Thursday 26 June 2014

Year One Curriculum

It is quite difficult to believe that my youngest is almost year one age. Anyway, come September, he would be in year one, if he were in school. This is similar to US Kindergarden.

As a home educator, I am fascinated by the curriculum choices of others so here are mine.

Several notes

  • Whilst these are our choices, I don't think there is anything special about them which means that everyone else should use the same. They might suit your child or they might not. Home education can be individualised.
  • The curriculum is my servant not the other way round. In some subjects, we follow the books closely and in other subjects less so. 
  • We aren't required to follow the National Curriculum. In some subjects, we keep a careful eye on what children of a similar age would do in school but in others, such as history and geography, we make no attempt to follow the National Curriculum.
  • My son is young so whilst he does work every day, he also plays and has hands on activities. Listing the curriculum we use might give a false impression that we work all waking hours: this isn't true!

I am currently reading Leading Little Ones to God with the children and hope to continue doing this. We work on learning a verse a week. My plan is to continue doing this from a psalm so we can learn larger portions. We have a hymn of the week using hymns that are often sung in church.

The plan is to use several components:
  • Reading: using Hooked on Phonics Year 1
  • Grammar: I hope to cover elementary parts of speech and basic punctuation.
  • Writing with Write Shop-review soon!
  • Spelling: I will probably use some words from the Hooked on Phonics word list and add in a couple of high frequency irregular words each week.
  • Poetry: we read aloud a fair amount of poetry but this year, have had a successful special poem per half term which I plan to continue. 
  • Read alouds: I plan to continue with this.The question is whether to have a pre-determined list or not.
We hope to continue using Mousematics. This is a programe that comes via Mother's Companion. We don't used Mousematics slavishly but do try to cover the same topics. For example, Mousematics suggested drawing containers which held specific volumes. We decided that it would be more useful to find appropriate sized empty containers, fill them with water and then measure the water. Maths games play a fairly big role, too.

The science plans are to work on hands on science using ideas from 101 Great Science Experiments and also to take part in some of the activities from the Apologia Elementary book, Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day along with Younger Daughter.

In the coming year, we hope to look at some of the events surrounding the First World War including what it was like to be a child at this time. We don't plan to use a formal curriculum but add resources from various places. There are family diaries from both sides of the family which I hope to add in. One of the children's Grandparents has stories from her parents about the First World War.

Over the years, I have failed to find a geography curriculum that I like that covers physical geography. I was very grateful when a friend suggested the Veritas book Legends and Leagues or, Mr Tardy goes from here to there. This is a picture book which presents basic concepts such as oceans, mountains, the compass, longitude, latitude and more. We have also bought the accompanying workbook. This first book is designed for First Grade or year two. I'm hope to use it for my year one and three children and think that it should work well for both. The workbook includes a song, cutting out, maps and making a compass. I'm looking forward to using these with the children.

We recently started using Artistic Pursuits: Early Elementary book One. This book is stocked by Conquest Books in the UK. Artistic Pursuits is a great book for a non-arty mother with a child who loves art. It has short lessons which introduce a concept e.g. artists see shapes; talk about a painting and then introduce a project related to the concept. The project in the chapter around shape is to make a paper cutout collage of an outdoor scene. Many of the projects involve going outside to look. I've been using this book with my five and seven year olds and highly recommend it.

Youngest Son will probably share Spanish lessons with his sister but this needs a little more work!

I hope to reuse our History of Classical Music CDs and work on a short list of classical music for familiarity as well as looking at the basics of a keyboard.

Physical activity
We plan to continue swimming lessons but need to add in more sport. There are some ideas but I need to work through these!

Do you have any curriculum that you especially like or books that I really ought to read to my five year old?

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  1. We did flying creatures and enjoyed the book, Miss K followed along. I have Montessori landform cards which I printed and laminated for physical geography. We also used clay and made the different forms. Looks like a fun year.

    1. I've just looked up the Montessori landform cards which look really useful. My children love clay so I think we will do this too-thank you.

  2. Where did you order the Legends and Leagues books from? Do you think they need a workbook per child, or are they something that could be shared? Thanks, Kirsty.

  3. Kirsty, I bought the books from Veritas. This meant that postage was expensive (about $33 for two workbooks and the picture book). They are also available as ebooks and in retrospect that might have been a better option certainly for the picture book. We were concerned about needed to do loads of colour printing for the workbook but actually the workbook is black and white and not every page needs to be printed. I think about 31 pages would need to be printed per child.

    1. Kirsty, sorry I've realised that I only answered one of your questions. I went to the airport early this morning and aren't thinking quite straight. I think that you would probably need a workbook per child.

  4. Year one looks like it's going to be fun. We've used lots of your planned resources too. I am with you - curriculum is very much a tool rather than a master in this family.

    1. Thank you! It is encouraging when others like the same resources. I'm looking forward to year one too.

  5. The Geography books look interesting. I shall have to remember them for when my girl is a bit older.

  6. I absolutly agree with you about being fascinated to read about other people's curriculum choices. My youngest would begin reception class in September so I need to get organised and write down a plan of action although we might go off at several tangents along the way.
    My main concern is to concentrate on his reading. He is only four and can read simple books so the goal is to increase his vocabulary with more and more sight words. As far as books to read a five year old - wow there are so many. We are reading the 'Faraway Tree' series by Enid Blyton at the moment and we will use this for other subjects as well. So far he has made his own tree from clay and painted a large picture of a tree. We will create characters to add to the tree to get him to engage with the story telling and we will count, add and subtract using leaves etc. It's a wonderful series - so magical.

    Thanks for linking up to this weeks #honeedlinkup

    1. Prudence, these early years are so much fun. I love the way that you have used a book to learn so much. We need to expand some of our chapter books in this way. We used Five in a Row sometime ago and the children loved doing activities which expanded from picture books. One of my older children loved the "Faraway Tree".

  7. Wow, you've got loads planned! A5 is going into year one this year and like Prudence I just want to focus on the reading and writing for her. She has finally realised that reading is fun and is reading everything at every opportunity. It's taken a while, and I wasn't at all sure it would ever come, but she now really enjoys reading (it's almost incomprehensible to me that a child of mine wouldn't enjoy reading!!).
    I hope you both have a wonderful year learning together.