Our Catholic Homeschool First Grade Curriculum

+J.M.J.+

We use Mother of Divine Grace as the base of our homeschool, with just a few swaps. I discuss Mother of Divine Grace and classical education in this post found here if you are interested in reading more. Here is a roundup of what we are using for First Grade with Philomena this year.

Please note that while there are lots of materials shown below, they are not all done every day. Religion, math, poetry, hymns, phonics, and literature (chapter or storybooks to read aloud as a family) are done every day. A rotation of other subjects like science, art, geography etc. adds variety and keeps this all from being overwhelming!

Some subjects take just a few minutes (like working on the current hymn or poem), while others take a bit longer.

We usually can complete all of the “book work” in an hour or so in the morning, with fun literature read alouds in the afternoons. We do not work for a solid hour – there are usually two breaks separating things out into 20ish minute slots. Some days may take a little more time, but it is very doable for us.

Most of the books are from the Mother of Divine Grace First Grade bookstore page here. I will give separate links below if I purchased the book elsewhere, otherwise assume it came from the link I just gave you.

Syllabus (Lesson Plans)

I do purchase the syllabus every year. It is well worth the $30 to have a list of basic objectives, daily lesson plans, liturgical living suggestions, suggested book lists, and more. I find that the lesson plans as written usually work really well for our family, so I do not usually need to think ahead on this – we can just sit down and dive in each week.

Religion

There are quite a few texts for religion in First Grade with MODG. The main one simply being this First Communion Catechism. (My mom saved the copy my siblings and I used as children which I am using for her – isn’t that awesome?!) Thus far she has been learning different prayers from the catechism and starting on the questions she will need to know.

We read different true accounts from this book Heavenly Hosts: Eucharistic Miracles for Kids, saint stories from this Picture Book of Saints, Once Upon a Time Saints, and various other saint books we own throughout the week. We also have this classic Catholic Children’s Picture Bible which we love to read Bible stories from.

Handwriting

Handwriting is usually done twice a week. I love the book MODG uses – it logically builds on similar lines, slants, circles etc. to teach forming all of the letters with similar attributes at a time. Philomena loves it!

Geography

The Map Skills book is a very basic Geography text that is used once or twice a week.

It goes through what a continent is, then each of the continents in order. In the coming months we will be looking at each of the oceans and then a closer look at North America. The lessons are super short and usually include fun facts about animals or foods from a certain area that Philomena enjoys learning.

Science

We really love the little science book from MODG which is usually used once or twice a week.

It has a nice set of fun and simple science experiments to inspire wonder in your child, a study of the seasons, and several nature walk sheets with different items to find while enjoying God’s creation outdoors.

Music

Used throughout their grade levels, we are continuing to learn chant and hymns from the MODG music book. We usually have the first verse totally done in two weeks, and sometimes we learn additional verses, while other times we move on to the next hymn.

First grade also includes two lovely books with accompanying audio cd’s which introduces children to a wide variety of instruments through the stories of the Carnival of Animals and Peter and the Wolf.

Reading/Phonics

Here is a spot where I diverge from MODG – we hated using the How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons book that they use. We stopped using it pretty early on last year (reading during Kindergarten was not a priority for me anyway). This year I ordered the First Grade Phonics book from MCP, found here and we do a page front and back every day.

Philomena took to this style of phonics immediately! She is really a workbook worm at heart; she loves writing and actively doing something. Unlike the more passive lessons with How to Teach which really have the parent leading, this workbook has her being very active in writing letters and saying the names of the pictures on her own.

We are about to finish up our fifth week of the school year and Philomena is reading a ton of basic words now with this phonics book. I have ordered some of the Beginner Bob Books for her which I think she is definitely ready for.

Poetry

This classic book from the founder of MODG discusses the importance of the arts, and then begins with sinple poems for young children to memorize, building up to long, beautiful passages and poems for older students. My girls love to work on memorizing their porms!

Art

Art is incorporated several ways into our curriculum. First, my husband Ethan is a fantastic artist, so he loves to do crafts and drawings with the girls on weekends. The girls love making different pictures out of various mediums with him.

Secondly, MODG has students sketch pictures from things they read during the week, like a Bible story, a saint we learned about, or copying a sketch from Aesop’s Fables.

Third, they provide a beautiful little art book with dozens of famous works of art to look at, appreciate, and discuss once a week.

Philomena loves to snuggle up in the rocking chair during art appreciation. The beginning of the book has a list of fun prompts which help you enjoy the art and discuss it. “What do you think you would hear if you were in this picture?” “What would it smell like?” “Would you want to be in the picture?”

Math

Here is the other main spot where we diverge from the MODG curriculum – I do not want to use Abeka Book’s math books. I have no idea what they even look like – this is just a decision based on the fact that they have had a reputation in the past for being very anti-Catholic in some of their non-math books, so I just do not feel like sending my money there. We are using MCP for math, the same company we are using for Phonics.

Philomena does a page front and back each day. Similar to their phonics program, this is pretty self-directed with her being very active in the lessons, which she loves. There is something about all the little illustrations that makes it fun to little kids and accessible to really visual learners.

Literature

There are many books we will read this year, and I cannot even give a list right now because so many of them will be decided as the year goes on.

I will give a list of books we have been reading or plan to read this year. I will update it next year with a more comprehensive list of what we read.

Aesop’s Fables for Children

The Courage of Sarah Noble

Squanto: Friend of the Pilgrims

The Trumpet of the Swan

Roses in the Snow: A Tale of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary

The Little House on the Prairie Series (We read the first book last year and loved it! Hopefully we will get through two more this year)

The Brambly Hedge Series

Take it to the Queen

The Weight of a Mass

The Bears of Hemlock Mountain

Fun Little Extras

I highly recommend some fun little extras like a dot to dot, maze book, or a scissors skills book like these that are at their level or even easier than they need.

Sometimes Philomena just loves to do something fun or easy after a more challenging task. It gives her a little boost!

So there it is – our book work for First Grade. We are enjoying our days full of family time, nature time, free play, lots of reading, and our MODG curriculum as well.

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