1st Grade – 1st Week

week 1So we’re back to school! Yes, we actually did our first week a bit ago, but hey – life. So it got spread out a bit, but we were still learning. Videos, bug hunts, and whatever science book is hanging around at the moment are great ways to learn.

I’ve mentioned before that we’re using a tweaked version of Ambleside Online’s Year 1. I have to admit, I am surprised at just how much Boobear loves it. He likes the variety, the books, and the short lessons. Of course, we’re just really starting our year so we’ll see how he likes it as we go on.

I’m also already changing something. PAL Reading and Writing work wonderfully so far. We’re sticking with the writing program for now, but we’re dropping the reading program. There are two reasons for this: one is that, while the games aren’t hard to make, I keep not having them ready. By the time I’m setting things out, I’m too tired to focus and making the game during the school day is not an option. I have no trouble pulling it back out if needed, but right now it just isn’t working for us – it’s adding stress I don’t need. He loves it, but is beginning to get frustrated at the slow pace, remembering the rules, and just generally annoyed. Those are the two things I can put a finger on anyway. I’ll be pulling from it as needed though.


Enter an online program called ASDReading. I’ll be doing a review on it, so I don’t want to go into too much detail just yet, but suffice to say that so far, it’s a real godsend. Boobear loves it. As long as it keeps working for him, I’d say that between this and our readers we’ve got our reading program covered for quite a long time.

And writing? Well, right now we’re still mastering printing. We’ll transition to cursive when he’s ready. Another few weeks and we’ll be doing straight copywork for our handwriting, I think, unless we decide to go back to Pentime. We’ll see.

Horizons is working beautifully for math. The variety keeps him interested, the colors are helpful, and I’m not having the “I’m going to hide under the table” that was coming with Math Mammoth. He was just too overwhelmed. Adding in Ray’s Arithmetic seems the perfect combination, since he seems to believe it’s just a book of games.


He’s enjoying all the AO readings so far. I’m honestly surprised at how much he likes Our Island Story. He quite happily pounced on anyone nearby to tell them about the myth of Albion and Brutus, show them where Great Britain is on the map, and ramble for a bit about Hercules and King Neptune. He’s also enjoying the 50 Famous Stories Retold, and his favorite thing is to find the places mentioned on the map – or pretend he’s someone from the story.

He made a very nice narration page for Our Island Story. He drew King Neptune and his wife, an undersea world, and the prince Albion fighting Hercules. He added 2 sentences, that he asked for help making sure made sense, and then he copied off the board.


We’ve also started a timeline. We live in a small place, so something that goes on the wall is right out. Similarly, I didn’t want the hassle of making one in a book that I would probably end up doing most of the work on anyway. Solution? Index cards! I take a large one and mark it with something like Prehistory, then smaller ones that fall in place behind it. One for each “scene” or event or person. Boobear then chooses what he wants to put. Does he want to draw Albion fighting Hercules with a note that it’s a myth on the card? Does he want to draw the Big Bang? Dinosaurs? It’ll be held together with a ring and can flipped through or spread out, as needed.

He seems to like the idea. Plus, I am hoping he’ll remember more since he is choosing what should be on the timeline, not me. Oh, I have guidelines, but the choice is ultimately up to him. After all, what do we remember most? The things someone else said were important or what struck us as important?


So far, I would have to say that our first week has gone quite well. I’m still trying to fully square away science – I want more than AO offers for this kiddo, but I’m on the fence between Elemental Science Bio using the lapbooks and just following Building Foundations for Scientific Reasoning with added experiments, since a friend gave us a book with tons of experiments in it. Hmm.

How’s your year going so far?

Till next time,


About LilBearsMama

A homeschooling, work at home, mom and wife. A wannabe novelist, book junkie, and coffeeholic.

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