It’s the end of the school year! While it’s fun to look ahead to summer and all the activities, trips, vacations, and just plain fun days, it’s also important to look back and reflect on the past year. What worked, what didn’t, what needs to change and stay the same. So here’s my 1st grade / Preschool reflection.
Preschool – Planned for Princess Preschool with a focus on a different Disney Princess each month. I planned out fun arts and crafts projects for 2x a week. It started off great in the summer time but the moment I added Green Bubbles into his first grade schedule, it totally collapsed. This did not work at all. Thankfully, it’s preschool and all she missed out on was arts and crafts. I’m sad about that because it really was supposed to be something just for her that she loves, but she won’t have any major holes in her education at only 3/4 years old.
1st Grade – I just now realized I never actually wrote a post about our 1st grade curriculum choices so…
Language Arts: All About Reading Level 1, All About Spelling Level 1, First Language Lessons
Math: Singapore Math 1b, 2a
Science: Real Science Odyssey Earth and Astronomy
History: Story of the World, Vol 2. Middle Ages
So how did it go? We switched up a lot mid year. History and Science were good fits and we will stick with them for next year as well.
What didn’t work and what we changed:
Math, we hit a road block which was totally my fault. Singapore is a great program, but requires a lot of preplanning which I wasn’t doing. We didn’t do mental math exercises, work on memorizing facts, use manipulatives. It was open and go workbook which worked great until the last part of 1b which I noticed him slow way down and not get it. We switched to RightStart Level B mid year and are blowing through it because it’s simple. But it’s reviewing facts he didn’t pick up the first time so I don’t want to skip ahead. He’s learning mental math strategies a lot easier and loves using the abacus and the lack of writing. I love that everything I need is right there in the book including needed supplies, games, review.. everything. It’s so much easier for me to be open and go without skipping important things.
Language Arts, I noticed we had a major lack of writing going on which I also fixed in mid-year. We added in Handwriting Without Tears Grade 1 and Writing with Ease level 1. Since starting these, I’ve noticed his writing stamina improving. It’s gentle copywork that slowly adds length over time so it doesn’t overwhelm him. We do Writing With Ease 4 days a week, since nature study is typically a no school day for us. In level 1, there is two days of copywork, one day of narration, and one day of narration that he then copies. On the one day of narration, I have him to a page from Handwriting without Tears so he’s still writing something that day.
All about Reading is awesome and looking back to where we were in the beginning of the year when he struggled to read cat to where he is now is simply mind blowing to me, especially in just the last few weeks when he’s able to read so much more quickly and fluency is finally starting to kick in. We started All About Spelling the beginning of the year but took a long break to focus on reading. We started back at All About Spelling just recently and he’s flying through it. The only time he struggles are with sounds that he has problems with due to his speech errors. He completely understands the rules from when we learned them in All About Reading that I almost feel like All About Spelling isn’t needed if it wasn’t for him needing the extra practice with those select sounds. I use it to help review those sounds, make him more aware of them, and practice saying the correct sounds so it’s not only spelling, it’s also extra speech practice!
We also took a break from First Language Lessons for a month and just played mad lib games. It was a fun break and Green Bubbles loved all the silly stories we made up. I love the flexibility of putting something away for a short amount of time to just have fun and picking it back up again later.
I finished the year feeling like I finally found my footing. Of course, that all changes next year with Little Miss entering into formal school age. Hopefully it won’t take me as long to get into our routines with two as it did with one.