My choices for first grade language arts did not impress me. Mid school year I ditched a lot of my material and went back to the bare bones. Instead of a reading curriculum, I chose library books, audio books and e- books. Some of our literature selections include the entire Ramona and Beezus collection, Ralph S. Mouse, Andrew Lang fairy tales and quite a few Arthur Scott Bailey books. I’ve discovered that I’m way more interested in the outdated copyright free books. They tend to be well written with quality language patterns. My son doesn’t mind the slight difference in language usage as long as the story is able to hold his interest. These story books definitely do just that.
For writing I planned to use I.E.W’s primary arts of language: writing. I haven’t been particularly thrilled with the program, mostly because I was expecting quality material and instead I got a quantity of repetitive instruction. My feeling is that the publishers believed a full book along with a disk would justify the price tag. The meat of the program is on the disk, which in my opinion would have served me better had it been printed out and in place of the useless booklet. In all honesty, the disc is pretty much a copy work program. The copy work selection could easily be replaced with the draw write now farm edition book. Their are some audios of Andrew Pudewa included that I found informative. The gist of his speeches were basically discussing how important reading out loud to your children is even and especially after they have acquired the ability to read. It helps them develop their language skills. He also discusses the Benjamin Franklin method of writing. First you outline a classic story, then you rewrite the story attempting to write it better than the original. The view is that an aspiring writer must first imitate the works of great writers in order to understand how to write on his or her own. An idea I found particularly helpful, suggested using simple picture books as a starting point for this method. For example, My son and I picked up green eggs and ham by dr. seuss and my son wrote and illustrated a story following the rhyming pattern of this book. The subject of his book was Habanero sauce. Other than creating stories in this fashion, my son completed plenty of copy work. (Another resource that follows the Ben Franklin method is called sentence composing by Don Killgallon.)
For grammar we used first language lessons for the well trained mind. I purchased the old edition of the book, it has books 1&2 included. I figured this would be the better buy and would take up less shelf space. With a title like “well trained mind” I was expecting it to be challenging. The book was very repetitive. My son is very smart but has a short attention span. I’m hoping I’ll be able to use this book with my younger son, but if he is advanced perhaps I will start in kindergarten.
For spelling I chose mcguffeys eclectic speller. This is available to download free but I opted for a physical book. If you go to http://www.oldfashionededucation.com/ you will find the grades that are associated with each of the spelling list. This speller sections off word list according to phonetic rules. I like that’s it’s designed to cover k-12 and that it’s a small book that doesn’t take up much space. However, I am planning on purchasing spelling power used of course.
Our kindle read a-louds served as great tools to get in some vocabulary. What I like about kindle is the speed to which you can look up unfamiliar words. After my son looked up a word he did not know I would have him fill out a vocabulary word map (from www.jandmranch.com) http://www.jandmranch.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/newvocabularywordmap.pdf
For math we used Singapore primary mathematics 1a & 1b. In my opinion, Singapore math is the best math program hands down. The focus is on mental math more than anything else. I have also made it my goal to help him memorize all of his number facts before second grade math. The way I have chosen to do this is through teaching number bonds. I find it to be a much easier way to cram math facts. their is far less to remember and once facts for 6-10 are learned the rest is very simple. If you are unsure of what number bonds are here is an example. 1 & 9 make 10, 2 & 8 make 10, 3 & 7 make 10, 4 & 6 make 10, 5 & 5 make 10. I f you know this you also know that 43 & 17 make 60. My son has caught on very quickly to this method of teaching.
For science we learned about the human body. Science has at times been on the back burner however my son has still learned a great deal. Thank you kidshealth.org youtube videos.
For history I purchased heritage histories and have been reading my son books about the early days of our countries formation. A good book to look into, which is available online for free is called the Men Who Found America.