Monday, January 5, 2015

First Grade Curriculum Choices: MIDYEAR UPDATE

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One of my most popular posts this year was the curriculum we chose for Tater's first grade year. But now our curriculum looks vastly different than it did at the beginning of the year! We've made so many changes that I figured another post was in order to let you know what we've liked and haven't liked from the original list. (Make sure you check out my original First Grade Curriculum Choices here.)

Mystery of History Volume I-I'm still enjoying this, although there is a lot of reading that can be dry at times, so I'm not sure how much Tater is actually retaining. She likes the activities, and I love that it's biblically based and interactive. I've supplemented with library books to bring more depth into some of the topics, but we're continuing with this curriculum for the remainder of the year and will reassess for next year.

Horizons Math 1-This was one of the only math curricula I could find that wasn't common core, which was a major reason I chose it. Tater has breezed through it...she can do the worksheets independently and hasn't really needed any help. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. There is definitely a lot of review built in, which is good, but I don't find it challenging enough. I'm not sure if we will continue with this math for second grade, but we will finish the first grade book then decide from there.

Horizons Phonics K-Tater seemed to be a little behind in reading to start the year so I put her in kindergarten phonics, but we made it halfway through this workbook only to realize that it was becoming way too easy. An official reading assessment from my aunt (who is a first grade teacher) showed that she was above 2nd grade reading level, so we dropped Horizons Phonics K and have moved into First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind as well as a reading comprehension workbook I picked up at Lakeshore. So far we are loving First Language Lessons.

A Reason for Handwriting-We are still using these worksheets, but Tater's handwriting is still terrible. I'm considering dropping the Handwriting curriculum to just focus on copywork and letter practice.

A Reason for Science-We are only using this about one week out of five. I haven't thought the lessons were that clear, so I had to explain quite a bit that wasn't mentioned in the text. Most of the time we are just doing experiments from Magic School Bus Science Club (Tater's birthday present last year), and some science kits she got for Christmas. I also picked up a Natural Science visual encyclopedia and she does daily journal entries about different plants and animal species.

God's Great Covenant-Since Mystery of History has a lot of lessons on Biblical history, we have dropped God's Great Covenant for now and are just using a combination of MOH and a Bible Storybook. Perhaps when she gets older I will revisit God's Great Covenant, but I would prefer to focus on the stories and God's character more than the dogma at this age.

All About Spelling-We are now in book 2, and I can't say enough about this curriculum. Tater is turning into a really proficient speller because she is learning the rules of spelling instead of random words. I plan to continue All About Spelling for the foreseeable future. Although, I will admit I've been using the tiles less and less, and have been using a whiteboard instead. 

Classical Conversations-We still meet with our CC group once a week, but review time is basically just during class day and sometimes the CD in the car. I don't think we are going to continue with CC next year, just because our current curriculum is already more than enough.

Road Trip USA-I enjoy this curriculum put out by Confessions of a Homeschooler, and we will be continuing it. I like all the activities included, although printing everything out was a huge task.

World's Greatest Artists-Tater likes the art projects in this curriculum from Confessions of a Homeschooler, but I'm not sure we needed a whole curriculum, plus the companion books have been difficult to find. Just printing out examples from each artist along with a painting project will be good enough moving forward.

Read Alouds-We have finished these read aloud books since September...Little House on the Prairie, Davy Crockett: Young Rifleman, two Boxcar Children books, and Prince Caspian.

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