Our Grade 1 Curriculum

When I first started researching curriculums (and there are many wonderful ones to choose from – Curriculums), I was determined to use one curriculum that covers the whole of the SA Curriculum, but as I continued my research and discussions with other moms, I felt quite comfortable to pick and choose from the best that was out there, but also that which was best suited to our family life and my daughter’s learning styles and interests.

For the English curriculum, I finally decided on My Jolly Phonics.  There is something for every learning style, be it visual, auditory or kinaesthetic.  My daughter loves music and the My Jolly Phonics kit comes with a CD and A4 song book for every letter of the alphabet.  Some foundation errors in her writing skills have been corrected with just one lesson.  (For example:  she would write the letter ‘s’ backwards and the stick on the ‘n’ would be on the wrong side).  After 6 months of Gr 0 at her Pre-Primary School, those basics had still not been corrected.  So for the little we’ve started on, I can see huge improvements and can confidently recommend this particular programme.

Contact Details if interested:

Play and Schoolroom in Rosebank Johannesburg
Vee Michalow [veemichalow@mweb.co.za]
Tel:  (011) 788 1304

or you could order direct from the UK website:
http://jollylearning.co.uk/jolly-shop/my-jolly-phonics/

My Jolly Phonics

I attended a home school seminar, when I first started looking into home schooling, and many of the moms there spoke of Singapore Maths.  I immediately came home to do some of my own research and I also visited their offices in Johannesburg, where I was able to look at their books and have a chat with the Training Manager.  I was very impressed with their curriculum, and they are very reasonable in price.  Many of the private schools in SA are following the Singapore Maths curriculum.  Singapore Maths standard is 1 year advanced to the SA standard, so I started with the second half of the Gr 0 workbook with my daughter first and I nearly died when I saw that the first lesson was teaching solid shapes (i.e. cuboids, spheres, cones etc) – not only did my daughter learn, but I felt like I went back to school.

Contact Details if interested:

Jade Education
Debra [singaporemaths@global.co.za]
Tel: 011 264 2425 / 011 364 0982

My husband is very talented when it comes to drawing and I think my daughter shares in his talent and passion for art, so I thought I’d throw in art lessons. What a great opportunity for dad to get involved with homeschool.  I ordered the book Drawing with Children” by Mona Brookes through Exclusive Books.  For half an hour almost every night of the week, dad facilitates a structured art class for the two of them to enjoy some special time together while learning to draw.

I’ve decided to include a theme for each day:
Monday – Music
I found free lessons on various music from around the world, where we learn about the history or origin of different music styles, instruments used, typical songs and basic dance steps.

Tuesday – Thoughtful Art
Grade 1 Art Lessons

Wednesday – World & Nature
See notes on Charlotte Mason below.

Thursday – Tea & Poetry
I’ve selected a handful of Grade 1 poems, which in some instances tie into the Themes for Wednesday World & Nature, for us to enjoy over a cup of tea.

Friday – Fun & Foreign
Anything fun or foreign goes here – something new, creative or a social outing perhaps with other homeschoolers.

I am a huge fan of Charlotte Mason’s school of thought and wanted to incorporate her style and ideas into our curriculum.  The idea of teaching children to think first, developing their logic and providing them with the tools to learning, is key!  That way no matter the subject thrown at them, they’ll be able to make sense of what they are reading or learning.

She believes that every 6 year old should attain the following:

1.)  To recite, beautifully, 6 easy poems www.straightlineandcurve.co.uk/class_1_main_lessons.htm and hymns
2.)  To recite, perfectly and beautifully, a parable and a psalm
3.)  To add and subtract numbers up to 10, with dominoes or counters
4.)  To read – what and how much, will depend on what we are told of the child
5.)  To copy in print hand from a book Handwriting Paper
6.)  To know the points of the compass with relation to their own home, where the sun rises and sets, and the way the wind blows The Sun; Wind Direction
7.)  To describe the boundaries of their own home
8.)  To describe any lake, river, pond, island etc within easy reach What is a river? (This worksheet is American based, but you could adapt it to make it relevant to you)
9.)  To tell quite accurately (however short) 3 stories from Bible history, 3 from early English and 3 from early Roman history (my note here, we may want to substitute early South African for early English)
10.) To be able to describe 3 walks and 3 views
11.) To mount in a scrap book a dozen common wildflowers, with leaves (one every week); to name these, describe them in their own words, and say where they found them
12.) To do the same with leaves and flowers of 6 forest trees
13.) To know 6 birds by song, colour and shape Birds colouring book
14.) To send in certain Gr 1 work as directed
15.) To tell 3 stories about their own pets
16.) To name 20 common objects in French, and say a dozen little sentences
17.) To sing one hymn, one French song, and one English song
18.) To keep a caterpillar and tell the life story of a butterfly from his own observations. Butterfly – Colouring Page; Life Cycle of a Butterfly; Caterpillar – Colouring Page

I just love the above, it’s something attainable, something you can measure.  
I will definitely teach the SA National Anthem as the one song.  Here’s a great YouTube video with lyrics and music:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gr0414FrN7g and a PDF printout of the lyrics: Lyrics – South African National Anthem.

There is a free Charlotte Mason curriculum website you could view and obtain many great ideas from:  www.amblesideonline.org

Some other wonderful sites you could view for extra material:

www.softschools.com
www.practicalpages.wordpress.com (a blog site from another South African mom)
www.teachervision.fen.com
www.learningpages.com
www.enchantedlearning.com
www.birdwatching-bliss.com
http://www.livestrong.com/teach-children-skills/ (a great site for teaching life skills)
http://www.lessoncorner.com/
http://www.getahead.co.za/index.php/worksheets/ (Free worksheets for Grade 1 to Grade 7 based on the SA curriculum)
http://www.homeeducationresources.com/FREEspanish.htm
http://www.staidenshomeschool.com (Free Home School and Teaching Resources)

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