Welcome! If you’re new to This Little Home of Mine, I’m Elizabeth. I am a former elementary school teacher who is now homeschooling my kids. In this post, I’m sharing all about homeschooling first-grade!
Around here, we embrace a year-round family-style approach to homeschooling – a 365-day-a-year round-the-clock approach to living and learning together.
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I love how educational opportunities can so naturally be woven into day-to-day life, and I’m excited to give you a glimpse into what that has looked like in our house during the first-grade year.
If you’ve visited me in this space before, you may have seen where I share about homeschooling.
I have put together age-specific posts to assist homeschooling families in their journey, and my hope is that as I share what has worked well for us that you will be inspired to find what works best for your family.
- Two-Year Old Homeschool Preschool
- Three-Year Old Homeschool Preschool
- Four-Year Old Homeschool Preschool
- Homeschooling Kindergarten
- Homeschooling First-Grade
- Homeschooling Second-Grade
- Homeschooling Third-Grade
- Homeschooling Fourth-Grade
- Homeschooling Fifth-Grade
- Homeschooling Middle School
If you are considering homeschooling your first-grader, I’m so glad you’re here.
My goal for this post is to keep things as simple as possible – providing you with a glimpse in to what we’ve done, hoping you will feel inspired in our own way.
Homeschooling First-Grade Resources
Let’s get started – We’ll go subject-by-subject!
In the early years, we’ve used The Jesus Storybook Bible for our Bible time.
I know we will continue to enjoy that book as a family, but since then, we have discovered some other favorites that I’ve shared here.
Our favorite time to read together?
At the breakfast table and/or just before bed.
As far as Scripture memory goes, we are part of a local AWANA program.
Throughout the school year, our memory work comes directly from our handbooks.
If you have an AWANA program near you, I would highly recommend it. It is a fantastic way to encourage your children to learn Scripture.
Free Mail-In Bible Lessons We’ve Used As Well
Language Arts: Phonics/Reading/Grammar
My kiddos are second generation Abeka students.
Abeka’s phonics program was used to teach me to read, and as a classroom teacher, this was hands-down my favorite phonics/reading program to use with students.
You may feel that it is not a great fit for your child – and I realize that are all kinds of excellent options out there – but I am big fan and have seen fantastic results with it over the years.
We use Abeka’s manuscript curriculum.
In addition to Abeka’s daily workbook pages, I like to find creative ways to encourage handwriting practice – ideas that don’t include pencil and paper.
For example, tracing Letters (and words!) with water is one of our favorite ideas.
Handwriting without Tears is another great option, if you’re interested!
This has been a great option for my oldest daughter!
This is an area where I like to add in some additional activities – fun writing prompts, out-loud storytelling games, various holiday activities, etc.
In the summer months, Kumon books (or other engaging activity books) have been great for extra reinforcement…
…with Abeka’s math curriculum being our go-to throughout the year.
I like to bring to life whatever is on the page – using as many hands-on manipulatives and activities as possible.
I am always on the lookout for items I can use in this way…
…yard sales being my favorite spots to find the kinds of things I like to use with my kids!
For the first-grade year, I use Abeka’s science, history, and health readers as guides for various topics I want to cover – using the topics as a guide, but finding my own ways to bring the material to life.
Read-alouds, field trips, hands-on experiences, experiments, art activities, etc. – all allow me to easily include my younger ones in the activities.
This printable planning packet is perfect for brainstorming ideas for any topic you are learning about together.
Around here, we don’t really do a lot of crafts (I’m specifically scared of glitter! ha!), but we do love to draw, color, paint, and use play dough.
My kids love grabbing their sketch books (simple Melissa & Doug art pads I found online) and drawing along with Art for Kids Hub.
If we’ve been reading about a specific plant or animal, historical figure or landmark, etc. we look to see if he has a video where we can draw that exact person, place, or thing along with him, and he usually does!
When my oldest started kindergarten, we kicked things off with piano lessons at a local studio where he worked along in the “Teaching Little Fingers to Play” book. Though all was going well there, I decided to make the switch to music teachers who come to our house.
For our current season of life, this has been amazing!
The teacher comes weekly and works one-on-one with each of my kids. While the teacher rotates through lessons with each child, this gives me time to work more closely with my other kiddos. This setup has been perfect for many reasons!
In this house, music is constantly in the air – while we play, while we learn, while we eat, while we rest, while we ride along in the car, etc. – and though I am excited about having my kiddos spend time with a trained teacher, I also love having them sit by the piano and we sing together.
This is as simple as my playing songs found in the back of their picture books, Christmas music from a hymnal, silly tunes we make up as we go, or sing-a-longs we have on hand.
I have received a lot of questions about when might be best to start lessons, what resources to use, etc. but like with so many things, I think it depends on each child – always taking in to account their development as well as their interests and enthusiasm for different things.
My advice: Consider your own kiddo – just them, no one else’s – and let that guide your decisions. In most situations, that alone will give you the answers you need.
Throughout different seasons, our kids have participated in low-key sports programs. Emphasis on low-key!
The intensity level from the coaches (and fellow parents!) is chill with the focus being on learning basic skills and having fun!
The best thing kids can do for physical activity?
Play outside! Take walks, ride bikes, run in the yard!
While my kids enjoy going to swimming and soccer, they love the freedom that comes with simply playing outside together.
Around here, Family Game Night is a regular occurrence!
Sure, we play classic just-for-fun games that families have enjoyed for years, but this has also been a great opportunity to connect over games like Zingo®, Math War, Money Bingo, Sequence® States & Capitals, and more.
When playing games, not only are we practicing how to follow directions, take turns, how to win and lose graciously, etc., but we’re also reinforcing concepts we’ve been learning together.
At least once a week, I like to have some kind of SIMPLE science experiment for us to do together as a family.
This usually happens in the evenings or on the weekends – when Dad is home to join in on the fun.
This is one of the ways he is able to participate in our homeschooling activities, and the kids go wild when it’s time to do an activity with him.
I realize the cover might seem a little outdated (I’ve had this book for years!), but the experiments included are such easy ideas you can do with objects you already own. Very little (if any) prep required for most of them!
A Couple of Things I Say Yes! To:
Local Activities: I am always on the lookout for local events/activities that would be a good fit for our family.
I consistently watch what’s going on at our libraries, museums, parks, children’s theaters, farms/orchards, etc. and this has gifted us with so many great opportunities for learning – and another chance for dad to be involved.
With a batch of little ones, it works best for us to do these things in the evenings or on the weekends.
The extra set of hands is helpful for me, and we all love having David along for these experiences.
Summer Camps: In our area, we have a handful of different places that offer excellent summer camps for kids. I am looking for quality programs that TEACH, and I have loved seeing my kids enjoy a variety of different camps that encourage them in things that interest them.
STEAM camps have been their favorite, and these kinds of opportunities have been an excellent addition to our homeschooling lifestyle.
Technology: While I realize too much screen-time can have a negative impact on kiddos, I’m definitely not one to say that it’s all bad.
We include all kinds of technology in to our homeschooling routines: educational apps, on-line computer games, YouTube videos, and television shows (Yes, television shows!).
Our current routine includes a daily Tech Time. This includes regular practice with Keyboarding without Tears as well as other favorites.
Our Favorites Apps for First-Graders:
Our Favorite YouTube Channels for First-Graders:
Our Favorite Websites for First-Graders:
Our Favorite TV Shows for First-Graders:
- Daniel Tiger
- Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
- Little Einsteins
- Super Why
- Word World
- Peg Plus Cat
- Martha Speaks
- Adventures in Odyssey – We’ve watched these on Right Now Media.
Our Favorite Audio Options for First-Graders:
- Adventures in Odyssey – We use the streaming app!
- Jonathan Park
- Patch the Pirate
- Geronimo Stilton
- Playaways from Our Local Library
- C.S. Lewis Chronicles of Narnia Radio Theater by Focus on the Family
A Few Things I Say No! To:
Crafts – While I realize Pinterest is full and overflowing with all kinds of cute craft ideas, we honestly don’t include many crafts in our homeschooling activities.
Opportunities for art exploration? Sure, but not many crafts.
Supplemental Resources – Once again, Pinterest. When I hop on Pinterest, I see all kinds of amazing printable resources – super cute goodies that are right there at my fingertips ready to be printed and used with my kids.
However, I have to think carefully before I get too carried away with things like that.
- How well does it fit with what we’re learning?
- Is it just busy work or would it play an important role in their learning something new?
- How much time is it going to take to print and prep this printable or activity?
- Keeping our other work in mind, do I want to make time to complete this activity?
My answers to these questions determine whether or not I pin things to a board I set aside for activities I actually want to make happen with my kids.
Needless to say, if something is just busy work…or if something is going to take more prep time than it’s worth, I usually skip it.
Outside Commitments – My current season of life as a wife and mommy is a full-time ministry of giving and serving at home. There can oftentimes be a lot of pressure for at-home moms to commit themselves elsewhere.
I’m not sure why others assume mamas have extra time on their hands, but if you allow them, they will quickly fill your schedule for you – over-committing you in ways that are not a good fit for your life with littles.
This is an area where I have had to be careful to set boundaries. I want to say Yes! to everyone, but when I do that, I am forced to pull away from where I have been called to serve right now.
This is an area where I am constantly having to keep myself in check.
A Few Helpful Tips
Morning Time: This is a great way to kick off the morning, and it’s always the perfect time to read books together: whether it be fun picture books or a chapter book that we’re reading through a chapter at a time.
Reading Time: When my kiddos wake up (and before they go to bed), they have reading time. Thirty minutes or so for them to independently explore books.
In the mornings, it sets the tone for a day of learning together, and in the evenings, it serves as the perfect way to wind down before sleep.
Rest Time: All of my kids have an afternoon rest time. This gifts them with time to plan and learn independently – something I want to encourage with each one of my kids.
Flexibility: that has been the key word for me! Always being willing to adjust and find creative ways to make things work in my current season, and I hope you – as a homeschool mom (or future homeschool mom) feel that same freedom.