One of my daughters will be entering first grade in a few months, and she is so excited. First graders like her are a unique bunch. They are starting to identify with the “big kids,” but they are still little. They still want to play and explore and move around—and they need to! We want their homeschool experience to be the best it can be. We want them to learn to love learning. In this post, I’ve included some tips to help you find the best first-grade homeschool curriculum for your homeschool.
What first-grade homeschool curriculum options are available?
There are many homeschool curriculum options available for first grade. Your homeschooling style, your family’s makeup, and the unique needs of your child will determine the best homeschool curriculum for your family. First-grade homeschool curriculum programs vary in cost and in format. Some programs are nothing more than workbooks while others offer a full, online course experience.
What should you look for in a first-grade curriculum?
1. A Biblical Worldview
Does a Christian homeschooler need a first-grade curriculum that teaches a biblical worldview? Absolutely! Although some Christian homeschoolers choose to use a secular curriculum, using a curriculum that teaches a biblical worldview is necessary at every grade level. It is especially important when our children are young. We have our children in our home for a short time, and we should take advantage of every moment to teach them about God. We need a first-grade homeschool curriculum that will help us and not hinder us as we teach our children to view the world in light of Scripture.
2. Engaging Lessons
First graders are still learning how to be students. They often have short attention spans and a great need to move around. You will need a curriculum that motivates them to learn. A good first-grade homeschool curriculum will include multisensory, hands-on activities. Some ideas are adding with manipulatives in math class, investigative activities in science, crafts in Heritage Studies, and games in language arts.
3. Grade-appropriate Instruction
You will want to look for a homeschool curriculum that is the right fit for first grade. Most major textbook companies will publish a scope and sequence that will list what is taught in each grade. First-grade homeschool curriculum content may seem basic, but remember that first grade lays a foundation for future learning. Resist the temptation to push your child ahead too quickly. Your child must master foundational concepts if he or she will be a successful student in the future.
4. A Phonics-based Approach to Teaching Reading
Learning how to read is the most important thing that your child will ever learn in school. And it takes a while to master. Readers and nonreaders both need regular phonics instruction and practice to become confident readers.
A traditional, phonics-based approach to reading will teach your child letter sounds and patterns to help him or her decode words. Being able to sound out words is the first step to reading comprehension—the goal of any reading program.
5. An Emphasis on Building Understanding
In first grade, your child will learn concepts that the rest of his or her academic experience will build on. It is important that your child fully understands those concepts. For example, a good first-grade homeschool math curriculum will illustrate math concepts using manipulatives and stories. And a good science curriculum will include a lot of hands-on learning so that your child can practice science process skills.
6. Support for Success
Different homeschool families need different levels of support. You may need video options so you can focus on other children or responsibilities. Or maybe you plan on teaching your first grader yourself and need a robust teacher edition that will walk you through every lesson. Or maybe you need tools to help you plan and organize your school days or meet your reporting obligations. Make sure your first-grade homeschool curriculum has all the features that you need to be successful.
What are the highlights of the BJU Press first-grade curriculum?
BJU Press offers a robust and engaging first-grade homeschool curriculum. It teaches every subject from a biblical worldview. Every piece is intentionally designed to teach and reinforce foundational concepts and skills to give your child a great academic start. Below are some of the things that your child will learn with the BJU Press first-grade curriculum.
Subjects for First Grade
In Math 1, your child will learn foundational math skills such as place value, skip counting, and units of measurement. Math 1 also uses fun manipulatives and stories to teach addition and subtraction facts and strategies.
Science 1 introduces your first grader to scientists and what they do. The hands-on activities let him or her practice science process skills. Your child will also learn about God’s work of creation and how God sustains living things. Finally, your child will discover topics such as the earth’s movement, light, and sound.
- Heritage Studies
Heritage Studies 1 focuses on developing a biblical worldview of family and community. Your child will learn about government, community jobs, culture, and some early American history. Heritage Studies 1 also teaches basic economic terminology and basic geographical features. Your child will also start practicing social studies skills such as map reading, reading timelines and charts, and distinguishing facts from opinions.
- Phonics and English
Phonics and English 1 combines teaching phonics and grammar with learning listening skills, comprehension skills, and creative writing skills. Your child will learn how to apply the writing process to several simple writing projects.
Reading 1 gives your child a chance to apply phonics rules to illustrated stories and poems. Reading 1 will also strengthen your child’s reading comprehension skills by introducing him or her to new vocabulary. It also uses leveled questions to encourage your child to think about what he or she has read.
Handwriting 1 teaches BJU Press PreCursive handwriting, a handwriting style based on the way that kids naturally write. Your child will practice holding a pencil and forming letters so he or she can communicate clearly.
Spelling 1 reinforces phonetic patterns and vocabulary as well as teaches your child how to use a dictionary. Above all, Spelling 1 emphasizes the importance of clear communication.
A Complete First-Grade Homeschool Curriculum
BJU Press offers both a “you teach it” textbook option as well as a “we teach it” video course experience with lessons taught by experienced teachers. Both options provide support, including access to BJU Press’s free online scheduling and grading tool, Homeschool Hub.
You can buy BJU Press materials for each subject, but purchasing a full grade kit will save you money. More importantly, a grade kit will ensure that all your curriculum is working togetherto teach a biblical worldview and provide a consistent educational experience.
All three of my older daughters used BJU Press’s homeschool curriculum for first grade. And we are looking forward to using it again next year for my youngest. Homeschooling a first grader is pretty awesome. There is nothing better than watching your child grow in their understanding of the world around them and the God who created it all.