Here I share our homeschool curriculum review for 1st grade term 1. We used A Gentle Feast, All About Reading, Math U See and more! If you’re wondering which ones we liked and would recommend, keep reading!
This post contains 1 affiliate link which is the link for All About Reading. This means I make a small commission when you click on that link and buy from them. It is the only curriculum that I have used all the way through and would whole heartedly recommend. I am very picky about the homeschool curriculums that I partner with and so I wouldn’t choose them as an affiliate if I didn’t love it and also have used the whole thing.
We do year round schooling. For us, that looks like doing 12 weeks of school at a time and then taking 3 weeks off. So we pretty much do 3 terms (12 weeks each) a year. I like it for many reasons, but one of them is that I only have to think about 12 weeks at a time for homeschool planning instead of the whole year. I also only have to prep for 12 weeks at a time, which seems much more manageable. It also helps because if a certain curriculum turns out to be awful for us like 3 weeks in, I didn’t prep or plan for the whole year so I didn’t loose too much time.
So with all that said, I was thinking about doing a post about what we are going to be using for the next term. But the more I thought about it, I decided that it would be more beneficial to you to tell what we did last term and give my review of it. That way you know if it is something I would recommend that you get. I will also talk about what I am going to change going into our next term. Alright, that’s enough intro. Let’s get into the curriculum!
Morning Time (Basket): A Gentle Feast
I loved our morning time from A Gentle Feast! Everyday we did a scripture reading, memory verse, hymn, and recitation (of a beautiful piece of poetry). Then I looped Art Study, Poetry, Fables and our weekly narration notebook. After that we read a chapter in a chapter book while my daughter did her penmanship lesson.
This isn’t exactly how AGF lays out their morning time. I tweaked it a little to fit our family better. For example, the chapter book is supposed to be scheduled in the afternoon. But I enjoy starting the day all together reading from a great book. This past term we read Charlottes Web, Red Sails to Capri, The Boxcar Children and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. We loved all of them!! My daughters favorite was Charlotte’s Web. I had actually never read any of them and don’t think I could pick a favorite. They were all SO good!
AGF also doesn’t do the narration notebook in the morning or penmanship doing morning time. So that is another thing I tweaked. And AGF has you do a music study on the weekly loop but we prefer just to listen to the piece selected at a different part of the day while we are doing other things. Although, I let that fall by the wayside as the term went on. Woops.
What I will change about Morning Time for next term
I am going to keep doing everything like I did last term except a couple of things. We are going to make Penmanship its own class time this go around. I’m also going to change the art study portion and use Come Look With Me. I think I need a little more help with how to go about looking at art with my kids and I love the questions in Come Look With Me. I will let you know how it goes!
Phonics: All About Reading Level 1
We officially finished All About Reading Level 1 and it was the BEST! I won’t go into too many details here because I already shared a full review here, but suffice it to say that if you have a struggling reader, get this program. We are going to be starting Level 2 this next term and I’m so excited! We are also going to be starting All About Spelling Level 1. All About Learning suggests not starting the spelling program until you are done with level 1 of All About Reading.
History: A Gentle Feast
I thought the history was just o.k. for this first term. A couple of the books were good but overall I just feel like it was missing something. I have an idea in my head of how history lessons should be and this fell short of whatever that ideal is. I don’t really know how to explain it. Some of the books just seemed a little dry. I’m going to give it another term to see if it improves. If anyone has a history curriculum they love, please let me know down in the comments!
Natural History: A Gentle Feast
Natural History was from the Burgess Animal Book and then a book they recommended about birds. While my daughter enjoyed to a degree both of those books, it still falls short of what I imagine this subject could be. We both thought it was ok, but definitely weren’t chomping at the bit to do natural history class. I think it was difficult to learn about a different animal every single time we had class so all the animals kinda ran together.
What I will change about Natural History this term
I think I am going to try putting together my own science/natural history through living books I have and other resources that I pull together. I also want to do more child led learning in this subject. My daughter is really interested in Reptiles and Amphibians right now so I just want to go with that and learn all about reptiles and amphibians these next 12 weeks. We will see how it goes!
Math: Math U See Alpha
This is our third math curriculum we have tried. At the beginning of last term we switched over to Math U See. I started out teaching my daughter math at the beginning of the term. But as I got more serious about blogging and YouTubing, I just didn’t have the time in my day to do ALL the things. So my husband and I decided that he would take over a few subjects and do them in the evening. He took over math, geography and nature study. So really, he would be a better judge of how it is going than me at this point. But I did do it for quite a while so will give my .2 cents.
I had huge expectations for this curriculum. I thought it would be the perfect fit for my daughter because she needs manipulatives for hands on learning. And while it has gone fairly well, it didn’t meet my high expectations. It has gone the best out of any math curriculum we have used. But I don’t just LOVE it the way I do All About Reading. I do love the video lessons and the blocks and it is working fine, so we are going to continue with using it into term 2.
Geography: A Gentle Feast
This curriculum uses Home Geography and it has gone pretty well. I have loved a lot of the lessons, and just been meh about others. Some of the lessons were a little too advanced for my daughter. The other ones, though, had fun hands on learning (like building a 3D map) and I really loved all the picture books we read. If I had more time before the start of term 2, I may have switched Geography (I’m dying to try Beautiful Feet) but for now, we are going to continue on with this.
Nature Study: Exploring Nature With Children
I had heard so much about this curriculum and so decided to give it a try. This was our first time using it. We enjoyed it and especially liked the book suggestions she offers for each study. We also really enjoyed doing the caterpillar/butterfly unit. Getting the caterpillars from Insect Lore and watching them grow was a huge hit. It really is a fabulous resources if you are wanting to dive into nature study but don’t know where to start.
What I will change about Nature Study
With that said, I think we are going to skip doing it this term and do our own science/nature study on reptiles and amphibians. I think having a natural history/science class and then a separate nature study was a bit much for us. We were really busy this past term and it was just a bit too much to try and squeeze in both. But I am vert glad I own it because it has excellent resources for books, poetry pertaining to a subject and great activities to do. I would recommend buying it. But I’m just not going to use it verbatim how it says this time. But I will use it if we are studying a specific thing in nature that it covers.
We do most of our core subjects in the morning and then have lunch. After lunch, we do some afternoon chores and then head into an afternoon activity/lesson. These are just the fun subjects and we only do one a day right now. I have four things we do and put them on a loop. We only do a 4 day school week so there are 4 of them. One for each day of the week that we do school. We do Art, Singing, Poetry Tea Time and French.
Art: The Alveary
My daughter absolutely loves art and I wanted to get an art curriculum that was serious about teaching it as well as not being so dependent on me teaching it. This is perfect. It does cost quite a bit once you factor in all of the supplies. They use only the best watercolor, pastels, paper, etc. so that gets pricey. But because art is one of my daughters passions, I wanted her to have the best.
I love this curriculum because the lessons are planned out for you. It is also such a great way for a kid to learn not only the basics of art, but also to try different mediums of art. This is a curriculum that we are going to continue to use next term and that I would recommend. Using it has actually made me want to try The Alveary’s other subjects so I may have to give them a try sometime down the road.
Singing/Folk: A Gentle Feast and Sing Solfa
I love the Singing from A Gentle Feast and Sing Solfa. Sing Solfa was recommended in A Gentle Feasts curriculum and my kids love it! I’ve heard some people say that they didn’t like it and that it was boring for their kids, but mine loved it. And best of all, it is FREE! Each lesson is just a short video of a lady teaching the kids a song and they have to follow along to it. It is so simple but my kids love learning the songs. A Gentle Feast also has you learn some Folk songs and foreign language songs so we add that into our once a week Singing class and just it all at the same time. We all loved learning the folk songs! I would definitely recommend these if you are looking for singing lessons.
Poetry Tea Time
Every week we do a poetry tea time in the afternoon. It is usually on Wednesday afternoon. This term was during the summer so it went like this: Kids go grab the poetry books they want (I have a basket fully of kids poetry books), I make smoothies and get a snack, then we all head outside and sit on a blanket while I read poetry from the books they picked and have our smoothies and snacks. It is simple and we ALL love it. It makes poetry fun, relaxing and something we all look forward to. We will definitely be doing this again next term.
French: A Gentle Feast
The French that they suggest in a gentle feast is free, so that’s good, but it just did not work for us. I don’t know how to speak French and so I just couldn’t teach it. It also was confusing for me to figure out how to use and with the added stress of trying to figure out how to pronounce things to teach, it was a flop. I personally wouldn’t recommend using the French suggested in this curriculum and instead get a different one.
What I will change about Foreign Language next term
My kids really love learning a different language, despite the lessons last term not going that great. So I want to get them a video based curriculum where someone else can teach them. I’m not wanting foreign language to be too serious or anything, just a casual learning of some words. And an understanding that there are different languages all over the world. So my ideal would be a video based curriculum that they watch and we just do some fun things with it once a week. Just learning basics like colors and how to say “hello, how are you.” That kind of thing. I’ll let you know what we end of doing!
What We Used for Homeschool 1st Grade Term 1
I’ll close by giving you an easy to read list of what we used this past term for quick reference. Let me know down in the comments if you have used any of these and if you liked them or not! And if you have any questions, I would be happy to answer that as well!
- Morning Time: A Gentle Feast Cycle 1 (I recommend)
- Phonics: All About Reading Level 1 (I recommend)
- Math: Math U See Alpha
- Geography: A Gentle Feast Cycle 1
- History: A Gentle Feast Cycle 1
- Nature Study: Exploring Nature with Children
- Natural History: A Gentle Feast Cycle 1
- French: A Gentle Feast Cycle 1
- Singing: Sing Solfa, A Gentle Feast (I recommend)
- Art: Charlotte Mason Institute’s The Alveary Art Lessons Level 1 (I recommend)