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1st grade expectations? What are yours?


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I am still trying to get my feet under me as far as homeschool goes. I keep saying "She is only in K" but I cannot say that forever. I am trying to lay out some realistic goals for next year. What has worked for your first grade year? I am going to keep the focus on Language Arts and Math and throw in other stuff. How many hours a week have worked for you? Any 1st grade tips as I prepare for next year?

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My daughter really took off in first grade after an excruciating year in K. In K she did Kumon, Saxon Phonics, the Hay Wingo Primer (over the summer), and HWOT.

 

So far this year she's completed Lippincott 1-1 to 2-2, the Elson Primer and first reader, her Hebrew primer, the first two Miquon books, and SM 1A, 1B, and 2A.

 

This week (Passover is next week) we're finishing up Elson Second Reader and AAS 1.

 

We're slowly moving through BFSU and The Little History of the World (Gombrich), but those are not priorities. We're at chivalry in Little History.

 

We do about two hours a day, not counting music, but 6 days/wk and year-round.

 

ETA: My biggest tip, don't laugh, would be "what gets done first gets done." With three children younger than dd underfoot (noob born in November), any plans for, say, two o'clock are very likely to go awry. I always do the most important things right off.

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Somewhere I found these guidelines for 1st grade (I think maybe from TWTM, but maybe I changed them, IDK) I saved them on my computer in my planning pages.

 

Language (55-65)

Writing (5-20)

Math (30-40min)

History (3hrs/week)

Science (2hrs/week)

Bible (10-15min)

Art (1x or 2x/week)

Music (1hr/week)

 

I pretty much stuck to that, except we added in Song School Latin. Language should include lots of reading, so don't think you need to do 55-65 minutes of language instruction. If you (and/or she) are reading for 30 minutes a day (read aloud, guided reading, independent reading), that's leaves only 30-45 minutes of language (including writing).

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Our First year of K when he was 4 he learned to Read. OPG

Our Second year of K when he was 5 our focus was math and we did Right Start A + Part of Right Start B + LOF

For First Grade I am expecting him to get writing and spelling. That is going to be our main focus. He seems to well with a very focused approach and he really wasn't ready for writing this year. He can write his capital letters and numbers but that is it. My goal is that by the end of the year he can write lower and upper case letters and write a sentence. I would also like to get through AAS 1 & 2. We will continue Rightstart B and add in SOTW. For fun we will be doing Lego Robotics and Art projects.

This year we did an average of 40 minutes a day. Next year I will probally up this to 1 1/2 hours.

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I agree with what gets done first gets done. We have a routine of what we do daily. I save Fridays for other stuff. Personally, I need consistently. I'm not good with doing x on Tues and Thurs, y on Weds only kind of schedules. They both know that math is their last subject so they can't wait to get to math.

My goals were to just get them both reading better and practice handwriting skills along with stronger math facts.

 

JJ is a late (or lazy) reader so getting him to read daily was a goal. He's more mathy so I wanted to work on his math facts because I have a feeling that once he gets those down he will take off in math.

H loves to read and struggles with math. I'm taking it really slow with her but we've gone through so many K workbooks it is finally time to move on. She's reading more than JJ but they are at about the same level. She enjoys workbooks and copy work so I just keep her supplied.

 

Those were my primary goals. As the year has progressed I added in grammar, spelling, some writing prompt work, art, interest animal reports for JJ to meet my higher level goals.

 

I use some goals from Core Knowledge and WTM just for an idea of what I should work on. I think you'll see a big leap in skills from 1st semester to 2nd semester. At least that's what I've experienced.

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My son is in first. I said the same thing about K and I still say it about 1st. However, that doesn't mean we haven't been serious about it either. ;) Personally, I feel in first the focus should still be very heavily the 3 R's, making sure the child is reading well, working on handwriting and solidifying the basics of math. We use MFW 1st. It is a very integrated program.

 

Bible is first on our agenda every day.

 

For LA, the Bible includes a read aloud Bible story and my son narrates that back to me. Then, he learns a phonics blend (diagraph or whatever it's called. Ha, ha!) or a grammar concept (like yesterday we learned -er and -est). Every other day for now, he has a Bible story he reads to me. On days he doesn't have that, he reads to me from another book of his choice. (The Bible reader will change to daily in about 2wks) When he reads his Bible reader, he summarizes it and writes a couple of sentences about it and illustrates in his notebook.

 

For handwriting, he does copy work a few times a week.

 

For math, we use Singapore. So far, we go through about a lesson a day with some days doing more and sometimes hanging on a concept for a few days.

 

History is very integrated into our LA's. Our daily Bible and the readers are my son's history. He has a timeline included with that. So, we do that daily, but if it wasn't incorporated, we would not do it daily. It has taken my son a little longer to get the reading down. Now that he is reading much more fluently, I'm starting to add some gentle grammar.

 

Science is our least important right now. We have a science curriculum and we were very good about doing it a couple times a week early on in the year. But, because I don't care for it, I've let it fall by the wayside. My son gets TONS of science just because he is interested in science. So, while I'm not at all an unschooler, we have ended up with an unschooling approach to science this year. If we don't like the science included next year, I definitely intend to buy a different curriculum for it. (In my defense, I have 6 children who are all 7 and under. I have 2 sets of twins, including 2 year old twins. I also have a 5 month old...so I was at the end of my pregnancy and had a newborn early on in our year. Getting everything in is tough right now.)

 

We also have an art program that we do and a music program. We do art about once a week (my mom teaches it right now) and music randomly when we have time, once a month or so.. Oh, we also have art appreciation. That is also random when we have time...a couple times a month (but I think it's been a while, maybe today :)). It is fast, easy and my kids really enjoy it.

 

It takes us probably about 1.5 hrs to do school with my 1st grader not including the art and music.

 

For me, I feel the goals shifts from focusing so much on the 3 R's in 2nd grade. Still they are the most important to me, but other things gain more and more importance starting in 2nd.

 

I 100% second the poster who said whatever gets done first gets done. So true!! Whatever we leave for later may or may not get done that day. With that in mind, some days, I change the order of doing things. We always do Bible first, but some days we do LA after that and some days we do math depending on what needs to get done based on the day before. My typical order is Bible, LA, math, other.

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By the end of 1st grade I expect my children to be reading 3 letter words fluently, writing letters and words semi-correctly, doing simple math in addition and subtraction, with or without my help writing, and with or without manipulatives. That is all. We love doing other things but the basics are my focus, if they can't read, write and do the most basic math they are not ready to move on. Now of my 5 children, some where in this area, some behind, and some ahead. It is just a goal to try to meet, light at the end of the tunnel hopefully.

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THANK YOU! This is all such practical helpful advice!

 

We probably average 5 hours a week for K and I am okay with that. I am trying to figure out how we move from 5-8ish hours a week to meeting our states requirements in 2nd grade.

 

I think the biggest thing we need is better routine!

So helpful! Thank you!

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I do one hour per year, up to 6-7 hours a day then stay there. We take many breaks with little ones. For instance, my daughters phonics is about 5 minutes, then she does math that usually takes about 15-20 minutes, she does her copywork, and FLL. But we take breaks between each one, for about 15 minutes. She does Geography songs, and Latin because her brother does. LOL She listens to me read also, and reads to me. Short bursts of learning with lots of play in between. I work with her brother in between.

 

ETA: coloring is art, counting toes is math, dusting is home ec, playing the yard is gym, going to the museum, store, anywhere is a field trip. Anything can be turned into a lesson to meet time requirements set by your state. Cooking is health, bathing is health, catching ladybugs is science.

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I didn't read all replies but for the 2nd half of first grade we actually don't do school every day. That doesn't mean we don't read, play outside and observe nature, or watch an educational video. It means no sitting down to formal lessons.

 

I focus on math and reading, with science, grammar, geography, and history as extras. We're just now doing a more regulated schedule on those things.

 

For my son, doing a lesson, then letting him take a five or ten min break helps. Letting him go outside after two lessons for 20 min is the next thing, then we can actually do two lessons back to back. Today we did Phonics (which was really spelling today), Grammar, math, Geography, With breaks it took about 1.5 hours. We will do our reading tonight.

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Besides LA and math, we did a lot of reading aloud via Ambleside Online books and nature study (with my oldest). It was a wonderful year! Now my school-age kids are just folded into the family history, science, poetry, memory, and religious work. I wouldn't have done all with just one kid.

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I have a first grader this year. She does a ton of independent reading, and she listens in most of the time on her brother's history and literature read alouds. I also add lots of non-Sonlight read alouds in addition to those scheduled in the curriculum. You can read the particulars in my siggie.

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We're working on reading fluency, basic math, writing a sentence with a subject and predicate, capitaized first letter and period at the end. We do basic science and history. I held off on starting her on SOTW1 because I wanted to start her next year when the boys will begin their second round of the history cycle and I just wanted to do it altogether. We're going through FLL as well.

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By the end of 1st grade I expect my children to be reading 3 letter words fluently, writing letters and words semi-correctly, doing simple math in addition and subtraction, with or without my help writing, and with or without manipulatives. That is all. We love doing other things but the basics are my focus, if they can't read, write and do the most basic math they are not ready to move on. Now of my 5 children, some where in this area, some behind, and some ahead. It is just a goal to try to meet, light at the end of the tunnel hopefully.

 

 

This is basically what I was thinking. My 1st grade expectations have been different for my two children so far, and will be different again, I'm sure, for my youngest. My goals/expectations for my current 1st grader have been:

Read as fluently as he is able; continually reach for greater skills.

Learn how to spell/read new words every week (about 10/wk for him).

Have addition and subtraction facts memorized and begin skip counting memorization.

Begin learning basic grammar - period, question mark, beginning capitalization, using lowercase letters at the right times, and basic concepts of nouns and verbs.

Use neat, legible handwriting; properly form letters; hold pencil correctly.

Answer simple questions about history/science/literature passages that have been read.

 

The year is not over, and we are still working on these. My expectations were slightly different when my daughter was a first grader. For example, she was a more skilled reader, but needed more time using math manipulatives before memorizing facts. We've done 2-3 hours of work each day in 1st grade, including science and history.

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This is basically what I was thinking. My 1st grade expectations have been different for my two children so far, and will be different again, I'm sure, for my youngest. My goals/expectations for my current 1st grader have been:

Read as fluently as he is able; continually reach for greater skills.

Learn how to spell/read new words every week (about 10/wk for him).

Have addition and subtraction facts memorized and begin skip counting memorization.

Begin learning basic grammar - period, question mark, beginning capitalization, using lowercase letters at the right times, and basic concepts of nouns and verbs.

Neat, legible handwriting; properly formed letters; holding pencil correctly.

Answer simple questions about history/science/literature passages that have been read.

 

The year is not over, and we are still working on these. My expectations were slightly different when my daughter was a first grader. For example, she was a more skilled reader, but needed more time using math manipulatives before memorizing facts. We've done 2-3 hours of work each day in 1st grade, including science and history.

 

It is truly and individual marathon. I have one that couldn't read a lick till he ( oldest son ) was 10, but he read Moby Dick for his first book. I have one that still can not write where anyone can read it, but he *( second oldest son ) types beautiful poetry. I have one that is a word smith, and I can't keep up with him ( youngest son ). I have learned over time it is best to meet a child where they are, and work with it.

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Children's abilities vary so wildly that I tend to set expectations for myself in terms of time spent per day or week. So, in Gr. 1, I aim to have my students progressing up to 30 minutes of reading daily, writing for 5 - 10 minutes daily (either as handwriitng practice or in a program like WWE), spelling for 10 minutes daily, and working on math for 30 - 45 minutes a day. I also aim for 30 minutes to 1 hour daily of fun "content" subjects, like history and science.

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We're finishing up kindergarten and averaged about an hour per day, four days per week. Math for about a 1/2 hour, handwriting for 10 minutes, then about 20 minutes on phonics. We had general religious instruction daily and a lesson on Sundays.

 

First grade is going to be a little more intense. We're doing math, grammar, writing, history, science, fine arts, and religion. I'm still working out what our days will look like, but it's definitely going to be more structured. I think we can get everything done in two hours per day. We'll probably do math and language arts in the morning, alternate history and science in the afternoons, and leave art to the weekend. We're going to use an online religion course this year, so I'm not yet sure what that schedule will look like.

 

I'm also going to expect more independent reading and we're going to move away from the vast amount of random playtime and toward more focused play - math games, logic, etc.

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I think it depends so much on the individual child.

 

When dd9 started 1st grade, she was already 6 1/2. She could read anything, wrote well, and was working above grade level in math (in other words, she had mastered the basics). We plunged into a full schedule of math, lang.arts, reading, writing, Spanish, French, Sonlight Core 1/Core B History, science, art, artist studies, and composer studies. We spent more than 2 hrs each morning and immediately followed it with 30 min of piano practice. Then she would read independently for 2 hrs every afternoon. In hindsight it was crazy, but she loved it.

 

When ds7 started 1st grade, he was just a few days shy of turning 6. He was still learning to read, had no stamina for writing, and really still needed lots of playtime. For him I scaled 1st grade back to math, phonics, copywork, reading aloud, French, Sonlight, science, and art. For the first half of the year he did his seatwork for an hour, had a long break to play, and then spent 45-ish min listening to me read aloud (for Sonlight and science). He was only doing 1 hr 45 min of schoolwork and that was with a break midway through. During the second half of the year we added in writing and gradually eliminated the break. It wasn't until the end of 1st grade that he could do 2 hrs of schoolwork like dd had.

 

I think you have to consider the age of your child, their maturity, their personality, their gender, and whether they have mastered the basics yet. Then you need to remember that it's a marathon, not a race. The most important thing is to lay a solid foundation.

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My main goals for 1st grade include:

Finish Phonics Pathways

Able to read early readers and short chapter books by end of year.

Longer attention span and listening to chapter books without pictures.

Able to narrate back with little prompting.

Legible handwriting

Basic addition and subtraction.

Understanding of numbers.

Number bonds

Patterns

Time

Money

Shapes

Address and Phone Number

Months, Days of week ect.

American History and understanding of how children's lives were different in history.

Love of nature and attention to detail.

Basic Spelling

Enjoyment of poetry and songs.

Appreciation for artists and composers and their work.

Memorizing scripture

Knowledge of main Bible stories.

Holidays and customs.

How to use a map or globe.

Science experiments and basic science topics.

:001_smile:

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We probably average 5 hours a week for K and I am okay with that. I am trying to figure out how we move from 5-8ish hours a week to meeting our states requirements in 2nd grade.

 

 

 

State requirements are crazy...one of my DC needed 5-6 hours/day for kindergarten!! :huh: We just counted everything--chores and helping in the kitchen (home ec), playing outside (PE), educational computer games (math, geography, etc.), arts and crafts, books, and of course schoolwork.

 

Our 1st grade is much like K. My DC have varied quite a bit with how well they were reading at that age...my oldest was still working on letter sounds and CVC words, my 2nd child was reading short chapter books. We do daily phonics, narration, and math for K and 1st. I add a bit of copywork for 1st and expect them to participate a bit more with the other subjects (science, history, art, etc.).

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JKKJ04 has in her signature:

DD5 - Classical Conversations, MUS, IEW PAL, and a few random things in the mix.

DS2 - Basking in his cuteness and being his ornery and sweet self.

 

OP Kara,

Hey! I think we have the same life! We also have a Ker and a 2yo in the house!

 

I just wanted to say that we are in the same boat. We just finished two (unplanned) weeks of no traditional schooldays. (Appointments for Mom, sickness, coop field trip, more sickness, poor sleep schedule, etc). I count days of curriculum left, and schooldays left, and I wonder what will not get done. I have a lot of things listed in my sig, but most days, Math and Phonics are a challenge to get done before afternoon activities.

 

For me, a part of the struggle is balancing the 2yo. There are days that she only wants to nurse. And she needs to be played with, too. Today she insisted that it was nap time, so she lay down on the floor as I finished a topic with big sister. So, I took her into the bedroom to nurse her to sleep. A half-hour later, she was still not down. Repeat an hour later.

 

Thank goodness for PBS kids + TIVO for the older one.

 

Big Goals for next year:

1) To progress in Math one year

 

2) To progress in Phonics one year

 

3) To improve reading compared to this year

 

4) To improve writing skills (style, spelling, basic grammar).

 

5) Basic Cursive (I would not do this if dd6's printing wasn't so good. DO NOT compare your child to dd6).

 

6) 15minutes/day piano

 

7) 15minutes/day typing (I would not do this if dd6 wasn't doing so well with coordinating fingers for piano. DO NOT compare your child to dd6).

 

8) Science: we will have a curriculum, but this is secondary to the 3Rs. I mostly want dd6 to have exposure to ideas in science. We'll see if we can get to it. We also read many science magazines and watch Nova and Nature for science ed.

 

9) History: we will have a curriculum, but this is secondary to the 3Rs. I mostly want dd6 to have exposure to ideas in history. It would be nice if she could say, "The Egyptians? I've heard of them...I think." We'll see if we can get to it.

 

10) Foreign Language of any sort would be nice (Spanish, Latin, Chinese), but I'm not going to hold my breath.

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First looms on my horizon as well!

 

My goals:

 

Reading fluency.

Master basic handwriting strokes. As perfectly as possible.

2 Miquon math books. More or less....

Good habits-chores and routines...

Good, cooperative, workable dynamic

 

Secondary goals--

Some content work (history)

Nature study (bird and plant identification, etc)

More concentrated art and composer study

Enjoying life as a 6 year old boy!!!! :)

 

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I'm also contemplating 1st grade goals. I think one of the things I'm looking at is focusing more on *me* than on the student. We've not been child-led, we've been child-pushed. And I think we're finally starting to reach the stage where I can say I am expecting certain things and not sound like an insane ogre. So instead of focusing on what my child can do, I'm going to focus on finishing what I plan for our days. I even have a game plan. ;) My husband is to disconnect the wireless router on his way out of the house every morning.

 

Really though, next year will be a continuation of some things we do now. We will add more in. I'll occasionally be ready when my early risers climb on top of me in bed asking if they can paint. We will fit in a lot of outdoors "recess" time (called such by my daughter's request) as PE to meet the state's hourly guidelines, but there will be more time on skill and content tasks too.

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Another thing to keep in mind is how much they change and grow during first grade. We did math, phonics, and handwriting for Kindergarten. At the start of first, we continued math, phonics, and handwriting. We also started history and science. When my son got far enough in phonics, we added spelling, language, and writing.

 

After winter break, we were ready to tackle more. Daily reading, poetry, art, and bible were then added in. We are now doing quite a bit more than I ever expected, but the transitions have been painless. Slowly ramping up the breadth has worked well for us.

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I was really relaxed when dd was younger. K'er took half an hour a day. Two 15 minute sessions. First grade took an hour a day, three 20 minute sessions.

 

Generally speaking school was as many hours as her grade. Third grade took 3 hours.

 

I've always lived in a state that mandated what was taught so we've always covered grammar, reading, writing, spelling, math, history and science. Not all on the same day or even all every week.

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I know TWTM guidelines are for more hours, but I have read and heard many places that you should be doing about 1 hour per year. 1 hour in first, 2 in second, etc. Do you have to start reporting hours in second grade for your state?

 

You still don't need more than two hours of seat work. Piano lessons, dance, gymnastics, homeschool PE, reading time, those can all factor into your time.

 

We started 1st grade at an hour, by the end of the year we were naturally going about 1.5 hours, and 2nd became 2 hours without trying.

 

I take more of a Charlotte Mason classical approach. So my lessons at this age are planned to be short. I looked for curriculum that would not take all day. It works for us, DS is doing well with our methods.

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You guys have really helped me realize my expectations are realistic and doable and I am not slacking. I think working on routine and regularity will be key for us! I am probably going to loosely homeschool year around, it just helps with our lifestyle.

 

Thank you for all the advice!

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My current 1st grader completes this everyday.

ETC usually 4-5 pags

WWE 1 both copywork and narration, we go through 2 weeks a week.

MM1 2-4 pages

Read aloud a book to me

Listen to SOTW while playing legos.

He plays pianothroughout the day so I guess at least 20-30 min per day.

We unschool science, geography, bible for him right now.

 

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My kindergartener is plugging along with reading and math and various extracurriculars. My goal for 1st grade is to improve her writing. Handwriting and spelling, specifically. She loves to write, and so far I don't correct anything or pay attention to spelling or grammar. Next year I'd like to start tightening up on that a little, starting a real spelling curriculum and doing daily copy work.

 

I expected to have lots of free time for history and science this year (bought BFSU and Adventures in America), but those keep running away from us. So next year I'd also like to figure out a better schedule of when we fit everything in.

 

This year we're also relatively child led. I introduce a subject or a topic or a curriculum, and if she doesn't like it, we drop it: no arguments. I'm not going to make her hate kindergarten of all things by making her do something that's boring. Next year I think I'm going to have a few things that I insist on her learning, whether she likes it or not. I hope to be able to present things in a way that she will like everything, and I'm not going to stand over her forcing her to do hour upon hour of things she hates, and if I think the issue is a curriculum that's not a good fit I'll try to find something that works. But I am going to start insisting on a broader range of subjects.

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My oldest is in 1st grade this year. She works for roughly 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours per day. We cover history, bible, LA, reading, poetry, copywork, and spelling daily. Science, geography, art , and Latin we cover a few times a week. I've been having a rough time during this pregnancy so for the last few months, she's mainly been focused on LA and math.

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Here are the reasons why my DS did a "transition" year between K & 1st (he has a November birthday and just barely made the K cutoff):

 

-he couldn't even write his name until February of his K year and still wasn't writing all the letters of the alphabet by the end of K. I expect a 1st grader to be able to write a complete sentence and do simple copywork like in WWE1. DS was nowhere near that at the beginning of what became his "transition" year.

-his attention span wasn't there. I expect a 1st grader to be able to sit and focus 20-30 minutes on each subject and to complete about 1.5 to 2 hours total seatwork per day. At the beginning of his "transition" year he was still only doing 10-15 minutes at a time and maybe 45 minutes to 1 hour total.

 

Academically he was ahead in everything except for penmanship so that didn't play into the decision to do "transition", but the lagging attention span and fine motor skills were enough that I didn't feel right about promoting him on to 1st at not-quite-6.

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My dd will be first grade next year, although she's already doing 1st grade math.

 

I guess by the end of next year I expect her to:

-be able to write her first and last name (her letters are all over the place on size now, even on HWT lined paper)

-get better at handwriting in general although she's pretty much on track to start the 1st grade HWT book in September

-continue with OPGTR, maybe finish it and start independent reading (we are at the alternating stage)

-continue with ETC, maybe finish books 3 and 4 (she's in 2 now, doing about 1-2 pages a day)

-be able to concentrate more in general

-do at least Level 1 of The Wand, with copywork and dictation. We gave it a try and she definitely wasn't ready yet but I think she may be by September. She currently does very little writing outside her HWT workbook, maybe a number or two in math would be it.

-finish MM1A and 1B and Evan Moor Skill Sharpeners Math 1st grade.

-maybe start AAS1 if she gets to a good point with reading.

 

She already does art, music, science, history, geography, etc. together with her brother but she could probably do more with the projects.

 

I wouldn't expect her to do more than an hour of sit-down work with maybe another hour of projects or experiments/demonstrations.

 

She has a late summer birthday so if she ends up taking longer on some things or needing an extra year, I'm okay with that.

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For first grade I had just a few simple goals: He needed to learn to write neatly and legibly, to be able to read "Frog and Toad" type of books by the end of the year and to have a good foundation in basic addition and subtraction. We stuck to the three Rs on a daily basis and used the rest of our time to travel, go to museums, weekly park days, library visits, Scholastic DVDs and time spent on Starfall.com, nature classes, building forts, learning chess, drawing, cooking, hikes, finding tadpoles, hatching eggs...

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Were doing 1st grade with my son. My goals-

 

read as good as he can (so we read everyday and have gone through HOP 1st-3rd grade and over halfway through OPG and read a bunch of readers)

print as good as he can (copywork everyday plus WWE1)

add and subtract up to 20, tell time to hour and half hour, basic money and geometric shape knowledge. (we are alomst done with MM1)

Make History and Science fun (doing SOTW1 and ES Biology)

start spelling (finished ETC 1-3 and started SWO A)

intro to grammar (FLL1 very slowly)

Extras for fun (French, geography and Art at his request plus lots of computer games)

 

Edit to add: I don't care about hours. Because we are not strict and just do a little everyday we sometimes do 1/2 hour sometimes 3 hours. My son will do Science experiments and will read and be read to all day if he could. We have been relaxed and I haven't pushed super hard and he has surpassed my expectations. He has a love of reading and learning and often asks to do more.

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I am still trying to get my feet under me as far as homeschool goes. I keep saying "She is only in K" but I cannot say that forever. I am trying to lay out some realistic goals for next year. What has worked for your first grade year? I am going to keep the focus on Language Arts and Math and throw in other stuff. How many hours a week have worked for you? Any 1st grade tips as I prepare for next year?

 

 

My biggest tip would be to remember that you have 12 years to teach everything. Don't try to fit it all into first grade. ;)

 

This will be my second time doing first grade. The first time, I had a child that was accelerated in all areas except handwriting. He was reading independently and fluently at a 4th grade level, starting to expand into chapter books. So I didn't have to teach him reading. I was able to move on to history and science fun. This time, I have a child that is accelerated in math, but reading and handwriting are probably about average so far. We'll still be working on learning to read fluently in 1st grade. My goal for him? To be able to read as well as he is able at that point in time. ;) In writing, my goal is that he be able to comfortably copy a couple sentences by the end of the year. Bonus points if he can tell me what the nouns and verbs in the sentence are. My goal in math... well, he's already surpassed that, so I'm not worried about math. We'll just keep going at his pace.

 

My oldest spent about 1.5 hours per day on school. I expect my middle son to be about an hour a day. He doesn't have the attention span for much longer than that. My state doesn't have hours requirements, but if it did, I'd be counting housework, playtime (PE/recess), lunchtime, bedtime story reading, etc. Counting hours for homeschooled students and expecting them to be close to what b&m students are doing is insane.

 

So yes, I will be saying, "He's only in 1st grade" next year, just like I say, "He's only in K" this year. :) Sometimes we do have to reign ourselves in. It's difficult when we have this whole new world open to us, and WE can learn all these cool things, but we need to slow down the teaching of those things for a young child. I think that's when we moms try to do too much. It's all fun and exciting to learn new things. We just forget that we have 12 years to teach them. If the kid doesn't understand nouns and verbs in 1st grade, not a big deal. They will probably understand it sometime before middle school when it's really necessary. :)

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We are starting first grade materials as well.

 

Our schedule:

Social Studies - MWF 1 hour

Science - TR 1 hour

Art - 1 hr/wk

Math 40 min/day

Writing - 10-20 min per day

Reading/Phonics - 1 hour

 

I'm still looking at music curriculum vs. music lessons vs ???

 

Goals:

Fluency in reading

Agreeable workable attitude/problem solving skills

Lots of hands on projects

Find an agreeable routine that works with DD3's needs

Money management skills (though this may come during the end of the 13-14 school year or even in the summer)

 

DS is pretty easy to teach as he is very bright. However, he is still easily frustrated and I want to help him work on problem solving logic to achieve his goals.

 

We plan on continuing our HOP/language lessons this summer as well as chores.

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What has worked for your first grade year?

Watching my kid to see what has interested him in particular has been a lot of fun, even though I think I am at heart a rigorous person, if you KWIM. I use his interests to get more work from him in certain areas. Examples: The Star Wars phonics readers, coins on his hardest math problems when complete, stickers if he likes them, often incorporating legos or whatever he likes, handwriting sentences are about his hermit crabs battling with light sabers, etc.

 

It also worked best when I was sensitive to his limits, only "pushing" them just a little, and ONLY when I was ready to be laid-back and gentle about it. I learned in his K year (okay I'm still learning it) that when I'm stressed or rushed, I need to let go of any idea of frustration or pressure. My particular kid gets frustrated easily yet is motivated by persevering and succeeding. If I can help him stick it out, he is kind of amazed that he can actually do the task. This frustration/awe cycle applies to everything from math to folding socks. It's a quirky combination and I have to be on my toes to lead him to and point out his triumphs as often as I can.

 

We've loved the SOTW stories, loved reading from the Narnia series, loved a serial bedtime story we made up together. We used a lot of our travels as springboards for nature study. I learned that with a handfull of copied pages I can do a week of hs in a hotel anywhere.

 

I learned I need to write down what we've done to keep track for myself, like an exercise log.

 

I am going to keep the focus on Language Arts and Math and throw in other stuff. How many hours a week have worked for you?

Your focus areas sound good, that's what we did with a little added Bible as a minimal requirement. We do about 2.5-3.5 hours a day, 4 or 5 days a week. That time is generously peppered with breaks. It's probably about 2/3 work and 1/3 break time. We also do CC but mostly that's listening to songs and playing with our trifold board for memory stuff. The day we meet for cc counted as our 5th day most weeks.

 

Any 1st grade tips as I prepare for next year?

Find what makes it simplest for YOU as well as for your kiddos. For me, I realized the note-taking thing partway through. Another stress reliever has been using a timer for our breaks. Sometimes I do 15 minutes, sometimes 30, but I no longer get involved in another task and then stress out, trying to fit two different lessons in before we have to go to swim lessons or whatever. I think if I could go back and talk to myself at the beginning of the year, I would tell me to put more focus on consistency. Doing a reasonable amount more often is better for us than trying to push through two assignments after a day off.

 

I would also tell myself to set up more "assignments" or distractions for the younger kid- I think your sig said you have a 2 year old. Prepare to cycle through a LOT of toys and other projects for them so you have a plan for the days when they want to be right in the thick of school with you.

 

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