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What to expect of a 1st grader?


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My rising 1st grader, who used to seem like a little old man, so calm and sweet, suddenly got a case of the wiggles and middle-schooler-attitude in his recently. He still sits quietly for his one on one lessons, usually. Other times, he rocks in his chair, giggles, makes pass gas sounds, etc. He is all over the place lately! It takes effort to get him to calm down enough to start a lesson. Once we get going, it is fine. 

Since last year was kindergarten, I was fairly relaxed about school. But he was also very calm. This year, I know I want to and should expect more. Just wondering what I should expect at this age. Please let me know what you would expect a typical first grader to do and such during the day. Thanks!

 

edited to add: I am not having trouble. I am just thinking forward to the new school year as to what to expect.

 

Edited by Janeway
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I expect 6-9ish years old to have plenty of activity during their lessons. Mostly because if it is not built in, it will find itself in.

At 6, lessons looked liked this:

math: manipulatives based, little writing

grammar: cardstock figures to play with, shapes to move around

reading: book based, 5-10 minutes

writing(dictation/spelling) 5 minutes, sometimes with magnetic letters, sometimes with a pencil

science: activity based 3 days a week, books to look at another 2 days

history: activity based while I told the story, books to look at  We did a lot of the pretend projects in SOTW and mixed in Artistic Pursuits

1 day a week for each: park day, library day, art museum day, group day, violin lesson

Most lessons were as long as I had attention from him.  When the attention stopped, it was time to move on and take a break or do a different activity.  I slowly started stretching him from 2 minutes for each hard thing to 5 or 10 minutes, staying there until about 3rd grade before stretching a little more to 15-20 minute hard lessons.

 

 

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At that age, my kids didn't sit for more than a few minutes at a time.  Any time I was reading material out loud to them (living books, mostly), they were allowed to draw or play quietly (or roll on the floor...) as long as they listened.  (We'd talk about what we'd read afterwards.)  If we were working on something out loud together (AAS flash cards, math facts), they usually jumped on the mini trampolines. (We had 1 per kid at that age!)  If they were doing seatwork, they were allowed to sit on an exercise ball or wiggle cushion, get up to pace while thinking, etc.  And, of course, each lesson at that point was quite brief--mostly 10-15 minutes, unless it was a very hands-on activity like a science lab or art project.

If it makes you feel any better, I felt like first grade was a year when my kids were really difficult--distractible, irritable/easily frustrated--but suddenly around age 7 or 7 1/2, they matured and made a lot of progress emotionally and academically.

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I've seen a variety of stuff. When I was teaching a class, some kids couldn't sit still and some kids could. 

DD8 could always sit still for an hour at that age, but she's an unnaturally focused kiddo. 

The thing I'd wonder about is why he's getting MORE restless. For us, getting something that got the kids in more of a state of "flow" helped -- like, making sure that they were at least somewhat engaged. Is it possible he's bored or something else is going on? 

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On 7/17/2021 at 4:31 PM, Janeway said:

My rising 1st grader, who used to seem like a little old man, so calm and sweet, suddenly got a case of the wiggles and middle-schooler-attitude in his recently. He still sits quietly for his one on one lessons, usually. Other times, he rocks in his chair, giggles, makes pass gas sounds, etc. He is all over the place lately! It takes effort to get him to calm down enough to start a lesson. Once we get going, it is fine. 

Since last year was kindergarten, I was fairly relaxed about school. But he was also very calm. This year, I know I want to and should expect more. Just wondering what I should expect at this age. Please let me know what you would expect a typical first grader to do and such during the day. Thanks!

 

It is his age that is important, not his "grade level." 🙂  Also, I don't believe there is such a thing a "middle-schooler attitude." There could be something are-related, but "middle school" isn't a physical, measurable thing.

Are *you* doing anything differently during the times that he's rocking and giggling and whatnot? Did you expect him to suddenly sit still just because one day he was "in first grade"?

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Ellie said:

It is his age that is important, not his "grade level." 🙂  Also, I don't believe there is such a thing a "middle-schooler attitude." There could be something are-related, but "middle school" isn't a physical, measurable thing.

Are *you* doing anything differently during the times that he's rocking and giggling and whatnot? Did you expect him to suddenly sit still just because one day he was "in first grade"?

I was trying to be funny when I called it "middle school attitude." But, he went from being like a little old man, sedate, thoughtful, calm...to calling his sibling a butt and idiot and such. Sadly, this is stuff his older siblings have done, which they constantly got in trouble. In fact, just while typing this, 11 yr old burped loudly and then giggled while saying "ahhh."  This really upsets me. And it is behavior that 6 yr old has picked up doing. Then he gets all hyped up and behaves like 11 yr old. 11 yr old has ASD and 6 yr old is imitating him. 6 yr old does not have ASD. And it is not what I do different that affects him. He bounces off the behavior of the older child. He used to not react to older child, but now he does. 

Also, so far, I have not expected him to sit for anything he does not want to sit for. He will come to me and ask to do lessons. I will do them with him and he is calm and has fun when we work one on one. It is the entire rest of the time that he tackles and says words he should not say, etc. 

edited to add even more: I do not feel like the older kids include him enough too. 11 yr old is a big contributor. I have seen him walk over to 6 yr old's Lego creation and take a piece off it and then say he could because 6 yr old supposedly took his peice. But 11 yr old never spoke to me and many times, 11 yr old admits that he does not really know that 6 yr old did that. That is just an example. And I do discipline the 11 yr old for it. But he has ASD and it takes time. Things have gotten better through time, but still happen. 

 

Edited to clarify:    I am not having trouble. I am just thinking forward to the new school year as to what to expect.

Edited by Janeway
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For us it has depended upon the child. My current 2nd grader/7 yo. He’s not one to sit for long periods, so I cater to his needs. 
 

He is required to listen in to our morning time with includes Bible, geography and read aloud. He doesn’t sit this whole time but will often walk around the room, play legos, color. 
He does 20-30 minutes of math (this is his strength and he enjoys it, otherwise it would be much shorter)  

20 minutes of reading lessons

5 minutes of handwriting

20-30 minutes of hands on activities related to Five in a Row. 
 

This is split up through our school day and he takes a lot of breaks to play with his younger brother while I work with my older ones  he will sit in on their science and history and pick things up there when interested  

I’ve had two others who desired to sit down and do formal lessons beginning in K and still do.   My schedule and expectations of them were much different.

 

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It’s interesting to see the responses. 
 

We take one 30 minute break between language arts and math, which makes my first grader’s total school time about 3.5 hours.An hour of that is MBTP, half hour to electives, half hour to Bible and hymn study. 

LA is broken in to 3 parts:

10 minutes poetry and poetry recitation

25 minutes phonics lesson & read to me

10 minutes handwriting, guided draw and write, or story telling. 
 

Math is broken into 3 parts:

10 minutes Calendar work 

25 Miquon or Singapore

10 game/activity/book

All of our curriculum is interactive. We have lots of discussions, lots projects, research, etc. We do have formal lessons, but they aren’t necessarily traditional. Today we did our phonics lesson with our legs in the pool. 
 

eta: he is adhd, so I completely understand the wiggles and so forth. It doesn’t bother me. If he’s more comfortable bopping around during recitation that’s fine. He often writes standing up, with one leg half on the table 👀, and stops intermittently for TobyMac renditions. 

Edited by AnneGG
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I had a first grader last year who I think is pretty typical compared to other boys his age as far as sitting still ability. His ability to concentrate improves when he is standing out doing something he really likes. He didn't like handwriting, so at the beginning of the year I had him do about 3 minutes of careful practice, plus spelling while standing at the whiteboard gave him more writing practice each day. By the end of the year, he could write/do written activity for 20 minutes at a time, no big deal, and could do a bit longer if motivated. 

As far as rude/crude language: he often added the word "poop" to the majority of his spelling words to make silly phrases. I just figure it gave him a bit more handwriting practice. I will not let my kids be rude to a person (no burping in faces or calling someone names), but when they are just being silly, I mostly ignore it and sometimes take pictures as evidence for the future. They'll try to get me to engage sometimes, and I'll tell them it's kid language and fine to use with other kids their age whose parents don't mind, but they shouldn't be surprised if adults think they are being very childish if they overhear. Also, I make clear that they shouldn't use them around certain kids because they don't want those friends to get in trouble.

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