The other day, I shared what is on our shelves for Aidan’s fourth grade year. Today I’ll share what we’re planning for Gresham this year. Gresham will be 6 in October, so he would be in kindergarten if he were entering public school. Gresham is one of those kids for whom homeschooling will be really advantageous academically speaking. I would not want to put Gresham in first grade if he were going to school. He does well being one of the oldest in his grade for his church activities. Gresham doesn’t like to attempt something unless he is sure he can do it, and he is slow to make friends. I’m not sure that putting him ahead a grade would be a great idea, mainly because of the ramifications when he gets to junior high. A boy who is young for his grade in junior high can feel really out of place, so I would hate to set him up for that. However, Gresham would be bored in kindergarten, I think. He is reading well on his own, and enjoys adding numbers in his head. He has the doubles addition facts up to 9+9 down pretty well after just two days of working on it! So he’s obviously ready for first grade work. It’s great to be able to move him along in the areas that he’s ready to move along in, without having to actually move him forward a grade.

For history, Gresham will be sitting in on some of what Aidan is doing in Sonlight American history. I am also planning to go through a 2nd grade American History textbook with him – “Our America” from Abeka. I’m not a big fan of Abeka overall, but I picked up this history book for cheap at a used book sale, and it introduces the kids to American history, American government, and our flag and national anthem, etc.

Gresham will also be doing science with Aidan – Apologia Zoology 3. This year, Apologia came out with a junior journal to go along with the Exploring Creation series, and Gresham is very excited about his! It has animal coloring pages, mini-books to make, copywork, experiments, and lined journal pages for beginning writers.

The main thrust of first grade will be learning to read, write, add, subtract, tell time, and count money.

For phonics, I love Explode the Code. Gresham is on book 3. The activities are interesting (things like choosing which sentence correctly describes a silly picture), and he can work through the lessons fairly independently.

Like Aidan, Gresham will be doing Handwriting without Tears.

I also bought Wordly Wise level “B” for him. I didn’t do Wordly Wise with Aidan until second grade, but I was looking at the A, B, and C levels (intended for kindergarten and 1st grade, I think?) and I really liked them. Here’s a sample:

I really like the fact that this book will help Gresham start thinking about “definitions” for words. Even at age 9, if I ask Aidan what a word means, he tends to give me an example rather than a definition. I also like the fact that the A, B, and C levels have pictures.

For math, Gresham will be doing Making Math Meaningful (first grade) from Cornerstone Curriculum. I did not do this math with Aidan, and our order hasn’t come yet, so I’m anxious to get it and see what I think of it!

Gresham will be spending about 2 hours a day on school, which leaves lots of time for playing and bike riding and other little boy things!


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  1. Ticia Jul 26, 2012

    My kids are excited about the junior journals as well.

  2. Tina Jul 26, 2012

    Thanks for sharing your curriculum choices. I have a first grader this year too and have been trying to figure out a good math curriculum. Have you had any experience with Singapore Math?

  3. Sarah Jul 26, 2012

    Singapore Math is one of the few math options that I haven't tried! I ordered Making Math Meaningful for Gresham; I've already done 2nd grade and 3rd grade of MMM with Aidan, so I'm expecting that I'll really like it. We'll see!

  4. Jerilyn Jun 18, 2013

    Have you done a review on the exploring creation series? We are considering using this for the younger years- starting in 3rd (my eldest is in first so I have time to decide. :)

  5. joey Jun 21, 2013

    ok, im new to homeschooling, but how the heck do you squeeze all that into 2 hrs??? also how do you know what to teach when to teach and what order to teach it in, and last question... lol how do you know how much to do and what he needs to have done and be able to do by the end of the year???

    1. Charlotte Jun 29, 2013

      Hi, Joey!
      That does look like a lot of work! But, when your child is home, he/she will get finished faster than he/she would at school. As for what to teach, when to teach it, and in what order, it really depends on your family! That's the beauty of homeschooling! If you want to do math in the morning after breakfast, that's fine! Want to do your reading outside because it's such a nice day? That's okay too!
      For an example, however, I have four boys; two will be doing school with me this year. I've changed up what I've done every year. That includes the curriculum we use and the times I've taught it. Some things work, and some don't. I keep what works and get rid of those things that don't. And I'm always looking for new things that will inspire my boys to learn - and love it!
      If this is your first year, take it slowly. Teach one subject for a couple of weeks and then add another one. Keep doing that until you're covering all of your subjects. And find a homeschool group in your area, and ask a LOT of questions.
      Above all, enjoy it! It's frustrating sometimes, but it's really the most rewarding thing you can do with and for your kids! Hope that helps you a little. :)

  6. Christy Mar 21, 2014

    Thanks for sharing. This is my first year doing home school with my Kindergartener (we pulled her out of a Christian school in the middle of the year due to teacher not being equipped to deal with a child that has adhd) I have not purchased a curriculum for her, we have been doing workbooks. I'm concerned that she may not be where she should be even though she is doing some first grade workbook. I guess I never thought of it being an option to purchase different materials from different companies. Thanks for opening my eyes to that! I will definitely be checking out the curriculum you mentioned.
    Have a great week!


  7. Andrea Mar 25, 2014

    Just have to say that I'm loving your blog!
    We are going to be homeschooling starting in September, and I wasn't sure where to start regarding curriculum. Your "100 Tips" was very helpful, as well as your post on suggested curriculum. It especially helped that my 4 kids seem to have the exact same age spread as yours, only starting a year behind! (and our youngest is named Jonathan too!)
    Thanks for all your help!

  8. Aparna Nagaraj Mar 2, 2015

    Thank you for sharing your resources. These are very helpful.
    I am using EarlyMath Mission in Khan Academy for 1st Grade Math. I am wondering how it compares with the CornerStone Curriculum.. Do you have an opinion?

  9. Pamm Apr 26, 2016

    Thanks for your valuable insight . I'm thinking of homeschooling our 6 you old grandson, whom we're raising, this summer. He's in first grade this year and I want to review what he learned plus get him on a good foundation for s3 conditions grade . Any suggestions you can offer will be greatly appreciated !

  10. Joleen Jul 19, 2017

    I noticed you didn't like Abeka. I have pretty much decided to use them to start my k5 student, but haven't ordered yet. This is our first attempt at home school.
    What have you and/or others found to work best for your family?
    I'm open to any recommendations from someone who has already done this! :)


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