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My 2e daughter, whom we homeschooled through high school is now a college grad. My, how time flies. So lately I have been helping a young boy named Tim with his homeschooling.
Here are what we are doing with him for his early elementary curriculum. These are the same ones that I used with my now graduated daughter. They are strong and helpful for the early homeschooling years, in my opinion.
OUR FIRST GRADE CURRICULUM CHOICES
For reading, we focused on Pathway Primers, grade 1, which was full of sweet, character building stories and at the early reading level. We used them as read alouds, and encouraged my first grader to follow along with the words. The book shown above is one of the three offered together by Amazon. We loved them all. These are great for kids who want to hear gentle, animal and farm life related stories.
Many 2e kids may be already reading chapter books at this age.
After we read a story together, my student wanted to "read" it to himself again. So when he did that, or when we got audio books from the library, I set him up in a special reading corner, with a shelf that blocked out distractions.
We chose Explode the Code (ETC), starting with the Primers. We usually do these together at the table. Tim quickly learned the routine of the ETC lessons, as each lesson followed the same pattern. Doing it semi-independently, really helps to develop his self esteem. This program is ideal for early reading learning.
ETC goes all the way through 6th grade, and we loved that as it taught my daughter advanced phonics skills that made her a very strong reader.
Tim is struggling with handwriting. He does better with a thick pencil. We chose a Handwriting Without Tears book, but put it aside at first, to focus on his small muscle coordination instead.
But you don't really need to buy a curriculum for handwriting, in my opinion. Here is a frugal way to teach it - BJ's Frugal Guide to Handwriting.
We included making letters in finger paint, cutting, play dough play, etc. also.
This fall he has begun to use more "mature" grasp of his pencil, called the "pincer grasp".(see Handwriting Helps below)
He isn't ready to use a regular sized pencil yet. But there is no hurry! We will keep him on the thick one as long as needed. What does it really matter, as long as he is progressing!
Please see my page on Handwriting for more resources and ideas. I am an OT and I encourage families to use playful games to help with handwriting issues. Many are shared in my page mentioned above.
After we did some of the fun activities in that post, he was more than ready for to start learning to write with the program mentioned above.
We decided to use Saxon Math First Grade this year, but first our emphasis is on using manipulatives, math play, and making patterns. We did lot of his math work and play on the floor.
My first grader did better with short learning periods, such as 15 or 20 minutes at a time, with minimal distractions.
I gave him a break in between each session, where he plays, watches an educational show on tv, etc.... But when he is on a roll, then, of course, we continue.
Tim also liked to earn stickers, which he and his mom chose each week or two from the book store. Earning stickers gave Tim a concrete reward for doing his work.
We always went over his sticker chart at the end of the week, to give him extra attention. And he liked to show it to his mom and dad at dinner.
A few years ago, I began helping with a 6 year old with ADHD. He had recently been diagnosed, and his mom decided to homeschool him.
He was a wonderful, fun loving boy, who was very active and easily distractible and who fidgeted a lot when given instructions.
He was also very eager to learn. Whenever there are directions to be given, Tim plays with a small toy that I give him.
This helped to lessen his anxiety and his concentration tends to improve.
For more information on homeschooling kids with special needs, check out this group post that I enjoyed hosting at The Curriculum Choice - Special Needs Homeschooling. I also have articles on ADHD, sensory issues, 2e and more on my blog. Just click the taps Early Years or 2e at the top of my blog.
Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,
Betsy is mom to her now college grad, whom she homeschooled from day one. She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early years, high school & college and wrote the book - Homeschooling High School with College in Mind. She offers free homeschool help through messages at BJ's Consulting.