Saturday, July 18, 2015

First Grade Curriculum | 2015-2016 School Year

I am very excited to be getting started this year with a full curriculum using the classical approach. It took awhile to decide on what method would be best for myself as a teacher but especially for my children. My daughter, the oldest, has thrived so far with the classical curriculum choices I had made for kindergarten and so I find it best to continue with what works.

Using The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer (TWTM) as my guide, I have been researching and deciding on the curriculum that we will be using for first grade and how to implement it with my preschooler who also likes to be included in the homeschool fun.

Because one of the most often asked question I get from people who find out I homeschool is about the cost, I will be including the prices I paid for each item to give other moms an idea of what they could be investing if they choose to homeschool as well. Keep it mind that it is what I paid and not what the current prices might be.

Language Arts


Spelling Workout A--Student Edition only ($13.47)
Spelling Workout B--Student Edition only ($14.28)

TWTM suggests this spelling curriculum as their top choice. I compared this one to Spelling Power and keeping my daughters learning style in mind, I decided that Spelling Workout would be the best fit for her. I ordered both Levels A and B, as A is very simple and TWTM said it is not uncommon for a first grader to progress to Level B before the school year is over.


First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind Level 1 ($11.53)
First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind Audio Companion Levels 1 & 2 ($9.38)

The audio companion was not required for the text but the cost wasn't too bad so I ordered it.


First Grade
The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading ($19.38)
The Harp & Laurel Wreath (Poetry and Dictation) ($18.72)*
BOB Books ($93.13 for Sets 1-5 + Rhyming Words, Kindergarten Sight Words and First Grade Sight Words)**

We began The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading mid-way through Kindergarten. I wish I had discovered it sooner but I'm just glad I discovered it at all! It has been an excellent tool for teaching my daughter how to read properly.

*This book was purchased previously for Kindergarten, so I do not include it in my homeschool budget for first grade.
** I purchased the entire BOB Books set for use in Pre-K and Kindergarten. They are also not included in our budget this year.

My First BOB Books: Alphabet ($11.89)
My First BOB Books: Pre-Reading Skills ($9.60)


The Complete Writer: Level 1 Workbook $27.23
Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Grade 1 $11.49
Grade 1 Paper Ream from Zaner-Bloser $10.99

I was hesitant to introduce a writing program for first grade, but once I looked through the book I knew it would work perfectly. I think my daughter will really enjoy working through it.

We are continuing with Zaner-Bloser for handwriting. We're still very happy with it.


Literature will be based on what we are covering in history this year. A few of the various literature works I will be reading out-loud will be The Iliad, The Odyssey, Greek and Roman myths, Egyptian myths, etc. Along with those classics, we will be reading a wide range of books we pick up at the library on our current history topic. I'll be posting more about this later.


First Grade
Math-U-See Alpha ($88.88)

We got a very good feel for Math-U-See when using their Primer level in kindergarten. My daughter understood the teaching style used and thrived with it. She wanted to do it first thing each morning. I see no reason to switch if this is what she loves.

Counting Bears ($8.41)
Melissa and Doug Pattern Blocks and Boards ($15.99)

Along with the items mentioned above, I will be working with my son on counting, patterns, sorting, etc. Currently, he counts to about 20 (sometimes higher, depending on the day) but has yet to associate the higher numbers with their actual meanings. Once I get him to count with confidence, we'll expand on that. I'm not going to push him into doing something before he is ready... the joy of being a 3-year-old!

History & Geography

Story of the World: Ancient Times ($10.88)
Story of the World: Ancient Times Activity Book ($20.27)
Story of the World: Ancient Times Test & Answer Key ($8.64)
MapTrek: The Complete Collection ($45.98)*

We started reading Story of the World (SOTW) back in the beginning of kindergarten, but because we had an infant in the house things got busy and we stopped. I don't feel too bad since it is recommended that the four-year cycle of SOTW be started in the first grade anyway. This year, we're ready to go! My preschooler will also be joining us for our history lesson as long as he wants to be a part of it. He may not learn much but he does love to sit and listen to a story and do any sort of activity.

I have always been fascinated with geography and when I found MapTrek, I was excited to use it. It's pricey for one book but it does come with a CD to be able to print off maps to draw on. This can also be used accompany all four years of the history cycle, so I think it will be a good investment. The company who put together MapTrek also has some living book geography resources that I may include into our curriculum this year if my daughter takes an interest in it.

*I purchased MapTrek from Amazon, but to get a better idea of what it looks like I am providing the link to their main website.


Elemental Science: Biology for the Grammar Stage ($19.25) [eBook, not pictured]
Kingfisher First Encyclopedia of Animals ($9.56)
DK First Human Body Encyclopedia ($14.49)
Plant Parts ($7.99)
Biology for Every Kid ($11.70)
Science Around the World ($11.94)

Art Skills and Appreciation

Drawing with Children ($14.96)

I wanted to get a book that would help my daughter to become a better artist. She loves to draw (and she is rather good) and I have tried to help her to improve on her abilities but don't know how to teach her the various techniques. It's a book we can use together and I think I will have as much fun with it as she will.

We will also be borrowing books from the library on various artists or pieces of art we will be learning about during our study of the ancients.

Music Skills and Appreciation

John W. Schaum Piano Course Pre-A The Green Book ($6.95)

We are still working on The Green Book and will progress to The Red Book later in the year.

For music appreciation, there are not many things to choose from with ancient history, but when we come across a new instrument used during that time period, we'll concentrate on learning more about it. Until then, we'll continue listening to our classical music CDs (my children loves these and my daughter likes to dance around the living room when they're playing). The more exposure, the better.

We are so excited to get started!

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