Are you planning on homeschooling your first grader? Are you uncertain where to begin or which materials to choose? One of my favorite benefits of homeschooling is the ability to choose a curriculum that works for your kids. Every child is different, so every education must be different as well. While I have generally used the same materials for all my children, I have made a few tweaks over the years as I found certain items did not work so great and discovered newer materials to add to our curriculum. In general, I use a variety of workbooks and other resources for my first grade homeschool curriculum. The following are the workbooks that I am using with my third and fourth kiddos. If you are interested in any of the materials, easily find copies on Amazon via my affiliate links.
I began homeschooling my oldest daughter in the fall of 2014. I started homeschool preschool with her when she was 2.5 years old. After two years of preschool work, she started kindergarten when she was 4.5 years old. She completed all her kindergarten level work the following spring, so I graduated her to first grade when she was 5.5 years old. My son started his grade 1 school work when he turned 6. My second and third daughters will start first grade after completing their kindergarten materials when both are around age 6 as well. We then move on to second grade within a year depending on how quickly we master the grade 1 subject matter.
Originally published on August 1, 2017. Updated on August 4, 2023.
In addition to specific subjects, I included a number of general first grade workbooks in my first grade curriculum: Curious George Adventures in Learning, Grade 1: Story-Based Learning. 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 kids loves reading the story that stars our favorite curious monkey and then completing the various activities.
I decided to use the five textbooks in the McGraw-Hill Reading (Book 1, Book 2, Book 3, Book 4, Book 5) series for a large part of reading lessons. 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 becomes a little more difficult with each lesson and book.
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. We like the short practice activities, which we consider a nice break from the longer and more intensive reading work of the textbooks.
Because reading comprehensive is such an important skill for all learning, we also use the 128-page color Reading Skills: Grade 1 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.
I finally picked up the 2016 edition of First Grade Reading 32-Page Workbook with Sticker Sheet from The Clever Factory at the Dollar Tree. Each page contains a very short reading passage followed by some questions. Each two-page spread focuses on a different reading skill such as the central idea, order and sequencing, context clues, and summarizing. (The exact workbook that I have is no longer available, but you can find updated versions that are nearly identical at the Dollar Tree or via Amazon.)
Because of the many errors and problems in the grammar books for first grade currently available, I wrote my own first grade grammar workbook for my second and third children. A Form-Function English Grammar: Level 1 is the first workbook in the elementary series that builds up to A Form-Function Description of the Grammar of the Modern English Language, a textbook and workbook that provides a descriptive grammar that strives to provide an objective description of English as used without value judgements.
The goal of Level 1 is to introduce many of the word classes (parts of speech, grammatical forms) of English. Level 1 includes nouns, determiners, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, coordinating conjunctions, and interjections. Level 1 also introduces noun phrases. In addition to forms, Level 1 also introduces some functions of the English language including subject and predicate.
Level 1 is recommended for ages 5 to 7 in kindergarten through first grade.
The answers to all the activities are located at the end of the workbook.
To begin more formal writing lesson, I use portions of 262-page The Grammar & Writing Book: Grade 1 textbook and the accompanying 170-page Grammar and Writing Practice Book: Grade 1 workbook. 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. However, I primarily use only the writing and punctuation sections and activities because of the many errors in the grammar portions.
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 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. I again use only the writing and punctuation portions because of errors in the grammar sections.
I additionally included the All About Me Journal from Lakeshore Learning to encourage my children to begin writing on their own and to create a keepsake for me. The 48-page journal includes prompts for writing, drawing, and answering questions.
I also continue lessons on handwriting within our writing lessons. We continue using the Complete Book of Handwriting from Carson Dellosa. Recommended for kindergarten through third grade, the first part of the book focuses on printing letters and then words, and the second half focuses on cursive. Once print handwriting is neat, I introduce cursive writing. Learning cursive offers cognitive benefits. Learning to read cursive is also important for reading older documents and for signing your name.
Rather than using word lists for spelling, I introduced word study using Structured Word Inquiry in first grade. For my main resource, I use the InSight Words (Volume 1, Volume 2, Supplement, and Inflections) decks from Linguist-Educator Exchange.
For my second child, I created the Teach a Student to Spell: Level 1 workbook for spelling lessons as a follow up to Teach a Student to Read. Teach a Student to Spell: Level 1 is the follow-up workbook to the Teach a Student to Read reading program, which strives to teach students accurate and complete information about the English spelling system. Level 1 consists of 36 spelling lists of 8 to 10 words each. The spelling lists are based on the most common words in English and various sight word lists. The goal of Level 1 is to teach the spellings of the most common English words and common English bases. Each list reinforces the graphemes taught in Teach a Student to Read. Some complex words are also introduced. Related words are noted.
For first grade math lessons, I use Singapore Math Level 1 (US Edition) including the Home Instructor’s Guide (1A, 1B). 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.
In addition to the Singapore Math textbooks and workbooks, I use a number of other workbooks to supplement math lessons. We begin using 416-page full-color The Complete Book of Numbers & Counting, Grades PK-1 in preschool and continue through kindergarten and first grade. The workbook provides activities on key math concepts such as addition, subtraction, time, money, place value, graphing, comparing numbers, and recognizing number rhymes. As with other subject-specific workbooks in the series, the comprehensive workbook offers focused instruction and fun activities.
As a follow up to the Grow to Know: Addition that I use in kindergarten, I include Grow to Know: Subtraction from Kumon in our first grade curriculum.. 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 subtraction practice.
For additional practice with primary addition and subtraction skills, I supplement the Singapore Math with a couple of workbooks. The 64-page Add and Subtract, Grade 1 of the Home Workbooks Gold Star Edition line from Carson Dellosa includes activities on one- and two-digit addition and subtraction as well as problem solving skills.
I also picked up Common Core First & Second Grade Workbook: Addition and Common Core First & Second Grade Workbook: Subtraction from Landoll at the Dollar Tree. Both workbooks include math facts from zero through eighteen as well as activities focusing on addition and subtraction strategies, fact families, and word problems. I have copies of the 2014 edition. I use the workbooks to provide extra practice with adding and subtracting through colorful activities.
I additionally use the Learning Smart Skills Addition and Subtraction Marvel Workbook from Carson Dellosa. We are a Marvel household, so the Marvel-themed workbook offers a perfect addition to our first grade curriculum. The 64-page workbook contains over 40 learning activities on adding and subtracting within 100, solving equations, and using number lines and 10 frames.
Finally, 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. I have the 2016 edition, but I have seen other similar Bendon workbooks at the Dollar Tree more recently.
Time and Money
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. Because the recommended grades are first and second, we typically continue the workbook into second grade.
After mastering the coins under $1 in kindergarten, I move on to My Book of Money: Dollars and Cents from Kumon in first grade. 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 kiddos, I appreciate the slower pace.
For additional money practice, Learning about Money: Grade 1 from Evan-Moor provides 32 full-color pages of money-related activities including identifying coins, counting sums of money, solving money-related problems, and more. My only complaint is that the workbook includes only pennies, nickels, and dimes — no quarters.
For another supplemental workbook on counting money, I also use Money Mania Stick Kids Workbook, Grade 1. 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.
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.
For science lessons, I use 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.
For social studies, I use 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 a first grader to read but engaging enough to keep their attention and provide adequate information on each topic. The accompanying workbook is essential for reinforcing the lessons in the textbook.
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.
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.
For health lessons, I am using the textbook Harcourt Health & Fitness: Grade 1 and the accompanying workbook. The 288-page hardback book covers topics such as body systems and keeping the body healthy. The content is exactly what I was seeking for health lessons. The questions at the end of each lesson help the student reflect on what they learned. The pictures are bright and colorful. The accompanying workbook provides practice that reinforces the information from each lesson. Most of the worksheet pages cover two or three lessons per page.
For art lessons, I begin using the 13 Children Should Know series of books. For first grade, I used 13 Paintings Children Should Know, 13 Painters Children Should Know, and 13 Women Artists Children Should Know. We also used YouTube, trips to art museums, and other resources to learn more about various artists, artworks, and art styles.