First Grade

  • First Grade Curricula 2012-2013



  • Singapore Primary  We will be starting up 1b and hopefully get through both levels on 2 this year.  You can see my reasoning for using two different math curricula hereMon, Tues, Wed, Thurs – 20 minute lesson.
  • Miquon Math – Fridays – 15 minute lesson.  Here is my reasoning for choosing two different math curricula.  Also, a must is the Lab Annotations for Teachers and First Grade Diary to familiarize yourself with this off-beat approach.   I also recommend a set of plastic non-connecting cuiseniare rods. You can read about my love for c-rods and Miquon here.
  • Math Play Day Games– to spice up our week and add a bit of variety to our lessons, we use Fridays after our Miquon lesson to focus on a math game.  This can be anything from a board game, computer game, app., living book, etc.

A couple of our favorite online math games are :

Timez Attack – a free online math-based computer game

Jumpstartan online learning virtual world


Reading / Phonics

  • Explode the Code – We’ll be finishing the series by the end of the year. Mira is currently on Book 6 out of 8.  You can read my review and follow up on this program.  Daily – 5 minute lesson.
  • Sustained Silent Reading – Mira uses an egg timer and sets it for 20 minutes for silent reading. She reads to herself while I work with her younger sisters on pre-k activities.  Mira is able to read whatever book she wishes.  She does this everyday for 20 minutes but I hope to increase it to 30 or even 45 min by the end of first grade. Daily – 20 minutes.
  • Read Aloud – I will continue reading aloud to my children nightly for as long as they live under my roof.  🙂  Aside from random picture or board books throughout the day, we read meatier chapter books at night right before bed.  At least two nights a week, I will ask Mira to read a few pages from our nightly read aloud.  It gives me a chance to work with her on things like fluency and following punctuation.  I hope to try to incorporate our nightly read alouds to coincide with our Story of the World history lessons by adding in historical living books.  Daily – varying times.

            Supplements used:

  • – I can not stress my LOVE for this website.  We utililized the free site (see free version here) exclusively for awhile but finally jumped in and purchased an annual subscription to their larger and more comprehensive site for roughly $30.  I consider it a sound investment.  More.Starfall. com has something for each of my children.  Even in First Grade Mira will be utilizing this site for the older readers and the ever-expanding math section.
  • All About Spelling – One of our favorite homeschooling resources.  Here’s one of my reviews.  Mira will be finishing up Level 3 shortly and then we’ll go right into Level 4.  Mon, Wed, Fri – 15-20 minute lesson.
  • Joy of Handwriting – We started cursive writing in Kindergarten because Mira kept asking to learn the “fancy” way of writing.  I spent ages researching different types of handwriting programs but finally settled with this ebook from Currclick.  I use this as our main program but add in personalized worksheets that correspond to some of our other subjects that I create using Startwrite.  You can read about our “fancy” writing progress here.  Daily – 5 min lesson.
Grammar & Memory Work / Writing / Vocabulary   
  • First Language Lessons  – Currently slotted for 2 days a week for 5 minutes per lesson.  I may increase this to 4 days a week as the school year progresses but only if Mira can comfortably memorize her passages and poems.  
  • Writing With Ease – I did pick up the optional WWE workbook which has all of the copywork and lessons already laid out.  I plan on using this but also substituting it with some specific passages from our read alouds in other subjects.  Tues, Thurs – 10 min lesson.
  • Word Box  Mira has such a good grasp vocabulary that I don’t really feel the need to continue to devote any additional time and energy to lessons at this stage.  I had already picked up Worldy Wise and may attempt it from time to time, but our main Vocabulary staple is our Word Box.  Each of my girls has an index box labeled alphabetically and whenever we hear or see an unfamiliar word, we look it up together and (depending on the age of the child) either write a definition or illustrate a picture. No designated time allotted- varies with books being read.
  • Vocabulary Power  I added this word-a-day calendar as part of our daily circle time.  The book suggests it’s for Grade 2 but with words like annoy, whistle, and amphibian I’m really wishing I had purchased the harder level.  Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri – a couple of minutes per lesson.
Foreign Language 
  • American Sign Language– We start ASL with my children when they are infants and toddlers, teaching them basic signs for a variety of words.  In Kindergarten we take the time to learn the ASL alphabet and include it in our morning ABC songs.  For first grade I plan on adding assorted vocabulary words that may or may not relate to our other subjects.  Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri – a couple of minutes per lesson.
  • Song School Latin – I wanted to start a foreign language but couldn’t seem to get myself motivated to follow through with anything other than Latin.  SSL is a song-based approach to teaching simple Latin vocabulary and sentences.  It’s gentle enough that I was able to include my younger daughter Stella, and eventually, even my baby Lyra began singing along.  Here are links to my review in which I describe how I catered the program to work with younger students and subsequent follow up.  3x week, 15 minute lesson.
  • Minimus Mouse Starting Out In Latin – I’ve been eyeing this Latin primer for awhile and finally plunged in.  I adore Song School Latin but as I write this, Song School Latin 2 still doesn’t have an expected release date.  I used this possible gap in time as my excuse to finally pick up Minimus.  When and if we do get Song School Latin 2, I plan to supplement with Minimus. 

  • Supplement used:
    • HeadventurelandThe folks that made Song School Latin also have curriculum for Spanish, Greek, Logic, and the Bible.  This FREE online website is crammed FULL of fun learning resources- games, videos, readers, and printable resources.  For us, the coloring pages were a must to use along with Song School Latin.
  • Story of the World – pairing this with the accompanying Activity Book.  I know we won’t be able to fit every activity in but I hope to do enough to make many memorable experiences and fond memories.  (Who wouldn’t be excited about mummifying a chicken!?)
  • Ancient Science – I love the thought of being able to tie our science lessons into our study of ancient history.  Whenever I have the option to show the connection between our various subjects and disciplines I plan on taking it.
  • Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding – We started this last year and it really is a thorough curriculum choice for the elementary years.  However, it’s not exactly the easiest to implement.  It takes a bit of navigating and because of that I seem to get burned out quickly.  I am hoping to pick it up again this year.  You can see our previous BFSU posts here.
  • Map work  I plan on introducing geography and maps as outlined in Leigh Bortins book The Core.  Mira will begin drawing the world map by using basic “blobs” and eventually add detail and more definition to her drawing.  Mon, Wed, Fri – 10 minute lesson.
  • Atelier Art – I plan to make this our official art curriculum.  1x week – time varies.
  • Adventures in Art – We started this late in our Kindergarten year after receiving an inspirational music CD from which I went on to create our own mini-unit on art-appreciation.  Check out my review of the music CD that started it all.  Weekly time varies through activities and number of books to be read.
  • Mark Kistler’s Imagination Station – My, oh my! How my children do adore Mark Kistler and his zany teaching style.  These online mini-marshmallow lessons are perfect for young budding artists.  Be sure to check the Homeschool Buyer’s Club because they normally have Kistler’s yearly subscription on sale (and since HSBC is free to join- you’d be silly not to check it out!) You can see my review and some samples of the girls work here.  The girls are free to use then when and if they want.
  • Piano – We’ll start out using Kinderbach along with Mira’s younger siblings.  The lessons are child-friendly enough that even Lyra learns and sings along.  Upon completion of Kinderbach, Mira will begin Alfred’s Basic Piano lessons.
  • Classical Coloring – Read my post on this fun and easy to implement activity here.
  • Chess – enrolled in a weekly chess class offered by a local homeschooling group.  You can read more about it here.



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7 Responses to First Grade

  1. Pingback: The First Day of [Home]School – August 20, 2012 |

  2. Sarah says:

    Hmmmm … I’ll be looking to see how you like Kinderbach!

  3. Aima says:

    Checking out the Mark Kistler site. Looks cool!

  4. Amy says:

    Looks great! I bought me some cuiseniare rods because of you, you know! =)

  5. Have you already written about (direct me to the post) how you organize your schedule and keep up with it?

    • Kristen says:

      Hi MJ!
      There are some great organization and scheduling posts over at Real Mom Resources. I have an example of our school day’s flow here that might be helpful. Also, I implemented a Day Chart system that my girls use and it allows them to know what to expect each day. This system has been working wonderfully for us.
      Hopefully some of these links will help give you some ideas for your own home. Best of luck!

  6. Kathy says:

    We will be here before we know it so I am definitely saving this plan to look at for us in the future. Always fun seeing what others decide to put together for their year.  

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