Topic | CM 1st grade curriculum critique request

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  • ibkim2

    Okay ladies,  while going through every curriculum possible for Charlotte Mason education (SCM, AO, MFW, HOD, Higher up and further in, OFE),etc……  I’m wondering if the following sounds like a balanced CM style 1st grade year (plan to start late summer or early fall)….

    Math: MEP worksheets (or other math program like MUS or RS), learning to tell time, learning the calendar, playing dice and card games, counting money, measuring for cooking easy recipes

    Reading:  Phonics program (like Alpha Phonics, 100 EZ lessons, or DR), Dick and Jane readers (we were given these), free online primers and readers, Dr. Seuss (we were given these as well), Miniark “Little Bear” readers.  When more fluent, have ds read to younger sister.  

    Writing:  copywork samples from SCM website, scripture memory verses, Draw Write Now workbooks, funny quotes, etc….

    Bible:  AWANA handbook, review lessons from church Sunday School (lessons teach straight from the Bible on a 5 year cycle, I have access to the materials), family devotionals

    Literature:  selections from SCM and AO year1 (I own many of these, can get from the library, or have downloaded on an e-reader)

    History:  start with Genesis and see how far we with OT (maybe through Deutoronomy) hoping to do a 4 or 5 year history cycle when dd turns 6 which will be 2 years later).  Plan to do our family tree and family tree from Genesis.

    Science:  Nature study….start nature journal, Burgess Animal Book (use the weblinks that have pics and info on the animals from the stories that was recently posted on this forum), free nature study classes at our local nature center, grow an herb garden, composting 

    Geography:  Holling C. Holling books and Andrew’s 7 Sisters who live in a Ball book (identifying places talked about on the map), draw a neighborhood map, learn about the compass and simple navigation.

    PE: LOTS of outdoor free time, swimming, running, easy hikes, group games, ball, Wii dance and sports during yucky weather

    Art and Composer studies per SCM  recommendations

    Hymn and folksongs selections

    Character: Proverbs, Wisdom and the Millers, the Book of Virtues

    Household: learn to cook/make simple things, age appropriate household chores, keep room tidy.

    Poetry:  selections from SCM and AO recommendations

    Spanish:  a simple “Phrase a Day” book I already own, learn a few simple songs

    Handicrafts: beading, cardmaking or bookmark making, stamping, Home Depot workshops with dad.  

    Narration: ease into narrations with history and geography readings, expecting more as the year progresses

    LA:  IS IT REALLY TRUE THAT I DON’T NEED TO DO THIS FORMALLY TILL LATER??????  The reason I ask is that SCM and AO say it can wait, but all my friends (even the ones who say they do CM) start an LA program in 1st grade!  I’m confused, but am hoping that SCM and AO cooridinators are right, because I prefer to just read good lit and have them naturally pick up spelling, vocab, sentence structure, punctuation, etc….from copywork and living books.

    If this sounds complete, my only purchases would be a phonics program, a math program (we will try MEP 1st since its free and budget for math program if MEP isn’t working out), and the Draw Write Now workbooks (these aren’t essential, but I love them).   

    So far on this forum the only advice I’m able to offer is related to diet, book, and toy suggestions as you are all so much more experienced with homeschooling than me.  I hope to be the one to encourage new moms in their homeschool journeys someday soon.

    Thanks in advance!



    This looks really good, but for some families it could get really busy at times. I would only caution you to be careful scheduling all of it, for instance, alternating things like poetry, Spanish, art, music. You don’t need to do all of the subjects every single day. Some should be just once or twice a week, or you’ll both get too weary trying to keep up with everything.

    About LA, that is actually true. Actually, you could say that you are introducing LA by having your children listen to good quality literature and learning to read and write the English language. So for now, your read-alouds, phonics, and copywork are your LA, and those are the most important foundation, not defining nouns and verbs or learning to construct a paragraph.

    Christine Kaiser

    Sounds good and as a current 1st Grade Mom I would also advice you to make sure not to overschedule. I cut out quiet a few things out of my schedule since we started in August. Only thing I did not seeon the list was Art, although I don’t think formal art classes are ncessaryin 1st grade.


    As a fellow 1st grade mom I think this looks great! I too advise to be careful how many subjects you work on each day and be sure to only as your child to work 10-15 minutes at a time.


    We use MEP for math and it took a little bit to get the hang of but we are really enjoying! Manipulatives are a must with this program, it really spices it up.

    Another resource for reading that I wanted to share is It required registration which is free and then you can print great beginning reader books. My son who has been a reluctant reader loves these paper books. We also work on fine motor skills by coloring the pages after we have read them a few times.



    Thanks for the feedback and the encouragement.  I do plan for short lessons, and was glad to hear from another post a while back ago that they really do work.  I have in mind to always do phonics/reading, lit selections, math, copywork, outdoor time, and Bible.  Then my goal is to do history, geography, and nature study 1-2x/week as time allows.  Next the artist/composer/hymn/PE/handicrafts goals of once/week but plan not to stress if it doesn’t happen due to life events.  Spanish, folksongs, and gardening will happen if its a joy vs. a burden to the schedule.  My ds who is now 5.5 is already better at coloring and drawing than I am, so I’ll have him give me art lessons, LOL.  He’s not gifted in that area, I’m just terrible (another reason I hope to purchase the Draw Write Now books).  Thanks, Jen, for the reader link, I will look at the link now and add it to my bookmarks.  I’ve learned of so many free resources just through viewing this forum and asking questions.  Its wonderful.  


    We are also doing year one right now, so don’t have tons of experience, but here are my thoughts.

    Writing:  Does your student already know how to print?  If not, I didn’t notice a plan for this.   Before you can do copywork, you need to know the individual letters.  You can start with either printing or cursive with a variety of programs.

    Geography: we are only doing one reading (short chapter) from the first Holling book each week, plus discussing maps, etc. whenever they come up in other literature.  We did some of “Seven Little Sisters” but found it to not be fairly tedious and just switched to Paddle to the Sea.  For us it would be overload to try to plan all the Holling books (not sure how many you were planning on).

    Character:  We enjoyed “The Seven Habits of Happy Kids” by Sean Covey.  It’s just 7 quick chapters, so it might be a fun addition to your list.

    Spanish: We are loving “Salsa”

    LA:  You ARE doing LA!  Printing, Copywork, Literature with oral narrations (comprehension and composition), Phonics (which at this level covers spelling because the same rules apply), and reading practice are all LA.  All you have left is formal grammar study and written compositions, both of which require a basis in reading and the ability to print fluently first anyway.

    Enjoy the year!  We are having great fun.


    Christine Kaiser


    we use Artistic Pursuits for “formal” art lessons, it is for children between K-3. I am not artsy either but this an easy to follow art curicullum with 32 lessons.


    Joanne, yes, my ds does know how to print letters….actually he’s in psK right now as we didn’t make the final decision to homeschool till a month or two after he started public school.  In psK they already have him writing sentences, but I see that I am going to have to stay with that awhile, because at ps the teacher has too many students to see that he prints neatly.  And thanks for recommendations on the book and Spanish site, as I am still in the research phase of what’s available that fits with our curriculum goals.

    Christine, I will also add the art book you mentioned to my list of things to consider, since I have know idea how to teach art.

    Blessings, Kim


    Here is a free art study we are doing that I wanted to offer to you as well. My 1st grade son LOVES it!




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