our 1st grade curriculum

Maren took this picture. I love it.

I got really inspired yesterday and whipped out all of the required paperwork for this year's homeschooling adventures -- typed, printed, addressed, stamped, sent, DONE. Our state is one of the stricter states as far as homeschooling law goes. They want to know your basic plan ahead of time, which annoys me, and obviously you could just fudge it, but secretly I'm kind of glad that I had to articulate it all. It makes me feel more committed. (Remind me of this sentiment in, I dunno, six months.)

So here's what we're using for 1st grade stuff:

English Language
Handwriting Without Tears for handwriting and minimal grammar. I LOVE it. The lessons are short, totally do-able, and fun. And I like the way they use simple double lines instead of the usual two-lines-with-a-dotted-middle-line thing. We do HWT every day, which takes about 15 minutes, and the girls always enjoy it. I may add in First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind later on if I feel like Lizzy is ready for it.

All About Spelling for, well, spelling. I've read a lot of positive reviews about this program. I'm a pretty darn good speller myself, but I couldn't tell you a single rule beyond I before E except after C to save my life. We'll probably do this every day.

Singapore Math 1A, Standards Edition. I like it a lot so far. Lots of reviewers say that the teacher's manual isn't necessary, but I am clinging to it like it's a life boat in the open ocean. The TM also has a ton of ideas for extra enrichment activities and simple games to reinforce the concept; to me, that alone is worth the (pretty low) price. Math is every day, usually first thing.

The Story of the World: Volume 1: Ancient Times and The Story of the World, Activity Book 1. The first is a read-aloud book where each chapter explains and imagines, in simple language, different periods in world history. The layout is mostly chronological, beginning with early nomads and ending with the fall of the Roman empire. So, once a week, we read a chapter together, find some cool library books, and do some of the activities and worksheets from the activity book. This week we colored a map of the fertile crescent and read some picture books about a cave boy and wooly mammoths. Next week we get to make a model of the Nile. Cool?! History is on Mondays and Wednesdays.

DK First Animal Encyclopedia and DK First Human Body Encyclopedia are our main science texts. Every week we read a double-page spread from one of these books (we've started with animals), then  get more books on that specific animal or topic at the library. We love it. Science is on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Our schedule is pretty simple. We have "learning time" (she doesn't like calling it "school") Monday through Thursday mornings. Fridays are off, unless there's some fun craft or small catch-up thing we need or want to do. We go for three weeks, then have one week off, year-round. At least, that's the plan.

When the girls wake up, they get a few minutes to hang out before breakfast, then they do their chores immediately (I've found that the days I let them play in the mornings are always the worst days, which makes me sad...they just start fighting and being snotty and it's just better for everyone that we get the work done first thing). As soon as chores are done, it's learning time. So far, we can get all the formal stuff done in about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Just like everyone else, informal learning is happening all the time -- like the dead baby bird we found in the garden tonight, or dance class, or the frogs on our walk today... anyway, there's our schedule.

I hope this is helpful for someone out there reading along. I feel like homeschooling is really exploding and is becoming not quite so outlandish or, well, weird anymore. Or maybe that's just my anxiety talking. Whatever the case, I can tell you that I haven't had one single grocery store clerk or church member or random passerby give me one solitary rude, disdainful, or even questioning comment. More often, it's more like, "REALLY?? Can you tell me how you're doing it, 'cause I've been thinking about it, too..."


SBB said...

I am so impressed, Amanda!! Structured learning is one of the biggest gaps in my flawed parenting. I need to learn how to do that. I would love to homeschool my kids but I'm scared to death that I would do a terrible job. You go, girl!

P.S. Is that your backyard?? It looks heavenly!!

Unknown said...

This is so so helpful! My Rory is headed to kindergarten this fall, but the schools where we are don't have the greatest reviews. We're going to try out the public schools first, but if it isn't a good fit, then I'll probably be bugging you for more pointers :-)

Anonymous said...

I am so proud of you! Those kiddos of yours are going to have the time of their lives with you as their teacher!

Rachel at Stitched in Color said...

Hi Amanda! I just saw your comment on Simple Homeschool about going year round and was surprised to see it was you of Modern Marigold. Small world! Loved reading about your homeschool plans. Liam is going into 1st grade too, so we're in a similar boat. We're doing lots of "learn to read" things in first grade, since we don't do that stuff in K. Anyways, I'm sure we have lots in common. If you ever want to talk someone's ear off about curriculum options, get in touch. I love all that stuff like an addict.

xo, Rachel