So I’ve already mentioned how we have chosen a secular curriculum as our spine this year, and why…
Now, let’s look–specifically– at what we have to look forward to this year!
For the bulk of language arts, science, nature study, and art/math appreciation, we are so excited to use Blossom & Root!
I went ahead and got the full bundle for first grade, since it all looked wonderful. You can piecemeal what you want, however.
If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you know that my degrees and background are all things Communication, Story, and Persuasive speaking. It is so very important to me that my kids grow up with QUALITY literature that’s appropriate for them– not twaddle. Of course, literature selections will look different at each age and stage, but I believe that exposing children to quality stories young shape them so well to love Story and become great Storytellers themselves. (It’s no secret that great readers make great writers.) There has to be good input to get good output.
B&R’s LA merges quality literature with age-appropriate analysis/discussion with wordplay with copywork with journaling with poetry. By default, it incorporates several elements of the Brave Learner lifestyle that I want for our homelearning journey. So when I saw it laid out with beautiful booklists… the curriculum had my attention. (See a sample for yourself here.)
We are also using The Good and the Beautiful as a supplement, as she has done really well with that during kinder.
But what sold me– like, literally made my searching for 1st grade curriculum come to a blazing halt and made me push the “add to my cart” button– was the science.
Science & Nature Study
The irony is not lost on me that it was science that sold me (literally) on this curriculum– in a couple of ways.
- I’m much more of an LA and history curriculum junkie than a science one.
- the Science is secular, when I’m definitely faith-based/Divine Design/creationist
So what was it?
THE OPTIONS. ALL OF THE OPTIONS.
Here’s the thing. I want to be the mom that doesallthethings with my kids every day. I do. I want to do all the science experiments and all the nature walks and all the everything so my kids don’t miss anything.
That’s not life. I have 3 kids– the oldest that is six. The youngest doesn’t walk yet, and the middle child is a boy that has one setting: non-stop. The interruptions are more than FEW. They are constant. I’m sure I’m not alone here, as there are many mommas who know exactly what I’m talking about.
There are other things that press for my time, like cleaning and laundry and meal prep and shopping and alltheotherthingshavingahome means doing.
I also work from home in two capacities: I teach and coach a high school speech & debate class and team (which means lesson planning and debate case grading) and I am a part of a wellness team that advocates natural living. As much as I love both… they take time.
So I needed something that I could still pull out and do, even if it was a heavy grading/working week and still feel like I covered science well. I also still wanted all the options available to me for when I could incorporate them.
Check out the science sample to see how B&R breaks it all down! Look specifically on pages 15 on to see what I mean. Six different options to choose from! The separate lab guide really breaks down the experiments and activities into super-useful steps. The students then can record what they have done/found into an open-ended workbook.
On to the nature component!
I love how she merges/overlaps the nature study with the science week so it all has a really great cohesive feel!
She has weekly nature tasks, but combines a few weeks together to create larger projects, like A Book of Firsts, etc. Again, there’s the ability to record it all down.
Check it out here.
When you get the full first grade bundle, you also get a really neat art/math integrated studies unit!
I was already planning on having art as a part of our enrichment basket, so this was a nice bonus for me to be able to get with the other “required” parts of our curriculum.
Every week, you study a new piece of art and change artists every few weeks or so. Each piece is linked to a math concept– like geometry, symmetry, etc. so you can see how the mathematical principle plays out in a visual, artistic way. It’s a great way to cover different art pieces, have artist study (since you cover the same artist for a least a couple of weeks in a row), and introduce all kinds of math.
It isn’t, and doesn’t claim to be, a complete math curriculum, so we have another thing for math itself… but hey! Showing kids math while doing art?! Bonus!!!
And yes, they have a sample for this as well… Here it is!
Other B&R stuff
We are using bits and pieces of B&R’s kindergarten ARTS program for composer study and also for Geography/History. The K History and geography workbook focuses on the child’s own ancestry, family, and community. Besides being a great way to introduce what history is, and how it works, the workbook is an amazing keepsake, as it begins to show and track what the child’s personal ancestry is. Cool!
I’ll show you how I’m incorporate it with our 1st grade history below.
I’m super excited about trying a few different things this year!
First off, I was able to get Miquon Math stuff at a great price at a homeschool consignment store earlier this summer. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Miquon, it is a hands-on “math lab” for early elementary students.
Here’s a video that explains a little more about the what/why behind it…
Our 1st grade girlie has already begged to get the Cuisenaire Rods out, so I’ve let her explore with them a bit. I know she’ll jump right into the workbook/lab part really easily once we gear up!
We are also excited to be taking some of our math outdoors with Wild Math! I’m doing this more for our 3 yr old to tag along and learn/play during nice days… so many of the activities can be done anywhere and are super adaptable for grade level. Check it out here!
I’m also incorporating Life of Fred as a part of what we are covering as well. I’ve actually started reading it as a part of our summer enrichment, and E thinks it is funny and quirky– so it keeps her interest. She is remembering the math portions as well, and it just another good way to show how math can be incorporated into stories as well, and isn’t just numbers on a page. (I’m looking at you, word problems.)
Also, this past spring, Teaching Textbooks had a “free sample” download period, in which I download 15 free lessons of their 3rd grade math. On days where we just need a change of pace or she wants to work on the computer, I will sneak that in here and there as well.
E’s 1st grade History time is going to be divided and rotated into 3 parts: personal/regional, national, and international.
For the personal/regional component, I’m doing the B&R workbook like I mentioned above.
For the national part, we are doing a couple of things. We are going through a workbook on states that I’ll use as jumping off place to learn.
She will do the little activity, we will find the state on a map (found a fun interactive felt one at Target in the dollar section!)… and then we will incorporate this fun US Bingo game here and there to reinforce things that each state is known for!
Lastly, for the international component, we will be studying different continents through this Thinking Tree’s Funschooling book.
It has great prompts for learning about each continent. This workbook would be great for older ages… and to be honest, I’ll probably be jotting down her words until her reading/writing skills develop further. However, she is super interested in learning more about different cultures and LOVES maps, and I thought this would be a great way to fan that interest now, versus waiting until she is older.
Here’s a nice walk through of the book, for those who are interested!
Also, we are going to incorporate info from The Hungry Planet (a book that is a part of a unit in B&R) to see how different cultures and countries eat as we cover them.
A fun little add-on that we are going to do is courtesy of Target’s dollar section (yes, again… ha!) They had an inflatable blank globe, complete with plastic cling continents that can be placed and replaced on the sphere. So it will be a neat way to get her to practice geography and figure out how the continents relate to each other.
So that’s most of it!
Language Arts, Math, Science and History (<— we are looping those)
I’m also super excited for our Enrichment Basket, and will share what are plans are for that as well. Stay tuned!