Inside: Thinking of homeschooling and not sure where to start? Check out this list of the best first grade homeschool curriculum picks, by a former first-grade teacher. 🙂
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I never thought in a million years that I’d be homeschooling my kids. I taught first grade in the public school system for five years before becoming a stay at home mom. But with everything happening in the world, I’ve decided this is the best decision for my family this year.
With that said, I’d also like to say that I think every family has to choose what is best for them, and I respect and support whatever that decision is.
Here, I want to share my journey of becoming a homeschooling mom, especially for those of you considering taking this journey too. I hope to share the things that go well, and the things that failed and everything in between.
Even though I’ve taught first grade for years, starting homeschooling, is still a bit daunting. But I’ve taken the last few months to begin preparing for the year. I began with scouring the internet and reading reviews of the best first grade homeschool curriculum for each subject area.
Keep scrolling to find the links to each subject area homeschool curriculum, plus the free printable homeschool schedule, the action steps I’ve taken so far and what I plan for my next steps.
Selecting a First Grade Homeschool Curriculum
While selecting each subject area curriculum, I made sure that the lessons aligned with my state’s standards of learning. This is also something you may want to do if you decide to homeschool.
Related: How to Nurture a Child’s Imagination With the Benefits of Constructive Play
First Grade Math Homeschool Curriculum
I am totally geeking out about the Right Start Math curriculum that I purchased. They have a quiz you can take to help you gauge which package to purchase for your child. I selected the level B bundle for my first grader. If you want to check it out, you can find it here.
The reason I selected this curriculum is that it’s Montessori inspired. The lessons are active and incorporate the use of manipulatives and games to teach nearly every concept.
I also really like that each lesson is provided for you with everything you’ll need. You can literally read from the book if you wanted.
Right Start Math has several purchasing options, I decided to buy the lesson plans, workbook, and all of the manipulatives. I already had a few, but when I did the math to add only the ones I needed to my cart, I realized it was cheaper to just purchase their bundle because they discount it.
Also, I decided to pay $10 extra to buy the PDF download of the worksheet book. I did this because I also have a four-year-old, and I’d like to have the option for him to join in any part of the math lessons he’d like. This is ten dollars well spent for this option.
If you also have multiple children, you may want to consider that as well.
Related: Check out this montessori-inspired learning tool/toy for math, that can be used for 7 different math skills.
First Grade Science Homeschool Curriculum
For the science curriculum, I chose Standards-Based Investigations: Science Labs: Grades K-2.
Firstly, I like that it was standards-based (meaning the lessons are centered around what the government requires each state to teach in a given grade).
Also, I like that each lesson is an experiment. The lessons are broken into units. And each unit has a section that you can read to understand the information the child should learn throughout the unit.
There is also a CD that is included with all of the labs as PDF printable files. This makes life so much easier.
And my favorite part is that this book was very affordable.
Related: Slime Math Games for Kids They’ll Beg You to Play
First Grade Writing Homeschool Curriculum
For writing, I chose to follow the units of study by Lucy Caulkins. I used these units when I taught first grade. These books guide you through each step for exactly how to set up a writer’s workshop time for children.
After going through several of her units, you get a strong sense of the writing process from start to finish, while being able to easily differentiate depending on the child.
I cannot find the Lucy Caulkins units new, but several used sets are still available on Amazon.
First Grade Social Studies Homeschool Curriculum
I am still searching for a social studies curriculum I loooove. So far, I’ve settled on this one called 1st Grade Social Studies Year Long Big Bundle. It’s a pretty close match to the Michigan Social Studies standards of learning, but there are still some gaps.
This means I will have to create my own lessons for the standards that are not covered in this bundle. Besides, I may cut out any lessons that are not tied to the standards.
If you know of one you love, please share it in the comments below.
Related: Deep Dive into Smart Kids: Why Parents are Reading Educational Books
First Grade Reading Homeschool Curriculum
I did not select a first grade reading curriculum, which probably seems strange, as I would argue that one of the most critical skills learned in first grade is how to read. However, because I went back to earn my Master’s degree as a Reading Specialist, I can create my own lessons according to my child’s instructional reading level.
With that said, I will not leave you hanging. I have some great recommendations for reading materials.
- I subscribed to a year of Reading A-Z leveled books. With this membership, you can print leveled books (along with TONS of other reading resources). If you use the promo code NB2075 to get $5 off your order on any Learning A-Z websites.
- I’ve heard great things about the book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. This book has a script to follow and takes about 20 minutes a day. Perfect for a parent looking for lots of guidance while teaching reading.
- Pioneer Valley Books is one of the best-kept secrets. Their leveled reading series were always my kid’s favorites when I taught, and my daughter fell in love with the Otis and LuLu books.
- Reading Rockets is a website that is loaded with free, helpful information for parents. They are a great resource. For example, here they summarize what should be covered in a first-grade language arts program.
Related: These Findings About Children’s Vocabulary Will Surprise You
First Grade Art Homeschool Curriculum
I am not sure if buying an art curriculum is necessary; however, as a kid, my favorite projects were always arts and crafts. It’s the part of the day my kids look forward to as well. So, I plan to include one art project per week.
I selected Art Lab for Kids: 52 Creative Adventures in Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Paper, and Mixed Media. I like this book because it has a wide variety of media, as mentioned in the title; drawing, painting, printmaking, paper, and more.
This review was the one that sold me on this particular book:
“I am very impressed with this book. (And) I like how it covers a wide range of media and the mechanics of using the different media and the mental/physical goals in the art process for each lesson.
I also like how there’s a more professional rendering of the project and a child’s version. This shows what’s possible with practice as a professional, contrasted by a reasonable outcome by kids.
I am looking to get back into art myself and teach elementary-aged children through homeschool. This is exactly what I was looking for. I’d be interested in a volume 2 if available.”
Other Helpful Homeschool Materials
Passion Projects Book
I just bough a new book called Genius Hour: Passion Projects that Ignite Innovation and Student Inquiry. It’s all about how to encourage your child to pursue their passion projects. It’s got everything you need to guide your child from planning through completing the project and even reflecting in the end.
I am so excited to incorporate this piece into our weekly schedule.
I also purchased a desk calendar to help keep myself organized and see a month at a glance. I plan to let my kids help me track any important dates, etc. It will take the place of a typical wall calendar in the classroom.
Kids Daily Calendar Board
I also bought a daily kids calendar board. This calendar will allow my kids to select the date, month, practice making the time, picking the season and weather of the day, and the day of the week.
If you’ve read this far, then I’m impressed. 🙂 I hope in the future to share how I received resources from my local school district, share my progress and new schedule, and so much more.
If there is anything you’d like me to write about, please let me know in the comments.
In the spring, I made a homeschool schedule for our daily rhythm. I have three children, so I need my everyday life to have both structure and flexibility. I plan to create a slightly more structured schedule for this coming fall and share that as well.
Related: Printable Daily Homeschool Schedule for Preschool and Early Elementary Aged Kids
Are You Beginning Homeschooling Too?
Here are the things I’ve done so far:
- Ordered my curriculum books/sets
- Printed my state’s standards of learning
- Selected a room in my house for homeschooling and started making plans for the setup
- Researched and enrolled in local school district resources for homeschooling
- Notified my daughter’s school that she will be homeschooled this fall and filled out the required paperwork
My Homeschooling Next Steps
My next big project is to makeover the formal dining room that I actually use as my laundry folding room into a homeschool room. IKEA, here I come! Stay tuned for more updates.
What are your plans for this year? What do you feel is best for your family?