After much debating, researching, hemming, and hawing... ;) here is what we've decided to use for the next school year. I like to plan way ahead of time so that I have the summer to look over the books, find extra related things at sales, and just feel prepared overall.
My Father's World First Grade - Lucy is doing great with My Father's World Kindergarten right now. We are on Unit 17 of 26 because of our big break when Esther was born, but she's moving along quickly. I expect to finish sometime this summer and have a short break before starting First Grade in the fall. There is a lot that I like about My Father's World, and a few things that I wish were different. After considering other options I think we'll stay with it for now. I do think the K program is light, we've basically been using it as preschool.
I like the multi-sensory approach (drawing letters in sand, using the textured letter puzzle, etc). The amount of worksheets has been great, and we've enjoyed the topics this year. One of the things that I think could be added just involves some of the prep. For example, it will say to draw a kangaroo for a craft project, make a penguin from colored paper, or color a map of the world, and then not give me the worksheets for that. Otherwise it is pretty "open and go" except for some of these projects. I do find that we have needed to add some things to the curriculum, and I've tried to carefully choose what I add so that I'm not overwhelming myself with things to do.
My Father's World is our core curriculum and we do try to complete it fully. I wouldn't want to skip anything like reading out loud daily, fun math games, science literature, etc in favor of completing another "program". With that in mind though, I have chosen a few things that I think will enrich our year.
My Father's World Deluxe Package for First Grade - We've enjoyed the deluxe items for the Kindergarten year. This time I am changing it just a bit. I have Honey For A Child's Heart already and will purchase the math workbook and music selections. I debated about the pattern blocks and book but we already have Mighty Mind and I think we'll just use that instead. I am going to be doing something else for art.
Artistic Pursuits - I've been searching for a good art program because Lucy seems to excel in this area. I've not used this yet, but it looks great! The book and needed art supplies are somewhat expensive, but at least the book can be reused with other children. I liked this curriculum so much that I bought the preschool book to use now and through the summer and then we'll start book 1 in the fall.
Activity Bags - I have done two swaps for preschool activity bags in the past. I am running a swap right now (locally) with their Science Book 1. When we are all done we will each have 19 science experiments in a bag ready to be used. The science topics seemed to go well with MFW 1st. I'm also planning to run a swap creating Reading Games and Math Games in a bag. All of the prep work for these will be done this summer so that in the fall I will have reading, math, and science games and experiments ready to use.
Friendly Farm Counters - This is a fun set that I picked up. There are farm animals in six shapes, six colors, and two sizes. We will use these all year long for adding, subtracting, and much more. These math trays look like fun too:
I'm actually excited to show Lucy the Venn diagram because I think she'll get it and it will be a fun mental challenge for her. I'd love to buy these, but they're a bit pricey so we'll see. I may just draw the charts on paper and laminate them.
I recently purchased Phonics Pathways on the recommendation of a couple of friends. We are using this now for extra practice and will slowly work our way through it. I'm not sure how many of the extra games we'll do, but reading the book itself is good practice.
I saw this science kit reviewed on a blog and loved it! It may end up being a birthday gift this summer. I think the girls would have fun playing with this and it could be used for school too.
Another birthday idea? We love DK books and this looks like a good reference book to have.
I still need to pick out a good Bible reference book with photos of artifacts and Bible times to go along with MFW 1st grade's focus on Bible stories.
I also want to purchase some of the math literature books listed in the teacher's manual. They include a huge list of children's literature books that specifically teach or deal with math concepts. These can be checked out from the library, but I would like to own some of them.
What about you? Any fun resources you've found for this age? Are you planning for the fall yet?