As the first day of school looms large, I’m sitting here wondering exactly what to do.  The stress and anxiety of considering options without all the necessary information is weighing heavily on me.  I know that my kids need school and their friends and that environment, but since that will look entirely different than it has before, will the benefits be the same?  That’s just one of items on the pro/con list.  I know that you’re probably thinking about these same things, trying to find a curriculum you like, and trying to make the best decision with imperfect information too.  So, here’s what I would be doing if I decided to homeschool!  Maybe it will help you and send you off in a great direction.

CHOOSING A HOMESCHOOL CURRICULUM

Core Basics: What Your First Grader Needs to Know – There is a comprehensive book for each grade level.  In addition to having great read aloud poems, literature, and even teaching common idioms, this book covers every topic you need.  Categories include: Literature, Math, History/Geography, Science, Art, and Music.  The introduction to this book will give you some guidance on how to “teach” this book.  My biggest worry with homeschool is will my children learn enough?  With this book in hand, I don’t have that fear anymore.  It is comprehensive, detailed, and provides a jumping off point for topics of interest.  Each section includes a bibliography of further books to read and activities to do for each section.  Even if you are not an artist or a musician, you can teach using this book.  The very best thing about this book is that the lessons will relate to each other.  If you are reading about Egypt in history, you are also talking about and creating art from ancient Egypt.  You are reading African folktales and learning about the geography from Africa.  Everything integrates into an amazing kaleidoscope of knowledge.  What Your {insert grade here} Grader Needs to Know books can be found on Amazon or at coreknowledge.org website.

What Your First Grader Needs to Know

Literacy & Grammar: I didn’t have time to grab the literacy books that my kids have been using.  They are outstanding.  I will try to link them here this week for you.  A firm understanding of grammar is so important!  Understanding what you are reading and reading comprehension is the foundation for everything. Readworks.org has FREE non fiction articles, organized by grade level, that can be read and completed online or printed for use.  Not only will you find a variety of topics there your child might be interested in, but you can find plenty of articles relating to whatever country/culture/science topic you study this year.  I absolutely love this organization, their mission, and the focus on reading comprehension.  One article a day can make a huge difference (you can read their study on their site), so this should be a part of any program you institute for your family.

 

Math:  Math is probably my biggest concern because getting behind in math can really set you back.  These books, however, are absolutely amazing for anyone who needs to teach math (even non-mathies like myself!!!).  I would buy the whole collection, include the teacher book and here’s why:  The teacher book has all the answers!!! haha.  The teacher book also includes instructions for games and activities that will bring math to life for your child.  It is easiest to teach math using the student textbook and having them work through the workbook.  The Teacher Guide is a MUST in my opinion and the entire set is worth the money.  You can be sure they are getting exactly what they need to know, focusing on core concepts and understanding how numbers work.  Don’t freak out that it says Singapore Math.  This is a great system for learning math and it includes ALL the ways that you can figure out answers.  One of them might work better for your child and that’s the goal here. These books take forever to ship, so order now.  Dimensions Math Workbook, Textbook, and Teacher’s Guide can be found at singaporemath.com

Dimensions Math Workbook 3A

Geography/History/Science: I fell in love with the Core Knowledge series this summer when I went looking for more geography for my history loving daughter.  They have a series of books on many subjects that will fill in or provide additional learning in areas of history and science.  The biggest benefit of homeschooling is that you can explore in depth the topics that most delight your child and I really love these books for that.  You can download many of their materials for free, including teacher books.  I priced out printing and binding the books myself and it was cheaper to buy the student book from their site! Plus, it looks so nice in color!  I purchased the first grade book on geography (which seems exactly grade appropriate) since my youngest felt like she “missed something” having not gone to our current school for first grade (it didn’t exist yet and was brand new last year!).  I don’t think that you need the teacher guide for these books, but they do have worksheets to copy and great activities listed inside.  Those activities are useful for engaging children beyond reading, but you can also find the teacher books online on their site for most topics.  Personally, I like reading out of a real book, so I bought the book.  Books can be found at coreknowledge.org

 

Core Knowledge First Grade History GeographyCore Knowledge Continents Maps book

But listen, here’s my final note, and this wasn’t my intention, but if this curriculum sounds amazing (and it is), it is exactly the curriculum used by my charter school.  They are doing an amazing job integrating all these things together and handled the “stay at home” learning without missing a step.  So, if you are looking for a “school” experience, Ivywood Classical Academy might be the place for you.

I will update as I find other things that I love that you may want or need, but the most important thing is to keep your child reading, engaged, and learning math fundamentals.  If you find some great curriculum that you LOVE, please let me know!  I would love to share it with others so they can benefit too!  I hope this helps you!  Good Luck Friends!