This morning brought the completion of the rough outline of the first grade curriculum I'm making for my upcoming little ones. If you look at the first grade page here, you'll see that I used My Father's World for my son during first grade. I loved the principles of it! I wanted a reading program that was Bible-integrated, and this sure was! However, I did feel that the pace moved a little faster than I would have liked for starting my son out. He did well with it, and now he's an excellent reader, devouring books just for fun! As my girls are coming up (and baby coming soon will also come behind them), though, I wanted to revamp the curriculum and put my own spin on it. I want to keep the Bible as a major focus, but I also want to slow the pace down a bit, especially at the beginning of the program, and set a bit more of a foundation off of which to build. I want to add in an extra early-reader that goes with the lessons, to prepare for the Bible reader that will come soon enough in the lessons! In talking with my mom, a teacher of first graders, I have also decided to add in more phonemic awareness activities (syllables, rhyming, etc.).
My Father's World first grade also stops their formal phonics/reading lessons after the first 100 days of instruction (they have 4 formal days a week, and one "science day" that doesn't count towards the instruction days, so that's 25 weeks of formal instruction). I didn't like that so very much, as it went to just reading the Bible reader, without any review or new concepts introduced for the last 6 weeks. I would like to have at least some extra review and activities for the remainder of the year. The length is also another change. After first grade, we go to 36 weeks of instruction. I will be stretching out the first grade year to 36 weeks to be compatible with a typical school year with the older children. This way, the younger ones will be able to do their lessons alongside the older ones, for the same amount of weeks.
Now that I have a rough skeleton/outline, I will soon move on to laying it all out and playing around with the order of introduction to reading concepts, as well as looking to add in fun activities that go along with it. I hope to rope the Principal into this as well! He's the artist of the family, so he will likely be the designer of all pictures in the workbook and readers! =)
So, what does it look like when I began to plan one of my hare-brained ideas (Principal calls it "baking gourds." That story can be found here.)? Here's a look at what the Principal has tolerated on our couch off and on:
Now question time: What do you like to see in curriculum at the first grade level? Are there any particular activities that engage your child more than others? What would make life easier for you in teaching a little one learning to read? Please let me know your ideas! =)