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1st grade advice


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My son will be 6 in Sept.  We went ahead and started Kindergarten this past year and he is doing well.  I kept it super simple.  Progressive Phonics for the reading.  We completed the beginner books before Christmas and started on the intermediate books.  It's going slower as he is also reading some easy readers from the library.  Handwriting we do it either on a dry erase board or a printed page from a make your own worksheet site.  Math we went with Math U See Primer.  He's on lesson 25 of the 30 lessons.  One of our reasons for our choices was also we are on a tight budget.  Total cost was $20 for the used MUS primer.


So things are going well and I'm looking at what to do next.  I've already purchase Singapore 1A for our next math and continuing with the Progressive Phonics.  I'm also thinking about adding in First Language Lessons.  Or should I keep the focus on Phonics till that is mastered?


I'm wondering if I should add in a more formal History and Science curriculum once we start 1st grade work.  I used Story of the World with my daughter when she was in 4th grade and really liked that curriculum and it's not too expensive.  All the science stuff I've looked at seemed rather expensive and nothing really jumped out and grabbed me.  I am aiming at spending no more than $200 total for all my various curriculum.  So far I've spent $35.


Any advice would be appreciated.  

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I didn't do anything formal for social studies/history or science for my first grader.  We just read a lot of books.  She tested 3rd grade for first at the end of the year.  So I don't think you have to spend a ton of money.  Just get a library card!  :)  I did have a $1 "American symbols" coloring book that set us down some rabbit trails.  I would just enjoy books.  If you need a loose plan, think of things you want to cover and check books out every couple of weeks.  Enjoy!!

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Nope. Read good books. Tuck into interests that pop up,with documentaries, library books, and websites. Go outside and look around a  lot. You'll find your way.


I'm a big fan of getting the SOTW audiobooks and just playing them in the background repeatedly. They recognize things from their books.


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I really enjoy doing FLL with my first graders. If you get the older edition that has level 1 and 2 in one volume you can save another buck or two. It takes five to ten minutes a day, and is nearly all completed orally.


SOTW is fun with first graders too. Keep it at his level and just enjoy it. Flesh it out with whatever your library has.


You do NOT need expensive science anything. Much like SOTW you can just read good books, do the occasional correlated project if you want to, but skip the expensive kits. You could totally just read library books on whatever interests you and/or him and have a great science year.



My 5yo little guy turns 6 in September too, though we'll consider him officially K this fall. He's been working on phonics, penmanship, and math this year. We'll continue with those, and I'll see how he takes to ancient history and life science by dabbing in the books/activities his 3rd grade sister will be using.

Edited by SilverMoon
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I just started reading through Bearenstein Bear's Big Book of Science and Nature with my 6yo DD.  While she joins in with the older DC's science lessons (we're currently using Christian Kids Explore Earth & Space), much seems to go over her head.  I thought this would be a fun way to introduce some science at her level.  She enjoyed the Magic School Bus book we checked out of the library, so that might be another route to go.  I've seen free lapbooks to go with MSB and of course there is the cartoon series. We did the solar system MSB kit from Rainbow Resource and my DC really enjoyed it.  I think you could design a year around these resources, maybe adding in some additional library books too!


We also do some nature study...I think this is the most effective science for lower grades!  It's so visual, fun, and hands-on.


ETA:  For history, we are using SOTW 2 (along with SCM's Middle Ages program).  My DC really enjoy SOTW and the mapping/coloring AG pages.  I think this is a great route, and very inexpensive!  

Edited by Holly
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I agree with the above.  SOTW is fun with a 1st grader, FLL is easy and fast (and phonics are not necessary), and BFSU is a really solid, super inexpensive science curriculum.  You can get BFSU for Kindle (and with the free kindle app read on something that's not a kindle) off Amazon for only $10, and it's 3 years worth of science curriculum.  Similarly, FLL1 for kindle is around $10, and the text for SOTW as ePub/PDF/Kindle format is $10.  We really enjoy using the activity guide to go with SOTW, but that's another $30-$35.


Also, the first year of Mr. Q Science (elementary biology) is free, so there's another science option.


FTR, when my oldest was in 1st grade we only did reading, handwriting, and math, and it was fine.  My DS#2 will be doing much more for his 1st grade year, but it's largely because I'm already doing it with DS#1 and he's older for his grade (turned 6 this past Sep and we're calling this his K year).

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Here's what I read DS last year, favorites in bold:

A Christmas Carol,

Archimedes and the Door of Science,

Around the World in Eighty Days,

assorted picture books,

Boys Who Rocked the World (selections),

Buddha at Bedtime,

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,

E is for Ethics,

From Long Ago and Many Lands,

Galen and the Gateway to Medicine,

Geronimo Stilton: Mouse in Space,

Herodotus and the Road to History,

James and the Giant Peach,

Journey to the Center of the Earth,


Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magic,

Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales,

Old Tales for a New Day,

Peaceful Heroes (selections),

Smithsonian Guide: Planets,

Story of the World: Ancient Times,

Tales from the Odyssey,

The Bears on Hemlock Mountain,

The BFG,

The Cricket in Times Square (again),

The Crystal Pool,

The Eagle,

The Family Under the Bridge,

The Giants and the Joneses,

The Moffats,

The Paper Dragon,

The Seven Wonders of Sassafrass Springs,

Wolf Story,


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I am doing 1st grade with my oldest now, who just turned 7 a couple months ago. We started off using Ambleside Online and I loved it, but it was very obvious that most of the assigned books were way over her level of comprehension and she was starting to not enjoy books. So I dropped most of that in terms of the "core" book curriculum.


In the morning we have Morning Time together where we sing our hymn of the month, work on our Bible memory passages, poetry, catechism, maybe a picture book. After that we work on math every day (we were using CLE but then she started having with the math facts part so I've stopped doing that and am going through Singapore 1A Practice Workbook until she gets a bit better... not sure if we'll stay with Singapore or not) and play with the ten frame and cuisenaire rods. I have her copy a few sentences from a book we are reading into her composition journal, and we do a lesson in OPGTR for her reading lesson. In the afternoon when little brothers are napping we read from History Stories For Children and other books we are working through. Some are the AO books, others are just good chapter books or picture books. And then I have her read to me from the Pathway readers book we are on. I really recommend them for 1st grade (the blue and green ones) for reading practice. We are still incorporating the AO artist and composer study so we go over that. But other than what's in our chapter or picture books I haven't really done history (like I said, the AO history was way over her head so I dont count that), though I have talked about it and introduced the concept. We have the Bede's History of Me that is an inexpensive little book from VP that is good at introducing history. There's also a Bede's History of Us but I don't have that one. Anyways, hope this helps! :)

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My twins are turning six soon and we are doing kindergarten/ first grade work. Recently I have added first language lessons and it has been fun and short (like 5-10 min).


I was really researching and trying to figure out what the heck to do for science and history. I decided to check out books found on the little otter's anatomy curriculum. Whenever we are so inclined, I print off a ms nucleus lab for kindergarten or first grade. As for history, I decided to try out how to build your library literature/history curriculum. This has been a great fit and a nice way to prepare for story of the world next year. So far, we have focused on map skills, learning about geography and tying that in with great literature.

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