1st Grade: Thinking Out Loud

I’ve begun planning out next year and like the look of things so far. I had originally intended to begin our first 4 year cycle in 1st grade, but I think my daughter would benefit from it if we waited until she was in kindergarten and could participate. I strongly considered Berean Builders Science, but have decided to line it up with our second history cycle so all of my students can benefit from it.


Reading Lessons Through Literature 2Xwk
Homemade Copywork 3Xwk

Ray’s Intellectual Arithmetic 1Xwk*
School Arithmetics Book One 4Xwk

Homemade Greek & Spanish 5Xwk

Tapestry Of Grace Primer 3Xwk
Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding 1Xwk
Artistic Pursuits 1Xwk

Memory Work:
CC Foundations Guide
Fighter Verses
Hymns For a Kids Heart
English and Spanish poetry

Book Basket:

Supports for TOG & BFSU

YWAM Heroes for Young Readers
The Ology
Leading Little Ones To God
The Church History ABCs
Wisdom & The Millers
Ahora Puedo Leer Mi Biblia

Tales From Shakespeare
Books from Suppose The Wolf Were an Octopus
Various poetry books

Canta de Colores

A Child’s Book of Character Building
Philosophy For Young Thinkers or Question Mark

Christian Liberty Press Nature Reader

Beethoven Who?

*These are oral exercises which will take less time than the worksheets in School Arithmetics. I believe it will be perfect for Mondays when memory work is introduced because of the time we will need to cover the new memory work.
I promise I’m not torturing my child, I just like options.


The Beginning of My Greek Journey

I began this journey over a year ago but between the fact that my companions do not take the expedition as seriously as I do and the fact that my recent pregnancy was plagued with nightly migraines I have acquired very little understanding of the language. As of late I have begun moving forward on my own memorizing both vocabulary and grammar, as well as deepening my proficiency with English grammar as I am a product of California public schools.

I chose Basics of Biblical Greek because I only cared for the ability to read scripture and it seemed like the most efficient way to do so. I regret not using CAP’s Greek Alphabet Code Cracker first as I didn’t realize what a hang up the alphabet would be for me in the beginning. I hear it can be completed in a month. I use the free ANKI deck which is quite well done, as well as a Greek New Testament that I try to read from every day. Other supplemental materials I haven’t tried include a reader, audiobook, and audio vocabulary review. Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics is supposedly an excellent follow up to BBG, but I have yet to hold it in my hands so I have no opinion. Mounce’s site is difficult to navigate at first but is a plethora of free resources.


Things unrelated to BBG that I haven’t tried:

Reading Koine (workbook, looks fantastic!)

The Potter’s School (Greek & Hebrew)

Greek 101 from TGC (a focus on Homeric Greek)


A Reading Course in Homeric Greek (also not Koine, but deserves an honorable mention)

Free resources 1 & 2


My Crisis Of Homeschool aka Our Kindergarten Curriculum

A crisis? In kindergarten? What does this bode for my future?

I was so looking forward to all of my wonderful plans until I discovered that my son isn’t going to learn as much or enjoy school as much as he could, if I were to follow through with them. Shocking, I know. As it stands we’re continuing with the same resources for skill subjects, but using a book basket for content subjects. I’ll tell you what we’re doing now and update at the end of the year.

Bible: Egermeier’s Bible Story Book with memory work. We’ve done John 1:1-5, Psalm 23 and are now working on Matthew 5.

Language Arts: Reading Lessons Through Literature twice a week and English Lessons Through Literature three times a week.

Math and Logic: Ray’s Primary Arithmetic with Cuisenaire Rods and RightStart games, and Developing The Early Learner.

Foreign Language: Hey Andrew! for Greek and Memrise for Spanish as well as Pio Peep! for memory work. We also read, listen to and watch lots of Spanish because I’m trying to make it a lifestyle.

Art: Drawing With Children.

History, Geography, and Science: This is where the book basket comes in. Right now we’re enjoying the Let’s Read and Find Out Series, The Big Book of History and picks from Sonlight’s PK curriculum and Core A but I will give a full list at the end of the year.

School: What We’re Doing Now

For us school consists of reading, math and memory work. Other than that I have this smorgasbord of educational materials and toys that we can use during school, not during school, in the car, or take to church while I’m working. I wanted to share my smorgasbord. I recommend everything I’m including in this post.


Reading Lessons Through Literature: phonogram review everyday, 3 spelling words a week, copywork of his choice on non spelling days, 5 minutes a day.

Math: Miquon, Rays or playing with the rods: his choice, at least 3 times a week, 5-15 minutes.

Memory work: Bible verses, everyday, 2ish minutes.


Bible For Kids app from You Version (great retention)

Jesus Storybook Bible (sparks great conversations)

My ABC Bible Versus


20th Century Children’s Book Treasury (SL 3/4)

Harper Collins Treasury of Picture Book Classics (SL 3/4)


Wee Sing Nursery Rhymes (SL 3/4)


Cuisenaire Rods (huge recommendation!)

Developing The Early Learner


Classical Conversations Timeline Song (amazing resource!)


Geopuzzles (everyone should own this, my son’s political geography knowledge is beyond that of most adults)


Magic School Bus (available on YouTube)

Snap Circuits

Foreign Language:


Favorite books in Spanish


Since I’m church secretary I know what songs we’re going to sing in church and I teach him those with a YouTube playlist.

Daddy teaches piano on demand (Step by Step, the oooooooold version)


Art For Kids Hub (free)

Arttango (free)

The Big Yellow Drawing Book


Lincoln Logs

Magnatiles (they have played with these everyday for over a year)

Wooden train tracks


I Suppose It’s Time For a PreK Update

I mentioned our plans in my last post, but things have evolved and I wanted to share what we actually do on a daily basis.

First we pray and read a Bible story from Beloved Bible Stories, The Jesus Storybook Bible, or The Family-Time Bible in Pictures. This takes no more than 5 minutes.

Then we do our memory work which takes about 5 minutes:

His Getty-Dubay Italics Handwriting takes about 2 minutes.

We are using Education Unboxed which is free, and the RightStart Activities for AL Abacus for math concepts. This takes as long as he likes.

Casually we watch The Magic School Bus, Salsa or El Mickey Mouse, and do Pinterest style art. I also plan to soon implement Drawing With Children. We read for about an hour a day, and Daddy’s teaching him piano on demand. Our favorite things are Cuisienaire Rods, Sketchbooks (so they can watch their progression and build upon old ideas), Reading Lessons Through Literature phonogram cards, and almost every book mentioned on the AO list, in Sonlight 3/4, or by Dr. Seuss. We also love our Appletters and plan to purchase Spanish Banana Grams.

So, We’ve Decided to Have a Formal PreK Year…

I am not really an advocate for beginning school at 4. I am actually a bigger fan of the idea of beginning formal education later rather than earlier, but we need more structure in our day and John really enjoys what little school we do and is asking for more so we are taking the plunge and will officially be homeschoolers soon! I have been so exited all this time, and now I am tremendously nervous.

I plan on a January to November school year with a Sabbath schedule, which means six weeks of school followed by a one week break. Beginning school in January allows you to just have one small break from before Thanksgiving until after New Years, rather than a three month break in the summer and several breaks immediately after the school year starts. It seems that the public schools spend the entire first semester catching up due to poor scheduling, but it is difficult to change a system when it is that big.

Anyway, without further ado, this is our curriculum plan for our 4 year old boy for the year of 2015:

Bible: Beloved Bible Stories, by Rhonda Davies.

Language Arts: Reading Lessons Through Literature will eventually cover Spelling, and Reading for the elementary ages, but for now we are just beginning the phonogram cards and some light writing. I said originally that I was going to use Logic of English, but after spending time with both programs I feel that Spell to Write & Read is a better fit for our family.

Math: I found Education Unboxed while looking for something fun for a child so young. Next year I intend to start Ray’s Arithmetic, possibly paired with RightStart, but for now I do not believe that a twenty minute math program is a great idea for John.

Spanish: We are not really using a curriculum for this yet. We are using flash cards and I am teaching him some basic conversational skills.

Piano: Matt has been teaching John using the Step by Step course which is how he learned. I imagine that they will work their way through the entire program in the next six years or so.

Memory Work: This year we are just concentrating on songs we sing at church and Bible verses. Simply Charlotte Mason has a great free resource for scripture memory.

Read Alouds: So far we have used Ambleside Online Year 0  to select most of our books, and will continue to do so.

I am intentionally trying to keep things light, so that we are not doing everything that caught my attention, but I will recommend a few things for you to check out that I heavily contemplated for us this year. I would not be surprised if they they all make the list next year.

Sonlight PreK

RightStart A

Beginning Thinking Skills

Linguistic Development Through Poetry

How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare

Free & Cheap Spanish Resources

Getting Started With Spanish by William E. Linney and Antonio L. Orta is a fantastic resource of 177 lessons of mostly grammar that take less than five minutes per day. It’s mastery based, and I believe could be appropriate for children as young as kindergarten. The author provides free pronunciation resources at www.gettingstartedwithspanish.com.

Learn Spanish Vocabulary 101, by Innovative Language is free and comes with a free audio download from innovativelanguage.com

You can typically buy very inexpensive flash cards to develop vocabulary at your local educational store, and I personally am interested in The Complete Book of Starter Spanish and The Complete Book of Spanish for my young children.

Free Spanish Readers For Kindle:

An Elementary Spanish Reader, by Earl Stanley Harrison

Heath’s Modern Language Series:  The Spanish American Reader, by Ernesto Nelson, and Spanish Short Stories

A First Spanish Reader, by Alfred Remy

Grade School Decisions Finalized

I know it’s considered foolish to call anything “finalized” within your school, but I like having a picture of what I want in my head. So, here’s my picture.

I’ve decided to use My Father’s World for content subjects because I really like their philosophy, I can group my kids together, and it comes with a nice little planner that tells you what to do every day. They cover Bible, History, Geography, Science, Music Appreciation, Art Appreciation, and Art. They focus  on raising your kids to be citizens of the world (but not in a creepy UN way), so they incorporate World Geography and Missionary Studies into every year. Their stuff is a little light so we’re doing each course a year early; 1st in K, 2nd in 1st…

  • K-Bible History, Water & Plants, Instrument Study, Art
  • 1st-US History & Geography, Nature Study, Patriotic Songs & The Nutcracker, Art
  • 2nd-World Geography & Cultures including Music, Art, and Cuisine around the world with Zoology and Ecology
  • 3rd-Creation to the Greeks with Creation Science, Geography, Vivaldi, Bach & Handel, Art
  • 4th-Rome to Reformation with Astronomy & Anatomy, Geography, Haydn, Beethoven & Mozart, Art
  • 5th-Exploration to 1850 with Botany & Zoology, Geography, Schubert, Mendelssohn & Chopin, Art
  • 6th-1850 to Modern Times with Chemistry & Physics, Geography, Foster, Sousa & Gershwin, Art


Language Arts: I like the method of teaching Latin alongside English because Latin teaches English better than English does in some cases. Plus, it’s more fun.

Phonics(reading/spelling): Reading Lessons Through Literature.
Writing: English Lessons Through Literature followed by some sort of formal Rhetoric course, Technical Writing, Research Papers and other high school things that have yet to be determined.
Latin: Latin from Classical Academic Press
Literature & Poetry: Selections will be taken from Ambleside Online because their compilation looks FANTASTIC. I will start formal Literature courses in 7thish grade, depending on which program I choose. I like A Beka, For Such A Time As This, and Memoria Press’ Omnibus. I will be getting each of my kids a Kindle once they’re mature enough because most books I really want them to read are free.
MathRay’s Arithmetic series. These have a huge focus on mental math which nothing today can compare to. I’m not picking a higher math program for them until I know their learning styles.

Also: Piano with Dad, P.E as a family, and Greek.

My Favorite Educational Philosophies

All Subjects:

Short lessons & Narration.

Students are to design their own books about what they’ve learned.

A biblical worldview taught throughout all subject areas.


Not to be dumbed down or skipped through.

Memorize and recite regularly.


Teach with living books & in chronological order.

History & Geography taught simultaneously with Art & Music Appreciation taught within historical timelines.

An understanding of History, its effects, and the reasons behind it takes precedence over the memorization of historical data.


Nature Study with notebooking & art journaling.

Living books are a must.

Language Arts:

A focus on Greek & Latin.

Poetry, Shakespeare & great literature to be read and memorized.

Utilizing classic texts to teach a biblical worldview.


A firm understanding of why.

Manipulatives, games & living books.

A combination of the mastery and spiral approach.

An emphasis on mental math.

The Arts:

Handicrafts over macaroni art.

Multiple instruments should be taught.

Drama & Dance should also be emphasized.

Allow for the freedom of expression.


Multiple languages should be taught.

Regularly listen to & read other languages.


A focus on Logic & Socratic Discussion.

No electronics, internet, computers, calculators etc. for younger students.

These ideas are taken from Charlotte Mason, Classical Education, Waldorf, as well as some of my own ramblings.