Well, we have BIG NEWS, and we are so excited to finally share that we are going to be homeschooling 1st grade this year! We will be working with the awesome family at Rainbow Resource Center, and we will be blogging about our adventure!
Many years ago, I was one of the skeptics. But, after befriending so many homeschooling families that were incredible, I read the Well-Adjusted Child and really began feeling a small tug in that direction. I was intrigued, but still very hesitant.
Our daughter actually asked us about homeschooling many months ago–planting the seed–as two of her good friends from Pre-K began homeschooling in Kindergarten.
My daughter has attended a private classical school for the past two years, and I have taught part-time at another private school, but after our toddler got sick, we just felt like we were being led in this direction for a season. We are going to see how this year goes, and I am just.so.excited!
How I wrapped my brain around the curriculum
I approached my planning process from the context of my child’s experience in a classical school–a model that we really love. To me, the classical model makes sense, so I knew that would provide the foundation for our approach. My experience teaching in a different school exposed me to some other curriculum options, so I didn’t feel like I was starting this journey at square one. But, I still felt like I needed to cover all of my bases. For that reason, I started with The Well-Trained Mind and Core Knowledge What Your First Grader Needs to Know.
While The Well-Trained Mind might seem a bit daunting at first, keep in mind that you don’t need to read the entire book! Just take it step-by-step and year-by-year, and it helps simplify each subject for each grade level. It allows you to focus on the year at hand while keeping the big picture in mind.
The Core Knowledge series is great as it is a perfect supplement each year to ensure you have covered everything! These books are very easy to use and color-coded by subject, and it’s just so easy to pick up and read aloud to your child. There are pictures and illustrations, and my daughter really loves it. We used What Your Preschooler Needs to Know a couple of years ago, and we’ve already started this one for first grade.
Both of these books are must-haves, in my opinion, as you begin.
If you might return to a public or private school
We know that there’s a strong possibility that we won’t homeschool forever, so a huge consideration for me is keeping my daughter in sync with her peers in our private and public school options. This doesn’t mean that I’m using all of the same curriculum, but it does mean that I will try to include much of the same subject matter and content.
Having one child vs. multiple children
My situation is unique because I’ll only be homeschooling one child, and we will also have a busy toddler in the mix. I know many of you are homeschooling multiple kids. The toddler definitely adds a level of complexity, as many of you know. Stay tuned to see how we manage a 2-year-old during homeschooling! Since I’m only homeschooling one, I felt like I was able to add in more curriculum than if I was homeschooling multiple children.
Why we chose Rainbow Resource Center for our curriculum
This past year, I began the months-long process of pricing curriculum, comparing resources, and researching options. It can be really overwhelming. Once I found Rainbow Resource, I didn’t look back! Not only did it have 99% of what I was looking for, they also had the best prices I could find. I love that it is a family-owned and operated company that values customer service. They themselves have homeschooled, and they now offer more than 50,000 products at competitive prices. I immediately began creating my wishlist! If you are still researching and comparing options, they offer free consulting on their website as well as great product descriptions! They also offer free shipping for orders over $50, which makes a big difference.
When our first box arrived
My daughter and I eagerly anticipated the arrival of our first order, and I’ll go ahead and give you a sneak peek of some of the goodies it contained!
In addition to the two books pictured above, I ordered math manipulatives, history, science, language arts, art supplies, and so much more!
What do you do when your Rainbow Resource Center order arrives? Play with your geoboard, of course!
We will be using Math in Focus for math, and the math manipulatives I ordered include mathlink cubes, play money, base ten place value set, mini math balance, pattern blocks, hexagon-shaped pattern block tray, and a MathTacular DVD for good measure! Math in Focus uses a Singapore math approach, and I knew my daughter would love all of the hands-on, colorful manipulatives.
Language Arts has so many moving parts, this was the hardest for me to nail down. It seems like there are so many options, and everyone really seems to differ on their opinions here. In the case of language arts and reading, it really comes down to the individual student and reaching them. After agonizing over this for a while, here are the items we ordered from Rainbow Resource!
For handwriting, we started with Handwriting Without Tears student workbooks. For grammar and writing, we are keeping with our classical approach and using First Language Lessons and Writing With Ease. I branched out and ordered a Shurley English grammar song CD because my daughter picks up songs really easily, and I thought this might be a good supplement for the car! And finally, we thought we’d sample a Days Go By Pathway Grade 1 Primer. I’ve read great things about these–like that they’re actually interesting stories–and I can easily order more if we like it!
Of course, we had to add some “just for fun” items as well!
Stay tuned to see our plan and all of the materials we ordered for history, science, and art! I’ll also be sharing our homeschool room makeover, our schedule, our curriculum guide, and how we homeschool with a toddler in tow. We can hardly contain our excitement!
Disclosure: Rainbow Resource is one of my blog sponsors this year, but as always, all opinions are my own!