First Grade In Review

It has been a few months now that we have finished our school year, and I thought I’d share what worked for us in the way of curriculum as we worked through first grade. 



Math – We were very happy with Math U See by Steve Demme in Kindergarten, so we decided to study the next book in the series. We did the Alpha book, it covered single digit addition and subtraction in 30 lessons. The curriculum is designed to teach the math facts in a mastery format, students aren’t to move on until they have the previous set of facts memorized. I’ll be honest, I didn’t require complete memorization. If she knew most of the facts in each set and understood how to find the answer for the rest I moved on to the next lesson, generally we did a lesson a week. 


English – This is my personal weakest subject, so I made sure to have several curricula to cover  many aspects of the language. 

Reading – The book we used last year is a fantastic, detailed book, we weren’t able to finish it in Kindergarten so we continued working through it in first grade. It’s called “The Ordinary Parent’s Guide To Teaching Reading” by Jessie Wise. We covered long vowel sounds, the sounds for vowel pairs, silent letters, blends, and digraphs. 

Hand Writing – I decided to continue working through the “Explode The Code” workbooks for hand writing, spelling and grammar practice. My daughter had enjoyed them during Kindergarten and was excited to continue them this year. She ended Kindergarten in Book 2, but I felt she needed to review to start with book 2 1/2 which taught further on blends, which she learned in book 2. She went through 2 1/2, 3 and 4 this year.  

Spelling – I found All About Spelling and it totally fit our family and needs! We loved the letter tiles and word cards and the approach to learning spelling. We worked through level one, and plan on working through level two during second grade.  


History & Geography – I love the idea of live books, and after reading reviews of several curriculum I fell in love with Beautiful Feet. I called my mom to tell her my plan to buy it and she said “I have that sitting on my shelf”! She let me borrow the Early American History for elementary school students. The curriculum is designed to be worked through in one year or two. I decided for first and second grade, I would work through it in two years. We covered the Vikings, Christopher Columbus, and the pilgrims. 


Science – This was a difficult one for me. I didn’t know what to teach, my daughter was thrilled to just explore and read books. So, I decided to teach about animals. I taught about animal classification (in the simplest form). I split up the year, studying mammals for the first half of the year, and birds, reptiles and amphibians the second half. I used The Old Schoolhouse Magazine’s Curiosity Files.  They are designed as unit studies, which I love, covering science, history, geography, English, and even math. I made sure to focus heavily on the science side of the study. We also used a lot of Usborne Books & More books, especially the Beginner Readers that have animal titles, and the Animal Encyclopedia. We also visited the library quite a bit. 



I’m excited for next year! The challenge of homeschooling two of my four is one I’m very much looking forward to!  

One thought on “First Grade In Review

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  1. We use Math U See too, and we really like it. I don’t require mastery either. I figure it’s good enough if they can figure it out, so we can just work from there.

    My kids do well with Explode the Code too. We’re working at a much slower pace than you are, but I’m finding we can take it for each kid as they’re comfortable moving on. My oldest boy goes a lot faster than the middle one, and my youngest is somewhere in the middle. It’s a great program that you can take at the pace of you child.


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