First Grade is such an exciting time! The difference between a kid starting kindergarten and one starting first grade is HUGE. Most first graders can read easy readers, have specific interests they want to pursue, and are excited about learning. Now you just have to decide which subjects to teach in first grade.
Make sure you grab the visual homeschool schedule! Your first grader will GREATLY benefit from it!
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Related: Making a First Grade Homeschool Schedule
Subjects to Teach in First Grade
There are a few core subjects to teach in first grade. Sometimes, it can feel overwhelming or seem like too much. Always remember that you have to find the right balance for your family & make your own priorities.
Core Subjects for First Grade
- Language Arts
- Character Building
- Practical Life
First graders need to be reading and practicing handwriting regularly. You will also introduce a few basics of grammar in first grade.
You can get separate curriculums for this or you can get an all-in-one like Logic of English Foundations. It’s a really thorough & fun language arts curriculum that I highly recommend. In first grade most people will complete Foundations C in the fall semester and Foundations D in the spring semester. Sometimes D takes more time though and could go into summer or second grade.
Related Post: Teaching Kids to Read – It’s Not as Scary as You Think!
Most kids do need a thorough reading and handwriting curriculum to effectively learn to do both. Spending 2-3 years focussing on these skills will really pay off in the long run!
Included in language arts is reading books and reading aloud chapter books to your kids. Often times, the books you’ll be reading will relate to other subjects listed below.
View our list of secular language arts curriculum available here!
First grade is the perfect time to introduce a math curriculum. You’ll start building on the foundation that is already set through just regular life & play as a kid. Learning math isn’t just about numbers though. It starts building pathways for problem solving skills and higher level thinking skills.
There are a few great math curriculums to choose from. We use Singapore Primary Mathematics, but Right Start Math or Math Mammoth are great options as well.
I also recommend adding fun games that have kids naturally practice their math skills.
Some of our favorite games are:
Related: 10 Best Board Games for First Graders
Some people don’t want to start teaching science until kids are older – don’t be that person. Kids need to learn science and they need to start young to begin building up a good understanding of the world around them.
Learning content subjects like science also helps kids build their vocabulary which makes them better readers as well. And the more time kids spend learning about a subject (as long as it gets deeper and deeper and doesn’t just stay on a plateau), the more they will naturally remember and the more connections they will build to understand it all so much better.
We use Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding. Volume 1 covers 2 to 3 years of science and it is such a great thorough curriculum! I also recommend getting, Early Elementary Science Education to go with it. It breaks down the lessons really well and makes the curriculum easier to use.
If BFSU isn’t for you, then check out all the other great Secular Science curriculum available!
Just like with science, history is important because it is a content subject that will help kids understand so much more of what they read and references to events from the past.
Homeschoolers often do a 4 year history cycle: ancients in first, middle ages in second, early modern in third, and modern in fourth. Then it repeats. Some people think this is too much or not the right focus. But, it gives kids an introduction to history in the order that it happened. That alone will help them grasp so much more of how different events relate to each other!
So in first grade you would do a year of ancient history. Most kids find this subject FASCINATING! It’s really fun and leads to some great hands on projects as well.
Two great options for Ancient History in First Grade are:
We actually use both because they’re both so good and cover things in different ways.
See our list of secular history curriculum available here!
Character Building is such an important subject to teach in first grade! At this age, it’s still best to teach through stories and then practicing what they’re learning in real life. We use Mali & Keela as a jumping off point for our character studies.
Teaching kids about art, the art process, and practicing making art is so important for kids! There are tons of great books that will help you along in teaching art. Remember – at this age – it’s about the process, not the outcome!
Check out our most recommended books for teaching art here!
Having a solid music education is so good for kids! Plus music is just fun and enjoyable. A great music curriculum for elementary age kids is Prodigies Music! We’ve used it for a couple of years and really enjoy it.
If your kids are interested in learning to play piano, then I would recommend checking out Hoffman Academy. It’s a wonderful program that is engaging and rewarding. One of our kids is using it to learn to play piano.
Your kids need life skills. These are important habits to build from a young age.
Practical Life Skills for First Grade:
- Helping Wash Dishes
- Helping Put Dishes Away
- Setting the Table
- Clearing the Table
- Cleaning tables and counters
- Folding laundry
- Cleaning Windows
- Helping Cook
- Making Sandwiches
There are likely many more things you could add to that list, but that gives you a good idea of some of the things you should be having your first grader do with you. Teach as they work alongside you.
Don’t get me wrong, you don’t need to include them in EVERY household task every day, but make a point of having a couple of expectations of them and including them in a new practical life skill every week or 2.
First Grade Homeschool Subjects
These are all the subjects to teach in first grade. It might seem like a lot, but with the right approach, it really won’t feel like it! Remember, you’re not recreating school at home. You’re homeschooling! Make it fun. Make it cozy. Enjoy your days with your kids, reading books, having good conversations, and exploring the world. Go on field trips that relate to your subjects. Go on field trips that don’t really relate to what you’re studying.
- Creating a First Grade Homeschool Schedule
- Secular First Grade Homeschool Curriculum
- 10 Best Board Games for First Graders