How to Homeschool First Grade

by Kimberley McGee
How to homeschool first grade

It’s one of the best ages and a time when schooling starts to get more involved, by both parent and child. A solid homeschool first-grade plan involves adding in more math, folding in more about friendships and community and putting more focus on reading and writing. You can build on what worked in kindergarten or explore entirely new curriculum sets.

Friends who are still in the public school or who are just starting out have asked what we used each year by age and grade, depending on how you style your homeschool. You can homeschool kindergarten kiddos easily, affordably and with confidence. I’ve put together a healthy list of the curriculum we’ve tried and loved when the twins were little for each grade so far. We’re going into 5th but we’ve used curriculum through 7th grade and high school. I love that about homeschooling!

I’ll add 1st grade – 5th grade this week. Each Tuesday I update or add a new blog post for homeschooling tweens and teens. I’ll share those on the Vegas Kids Zone Facebook page as well. I have discounts on curriculum and local play places for all ages in the weekly newsletter!

The best thing about homeschool is that it’s about the child, their learning style and what works best for the family. What works for us may not work for you. We found that cherry-picking from different reviews helped us when we were first starting out. Find what works best for your kinder kiddo and use this as a guide to keep you focused on most of the basics they need.

Requirements to Homeschool First Grade

Each state is different in its requirements to homeschool kindergarten. In Nevada, the education requirements are:

  • English (reading, writing, and composition)
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Social Studies (history, geography, economics, and government)

You don’t have to send in a Notice of Intent to homeschool until your child is aged 7 or has previously been enrolled in a Nevada public school. A sample education plan is needed with the NOI.

What We Found Helpful

By first grade, kids have shown their learning style and are able to help look around and pick out curriculum and subjects they want to study. Use this to your advantage and get kids involved. Kids only have an attention span of about 20 minutes at this age, so don’t overwhelm them when homeschooling first grade. They will get it on their own. Don’t push them or rush them. Have fun and they will, too.

This is a magical time for both of you and your family. Enjoy it and take this opportunity to form a bond that will last through the difficult years when they will need you more than ever.

Since they were old enough to grab books off the table at Barnes and Noble or Costco, we’ve had them involved in their homeschool. They play a big part in choosing curriculum each year. When the kids can choose something that sparks their interest, you are making your homeschool easier and a joy for all involved.

The library is a great place to start. We still use it for learning Spanish, Latin, exploring history and geography. Read books about the months of the year, days of the week, state birds or whatever floats your boat. Get the basics in, and go with whatever new idea has grabbed their attention. We built on our kindergarten passions, weather and building books, which tend to include math and critical thinking as well.

Skills Needed to Learn in 1st Grade

Here’s the long, boring, dry list of things kids should learn when homeschooling 1st grade. Every child is different, every learning style requires a different kind of approach and not every concept will be checked off the list for most kids. They’ll get it eventually with patience and tailoring the curriculum you use to the way that they best learn information. Scholastic has a truly thorough list for first grade. Homeschooling first grade basics: 

    • Letters of the alphabet
    • Sound out words
    • Letter sounds
    • Vowel sounds, short and long
    • Word families, such as -at, -ed, -ot, -un
    • Vowel pairs, such as boy, rain, soil, hay
    • Word endings such as -ing
    • Complete a sentence, or two, about a topic with proper capitalization and punctuation
    • Know sight words
    • Identify the setting, main characters and plot when retelling a story
    • Answer simple questions about a story read or listened to
    • Count forward and backward
    • Add and subtract up to 19
    • Skip counting
    • Ordinal numbers
    • How to read a graph
    • How to count coins
    • Less than and greater than
    • Read a calendar
    • Read a math problem and write it out in addition or subtraction
    • Tens and ones place value

Books, Boxes and Best Practices

Here’s what you’ve been really looking for. Forget that big list above and just concentrate on what you and your child enjoy doing, in my opinion. I have a twin who hates reading, but loves being read to snuggled in and sleepy. Her twin brother prefers to do the reading and has to look at the book as it’s being read to make sure you don’t miss any juicy parts. Bend to your kid’s preference, not a checklist of what they should be learning and how.

You can buy a full years’ worth of curriculum, which we did when we first started homeschooling in 3rd grade. It’s definitely less work and has all you and your child need to succeed in that age or grade. However, for our learners, I found that pulling together a curriculum based on each child’s learning style and interests made the school day go by without tears or nudges from mom or dad to get it done.

Also, look around for free worksheets you can download and print. They are great in a pinch. We used treats and coins to add and subtract, group numbers or show less and greater than. This helped them to visualize the concept.

WriteShop For the Win

WriteShop Primary

Writing has not been easy for either kids. They didn’t take to it easily or willingly. I loved handwriting since I can remember and found myself creating beautiful letters basically by myself at the table while they toddled away, bored. I turned to help with online color pages and prodded them into writing a few words about what they were coloring until I finally found Write Shop.

I was frustrated because it seemed like such an easy thing for me to teach. The full curriculum for writing got the kids writing and talking about the prompts, games, crafts and other info in the step-by-step process WriteShop provides. We are continued to use this through age 10. I liked that I knew what our writing curriculum would be and didn’t have to worry about finding new workbooks each year.

Evan-Moor is Easy, Affordable and Worthwhile

I reached out to a fellow twin mama and homeschool veteran about where we should start when we first started homeschooling. I thought she’d have a list of expensive curricula, just to start. When she said to stock up on Evan-Moor, I was surprised.

We’d been using Evan-Moor for fun in our house since the kiddos were Pre-K. The puzzles, games, easily understood directions and large areas to write or work out math problems made it a favorite of the kids. I liked it because I could rip out the pages easily, copy a set and only had to buy one book for both kids. The homeschool first grade geography book is a good supplement to learning about Nevada geography and the world. 

The teacher’s guide is helpful and provided more ways to introduce key math and reading concepts to kids when they were struggling with the work inside the book. We also used these extras for areas where the kids wanted to know more about a subject or concept. It’s affordable and covers everything from science to geography and grammar for little ones. They go on sale quite often.

My Teaching Library

A teacher friend turned me onto this when the kids were about 2. It continues to be a great resource through elementary school. We turn to My Teaching Library when we need specific subjects to supplement our homeschool, such as Earth and Life sciences, growth mindset activities, grammar, art, social studies and all the other areas, including math, reading and language arts. My Teaching Library has worksheets and activities for all holidays, seasons and family events, like birthdays, that are affordable and fun for kids and parents for kids through high school.

I get bored easily so I need something that is going to keep me excited as we go through our day, particularly when the kids were little. Arts and crafts is my jam! So I thought I’d be all over all the fun science and art projects. Nope. Be patient, don’t expect it to go fast and let the kids take their time if they get off track and find something interesting within the detailed projects My Teaching Library offers.

10 % off My Teaching LibraryThis post may contain affiliate links. It doesn’t affect your price, but I get a few cents to keep the info flowing. Have a question about homeschooling or looking for a local deal? Let me know what you need and I’ll track down the info to make your homeschool easier and certainly more fun and affordable! 

Don’t discount all-in-one workbooks like I did! You’ll miss out. We were given books like these when the twins were Pre-K. I put them in the busy basket and the kids will go through and find what interests them. This also helps us explore what they prefer to do and what they avoid at all costs. For instance, my daughter will finish all the math while my son will do the puzzles and anything to do with shapes. Full curriculum books helped me narrow down what we needed to work on and what I could do to help them in other areas. Since then, we’ve used them for all grades through 4th.

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How to Homeschool Second Grade - Vegas Kids Zone August 26, 2020 - 9:19 pm

[…] in more about friendships and community and putting more focus on reading and writing. You can build on what worked in first grade or explore entirely new curriculum […]

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