2021 – 2022 First Grade Year End Review
Hello friends! It’s such an exciting time of year. Either you are finishing up your school year or you’re a year round homeschooler and it’s a great time for a “let me get my thoughts together” break. That’s what I’m hoping to do this year. I’m hoping to school through the summer but with a lighter load and more focused on certain things. But that’s for my next post. Today I’m going to do a quick review of our first grade 2021-2022 year end curriculum review for first grade.
I want to start this year end review with some challenges that we had in first grade because depending on the kind of year and challenges one has can definitely affect how you are able to use a curriculum. For us at the beginning of the year my first grader was putting a ton of effort and energy into learning to read. Not only were there some things we had to hyperfocus on but she was also learning…how to learn.
There were lots of days when we had to stop, breath, remind ourselves it’s ok to get things wrong. Say our mantras like “I can do hard things” or “making mistakes means we are learning”. She has come so far in that area and now by the end of the year we have more energy to put on academic things.
LANGUAGE ARTS REVIEW
ALL ABOUT READING (AAR)
AAR was our priority this year. It was a perfect phonics program for my oldest daughter and great for my second daughter for her first grade year. I had to learn how to adapt it for my daughters’ needs which I hadn’t had experience in as of yet. It was fairly easy. I just took it very slow. Used all of the fluency sheets (practice sheets) even if it took multiple days. If your child is flying through a lot of people skip them but they came in handy this year. On a couple of concepts we even hit the fluency sheets twice. We even moved on to the next lessons but also added a quick review of the fluency sheets for the concept she needed more practice on.
I also added some spelling. At this level it was fairly easy to do that on my own without the separate curriculum All About Spelling. AAS is not suggested to be started quite yet anyway. The added spelling of the concepts she was learning to read helped to concrete the phonograms in her mind. At one point at the very end of level 1 her spelling was not keeping up with her reading which is completely normal and one of the reasons All About learning separates reading and spelling.
EXPLODE THE CODE
I loved this workbook and we used it consistently throughout the year. It was a great review for the things she was learning in AAR and a way to practice in a tactile way, which is super beneficial for her and most first graders kids her age really. I will definitely be continuing with this for second grade, we will be getting level 3.
BLOSSOM AND ROOT (B&R)
This was the curriculum that fell to the wayside. B&R uses a Waldorf / Charlotte Mason approach to teach reading, literature, narration (beginning composition), and more. I really love B&R but my likely dyslexic child needed more explicit instruction to learn to read and didn’t have any energy left for this curriculum at the end of the day.
With that being said, we returned to Blossom and Root toward the end of the year and it is her favorite subject, enjoyment wise. I want to say I wish we never stopped using it but I know if I had pushed her to do more she might have started to hate it and miss the wonderfulness of this curriculum. So if your first grader has the mental energy past reading and math I would 100% suggest this curriculum. It really gives them the first grade experience with projects, coloring, picture books and more, which is a big reason why I wanted to use it.
So we were all over the place with math this year. We started with the Rightstart Math curriculum. I think Rightstart is literally the best. Though it moved a little too quickly for her. I took a small break from Rightstart mid year and did Saxon Math which has more of a memorization component. She needed this memorization component at the time but I quickly came back to Rightstart.
The memorization in Saxon did work for her but she also needed the explicit / kinesthetic type of instruction from Rightstart. So what else was I to do but use both. It was a headache but I found my groove after a while. I used a lot of the review section in Saxon Math (lots of repetition and memorization) and the main lesson in Righstart (explicit instruction) and this is what ended up working and what we will probably use into second grade, but not set in stone.
We didn’t do a ton of science but when we did we used Blossom and Root first grade science curriculum and it worked perfectly. The options of read aloud suggestions, youtube videos, and projects worked well for us.
My kids are naturally adept at science and really enjoy it. They get that from their dad, not me. My daughter often watches nature documentaries with her dad and sister for Saturday night fun. Even shows like the Magic School Bus and Story Bots left her with new knowledge which is pretty amazing because I am not like that at all.
I didn’t use any first grade history curriculum specifically for her this year. She sat with us while my 3rd grader and I listened to history audiobooks but I could tell most of it went over her head which is completely expected.
I must say though I read a ton of picture book biographies, picture books about historical events, and even spent about two weeks going through picture books about the Holocaust and visiting the Holocaust Museum.
Apart from the main subjects she started piano lessons online with Hoffman Academy. We are longtime users with my older daughter and it has been wonderful for my first grader just as we expected.
She also took online spanish classes. Learning spanish , even a little, is important to me and even if I bought a curriculum it is beyond my ability to teach. We have a wonderful teacher that the girls and I both take classes with.
This was my second time teaching a first grader and I was more willing to drop things to focus on reading this time around. Learning to read and basic math is such a big focus in this grade and that’s ok. I still felt “behind” sometimes when we didn’t get to anything else. Or when we took multiple days to do one lesson, but around mid year I let it go. Like I would tell her “your my only student I cant move on without you. There is no point in trying to get through everything if the only student its for doesn’t get it. It was a good lesson for me.
Thats all I have for this first grade year. I will be doing more in depth reviews on some of these curriculum so keep an eye out for that. You can also check out my year end review for third grade here.
Thanks for coming by guys and dont forget to check us out at my Instagram to see what we are doing daily.