Looking for 1ast grade homeschool curriculum? I’m sharing my favorite picks for this level as well as some things we’re adding this year for this particular upcoming first grader.
First grade is when we usually start doing some formal lessons in our home. Before that, it’s just play, read alouds, and lots of free time. But we don’t trade that in when the workbooks come out! Table time is kept to a minimum and we enjoy our days. No need to cram our kids with academics early on when it isn’t necessary and can even be detrimental!
I like to keep our table time to about an hour for 1st grade. They can get any handwriting, math, and reading instruction in that time. Coloring, drawing, eating, or playing during read aloud time covers nearly every other subject. Then we throw in some hands-on stuff once or twice a week. The goal is to keep it short, fun, and flexible!
Our Main Picks for 1st Grade Homeschool Curriculum
Bible & Theology
- Sound Words for Kids: Lessons in Theology – My theology curriculum for ages pre-k and elementary. Once a week with some weekly memory review. For first grade it involves listening to me read the lesson, coloring, and doing one of the activity pages.
- Bible Road Trip – Our staple Bible curriculum that we’ve used for years. It’s excellent and can be used for pre-k through high school. It includes simple activities, Bible reading and discussion, and memory work.
- Reading & Reading Practice – Once they have shown signs of reading readiness, we start teaching reading. This may be anytime between kindergarten and second grade. It just depends on the kid.
- Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons – This is what I use for most of my kids. It’s straightforward and gets the job done. I print out a hundreds chart and they get a sticker at the end of each lesson, a treat at the end of each row, and a treat and a book at the end of the whole thing. We also don’t do any of the writing portions – just the reading.
- All About Reading – One of my kids has a touch of dyslexia, so we use All About Reading for him and it has been a great blessing. We go at his pace and he loves the fun activities. It’s working really well! You can read my All About Reading review here. For those who want to add spelling, you may also bring in All About Spelling after they are well along with reading.
- Handwriting – When they show signs of writing readiness, we start A Reason for Handwriting The lessons are short and use Scripture.
- Narration – Narration is a huge part of our homeschool. At this age, I typically forego any formal spelling, grammar, or composition in favor of narration. It’s the Charlotte Mason practice of orally telling back what was just read / heard. For first grade, every day they will tell me in their own words what they just read from their reading practice or from the portion of the read-aloud just completed. It starts with just a small paragraph, and over time they are able to narrate longer pieces in greater details. Narration helps with pre-composition skills, speaking skills, retention of knowledge, and more. Around 3rd – 4th grade, written narration is added.
- Christian Light Education for Math – My preferred math curriculum if you’re looking for something straightforward and not online. Uses a spiral approach and lots of practice. Just delete extra problems if you think there’s too much.
- Hands-on Activities – It’s helpful to reinforce math concepts as needed using manipulative (like legos, snap cubes, etc.) and youtube videos.
- Nature Study – For science we don’t do independent or formal science until later grades. Instead we use resources like the Handbook of Nature Study, the Burgess nature books, and YouTube video playlists we find that go along with them. We’ll do nature studies on our own as well as using No Sweat Nature Study LIVE membership.
- Fun Experiments – If you want, grab a fun experiment book like this one or the books in this series and do one every week or two. It doesn’t need to be complicated at this age!
I feel like history is optional for 1st grade homeschool curriculum. When I do teach it (which I do for all kids now with a multi-level approach) I still keep it light for the youngers, focusing on read-alouds/audiobooks and hands-on activities. Here are some options to consider:
- Watch American history videos on YouTube (Liberty Kids is fun and free!) and read through History for Little Pilgrims.
- Focus on holidays, finding related history books and YouTube videos for each one.
- Use a literature-based curriculum such as BiblioPlan or Beautiful Feet Books Early American History. We have used and enjoyed both. We are using BiblioPlan now as a multi-level curriculum for all ages. Both include great book lists for reading aloud living books.
- Hands-On Activities – While you read, your kids can color, draw, or use Legos to build. Bonus points if they create something based what they’re learning about! Finding some simple crafts and activities to go along with the read-aloud is great fun, too. You can find them on Pinterest or by searching Google, or sometimes they’re incorporated with the curriculum you’re using. BiblioPlan includes a craft and activity book as well as a coloring book to go along with the main text, so our first graders have been following along with that.
A Note About False Gods
In our early years homeschooling we used an audiobook of a popular history curriculum. All of my kids were very young. The curriculum leaned a bit too far toward evolutionary concepts for me. It also had violence and talked about false religion and false gods a lot, without calling them out as such. (You’ll run into this a lot with literature-based curriculum as well.)
I decided to drop history and just focus on Bible that year. Through Scripture as history, I was intentional to teach my kids what God’s Word said about how the world was created, idols and false gods vs. the one true God, and approach hard topics like violence with them. The next year, when we went back to using history resources, we were better equipped to discuss those biblical perspectives when those issues cropped up in our read alouds or audiobooks. I am so glad we did that!
Even with that preparation, however, I still don’t go too terribly deep into things like Greek gods until the later years when they’re more adept at discussing worldview in history and literature.
Arts and Crafts
I am not much of an arts and crafts person, but my kids love it so I try. 😉 In addition to the activities book from BiblioPlan I mentioned above, below are some resources we’ve enjoyed:
- Masterpiece Society Art – Includes seasonal art projects, drawing lessons, artist studies, and more. Find out more about how we use it.
- Art Hub for Kids – Free channel on YouTube with (mostly) cartoon drawings. My kids love this channel and it’s great for a quick no-brainer art lesson.
- Teach Art to Children book- I came across this art teaching book in our stash a while ago (buy it used) and I am tentatively planning on incorporating it into our morning time. It’s a simple step-by-step art program that builds on basic elements like lines, colors, etc.
Have a kid who is really into games? Laminate a copy of this blank activity grid and fill it in with a bunch of educational games you can do once a week, such as every Friday. Things like Bananagrams, Farkle, Uno, Dos, Sorry, Mastermind, Dixit, and many more…
It’s important to remember that we don’t do ALL of this every day. Also, no matter what resources we use, first grade is short and simple, focusing mostly on read alouds, fun activities, and an hour or less of “table time.”
Have a great homeschool year!
Looking for more curriculum suggestions?
- 8th grade homeschool curriculum choices
- 6th grade homeschool curriculum choices
- 4th grade homeschool curriculum choices
- 3rd grade homeschool curriculum choices
- Our current curriculum picks for all grades (including what we do for group work)
- How to choose the perfect curriculum
- How to Start Homeschooling: 10 Important Things You Need to Do