1st Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices Year-End Review

1st Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices Year End Review

The homeschool curriculum choices blog posts are great, but what I really want to know is what families thought AFTER they used the curriculum they chose!

Next up, 1st grade!  Here’s a reminder of the original 1st Grade Curriculum Choices post.

1st Grade Subjects

    Below I will give a small review of each subject, if you have more specific questions about anything, just leave me a comment and I will do my best to answer!

Reading All About Reading Level 2

A perfect fit for her! She loved it! By the end of AAR Level 2 she was extremely fluent and reading above grade level. I highly recommend AAR! 

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We did LOADS of supplemental reading, she is my bookworm.  We began and are still reading through the Little House books together.  We also read the My Father’s Dragon Series.

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We went to the library a lot and I documented many of her favorite books from the year in this post!

1st Grade Library Book Favorites fb

Spelling All About Spelling Level 1

We love All About Spelling and level 1 was a great fit for her this year.  We spaced out the lessons over the year, although she probably could have done level 1 and 2 this year – I am in no rush. Our basic routine was to do the lesson on the board, using the app when we learned new sounds, then she would write her words in a notebook.

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Grammar First Language Lessons Level 1 & Growing with Grammar 1

We aren’t completely done with these books yet and will be finishing over the summer before beginning level 2 of each in the fall. She has more free time in the summer so as we worked with the boys to complete all of their schoolwork, she got a few weeks of lighter work.

These are both great programs and certainly don’t need to be used together, I just really like both. I love the workbook format of GWG and the oral format of FLL.

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Writing Write Shop Primary A  & Story Starters

Ladybug naturally likes to write {unlike my boys at this age}, which is a joy. We used Write Shop A as our base curriculum but didn’t finish the entire program. It got a bit easy for her and I don’t own level B so once I noticed it was too easy, we just stopped and she wrote for fun. She used our Story Starters to inspire free writing also.

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Handwriting Logic of English Cursive Handwriting

Doing cursive with her this year was a good decision, she was ready.  Although she didn’t always love learning new letters and practicing old letters, she was totally capable.  My goal this year was to introduce her to the lowercase letters and we accomplished that. We even got started on upper case letters.

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For each letter she created a drawing, and we ended up with a cute collection!

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For 2nd grade I will continue teaching the upper case letters and begin working with her on using cursive naturally when doing some of her assignments.

Math Life of Fred, Mathseeds {the math portion of Reading Eggs}, Spielgaben

Our laid back math plans were perfect for her this year. She was too advanced for a traditional 1st grade math program, but we weren’t wanting to rush her. Life of Fred was perfect and we will be continuing with LOF as a supplement next year also. Mathseeds was a great fit for her also.

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She loves our Spielgaben lessons, which I chose throughout the year as we went along.  I picked lessons from the manual that I thought she would enjoy and would enhance her math skills. Below you can see direct links to all we did. We will continue to supplement with Spielgaben.

Exploring-3D-Shapes-with-Spielgaben3[1] Exploring-Symmetry-with-Spielgaben22 Math-Play-with-Spielgaben---ideas-fo[1] Math-with-Spielgaben122 Soma-Cube-with-Spielgaben22 Playful-Learning-with-Spielgaben-Sep Hands-on-Math-with-Spielgaben3_thumb Hands on 1st Grade Math with Spielgaben Multiplication-with-Spielgaben24622 Create-a-Clock-with-Spielgaben1012 Exploring-fractions-with-Spielgaben8[1] Exploring-Measurement-with-Spielgabe[1] Exploring Shapes with Spielgaben

She will begin a more traditional math program in the fall, Teaching Textbooks 3

Science Evan Moor Skill Sharpeners Science Grade 1, The Curious Kid’s Science Book

We oved using these books!  She did too!  The Evan-Moor book was her main science curriculum and she did extra science activities and experiments from the other book.  Daddy led all of this and for that I am SO thankful!

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Unit Studies

I love doing unit studies with my kids, just wish I took time to do more!  We had fun with 3 of our own, and then were blessed to begin reviewing product for Ivy Kids Kits and got to enjoy 3 more units thanks to those kits!  She LOVED all of these!  Click on graphics to see the posts!

Bat Unit Study  Exploring Frogs Unit Study and Lapbook  Owl Unit Study and Lapbook 

A House for Hermit Crab Unit Study with Ivy Kids Kit  Gotta Go Gotta Go Ivy Kids Kit Review - A Fun Way to Explore the Monarch Butterfly  Penguin and Pinecone Unit Study with Ivy Kids Kits

Character We Choose Virtues

We made it through all of the virtues and she really enjoyed this! It was a great fit for her this year!

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Art Home Art Studio

I am such an art slacker. I am actually impressed that we completed 2 entire projects from our Home Art Studio Disc. Ladybug is naturally creative and artistic so she did tons of spontaneous artwork on her own, but these are the only two from our actual curriculum!

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Bible ~ Picture Smart Bible K-3 Old Testament {with Krash}

See why we love Picture Smart Bible here!

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US Geography ~ {with Krash}

See our USA Geography Wrap-Up here!


Group Subjects ~ Mystery of History, World Geography

Daddy taught History to all 3 kids. We continue to love The Mystery of History and we will be continuing on with it next year for the younger 2 kids.

Daddy and I both taught World Geography this year, and it is a great fit. We will be using the same plan with the little 2 next year also.



Stay tuned, I will be sharing our curriculum choices for 9th grade, 5th grade, and 2nd Grade soon!

See our Year End Review for 8th Grade here and our Year-End Review for 4th Grade here!

8th-Grade-Homeschool-Curriculum-Year 4th Grade Homeschool Curriculum Year End Review


See last year’s Year-End Review posts by clicking on each grade level below!

3rd-Grade-Homeschool-Curriculum-Choi[1] 7th-Grade-Homeschool-Curriculum-Choi[1] All-Together-Subjects-Homeschool-Cur[1] Kindergarten-Homeschool-Curriculum-C[1]

Exploring Shapes with Spielgaben

Playful Learning with Spielgaben is our monthly post sharing Spielgaben in action!  If you missed the introduction to this series, you can see it here. We were given the Spielgaben set to review and are honored to have them as a blog sponsor.

Exploring Shapes with Spielgaben


Exploring Shapes

We have been using our Spielgaben set to explore shapes this month. As we continue on with a very loose 1st grade math plan, I choose concepts I want to expose her to before beginning a more formal math program in 2nd grade.

Math Manual, Part 3, Chapter 1 ~ Play 28: Let’s Make Shapes

Spielgaben Math Play 28 ShapesSpielgaben Math Play 28


We have obviously worked with shapes before, so this was an extension of what she already knew.  For this lesson she learned the word vertex and we made vocabulary cards to go along to reinforce our new words.

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Her other new word was quadrilateral, and we had fun making quadrilaterals together both with the balls and also the sticks.

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Math Manual, Part 3 Chapter 1 ~ Play 29: I Want to Be a TriangleSpielgaben Math Play 29


This was a neat lesson built into a fun game.  We used 3 dice each with 1-6 on them.  We organized the sticks in groups as shown below.

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We took turns rolling the dice and using the corresponding stick to build {or not build} a triangle, learning different things along the way – like the fact that you can’t build a triangle every time!

As we moved along she learned about an isosceles triangle!

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We also learned about an equilateral triangle!

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See more math fun we have had with Spielgaben!

Exploring-3D-Shapes-with-Spielgaben3[1] Exploring-Symmetry-with-Spielgaben22 Math-Play-with-Spielgaben---ideas-fo[1] Math-with-Spielgaben122 

Soma-Cube-with-Spielgaben22 Playful-Learning-with-Spielgaben-Sep Hands-on-Math-with-Spielgaben3_thumb Hands on 1st Grade Math with Spielgaben 

Multiplication-with-Spielgaben24622 Create-a-Clock-with-Spielgaben1012 Exploring-fractions-with-Spielgaben8[1] Exploring-Measurement-with-Spielgabe[1]


See version 4.0 here!


Spielgaben offers a special discount to my readers, just send an email to [email protected] mentioning 1+1+1=1 and you will be provided with a discount coupon!

Gotta Go! Gotta Go! ~ A Monarch Butterfly Unit Study with Ivy Kids Kits

 Gotta Go Gotta Go Ivy Kids Kit Review - A Fun Way to Explore the Monarch Butterfly

{disclaimer ~ Ivy Kids is a blog sponsor and sent us a kit for this review}

We continue to be in love with Ivy Kids Kits. These are by far the best monthly subscription kits I have seen.

Not familiar with Ivy Kids Kits?

Ivy Kits are a monthly educational subscription for children ages 3-8 developed by early childhood teachers with children of their own. You can tell these kits were developed by people who truly know young kids.  The activities are awesome. Not only can you subscribe to a monthly kit, you can also buy past kits.

Each Ivy Kit contains instructions with ways to modify games to best suit each individual child and provide adults with questions to structure a child’s learning. There are enough games and materials in each kit to engage and cognitively stimulate a child throughout the month and can be replayed for years to come.

We were sent  “Gotta Go! Gotta Go! for this review.  Here’s ALL that was included in this kit:

  • The book Gotta Go! Gotta Go! by Sam Swope
  • Read along Bookmark: Use to assist with reading comprehension.
  • My Little Caterpillar: Use the brightly colored pom-poms, clothespins, and pipe cleaners to make cute little caterpillars. 
  • Butterfly Magnets: Transform your caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly. Create colorful butterfly wings by dripping water onto a colored filter. Clip the wings to the caterpillar and add a magnet to make a butterfly magnet.
  • Butterfly Life Cycle Wheel: Create a life cycle wheel with the 4 stages of the butterfly’s life.
  • Clay Model of the Butterfly Life Cycle: Use the clay to make models of each of the 4 stages of the life cycle: egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, and adult.
  • Butterfly Handprint or Footprint: Create a beautiful keepsake and decoration for your home with a butterfly made from your child’s handprints or footprints on a canvas board. 
  • My Monarch Butterfly: Learn interesting facts about monarch butterflies and examine a model to learn more about these beautiful insects. Use the model to help you draw all the parts of a monarch butterfly.
  • Mexi-Go! Board Game: Get your butterfly to Mexico for hibernation and then back home again to lay eggs as fast as you can.
  • Butterfly Symmetry: Use the pom-poms to make butterflies with symmetrical wings.
  • Hanging Butterfly: Use markers, pom-poms, and/or paint to decorate a 3-dimensional butterfly.  
  • My Butterfly Garden: Plant easy-to-grow wildflowers in your decorated planter. When the wildflowers bloom, they will attract beautiful butterflies.  
  • Save the Monarch Butterflies – Plant Milkweed: This month, Ivy Kids has made a donation to the Save Our Monarchs foundation to help preserve this beautiful butterfly. Save Our Monarchs has provided milkweed seeds for planting. Planting milkweed seeds outdoors can help increase the monarch butterfly population.
  • Caterpillar Patterns: Use the colored pom-poms to continue the pattern on the caterpillar’s body. 
  • Rhyming Wings – Matching Game:  Players take turns flipping over two butterfly wing cards. A pair is a match if the words on the two wings rhyme.

Activities From Our Box…

I showed her the book first and she immediately curled up to read it herself. We barely got the box open and she was snuggled up in the beanbag reading. Below she was reading it aloud to me.

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We began by planting wildflower seeds, which she completely LOVED!

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Our seeds grew quickly!  We don’t have flowers yet but they sprouted already and are growing!

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Mexi-Go was a fun and simple game included in the kit. She learned all about how the Monarch Butterfly migrates to Mexico and this fun game was a reinforcement of that!

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She loved creating the Life Cycle Wheel as we learned more about this through the awesome sheet that comes with the kit. You can see it on the table by her.

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I love her little clay model of the butterfly life cycle!

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She loves ANYthing artistic so drawing and labeling her on Monarch Butterfly was a big hit. She used the guide that came with the kit as well as the realistic butterfly {see it sitting on the table beside her}.

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Her completed butterfly!

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One of the best things about these kits is the organization. The clear instructions allowed me to leave activities for my mom to do with her while she was babysitting one day! 

The Butterfly Foot Print Craft looks like it was loads of fun and I love the finished product but am secretly glad my mom handled the mess of this one!!

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They also did the Butterfly Magnet craft together and it turned out beautifully and hangs on my fridge now!

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Her enthusiasm for these activities is through the roof, she loves her “box time” and begs me to do something from the box all the time! You can see ALL of the activities included in the box here!

We also loved our A House for Hermit Crab kit, and our Penguin & Pinecone Kit!

A House for Hermit Crab Unit Study with Ivy Kids Kit  Penguin-and-Pinecone-Unit-Study-with


20% off your first kit for NEW Subscribers to the monthly subscription kits!

Use code: IVY20

A huge thanks to Ivy Kids for sending us these kits to review. If you are looking for a simple way to do unit studies with your young child, I highly recommend Ivy Kids Kits!

When you subscribe to Ivy Kids, each month you will receive a very well organized kit containing a book and ten or more activities based upon the story. Everything you need to learn and play is included in your kit. I mean EVERYthing. These kits are incredible!

We Love Picture Smart Bible

This year for our Bible curriculum we chose to use Picture Smart Bible Old Testament K-3 with our younger two children. We want to continue on with this and move into the New Testament when we finish the Old.

{disclaimer ~ our affiliate link is used}

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Why We Like Picture Smart Bible

PSB has worked for us because it is a simple overview of each book of the Bible. The script is simple and guides me as a teacher as the kids work on their pages.


This isn’t an intense Bible study, it doesn’t take long and you create a really neat visual notebook for your child as you go along!


My kids LOVE to flip back through their pages! The pages become a scrapbook of sorts and a simple visual reminder of the key themes in each book of the Bible.


Draw your way through the Bible

Evan-Moor Daily Summer Activities Book Review

Evan-Moor Daily Summer Activities

{disclaimer ~ Educents is a blog sponsor and provided Evan-Moor books for review}

Educents is the trusted resource for every child’s education. Whether you’re looking for curricula and science experiments, or tips and ideas, we hope we can help you discover new ways to make learning fun! logo-highres126

Click here to find innovative products and ideas created by a community of experts in education!

For years we have done a Summer Challenge with our kids as a way to keep them busy and help them have a chance to earn some extra money. As the years have passed, making the Summer Challenge simple has become more and more important. I found a way to simplify extensively this year thanks to our latest review item ~ Evan-Moor Daily Summer Activities Workbooks! We got the 4th into 5th book for our son and the 1st into 2nd book for our daughter.

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Once we got the books, I discussed it with my husband and together we decided how much we wanted to give our younger two children the potential to earn. We then divided that by the number of units in the workbook and taped money inside of the book! It’s extremely motivating to see your money staring at you!

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Our younger kids don’t get an allowance {mostly because we are not attentive enough to remember- we’ve tried}, so this is their main income earning opportunity from us! Here’s a video sharing more about the book and the system we are using!

The kids have already begun since they have each finished a few subjects for their current year. In their free time we allow them to work on these workbooks! So far the skills have been right on target for each of them, reviewing things I definitely want reviewed!

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Final Thoughts…

I definitely recommend the Evan-Moor Daily Summer Activities workbooks if you are looking for a simple way to keep your kids on track this summer with academic skills. Evan-Moor is one of my favorite publishers and these workbooks are visually appealing and cover a wide variety of skills. You can buy the 1st-2nd grade workbook here, or the 4th-5th workbook hereSee all Evan-Moor products on Educents here!