Our Eclectic 1st Grade Homeschool Curriculum

Earlier I shared some of the reasons we homeschool and in this post I’m sharing what we’re doing in our first grade homeschool and some of my favorite resources. I’m always curious how other people homeschool, so I will share our method!

We just finished the first half of our homeschool year and I am pleased with our progress. I have an eclectic and relaxed homeschool style. I try not to stress about much. Some days we do a lot of formal schooling and some days we do none. My son turned 7 in November and is now starting to read. I’m not worried about that because I firmly believe it will click for him when he’s ready. And recently he’s been telling me he’s ready to learn so we’ve stepped up the pace and it is clicking!!

Here’s what we’ve done so far this year:

explode the code

For reading ~ We’ve been working through the Explode the Code series. We finished the first book and are moving on to the next one. He mostly enjoyed the book. I liked that it was really repetitive which is what he needs right now. Book 1 just works on three letter, short vowel words. We also are reading through the Bob Books as well as the Starfall Learn to Read books. The Bob books are my favorite. The Starfall books are also nice, but I prefer the Bob books for really beginning readers. And we started using ReadingEggs a few months ago and they love that! I am convinced it’s really helping Ben learn to read.

For math ~ I have not yet started a formal curriculum. We practice basic math facts around the table every night during supper. I know…exciting! But the kids enjoy working through basic math facts in a round robin format. My husband does this with them and they are eager to please. We also are learning how to tell time and work in the kitchen with measuring cups a lot. We count a lot of things {by 2s, 3s, 5,s and 10s} and are working through the days of the weeks, months of the year, etc. All of this is early math! I am going to hold off on a formal curriculum but when I do start, I think I have decided to stick with the Singapore Math I used for my daughter. I’ve also heard a lot of positives about Miquon Math, too, though. I’m trying to decide between those two curricula. A lot of people have suggested Saxon, but I tried that with my daughter and we did not like it that much. I also want to add some music to our collection – CD with basic facts, so if you can recommend anything, please let me know!

For history ~ I have heard rumors that a lot of people hate history??? WHAAA? I can’t for the life of me understand why. History was always one of my very favorite subjects, but I lived in Germany during elementary and middle school and traveled to see where the kings lived and slept. It was very exciting! I have always loved history and want my children to love it, too. We just finished reading Volume 1 of The Story of the World and are moving along in The Story of the World Volume 2. I bought the entire Volume 1 set a while back including the textbook, activity book, and test book. To do over again, I would just get the textbook {and probably the CDs}. The kids love the stories and I do too! I didn’t know half the stuff we’re reading and the kids are always enthralled. Ancient history is so fascinating and something I never learned that much about in public school and my kids have already been exposed to The Odyssey and Beowulf is coming! I am very excited to move on to the Middle Ages in Volume 2. And we travel! No better way to learn history than by traveling.

For science ~ I don’t have a formal curriculum here either. Instead, we go outside. We garden. We cook. The kids build things with their father. We look at the stars and talk about the planets, dinosaurs, and aliens. We read lots of books.

IMG_3639This activity {which I was not aware of and did not approve of…} provided an awesome opportunity for a discussion of levers, stability, and better safety practices. My hubs was all over that discussion!!

And finally, for handwriting ~ This is one area that I feel I failed in with my daughter. When she was quite little I didn’t really care that she was writing on her own. I let her do whatever she wanted without thinking about the consequences. Well…that made for some really awful handwriting and bad habits that she is just now starting to break. We have been using Handwriting Without Tears to try to encourage proper letter formation and they seem to like it. Ben finished My Printing Book already, and we will move on to the next book soon. We also listen the the The ABC CD: Rock, Rap, Tap, and Learn Readiness to Printing (Handwriting Without Tears) CD a lot which has catchy little tunes about starting your letters at the top and so on.

Other things we love:

GeoSafari Laptop~ I read about this is one of the first books I read when I was considering homeschooling, Homeschooling: A Patchwork of Days: Share a Day With 30 Homeschooling Families. The author’s family had one of these laptops and I was intrigued. My daughter got one for her 5th birthday and it has been a big hit. It reinforces a lot of basic skills: math, phonics, social studies. The kids enjoy playing on it.

MindWare Pattern Play Puzzle ~ My mom got this puzzle for my son a while back and it has provided hours of entertainment. I love the brightly colored wooden pieces and watching my kids study the pattern as they try to recreate it. I have also been entertained by the puzzle… 🙂 It’s lots of fun!

Draw Write Now, Books 1-8 ~ We borrowed this boxed set from our local homeschool assistance program and my kids love it! They have a lot of fun and actually produce some really nice drawings.

Electronic Snap Circuit Kit ~ Another gift that Ben got from my sister last year that teaches science. This kit helps him complete circuits and understand how electricity works – which is great because I don’t understand it myself.

Super Science Magnet Set ~ More science! When I first starting writing this post, I thought perhaps we were too lax in the science department. But we do a lot. It’s just in the name of playing – best way to learn in my opinion.

Legos! Gotta have legos. ‘Nuff said. 🙂


  1. You said you were looking at math still and looking for some music to go along with it so I have to mention Shiller. We’re working through book 1 for K.There’s a CD of songs to go along with various lessons/concepts. My kids all love the songs- especially the Aliens From Outer Space one about even and odd numbers. We’re also using Letterland for reading/phonics and Intro to Science from Elemental Science as well as Geography from Evan Moore. The rest of VT’s required subjects I compile myself.
    Thanks for sharing what you’re using.

  2. It depends very much on what is meant by “start math” I think. If she means “start a formal curriculum” or “start doing worksheets” or the like, I know you and I will disagree, but I think that’s really fine. If she means start doing any kind of math learning, then I would say, yes, bad idea. As I said before, we spent most of kindergarten just reading living math books and playing with C-rods and doing a few math games. My kids are young for grade and I was glad we held off doing a formal curriculum. I know my kids and they would have just increased their anxiety to have to master topics instead of playing around with numbers. We dove into one in first grade and both my kids are basically on grade level with math now.

  3. Thank you so much for blogging about your experiences. I am in the midst of making the decision to quit the corporate world and homeschool for 1st grade. I appreciate your honesty =)

    Have a great school year!


  4. Perfect blog post. It was encouraging in all the right places for me. I get so overwhelmed when researching certain things for homeschool sometimes and this was simple and helpful.Thank you for sharing!


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