Where Relationship Meets Academics: Plans For Our 1st Grade Homeschool Year

school supplies 2013

With 3 weeks left before George starts school at the local public school, I figured I should start getting plans finalized for homeschooling Jack. Finalize being the key word.  Up till now I have had a general plan in mind, but nothing ordered, printed or put into binders.

My goal is to have a better laid out schedule for Jack this year, something he can take ownership of and succeed at, without feeling that I am a task master trying to drive him where he does not want to go.  This needs to be fun, short and to the point, relevant, challenging, and fun.  Did I mention fun?

Last year the focus was to be on our relationship more than academics.  While I did not always get there, I tried and learned to let things go. Jack is doing a lot better, even compared to this time last year.  Seems it worked, though we are still working towards better progress.

“Relationship” is still at the top of the list this year and has formed a lot of what I have chosen to do and the method in which we will do it.

Today was the first step – I registered for some classes at a local nature center.  We attended one last Spring and I was happy to see how much he enjoyed it.  I was concerned about his activity level, but they seemed to handle it fairly well.  The fact that part of the class was outside helped a lot.

After an internal debate, I signed him up for all the classes this semester.  Even if there are one or two classes he says he won’t like, by the time they come around I am pretty sure he will be up for going.  At least that is what I am hoping.

Black Swallowtail Butterfly Caterpillars

The first item on my To-Do list is to create a binder to keep all the curriculum, materials and details straight.  I found several different links that will help me compile what I am hoping to use.

This week I will go through these links, figure out what I want to actually have printed.  Add that to going through electronic versions of some materials I am planning to use, and I will be ready to get these printed out in the next week or two.  I may print some initial ones out from my home computer, to help with planning, but will take the rest to a printer in Big Town.  The price is comparable to me printing at home, about $.10 a page, but I will not have to worry about finding an ink cartridge if I run out half way through.

Homeschool binder


So how have we decided what to use this year?  There were a variety of ways.  Some are things we have used previously, some were recommended and some came about through research and ‘discussion’.  Here is an example of how we chose the math curriculum to use:

I looked through various curriculum, narrowed it down to two, then asked my husband if he wanted to have a say in the choice of what I used.

Husband: Just choose something.  (He has other things using his brain cells lately, so I am usually the one to research things around home.)

Me: I have narrowed it down to two. One spirals and is more hands on.  The other works on mastering a topic before moving on and has fewer practice problems.

After explaining what ‘spirals’ meant his answer was quick.

Husband: The other one. He thinks linearly, that one sounds more like him.

And that folks was the extent of our ‘discussion’, 3 whole sentences plus a few more explanatory ones.  Thankfully, he chose the one I really wanted, but was questioning myself on.

When I initially looked through curriculum, I came upon this program and it seemed to fit what I was looking for.  I took time to look over materials several times and read reviews.  This is how I decided that Math Mammoth would be a great candidate for our math curriculum this year.  The following review from The Old Schoolhouse says very well some of my reasons for making this decision:

Short lessons without a lot of talking (from Mom), not having a lot of review problems, working on mastery versus spiraling, and a simple layout are the main reasons we chose this curriculum.  

I see us working our other math resources into this, to reinforce the topic being covered or to just keep it fun.

I am also curious if it would work well with George. Though he needs lots of review before his long term memory kicks in, I think he gets confused by all the jumping around they do at (the public) school.

Curriculum (somewhat in order of focus)

Bible TimeFoundations 1: Preparations for Christ (Old Testament) – this is something I picked up in an ebook bundle sale a few years ago.  At the time my kids were too young, but I knew they would get here one day.  I am planning to work this into our morning pre-school routine.  I did not do so well with it last year and felt like I was letting my kids down by putting other things ahead of our Bible Time.

Copy work – Kirsten Joy Awake’s Bible Writer – this is again something I picked up from an ebook bundle sale, but can no longer seem to find online.

MathMy Calendar Book, Math Mammoth (our main curriculum book), books from library, Math Lessons for a Living Education from Queen Homeschool (is the free ebook from the author no longer available? You can get a hardcopy here), flash cards, and Mathseeds

Reading/Phonics – Reading Eggs, AO book list, Library story time, audio books/dramas

Art – Learn. Imaine. Create! Book 1 by Queen Homeschool (no longer available?), books from library, Home Depot monthly kid’s craft

Science – homeschool day at local nature center, walks, Youtube videos, science/children’s museum

Music – listen to CDs, play variety of instruments

P.E. – bowling (free), roller skating (free), indoor playground, outdoor playground, soccer, bike riding

Geography – from public domain  Home Geography for Primary Grades by C. C. Long

HistoryStory of The World, Volume 1 – we started this last Spring and made it several chapters into it.  This summer I was able to pick up an audio version.  This means he can listen while doing something else or while in the car.  We can then do the activity pages another time.

Wow, I did not realize how many of the resources I plan to use are no longer available.  It is sad really, as I was looking forward to sharing them with you. Not only did I like them, but they were also free at the beginning of summer. That would have been helpful for those of you who are looking to keep spending low.

Also sad because that means I only have access to the ones I downloaded … unless someone knows of another source for these.  I am thinking mainly about the art and math ones from O’dell.


Even the act of getting the above list filled out and put in order makes me feel so much better about this upcoming year.  As a Lover of Lists, it feels like my thoughts have been put into order and chaos is on its way out the door.  That is something I really need to happen right now, there are too many loose ends right now.

There are two things I still need to purchase, but I am not in a rush.  I am going to be patient and see if any sales come up in the next few weeks.  For now, the focus will be on getting pages printed, into binders and a general time frame of what I want to accomplish each month put together.

goodwill map poster music triangle finger puppet

 This post contains some affiliate links, though most are not.  Just wanted you to know.  😉