First grade is approaching. We decided, after a strange end to kindergarten, that we would indeed homeschool next year – so we’ll have a 1st grader, a pre-kindergartner, and a preschooler at home. I’ve already gathered most of what we’ll use for next year. We won’t do every subject every day – and for some subjects, I’m patching in additional resources/topics that should be covered but aren’t by the main resource or spine we’re using. For this post, I’ll just be focusing on the main resource. (Note: some of these links are affiliate links, and if you click on them and make a purchase, I will receive a small percentage of the sale, at no additional cost to yourself.)

First Grade Language Arts

Phonics and Literature

For phonics, we’ll continue on to All About Reading Level 2. I really like this program as it gives hands-on practice with letters but also allows students to build their reading confidence by having them put into practice what they’ve learned. Cards with phonemes and new words help build fluency. So far it’s been an excellent program for our family.

For literature, we’ll be focusing on retellings from ancient literature from around the world – Chinese folktales, Egyptian, Greek, Norse, Celtic, and Roman myths, etc. I’m still working out the complete list and schedule for those, but they’ll largely follow our history schedule. We’ll do some narration pages for what we read as well.


We’ll finish up MCP’s Spelling Workout A and continue into Spelling Workout B. I like these books because they proceed phonetically, lessons don’t take long to complete, and they build on each other.


We’ll primarily be using Evan-Moor Skill Sharpeners Grammar and Punctuation for First Grade. I originally thought we’d use First Language Lessons 1, but I felt like my gal needed more hands-on experience, and she responds well to colorful workbooks. I’ll work elements from FLL1 into the flow of our Grammar schedule.


For penmanship and handwriting practice, we’ll use Zaner-Bloser Handwriting Grade 1. My gal enjoys these books, and it doesn’t take too long to complete a page.

We’ll also use Evan-Moor Daily 6-Trait Writing for first grade. Again, this is a program I’ll wrap with another one – Writing with Ease Level 1.


For maths, we’ll be using Singapore Math’s Dimensions Math 1A and 1B as well as Singapore Math’s Math Sprints 1, Challenging Word Problems 1, and Process Skills 1. We’ll also play some math games like Mobi and do some math projects from Family Math and other sources.

Thinking Skills

I’m putting together an eclectic curriculum drawing from a variety of sources, mostly from Critical Thinking Press, but we’ll also learn chess and use some other critical thinking games.

Foreign Language

My gal wants to learn French, so we’ll work on learning the French alphabet and basic French vocabulary this year. This is another subject I’m still piecing together since I wasn’t completely thrilled with any one resource.

Social Studies

For history, we’ll be using History Quest level one – both the book and the study guide with a variety of additional resources. This is a great secular history resource and follows our classical pattern for history. We’ll be studying ancient history.

We’ll also study current events thanks to CNN 10, and use Evan Moor’s Geography Skill-Sharpeners to supplement the map skills picked up by studying ancient history. I’ll also supplement with materials to round out government and economics standards for first grade.


We’ll study life science – animals (including evolution and dinosaurs), the human body, and plants this year. I’ll be using Pandia Press’s Life level 1. However, I’ll be rearranging the order and adding things in using their suggestions for additional reading. My first grader wants to be a scientist when she grows up, so I wanted to add more enrichment activities – one of the great things about homeschooling, right?


I’m using Artistic Pursuits Volumes 1 and 2 in the K-3 series. Volume 1 covers building an artistic vocabulary and Volume 2 covers ancient art. While I really like that this curriculum has art history and art skills in one program, I’m a little bummed that it’s very western-focused. So, I’ll be patching in some non-western ancient art to round that out.


My gal wants to pick the Violin back up, so we’ll look into that. I haven’t yet decided on what we’ll do for music history yet.


We’ll work on coding, do some nature study work, and some STEM projects as well.

It all seems like a lot, but in reality, it’s not. Like I said, not everything will be done every day, and my first grader works through things pretty quickly – the bulk of time will still be play-based and project-based. She’s really excited about the curriculum.

What will you be using for 2020-2021?


11 thoughts on “What We’re Using for First Grade 2020-2021

  1. I’m looking for ideas for a first grader too! Thanks for sharing. I would be interested in seeing a review of SM dimensions after you’ve used it for a while.


  2. That’s so neat that she wants to learn French at such a young age! I love how homeschooling allows us to really cater to their interests and let them flourish!


  3. We will be using All About Reading Level 2 as well. I am a huge Artistic Pursuits fan as well. Chess is great – my oldest son is so good at it.


  4. Love it! We’ll either be doing kindergarten again since I had to take off a lot of time for this pregnancy or going into 1st.


  5. Love it! We’ll either be doing kindergarten again due to me having to take off a lot of time for this pregnancy or going into first.


  6. I have always been intrigued by All About Reading – haven’t had the chance to try it in our homeschool yet. We’ve used quite a few of the books from Artistic Pursuits and enjoyed them.


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