Chasing Cheerios

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Homeschool Curriculum for 1st Grade...Help Needed!!!

O(5) will be in 1st grade next year, and it will be our first year of "official" homeschooling!!!  I can't wait, and she is really excited, too (most of the time).  I really want to make our curriculum choices soon because I want to have plenty of time to familiarize myself with the materials and have everything prepared.  I want our first year to go as smoothly as possible!  I'd like to have a Montessori and Charlotte Mason style homeschool.  E(2) will also be homeschooled, but she's easy...I have everything that I used with O when she was 3, and I have John Bowman's Montessori at Home book  (which is an absolute treasure).

I'd LOVE to have input on which curriculums have worked for you and which haven't.  Here are the ones that I've looked at online, but have never actually seen in real life.

For math, I'm interested in Right Start Math and/or Life of Fred. 

For reading/language, I'm interested in Language Lessons for the Very Young.  

We'll continue with World Geography and Cultural Studies through our cultural exchange packages.

I'd like to have a Spanish curriculum, but have no idea what to get.  Right now, we watch Little Pim dvds (which we LOVE), but I'd like to have an actual curriculum.

O wants to learn to read and write in cursive, so I'm thinking of getting Pictures in Cursive.

She would also like to learn more about American History.  She has a good foundation from reading the Little House on the Prairie books and American Girl books.  

I'm not sure what to use for Science, and I'm not sure what else I'll need to teach.  PLEASE offer any advice that you have through comments to this post or emails to me at  THANK YOU!!!


  1. I hope you get lots of suggestions because I'm in the same boat! We tried Life of Fred and LOVE it! We are definitely going to continue with that but haven't decided on anything else yet.

  2. I used the Calvert homeschool series, grades 1-8. Very interesting program and one of the oldest homeschool programs. Check out their website. Good luck! My children are grown, but we had so much learning fun! Darby Logan

  3. I will be following this one as well. We are in our first "official" year of h/s but I am taking it very easy as A has already met most of the requirements. I am going with an eclectic approach ( not a boxed curriculum) We are using Saxon Math 1 and although it is not Montessori based, it is very hands on and I have enjoyed the layering approach to the subjects and the transition pace to the next. Amelia flies through the worksheets and asks to do more - so I take that as a good sign! Cant wait to see what others add!!

  4. I LOVE RightStart Math. We have used it for 3 years now, 2 kids. I love the game playing to teach everything, I love the abacus, and I love how it builds on itself so your child is never lost.

  5. We tried RS (Level A) but it just wasn't right for my dd. My dd loved the abacus but she really didn't enjoy the games that much. RS also jumps around a lot which wasn't right for my dd. She tends to enjoy worksheets which RS is very light (almost none) on. We moved to Singapore and she is thriving. My point is that it (as any other curriculum) works well for some but not others.
    As for reading/language arts we are doing OPGTR (well, finishing) and Explode the Code. For handwriting we are using Zaner-Bloser 1 (dd is finishing up K this year).
    For science we are starting with Real Science 4 kids - Chemistry. I'm not sure what else we will be doing.
    Good luck choosing your curriculum!

  6. We are also in the same boat, our oldest will be in 1st next year. We used Language Lessons for Little Ones 3 this year and we really enjoyed it so we will probably continue with the next book next year. We used Horizon's math this year and liked it but it didn't seem challenging enough at times, not sure about next year for math. We plan on using a couple programs from Confessions of a Homeschooler next year. We will use Road Trip USA and World's Greatest Artists Vol 1. I also am trying to find a good science program for them, I will definitely be checking back to see what programs others have suggested.

  7. I HIGHLY suggest R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey! Level one (Life) is for grades 1-4 and provides an EXCELLENT foundation for further exploring other science subjects in the future. There are MANY hands on labs and the program IS EASY to use. (I have a 2 1/2 yo and newborn at home as well)
    All supplies needed for labs are easy to obtain and inexpensive, and so far my daughter has LOVED this program - she gets disappointed when I tell her we don't have any science to do today - LOL. Feel free to e-mail me for more info or pointers - since I've gleaned so much from your blog in the past I'd love to return the favor ;)
    (link to curriculum)

  8. I part time home school

    This is a neat form
    you can use to make print writing work sheets with any words
    its free to use. It can be used for writing, and spelling.
    Younger children need the font set bigger

    I plan in the future to get a year pass at the children’s museum. It’s expensive but the past costs around night at the movies.

    One idea is get together with other homeschool so you could home school Together once or twice a week. It’s not just socialization.


  9. Dear Melissa,

    Check the following blog:

    Leann is reviewing a Spanish curriculum named "Montessori Spanish". She is also analysing the pros and cons of certain Math programs. Then tell me about your decision.

    Maria Elena from Argentina

  10. I have a 1st and 3rd grader and we just switched to Life Of Fred. I am happy with it, but a word of caution, it will seem like your children aren't "doing enough". For myself this meant I had to make sure I trusted and understood the process.
    The books you mentioned for history are staples and will/can be used with much versatility for many years. They are perfect.
    I like Jan Vancleave's science books.

  11. Another person who loves Right Start Math. My son is coming up on Level D, my dd, starting 1st grade is using Level A (my son used A in Kinder). Another you may like is Math U See. It wasn't for us, but it is very hands on, and I believe the block colors match the colors used in montessori math...For science and history, I would go with a living books approach. Choose some good ones for the spine (like a science encyclopedia) and then supplement each topic with books from the library and experiments. That would be pretty Charlotte Mason. And then of course, nature walks/journaling. Read Aloud Poems for the Very Young, read one each day and discuss. Come Look With Me are art books you can use for artist study and discussion (again, Charlotte Mason). We use Handwriting Without Tears for printing and cursive, they do start with printing though.

  12. I've heard there's a history based off the Little House books for US history, otherwise I really enjoy All American History, but I don't know think it's particularly Montessori at all.

    For science we've really enjoyed the Apologia science books.

  13. At that age, we used Five in a Row. Here's a link:


    Have you checked out the website above? She has some great stuff and reviews many homeschool products.

  15. We are about to finish the Butterflies book in Life of Fred and my boys love every minute of it!! Also, have you looked at Five in a Row? It gently incorporates english, science, social studies and other topics. We just started it and love it, and it inspired us to do some of our own unit studies as well!

    I attached 2 links to this. They are both Winter Promise programs, under there themed humanities programs. The first is Hideaways in History, the second is the American Story (there is a part 1 which is recommended for 1st graders, and then you can follow it in another grade with the second part of the American Story).
    Tapestry of Grace has been highly recommended to me, but I think we will wait until my kids are a little older. Winter Promise stuff is very interactive and I feel like they are learning a lot more by doing in these ones, so that is what we will be going with.
    I've heard good things about Explode the Code, REAL Homeschool Spanish, Real Science 4 Kids but I haven't used these - just know others who do. I think Winter Promise has a Science section too, it is supposed to be where you do the other units 4 days and then a science 1 day, I think. Anyway, love there stuff. They don't seem to be as well known, but I love the progect based learning rather then textbooks. Hope that helps!

  17. Thanks for all of the comments! I have the 2nd FIAR book and used it with O before she started school. We loved it, and we'll probably use it in 1st grade, too. I just forgot about it when I was writing this post :) I'll also use BFIAR with E, which we started this year, but haven't had time for since we are focusing on her ABC fun packs and Montessori right now.

  18. Check out NOEO for science. We haven't used it yet, but it's the one I plan on when we get to that point. I've seen it recommended many times on my homeschooling boards.

  19. We have really enjoyed RightStart Math and FIAR. I'm also thinking about adding in Miquon math. Salsa Spanish was recommended to me as good for that age, but I have not tried it yet.