1st Grade Curriculum Picks: Simple and Fun!

I made SO MANY mistakes my first year of homeschooling.

I started out with teaching 1st grade to my oldest after pulling her from public school.

Lookin back, I can see how I stressed about all the wrong things and worried about things that were just not that important.

Well, I’m getting a second chance at teaching 1st grade now with my middle daughter!

This time around will definitely be more fun, as I am so much more comfortable with picking out 1st grade curriculum, how to teach it, and what to worry about (and what not to worry about!).

My middle child will absolutely benefit from all the mistakes and missteps I made in my first year of homeschooling – lucky her!

I am excited to share with you my simple, fun, and engaging 1st grade curriculum picks, but first let’s talk about…

What is Taught in 1st Grade Curriculum?

Looking for some 1st grade homeschool curriculum ideas? Check out the simple and relaxed curriculum I have picked out for our homeschool! Award wining choices for core subjects, and fun exciting picks for everything enrichment, it will definitely get your 1st grader learning and having fun!

Well, there are a lot of homeschool bloggers and large box curriculum companies that would say your 1st grade curriculum should include everything and the kitchen sink. 

I tend to disagree.

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As we enter our 4th year of homeschooling, I have found that more tends to be too much.

Too much tends to overwhelm children, bore them, and turn them off to the learning process before they have barely started.

Our goal as homeschool teachers is to strike a balance in our course load that maintains a love and passion for learning.

So, for our 1st grade homeschool curriculum, we have chosen to focus on these

Core Subjects:

  • Reading

  • Language Arts/Writing

  • Handwriting

  • Math

  • Literature/Read aloud books

And These Enrichment Subjects:

  • Bible

  • Science

  • History

  • Art

  • Music

  • P.E.

How long is 1st grade curriculum supposed to take every day?

Great question!

The above list might look long, but every subject is not done every day.

The core subjects are done daily, and the enrichment subjects are on a more relaxed or loop schedule (1-2 times/week).

The goal for first grade is to have school done in 2-3 hours depending on length of breaks.

And what are you supposed to teach for each of those subjects?

Check out my 1st Grade Curriculum choices below!

1st Grade Homeschool Curriculum Picks

Reading: All About Reading Book 1/2

All About Reading

We used All About Reading Pre-reading when my daughter was in Pre-K and I LOVED it!

We used a different reading program for kindergarten, but we’re excited to get going with All About Reading again!

It is a multi sensory phonics based program that is perfect for wiggly kids. It is also packed with games and activities to keep reading time fresh and fun.

My daughter particularly loves “Ziggy” the zebra puppet – he does a much better job at getting her to sound out words than I do 🙂

***Check out the All About Reading website for a quick placement test to see if your kid needs book 1 or book 2.

Language Arts/Writing: Writing With Ease Book 1

I spent a long time looking for the right language arts curriculum. After a lot of review reading and homeschool blog browsing, I think this is a perfect fit for my 1st grader.

It starts out with simple copy work from high quality texts such as “Little House in the Big Woods.”

The copy work is intended to teach kids correct punctuation, capitalization, and sentence structure.

There are also days every week that focus on narration. You read a short excerpt of a classic kids book and then ask your child questions about the text.

The student is encouraged to respond only in complete sentences. Once they learn to speak in complete sentences (not phrases), it will be much easier to start writing in complete sentences.

The balance of workload and pace are exactly what I was looking for.

It comes highly recommended, and it doesn’t hurt that it  is written by Susan Wise Bauer – a fantastic and well known curriculum writer.

You will see that she also wrote the history curriculum I recommend below!

Handwriting: Handwriting Without Tears “My Printing Book”

We have used “Handwriting Without Tears My First School Book” in previous years and found the book really delivers on the “no tears” part.

I am confident that My Printing Book will be a great addition to our 1st grade curriculum to make sure my daughter is writing at her best. Pages are cute, short, and fun – exactly what you need at this age!

The above language arts curriculum does have copy work – but the focus of that copy work is not to teach handwriting.

Handwriting is an important skill to master, and I think having a separate book to help teach and reinforce is a must for the 1st grade level.

Math: CTC Math

4th Grade and 1st grade Homeschool Curriculum Pick - CTC Math

 

I am not super proud to say that I have been through A LOT of math curriculums.

How many you might ask?

Hmmm….8.

Considering I have 3 kids and I’m about to finish our 3rd year of homeschooling…that’s a lot.

Blessedly, I have finally discovered that all of my kids really enjoy using an online platform for math. For whatever reason, they respond much better to video lessons and an online question format.

I have fallen in love with CTC Math over the last couple months because

  • It is K-12 (all my kids can use it)
  • The lessons are short and to the point (2-4 minute videos)
  • There are a very reasonable number of questions to complete, it is mastery based (with built in review)
  • Most importantly, my kids really like it!

They actually argue about whose turn it is to do math on my laptop.

Homeschool mom mind = blown!

****I would not consider 1st grade an appropriate age to be independent with math. Plan to be right beside them and helping (probably with a box of math manipulatives) to work though concepts and problems.

Literature/Read Aloud Books

Read aloud books are the heart of our homeschool!

We always start our day out with morning time and me reading from a chapter book. This is a really nice way to ease our way into the homeschool day and learning.

It teaches my kids so much about literature, the love of reading, vocabulary, and reading comprehension (when we talk about it afterwards).

I encourage you to have a great list of books you want to work your way through during the school year.

Need a place to start?

Check out “25 Books to Read Aloud to Your Kids and then Watch the Movie!

My kids are usually much more engaged with a book when they know they will “meet” the characters of the book in a movie!

Bible: The Gospel Story Bible

This would actually be considered a core subject for our homeschool.

I love that homeschooling has afforded us so much more time to talk about spiritual things with our children!

We have been working through Gospel Story Bible for awhile now, doing one story every morning. This book walks you through the Bible from beginning to end, one short story at a time.

I also really like that each story ends with a beautiful picture and 3 questions to help your child discuss and engage with the story.

Science: Sassafras Science Adventures: Anatomy

   

Science is an enrichment subject at the 1st grade level. The goal is just to have fun and fan the flame of learning in your child!

With that in mind, I encourage you to find science curriculum that your kids will find interesting and exciting – not whatever someone says is the most “rigorous.”

All my kids LOVE Sassafras Science. It is a fast paced book that highlights a new science concept with every chapter while following the adventures of twins, Tracy and Blaine.

All of my kids loved Zoology and I know they’ll have a blast learning about Anatomy this year!

The Activity book is what really makes it a full curriculum. It is packed with all kinds of experiments, activities, and crafts to reinforce the lessons.

I would pick and choose from the activity book based on your kid’s interest – it’s a lot!

History: The Story of the World

 

History is my jam!

I get so excited every year to teach and discuss history with my kids. That is especially true this year as we get ready to start the super popular, The Story of the World series.

The Books, written by Susan Wise Bauer, have a fun, fresh take on history and will keep your kids engaged – no stuffy, boring text here!

Similar to Sassafras Science, Story of the World has a short chapter to read every week and an activity book full of coloring pages (great to keep hands busy while you’re reading), map exercises, and activities and crafts!

I would recommend reading one chapter per week and doing 1-2 activities from the activity book at the 1st grade level.

****I also got the audio version. Something you may want to check out if you want to take a break from reading some days or you want to pop it in the car during errands.

Art: Art For All Seasons

The above history and science curriculums already have many arts and crafts options available to you, but if you have a budding artist that can’t get enough art – I would highly recommend this affordable Art For All Seasons Book.

A friend actually gave me this book when her kids outgrew it and my kids went nuts for it!

It is packed with super adorable crafts – more than enough to do one every week.

The best part is that the book already has the templates in them and the supplies are pretty basic. The crafts also go along with the seasons and holidays, so you will always have something to do that matches the time of year!

Music

My oldest daughter did not like the music program that went with her 1st grade curriculum.

I could always feel the air being sucked out of the room whenever it was time to pull it out.

In hindsight, it was so ridiculous to expect a first grader to be engaged with music to that level.

As you plan out your 1st grade homeschool curriculum, I would encourage you to offer some basic music options and see what engages your student the most.

Here are some ideas to get you thinking.

  • Play a variety of classical music (Alexa, Play classical music!) during school time. Occasionally ask your child how the music makes them feel (calm, happy, scared, etc.)
  • Gauge their desire to take music lessons. Consider looking into Free Piano Lessons and an inexpensive keyboard (we got this one!)
  • Sign your 1st grader up for a children’s choir if they have one in your area
  • Take a field trip to see a children’s orchestra

P.E.

Most homeschool families tend to blow off P.E., but there is so much you can do at home!

It is also a great break in your day to squeeze in some activity and give your kid’s brain a break!

No, you do not need to be a fitness expert. Just tell your child that P.E. is time to work on stretching and exercising muscles to keep them healthy.

If you feel comfortable doing so, you can teach your child basic stretches and exercises. Some parents may also like to check out Youtube exercise channels for kids.

Here are some fun exercise games you can also rotate through for variety:

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Recap 1st Grade Curriculum Picks

There you have it! All of my 1st grade curriculum picks for Math, Language Arts, Handwriting, Reading, Literature, Science, History, Bible, Art, Music, and P.E.!

Remember to keep your focus on the core subjects and have a lot of fun with the enrichment subjects.

This should only take 2-3 hours a day, including breaks.

Encouraging a love of learning should be your foremost goal at this age!

Want to save all of this info for later? I know it’s a lot! Be sure to pin it to your favorite Pinterest board and share with your friends and followers!

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Tired of hearing 'Are we done yet?!' Try this simple and flexible homeschool routine. It will give you a daily schedule that is just right for your kids. I have been using it since I started homeschooling and it works! There is even a free printable so you can get going today!

 

 

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