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Our First Grade Homeschool Curriculum

Our First Grade Homeschool Curriculum

I have been homeschooling my daughter for three years now. I started homeschool preschool with her when she was 2.5 years old. After two years of preschool work, she started kindergarten last September when she was 4.5 years old. She completed all her kindergarten level work in May, so I graduated her to first grade when she was 5.5 years old. Because my daughter is ahead in many subjects, some of the materials that she and I use for first grade are marketed for second grade. If you are interested in any of the materials, easily find copies on Amazon via my affiliate links.

General

In addition to specific subjects, I included a number of general first grade workbooks in my first grade curriculum.

I picked up volume 1 and volume 2 of Fisher Price Little People First Grade Workbook at a thrift shop for $1 total. The two workbooks teach and reinforce essential skills such as letters, letter sounds, alphabetical order, numbers, counting, simple addition, money, time, opposites, shapes, and more. The activities are a bit on the easy side, but my I used the workbooks as beginning-of-the-year practice.

Fisher Price Little People First Grade Workbook Volume 1 Fisher Price Little People First Grade Workbook Volume 2
My daughter still loves Curious George, so I included Curious George Adventures in Learning, Grade 1: Story-Based Learning in our first grade curriculum. Recommended for students between the ages of 6 and 7, the 320-page workbook features twelve new mini-stories that provide context for math, reading, and science practice that strengthen foundational skills in math, literacy, and science. My daughter loves reading the story that stars her favorite curious monkey and then completing the various activities. She completed one section at a time.

Curious George Adventures in Learning, Grade 1: Story-Based Learning

I had initially read mixed reviews about The Visual Guide series, but my daughter loved the kindergarten workbook, so I have included The Visual Guide to First Grade in our first grade curriculum. The 192-page full-color workbook uses bold infographics to present fascinating facts about a variety of topics in language arts, math, social studies, and science. My daughter enjoys the change in style from conventional workbooks and textbooks to the picture-based learning. The infographics are easy to read but are packed full of information. The questions and other activities for each section help reinforce the information presented.

The Visual Guide to First Grade

Reading

My daughter completed the first level of the McGraw-Hill Reading series during kindergarten, so I moved her on to the second level (Book 1, Book 2) when she began her first grade work. Each lesson begins with a poem for the child to read and then a read-together section on the author and/or illustrator of the subsequent reading. At the end of the reading are questions for the child to answer and some additional activities. The reading become a little more difficult with each lesson and book. I also purchased the accompanying practice book for additional practice.

McGraw-Hill Reading Grade 2 Book 1 McGraw-Hill Reading Grade 2 Book 2 McGraw-Hill Reading Grade 2 Practice Book
My daughter began Reading Skills: Grade 1 during kindergarten lessons but continued using the workbook as she started first grade. The 128-page color workbook includes short reading passages followed by questions and activities that help students gain essential reading comprehension skills. The workbook is divided into six units, each with three to eight lessons followed by a reading roundup. After completing the first grade workbook, my daughter moved on to Reading Skills: Grade 2. The 128-page workbook contains six units, each of which focus on a specific reading skill such as facts, sequence, context, main idea, conclusion, and inference. Each lesson contains a reading passage followed by questions. Each unit ends with a writing roundup. My daughter will continue the workbook as she begins second grade lessons.

Reading Skills Grade 1 Reading Skills Grade 2
For additional reading comprehension practice, I included Reading Comprehension, Grade 1: Gold Star Edition (Home Workbooks) in our reading lessons. The 60-page workbook reinforces reading skills through short reading passages and a variety of questions and activities. My daughter likes the short practice activities, which she finds to be a nice break from her longer and more intensive reading work.

Reading Comprehension, Grade 1 Gold Star Edition (Home Workbooks)

I purchased Disney Princess Reading Comprehension at the Dollar Tree because my daughter likes princesses. The 32-page reading workbook includes short reading passages of classic Disney Princess stories followed by questions that help sharpen basic reading skills.

Disney Princess Reading Comprehension

Although I am not necessarily a fan of Common Core, I chose Common Core Connections Language Arts, Grade 1 as a supplement to our reading lessons. The 96-page workbook provides focused practice pages on language arts topics such as comprehending text, learning the foundations of spelling, and forming complete sentences using a growing vocabulary. I use the consumable workbook as a bridge between reading and writing lessons. I especially like the “I can” statements at the bottom of each page, which help the student reflect on the lesson learned.

Common Core Connections Language Arts, Grade 1

I found a copy of the 1990 Word Skills: First Grade from School Zone at a thrift shop and purchased the reproducible workbook to use as part of my first grade curriculum. The 32-page workbook offers practice exercise on all types of word skills including synonyms, definitions, compound words, homonyms, and more. My daughter completed a page or two a few times a week.

Writing

To begin more formal writing lesson, I chose The Grammar & Writing Book: Grade 1. The 262-page grammar and writing book includes grammar instruction and practice, writing craft and models, and writing and grammar test preparation. The 30 lessons cover a variety of grammar and writing topics appropriate for first grade students including sentences, word order, parts of speech, and punctuation. The consumable textbook includes plenty of practice activities to reinforce learning. I also purchased Grammar and Writing Practice Book: Grade 1 as a supplement to the textbook. The 170-page workbook provides additional writing and grammar practice similar to the lessons in the textbook. The additional worksheets allow my daughter to cement the writing concepts and grammar rules in her mind through extra practice activities.

The Grammar & Writing Book Grade 1 Grammar and Writing Practice Book Grade 1
In addition to the writing and grammar textbook and workbook, I also included Grammar and Punctuation, Grade 1 in our writing lessons as supplement practice on important grammar and punctuation rules. The 109-page workbook covers 25 grammatical and punctuation topics including sentences, parts of speech, contractions, and possessives. Each section includes four pages of instruction and activities. I use the workbook as extra practice for concepts covered in the Grammar and Writing textbook and workbook.

Grammar and Punctuation, Grade 1

For additional writing practice with an art twist, I also picked up Educational Draw & Write from The Clever Factory at the Dollar Tree. Each of the 19 reproducible activities includes a reading passage, drawing project, and writing prompt.

I am also continuing lessons on handwriting within our writing lessons. My daughter continues to work on her printing skills, focusing on neatness and legibility. For printing practice, my daughter finished Handwriting: Printing and then began Spectrum Manuscript Handwriting, Grades K-2. She also began learning cursive with the second half of The Brainy Book of Handwriting as well as Cursive Writing (Practice Makes Perfect) and Learning to Write Cursive. I also created my own handwriting worksheets with the Startwrite program.

Handwriting Printing Spectrum Manuscript Handwriting, Grades K-2
The Brainy Book of Handwriting  
Spelling

For spelling lessons, I have been using the printable spelling lists for Grade 2 from K12Reader. (My daughter previously completed grade 1 in kindergarten.) The second grade spelling words program covers 36 weeks with each week containing five different printable spelling worksheet activities. Each week introduces sixteen new words in some combination of sight words, rhyming words, pattern words, and academic vocabulary.

I really like the step-by-step format of Kumon workbooks, so I purchased My Book of Writing Words: Learning about Consonants and Vowels to include in my first grade curriculum. Recommended for students between the ages of 5 and 7, the 80-page full-color workbook builds on the concept of rhyming words and phrases to build more words. The workbook teaches new words grouped by similar sounds and spellings. My daughter completed a page or two a day a few times a week.

My Book of Writing Words: Learning about Consonants and Vowels

Math

For first grade math lessons, I have switched to Singapore Math Level 1 (US Edition) including the Home Instructor’s Guide (1A, 2A). The two textbooks in Level 1 teach mathematical concepts, and the workbooks provide additional independent practice. The US Edition has been minimally modified from the original Singapore edition to teach American money and include American English spellings. The textbooks follow a unique pattern of moving from hands-on demonstrations to picture drawings (concrete examples with pictures) and finally to the abstract (numbers and symbols) in a natural, easy-to-understand progression. The program aims to teach children to learn to think mathematically rather than just being able to solve math problems.

Singapore Math Level 1 (US Edition)

Singapore Math Level 1 (US Edition) Home Instrictor's Guide 1A Singapore Math Level 1 (US Edition) Home Instructor's Guide 1B
In addition to the Singapore Math textbooks and workbooks, I am using a number of other workbooks to supplement math lessons.

General Math

My daughter began The Complete Book of Numbers & Counting, Grades PK-1 last year during her kindergarten level lessons. The 416-page full-color workbook provides activities on key math concepts such as addition, subtraction, time, money, place value, graphing, comparing numbers, and recognizing number rhymes. After completing the first half of the book during kindergarten, my daughter has continued working on the more advanced sections as she completes her first grade level lessons.

The Complete Book of Numbers & Counting, Grades PK-1

My daughter began learning about time and money during her kindergarten lessons, so I have included Brainy Book of Time and Money in her first grade curriculum for continued practice on the topics. The 256-page full-color workbook contains practice pages, entertaining puzzles and games, and engaging word problems that help students sharpen math skills within the topics of time and money. My daughter completes a couple of pages within each section a few times a day to help her maintain and improve her time and money knowledge.

Brainy Book of Time and Money

My daughter enjoys Disney movies, so I picked up a copy of Frozen Early Math Basic Geometry from the Dollar Tree. The 32-page full-color workbook covers mathematical topics such as points and segments, basic shapes, and symmetry. The daughter completed a few pages a week.

Frozen Early Math Basic Geometry

Time

Telling Time: Grades 1-2 provides 32 full-color pages of activities that keep younger learners focused while practicing important concepts such as telling time to the hour, half-hour, quarter-hour, and minute; reading traditional and digital clocks; and solving word problems. The workbook has been an excellent supplement to our lessons on telling time. My daughter began the workbook during the latter part of her kindergarten year and finished it during the first part of her first grade year.

Telling Time: Grades 1-2

What Time Is It? Stick Kids Workbook, Grade 1 is a supplement to our math lessons on telling time that my daughter started at the end of her kindergarten year. The first grade workbook provides activities that focus on telling time, time word problems, and time vocabulary. In addition to analog and digital clocks, the workbook also includes practice with calendars, which is a useful addition that I have not found in other telling time workbooks.

What Time Is It? Stick Kids Workbook, Grade 1

Money

After my daughter mastered the coins under $1, I moved on to My Book of Money: Dollars and Cents from Kumon with her. The workbook helps young learners make the difficult transition between cents and dollars. The beginning reviews the names and values of coins, and then the rest of the workbook slowly introduces dollars and the dollar-based structure to make the challenging mathematical concept seem easy. As with the other Kumon workbooks that I have used with my daughter, I appreciate the slower pace.

My Book of Money: Dollars and Cents

For another supplemental workbook on counting money, I also used Money Mania Stick Kids Workbook, Grade 1 with my daughter. The engaging activities in the workbook provide your repeated practice of grade-level-appropriate vocabulary and math skills about money including the denominations of currency, how to count money, why money is important, and how money is used in everyday life. I would not use this workbook as a primary teaching tool, but the activities are excellent supplements for additional practice.

Money Mania Stick Kids Workbook, Grade 1

I picked up level A and level B of Coin Clues from my local school store to help my daughter practice her money skills. Each volume contains over 100 puzzles that reinforce coin values and strengthen math skills. Each activity book comes with cardboard coins that pop out of the back cover. My daughter completes a couple puzzles per week. I like that the activities engage both her math skills and her logic skills.

Addition

My daughter started practicing her addition skills during her kindergarten lessons. I have included Addition, Grade 1 (Homework Helper) in her first grade lessons to allow her to practice her basic skills. The 56-page full-color workbook includes a variety of activities that help students practice addition skills. My daughter completes a couple of pages a week.

Addition, Grade 1 (Homework Helper)

For even more addition practice, I purchased Common Core Addition First and Second Grade Workbook from the Dollar Tree. The 32-page workbook provides practice opportunities for children in math, specifically in adding numbers. Although not important to me, the workbook is specifically formatted exposure to common core standards. My daughter completed two pages a day a few times a week.

Common Core Addition First and Second Grade Workbook

I picked up the 2015 edition of First Grade Addition Educational Workbook from The Clever Factory at the Dollar Tree. The 32-page workbook provides plenty of extra basic addition practice. My daughter completed a couple of pages a week as a way to keep her additional skills sharp.

Subtraction

To help my daughter practice her new subtraction skills, I purchased Grow to Know: Subtraction from Kumon. The 64-page workbook provides a step-by-step workbook that helps children learn to subtract the numbers 1 through 9 from whole numbers. The workbook is extremely basic but offers plenty of additional addition practice. My daughter completed one or two pages at a time a couple times a week.

Grow to Know: Subtraction

I have also included Subtraction, Grade 1 (Homework Helper) to allow my daughter to practice her basic subtraction skills. The 56-page full-color workbook includes a variety of activities that help students practice addition skills. My daughter completes a couple of pages a week.

Subtraction, Grade 1 (Homework Helper)

For even more subtraction practice, I picked up Common Core Subtraction First and Second Grade Workbook from the Dollar Tree. The 32-page workbook provides practice opportunities for children in math, specifically in subtracting numbers. Although not important to me, the workbook is specifically formatted exposure to common core standards. My daughter completed two pages a day a few times a week.

Common Core Subtraction First and Second Grade Workbook

I also picked up the 2016 edition of 1st Grade Subtraction Homework Helper from The Clever Factory at the Dollar Tree. The 64-page workbook provides plenty of extra basic subtraction practice. My daughter completed a couple of pages a week as a way to practice her new subtraction skills.

I finally purchased a copy of the 2015 First Grade Subtraction Educational Workbook from The Clever Factory at the Dollar Tree. The full-color 32-page workbook provides practice exercises on basic subtraction.

Science

For science lessons, my daughter and I used the textbook Harcourt Science: Grade 1 and the accompanying workbook. The 552-page textbook contains six units that cover the topics of plants and animals, environments, Earth science, weather, matter, and energy. Each unit is broken down into smaller chapters and lessons. I especially like the questions at the end of each lesson, which allow my daughter to reflect on the information learned. The 184-page consumable workbook reinforces the information from each lesson through vocabulary sheets, quick study guides, and writing practice.

Harcourt Science Grade 1 Textbook Harcourt Science Grade 1 Workbook
Although I am not necessarily a fan of Common Core, I have also been using Common Core Science 4 Today, Grade 1: Daily Skill Practice to supplement our science lessons. The 96-page workbook provides standards-based activities for each day of the week on a variety of science topics. My daughter completes a week at a time as opposed to doing one smaller activity each day over an entire week. Each week fills up two pages. I used the weekly topic pages as review after studying the same topic in Harcourt Science: Grade 1.

Common Core Science 4 Today, Grade 1: Daily Skill Practice

I purchased A+ Science Projects: Physics Tricks, Grade 2-3 to use as an additional supplement to our science lessons. The 32-page activity book contains 18 experiments with explanations of the science behind each physic trick. Because the book is geared towards slightly older students, my daughter and I are completing the experiments slowly, and I plan to continue using the book as my daughter continues onto second grade work.

A+ Science Projects: Physics Tricks, Grade 2-3

I also check out many books from the library to supplement our science lessons.

Social Studies

For social studies lessons, my daughter has continued using the textbook Harcourt Social Studies Grade 1: A Child’s View and the accompanying workbook that she started during her kindergarten level lessons. The 400-page hardback book covers topics such as civics and citizenship, geography, and people. I started the grade 1 level last year for my daughter because I could not find an acceptable kindergarten social studies textbook. The lessons are short enough to keep her attention but still provide adequate information. She enjoys doing the questions at the end of each section. The accompanying workbook allows my daughter to review each lesson with one page per lesson.

Harcourt Social Studies Grade 1 A Child's View Textbook Harcourt Social Studies Grade 1 A Child's View Workbook
After finishing Harcourt Social Studies Grade 1: A Child’s View, my daughter moved on to the Macmillan/McGraw-Hill People and Places Grade 1 textbook and the accompanying workbook. The 336-page hardback book covers various social studies topics such as families, citizenship, geography, and history. The text is easy enough for my daughter to read on her own but engaging enough to keep her attention and provide adequate information on each topic. The accompanying workbook is essential for reinforcing the lessons in the textbook.

Macmillan McGraw-Hill People and Places Grade 1 Textbook Macmillan McGraw-Hill People and Places Grade 1 Workbook
In addition to the textbook and workbook, I also used the workbook DK Workbooks: Geography, First Grade to supplement our social studies lessons. The 60-page workbook topics include map reading, compass directions, continents, countries and states, borders, bodies of water, and more. Although not important to me, the workbook supports the Common Core State Standards. The workbook builds on the skills learned with in the kindergarten level edition. My only complaint it that, like all DK Workbooks, the pages are glossy and difficult to write on.

DK Workbooks: Geography, First Grade

To supplement our history lessons, I included History Pockets: Ancient Civilizations, Grades 1-3 as part of our social studies lessons. The activity book covers Ancient Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Ancient China, and the Ancient Aztec World. Each section contains a reproducible pocket label, four picture dictionary words, a fact sheet of background information for the teacher, a reproducible student information booklet complete with illustrations, a postcard of a famous monument, two puppets to show the clothing, arts and crafts projects, and writing activities. My daughter and I completed each section over one or two days with a culminating portfolio to show her study of ancient civilizations.

History Pockets: Ancient Civilizations, Grades 1-3

After completing the Ancient Civilizations activity book, my daughter and I moved on to History Pockets: Native Americans, Grades 1-3. The activity book covers the Inuit of the Arctic, the Tlingit of the Northwest, the Nez Perce of the Plateau, the Maidu of California, the Sioux of the Plains, the Navajo of the Southwest, the Iroquois of the Northeast, and the Seminole of the Southeast. Each reproducible section contains three dictionary words and pictures, shelter stamps, information booklet complete with illustrations, arts and crafts projects, and writing activities. My daughter and I again completed each section over one or two days with a culminating portfolio to show her study of Native Americans.

 History Pockets: Native Americans, Grades 1-3

Health/Life Skills

For health lessons, I my daughter has continued using the textbook Harcourt Health & Fitness: Grade 1 and the accompanying workbook that she started during her kindergarten level lessons. The 288-page hardback book covers topics such as body systems and keeping the body healthy. I started the grade 1 level last year for my daughter because I could not find an acceptable kindergarten health textbook. The accompanying workbook provides practice that reinforces the information from each lesson. Most of the worksheet pages cover two or three lessons per page.

Harcourt Health & Fitness Grade 1 Textbook Harcourt Health & Fitness Grade 1 Workbook
In addition to the textbook and workbook, I also included the activity book Learning About My Body – ScienceWorks for Kids in our health lessons. The reproducible workbook covers the topics of external and internal parts, the brain, five senses, the life cycle, and taking care of the body. Each section includes variety of engaging activities, teacher directions for lessons, and reproducible resource pages. My daughter is especially interested in learning about the body, so the activity book recommended for kindergarten through first grade is a perfect addition to our health curriculum.

Learning About My Body - ScienceWorks for Kids

Art

For art lessons, I continued using An Eye for Art: Focusing on Great Artists and Their Work. The 180-page full-color book introduces children to more than 50 great artists and their works, representing a wide array of artistic styles and techniques. Each chapter provides biographical and background information on a specific artist followed by fun activity ideas to expand on the lesson. The book is further categorized into themes ranging from studying nature and observing everyday life to breaking traditions and telling stories. My daughter enjoyed listening to the information and looking at the images of the artwork and then completing the activity for each artist. My son also participated in the activities during his preschool lessons.

An Eye for Art: Focusing on Great Artists and Their Work

I also picked up Color Your Own Mini Books from The Clever Factory at the Dollar Tree. The 19 reproducible miniature books allow my daughter to take a break from more intensive school work with a little coloring while practicing sight words.

Music

For general music lessons, I have continued using Music for Everyone! Recommended for preschool through second grade, the 64-page book provides music-related activities and reproducible pages. Both my daughter (first grade) and son (preschool) can participate in the activities together.

Music for Everyone!

I am also using Sing Along and Learn: A Complete Collection of More Than 80 Learning Songs with Activities for the Early Childhood Classroom for general music lessons. The 176-page book comes with five CDs with more than 80 songs for use in early childhood. While I have not used much of the book, I have used the musical CDs quite a bit. I have continued using the book and accompanying CDs from our kindergarten lessons.

Sing Along and Learn: A Complete Collection of More Than 80 Learning Songs with Activities for the Early Childhood Classroom

I finally purchased the curriculum book and workbook of Music for Little Mozarts: Meet the Music Friends to introduce both my kids to more music theory. The curriculum book, which comes with a CD, contains five complete lesson plans for a lesson of approximately 45 to 60 minutes. The workbook reinforces each concept presented in the lesson and includes pages for children to color, rhythms to clap, and keyboard activities. Meet the Music Friends is the precursor for the Level 1 of the Music for Little Mozarts piano course. My daughter and I completed one lesson once a week or once every other week.

Music for Little Mozarts Meet the Music Friends Curriculum Book Music for Little Mozarts Meet the Music Friends Workbook
To introduce my daughter to more structured music lessons, I have continued using It’s Recorder Time to teach her about reading music and playing an instrument. The beginner book uses a basic method for building finger technique, intonation, and tonguing through the performance of folk, classical, and familiar songs.

It's Recorder Time

Spanish

My daughter started Spanish classes at a local university through a language program for children last fall. To help her practice her second language skills, I incorporated The Complete Book of Spanish, Grades 1-3 into our first grade curriculum. Recommended for students in first through third grade, the 416-page full-color workbook covers topics such as numbers, letters, parts of speech, expressions, days of the week, months of the year, family terms, and community terms. My daughter worked on one or two pages a few times a week as supplement to her language class.

The Complete Book of Spanish, Grades 1-3

Image Credits

All images via Amazon

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