Chasing Cheerios

Friday, July 27, 2012

1st Grade Curriculum...Update

Since we've been somewhat officially homeschooling for about 5 or 6 weeks, I thought it was time to review my 1st grade homeschooling post with some updates... I'm really glad that we started "school" this summer so that I would (kind of) know what I'm doing by the time school really starts (I sent in my paperwork to truly begin "school" on August 1)...

Art Appreciation-  We did the intro. lesson of Meet the Masters, but that is as far as we've gotten.  I think we will enjoy this program, and I'll supplement with library books about the famous artist.  I've decided to wait to start MTM until after we have our school room, so that we will be more organized with our materials.
Meet the Masters (via Homeschool Buyer's Co-op)
Usborne Art Treasury- We've used this book when doing art projects with the Montessori school children, and we'll use it again during the school year when planning the monthly projects with the Montessori children. 
World's Greatest Artist from Confessions of a Homeschooler 

Music Appreciation-   We've been studying Bach this month, and the girls LOVE Bach!  We've read several books about Bach, and the girls especially liked the chapter book that we started our Bach study with (Bach, Music Giant).  We've listened to Bach's music on cds and on the ipad.  We'll continue studying Bach through August.
World's Famous Composers (Confessions of a Homeschooler)- We haven't started this program yet, but we will soon.  The girls really want to color pics of Bach, so they'll color the pics included in this curriculum while we listen to the music.  I'm planning to stretch this curriculum over 2 years, so I'm in no hurry to get it no stress when we don't get to it.
Classical kids Cds
Maestro Classics
Orchestra book-  The girls really love our orchestra book, and we've enjoyed listening to the cd during lunch and talking about the music.  Their grandparents got the musical instruments toob for E's bday (in Sept), so we'll focus on learning the different instruments in September.  They love music, so this should be a lot of fun. 

World History- 

History Odyssey (Ancients) includes SOTW    I really like History Odyssey (Ancients), and I thought we would stick with it.  However, I recently ordered the SOTW activity guide, and it came in this week.  After looking over it, I think that I like it better than History Odyssey, so I think we'll drop History Odyssey and just do SOTW with the activity book and supplemental activities from the internet...there are tons of them.   So far, we've spent most of our time studying history...there are so many opportunities for pretend play when studying history, and we do a lot of that!  I have several posts saved in draft about our different history activities. 


Science Odyssey (Life)  -  We love this program and plan to continue with it throughout the school year. I haven't scheduled a certain day for our subjects (yet), so we are just doing things when it feels right and we have time...taking things slowly and easily and enjoying our days. 
Science work from Montessori Print Shop-  I'll set up our numerous Montessori works once we have our new school room. 
Magic School Bus Young Scientist Monthly subscription (via Homeschool Buyer's Co-op)-  The girls' first MSB packet was about volcanoes.  I was VERY disappointed with this package.  There was just not much to it.  The girls liked examining a pumice stone and then testing it to see if it floated.  The other experiments were building and setting off a volcano, which is an activity that we've done numerous times.  I hope that the next packet will be better...

Spanish- We haven't started Elementary Spanish yet.  I'm waiting until we are in our new school room.  We read Spanish books occasionally (I'd like to read Spanish books daily, but this hasn't happened yet).  We listen to Professor Pocket almost daily during lunch or while I'm cooking supper, and the kids LOVE the cds (I do, too!).  I plan to get better about "doing" Spanish everyday, but I just haven't been organized enough to make it happen. 
Elementary Spanish on United Streaming (links via Satori Smiles)
Spanish books from Reading A to Z
Spanish games (Zingo, bingo, beanbags, etc)
Spanish books
Spanish flashcards
Hooked on Spanish
Little Pim dvds
Boca Beth dvd, cd, and puppets

American History- O)6) received her first American Girl Fun Pack (Kaya) last weekend.  We've been reading books about Native Americans and have been playing with Native American toob figures.  We are reading Island of the Blue Dolphins now, and we read The Indian and the Cupboard last week.  The girls listened to Meet Kaya on the ipad while going to sleep (via Tales 2 Go), and they play with O's Kaya doll and horse daily.  I plan for us to read the Kaya stories and short stories this month as well as doing a few Native American crafts.  We'll read several "If you lived..." books focusing on Native Americans, and we have been reading about Kaya's World.  O is not interested in completing a lapbook for Kaya, so we'll skip that this time. 
American Girl books (1 AG per 4 to 6 weeks)
AG lapbooks via homeschoolshare
history books relative to AG girls timeline
Beautiful feet books guide- The girls have loved reading Leif the Lucky and Columbus by Ingri d'Aulaire.  I've just placed Pocahontas on hold at the library, and I'm sure they'll love it, too. 

US Geography- We haven't done much US Geography yet, but I bought a wipe-off USA map, and I plan to use it to show the girls where the American girls and the other characters from the books we've read lived.  

maybe Holling C Holling books- I've put Paddle to the Sea on hold at the library, and I'm looking forward to reading it to the girls soon.  Since we are studying Native Americans this month, I think this will be a good book to read. 
maybe incorporate map work into AG studies

Math-   O finished Life of Fred Apples about a month ago.  She really loved it when we started it, but she grew to dislike it.  She loved the stories, but she did not like it when it was her "turn to play."  She was not interested in continuing this curriculum.  We've done the first 7 lessons of Rightstart B, and we like it.  We've started Singapore (first 2 lessons), and we like it.  We'll do more math once we are in our school room, and we have room for our materials. 
Singapore Math 1A (she'll fly through this and then we'll decide whether or not to continue with Singapore or not)
Rightstart Math Level B
Montessori Math materials
Miquon Math books and cuisenaire rods
Life of Fred- Apples

ELA - O reads leveled readers from Reading A to Z daily.  I've downloaded the books to the ipad, so this is very convenient, and I was glad to save ink and paper by not having to print them.   O has started to enjoy reading these books in the last 2 weeks, and she is getting better at reading everyday.  I decided not to order First Language Lessons, since we already have Language Lessons for Little Ones (3).  We like LL, and we usually do 2 or 3 lessons at a time.  I've ordered Writing with Ease, but we haven't started it yet.  O reads/recites one poem per week.  She loves for me to introduce her so that she can "perform" her poem.  

Leveled readers via Reading A to Z                
First Language Lessons
Writing with Ease
Literature selections via Ambleside Online
Poetry journal
Nonfiction story journal- We are waiting to start this in a few months. 
Fiction story journal- We are also waiting to start this.
Letter writing-  I'm going to set up a letter writing station and a book making station in our new school room, so we'll start this in a couple of months...hopefully.
read aloud
listen to audio book selections via tales 2 go app for Ipad- Both girls love to listen to audio books as they fall asleep and when they are playing quietly in their room with their dolls.  We love the Tales 2 Go app and the free audiobooks app on the ipad. 
Five in a Row Volume 2 (occasionally)-  We'll start Five in a Row once we are in our school room.  

Nature Studies- I decided to wait on the Little House Nature Study since we have finally finished reading ALL of the Little House chapter books (the Laura years, the Rose years, the Caroline years, the Charlotte years, and the Martha years...they are all by different authors, but they are all just as good as the original books by Laura Ingalls Wilder).  We loved all of these books, and O was ready to start over with reading them all, but I convinced her to wait for a while, so we'd have time to read some different chapter books for a while.   We read one chapter of the Burgess Bird Book per day, and both girls really love this book.  They have colored bird pics and played memory with pics of the birds.  We also look at pics and drawings of the birds and listen to their songs via the ipad. 

Little House on the Prairie Nature study guide
Burgess Bird Book (links via Satori Smiles)

Sign Language- We haven't gotten into the routine of doing sign language regularly again yet...hopefully, we will soon. 

Signing Time dvds
ASL ABC poster
ASL books, flashcards, games

Handwriting- I've backed away from handwriting for a while since O dislikes it so much.  She has to copy words and sentences in her Early Language Lessons book, and she has done much better with that since that is all that I require of her right now. 

Cursive book via Queen Homeschool
printables via handwriting worksheet maker

World Geography- We really enjoy spontaneously incorporating World Geography into our days via our Smartglobe.  The girls love to listen to the national anthems of various countries.  We have been finding and listening to the facts and national anthems of Egypt, Jordan, and Kuwait this month.  They love to find Kuwait on the globe since their Uncle is stationed there. 

country studies via cultural exchange- We are studying Jordan now, and we'll continue studying Jordan and add in Israel in August. 
map work with large felt map
globe work with talking globe and google earth
maybe include Expedition Earth from Confessions of a HOmeschooler - I'll incorporate this program when it covers a country that we have exchange with via our cultural exchange.

We have had a very laid back homeschool this summer, and it has worked for us so far.  However, I think we will have more of a routine once the school year starts back, and the girls are involved in more activities.

 O is VERY excited about taking several dance classes (tap, jazz, ballet, clogging, and gymnastics), and E(2) is thrilled to be taking tap and ballet for the first time.  O will join her Montessori school for about an hour a week and will have recess once a week with her old classmates.  E will also join the children for recess once a week.  We will also join the Montessori school children for art projects once per month.  We are excited about being a part of homeschool group every Friday afternoon, and I'm planning to take them to the library for an hour or so after that every Friday (we'll have time to kill before gymnastics starts).

I'm hoping to find a good balance with enough activities and socialization without overdoing it.  I really value our long days at home with no interruptions, and the children do, too.  O cheers when she asks if we have to go anywhere and I say "no."


  1. I need to laminate this & keep it somewhere. lol That's one of the things that overwhelms me, coming up with lesson plans & figuring out which books to use! My little one is only 2 so I have a while before figuring it out. :) We're doing a mini school now which is parts Montessori, parts BFIAR, parts copying things from my favorite blogs & Pinterest. :)

  2. Seriously awesome resources. Thank you! I couldn't agree with Alicia more!!

  3. Love your plans! We are also using SOTW (I'm beyond excited to get started), Meet the Masters, a couple of the other Peace Hill Press books.
    I've used two of the MSB kits and was pretty disappointed with both. I think for kids that don't have much science experience they may be fun, for many homeschooling families that focus on hands on learning, they aren't that exciting. Good luck!!

  4. Your plans look great! I'll be interested to see how Meet The Masters works out for you - I saw it at the coop but couldn't decide.