Monday, September 8, 2014

Questions Homeschool Parents of First Graders Ask

I sign off on portfolios for homeschoolers in my area when the need arises. I recently meet with several mothers of first graders. Here are some questions that came up.


How do I teach a first grader to read? What resources should I use to teach a first grader to read?
  • The Basics Section here is a good place to start
  • Florida Center for Reading Research
  • First Grade book list
  • Printable books list 1 and list 2
  • Nursery Rhymes
  • And strategies to work on with first graders
  • Starfall is a fun site for kids and works on phonics concepts.
  • The library is an excellent resource; remember that you can ask the librarian to help you find books on any topic. Try to read to your child 20-30 minutes every day. This is one of the most important things to do. Fairy Tales are great ideas for first graders: Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Little Red Hen, Three Little Pigs, etc. Jan Brett and Eric Carle and Kevin Henkes and Lio Lionni are favorite first grade authors.
  • Here is a list of words to put on flash cards and work on 2 a week. You can build them with magnetic letters, play dough, biscuit mix, sand shaving cream, rainbow words (draw over them with different colored crayons), bendaroos, pipe cleaners, side walk chalk, etc. 


What are some inexpensive math ideas? 
  • Work on the list in the pre-miquon section on the left. 
  • Some good things to use for math that you probably already have are: beans, rulers, measuring tapes, yarn, food (like pizza and pie and cookies), measuring cups, calculators, toothpicks, popsicle sticks, real money, clocks and watches. 
  • Play games together. 
  • And here are some more ideas. 


How do I teach Spelling, Handwriting, and Writing               
  • I recommend Spelling You See for both spelling and handwriting. I haven’t found anything that compares with it.
  • Work on story telling and Narration.
  • Tell stories to your child and have them talked about having her tell you stories and telling her stories. You can write the stories that she tells and then reread them to her over several days. She can draw her own stories too. Then work her up to writing one word under her drawing, then one sentence. At the end of first grade 2 sentences is a great place to be.


I'm not crafty or artsy, how do I teach art?
  • Focus on giving your child lots of fun materials to create things on her own. Some examples of things that would be great for a first grader are…yarn, pipe cleaners, bendaroos, play dough, tissue paper, white glue, glue sticks, watercolors, markers, crayons, safety scissors, feathers, beads, sequins, crayons, chalk, and  color pencils. 
  • Here are some other artsy things you can try.


What kinds of things should I first grader do for science?


  • We do a lot of nature study too. You may consider doing a couple of seasonal studies this year. Choose a tree and observe and sketch it each season OR you can work on a weather study. Birds are a great thing to study in the winter. And flowers, butterflies, insects, frogs, lizards, even pets can be studied. Take pictures, look up information about them and read it, draw pictures of them; you can press the leaves and flowers. You can also take up collections to make a nature table with seeds, leaves, flowers, just about anything.
  • Simple experiments from kits or with things around the house have been successful with us.
  • Gardening is an excellent learning opportunity. Learning about plants from seeds to the food is an excellent way to spend your days. 
  • Baking together, making soups and stews all teach children so much, too. You can find books on cooking and garden at the library that are lots of fun to read. Some stories even have recipes that go along with them that would be fun to make together.
What are good activities for a first grader for social studies?


  • Reading about presidents and people that have to do with the holidays is an excellent way to incorporate social studies. 
  • Visiting fire departments, libraries and police stations too. 
  • You can study holidays around the world and find the places on the map. 
  • Historic events and villages are great for comparing the past and present.
Wishing you homeschool blessings,


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