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1st Grade Homeschool Schedule
A homeschool is a safe and effective alternative to conventional public schools. It gives the flexibility to the parents and the students to learn and grow at their own pace. But whether you decided early on in life to homeschool your kids or you have recently made a choice, if you are homeschooling a first grader, you must keep one thing in mind.
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Only when you realize the fact would you learn that a typical 6-7-year-old child’s mind and body are not constructed to sit still and listen to you all day. Rather, they have an innate desire to explore, wiggle, and jiggle, and only if you let them stick to the basics rather than setting unfair expectations can you make the most of your 1st grade homeschool.
Let’s take a closer look to better understand your homeschool for grade first. In this post, I am going to share insight on what a typical homeschool for the first-grader looks like, some favorite activities and resources for homeschooling first-graders, and lastly, you will find some helpful tips and ideas that will keep you going.
So without further ado, let’s get started!
A Typical Homeschool Day in the Life of First Grader
A typical day at a first-grade homeschool depends significantly on your homeschooling style, your routine (based on your work and personal convenience), and your child’s learning requirements.
While some homeschooling parents prefer to stick to a strict schedule and make sure they complete the usual 5-6 hours that your first grader would spend at a typical school, others go with the flow and teach their children according to their convenience.
I am not a supporter of following a very strict timetable similar to the conventional school, yet I am a proponent of having some structure for your day. While teaching a child for 5 hours at a stretch can exhaust them and consume your energy as well, know that the environment at home will always be very different from that at a conventional school.
And no matter how hard you try to make things interesting for your child, making a child sit and listen for a long time can be taxing. So while you need to teach them some core concepts and have some structure for the day, you don’t have to follow a typical school schedule.
Then comes the most important question.
How Many Hours are Enough for First Graders?
As mentioned earlier, a homeschool will always be different from a typical school. There will be distractions, and you, as a homeschool parent, might have to attend to others’ needs as you continue with your first grader’s homeschool.
Moreover, first graders’ attention span is almost the same as their age (expect a 7-year-old to have an attention span of 7 minutes). Considering that both the elements are critical, it is best to limit your first-grade homeschool to 2 hours.
How Many Days a Week?
The next most critical question is for how many days should you teach your first graders? A 5-day week works fine for most first-grade homeschools, but if you want, you can add some unstructured activities over the weekend. You can also reserve your weekends for some family time and fun-filled activities and trips that may be related to what you are teaching at your homeschool.
For a first-grade homeschool, it is best to stick to the 180-day school year. If you plan these days well, you can end up accomplishing a lot during the one year at your homeschool.
Now that I have addressed the two most concerns, let’s take a look at the typical day in a first-grade homeschool.
Remember a lot of successful people prefer to start things early in the morning? Running the first-grade homeschool is not an exception.
- 7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m. – Wake up, have breakfast, and get ready for school.
- 8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. – Lesson One
- 8:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. – Lesson Two
- 9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. – Lesson Three
- 9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. – Lesson Four
By 10 a.m. in the morning, you are done with your homeschool, and you can plan the rest of your day accordingly. Note that as a homeschooling parent, you will need to spend another one-hour planning for the next day’s lessons and spending some time helping your child with after-school assignments.
Now you may be thinking that we have four blocks of 30 minutes each. Now, what should you teach in a 30 minutes slot? The most important subjects are Math and Language (which you can break into reading, spelling, vocabulary, and grammar) for first graders. So make sure you teach the two major subjects on each day of your 1st grade homeschool.
However, you can also include history and science and arts, music, and physical activities. 1st grade is often a great time to add on some electives, such as Spanish. If your child is interested in learning different languages and has the time and convenience, it is best to add a foreign language to your 1st grade homeschool.
A scheduling method that I prefer to use for your homeschool is block scheduling. It gives a neat and more organized outlook to my day where I can divide my time into slots and then assign slots for each subject. A typical block schedule that I would suggest may look like this:
|8:00 a.m. -8:30 a.m.||Reading||Mathematics||Physical Exercise||Mathematics||Writing|
|8:30 a.m. -9:00 a.m.||Singing||Drawing||Mathematics||Reading||Reading|
|9:00 a.m. -9:30 a.m.||Mathematics||Writing||Reading||Writing||Mathematics|
|9:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m.||Writing||Reading||Spanish||History||Science|
From the above block schedule, you can see that you can easily reserve 30 minutes for each slot and manage to cover the two basic subjects, Language and Mathematics, every day. And that gives you the room to incorporate physical activity and other subjects into your child’s schedule so you can look forward to the holistic development of your child at your 1st grade homeschool.
You must take short breaks between each lesson so you can also give yourself and your child a 5 minutes break following each slot.
Homeschool Activities that You Can Try with First Graders
Homeschooling your child is not just about teaching the academic content to your child. Rather, you should aim for the holistic development of your child. You will need to incorporate several co-curricular and physical activities into your schedule, along with academics.
Physical activities and co-curricular exercises ensure that your child’s knowledge base is growing, but at the same time, their bodies get the movement they need, and the brain is getting the right amount of stimulation. Only when there is a balance between academics and physical and co-curricular activities, your child grows into an academically sound individual who has the right set of values and a balanced personality.
So add on some physical and co-curricular activities to your 1st grade homeschool and give your child regular opportunities for fun and development.
Some physical activities that you can organize at your homeschool and perform with your child include:
- Stretching exercises;
- Jumping, skipping rope;
- Throwing ball and catching;
- Cycling, and roller skating;
- Completing an obstacle course; and
- Playing outdoor sports together as a family, including soccer, basketball, and badminton.
Some of the physical activities that enhance life skills include but are not limited to cooking or baking:
- Shoe polishing;
- Stitching buttons;
- Watering plants/gardening;
- Organizing papers; and
- Folding laundry.
Make sure you add at least one 30 minutes session for physical exercise to your 1st grade homeschool.
You can also plan and organize several co-curricular activities for your first-grade homeschool. If you have other children at home, it is best to include them in all the co-curricular activities, so your first grader also learns to interact with people of different ages.
Moreover, events and activities like these foster creative problem solving and allow your children to adapt to different situations. Furthermore, co-curricular activities help you discover your child’s hidden talents and passions, and once you identify them, you can take them to the next level.
Some of the co-curricular activities that you can organize in your homeschool include:
- Story narration;
- Puppet shows;
- Elocution competitions;
- Plays and drama;
- Singing and dancing competitions;
- Gaming competitions;
- Quizzes; and
- Arts competition and a lot more.
By adding physical and co-curricular activities to your 1st grade homeschool, you can teach your child to establish a connection between academics and actual-world activities.
The Best Homeschooling Resources for 1st Grade Homeschool
While it is best to teach language arts and mathematics to your first graders, you can teach a lot more to the young ones. And if you are not sure about the most relevant resources for your 1st grade homeschool, here are some of the top picks to help solve your problems.
180 Days of Practice for First Grade
180 Days of Spelling and Word Study for Grade 1
First Grade Homeschooling: (Math, Science, and Social Science Lessons, Activities, and Questions)
Horizons 1st Grade Complete Set
There are several other books and resources that you can find online. You can also refer to free online educational resources for your first-grade homeschool.
1st Grade Homeschooling Tips & Ideas
Of course, there is no right or wrong approach for homeschooling your first graders, but here are some of the tips and ideas that can help you along the way to get started with your first-grade homeschool.
Create a Routine/Structure
Having a structure in your life is critical for success. It is equally important for children. Infants, toddlers, and kids of all ages thrive on routine. It gives predictability to their day. So as you set out to start your first-grade homeschool, make sure you set up a routine for your day. With more structure to your day, your students will be ready to learn in a more focused and happy manner.
Add on Hands-on Experiments
Even if you stick to two core subjects, language arts, and mathematics, make sure you add hands-on experiments to your homeschool. Think of every teaching moment as an opportunity to develop all five senses, and there is no better way to develop your senses than getting your hands dirty.
Take Frequent Breaks
As mentioned earlier, children have a shorter attention span. They need to channel their energy positively. Moreover, as a homeschooling parent, you might have to attend to other people’s needs while taking care of your homeschool. Thus, you must take frequent breaks so you can give a fresh start to your learning.
Rely on Technology
Your homeschool does not always have to be about textbooks. Given the plethora of resources online, it’s time to rely on technology and make the most of available resources. An additional benefit is the improved computer literacy for your child, which is critical in today’s world.
Read Every Day
Perhaps the most helpful tip for a successful homeschool is reading. Make sure you read to your child every day without exception. Reading builds vocabulary and language arts along with enhancing communication skills. So let them pick up the book they desire and read along. Give them time to understand the content and ask questions so they can practice comprehension.
The first-grade homeschool is not always a bed of roses. Indeed there will be challenges and frustrations, but only if you remember that you are dealing with tiny human beings, most of your worries will automatically subside, and that’s when you will be able to make the most of your homeschool.
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