Thursday, July 10, 2014

Waiting For Fall

We're waiting for our 2nd grade curriculum in the mail and I thought I'd share with you what we did for our 1st grade curriculum this past year. Below is listed the topic and current price along with the link to where we bought it from.  You might also be able to find some of these resources at your local library.

Please note:I'm  not being paid by the publisher to advertise these or give them my stamp of approval.  For the few that come from Amazon however, I am linking them via my affiliate link if you should chose to purchase them via my link.


Homeschool Math:
$74 Horizon Math Grade 1 and 2
We actually went through grade 1 and 2 for first grade because my daughter liked it and zipped through it.  I have heard from other parents that as a program Horizon tends to be above grade level by one grade compared to what the public schools teach.  It's colorful and fun and easy to use.  Read our review of Horizon Math (with pictures) here.

 We also used the Horizon Math Grade 1 Manipulative kit $69.  You don't need it but it's nice to have and has some great things in there to teach math with.  It is expensive however, and you could probably find some of these things cheaper elsewhere or make up your own manipulatives.

Addition and Subtraction Math Wrap-Ups (prices vary).  For first grade we used the addition and subtraction ones and mostly kept them in the car.  Whenever we would go somewhere, my first grader would use them and it was a great way to keep her occupied but also practicing her math facts.  Be advised that there is a long string attached to each wrap up (it's part of the learning toy) so you shouldn't let younger kids be alone with this unsupervised.

Language Arts

$23 Voyages In English Grade 1
We really really like this curriculum for homeschooling English.  It's colorful and you don't need the teachers book at this level because the student workbook explains all of the concepts in depth.  We'll be using Voyages In English grade 2 in second grade and also not ordering the teacher's book for that year.


We used $49 Hooked on Phonics Grade 1 and loved it.  We'll be using Hooked on Phonics Grade 2 for second grade.  Each year comes with 2 DVD's with 4-5 minute reading cartoons, 2 workbooks, 8 level readers, and stickers to keep track of progress.  It's a 'go at the child's pace' program, so if your child zips through it, great, and if they need to repeat a lesson several times, that's ok too.

$10 Brain Quest Reading Grade 1 (grade 2 also works for this grade level if your child is advanced).
We liked this program because it's fast and easy.  We take the little books in the car with us and use them there.  You read a short 2-3 minute story to your child and then they answer 10 questions about it.  It's a great start to reading comprehension.

I'm not going to link the following books, but these are some of the library builder's we're ordering for less than $5 each: Skylark, Sarah Plain and Tall, More Perfect Than The Moon, Grandfather's Dance, Caleb's Story, Berenstain Bears Show Some Respect (this one is more for character building).  You can pick these up on Rainbow Resource or Amazon.  These were books I read to her, not that she read to me.  As far as her reading, we checked out around 100 level readers throughout the year from our local library.  If you plan on buying level readers, I highly recommend the stone arch level readers, especially for a beginning reader who may not read fast enough to get through some of the lengthy level readers from other companies.  Not being able to get through a book can be discouraging for young beginning readers so it's important to keep level of ability as well as word count in mind.


$10.95       My Printing Book Student Workbook Grade 1
My daughter already knows how to write all of her letters and numbers, but like most first graders, her writing is still a bit shaky.  I wanted a simple, easy, daily exercise she could do to hone her writing skills, and this curriculum is awesome!  Check out our review of this curriculum!


We tried using a rote memorization spelling program (your typical spelling program) but found that she didn't do well with that.  So we did some research and found $44 Words Their Way which we love.  It's more like a game and she is really doing well with it.  She went from stressing out and fighting us to do her spelling, to asking us if she could do her spelling first thing in the morning. 


This is a part of our curriculum that I am very excited about.  Normally in America students don't start to learn foreign languages until middle or high school, but in foreign countries it's common for young children to begin learning a second or even third language.  My daughter has always enjoyed trying to speak Spanish and even Chinese from the bits and pieces she's picked up from cartoons, so I wanted to see how she would do with a full language program.  I took 2 years of German in high school, which is why I am choosing German now, because I know I can help her with pronunciation, and when she starts speaking in full sentences, she can practice with me.  Version 3 of Rosetta stone gives students the ability to pronounce the words they learn into the computer mic.  If they get it right, it will move on to the next word, and if they pronounce wrong, they have to try again.  This version also allows students a certain amount of time to speak with native German speakers online via video messaging software for practice.  I'm not going to force her to get through the entire program in 1st grade.  If she likes it and wants to go through lessons fast, she can, and if it takes 2 or even 3 years before we reach the next level, that's fine with me too.


We tried using Story of the World for history (secular) but ended up switching to $37 Mystery of History which we absolutely love.  I have no issue with secular curriculum, especially in History, but we found Story of the World severely lacking in details and not historically accurate.  Mystery of History parallels biblical history with world history and is very detailed and has great activities/assignments for kids ages 5-18.  It's a good program to use if you're teaching multiple age levels because it tailors the activities for each lesson to each age group.

We love this curriculum and I'm glad that it goes all the way up through middle school.  There's a short lesson followed by 10 questions.  You could do 2 questions per day like the book suggests but my daughter was speeding through them so we would do 1 lesson per day with all 10 questions.  It teaches the use of maps, types of cities, towns, counties, countries, states, regions, cardinal directions, and other things.

I really like the DK books, and I wanted her to have this one for reference.  She loves to look at books like this on her own.  These have a lot of pictures and easy to read descriptions for kids.  This is purely supplemental but I know she'll get a lot out of it.


This is done on the computer.  It does come with a beautifully color illustrated student workbook/textbook that kids will work in, but for the most part the lessons are done online.  This is not software that you download and your purchase is for a one year subscription to this program, so it's not ideal if you plan on re-using it over and over with other children.  It's worth it to buy though.  The lessons are interactive and for 1st grade level the lessons are recorded so the children don't have to read the lesson themselves (though the audio can be turned off on the program).  Even the experiments are done online.  Each lesson on the computer tells you what state benchmark your child is meeting for that grade level.

Another rock lab for science.

Another fun rock lab for science.  My daughter and the neighborhood kids had fun with this.  I will say that it's best not to follow the instructions.  They tell you to put the geode in a sock and use a hammer but it didn't work well.  Instead we took these out to the driveway, I had the kids stand back, and I used a hammer.  There were 10 in the box and 2 were duds (completely solid with no crystals inside).  I would buy this again though, it's a good kit.

Another supplemental book.

Another supplemental book.  This one looks like a lot of fun.

$13.25       3D Explorer: Planet Earth
This book is AWESOME!  We'll be using this through 2nd and 3rd grade as well.  For what you get in this book, I was honestly surprised at how cheap it was.  It really helps kids visualize what they're learning about.  Best pop-up ever.  Seriously.

$4.75       Volcanoes Stage 2 LR + FOAS
We really love the Lets Read and Find Out Science Series.  They're well illustrated and a great place to start a study of specific science topics.  They're jam packed full of information.

We can see 3 volcanoes from our house and when we get to this part of our curriculum it will be a perfect time to take a field trip to one of the volcanoes nearby.

You'll notice that some of our supplemental books are also library builders, or level readers that my daughter can read by herself.  I want to give her the power to study by herself and also make her feel empowered in that she can read about the world on her own.

One of our favorite parts of studying geology is caves.  We live near to a national park full of caves to explore, and when we get to this point in our geology science curriculum it will be the perfect opportunity to take a field trip to the caves.

Another opportunity to get in some reading time with a level reader on topic.

Another level reader.

That is we did for the rock/geology portion of our year for science.  Here is the rest of what we did for 1st grade science:

We'll see if they let us order this because on the cover it says "Made By God."  If not I'll have to order this myself.
$9.50    Scholastic Discover More: Weather
Really nice book with a ton of info, but not in story format and definitely takes some explaining by parents at this grade level.
$15.95    Attracted to Magnificent Magnets Kit (Magic School Bus)
The kit feels cheap because there's not much in there, but with that being said my daughter loved it and was constantly begging me to pull it out and re-do the activities inside.  It's a good kit and we would buy it again.

All of this came out to about $800 which is pretty typical of curriculum.  Remember that if your order is above $50 on Rainbow Resource that shipping is free.

I also plan on adding the following to our curriculum for Bible and Art this year, though this is not covered by our money from the county:

Art (with Bible)

This looks like an amazing DVD art course for kids.  My daughter watched 2 of the sample lessons with me on their website and ran to get her art supplies so she could follow along.  It also incorporates short 2 minute Bible lessons in each 9-10 minute art lesson which is awesome.  They also have other DVD art series for cartooning, and Bible story based art DVD sets.

We also have a lot of step by step drawing books that she uses and loves.  You can pick those up usually for under $5 on Amazon or Rainbow Resource.  I like to get ones that fit other topics we're studying like in science so she can draw what she's learning.  I like that there are so many how to draw books you can get ones that your child is interested in.

Are you getting excited to get your home school curriculum in?  Share with us in a comment below.

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