2010-11 Year in Review: First Grade

Isaac was my first-grader this year, and he had a great year.

I kept his "Table Time" (the work he does independently at the table) to three days each week, M-W-F. During this time he worked through his Explode the Code Book 2 and Rod & Staff math. I assigned word-building (more on that in a minute) or reading to him on these days, too~ meaning that he would read aloud to me from a book of his choice. Oh, and we all do history together on M-W-F, too.

So technically he does school every day (Bible, memory work, picture study, classical music, etc), but all of his grade-specific work is done on these three days and that has worked well for us.

Isaac thoroughly enjoys Explode the Code. We began Book 1 in Kindergarten and this year he completed Book 1 and book 2 of the series and is beginning Book 3. The style and format of the book is well-suited to my boy: he thinks the pictures and questions are amusing, and he has learned a lot, too!

He enjoys Math. I tried to remember to let him "build" his Math problems occasionally. I set aside a baggie of LEGOS reserved for math time and I would circle a row of problems on a page and tell him to build them~ he didn't need to worry about writing in the answers as long as he successfully built them.

Isaac really took off in reading this year, and it's fun to see him now choose to read during his free time rather than play LEGOS. He is now reading chapter books with ease and I love having two little readers in the house-- although I'm at a loss as to what good age-appropriate boy books there are out there, so I'm gearing up for a summer of finding some!

Some days I had him work on "word-building". I wrote words on the board or asked him to go get a picture book and choose a sentence from the book to "build" with our set of alphabet letters. Towards the end of the year he was creating his own sentences.

I'm certain that if I asked Isaac what his favorite part of school was this year, he would say Bible. (Which gives me an idea. I'm going to head out and interview him in a couple of minutes for you.) He just loves our Bible time, and is so captivated by the stories in the Bible and how mighty God is.

Okay, here's my spontaneous mini-interview (short and sweet, as you'll see by his responses!) with Isaac to finish out this post:

Isaac, what was your favorite part of school this year?
Can I say "The Bible"?

Okay. The Bible.

How come?
Because I just really like the stories in it.

What did you like about Explode the Code?
I like those questions in it.

Did you like doing Math?
Not so much. But I like the thing about the frogs and the rabbits. [Counting by 5's and 10's].

What was your favorite part of Nature Study?
I just liked it all.

Memory work?
Memorizing capitals.

Picture study/classical music?
I like them.

Are there any things you wish we did more of?
There's something I wish we did less of. Catechism. We did a lot of that.

How about history? What was your favorite story we learned about in history?
The one about the mountain coming up. [He's referring to the time when, through the faith of Simaan El Kaharaz, and by the power of God Mokattam Mountain was lifted into the sky: Mystery of History, Volume II, Lesson 50: St. Simon and the Coptic Orthodox Church.]

Oh, how I love my boy.


  1. Love this. Where did you get the alphabet letters?

  2. Christy~
    I purchased them through Adena Montessori, here:
    http://adenamontessori.us/product.php?cid=3 (if you scroll down the page a few items, it's the large movable alphabet.)

  3. So love getting this peek into your life :o)

    Nate The Great are fun boy readers.They are detective stories. Not all of them have the best theme so you might want to check them out individually but most of them are just fun. Our library carries them.

  4. Oh, Stacy, I'm always refreshed and inspired when I come here! I wish I had thought of using LEGOS with Micah when he was beginning math- it would have been an excellent tool for him. I'll remember that for my next first graders! :) I'm in the throes of just getting our third term on paper - we lost the last couple of months. I'm looking forward to some structure to our days again!

    I think Isaac (and you!) would really enjoy the Billy and Blaze books! My boys loved them- and still do, though they're past that level now. Warms my heart!

    (Thank you for checking on me and praying- I will send an email soon with an update!)


  5. My first grade boy would probably recommend The Boxcar Children books (the original ones actually written by Gertrude Chandler Warner are best -- you might preview the first book to see if the content is OK for your boy, but the rest don't have very questionable content), the Magic Tree House books and their Non-Fiction Research Guides, and anything by Thornton W. Burgess (our library has a whole shelf!). These are all still read alouds for us, because my guy thinks he doesn't like to read books himself but will sit and listen to a story for hours on end.

  6. I *loved* the interview...that would be a great idea to do with each child at the beginning of each summer...what a treasure that would be to read through in 10 years!

    Finding good books for boys has been so hard for me, I emailed Elise this past winter, desperate for help (I'll forward it to you).

    We 2nd Billy and Blaze, and Magic Tree House. Connor has also enjoyed My Father's Dragon, Mountain Born, Trumpet of the Swan, Matchlock Gun, Jean Fritz's history books, and his God's World News magazines (2nd grade edition). OH! and there's always a DK Eyewitness book close by.

    Talk to you soon!

  7. So sweet.
    Your homeschool sounds lovely. Your blog space here is beautiful, thank you for sharing a bit of your day and life-inspiring for other moms. :)


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