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Rigorous 1st grade?


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I would consider my dd1 to be average to slightly more. In Math/Science/Logic she excels, but in Reading I feel like she is barely on target, kwim? I always considered us fairly relaxed, but when talking to a fellow HS'er, she was adamant that I was being too 'hard' on her...doing too much. Now I'm questioning if maybe I *am* too hard on her, and I could ease up. :confused:

If you could, would you tell me what you do for each subject, how long you spend on each subject, and how long you spend daily on school. Also, how many days per week/month/year you do formal school. What are your expectations regarding how work is completed, taking responsibility for school and chores, ect.

Dd is my first, so I feel like it's a constant learning experience for me, and she is the poor soul that has to be the guinea pig.;)

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Well I have an 'old' first grader, but he's a boy so it probably balances out :)


I don't have our schedule right in front of me, but off the top of my head we do:


math: one hour

spelling and HW: 15-20 minutes

phonics: 30 minutes

spanish: one hour

read alouds: 30 minutes in morning, 30 minutes in afternoon, plus bedtime chapter book

latin: 10 minutes

music: about 5 minutes a day of practice.


There are a lot more things I'd like to do, like BFSU, art, crafts, etc. but I just can't find more time. I feel like this is the right amount of school for us right now. My son is a dawdler, and there were times we spent so much time doing school that at the end of the day he was exhausted, and we still managed to get almost nothing done. So now I set the timer, and when the timer's up we move on to the next subject. If he's not done what he was supposed to get done, I theoretically add it to the end of the day. So for instance he does math from 9-10. If he doesn't finish his math by 10 am, then i put it aside, move onto spelling, and then at 2 when he is done all of his other subjects, instead of getting to go play he has to sit and finish his math. I rarely do this, but the threat helps keep him working.


Like I mentioned there is a lot more that i would like to do, but I don't think he could handle it right now. I'd say do as much as your child can handle...you'll probalby be able to tell if it is too much. (For instance, my son was passing me notes that said 'freedum. i wunt to bee free like a burd.' with a picture of a caged bird....that's when I knew we needed to cut back :lol:)


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Oops, didn't answer all your questions:

For chores, I build them into the day. He has his basic morning chores to do before school, then after lunch we go upstairs and he folds and puts away his laundry and any other little miscellaneous chores. That is followed by 1/2 hour of free time, so if he finishes his chores quickly he gets more play.


I like to think I school 5 days a week, but I can't remember the last week where we did school all 5 days. Something always seems to come up. I also like to think I school through the summer, but same story...

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Dd6 is doing first grade this year, but would be in K if she went to PS.


She does one side of a page in Math Mammoth 1, usually about 15 min.


She does one lesson in Writing With Ease 1, about 5 min.


She is in Phonics Road 1, which is basically a spelling test, new words to spell/analyze, and phonics flashcards review, which takes about 20 min.


One reading lesson from Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading, 10 min.


One reading lesson from McGuffey reader, 5 min.


About an hour total for her a day. We do all of this four days a week for 36 weeks a year. I expect her handwriting to be neat or she writes it again. I expect letters and numbers to be facing the right way, words to be spelled correctly, and correct puncuation. I feel that if those are not corrected immediately she will fall into bad habits. The curriculum I have chosen is teacher intensive and not independent. She is also not overwhelmed at all with this workload. If she were, I would cut back.


Her chore is to clean the dining room as often as it needs cleaned: after school, after meals, after crafts, ect. This includes picking up the floor, clearing and wiping the table, and vacuuming when needed. She earns rewards for cleaning within a certain amount of time.


I feel that she is getting a solid education for her age and grade. None of this is pointless busywork like some curriculum can be.

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My dd sounds just like yours! Everything we do seems really easy for her...except reading. We just started a reading chart that has been helping immensely. She is so much more motivated now that she gets a sticker on her chart when she does a good job (which basically translates to staying focused, she reads pretty well when she actually tries). This is what we use and our schedule...


These are all 4 days/week, since my dd goes to a homeschool enrichment program 1 day/week.


Handwriting - Abeka cursive 1 (10 min)

Math - Abeka Arithmetic 1 & Singapore 1A (20 min)

Phonics - Explode the Code 3 (5 min)

Spelling - Spelling Workout A (10 min)

Writing - Writing with Ease 1 (10 min)

History - Adventures in America (15 min)

Science - Elemental Science: Intro to Science (15 min)

Reading - Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading (anywhere from 10 to 30 min :tongue_smilie:)

Read Alouds - (30 min)



2 days/week

Grammar - First Language Lessons 1 (5 min)

Art - Artistic Pursuits & Abeka Art 2 (30 min)


She has 3 chores that she has to do everyday, and then there are extras that she can do as well. I let her do them whenever she wants throughout the day. At this point I'm not too hard on her about the chores, but she doesn't get to check them off for the day unless all 3 are done. With school work, she is not allowed to do anything else until she is done. It only takes about 2 hours most days to finish everything so she still has plenty of free time.

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Here is what we do:


SM 2b, 2-4exercises a day. 30 min max

R&S 2 for grammar, done orally, 1-2 lessons, 15 min max

Spelling Plus and Dictation, we alternate weeks-word list one week, dictation for that list the next week. 5-10 minutes a day.

SOTW 20-30 min 3 days a week.

RS4K biology 20-30 min 2 days a week.

CC memory work, 10 minutes daily.


1.5 hours is typical, 2 hours is the max week do.


He does silent reading daily outside of that. We just set up reading eggs and he spent two hours on that today. He read three books.


He helps unload and load the dishwasher, washes dishes by hand, folds towels and puts away his clothes. He also keeps the playroom clean (sometimes). He makes his own lunch most days and helps cook dinner when there is something he can do.


He does not have daily chores, he just helps me when it is time to work. We will be setting up a chore chart this summer for regular daily work.


I push him academically, but I don't spend hours on school work (seat work).

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Under 2 hours for my young 1st grader - we do much of the same things as above ppl:



AAS level 1

Math Mammoth 1a/b

Rightstart math a

Scholastic Phonics workbooks/readers

History (Usborne Enc reading)

Spanish (Rosetta Stone)

Journal (mainly pictures with a little writing)

What your 1st grader needs to know (just cuz!!)


Co-op with various items

Health book

Misc read-alouds

Misc Geography work (with older bro)

Kodu computer programming game


That is about it! :D


ETA - woops, forgot to answer other questions! :) I expect work to be done calmly & correctly (re-write if messy, re-read if rushed & not sounding out new words). He has chores just like his older bro (mainly personal ones, like feeding his own fish, getting ready for bed, etc - I will be adding on cleaning chores in the next 6 months or so). We work 4 days a week and basically year-round (although we take many weeks off throughout the year).


Amusingly enough - even though it looks like a lot, and even though my ds is very young, I feel like we are pretty relaxed for a semi-classical homeschool family! Rofl. My 2nd grader's schedule is fairly comparable. Last year, when my oldest was in 1st grade, we didn't do nearly as much. This year, now that I know where I am going & what (in general) I want to use to get there, we have a much more rigorous schedule.

Edited by black_midori
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I have no idea how long we spend per subject but we average about 2.5 hours per day. I've divided our curricula into 36 weeks, but we take breaks to study topics more in depth when we want. We school year-round because DS does not do well being off his schedule. What I expect is for him to try his best, to be attentive, and to be courteous. He may not like math, but he's not to whine or cry or throw things when it's math time. Of course, being autistic, my demands aren't always met! He is the opposite of your daughter, he is absolutely awful at any sort of mathematical concept but reads far above grade level (he's the age of a kindergartener, called first grade, and is doing Sonlight's second grade readers only to keep him from running out of readers--he's far more advanced than that). He does not have specific chores beyond his own room and dishes, but is expected to (and does) help with cleaning when asked.


What we are doing this year:

Sonlight Core A – Introduction to World Cultures

Sonlight Readers Grade 2

Writing With Ease Level 1

Winning With Writing Level 1

First Language Lessons Level 1

Growing With Grammar Level 1

Handwriting Without Tears 1

Explode the Code Books 4, 5, and 6

All About Spelling Level 1

Math-U-See Alpha

Math Mammoth 1

Life of Fred: Apples, Butterflies, and Cats

Sonlight Science A – Biology, Botany, Physics

Sonlight Bible A

Hooked on French

Critical Thinking Company Building Thinking Skills Primary

Critical Thinking Company Hands On Thinking Skills

Critical Thinking Company Mind Benders Books 2 & Warm-Up

ARTistic Pursuits Grades K-3 Book 1

Pfeiffer House Music K

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For first grade, we did:


Math Mammoth - 20 min, 5x/week

FLL - 5-10 min, 3x/week

WWE - 10-15 min, 4x/week

AAS - 15-20 min, 4x/week

History - 20-30 min, 3x/week

Science - 20-30 min, 2x/week

Assigned reading - 15 min, 5x/week

Book basket reading - 20min, 5x/week


(he also read a lot on his own)


So it was somewhere around 1.5-2 hours a day of work, including his reading. We schooled 5 days per week, and go year round. We usually do 6 weeks on, 1 week off. If it's nice outside, I'll sometimes send him outside to play instead of doing school. ;)


Expectations for school work: He had to do what I assigned. I did gauge the amount based on what I knew he was capable of. I gradually pushed him into a little more writing (copywork/dictation only - no original writing). We did a lot of oral narrations - at least 2 per day. We don't have busywork. The seat work he has to do is what he really needs in order to learn a particular skill.


Expectations for chores: He didn't have any everyday chores, but I did expect him to do any chores I gave him during the day. He often emptied the dishwasher, cleared the dining room table, and picked up toys in the living room and den. This year, feeding the dogs is now his responsibility. I love it! :D

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My DD is officially K - but really K/1st Grade since she is almost 6.


We school 5-6 hours a day and 5 days a week.


We do 8 subjects





A-Z Reading.com (we use the readers and she is on the phonics readers -we read one every day)

Queens Language Lessons For Little Ones

I.E.W PAL - writing

HWOT 1st grade book

Phonics Pathways





Math Mammoth 1st grade

Signpost Math (an Australian curriculum) (ditching this once she finishes the K book in favour of Math Online)

Math Online (Australian curriculum)


(am thinking of adding in Miquon and MEP once she is finished her K math book)


Science/Social Studies


Moving Beyond the Page




Ideas from Little City Kids







Nothing yet -will go with either Kinderbach or an online Australian curriculum that DH has access to as a teacher


LOTE (language)


Moving Beyond the page cultural study (we are not starting a language till next year)




K art that I find on websites as well as in Moving Beyond the Page. Next year I will start Artistic Pursuits




Evan Moore Daily Geography Practice Book 1


Design and Technology


No set curriculum yet -DD designs and creates enough of her own stuff without my suggestion.


She also does Reading Eggs and Funnix.


Most things we do about a page a day.


English, Math, History, Science, Social Studies are done every day (Moving Beyond the Page is an everyday curriculum).

Art is usually every other day because my DD is crazy for it -last week we made 4 pieces.

Geography we do once a week

QLL we do twice a week.


DD is also required to write in a daily journal/diary.


As to the standard - I correct her work after everything she does and give her feedback. We then discuss the right answer if she has problens with anything.


For handwriting she is left -handed and not terribly neat so I don't require perfection. I pick one thing to work on at a time. Right now we are working on making all the letters sit comfortably on the bottom line. I make her rewrite if I see that she rushed it -but if she put in a good effort and her writing is wobbly I accept it.


I correct her free writing as well. She has just started writing her own stories and sentances. When she brings it to me I correct the spelling of those things I think she should know by now but I don't correct anything above her grade level. I correct capital letters for names and sentance beginnings because I have taught her that. I also correct question marks and periods because she has been taught that too.


I limit my corrections to grade level expectations because she is just starting out and I would be correcting every single word and I don't want to discourage her with too many corrections KWIM.


She doesn't have daily chores - just helps out as needs be.


I don't expect her to work independently at all because I am still prompting her on the correct way to form letters and numbers and she cannot read the instructions independently so I sit beside her the whole time . The only time I leave her is if she is doing something I know she can do and it is just review or if it is something that requires colouring.

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I have a K'er doing first grade. We only do math and reading.


Math: several pages of Math Mammoth or Math Quest. Whatever takes up to 40 minutes.

Review math fact flash cards. 5-10 minutes.

Kumon booklet. 10-20 minutes.


Reading: 15-20 minutes of the Victory Drill book.

Saxon reading flash cards and review phonograph spellings

Reading one lesson in the McGuffey primer (29 today)

Reading from the Elson Primer (3 today). I introduced these later because they are three pages long.

HWOT: at least two pages, sometimes four.


Hebrew: Reading from the Hebrew Primer. Introducing one letter a day.


Read aloud: Core Knowledge Poems for Kindergarteners, Marshall's Empire Story

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I'm personally of the mindset that if your expectations are high and your child can handle the exposure to a varied range of subjects and content then why not?


My DD is a young first grader, she has a late summer birthday, if that helps. She is bright and cooperative.


We use:


Math - Singapore and Math Mammoth as our main programs and we also use McRuffy Math for fun. Sounds like a lot but we don't use all three on the same day, I use Singapore as our spine and pull from MM to supplement. McRuffy is a good "fun" curriculum that pulls in things that I don't want to find on my own (tangrams, 3D cube building, etc.) and it is scripted and quick.


L/A - We use PR as our spine for spelling and phonics. We use McGuffey as our level based reader(s), Phonics Pathways Pyramids to help with decoding strategies, Core Knowledge's first grade literature selections and Ambleside Year 1 for literature and she does daily copywork and dictation. She also does oral narrations (that I write down) for history and science. She also is required to read independently daily. We use Zaner-Bloser handwriting as I like it better than PR's style. She doesn't do all of these everyday, it is spread out throughout the week.


Science - 2-3 times per week based on a unit topic. This includes books, narrations, experiments, projects, field trips, etc.


History - One year overview of world history (main ideas and events) with lots of books and narrations and various projects and field trips.


Extras are Atelier Art Level 1, the Tin Man Listen Up! and Take Aways, various Scholastic ebooks (ie. All About Me), Expedition Earth by Confessions of a Homeschooler when it can be tied into our history studies and so on. She also listens to a lot of audiobooks while playing in her room - anything from SOTW to Wind and the Willows, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle or Mary Poppins. Whatever she is interested in.


Sounds like a lot but we spend about 3ish hours per day on "formal" schooling. She has lots of time for playing with her siblings, play dates and self-directed crafts, dress up, and so on. She also has time for scouting, swimming lessons, piano and CCD and homeschool group activities. I don't feel so bad when I know that most of her neighborhood friends are in school 8 hours per day and not doing nearly as interesting or productive work. :)


ETA: Our current plan is to school year round and take longer holiday breaks and vacations during the public school year. We are going to average far over the required amount of school each year but I like just having education as part of our day and not having a long artificial summer break. My plan for the summer is to stop formal history and science and do more "fun" studies like a unit on Harry Potter, the Intellego unit on Cinderella geography, etc. We will continue on with math and L/A in their entirety though.

Edited by drexel
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