Homeschool Curriculum Picks: Third Grade & First Grade

homeschool kitchen table

Our 2020-2021 Homeschool Curriculum Picks for Third Grade and First Grade

third grade first grade homeschool curriculum- a healthy slice of life

It’s a new school year around here! This year it began just a couple weeks after the end of our last school year. We’ve been homeschooling for over three years now and I’m still learning each year what works best for our family. We’ve taken summer breaks and kicked off school in August before, but right now what works best for us is a year round approach.

The girls took their end of year exams in May (we do the Woodcock Johnson exam through a certified local proctor) and we got the results back a couple weeks afterwards. Our proctor is wonderful and provides detailed feedback with not only their skill levels, but also strategies for how to challenge and improve their skills. I use these results (and online placement tests) to help gear our curriculum picks and levels for the following school year. 

The school year we just started will look a little different for us, but I know by now that that is completely normal. If you’re new to homeschooling, expect each year to look a little different, as part of the beauty of homeschooling is you can make adjustments as needed based on your child and your family/life situations. 

Things will look a little different for us this year for two reasons. First, we are not joining a co-op this year. You may remember that two years ago we did co-op one day a week and this past year we did co-op two days a week. We were so bummed when we had to cut the year short sue to Covid, but it was a very positive experience for us overall. Each co-op is incredibly unique and we loved ours because of the structure they provided (teaching core subjects), the incredible people in it, and the drop off option. 

The second reason that things will look a little different for us this year is that Hailey is entering third grade and I feel the need to step our commitment up a notch. I’ve done this each year since preschool and it’s worked well for us. “Up a notch” for us this year means we will be implementing a full history and science curriculum at home, rather than letting them get the majority of that topic through their co-op classes and through natural curiosity and exploration. 

I enjoy the research process of picking our curriculum. While I’ve always been tempted by the “all-in-one” options, I’ve found it works better for us to piece together our curriculum based on what fits the girls’ learning styles and interests the best. For example, we’ve used Beautiful Feet for world geography and all of us adored the literary approach because we love picture books.

third grade homeschool curriculum - a healthy slice of life first grade homeschool curriculum - a healthy slice of life

Now, with that lengthy intro out of the way, let’s get to our homeschool curriculum picks for third and first grade!

Hailey: 3rd Grade
(approximately 2-2.5 hours of structured learning a day)

Kaitlyn: 1st Grade
(approximately 1.5 hours of structured learning a day)

Curriciulum Picks 2020-2021 third grade first grade - a healthy slice of life

A few more notes:

  • I link to my favorite homeschool supplies in my Amazon store under the Homeschool Favorites section. 
  • Kaitlyn does not have a formal science curriculum, but will most likely enjoy following along with Hailey and me while we do hers. 
  • I highly recommend using the placement tests many curriculum offer to determine your child’s level. I find the level does not always perfectly correlate with grade.
  • I like to supplement and switch things up a lot as we move through the year. Other resources I like and use include Math Lessons for a Living Education, First Language Lessons, All About Spelling, Musical Multiplication from The Good and The Beautiful, and Moffatt Girl No Prep Packets. We also play a lot of games and read aloud as well.
  • The girls have responsibility charts they do every day. Their independent work usually includes their handwriting and a Moffatt Girls worksheet.
  • We don’t have a strict structure to the day. While I prefer to do as much school as we can in the mornings, sometimes we all do better with breaking it up throughout the day. Sometimes a morning walk suits us better than pushing through math. 
  • I’ve been asked how much prep work homeschool takes weekly. I find this differs greatly depending on subject and curriculum. For summer schooling, I tend to lean towards open and go curriculum (like The Good and the Beautiful) because prep is minimal. On average, I expect to spend 15-20 minutes prepping for each day while I read through the lessons for the next day, gather supplies, and mentally outline our schedule for the day.

If you’re new to homeschooling, you might also enjoy checking out my homeschool posts. I’m working on a new design for the site right now that will make searching easier, but until then, use this link to see all the posts I’ve written on our homeschool experience. And if you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments!