The first year of homeschooling can be intense, but one of the most delightful years you will remember.
Homeschooling your first grade student is a busy year so we’ve put together this guide for homecshool planning grades 1 and 2. Your child won’t need a lot of time from you, but the time you do spend will be intensive. It will be lots of fun, though there may also be some tears of frustration, so it’s helpful to have a plan to help organize your homeschool resources and keep you on track so you know which areas you may need to deviate from or change in a systematic way.
Seeing your child go from blending sounds to becoming an independent reader is an exciting time for both you and him. This year, you can begin to add in some science and history. Continue character training to build a foundation not only for good study habits, but good relational habits as well. The investment of training your children to be obedient and considerate of others will go a long way in creating a harmonious family and learning environment. Take the time you need and it will make the job of teaching academics less time consuming and so much easier for everyone.
One of the best ways to get the most out of your homeschool day is to dove-tail subjects. The best resources we have for achieving this are Language Lessons from Australian History and Berean Builders Elementary Series. Using just these two programs alone will cover three (or four) subjects and get in two different histories (ancient and Australian). Add in some maths for a good solid core and then everything else is optional.
Continue the habit of reading aloud daily to your children and have them read aloud to you. Your read-aloud time can provide the opportunity to cover all kinds of subjects without much effort at all. Reading good, “living” books together and nurturing discussion is one of the most efficient ways for a family to learn together. If you make a written record of these times you will be surprised at how much you covered!
Once your child has learned the phonograms and is well on the way to reading it’s time to begin grammar and spelling. Adding in copywork to whatever program you use can help reinforce both of these skills, as well as providing a lot of incidental learning along the way depending on what topics the copywork is drawing from. We’ve listed a few options for homecshool planning grades 1 and 2 below to help get you started.
Language Lessons from Australian History Book 1 uses many Charlotte Mason style elements as it teaches English skills such as beginning grammar, poetry, copywork, narration and picture study all while also studying Australian history.
The way history is taught in this program is very appealing to children as they listen to you read the stories from Our Australian Story and do the work set for them. With this course, you get two subjects done at once!
Please read the product page for more information. Note: This program does not include spelling instruction; you will need a phonics and spelling program as well.
Reading stories to your young ones is a super enjoyable way to learn – I don’t know any child who doesn’t like being read to, especially picture books at this age. With Beautiful Feet’s geography course, Around the World with Picture Books, children learn about different cultures through literature.
Along with geographical elements, maps and flags, children learn about the people, animals, food, etc of other countries. But it doesn’t stop there, it also includes nature study and art among other things.
There are two guides for this course, each covering different parts of the world. Choose one for this year, and the other for next year.
Grade 1: We recommend New Syllabus Primary Maths for a full-orbed and up to date maths curriculum. This series is used in Singapore schools.
To learn more, check our comparison of Singapore maths level 1 with the Australian Curriculum.
Grade 2: We recommend continuing with New Syllabus Primary Maths. You can also check our comparison of Singapore maths level 2 with the Australian Curriculum.
Littlies all love music and forming a basis for appreciating all kinds of music needs to start young. SQUILT’s Musical Eras Sampler is perfect for this age level as it provides a variety of music to introduce your children to.
You can use it with all age groups, but the Draw What You Hear sheets are particularly helpful for younger children as well as the hands-on music maps activities, combining listening and tactile activity. Instructions are also included.
Music pieces studied are:
- Vivaldi: Spring from The Four Seasons
- Handel: Music from the Royal Fireworks
- Mozart: Variations on a French Nursery Theme
- Beethoven: Für Elise
- Chopin: Black Key Etude
- Strauss: Pizzicato Polka
- Joplin: Maple Leaf Rag
- Anderson: The Waltzing Cat
Science – Optional
Developing the skill of observation is probably the most important science skill for this grade level. Nature study and keeping a nature journal can be a lot of fun for young children. Catch lots of bugs, keep them in a jar and draw them in a nature journal (and remember to let them go again). Don’t limit the drawings to the whole specimen – draw separate pictures of the different parts and also of the type of habitat it lives in. Date and time the catch/observation. Look it up in a field guide and label it with both the Latin and common names. Learn to identify the birds that commonly inhabit your backyard and what time of year they visit. Look for nests, draw the flowers of all the different native gums, wattles and exotic plants, go for walks along the river and note down all the different creatures you see. You get the idea! For more information on nature study read our article The Habit of Nature Study.
If you want to do something a little more formal then we’d recommend Science in the Beginning as our first choice for science as part of your homecshool planning for grades 1 and 2. It has been specifically written with home educating families in mind providing work for three different age groups/skill levels, which means you can easily take your child to a higher level or bring them back to the level that suits them. The price for this book includes the Helps and Hints Book which makes teaching easier for you. Just the right amount of hands-on experiments that will satisfy your children and keep you sane.
Another option for teaching science to little ones is Great Science Adventures. This curriculum, suitable for grades K-8, is hands-on project-based, and can also be included as art and craft due to the fantastic activities the children can do. Dovetailing is the best way to teach! There are 10 topics to choose from, so everyone’s interests can be catered for, and being available as ebooks means this is a very affordable curriculum. All your children can use the same book, learning together and having lots of fun at the same time.
Maths manipulatives are a great tool to use for the primary grades and we have a kit that will see you right through those years for all your children.
New Syllabus Primary Maths Grade 1 (2nd Edition) OR
Apologia has made teaching science to young children not only doable, but downright fun! If you choose Human Anatomy and Physiology you will cover science and health in one go, adding in the Junior Notebooking Journal (ages 5-10) with lessons and great activities which are all kept in one place. There is also a Notebooking Journal for older children, so you can have everyone doing the same topic all at once. Choose from Astronomy, Birds, Land Creatures, Sea Creatures, Botany and Chemistry and Physics – all have a Junior Notebooking Journal suitable for this age group. There is even an audiobook version available for all titles except Botany.