How is it that my baby girl is finishing up her kindergarten year and that I’m finalizing our plans for homeschooling first grade? Whether it’s easy for me to believe or not, it’s happening and I’m excited to share our curriculum plans with you today!
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Here’s a look at what we’ve got in store for our next year of homeschool.
2017 – 2018 Curriculum Choices
Homeschooling First Grade
If you caught my kindergarten choices post from last year, you may remember that we used Five in a Row, Volume I as our spine. So, are we continuing with Five in a Row for first grade? In short, yes and no.
I started working through FIAR Volume II with my daughter in the spring and we’re halfway through it at this point. We’re on pace to finish it before the end of the year, but I don’t plan to buy the FIAR guide for Volume III.
Moving away from FIAR
Here’s the deal: we’re moving away from Five in a Row as our spine, but not abandoning it completely. Our move from FIAR has more to do with timing than curriculum. My daughter and I both love it and have had some magical moments reading the Five in a Row selections together, so we’re going to continue reading them and digging into all that they offer.
The big difference is that instead of purchasing Volume III, I’m going to borrow it as needed from my local library and we’ll work through the books that way. That’s a better option for digging into those wonderful books because we’re transitioning to a new curriculum, a new spine, and a new schedule.
Homeschooling First Grade
Ambleside Online, Year 1
Once we wrap up Five in a Row Volume II in December, we’ll transition to Year 1 of Ambleside Online. I felt drawn to Charlotte Mason’s philosophies on education from the beginning of our homeschool journey, but didn’t have the confidence to follow through with my son.
My son is on a more eclectic homeschool path now that he’s entering seventh grade, but I know without a doubt that the Charlotte Mason method of homeschooling is a great fit for my daughter. That’s why we’re making the move to Year 1 of Ambleside when we finish up with Five in a Row.
I’m not only grateful to have this time to finish our Five in a Row volume, but I’m also grateful to have some additional time to round up the reading selections for Year 1. I found free or inexpensive Kindle editions for several of these titles, but there are a handful that aren’t easy to find.
Beyond Ambleside: Our Other
Plans for Homeschooling First Grade
Ambleside Online doesn’t have specific suggestions for math, reading/phonics, or foreign language, so we won’t have to make any changes in those areas. That’s a relief, since starting Ambleside will be an adjustment for us!
We’ve had an interesting time with math thus far. This girl is incredibly math-minded and could probably work with any curriculum I place before her. That said, she chooses Life of Fred.
We worked through other programs last year, but she blew through them before I was ready to buy more material. Since we already had Life of Fred Apples on our shelf, I started using it and we were both hooked. In fact, Apples has come and gone and we just finished Butterflies.
For our homeschooling first grade purposes I’ve purchased Life of Fred Cats, Dogs, Edgewood, and Farming. I’m not sure if we’ll get through four books, but I’ll follow her lead and see what happens.
We started working through Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons earlier this year and we’ll continue to work through it, but I’m reducing how many lessons we’re doing each week. Even though my little one is doing well with those lessons, there are times when she looks at the reading passages and feels they’re too much for her. She’s her own worst enemy in that sense!
Since we’re cutting down on 100 Easy Lessons, she’ll also spend time on Reading Eggs. She’s downright obsessed with Reading Eggs, so it’s a good way to get her practicing her reading skills without the overwhelm.
First Grade Foreign Language
My little one is doing well with Foreign Languages for Kids by Kids to learn Spanish, so there’s no need to change anything there. I’m happy to be able to continue with that gentle, kid-oriented approach!
First Grade Meets Seventh Grade
Lastly, my first grader will explore art, music, nature study, and even some history alongside her big brother when possible. After all, their age difference doesn’t allow me to combine them too often. It’s nice to be able to pull it off in a few areas.
I’m not sure what art adventures we’ll have at this point because that usually changes from season to season and is primarily interest-led. It will remain that way at least until we officially begin Ambleside Year 1.
The kids will also continue working through their Wonders of Nature Kit together and then transition to Ambleside nature study.
As for history, she’ll cover plenty of that through Ambleside and Five in a Row, but she’ll also join in as we study The Mystery of History Volume IV. I totally understand that it may seem a bit advanced for her, but it’s much easier having her join in than sending her away because I’m working on history with her brother. 😉
That’s it for our plans for homeschooling first grade. Do you have thoughts or tips to share on using any of these resources? Leave a comment and let me know. I’ll take all the help I can get!