How We Homeschool – 1st Grade

how we homeschool 1st grade

Homeschool 2.0 started today. Yes, we are the crazy quad parents that decided to go the homeschool route for another year. And it’s not for the sake of making our lives even more chaotic, or because we think any other schooling option is wrong – it’s simply what seems to work best for our family this year, for “multiple” reasons.

On Mondays, the boys will continue to go to their “school”/tutelage where they will learn science, Latin, history, geography, music, art, physical education, along with other age-appropriate skills. We are over the moon about this program.  It’s a wonderful community and an excellent fit for our boys.  It gives them the classroom experience along with a good social element with a Christian emphasis.

Tuesdays through Fridays they will be home doing reading/phonics, math, science, history, grammar, and handwriting, leaving time for plenty of hands-on-learning activities and play.

I still fight with feeling overwhelmed and unequipped sometimes with the task, but Brad reminds me often that I DO know what I’m doing.  I know this age group well, and I’m thankful for my background in Language Development. I’ve written goals to the academic standards for 1st grade, I’m planning lessons, I’m tracking our progress, and I’m hopefully making learning a positive and engaging experience.  AND, I’m not alone – Brad is a huge support in giving me time to plan, and teaching the boys as well.Our goal is that our boys would LOVE to be learners, which would result in self-motivated, self-led learners.

A lot of our schooling is DOING, because that’s what seems to stick for our boys.  We observe a lot, read a lot, follow their interests, and learn through experiences.  Sometimes our classroom is at the kitchen table, sometimes it’s spread out in the living room, sometimes is in the great outdoors.

For our more formal curriculum learning, we are trying out these for  1st grade, knowing they possibly could change mid-year or as we go. 

Math: Math-U-See – Alpha

Reading/Phonics: Phonics Pathways

Grammar/Language: First Language Lessons Level 1

Science: Exploring Creation with Astronomy and Unit Studies

History: The Story of the World:  The Middle Ages

Handwriting: Handwriting without Tears Grade 1


{ I found most of these resources through friend recommendations, school recommendations, and through an incredible resource called 101 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum, which matches your child’s learning styles, your philosophy/style of teaching, and other preferences for each subject. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!  Game-changer! }

Overall I’m just thankful and even excited for at least one more year to have my “little classroom” home so that we can experience life and learn together as a family. 

So what’s YOUR school year look like this year? 

(Judgment-free zone.  We support YOUR decisions for YOUR own children, as we would expect the same in return.}

Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a tiny affiliate commission – so THANK YOU. Know that I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to your lives, because I genuinely care about you!

12 thoughts on "How We Homeschool – 1st Grade"

  1. Emily Janz says:

    My mom homeschooled my sister and I. What started out like you – homeschooling my sister for for kindergarden. And then maybe first grade and then oh lets try second grade too. She ended up homeschooling us both of us the majority of our schooling. We both did grade 11 & 12 in public school. For most of our school we used Sonlight Curriculum. They are an excellent literature based Christian program!
    Have fun! I know that my sister and I both really enjoyed it and loved the relationship that we had with our parents because of homeschooling!

  2. Leah says:

    Awesome, Jen! We’re starting Math-U-See Alpha on Monday with our 2nd-grader and our Kindergartner (long story – we’re all over the place!), chose Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons over Phonics Pathways, are still debating between First Language Lessons and Primary Language Lessons, are SO INTERESTED in Apologia (maybe next year?) and The Story of the World (vs Mystery of History), and are also going through Handwriting without Tears (on Third Grade and Kindergarten). We also are going to try to incorporate some Explode the Code for extra reinforcement (on book 3 and book 1), Family Time Fitness, and Song School Spanish. PHEW—-we start Monday – I’ll keep you posted! =) What are you doing for Bible – anything specific?

  3. Jodi says:

    Good line up!!! BTW . . . I hope I didn’t drop the ball but if I did, we would still LOVE for you guys to come over — we can talk homeschool, Indiana, life, God, whatever!!!

  4. Danielle says:

    We are using hwt and first language lessons also 🙂 my mom used math u see for my brother and he seemed to really like it! Thanks for sharing! I have two boys and am doing 1st and 2nd grade this year so it was fun to see what someone else is doing for the same grade 🙂

  5. Kelly says:

    We are just became a family of 6, with 4 boys too (ages 7, 5, 18 mos, & 2 mos). We’re doing 1st & 2nd grade this year and using several of same resources for second grade (handwriting without tears, story if the world & Apologia Astronomy). Just finished My Father’s World 1st grade— best 1st grade curriculum and awesome way for kids to learn how to read! They learn to read by reading through entire Bible reader! Loved it!!!

    1. bethany says:

      I have boys ages 5,6 & 7 (soon to all have birthdays). I am thinking of doing the 3rd grade cycle of My Father’s World. This would be our first try at a curriculum (we’ve been loose before this). Would you recommend this for us?

  6. Lisa~ says:

    Wow that’s a lot of schoolwork for first graders. I love your choices….amazing stuff. I hope you don’t mind a little bit of old woman wisdom from a mom that’s been homeschooling for over 20 years. Don’t overload yourself. They don’t need as much as you think they do and so many subjects cross over each other so be sure to give yourself a break. And don’t worry about keeping with a calendar; if any of them seem to be struggling to keep up just let a few things relax and they will be just fine.

    This is not a criticism at all! You are doing such an amazing job and I am really excited for you all! Love you, Lisa~

    1. Hannah says:

      Hi Lisa,
      I am a graduated homeschooler, and now a mother of 4 and going down the homeschool path. I have a 1st and 2nd grader. I want to instill a love of learning and a great wealth of knowledge but also dont want to overload. I could really use some advice and wisdom. I feel like I’m stressing myself out unnecessarily! What do you recommend for history and science at these ages?
      Thanks so much for your time

  7. Malissa B says:

    We are going into our 10th year of homeschooling and just graduated our first this year who will be attending U of I beginning next week! For our three sons (ages 17, 12 and 10), we will be continuing with MUS, Tapestry of Grace, our own Bible lessons, Apologia science and Excellence in Writing.
    You know, I think we live in the same subdivision 🙂

  8. Michelle says:

    Where did you find a program for your boys for one day a week? I’m struggling to find something and it sounds amazing!

  9. Laura says:

    Thank You for posting this! I am in my 8th year of home educating, but I still LOVE to see what other families are doing! Blessings to you and your family!

  10. Sarah says:


    I found your blog (and this post) via MSM on Pinterest. What caught my attention was the fact your boys are in 1st grade (my eldest child is in 1st grade too) and we are using many of the same books. For 1st grade this year we have used:

    History: The Story of the World Volume 1
    Science: Exploring Creation with Astronomy – Apologia
    Language: First Language Lessons
    New American Cursive: Memoria Press
    Phonics & Reading: ABEKA
    Arithmetic: ABEKA

    While I don’t think I will stick with ABEKA long term for Phonics and Math it is working really well for us right now. I absolutely LOVE The Story of the World and Apologia for history and science – as does my eldest. I can see us sticking with them long term.

    Next year I am planning for us to pick up Latin. Thanks for sharing your own experience. It is fun to see what other moms of similar aged children are doing! 🙂

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