing? Time.
Time reading with me and then her dad. Time to play phonics games and a couple of phonics file folder games. Time to sit with her and review phonics rules. Time to read quality children’s literature.
We’re only in our second week of school and we’ve already seen great success! We just needed to wait until she was ready. 🙂
First Grade Calendar Notebook
During our first weeks of school, my daughter has loved her notebook. Her ability to tell time has sky-rocketed with working on the clock page each day.
We work on the Calendar Notebooks the first 5-15 minutes of school each morning.
First Grade Phonics and Reading Curriculum
During this first grade year, my daughter is going to finish All About Reading Level 1 and then continue on with All About Reading Level 2. She only has about 12 Steps before she is finished with Level 1 and then we’ll head into Level 2.
The approach of All About Reading has been just right for her: gentle and lots of opportunity for reinforcement. The word cards are her favorite activity in school!
I’ll write a review of this curriculum as we get a little further along in the school year.
We’re also slowly starting All About Spelling Level 1. She loves the letter tiles and segmenting words. I adore All About Spelling (it’s one of my favorite curricula!) and I can already tell it’s going to be a wonderful fit for her.
Also, we use Horizon’s Phonics for Kindergarten. Yes, we are using the ‘Kindergarten’ curriculum and pretending there is not a big ‘K’ on the cover. 😉
My first grader needs some more work with nailing down those letter sounds and this is a thorough way to achieve that practice.
Because I can tweak it to my child’s needs, we can skip the parts of those lessons that don’t focus specifically on phonics. We skip the handwriting piece and also any drawing pictures. She gets those types of activities in other ways.
First Grade Handwriting
I was not a Handwriting Without Tears fan in my very early years of homeschooling, but I’m now a very happy convert. 🙂
I paid to attend a Handwriting Without Tears seminar in my area and WOW was it so beneficial. Even though HWT is meant for the classroom setting, I walked away with wonderful new strategies for teaching handwriting.
Mostly, I walked away with an understanding of why it’s important to teach handwriting.
I had some concerns as to teaching her correct handwriting since she is a lefty and was starting to turn her wrist. Of course HWT gave us great strategies to fix that and her handwriting is now on the path to wonderful.
I totally attribute that success to Handwriting Without Tears!
First Grade Math
Over the past 3 years, I’ve tried a couple of math curricula and I come back to Singapore Math every time. I absolutely love the learning approach of Singapore. Children are taught the why behind particular math concepts instead of teaching them rote facts. It’s so important to know the principles behind place value or simple arithmetic and not just memorize facts.
We also have a lot of fun with our hundreds boards and the accompanying activities. We also still use a lot of math manipulatives: counting animals, Math-U-See’s cubes, math cubes, printable number cards, and more.
First Grade Science
My daughter has shown a real interest in science and I want to feed that as much as I can. This year, she is tagging along with her older brother as we study Chemistry.
She also uses my science-themed resource packets. She’s hugely interested in rocks and minerals so that will take up some of our learning time this year. She’s also interested in the rainforest and the ocean, so watch for those topics to come soon if you’re a Member at Mama’s.
First Grade History
Clara enjoys listening to our history reading, so she’ll join us as we read through the books in Tapestry of Grace Year 3.
As she becomes a more proficient reader, she’ll be assigned some notebooking pages or a lapbook to complete. But for now, she’s only listening as we complete our weekly reading.
We try to do a hands-on activity that is history related once a week and those are always a treat for her! She loves a project!
Art Class – Chalk Pastels
Chalk pastels. Oh my – so much fun! We completed our first chalk pastel last week and it was such a fun time for all of us.
Our goal is to complete one chalk pastel every other week. Interestingly, my daughter has marked on the calendar those days the they are scheduled. She’s a crafty soul and just loves creating them!
For our chalk pastel studies, we are using A Simple Guide to Chalk Pastels and Chalk Pastels Through the Seasons, both from Southern Hodgepodge. The quality and descriptions in each tutorial make them so easy to follow! I have a full review of these chalk pastel ebooks that I can’t wait to share with you!
Are you using any of the same curriculum this school year? Or have you used it in years past? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment!