Monday, July 6, 2015

Goals for 1st grade, and curriculum involved

First grade is upon us! In my state, we need to count 180 days of school. Kindergarten wasn't required, but this year starts the really real stuff. For real.

We can choose when to start the count. I am choosing to go from July 1-June 30 for counting purposes, but we won't necessarily be running full tilt in July (in fact, I guarantee we won't). Still, getting started and having some summer days of cushion makes me feel better.

I enjoy reading about curricula used, and I like sharing my choices. I am influenced by Charlotte Mason's ideas (but I am not a purist).

I want to do focused work, and leave plenty of time for play, exploration and following his interests.

Here is where I'm aiming, and I will make adjustments as necessary.

Morning meeting:

  • Day's agenda discussion (brief)
  • Bible reading (pulling from our Genesis-Deut. readings)
  • Memory work (poetry, hymns, scripture)
  • Habits: Laying Down the Rails from Simply Charlotte Mason
  • Prayer

  • Math: Rightstart Level B, 2nd ed.
  • Phonics: All About Reading finishing level 2 and starting level 3
  • Handwriting: Finishing Handwriting Without Tears level K and starting Simply Charlotte Mason's Delightful Handwriting
  • History/Bible/Geography: Simply Charlotte Mason's Genesis-Deuteronomy and Ancient Egypt guide. Ancient Egypt and other locations and events in ancient times are the historical focus, and Africa is the focus for geography. Also using SCM's The Stuff They Left Behind e-portfolio (Ancient Egypt) and their Visits to Africa geography e-book. Planning to buy Boy of the Pyramids and possibly the Ancient Egypt and Her Neighbors book, but will read the sample chapters aloud to J first, and then decide whether to purchase and which format might be best.
  • Read-alouds!
  • Play outside!
  • Create something (crafts, art projects, building with blocks/Lego/misc. materials...whatever! Create!)
Fine arts loop: (more info on loop scheduling here)
Another loop:

I thought about adding poetry to the fine arts loop, perhaps focusing on one poet for a term. But lately, the kids have enjoyed listening to poetry as an element of read-aloud time, so I have been reading from books we have and adding a few titles from the poetry section at the library for each visit. I may loop this one at a later time, we'll see.

Read-alouds will of course include topics pertaining to our study of Africa, ancient Egypt, living nature books, books on our science topics, etc.

Also, I will work our way through a booklist of titles on our shelves, titles pulled from books such as The Read-Aloud Handbook, Honey for a Child's Heart, Books Children Love, the Sonlight catalog, etc. 

Most recently, we enjoyed Mr. Popper's Penguins as a longer read-aloud. Oh, the silliness! Next is The Story of Doctor Dolittle. We are two chapters in and J is looking forward to more.

Audio books

I have one child who enjoys audio books, and one who doesn't. I still hope to have audio books to listen to while we drive around, and perhaps during lunch. For now, familiar books and short stories are working well here. For example, we recently finished Charlotte's Web in the car. I read it to them maybe a year ago? Not sure. So they are familiar with the story already and I think that helps them to keep interest.

Right now, I have Stuart Little (also by E.B. White) playing in the car. We have about 30 mins to go, I think. They are hooked. J says he likes listening to books in the car, but nowhere else. I'm working on it.


I know some families prefer to not have a TV. I think it can be a wonderful tool. We don't have cable, but we have over-the-air stations, and subscriptions to Netflix streaming and Amazon Instant. 

I also will often borrow some DVDs from the library if they have some relevance to something we're studying, or just otherwise seem interesting. 

As I mentioned above, I plan to add Spanish DVDs, but also science-related topics, geography-focused, etc.

Outside activities:

Still sorting this one out. I don't want to have a lot of time commitments right now. We will likely do one-off programs at the library, field trips and park days. Oh, and the gym & swim 8-week class and/or private swim lessons.


I like flexibility to change things up from day to day, month to month. I think I would like to view the school year in 6 terms. Perhaps July-August; Sept-Oct.; Nov.-Dec.; Jan.-Feb.; Mar.- April; May-June.

The amount of work/type of work/intensity of it might vary from term to term, and that's ok and desired (by me). I loved having a Christmas-y December last year, for instance. It's a good opportunity to take a break from the routine and infuse the time with a different style of learning.

The actual nitty-gritty scheduling of a term's contents and how that might translate to a week or a day still has me a bit perplexed. I think for now, I will map out the frequency of the subject areas I want to hit, throw it in a spreadsheet and "do the next thing" when it comes time. For example, rather than scheduling which lessons to do in math on which days, just write in "RightStart" and then add the lesson number completed/worked on in the appropriate day. Like so:

This chart is a work in progress, but I thought it would be helpful to show you what I mean. This is in landscape mode and I think, after printing it, that I might prefer portrait mode and perhaps 2 pages for 1 week instead of it all on one page. I will need to fiddle with it.

Ok, this post has been in draft mode long enough. Time to hit publish and just get on with things!

1 comment:

  1. I know this post is nothing new, but I've had it saved to read for forever. I just wanted to say I really appreciate your recording all of this. I get ideas from it and enjoy hearing how you're organizing your homeschool! So, thanks for taking the time to write it all down!


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts!