2018-2019 Curriculum Choices – 1st and 3rd Grades

Our 2018-2019 School Year began back in July.  Perhaps not the most well timed start as we had a couple of major interruptions. But such is life, right?

I noticed a couple of weeks ago that I needed to make a few adjustments to the schedule and book selections. I think that I finally have things set to a good and reasonable flow for my younger students.

We do some studies all together and those things are not included in this post but will soon follow. The selections listed below are used with my Form 1 students.


Math Mammoth is used by both students at their appropriate level. I switched a few years ago to using Math Mammoth with my younger students and they are doing well. Not only do I appreciate the presentation of the math but the price is affordable as well. I also use Ray’s Primary Arithmetic. My 1B daughter really enjoys it and I think it works very well for mental math work. We use it once or twice a week.

Reading/Phonics Instruction:

My third grade/Form 1A student is working through the Treadwell Readers and has about two pages left in the First Reader. He will immediately move into the Second Reader. He is really enjoying these books and moving at a fabulous pace. Since I prefer a hard copy, I purchase copies from Amazon at a reasonable price. But you can access these readers for free online!

My first grade/Form 1B student is about a third of the way through Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I love this resource and have used it for several children. Simple, straight-forward, short lessons are a win for me. All of my children who have used this book are excellent readers!


Beautiful Handwriting for Children by Penny Gardner is an italics handwriting program that I am using with multiple children. This resource covers print and cursive writing. It includes pages to practice letters, words, and then sentences. Additional blank pages for practice can be printed as well. The PDF download is only $10! My 1st and 3rd grader are working through the print pages at their own pace.

Within this post, the books highlighted link to Amazon. I choose to link to Amazon because they offer a great “look inside” feature that often allows you to read a few pages of a text. I have always found that helpful. However, I often use ThriftBooks.com because I find better pricing. It has helped my budget tremendously!


All of my children are studying 1650-1800. For my Form 1 students there is more of a focus on just the years of 1700-1800 with a slight bit of the “heroic age” tossed in for my 1st grader. A First Book of American History and Meet the North American Indians are our current history books. I am also including a historical fiction read aloud. We are currently reading Johnny Tremain. A couple of times a week, I read a chapter or two during lunch. In a separate post I will share the history free reads that are available to the children; these include picture books as well.


I have a few resources on hand for geography. We will be working through Paddle to the Sea by Holling C Holling as well as Charlotte Mason’s Elementary Geography. To add a bit of fun in the mix, I am including Blue Ridge Billy by Lois Lenski. Her regional stories of America show the beauty of the different ares and people! Naturally we will work with a few basic maps and use our wall maps often to locate places we read about.


Sam and Martha will be enjoying Pagoo by Holling C. Holling. This one is always a favorite! We are also reading A Drop of Water and doing some of the experiments shared in the back of the book.  This term our Special Study will be on trees and dragonflies. I may be adding in reading Tree and Shrubs by Arabella Buckley. I do not have a copy of this yet so we shall see if we work it in. Science is a favorite with Sam and he asks for it daily!


Form 1B typically includes Fairy Tales and Form 1A often incorporates Mythology if I am remembering correctly. I am alternating reading fairy tales and Greek myths. I am utilizing a copy I own of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. While I have D’ aulaires Book of Greek Myths on my wish list, I am trying to use what I have. I own Greek Myths by Oliva Coolidge and Usborne Greek Myths. Which one will I use? I’m not quite sure!

I am also reading Swallows and Amazon by Arthur Ransome. This was just a spur of the moment decision. I am fairly confident that my third grade kiddo is going to love it! I may also have him listen to the audio of Pilgrim’s Progress in the evening as he falls asleep.

I think that covers the Form 1 work for the coming term/year. This is such a delightful age. I love their insights and narrations on the things we read and observe. We do not read these books daily and some are not read even weekly. My goal is to spread a feast for my children. We are savoring it slowly.  My hope is that this might be helpful to someone. As time allows, I will try to share a weekly schedule for my Form 1 Students.


**Please note that there are affiliate links included in this post. These links in no way effect your shopping or browsing experience. If you decide to make a purchase, I earn a very small percentage.





Drawing Around the World: USA – Review

In my younger years, I struggled with geography. North America? No problem. When we ventured across the ocean or dipped below the equator? Now we might have an issue or two. While I have never used a formal geography program with my children, geography is an important part of our learning. Whether we look at the map to locate where current events are happening, trace the path of a character in our literature studies, or play “Stump my Sibling” with a bit of map drill, my children are learning. I was intrigued by the concept of map drawing/drilling but wasn’t sure how to begin. Brookdale House given us the opportunity to review Drawing Around the World: USA could not have come at a better time!

Brookdale House offers two different Drawing Around the World resources: Europe and USA. I was torn on which to choose. Ack! I finally went with the USA because the majority of my children are doing a year of American History. Memorizing and sketching the USA blends in perfectly with our focus for the year.

For this review, I received the e-book copy. A printed copy is available for purchase.

Drawing for Geography? What it this?

The concept is very simple to understand and implement. To help a child learn the locations of each state in the USA, the child learns a bit about each state and draws it. By not only locating the state on the map, drawing the state helps with retention. Drawing Around the World is not an art resource! Perfectly sketched states is not a requirement. This is a geography resource so don’t let the drawing aspect cause alarm. While some in my house are meticulous about getting the shaping of the state just right, most are like me and just do the best they can.

You can check out a sample at Brookdale House.

Implementing Drawing Around the World: USA

With a little bit of printing, this program is almost open and go. A weekly schedule is given to you to make sure the student practices what she is learning.

Day 1 – Introduce the state/s. Most weeks only one state is introduced. There are a few times when two or more are given in one week. In Week 19, four states are covered. However, they are larger states like Missouri and Arkansas and not difficult to master.

On this first day, the student will trace the state and then do a sketch. A bit of research to learn state capital, date of statehood, population, etc is completed. Once the research is finished, you trace the state introduced and former states covered on a dashed lined map. Then your practice drawing without any tracing lines. (Thankfully latitude and longitude lines are given which is super helpful!)

Day 2 and Day 3 – Practice all the states covered by using the dashed line maps and then drawing free hand on the blank USA map. Day 2 and Day 3 are perfect times to incorporate timed map drills if your children enjoy a bit of competitiveness to stay motivated.

Day 4 – This is your very informal “test day”. States covered are listed by memory. Then inside a blank text box, all states covered are drawn. No dashed lines to trace and no latitude/longitude to help with placement. For me this is so hard! I am not good at visual placement and spacing. My children have a much better eye.

You repeat these four days  each week. In just 27 weeks, your child will be able to draw from memory the USA!

How It Worked For Us

Drawing Around the World: USA is not limited to any specific age. We used it in our home with ages 5 – 16; seven of our nine children. The three year old “played” map drawing at the table with us.

We shared in the research of the basic state information and the older ones helped the younger ones out with spelling and such. When it came to the actual drawing, everyone worked independently. I was very impressed with how well even the younger ones completed the tasks.

Printing new maps each week with seven children can add up quickly. To help with printing costs and to save a few trees, I printed seven copies of the dashed line map, blank USA map, and the blank text box. Those went into sheet protectors so they children could practice as often as they wanted with wet erase markers. I also printed out the color USA maps included with Drawing Around the World for quick reference.

Drawing Around the World: USA begins in the northeast portion of the USA, works southward to Florida and then slowly progresses to the west. Naturally it makes sense to teach the states in an order that they join together but it also flows really well with American History studies.

For those of us who implement a Charlotte Mason philosophy in our homeschool, Drawing Around the World works beautifully. It only takes about 10 -15 minutes to do a bit of sketching with the states.

Another plus? Since Drawing Around the World e-book is a digital product, I can use it again and again over the years. Who doesn’t love a budget friendly resource? Next year when we begin our World History studies, I definitely see Drawing Around the World: Europe on the resource list.

Brookdale House offers more than just geography resources. TOS Crew members reviewed grammar, Spanish, and Writing Through History. Take a peek!


 Brookdale House Review
Crew Disclaimer

Curriculum 2013 -2014 ~ Sixth Grade

Caleb, 11, is our young man handling sixth grade work this year. Initially, I had planned to have Caleb partner up with Lydia (5th grade). For various reason that didn’t work out so I adjusted and left Caleb “on his own” so to speak.

The year ahead for Caleb:

 Bible: Personal and Family Devotions/Bible Reading. He works with his dad twice a week and they have a few books/CDs that they read/listen to and discuss.


  • Saxon 6/5. He is almost done and could be finished quickly with a bit of motivation. 7/6 is on the shelf and waiting.
  • Life of Fred: Fractions – We have never used this before so right now I am having him do at least one lesson a week. Depending on how it goes, we may adjust.


  • IEW’s Fix It Grammar – He is slowly working through this. I think I’m going to pair it with a bit of grammar review in the coming months.
  • Spelling Widsom – This is for copywork and studied dictation. I love this resource!
  • IEW’s Student Writing Intensive A – He will be starting this in a week or so.

Apologia’s Elementary Anatomy & Physiology – Slowly progress is being made through this course. At first he was really interested but interest has waned. I may move him over to the Life Science Task Cards.

Ambleside Online Year 5 – Caleb loves to read and this is working well for him. We need to work on some follow through but overall it is going well. This covers history, geography, biographies, etc.

Memory Work – Scripture, poetry, songs,etc

Choir – Caleb will participate in a homeschool choir again this year.

PE – I really need to implement this and hold him accountable! Fine tuning his daily workout with his dad.Need to direct that energy.

What do I need to add? Foreign language; a shortcoming on everyone’s list.

**This is not a sponsored post and there are no affiliate links. I’m just sharing what we are using this coming year for sixth grade.