Elephant & Piggie Save the Day (1st grade homeschool update)

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In this post I shared my plans for our 1st Grade homeschool year. Once we started there was some tweaking I had to do, so I’m here to report. Now we’ve found our groove and things are going well.

Reading:

I quickly realized that the Sing, Spell, Read & Write book we had was moving too slowly for Caleb. For a short time I switched back to Catholic Heritage Curricula’s Little Stories for Little Folks (which we used quite a bit last year).

Then one day when it was time for reading and I got out the next story, Caleb broke down in tears. He had taken one look at the first page full of words and was overwhelmed. I insisted he read the page because I knew he was up to the task, but after that experience I reevaluated. I don’t want him to dread reading. I want him to love it.

During a providential internet search for funny beginning readers I happened upon the Elephant & Piggie books by Mo Willems. I was able to get lots of them at our local library, so for at least a couple of months we’ve been working our way through each one.

These books are great! There are only a few words per page (but usually around 60 pages per book), and lots of repetition. They use plenty of diphthongs, consonant blends and digraphs. But best of all they are FUNNY. Caleb does not even realize how hard he’s working to read each page because the story is so funny and engrossing!

Recently I discovered that Mo Willems has a series of Pigeon books, so when we’ve exhausted Elephant & Piggie we will move on to those.

Handwriting:

We went back to our Catholic Heritage Curricula handwriting book from last year. It is spiral-bound at the top, which makes hand/arm positioning very easy, and I feel like the size of the letters is good for beginning writers. We are almost done with Level K and Level 1 is ready and waiting. These books are more expensive than I’d like to spend on handwriting, but the format and content has worked so well that I’m willing to pay the higher price. Caleb spends only 5-10 minutes each school day on handwriting, but improvement in his confidence, speed and accuracy has been steady.

Other subjects:

In all other subjects we have stuck to the plan. Sonlight for history and literature has been really good so far. MCP Math and our Evan-Moor Beginning Geography book have both worked well. We have not tried Artventure yet.

So far that’s all there is to report. I’m sure there will be more tweaking before this school year ends, so I’ll give a final update in the spring or summer.


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