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Is my 1st grader behind?

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#1 LadyT


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Posted 12 October 2017 - 02:19 PM

As homeschooling is still a fairly new thing for us, I have a hard time knowing if I am on track with my daughter's education or if I have unknowingly delayed her. We have been doing Ordinary Parent's Guide to Reading and are a little past half way finished with the book. We journal every day and her writing is great, but spelling definitely needs some work. We are working through SOTW for history, and we do a fun science program called mystery science twice a week. We also work on memorization with poetry and use math mammoth. Somedays - school takes us several hours and it is a challenge for both of us because she drags her feet on getting the simplest tasks done.

Are there any other experienced 1st grade parent's that can comment on benchmarks and expectations?

Thank you!

#2 OneStepAtATime


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Posted 12 October 2017 - 03:10 PM

Welcome!  Can you give a bit more detail?  What is it that makes you feel like your child is behind?


On a side note, homeschooling a 1st grader shouldn't take hours or wear you both out daily.  What are your days actually broken down into and how much time do you spend, on average, with each subject?  


If you are worried about spelling, that can take years to really nail.  I would not stress over spelling with a 1st grader.  What are you seeing that causes concern?


And hugs.  I know homeschooling can be scary.  It seems like this huge responsibility is entirely on your shoulders.  Hang in there.  Your child is very young.  She has time.  

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#3 HomeAgain


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Posted 12 October 2017 - 03:12 PM

We did first grade last year.  At this point in the year, my son was doing short copywork - think 3-5 words on average.  He did oral narrations for stories he listened to and I encouraged him to narrate his imaginary play more.  Spelling was attempted, but the lessons were either too easily known or didn't stick.  By mid-year we had switched to a program called Dictation Day By Day, which uses short sentences to teach spelling (2 sentences per day, with a revolving word list).

Fast forward to this 2nd grade: he is doing a short paragraph of copywork each day, still doing Dictation Day By Day, and is now attempting written narrations with help.



I don't think your daughter is behind in the least!  Just keep going slow and steady and meet her where she is.  :)

#4 blondeviolin


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Posted 12 October 2017 - 11:03 PM

Nope. Work on OPGTR, read with her and ask some questions for comprehension, do some math, and make sure you do history and science for the fun.

My own first grader does grammar, copywork, spelling, reading, math, and history/science every day. He takes MAYBE two hours for all of it.

#5 Callista


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Posted 14 October 2017 - 09:53 AM

Hello!  I'm new  posting on the forum but thought I would chime in.   I have taught first grade twice now and I can assure you that you are not behind.  First grade should take you about 2 hours (and that is on the rigorous side).  From my own experience, ideally you would do reading (phonics), handwriting, and math everyday.  That is the heart of first grade.  You read to her A LOT too.  For the other subjects like science and history, you can alternate.  Ex:  Mondays will be a science experiment/lesson, Tuesdays will be art, Wednesdays a history lesson, Poetry on Thursdays, Fridays you will do a lesson in nature, etc.


Also, at that age, I would drop SOTW.  Rather, use history picture books that will introduce her to history and prepare her for the older grades.  That is a lot for a first grader to take in.  There are some great picture history books for little kids!!!


Your benchmarks for the END of first grade (again on the rigorous side) should be that she can write exceptionally well, holds her pencil correctly,  is understanding phonics and syllables, etc. and is reading simple stories.  Regarding math, she should know her numbers, be able to count to 100 or higher, count by 5's and 10's, etc., and do simple addition problems.  She should also be working on good habits (simple chores, not interrupting during lessons, etc.).  She should also have a significant portion of her day that is spent playing! 


Ex. schedule:

  • 9:00-9:30      Reading (phonics instruction)
  • quick break
  • 9:45-10:00    Handwriting practice
  • 10:00-10:30  Math
  • quick break
  • 10:45            Extra subject (science, nature, art, poetry, etc.)

Stick to a specific schedule/routine so that she knows when school start & stops, she then has no time to "dawdle," as it is over before she knows it.  Any additional time is spent working on habits that she will need to carry her thru the older grades: focus, attention, pencil grips, etc.


No worries though on your daughter ~ she is definitely not behind with what you are doing! :)  Just my 2cents. 

#6 LadyT


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Posted 14 October 2017 - 02:39 PM

Thank you all so much! I feel much better after your comments. Whenever we have a rough day, I can feel pretty discouraged at my teaching abilities. It seems like we are right on track from everyone's comments so I will stay the course and keep positive. Thank you again!
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#7 fralala


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Posted 21 October 2017 - 06:27 AM

Honestly? I'd figure out a way to have fewer rough days. Our unfair expectations are often a cause for them at this age.


Do the things you both enjoy, re-examine the things she dislikes. At this age, preserving a kid's love of learning and curiosity and relationship with you (and your own sanity and enjoyment of homeschooling) are key. The only sense of urgency I might feel for first grade is doing enough together that you will be able to identify if she has any learning challenges that are better addressed early. Otherwise? Take your time. The subject she's fighting in the morning may be more appealing after afternoon snack, sitting in your lap, with you both feeling more relaxed. Your brain and imagination and knowledge of your daughter will serve you better than any curriculum or benchmarks. Be creative! Be playful. Have fun. Quit spelling. Go outside.


Battles now, pressure now, will make things harder for you later on. If you can shut the book and say "You've had enough for now! High five! Great work!" and pay attention to the kid in front of you...my experience is she will come to her lesson much more enthusiastically the next time. If you can say, "You don't like this book. I am going to figure out a different way to do this," she is going to want to cooperate with you. Really, this is a great time for you to experiment and use all your great loving, creative, (worrying) mom energy.


(This is meant to be encouraging, not to say you're doing it all wrong, because I'm pretty sure most of us figure this out from the harsh experience of having a kid starting to resent "school", and feel like we are NOT on their side but are putting pressure on them for reasons they can't understand and we can't even explain. I sure did.)