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Monday, August 10, 2015

How (I'm Planning) to Homeschool a First Grader

If y'all know anything about me by now, it should be that I am brazen with confidence in the face of uncertainty. Today is the first day of school where we live and yet once again we find ourselves not waiting for the bus or pulling the minivan into the carpool lane.

Last year the Squirt attended a homeschool hybrid program for Kindergarten, but this year, we're flying solo.

We aren't starting until August 31st. There's still quite a bit of summer left in the air and starting at the end of the month gives me 15 full weeks of learning til Christmas. Seems like an appropriate amount of time to me and well, I get to make these kinds of decisions these days. The grand plan is to do school 4 days a week, and take Fridays "off" for things like going to the library, doctor's appointments, field trips. I am hoping I'll be able to find a sitter who can come on Fridays for a few hours so I have a bit of free-time for myself. I'd imagine I'll be needing it more than usual this year. If you have any ideas on where to find a responsible yet available high schooler or college kiddo on Friday mornings, please let me know!

We are taking the "Classical" approach. (For those of you looking in on this homeschool thing from the outside, there are as many different kinds of homeschooling as there are homeschoolers. You can buy a full curriculum with daily lesson plans laid out for you or you can go the unschooling route and let your child's interests and abilities lead your learning. You can also do just about anything and everything in between.) You can read more than you ever wanted to know about Classical Education here. It's fairly structured in terms of the body of knowledge to be covered each year, but the details are all being filled in by me, much to my delight.

Classical education places a strong emphasis on history. This was attractive to me because I HEART HISTORY. Our read-alouds will follow the timeline we are learning about in history, which is the ancient world this year. At least as far as history goes, we intend to "begin at the beginning and go on until you come to the end, then stop." The mere mention of the Fertile Crescent at the start of our Story of the World history book got me so pumped to get started!! #nerdalert

We are using Singapore Math. It is pretty to look at and uses the concrete-pictoral-abstract progression for teaching new concepts. Math comes fairly easily to my first-grade guy, so this was an easy choice. He'll be fine with pretty much anything we use.

My little man enjoys writing so we'll continue basic handwriting practice and also include letter-writing and comic-book creation (which he loves) to round out his language arts learning. Let me know if you're interested in receiving a letter and/or custom piece of artwork from this kiddo and we'll make you a bona fide part of our first-grade year.

The Squirt has not been the most enthusiastic reader, (to put it mildly) so we'll continue using the Abeka reading program he started last year and work very. very. slowly. I hope he'll be reading with less reluctance by Christmas, but my mother (who is certified and Master's'd in these types of things) has encouraged me to chill the heck out and let the boy move at his own pace. It's great to have an expert to consult in my moments of doubt.

B Daddy is in charge of our art curriculum. Did you know he was a fine arts major at the University of Georgia for one whole semester? True story.

Science will be biology-based. I've got a few great encyclopedia-type books I'm taking my cues from, but I'll basically be making this up as I go. It's first grade folks. Not too worried. I have grand intentions of taking my kiddos to the Nature Center, the Aquarium and the Zoo. But there's four of them, so odds are very good we may just watch a lot of Animal Planet.

And that, friends, is how I plan to homeschool a first grader.

Who of you is sending their little ones off to school today?? Any questions for me on the whole homeschool thing? And for any fellow homeschoolers reading - what did you use for first grade? What are your biggest tips for this first year completely at home? Wish me luck! 


  1. Um...send me that snail mail from your sweet boy! Also...if ever you need a "substitute teacher," I am so game. Substitute curriculum includes: baking class (mostly taste testing), great animated voices for story time, & wrestling that teaches something about strength, character, & the bravery of backing off.

    ps. You are amazing. What a gift of a mama you are to those littles. Many prayers for a successful school year.

  2. Oh girl! I love this. I will be so excited to see where God leads us next year and would love for that to include a year of this homeschool experiment. Take lots of notes my friend!

    1. I will!! Experiment is surely the right word for it.

  3. raising my hand over here for letters from your little guy. I'll write back I promise!!


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