Preparing for Homeschooling – First Grade

This coming homeschool year will be a milestone for me. My oldest will be entering her last year and my youngest is starting first grade. Lots of emotions whirling around this Mom. I can tell you that I am a blessed woman. It has been the best thing to ever happen to me. Being able to stay home with my kids, and train them up for the life ahead of them has been a true treasure that I will not soon forget!

For those just starting out in homeschooling, I thought it would be helpful to offer some advice for homeschooling First Grade. Really, preschool is where it all begins, however, First Grade is where you find out just how ready they are for the coming grades. It is VITAL that you build a good foundation. Without it, your children will have a tough time keeping up with the work ahead of them. This is the time when the base must be placed and built upon.

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6

Getting Started

Make sure that you have everything you will need for the coming school year.

  • text books
  • paper (writing, drawing, construction and scrap)
  • pencils (regular and colored)
  • crayons
  • water colors
  • white board or chalk board. Even painting an area of your school room with chalk paint will work.
  • art supplies
  • clay/play dough
  • visual aids for teaching (alphabet charts, numbers, addition/subtraction flashcards, sight words, etc.)
  • beginner readers
  • books for story time
  • field trips and activities planned for at least the first half of the school year.

Tips: No need to break the bank! You can make many things yourself for a lot less money. Also, take advantage of your local library for books. Get creative and be frugal. Save your money for field trips and activities! :)

Planning Your Days

You definitely need to have a schedule. However, it is never a good thing to have such a strict schedule that you do not allow for creativity, additional time for tougher concepts, or just because. :) Sometimes kids need us to be flexible and fun. There have been days that I had to put down the books and just enjoy spending time with them. Or, I have had to say, ” let’s just go for a walk to the park”, and let them burn some energy.

Schedules are important, needed and useful. However, they are not the end-all-be-all of a successful homeschool experience. They are a tool to help aid in the process. The most important things are love, patience, repetition and consistency.

Breaks are another important part of a homeschoolers day. The younger children need this the most. Trying to teach your child for over an hour for K – 3 is a bad idea. I highly recommend NO more than 45 minutes at a time. Then, have a 5 minute stretch break. This is also a good time to read to them. If you break up their day with breaks, they will learn more. If you try to overwhelm them, they are going to get stressed and the experience will be unpleasant for everyone.

A good schedule looks something like this:

Note: keep in mind, you will have to adapt time as need for each child. Every child is different. You may see that 15 min sessions work better then 30-45. That is OK. Simply adjust times to fit your child–not you. You want your children to have a love of learning and the best experience possible. Quite frankly it isn’t about us–it is about THEM. :)

  • Breakfast (20-30 min)
  • prayer (5 min)
  • Bible (15-20 min)
  • Phonics (30-45 min)
  • Reading (15 min)
  • Light Snack Break (15 min)
  • Story Time (15-20 min)
  • Math (30-45 min)
  • Review Phonics/Reading (20 min)
  • Lunch (20-40 min)
  • Other subjects (science, social studies, etc) – (20-30 min)
  • Fun Educational Activity or Art (30-60 min)
  • Reading (15 min)
  • Review (30 min)
  • Play (something vigorous!) – (60+ minutes)

There is not “exact” science to this. My oldest was far different that what my youngest is. I need to have lots of breaks for her and she requires a lot more time and attention. Do not be discouraged if you have a hard to teach child. I believe that with love, repetition, consistency and patience, you can overcome any and all obstacles!

Make it Fun

If you want to have the most impact on your homeschool child, fun will be a key ingredient.

Be creative. Play games. ENJOY this time because it will be gone in the blink of an eye!

Some ideas to get the juices going…

Movie Day. Have a movie day once a week. I used to do it on Fridays. I would pick a movie and during our lunch time, snuggle up on the couch and watch the movie .

Park Days. One or two days a week is a good amount. Take a walk or quick drive to a close by park and let them run around for about 20-30 minutes. You can do this during snack time. It stretches the day a little, but it is worth it. You could also skip the extra subjects (science, social studies, etc) two days a week for the younger ones. We would do 3 days per week of those anyway. Up to you. :)

Sing Songs. Make up your own fun and silly songs to help aid in teaching concepts, or find some. This is a very fun thing for the kids. My teenager still recalls some of the silly songs I would sing to help her remember concepts. NO need to sing in key. LOL!

Games. Using games and visuals to aid in learning are a must! I had only one child for may years, so I had to be especially creative. You could make your own games or purchase a few. Some things I made were math and phonics bingo. I would use construction paper and markers. Simple. I would also buy games. Really there are so many things you can do. Try a Google search, ask your homeschool friends for ideas, or find a book to help you.

The point is to HAVE FUN!

I hope all this helps you to prepare for homeschooling First Gradeand beyond! I can honestly tell you that it is the very best decision we ever made to homeschool our children. Yes, there have been financial sacrifices. However, I would not trade ANYTHING for the time I gained with my precious daughters and being the one who trained them up! :)

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6

Happy Homeschooling!

Copyright © Lara Velez, Moms of Faith, All Rights Reserved


  1. Faith on January 4, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Thank You for the encouragement. I will be homeschooling this fall pre-k & 1st grade. I am beyond excited and this blog was a great help to my many questions.

  2. Sarah Clark on January 26, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    Thank you!!! Next year will be my first year with a first grader. I am excited And scared!! I feel a little more confident now! Thank you so much!!! ~Sarah :)

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