ivey league academy: first grade!

Caleb decided to go ahead and start first grade this week!  Which is ironic since around here, this week was spring break for all of the public school students.  :)

Here's our curriculum choices for this year:

Reading:  Hooked on Phonics, 2nd grade level

Spelling and Vocabulary:  Horizons Spelling and Vocabulary 1, Word-a-Day Grade 1 by Evan-Moor

Handwriting:  Handwriting Without Tears, 1st grade level (already in progress from kindergarten)

 Math: Horizons Math 1

Bible: Growing With Jesus devotional plus additional Bible stories

Science:  Magic School Bus Curriculum (found here) plus additional activities and experiments

Social Studies:  Our 50 States

Read-Aloud:  I read a chapter book to Caleb...we strive for a chapter a day.  Our current read is Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes.

This week:

Caleb did great even with the obvious differences in this years' courseload.  While I wanted to get him used to learning for longer periods of time, I also didn't want to burn him out!  I also tried to work in different kinds of activities to keep him engaged.

Reading: Caleb read through all 8 1st grade HOP books throughout the course of the week.  We mostly did this because he didn't read very much during the few weeks we took off, plus we were adding in different subjects so I didn't want to spring more difficult words on him too!  We also played sight words games like Snakes and Ladders (found here) and a sight word snail game (The Measured Mom).

Spelling and Vocabulary:  Caleb wasn't sure about this at first, but he quickly caught on.  The spelling workbook has built-in pre-tests at the start of every week to see what the student already knows, but we skipped that part (it seemed unnecessary since I thought it would stress him out to start with a "test" and we were going to work with all of the spelling words during the week anyway).  We completed different activities with a set of words each day, such as choosing the correct word to fill in a blank or using some of the words to write a sentence, then on Friday he took a test.  He did very well considering it was his first!  It was encouraging to see that the mistakes he did make were slight, and that he is still aware of letter sounds.

For a word-a-day vocabulary lessons, he learned a new word for four days in a row, which we would put on our word wall.  He knew three out of the four words for this week, but obviously they will get more challenging!  This week his words were "crunch," "gentle," "odor," and "dash."

On Friday, we did a review where I read him the questions and the choices and he'd fill in the right answer.  He also made a sentence using the word "odor."  I helped him with the long word at the end plus sounding out the little words before that, but the rest was all him!

Math:  I was glad to see that Caleb's first grade math curriculum had a built-in review with the first week or two of lessons.  Since we used the same curriculum for kindergarten, he found this first week to be pretty easy and straightforward.

Bible:  We read a devotional a day, and worked in stories about Elijah, Peter, and David to illustrate the lesson.

Read-Aloud:  We read four chapters of Ginger Pye.  We didn't get to it our first day but worked it in the other days.  Caleb likes the story even though the chapters are longer than he's used to listening to!

Science:  I used the free printable Magic School Bus curriculum for its schedule and the way it already has the episodes divided into teachable units.  For now we're skipping their unit on dinosaurs.  I fully intend to teach Caleb both the creationist and evolutionist approaches so he is able to understand and defend what he believes in, but at this age it seems easier to skip the dinosaur stuff for now.  We'll pick it up in a year or two.
The first unit we're doing is space.  This first week was about the solar system and planets.  We watched the episode "The Magic School Bus Gets Lost in Space" even though some of the information about Pluto is outdated (mainly, they still call it a planet and say we don't really know what the surface looks like because it's so far away).  I like the series, though, because it keeps Caleb's attention, and at the end of each one they go through what stuff was made up for the show and what's real (for instance, they admit that there's no way even a flying school bus could make it to all of the planets in one day).  We did look up present-day photos and facts about each planet on the internet to get more up-to-date information. We did a few activities after that, including an orbit model, a planet order worksheet, and an "If I discovered a planet" activity.  We also read a couple of space books we had in our homeschool library.

Social Studies: We started with Massachusetts this week.  We're using the book Our 50 States mostly as a guide of which states to do when, as well as a jumping-off point to find activities and books about each state.

Caleb colored a Massachusetts coloring page and constructed a Mayflower ship out of construction paper.  We checked out a couple of books at the library, plus used a Johnny Appleseed book from our homeschool library (turns out he was born in Massachusetts!).

Caleb also completed a Johnny Appleseed activity:

And finally, as a treat at the end of our week, we made Massachusett's official state dessert:  Boston Cream Pie!

All in all it was a successful week!  It helped give me an idea of what a typical school day will look like, as well as how to plan it.

Orbit Printable (More Time 2 Teach)
Planet Order Printable (not pictured) (Education.com)
If I Discovered a Planet Printable (Deceptively Educational)
State Map Coloring Pages (USA Printables)
Mayflower Ship Activity (Paging Supermom)
Johnny Appleseed Printable (Teachers Pay Teachers)
Boston Cream Pie Recipe (The Girl Who Ate Everything)

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