"From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised." Psalm 113:3

Monday, October 21, 2013

Changing Up First Grade: Curriculum...

It's that time of year again...you know--the shine has worn off of the pretty curriculum, the kiddos are whiny, and I'm just plain exhausted.  It seems that I've lost all creativity (not that I ever really had that much of it in the first place) and our homeschooling is just. not. fun.

I thought it was just me, really.  But then I overheard my six year-old tell his friend how much he hates school.

Ouch.  Twist the knife there, buddy.

And evidently that was a message from You Know Who directly to me--reminding me to loosen up and trust Him and change things up a bit in a different direction.

And since I'm trying to work on my listening ears, I changed things up a bit.

Here's what we've decided our 1st grader's days are going to look like--but maybe first I should show you how they did look:

Math:  Math Mammoth, A+, and Life of Fred

History / Literature:  Heart of Dakota Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory (American History)

Geography:  Road Trip USA

Science:  I had no idea what to use!

Bible:  Community Bible Study

Language Arts / Phonics:  Explode the Code, Rod & Staff, All About Spelling, First Language Lessons

Extras:  Co-op, Flag Football, Boys Book Club

Man.  Pretty sure I overloaded there, just a bit!

Now, let me tell you a bit about my Bug.  He is going to be seven later this week, so he is an "older" first grader, and he is a little sponge.  God has blessed us with a boy who is calm enough to sit down and learn, and one who LOVES to learn.  He devours books.  He learns by listening and reading and doing, and he is just a joy!

But he "hated" school.

At age six.


Something had to be done.

After prayer, "meetings" with the principal, and much talking with trusted friends, here is what my Bug's day looks like now for first grade:

Math:  We are following the activity suggestions for Singapore 1B that are in the Heart of Dakota guide.  I've also made some file folder games and addition and subtraction Bingo to play, as well as picking up some fun math practice games from the Dollar Store.

History / Literature:  First of all, let me say that we LOVE Heart of Dakota.  Seriously love it!  Bug and I both enjoyed the reading and activities, but I was having a tremendously hard time getting both Bug and Firefly's guides done in a day.  We have put his aside for now, although we are still using the suggestions for storytime.  We've moved to Centers with him for history, otherwise known as "not school".  More on this in another post.  For now, let me just say that we've tried to incorporate an unschooling / unit study approach to social studies and history, and it seems to be working beautifully!

Geography:  No more formal lessons.

Science:  Bug and Firefly are both using and enjoying Apologia's Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics.  We are going to continue with this--it's a keeper.  Look for the review early next month.

Bible:  Community Bible Study.  Yep, still!

Language Arts / Phonics:  Bug loves to read, so I'm relying on that to make sure he is getting some quality examples of good literature.  He is now using the online version of Explode the Code a few times a week, mixed with Time for Learning a few times a week.  All About Spelling, while it works wonderfully for Firefly, was not a great fit for him, so we've moved to simple spelling lists found in Heart of Dakota.  We've dropped any more formal grammar, writing, or copywork lessons for now.

Extras:  Co-op still, Art lessons, Flag Football, and now Golf Lessons.

We are in week three of these changes now, and I've noticed that Bug is much more eager to get his schooling done.  He even told me yesterday that while his Dad and I were gone for the weekend, he "did school"!

Ahhh...that's much more like it!  Guess it really helps to turn those listening ears on, huh?


  1. Your post is comforting to me. My daughter (almost 7 too) has been not enjoying math one bit, so we decided to recently switch it up with Singapore 1B and she loves it. In fact, today, for the first time EVER she asked me if she could do more math. Three cheers for switching up the curriculum!! :)

  2. Yep, I've had to do the change up. Luckily not so much for my 4th grader who seems to be doing rather well with his out of the box dvd curriculum (who knew?). I've changed around his enrichment activities. Now as for my 7th grader (ugh!) we have changed around format, even some of her classes because she was getting bored and blowing through the curriculum like butter. Now I don't cridge as much when I need to make changes. Although I'm thinking our core curriculum is set because the kids like the out of the box curriculum we use and it works so well for myself and DH who schools them 1/2 the time that is the only consistent winner.

  3. I'm so glad things are going better. It's so hard to change things after you spend so much time researching and implementing curricula. Praying for a good rest of the school year!

  4. I left HOD too this year. One of my reasons was that I didn't think I could run multiple guides efficiently. The program definitely has its pluses, but that was a big hindrance for me moving forward. We're loving having my two oldest combined in something else this year! Glad things are looking up for you!

    1. Dusty, thanks for the validation! It was really so hard to leave--I just love HOD. But at least I still get to enjoy it with my 5th grader, and my little guy likes school again.



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