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Our First Grade Homeschool Curriculum

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Our First Grade Homeschool Curriculum

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 in 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. My son will start his grade 1 school work later this fall. If you are interested in any of the materials, easily find copies on Amazon via my affiliate links.

Originally published on August 1, 2017. Updated on July 20, 2021.

General

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

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 also included another general first grade workbook in my first grade curriculum to provide my children with additional practice in language, math, and reading: Evan-Moor Daily Fundamentals, Grade 1.

Evan-Moor Daily Fundamentals, Grade 1

Reading

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 become a little more difficult with each lesson and book.

Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons McGraw-Hill Reading Grade 1 Book 2 McGraw-Hill Reading Grade 1 Book 3
McGraw-Hill Reading Grade 1 Book 4 McGraw-Hill Reading Grade 1 Book 5
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.

Reading Skills Grade 1
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)

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 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.

First Grade Reading 32-Page Workbook with Sticker Sheet

Grammar

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 for Junior High, a textbook and workbook that provides a descriptive grammar that strives to provide an objective description of English as used without value judgements.

A Form-Function English Grammar: Level 1

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.

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  
I additionally included the All About Me Journal from Lakeshore Learning to encourage my children to begin writing on their own.

All About Me Journal

Spelling

Rather than using word lists for spelling, I introduced word study using Structured Word Inquiry in first grade. Each week my child and I chose a base word or two to study. I am also using the InSight Words (Volume 1, Volume 2, Supplement, and Inflections) from Linguist-Educator Exchange.

For my second child, I created the Teach a Student to Spell: Level 1 workbook for spelling lessons. 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.

Teach a Student to Spell: Level 1

Math

For first grade math lessons, I have switched to 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.

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.

I also used the 1st Grade Math at Khan Academy. Khan Academy strives to provide a free education to all students throughout the world. I love that Khan Academy is free. My son enjoyed learning to use the computer while working on his math skills.

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

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

Learning about Money: Grade 1 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.

Learning about Money Grade 1

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

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 2016 edition of 1st Grade Addition Homework Helper from The Clever Factory at the Dollar Tree. The 64-page workbook provides plenty of extra basic addition practice. My daughter completed a handful of pages each day after she learned the basics of adding small numbers.

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

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

I additionally purchased Giant Science Resource Book, which is recommended for students between first and sixth grade, from Evan-Moor to use as an on-going science and health supplement. I also check out many books from the library to supplement our science lessons.

Giant Science Resource Book

Social Studies

For social studies, I am using 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 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. My daughter can read almost all the text by herself. The questions at the end of each lesson help her reflect on what she 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.

Harcourt Health & Fitness Grade 1 Textbook Harcourt Health & Fitness Grade 1 Workbook
Art

For art lessons, I began using the 13 Children Should Know series of books. For first grade, I used 13 Paintings Children Should Know13 Painters Children Should Know, and 13 Women Artists Children Should Know. We also used YouTube and Facebook Live to learn more about various artists, artworks, and art styles.

13 Paintings Children Should Know 13 Painters Children Should Know 13 Women Artists Children Should Know

Spanish

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.

The Complete Book of Spanish, Grades 1-3

My children also started using Rosetta Stone in first grade to begin developing Spanish as their foreign language.

Image Credits

All images via Amazon

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Written by Heather Johnson

Heather is a writer, librarian, linguist, wife, and mother who loves her husband, children, dogs, and cat. She has a bachelor's degree in English with a minor in creative writing and master's degrees in library and information science and English studies with a concentration in linguistics.

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