Friday, July 15, 2016

First Grade Curriculum Choices 2016-2017

We are starting school in a couple of weeks, and I have literally been researching what curriculum we would use since last November.  Ridiculous.  But, I am a planner, and that's what I do.  However, hopefully I have learned from my mistakes and will not start obsessing planning quite so early in the future.

I bounced back and forth between different all-in-one curricula, being attracted to the idea of making my own plans, but a little afraid of it.  I was also drawn to the pretty catalogues and all they had to offer.  So, in March, I bought an all-in-one package, along with Cheerful Cursive and All About Reading 1, with the plans of beginning immediately, but going at half-speed through the rest of Kindergarten and into First Grade.  Well, after two weeks, I decided it was too much for what I had in mind for Kindergarten.  I wanted a more laid-back year for both of us.  So, I put my pretty curriculum away, and we continued working on cursive and AAR a little bit every day.  That worked really well for us.  It was very laid-back and flexible, which made it more enjoyable.  Now that we have finished, M has about 15ish lessons to go in AAR and is doing SO well reading!  She's also doing very well with her cursive.  I'm very proud of her.  :)

Right after I purchased my curriculum, I started reading about the Charlotte Mason method.  I'd read things here and there and liked what I had read, but it seemed very overwhelming to me, so I never really considered going all out with it.  But, as I read about it, I became very drawn to it, and over time decided that was the route I wanted to go.  I think the Lord led me to read about this method, and I feel like it will be a good fit our family.

So, without further ado, here are our curriculum choices for First Grade!

Mama bought me a gift card to Mardel, where I purchased a beautiful planner, A Simple Plan, for our year!  I've already written down some plans in it, and because I've loved planners for years, I'm very excited about using it.  Also, I think it'll be really helpful as far as keeping records of our school year.

We will be doing some things together as a family, so L can join in the fun.  :)

Bible - I wanted to do something more involved with this, but every time I consider it, I go back to the simplicity of 'just' reading the Bible to them.  A couple of months ago we purchased "The Complete Illustrated Children's Bible" and I really like it.  The pictures are beautiful, and I really like that there are so many stories in it.  In our other children's Bibles, they stop after Jesus' resurrection, but this one goes on through the New Testament, and I like that.  :)  I'm not going to make them memorize scripture, though I plan to continue listening to kids music on Pandora that will help teach them scripture.

Literature - I want to really enjoy reading together!  We just finished A Bear Called Paddington a few weeks ago, and the girls enjoyed that.  I don't have all of our chapter books planned out, but I have three lined up.
I also purchased The Llama Who Had No Pajama for some poetry reading.

Science/Nature Study -
I plan to focus heavily on Nature Study this year.  The girls are so interested in nature, so why not explore it and learn as much as we can?  This summer we have been able to watch different moths and butterflies go through metamorphosis which has been incredible.  We'll be using the Nature Reader to go along with Outdoor Secrets, and I also hope to do some nature journaling, but we'll see how interested they are!

Artist Study/Art - 
For our first 12 weeks, we'll be studying Norman Rockwell.  We'll read a biography about him, and look at one painting each week in a book I purchased at Half Price Books.  On Fridays, we'll do one project out of the Art Lab book.

Composer Study -
We plan to study "Peter and the Wolf" and Prokofiev for our first 12 weeks.  We'll learn about different instruments, and read Prokofiev's biography.  After the first six weeks, we'll listen to some of his other work on youtube.

M's Individual Subjects

Phonics -
M is close to being done with AAR Level 1, and though she's done really well with it, she isn't always enthusiastic about it, so I decided to follow it up with ETC to reinforce what she has learned and change it up.  She likes workbooks, so I think she'll enjoy it!  After that, I PLAN to move forward with AAR Level 2, but that's months away and things could change, so we'll see.

Handwriting -
M has completed maybe 20-30 pages of this so far, so we'll continue with doing a page or so a day.  She is doing very well with it!  On Wednesdays, we'll switch it up and do a drawing/copywork from Draw Write Now.

Math -
  • Math-U-See Alpha
  • Rod and Staff: Learning More and More
I've been so excited to try MUS for months!  I was looking for something we could use long-term, because ideally, I'd like to avoid switching Math curriculum down the road, unless it just isn't working, of course.   On Fridays, I plan to have her work in the Rod and Staff workbook to switch it up.  (I really think she and I like some variety!)

L's Pre-K
  • Adventures with Books - Rod and Staff
  • Counting with Numbers - Rod and Staff
L will turn four just a few weeks after we start, so I really don't expect anything from her.  I bought her two workbooks so she can feel included and be proud of her own 'school stuff'.  :)  I plan to just let her work in them to the extent she shows interest. 

That's it!  On Fridays, I plan to take it easy with the R&S workbooks, reading for fun, and doing an art project.  I want it to be a fun end to our week.  Of course, all of this is my ideal plan.  I'm sure it won't be as beautiful as I'm envisioning.  There will no doubt be whining and lots of interruptions by baby girl.  ;)  But, we'll do our best to roll with it, and hopefully we'll have a fun year of learning together!


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