Grade 1 Curriculum

Grade 1

Sonlight’s Core B gives an introduction to world history in this first year of 2 years of world history, and we have used much of this Core for our Grade One curriculum.  A few of the titles we found too mature for this level, so we dropped them.

History and Read-Alouds

Bible and Character

English/Language Arts

Writing with Ease – Workbook 1 (contains worksheets)

The workbook contains copywork, dictation and comprehension, using passages from living books such as ‘Charlotte’s Web’ and ‘Wind in the Willows’.   For more information, see Peace Hill Press.  We purchased both the Workbook and the ‘Strong Fundamentals’ textbook.  Strong Fundamentals contains teaching notes, as well as the same lessons that is in the Workbook.  It does not contain the worksheets.

All About Spelling – Level 1

This is a comprehensive spelling program which teaches spelling basics using multi-sensory aids.

Grade 1 Readers (see Grade 2 or 3 if your child is reading at that level)

We also keep a reading log of all the early readers we check out from the library. We use this one.

I love these!  They are great for having on in the background or listening to in the car as well.  We plan to add more of these to our homeschool resources in future.  For now, we have:

– Tales from the Old Testament
– Tales from Cultures Far and Near
– Sweet Dreams
– Celtic Treasures
– Jewish Holiday Stories


This is one of our favourite subjects at the moment.  We like the immersion approach of learning the same topic for the full school year, and find out children have retained so much more than if they were just getting an introduction to many topics.

Along with the textbook, we use the Junior Astronomy Notebook.

Jeannie Fulbright’s website is a wealth of information on various topics including homeschooling tips and the philosophy behind her immersion approach to her science textbooks.

  • Nature studies

We don’t have any specific text we use for our nature studies.  Our beautiful surroundings give us enough inspiration and the children records things in their nature journals.  Sometimes we also do lapbooks on various subjects.  We also incorporate this into our art and craft times.

For New Zealanders, Andrew Crowe’s Life-size guides (Beach, Insects, Native Plants) are a handy resource, which can be found on TradeMe, Seek Books and The Nile.


  • Math-U-See Alpha

Math-U-See consists of a workbook, teaching DVD, and manipulative blocks in a ‘build it, say it, write it’ approach.  See their site for more info, and if you’re in NZ, you can order from LearnEx.


This takes a narration-style approach to geography from a Christian perspective, with some different activities to do in each chapter, and its style and content works well with the Science we are doing.

The Arts

  • Artistic Pursuits

This is a beautiful program combining art history with hands-on activities.  It’s a little on the pricey side, but I’ve found it’s well worth the investment for a  year’s worth of art projects for our artsy student.  For this first book, we’ve had to purchase a few supplies including some soft pastels, watercolour paper, and self-hardening clay.  Read more about it on their website.

  • Piano

Our eldest has been learning the piano for just a few weeks now.  Our challenge around here is getting piano practice to be part of our daily activities, while her brother sleeps on the other side of the wall, and her younger sister waits eagerly to have her turn thumping on the keys. 🙂

We’re using “Progressive Piano Method for Young Beginners“, which comes with a CD and DVD as well.

Thoughts on raising daughtesr


What makes us a Charlotte Mason ‘inspired’ homeschool? Have a read of this post on Our Charlotte Mason Homeschooland these are the principles we mostly follow. Note however, that we aren’t going to use all aspects of a method if they don’t work for us though, so we prefer take a flexible approach as well!

What makes us a Classical ‘leaning’ homechool? Some might say that because we aren’t following the trivuim exactly then we aren’t Classical. However, I like to think we can take the best out of a method and make it work for us. We’re a little Classical in that we’re moving through stage one of learning rules of grammar, spelling, and phonics, also stories of history and literature, and the building blocks of Maths, and so forth. This is setting us up for the next stage of learning, which is developing analytical thinking, and how things fit into a framework. The final stage we aren’t near yet, but is what is known as the ‘rhetoric’ stage. A Classical education is language-focused, and all knowledge is inter-related.

What makes us Eclectic? Quite simply, we are using the aspects of different methods that suit our family. Sometimes we do unit studies and lapbooks that aren’t on our official schedule, or take a delight-directed approach where the children have found something they enjoy learning and we find a way of tailoring our learning accordingly. We don’t plan to become a slave to any particular method or philosophy, as adding that sort of pressure doesn’t help anyone! The idea is, learning is supposed to be enjoyable, and we keep the overall end goal in mind, which is that our children have a rich education and childhood, and are also well-equipped for life in what they chose for themselves to do.

8 thoughts on “Grade 1 Curriculum

  1. Mommy Meditations

    We used Writing With Ease level 1 and started level 2 with my eight year old, but I’m wanting his writing exercises to correlate more to his literature which I try to tie into his history or science studies. So I was thinking of using just the Strong Fundamentals text and then choosing my own dictation exercises from his literature readings. Does Strong Fundamentals include specific copywork and dictation or just teaching notes? Great blog btw.

    1. homemakingwithheart

      Strong Fundamentals doesn’t have the student copywork pages in it. But you can download the student copywork pages which can stand-alone without any teacher’s text (they are about $10 from memory).
      What it has though is the copywork sentences, so you would have to write these on your child’s page first and then have them copy it. It also has the text to read and the accompanying questions to ask.

      It does use specifics but it has some general teaching notes in the front that apply to all 4 years covered.

      Here’s how Week 1 in Year 2 looks:
      – Day One – Narration exercise (you read a passage then ask questions)
      – Day Two – Copywork (you copy a sentence and your child copies it)
      – Day Three – Dictation exercise (you read a sentence, your child writes it)
      – Day Four – Narration and Dictation (as for Day Two, and your child writes two sentences of what happened in the story).

      Does that makes sense?

  2. Britney

    Thanks for sharing all this. Our oldest in not quite 4, so this fall I am hoping to start a bit more ‘formal’ (but still not too formal) preschool for her. She loves learning so I think she is ready for the sit down learning time. Since we’ve determined that you and I have quite a few things in common, it’s probably fair to say that the same is true for most of your curriculum choices. There is so much out there – it’s overwhelming! I’ve been to two homeschool conventions but mostly paid attention to the big picture stuff (philosophy, parenting, lifestyle learning, etc) since we weren’t ready for curriculum yet…but we’re getting closer so I need to start studying!

  3. Sheila coito

    I just found this blog (I’m not even sure HOW, lol) and your 2012 curric list, looks almost identical to the one I plan on using for my son’s first grade year in Fall of 2014. 🙂 Great minds think alike:) I joined your email list bc I am eager to see what else you have in mind! Now, if you used essential oils, and could share tips, I’d be super excited, lol. Have a blessed week!


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