Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Planning for First Grade

We are getting excited about school starting next week for us. This summer has gone by very fast, but I think we are ready and rested for first grade for the oldest and a little pre-K work for our middle girl. I have a few more things I want to do to prepare, but even if they don't get done, we're ready for Monday at least.

This year, Noelle is going to be attending a 2-day per week tutorial. She will do her social studies and science through her tutorial, while I concentrate on her language arts, math, Bible and any art or music I want to do with her at home. It was a hard decision whether or not to send her to this program this year; however, with a new baby on the way (coupled with the difficult time I had after Betsy's birth), this is a good fit for our family for this year. And, she's so excited ... lunch boxes and school supply lists are delighting her to pieces right now. She won't start her tutorial work until later in the month, but we're going to go ahead and start our portion next week to give us some buffer days for baby's birth.

For her language arts program this year, I decided to go with several of the resources offered by Peace Hill Press and put together by the author of The Well-Trained Mind, Susan Wise Bauer. We are choosing to continue with our classical approach to learning and I have been most impressed with what I've looked at so far. 

For math, we are going to continue with Saxon and I really like the look of their first grade materials. In retrospect, I think their kindergarten program would have been better suited for Noelle as pre-K and beginning K material, so I'll be doing a little of that with Natalie this year as she has interest. I'm not on any time-table with her as far as pre-K material I want to cover. She is just very interested in learning to read and write this year and so I've got a few little things for her to do as it fits for both her and me. 

Bible will just be a continuation of what we have been working on from last year - continuing to read through the Catherine Vos Children's Story Bible, making those stories familiar to her. We'll also do memory work through Awana, and she will have a short chapel program with her tutorial once a week. For first grade, I think that's plenty.

For her social studies and science (the two subjects covered by her tutorial), she will be spending time studying Ancient Civilization (creation up through the Greeks) and earth sciences. Because I am a geeky once-upon-a-time history major, I went ahead and purchased Story of the World, Volume 1 for my reading (and probably for some read-aloud time) so that I can learn along with her. This was the social studies curriculum that I had planned on using this year had we not gone with the tutorial so that makes me happy that it will still fit and we can use it.

Edited to add: We found out this week that they are bumping her social studies rotation back one year. Instead, this year she will be studying American History and Tennessee History from the early 1800's to the present. That is actually fine with me - we have some Little House on the Prairie books to finish this year and this will fit perfectly with this!

I think that's first grade in a nutshell! : ) I'm hoping to throw in a few Download N Go studies over these first few weeks to get us back into our school routine. We really enjoyed those over our kindergarten year and I think starting off with one will be a good transition for us. For our first week, we are going to spend some time visiting China, and after that, I think we will spend time doing a fun summer one. (I was sent a copy of Summer Sensations to review and give away on the blog so we'll roll that into our second week of school.) I also am dreaming of few holiday inspired lapbooks for this year around Thanksgiving and Christmas. There are just so many options - it's easy to get excited and carried away!


  1. Can you believe summer is over for you already!? Wow! Seems like you were just wrapping a school year up!! Hurrah!

    Sometimes changes up and tutorial/co-op things can be a huge blessing. I know I absolutely LOVED our "church homeschool" that was put together by the moms at our church when I was growing up. Sometimes just a little change can bring back a whole lot of excitement for learning.

    And besides...what's not to love about a cool new lunchbox? ;)

  2. We're starting school in 2 or 3 weeks. We're also using Saxon math and I received the same Download N Go to review so I think we'll start our school year with that. Then in Sept. we start co-op, which I'm teaching a science class for. I'm starting before co-op to give us some buffer days but also to ease into school. With a 2nd grader and K AND preK 4 this year I don't feel up to starting everything at the same time!

  3. Love the new blog look. We are starting homeschooling this yr. My husband is going to be the teacher since i am the one working outside the home :) congrats on ur new addition.

  4. Sounds like a great 1st grade plan, Stephanie!

  5. Sounds like a brilliant plan!


  6. Get ready for next year with Story of the is fabtabulous! We did volumes 1 and volumes 2 in a co-op last year. Great great times!

  7. We've been using the Susan Wise Bauer stuff for just over a year now and I love it. For a mama who had NO grammar education at all (they stopped teaching it in Australia in the early 1970s) it has been a God-send. I'm getting the grammar education at 40 that I shold have had at 4 lol. The kids think it is hilarious that I don't know more than them in this field :)
    (if my name comes up as a string of numbers as it sometimes does with typepad, my name is Anne and I am very pleased to stop by your blog)


Thanks for commenting!