Every year I update what we’re doing for curriculum that year. You can view previous years here: Kindergarten, Senior Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade or 2nd Grade, Third Grade, and Fourth Grade.
This year I have a new first grader. So I’m giving you our first grade curriculum list. This is my 4th time doing first grade, but every time it’s different!
My first grader is a typical six year old who’s a bit of a rough-and-tumble girl. She’s active, tom-boyish, and not as strong academically as her older sisters. My girl is a sweet, pig-tailed bouncy child, who wants to give the world to those she loves. So the trick this year will be to capture her attention for learning.
First Grade Curriculum Changes
Miss 6 really struggled with her kindergarten year — not because she couldn’t do it, but for a lot of circumstantial reasons. One being that I had another baby! So I wasn’t able to work with her the way I had my older children. And she isn’t as interested in reading and stories the way her older sisters are. So learning letters and sounds wasn’t really something she wanted to spend a lot of time on.
With all that said, she’s still reading. She’s not an independent reader, but she understands more than she wants to admit. For every new reader, there’s a moment that the concept of reading clicks, and that moment hasn’t happened for her yet.
So working with that, my first grader will be continuing to work on our kindergarten phonics curriculum, along with some other kindergarten concepts, just to make sure we’ve got them down.
For first grade, my goals have always been to cement those reading skills and make sure that by the end of first grade, my girls are comfortable reading independently, with some fluency. And as part of that, I encourage my girls to write, without worrying about spelling, grammar or sentence structure. We do copywork and narration, along with a lot of drawing to develop the habit of writing.
Phonics & Reading
Before we can start spelling, we have to master phonics. I’m using FunFonix, Reader Rabbit, and Rod & Staff language programs. By using multiple approaches, and frequent, short activities, we get lots of practice.
Later this year, we’ll start the BJU Reading 1 program, with a guided reader set and a worktext.
We do copywriting and journalling to begin writing. I print off copywork pages from a variety of websites, and sometimes I create my own using this site: Worksheet Generator. And I love Handwriting without Tears for teaching letter formation. We just use the workbooks rather than the full program though.
My first grader has been working through prenumeracy skills with curriculum from The Critical Thinking Company, so we’re finishing up those. I like this books because they offer lots of practice in counting, geometry, patterns and same/different. They’re colorful and easily accessible too.
Skills we’re focusing on this year include counting, beginning addition and subtraction, fact families, and beginning skip counting. We’ll also work on shapes, colors, patterns, sizes and comparing, along with a little bit in graphing and probability.
For our first grade curriculum in math, I’m using Math Mammoth Level 1 this year. Math Mammoth is a digital printable complete curriculum that is mastery based. And I love it because it’s largely self-teaching, as a self-contained worktext. You don’t need any separate text books, manipulatives, DVDs or anything else to use this program.
For our first grade year, we start history. We’ll look at our country, province and local area. I like using Donna Ward’s Canada my Country and Courage and Conquest worktexts, along with this Canada lapbook from Hands of a Child.
Because our history will be concentrating on Canada, we’re using Canadian mapping books to work through basic mapping skills. This Canada Map Book, along with some free workbooks I’ve collected over the years on Currclick (no longer in existance, sadly!) form the basis of my first grade geography curriculum.
For our science first grade curriculum, we’re starting with Space. We’ll look at the stars and planets, the solar system and the universe as a whole. And we’ll explore the manned missions into space as well.
Again, I like the lapbooks from Hands of a Child and A Journey Through Learning. We’re also including a visit to a zoo, a dinosaur museum, and some virtual tours of natural history museum exhibits.
We’re continuing art studies with some paper craft books from Abeka. The Art Projects 1 is a complete art project book, with only the minimal amount of extra supplies needed.
I like paper crafts, because they tend to be self-contained with minimal prep, but still cover a wide variety of art techniques. I’ve picked up a few paper craft books from book stores and thrift stores along the way.
This year, my first grader, third grader and one of my other daughters are in a community choir. They have weekly rehearsals and practice every day. The choir teaches them the basics of rhythm, pitch, some note reading and music terms, as well as musicality and harmony.
Since we are a Christian homeschooling family, I do cover a Bible curriculum.
List of books and reviews:
Here’s a brief list of our third grade curriculum, linked to where you can find more detail about these books.
- BJU Reading 1 Adventures in Reading
- Math Mammoth 1
- Canada My County
- Courage and Conquest
- Canada Mapping Book
- Rod & Staff Phonics 1
- Astronomy and Space Unit Study
- Exploring Space
- Space Exploration
- Exploring Nearby Space
- Advanced Astronomy
- Rod & Staff Bible & Reading Nurture Series 1