We’re about halfway through our school year, so I thought it would be a good time for a little update on how we’re doing with our first grade curriculum choices. If you’re interested in all of the specific curricula that my first grader is using this year, please watch our current curriculum choices video.
We did make some changes in our group subjects, so check those out, too!
But today is about my first grader. We had one big change, a couple of successful completions, and a plan for an addition to our first grade curriculum choices before the end of the school year.
Biggest First Grade Curriculum Fail – First Language Lessons
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My first grader’s biggest change has been that we stopped using First Language Lessons. If you’ve seen my curriculum choices video, this won’t surprise you. I was ready to let it go a long time ago. It’s a curriculum that I tried with my oldest when he was in first grade, and we dumped it that year, too. At the time I thought that the issue was a difference in learning styles, and that was definitely a problem. But this second time around, I realized that the main issue with this curriculum is that it doesn’t teach from the known to the unknown, which is an educational tenet that I live by. We do continue to use the poetry memorization selections in our group learning, but the rest of it just didn’t work for us.
Instead, I switched my first-grader to Kumon Writing Grade 1. He’s working out of it twice a week, so he should finish the workbook in March. Do I love it? No, not really. I feel that it’s too advanced for most first graders to fully absorb the information, but, truth be told, I think that it’s ridiculous to teach grammar above basic sentence structure at this age. Grammar is a state requirement for us, so we’re going to stick with it just to check the box. But I’ll most likely find something much simpler for my youngest when he’s in first grade.
Biggest First Grade Curriculum Win – The Beginner’s Bible
My first grader is almost done reading through The Beginner’s Bible. This is my favorite Bible storybook because it simplifies Biblical stories for children without dumbing them down or adding extraneous fluff. My first grader has loved it, too, and has changed so much in his view of God. Before reading the Biblical story for himself, he’d been pretty resistant to spiritual things. That has all changed in a big way, which just goes to show that God understood the power of storytelling before we all figured it out.
Success – Spelling You See
My first grader completed Level A of Spelling You See before Christmas. He’d begun it about midway last year, and I decided to complete it this year. Level A is pretty different from the upper levels of Spelling You See, lacking a lot of the uniqueness that Spelling You See is known for, and I didn’t love it at the end. Teaching spelling rules works much better for my kids so far.
My first grader is also maybe halfway through Level 1 of All About Spelling. I’m resisting the urge to fly through this curriculum. Even though my first grader could already spell the words we’ve covered so far, I feel that it’s important to acclimate him to the systematic approach used by All About Spelling in order to give him a good foundation for our future spelling work.
To Be Started – Writing
Since my boy has been learning some about writing in his handwriting, spelling, and grammar curricula, I’ve been holding off on doing more in this subject area. But after he completes the Kumon Writing workbook in March, I do plan to try a couple of WriteShop Primary projects with him. After doing WriteShop Primary with my oldest last year (check out my WriteShop Primary review video), I feel like I have a grasp on the general ideas and strategies implemented, so will adapt them and do a scaled down version of the suggested lesson plans. I’ll work with my son to choose the projects that interest him…I know that the shape book is high on that list, so we’ll probably begin with that.
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this peek into my first grader’s year!