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Analyze this day (1st grade)


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I want to tell you exactly everything we will be doing tomorrow to see what you think.


Read 1/2 page from Phonics Pathways, which will probably take 10 minutes


1 page (2 sides) from Plaid Phonics A workbook:


  • write 2 lists of real words (about 5 words per list) by adding a beginning letter, then write a sentence or 2 using some of the words
  • Read a short poem then 4 fill-in-the-blank questions about it

Counting by 10s dot-to-dot


Rightstart B lesson, which will probably take 30 minutes


2 sides Horizons math worksheet, which has maybe 10 questions and will take 10 minutes or less


Health lesson, which will just be talking and will probably take 10 minutes


Kumon jigsaw cut and paste puzzle


BFSU Science lesson, which will probably take 30 minutes


Phonogram Bingo


Piano practice, which will take 10 to 15 minutes


Does this sound like too much writing or seatwork? (Ha! haven't used that term since elementary school!) I don't think it is, but my daughter is extremely difficult to school (whether we do much writing or not) so I want to be sure part of it isn't that I'm giving her more than I should.


The reason we'll do the Horizons worksheet is that DD actually does not like to play the RS games. She needs practice with her math facts, though, or she forgets them within a few days, so we have to throw in worksheets at least 3 days a week. Usually we do MEP, but occasionally we'll do something else. Tomorrow it just happens to be a rare Horizons day. The jigsaw cut and paste is something she likes to do. They're really too easy for her, but she gets a ridiculous amount of joy out of them. The kid loves scissors and glue. We would do more in Phonics Pathways, but her frustration tolerance is very, very low, and she gets frustrated even when it's not new material. She can actually read much more advanced stuff than where we are in PP, but I only know because I busted her when she named some books she wanted and she knew the titles because she read them all. :lol: When we're doing reading practice she insists she can't read, though. :glare: She enjoys the science and has a love/hate relationship with piano practice.


So hive mind, I'm trying to balance here. I want my DD to know her math facts, but she won't play the RS games. I want her to get phonics practice in writing because she doesn't retain everything by reading it in PP. I'd prefer her to be sitting at a table as little as possible (she's wiggly) but we need to get the job done, too. Does this snapshot sound reasonable, given that info?

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Well, every child is different so even if it looks reasonable to 90% of us if it's not working for her I'd try to figure out what might.


One of my first grade kids would be fine. The other wouldn't. Kids are so different.


My child that wouldn't, coincidentally, doesn't do the RightStart games either. I've been using online math games (I've got a slew in my bookmarks) and a slow pace essentially. For facts the games would reinforce if I can't find an online computer thing I just do flashcard type drills. He does those much better than the games.


But for anything seatwork for him it's no more than 15 minutes at a time and that's the upper range. That means most RightStart for him is split into more than one lesson.


Would you like me to post what we'll be doing tomorrow?

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That would be so kind of you!


I guess I should also say that she really enjoys the phonics worksheets. I guess that's important information. lol So out of all that stuff, all that she consistently doesn't like is the Phonics Pathways page and the Horizons worksheet. She may or may not like the RS lesson. That varies by day, and I can never tell if it's based on her mood or the material covered that day.

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So on a typical day (since you're not doing Horizons on a typical day) she's enjoying all but 10 minutes? That sounds like it's going pretty well then and so I don't think my schedule is going to be a lot of help. I think my guy is more resistant or extreme anyway but I'll post it. I'd probably try to find an alternative to Horizons that might be more palatable or dump it altogether I think. How much time do you have left in Phonics Pathways? Do you think an alternative way to do phonics might be a better fit or do you think she'd just be resistant to anything?


My priority at this age is character (that includes work habits here) and having positive feelings about learning and ourselves as learners. All the academic is secondary to that in my mind in first grade. Math with Andrew is never fun really so I try to make it as unobjectionable as I can and then if it's a must we do it. So to me 10 minutes of something she doesn't love each day sounds ok. That said, when I can I try to make things enjoyable and there are lots and lots of quality ways to teach phonograms and reading. So I might be tempted to find a way that works better in your place.


I don't have much for sit down as both mine need activity and what I do have is spread out. But it doesn't sound like you need to be that way and for some kids it's likely better to just sit down and get it done.


1. RightStart—I close it out when his attention is wandering or it’s going downhill. No more than 15 minutes generally and most of the time I'd say it's about 10 minutes. Math can be a struggle with him. After math and before the next section he’ll get a break while his twin works all the way through a RightStart Lesson. His twin enjoys math so it's painless with him.


2. Bible—Devotional and go over memory verse (5ish minutes maybe). Tomorrow we’re going to be painting as a follow up activity so that will take however long because he just likes to paint. Sometimes the activity is a craft type where it takes longer but doesn’t feel like work and other times it’s something like act out the story that doesn’t take long at all. But the sit down part is consistently short.




3. Phonogram review—he’ll go through all of them flashcard type style for reading the phonogram. His twin does them in two minutes give or take. I know because he wants to time himself lately. The kid that's harder to teach will take longer because he'll talk about each one (au as in author and.....hmmmm....apple sauce!) or say each one in a different voice or similar. I've got lots of active ways to review phonograms as well.


4. Handwriting—short copywork and about 12 of the phonograms to write as I say them. This isn’t much and with his brother it goes quite quickly. This child is a player as in wants to write each phonogram in a different color or tell me a story about Mr. e and his neighbor type stuff so things take longer with him. I don’t know for sure but 10 minutes maybe for him. If it takes longer it's because he's having a fun time and annoying me to death with the slowness of it. I schedule reading to follow this intentionally to speed him up to get to it as needed and also as a motivator to start with these things in the first place.



5. Read aloud to me. At this point he reads one Gaydos level 4 book per day and one or two I See Sam books. These are short. I’ve never timed them but he likes the stories and likes to read so this is actually a motivator to speed up the handwriting.



Play/long break, Lunch


6. Read aloud of our chapter book with narrations. He likes read alouds and I’ve got lots of active narration ideas so this is painless. I don’t know how long. We read two chapters. They always want me to read more and sometimes I do but generally I try to go slowly through these so limit to just the two chapters.


*7. this is the the biggest "school" of our day and you can see in this one or in the other lessons I've done recently that typically things are very hands on for this part of the day. Topic tomorrow will be Wampanoag clothing. The lesson is linked here in my blog and it's activity based rather than sit down.



Even with all this being fun for him and short he still is a pain sometimes to get started though he enjoys himself as we go. He would rather be doing his own thing all the time. If it were just him I would be following that bent of his more at this age and our days would look a lot different but his twin is the exact opposite and needs and wants more even so we do it the way we do for balance.

Edited by sbgrace
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It seems like you do a lot more than we do, but each child is different... Here's what we do in 1st grade:



Read aloud from Philippians (1 sentence)

OPGTR 1-3 lessons

WWE 1 day's worth

Singapore Math 1 textbook lesson and 1-2 workbook exercises

Practice math facts (I invented a Go Fish game with them)

-- break--

SOTW with worksheets, globe, maybe a narrative page

Astronomy: 1 page from DK Universe, with narrative page and illustration


We do other things too here & there, but this is our regular daily schedule.


This all (including break) takes about 2 hours, since each of these lessons is pretty short. DS seems to absorb things fast, and his attention span is not that long.


Hope this helps. It is so interesting to see what everyone is doing.

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Guest mrsjamiesouth

The only thing I noticed missing is you reading books to her. Here is what my 1st grader will do today:


3 Pages of CLE Math1 with flash cards

PP (we are working on CV pages still and he will do 4 pages)

I Read 101 Bible Stories, Peter Cotontail (1CH), and Mike Mulligan

We have activity sheets to do on Mike Mulligan story (there are 5 word math problems and a creative writing portion which I will write he will dictate to me)

Say our Rhyme for HOD

Study Ephesians 6:1

Watch DVD of Hide Em in our Heart only song 6

French Lessons with older brother

I will read 1 CH from The Miller family series

We are supposed to make paper mache mountain ranges ( I don't know that we will do this because we are going to the zoo)

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As everyone has said each child is different. Can you do the math facts orally? Tweak the phonics? My 1st grader doesn't like the phonics part of CLE because she already knows so much of it. It sounds like your dd may be the same way. I've started just doing a sample (maybe 5 questions) and if she gets it all right we move on.

Our typical 1st grade day looks like this.


Memory~a bible verse that corresponds to our Kids Klub at church~1min?

Math~CLE-takes her about 10 minutes, she's neutral about that

Break~plays with little sis and watches PBS or does puzzle

LA~CLE LTR-includes phonics and handwriting along with reading, about 20 minutes and she doesn't like it

Art~this is her free time to construct whatever she wants, her favorite part of the day

History~she listens in but doesn't really pay careful attention, she likes it if it's a movie (ie Liberty Kids, etc) or a project (10-30 min)


Science~she doesn't care and usually wanders away

RS~quick lesson or game, no more than 15 minute

Sometimes we do fun unit studies (this week J. W. Riley) or more art.

Reading aloud is at lunch and bedtime. Of all that her pencil is on paper no more than 30 min. I bet the range of what kids will do is huge at this age.

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Thanks, everyone! We do read aloud quite a bit. I just didn't include that in our "school" time, since she likes it so much. I generally have to pace with the baby in order to get reading done, while DD plays on the floor with toys or romps around and acts out part of the story. About 3 days a week we'll only have 2 activities that involve writing: a copywork page with 2 or 3 sentences and either a math worksheet or a phonics worksheet, but not usually both. Even then, since we're usually doing MEP and the writing spaces on MEP are so small, I do about 75% of that writing for her. Tomorrow is heavy on the writing for us - we have maybe 2 days a week like that. I still wanted analysis on this particular day, though. Gotta pick one. lol


We do include things DD likes: Artistic Pursuits 1/wk, 1 chapter SOTW with a project each wk, 1 story w/activities from Suppose The Wolf Were An Octopus each wk. She also LOVES science, which we usually do on Fridays. Last week we just had a busy week, so we're doing two lessons this week. I'm not saying all this to defend my workload - just giving info. :) I really, really want things to go more smoothly and will try to edit some things to see if that helps.


Even with all this being fun for him and short he still is a pain sometimes to get started though he enjoys himself as we go. He would rather be doing his own thing all the time. If it were just him I would be following that bent of his more at this age and our days would look a lot different but his twin is the exact opposite and needs and wants more even so we do it the way we do for balance.


Actually, my DD sounds exactly like that. Her problem isn't that she really dislikes what we're doing. It's that she doesn't want to do anything unless it's her idea. That makes it incredibly difficult to decide whether we're doing too much, because I don't know whether I'm asking for too much/the wrong things or whether she'd be this way if I asked her to do anything at all. How would your days be different if you only had this son to teach?

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My son is in grade 1. A typical day for us, is we'll review a page of HOP, followed by one lesson from our CLE Learning to Read program. He has 5 spellnig words a day usually from our CLE lesson & we use a white board for him to write on. He does science on M/W and history/geography on Tu/Th. We do Saxon Math daily. After Christmas, we will probably incorporate WWE 1 and perhaps AAS 1 - but I'm not certain yet.



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I think your day looks fine for a 1st grader. I do have a couple of ideas for you.


To get some enjoyment out of learning facts, perhaps you can give her some of her joy: cutting and pasting. Write out/type up the answers to her math worksheets. Have her cut out the answers and glue them on the page. Then, simply read the "math sentences" to not only help w/ math retention, but also to encourage her that SHE CAN READ words AND math sentences (something else she needs encouragement in).


I'm not totally familiar w/ the format of PP, but I'd suggest making mini-books from the words in PP so she can "read a book." I did this with 100EZL and it made a huge difference. My son just couldn't read (in his mind), so I took the reading practice from the book he did not love and typed up little mini-books. I inserted 1 picture per page from Clip Art and made a box titled, "Books Axel Can Read" As he finished the books (took me about 10 min to get this going). Suddenly, the confidence came pouring in b/c he was holding a "book."


You may also have her complete any of these lessons on a white board/chalk board instead of sitting and writing. If it's important that you have the finished product in a portfolio, take pictures, print them, then let her create her own notebook...more of that cutting and gluing she Loves!


Lapbooks would be a winner for this one, too. There are some FANTASTIC math practice lapbooks! She'd create it, then play games for facts. Just google math lapbooks.


Have fun! She sounds like a sweetie! I MISS my girls being little.

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It doesn't sound like too much seatwork, but each child is different in what they enjoy. My DD6 does not mind seatwork. In fact, if I don't have some sort of worksheet for her, she'll ask for one. :tongue_smilie: Then I usually have to pull something off the internet....even if it is just a coloring sheet pertaining to the subject at hand.


Here's what we do daily:


Bible - me reading, us discussing, usually a worksheet or coloring sheet, takes about 15 or 20 minutes


Handwriting - usually consists of her writing some sentences or doing a chapter of Draw, Write, Now. I'll occasionally add a Bob Book or two into this time for her to read to me. This takes about 10 or 15 minutes. (We are doing no formal phonics right now as she is going to be evaluated because she has a hard time with it. If we were doing phonics, it would be included in handwriting time and would take an additional 15 or 20 minutes).


Speech - I pulled her from speech therapy and we are doing it at home. So usually 10 to 15 minutes of a speech related activity, complete with correctly saying words.


Math - We do the next chapter of Math U See....usually takes about 20 minutes.



Then, we also do the following:


Mondays - Literature, Art - We read a well known short story or fable and do activities and discuss (usally takes about 15 to 20 minutes). For Art we are working through Artistic Pursuits and do a new chapter each week (takes about 20 or 30 minutes to talk about it, answer questions, look at examples, and actually do our own piece of artwork).


Tuesdays - Science, Sign Language - For Science we use Evan Moor books and do some worksheets, experiments, and reading (could take anywhere from 15 - 45 minutes depending on what we do that day). For Sign Language we watch a Signing Times DVD and review signs we have previously learned (takes about 35 or 40 minutes).


Thursdays - Science - same as on Tuesday


Fridays - Literature, Story of the World - Literature is same as on Monday just different story. Story of the World takes about 30 or 45 minutes and consists of me reading the next chapter while DD colors a corresponding sheet, then we do an activity pertaining to it.


So DD has quite a bit of seatwork too, but she doesn't really mind it. Starting at about 3 years old she starting bringing worksheets to me for us to go together. She's always been a worksheet kid.


Oh....we don't sit down and do all of these straight through. I'll do two or three subjects and then give DD a break to go play with her sister. So she gets plenty of play time.

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None of my kids have spent more than 1.5 hours doing school in 1st grade, and all of it is done one on one with me.


I do break the RS lessons down, as needed. I wouldn't spend 30 mins on science at this age, probably 10 mins of reading/writing time. Though I don't know how much of that is doing hands on stuff, which can take up a lot of time quickly and be a lot of fun for the child. I wouldn't cut that sort of stuff, unless the child wanted to. I wouldn't do 30 mins of straight listening, reading or writing work in science.



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Actually, my DD sounds exactly like that. Her problem isn't that she really dislikes what we're doing. It's that she doesn't want to do anything unless it's her idea. That makes it incredibly difficult to decide whether we're doing too much, because I don't know whether I'm asking for too much/the wrong things or whether she'd be this way if I asked her to do anything at all. How would your days be different if you only had this son to teach?


I wondered if she might be like my son in that respect.


Honestly, if he were my only I would be thinking about the minimum academics I felt we needed at this age and it would come through extremely short lessons spread through day. I wouldn't worry about how far I got in math or anything else--we'd just do a very short lesson of (hopefully) his best work. I would schedule them spread through the day I think with some type of motivator to follow the math and handwriting portions such as reading a book together afterward. Otherwise we'd be reading together. I think I'd be following a pretty much pure Charlotte Mason type of schooling with him though I'd still be doing my bible program.



I didn't start formal phonics at all until my kids turned six intentionally because I felt the child in question just wasn't ready. And what we began at six (March) didn't work at all for one of mine and so we stopped while I regrouped and essentially got no where. Then in late April/Early May I started I See Sam and we finally got going. Then in June I believe I began teaching them the phonograms using a multi-sensory phonics program I had found free online. We also used free Progressive Phonics books to practice reading with whatever phonogram I was teaching. My kids were really motivated by reading books and the way we did phonograms was multi-sensory and fun so this was entirely painless for all of us and in fact they were so excited to read it was actually a joy.


I went at their pace but by August (I'm not sure exactly when) we were working on fluency and reviewing phonograms. So in a matter of months we went from nothing to what I believe is pretty solid reading. I think they were just ready and I found the right program but if it were slower that would have been fine with me. My point is this--I don't think our pace matters. If you move slowly through RightStart B to make sure she's solid but it's not cumbersome she'll still end up in the same place academically in the end. It might just be that you get there with a better experience. I feel that at the young ages the experience matters as much or more than the content and pace. Because I too have a child that needs reinforcement and I'm using RightStart I want to add that I assume if he needs it I can always go back and speed through something like Math Mammoth levels when he's a bit older. I do school year round so we'll have extra time if needed for that type of thing. I think I mentioned we do a lot of online games with some concepts as well particularly the foundational ones like number bonds with 10's. He's moving slowly through RightStart and that's ok with me. I want him solid and hopefully without absolutely hating math.

Edited by sbgrace
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Ditto what pretty much everyone else said - each kid is different, only you know if it's really working, and I don't think anyone on this board would be surprised by your schedule.


Since we're doing schedules, for us, every day is different, but here's our typical day for my 1st grade twins:


6:-7:30 - I have no idea what goes on doing this time for sure, because I'm usually asleep, but I think it usually involves Cheerios, orange juice, Phineas and Ferb and Mario Kart...


7:30 - Bleary eyed me comes downstairs and tells everyone to head to school time and we do our daily rituals - art a day, word a day, and recently for science we were studying heat and temperature so we've been checking the weather and recording the temperature outside


7:30-8:ish - Math and phonics/handwriting - math we do together, but my 1st graders in different places for phonics and handwriting - they pick one or the other - if they haven't done handwriting in a few days, I make them do it (phonics is the more popular choice usually)


8:ish-9:ish - reading time and projects - we spend an hour or so in some combination of silent reading, reading aloud for history and science, and doing projects for history (we do science experiments all in one day with another family once a week)


9:ish - second breakfast and getting properly dressed (that's usually me, they're usually dressed:tongue_smilie:)


10:00 - we have a morning activity every day except Fridays (when we tend to do a field trip or do a big project) - co-op group, art class, science


On days that we get home before 3:00 (we tend to oversocialize after things), we do additional reading time in the afternoon and most evenings we do game time when we play games that include many educational things I've chosen, but which we enjoy as fun. Then, of course, there's another read aloud time before bed.

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