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1st grade social studies and science


katnorman
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Hi, I am new to the forum and this is our first year homeschooling. I have a DD who is in kindergarten (and a 3, almost 2, and 7 week old). I have been researching social studies for 1st grade and am looking at Harcourt Horizons About My World and Mcgraw Hill People and Places. Any information on either of those, or any other secular social studies program, would be great!! I would also love any recommendations on any secular science program, as I am a bit lost there. :confused:

Thanks,

Katie

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Welcome!

 

I've actually looked at both of those programs last year. They were VERY "schoolish" IMO and didn't work for us. We're doing 1st grade as well, btw. We're using Story of the World for history and Elemental Science for science. A lot of secular homeschoolers use these two programs. For social studies, we talk about different places, memorized the continents, find places on the globe/in the atlas, and read about different countries...and there's map work with SOTW too.

Edited by Hill Country Classical Academy
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We're using Story of the World for history and R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey - Life for science. I think I've looked at most of the secular science offerings, and that's what is working for us. I haven't heard of the curriculums you listed, sorry.

 

I plan to add related Intellego unit studies for several of these subjects - history, science, social studies, etc..

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For first grade social studies, our plan is to use McGraw Hill People and Places and have dd#2 tag along for SOTW 3. We use the school texts as readers. I don't require any additional work, just discussion. We also do gegraphy/culture unit studies.

For science we used R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey Life for dd#1 this year. We really enjoyed it! Next year we'll be using Nancy Larson Science. Both are secular programs.

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Story of the World volume 1 would fit the bill for history. I suggest getting the activity guide that goes with it.

 

For science at this level the WTM recommendations are great, IMO. A My First Encyclopedia of Animals, My First Encyclopedia of the Human Body, and Green Thumbs for springtime would get you started. A library card and lots of time spent in the outdoors would flesh it out.

 

I don't do "social studies" with my kids at any grade.

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I started my boys in 1st grade with a "Social Studies Program." It was Bob Jones, so it was Christian, but I'm sure it was similar to others that are not. BORING! My boys were bored, even though we did supplement with History Pockets and biographies and all that other stuff. We started SOTW1 at Christmas that year and they loved it. I'd say go with SOTW. CHildren love stories and SOTW is written in a narrative form with lots of very interesting tidbits of information they are not going to get in a social studies program.

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First grade "social studies" are things that your kids will probably pick up without a curriculum. I know in my son's first grade class, they did "community helpers" (learning what a policeman, fire fighter, paramedic are... something he's known since he was at least 3 :tongue_smilie:), and they touched a bit on some holidays. I know when they got to Columbus Day, they did that as "social studies", but what they talked about was hardly any information at all. My son learned so much more by me taking him out of school one day to go visit the Niña and Pinta replicas that had come to town. :)

 

I recommend going with history instead. You can either go the American history route or the world history route, or really any route that you want! :D We are doing ancient world history via SOTW1 this year, and it's going great.

 

I don't know anything about the textbooks you're looking at, but I find school social studies textbooks to be pretty boring, and again, in school first grade, they don't learn much that they won't pick up on their own anyway. I was shocked to find out how pointless first grade "social studies" was in school.

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I second what others have said - we're planning to use SOTW1 with the activity guide and Elemental Science Biology. I love that all of them are available as PDF downloads, too; they're inexpensive, avoid shipping, I can print out just what I need, and I can use them on the iPad and Sony Reader. Since this is the first year I've bought curriculum, I don't really know what's expensive, and realize that's very subjective, but I would be surprised if our materials came in at even $1 a day. That's pretty cheap for the great education that I think my child is getting!

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Thank you so much for all the great information. Now I have a lot more to look at!! But I am wondering what is WTM for science??

Thanks,

Katie

 

The science recommendations in the Well Trained Mind book. Basically, you get some spines, check out library books, and do some science kits.

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You know, I'd done a lot of different things, trying to simplify my life because sometimes looking at TWTM looks kind of hard because you have to go to the library and all that. I've tried getting "science books" and "social studies curriculum", and even though in a sense they are easier because you just open a book and read, it's harder because your kids are bored (or at least mine were) and they aren't learning as much. We tried A Beka Science and my boys were completely bored. As one who's BTDT and keeps coming back to TWTM, I have to admit that SWB and JW have it right. At least for our family. It is actually easier to do it their way, even though it doesn't seem like it would be.

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WTM is short for the book, The Well Trained Mind. I would check it out from the library if you haven't read it yet. If you are just interested in 1st grade science and history for right now, just read the grammar section chapters on science and history. (The book is very large and can be overwhelming!) But the science how to section is really just a few pages long, and it is so easy to implement and works great. Before I bought my own WTM, I checked it out from the library and wrote down the science recs, and did first grade that way, just rechecking WTM once or twice that year for a refresher.

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