Saturday, May 25, 2013

1st Grade Curriculum



These were my favorite curriculum for 1st grade. There are some affiliate links to Amazon.

BEGINNING READING:


Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons
This books starts out VERY BASIC! I have started it with my 3 year old, who has a very short attention span. Each lesson is short and takes only about 10 minutes to start up to maybe 20 minutes as you get near the end of the book. The first few lessons begin by teaching the sounds of a, m, and s. Each lesson also has some "say it slow, say it fast" games to get children used to how words sound slowly as they are sounding them out and how to figure out the word they just sounded out by saying it fast. I thought some of these activities were silly and redundant when I started the book with my oldest child, but as we got further into the book, I realized there was a reason for every activity and we actually went back and started the book over including these activities. It was very easy to do the lessons and required no prep from me. I could pick up the book, read and do the lesson with my child, and that was it. By the end of the book, my oldest son was reading fluently and well ahead of his grade level before he even started school. I cannot recommend this book highly enough!


READING/WRITING/SPELLING/PHONICS:


Spell to Write and Read

I started using this curriculum with my 5 year old directly after the "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" book.

What I like:
1) You can use it for grades K-12 without having to buy new books each year. You need one new workbook each year that is $6. That makes this curriculum crazy affordable.
2) I love that this curriculum teaches the 70 phonograms (different combinations of sounds) in the English language independently. Before starting the curriculum, there are flashcards with all of these phonograms. Each card has the letter combination on the front and the different sounds on the back. There are game suggestions for interesting ways for your child to learn these. My son's favorite game is where he starts on one side of the room and me on the other. I hold up the card and if he gets all of the sounds for the phonogram correct, he takes a step forward. If he misses one or more sounds, I tell him the correct sound and he takes a step back. Learning the phonograms like this has greatly helped his reading. There are tests in the program to determine what grade level your child is spelling/reading, and my son is testing around the 5th grade level even though his is only in 1st grade. He is picking up chapter books and reading them for fun.
3) This curriculum teaches 99% of the rules in the English language. There are rules that I didn't know! There are rule cards like the phonogram cards that you hold up and have the child tell you the rules. We haven't worked on these quite as much, but I plan to get into these more this next school year. Most curriculum do not teach as many rules as this one.
4) When learning a new word, this curriculum uses many different senses. You read the word out loud, use it in a sentence, have the child repeat the word, sound out the word, spell the word, and then read the word after he has spelled it.

What I didn't like:
Switching to this Spell to Write and Read curriculum after the previous "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" was a huge learning style/curve for me because the previous book had each lesson spelled out for the teacher--I just sat down and read it with my son. This curriculum is NOT that kind of curriculum. Most of it is suggestions and ideas that are not cut and dried as the child is first starting to figure out the sounds. I was really lost for the first two weeks of trying to figure out this curriculum. Basically you practice the phonograms until the child has them down and then move on to the spelling lists. Now it is easy, since I mostly just have my son learn 5 new words per day from the spelling list and go over the rules for those words that day as well as the extra grammar ideas that the curriculum recommends for that section (words are broken into sections with 20 words per section). Now that I have the program figured out, I love it and have been recommending it to all of my homeschooling friends. I have about 4 other friends who have chosen to use this curriculum also and they all love it as well.


LANGUAGE/GRAMMAR:




First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind
This book has simple, short lessons that only take about 5 minutes and no prep. The lessons are broken up into short paragraphs that cover different topics. It begins with nouns, first the definition of a noun, and then the various types of nouns (people, places, thing or idea). It reviews in depth family relationships, common vs proper nouns, days of the week, months of the year and addresses. There are also poems to memorize, stories with comprehension activities, and writing suggestions. Next is pronouns and then verbs. That is as far as we have made it in the book, but we will continue with this curriculum since I love how easy and short the lessons are as well as the way it really begins to teach and enforce the different parts of speach.


MATH:



MATH U SEE

I do not love math, so I have had a hard time doing it with my son. I LOVE this math program because it is a dvd program. In the grade 1 Alpha program, there are 30 lessons. There is a 5-10 minute dvd presentation for each lesson where the teacher shows how to do the lesson. Then there are about 12 worksheets for each lesson. It is recommended that the child complete as many worksheets as needed to master the material before moving on. If the child seems to be having a hard time with a lesson, simply have him re-watch the lesson and complete more worksheets until he understands it. There is also a teacher instruction book that the parent can use to better enforce each lesson if desired. I also like that the program uses blocks as manipulatives. My son really enjoyed this math program and it wasn't difficult at all to get him to do his lessons, unlike the program we used his Kindergarten year! We will be continuing with the Beta lesson for 2nd grade.


SCIENCE


Biology for the Grammar Student

This program is for grades K-2. There are several additional books needed for this journaling science program (I think it requires about 5 more books), but they are fairly inexpensive. The program covers animals, plants, and the human body. Lessons are broken up into either 5 day/week or 2 days/week. We actually do 3 days per week and just separate it and do the experiment on the 3rd day since there is a write up for the experiment that seemed to be quite a bit of writing when added to the 2 day plan. The lessons are very simple and I would actually like more information on the animals--the book that is used has 1 page of information for each animal, but it would be really easy to just use additional books to get more information on them. Before beginning animals, the students learn about habitats and begin a habitat box. As a new animal is learned, it is added to the herbivore/omnivore/carnivore page. In the workbook, there is a small picture of each animal that is cut out and pasted into the workbook and there is a small space to write a bit about each animal. The experiments are really easy and require pretty basic items that are fairly easy to find. This is a great, fairly simple and not too time intensive program to get a basic overview of animals, plants, and the human body as well as practice writing.

However, next year, I'm really looking forward to switching to a science program that is Bible-based and I'm going to try Apologia Science. My friend is using it for her homeschool and loves it. We will be trying out Exploring Creation with Astronomy.



This is also a journaling science program with lots of interactive activities included. Hopefully we will love it as much as we think we will!

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