Wednesday, May 18, 2011

First Grade Curriculum Plan

A while ago, a friend asked me about the curriculum I plan to use this fall. I'm finally getting around to writing the post. We get to purchase curriculum through the charter school in mid-June, so I'm hoping that you will all comment and recommend better choices for me to look into before then, so I can make my final decisions!
(Remember that our charter school, MBTA, is paying for most of the books. I'll comment on ones they don't cover. And of course, that just means that I'll probably spend all of our personal money on even more supplementary fun games and projects than ever...)

The charter school requires study in Language, Math, Social Studies, and Science, but we can add any extra courses that we want to.
First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind by Jessie Wise.
All About Spelling (I don't think MBTA will pay for this.)
Crumpet's teacher recommended that we also purchase some kind of Phonics program. She showed me Saxon Phonics and Spelling, which looks ok, but it is made up of a lot of worksheets, which Crumpet does not approve of! It may be a good starting point though? Any other ideas? We plan to continue with Progressive Phonics, but there are only a few lessons in their advanced section...

Writing: This is likely to be our toughest subject this year...
I am considering Handwriting Without Tears.
Progressive Phonics has a free handwriting section that I may try, and our McRuffy kindergarten reading curriculum had a pretty basic handwriting portion.
I also discovered that our library system has Games for Writing by Peggy Kaye. I have it on hold and am excited to receive it. Her books work wonders for Crumpet.

Horizons Math: We are going to make the switch to Horizons for math. I have loved McRuffy's program, but it only goes through 3rd grade. I don't want to have to make a huge change in curriculum in 4th grade. Also, MBTA doesn't cover McRuffy...

Social Studies:
This is a required subject for the charter school. I'm not sure what to cover for such a broad subject, so I'll probably go with the book recommended by Crumpet's teacher:
Houghton Mifflin Social Studies: School and Family.
I can't find a decent link for this, but it is a straight up textbook. I'm sure we'll add our own twist to it, but the book actually looks like fun. Anyone have better ideas?

Science: I want to do one more year of general science, where we will get more of an overview of all of the scientific fields. Next year, we will probably concentrate on biology. For this year, I was very excited to find Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding: A Science Curriculum for K-2 by Bernard J. Nebel. This curriculum gets amazing reviews . For me, science is one of the most important and exciting subjects, and I really want Crumpet to learn it well. It looks like this book will give us a really strong foundation on which to build our future scientific studies. MBTA will probably not pay for it, but the whole course costs $25, so I think we can manage!

Geography: Amber, at Refined Metals Academy, wrote a good review of Beginning Geography, and this looks like a great starter course in the subject.

History: This is not a required subject for first grade at MBTA, but I think we'll go ahead and begin using the Story of the World series. I plan to use the History Odyssey program from Pandia Press. We'll start with Level 1, The Ancients, and I'll be adding in our own study of Prehistoric times.

There are several fun supplemental resources from Didax that I hope to add in for reading and math. And I would LOVE to work on some Spanish, art, and beginning piano. However, I know my child, and I'm not even sure we'll get through our basic first grade program successfully. I probably won't try the extra subjects... For the same reason, I doubt that we'll be involved in many extracurriculars, which is unfortunate because the charter school would pay for many... We tried karate once again last weekend though, and it just didn't work out... Crumpet needs more time. And we have lots of it. So we'll begin first grade slowly and see where we end up.


  1. All About Spelling is in the process of creating a reading program and it looks to be VERY hands on (the pre-k one is). But, that being said the All About Spelling program itself is very phonics oriented.

  2. Thanks for the post, you mention some interesting resources that I'm going to checkout. I'm similar in that there are so many extracurriculars that I wish we could explore, but my kids, not so much.

  3. We are going through a charter program as well but I'm planning to spend all the money on classes as they tend to add up! Most curriculum materials need to be returned once used so I'm buying them out of my own pocket and then selling them (unless the charter offers a discount)!

    I have yet to decide on curriculum choices for this year. Our daughter is 5 too. I would love to hear what you decide on! Which island are you on? We live Hwaii! Every two years we make a trip out there. So far we've been to Maui, Kauai and Oahu. Looking forward to visiting the Big Island in two years!

  4. I think you have a solid plan. I looked at SOTW and didn't like religious bend, but apparently there is really no good secular alternative to that program. I have to look into the science course you recommend just out of idle curiousity :)