first grade work books

First Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices and Plans (for a simple year)

If you are looking for simple, Christian, first grade curriculum choices for your homeschool, check out what we are doing for my first 1st grader for this 2023 school year.

Since I knew we would be having a busy year with a new baby and all, I wanted to choose curriculum that was thorough yet simple to follow along. We also made our choices taking into account that we had to cut costs. Our daughter is young enough that she doesn’t need every subject in book form, and for now simply learns a lot from observing real life and from us reading books to our children.

What should a first grader learn?

It is often agreed upon that by the end of first grade children should know at least the basic operations of addition, subtraction, and counting, and should be able to read most children’s books and write most basic words.

These days there is a lot of pressure to have a child know all their letters etc. before first grade. Personally I don’t think preschool and kindergarten are necessary. In fact, many children do better just starting from the beginning in first grade. My parents just started me in first grade, and I never had problems in school even though I couldn’t say the ABC’s when I started. (Even my 2 year old could have beat me with singing her ABC’s!)

That said, I do enjoy teaching my children preschool and kindergarten. We have a lot of fun with it. It is always no pressure, and we don’t use a particular curriculum. So by the time my oldest was ready to start first grade curriculum a couple months before she turned six, she knew all her letters, could sound out words, count to 100, and understood simple addition and subtraction.

1st grade school books

What is the best curriculum for homeschooling first grade?

There are many wonderful curriculums and you need to research for yourself and choose what works for your family. You likely can’t go wrong or won’t miss out or have your child far “behind” with most curriculum choices. If you instill the love of learning in your child, most any curriculum will just be a step for them to keep learning anything they might have “missed.” Check out other’s YouTube flip throughs, or curriculum reviews and you can get a taste of what different curriculums offer.

Once you find something, stick with it without fear for the year. Then change if needed for the coming year. You might always feel like you are missing out on something from another curriculum, but all the jumping around that I see many homeschoolers doing is what causes the most “holes” in a child’s education.

I have long loved looking at curriculums, and have a bit of experience with different kinds of curriculum from my experience being homeschooled and helping others homeschool or teaching school. But I have seen that the biggest difference in the outcomes has more to do with if children love learning or not, no matter how good or how poor their curriculum is.

Curriculum Choices for 1st Grade in 2023

1st grade CLE book choices

Learning to Read and Reading

My favorite Learning to Read program is from CLE. It it so thorough and I have always enjoyed teaching it. With my school teaching years I have used it 5 or more times, and recommend it to anyone. It is true that it is a bit intensive, but I prefer spending two years on first grade and getting it completely, to some thing less thorough. We will also be using their 1st grade Reading when we are done with Learning to Read.

Language Arts

I also really like CLE’s Language Arts for the younger grades. It includes handwriting and writing activities. And in general I just like the thoroughness of CLE and their Teacher Guide’s, testing system etc. That said, I know for older grades it can get overwhelming with intensiveness, so by fourth grade or so we will see if we continue to stick with it or go to a simpler Language Arts curriculum. At least the foundation will be well laid.


For Bible we got the Spanish version of CLE Bible. I haven’t found any other Bible curriculum that I love, and getting the Spanish version here in the country turns out much cheaper for us too. This is one curriculum at the moment we plan to stick with through all the grades as I really love how it is laid out, and have found nothing else that compares.


My top choices for first grade would be CLE Math or Rod and Staff Math. We live in Costa Rica and so I don’t mind if my children get Spanish books, and since we have the Spanish version of Rod and Staff Math here, we chose that as it comes out way cheaper not having to pay shipping. It also comes through Mount Zion Literature so we get it at a very good price.

1st grade math and science books


If I had to choose and buy a Science curriculum, I would probably go with Science from The Good and the Beautiful. We hope to try it out in future years. But a friend had already given us a 1st Grade Science textbook and teacher guide from Abeka (though an older version). I like Abeka science for the younger grades pretty good too, so to save a bit this year we went with that.


In the Geography and Social Studies stuff we did not buy anything formal for the year, but in our school schedule I have set aside some time every few days to study geography. My girls already know the names and locations of the continents and oceans on a map, and we plan to keep studying maps and our country, Costa Rica, so they can learn all the provinces etc. This is one subject that I just haven’t found a curriculum I really love yet, but in future years will be wanting to get actual books.

geography books etc.


Besides that we don’t have any other curriculum, though we have our Circle Time to work on memory work. We also love to take walks and learn from nature. And I try to regularly read to my girls from chapter books so we learn vocabulary and expand our horizons.

1st grade homeschool schedule or routine

How long does a homeschool day take with a first grader? I don’t really know. With my first grader having three younger siblings, we just try to dedicate about two hours on school day mornings to do as much school work as we can in that time. We usually don’t finish a day’s worth of goals, especially not with all the interruptions with littles. My first grader is young enough that is won’t hurt if first grade takes two years.

Hopefully in the future when most of my littles are a bit bigger we can dedicate more time to formal homeschooling. For this stage of life it is a perfect set up. We all have fun learning together. My girl is getting the mental stimulation she needs and seeks for, and we are not overwhelmed.

You can check out more about how we structure our days and do homeschooling here. For us it is a fun adventure in learning!

Please note that this is just information to help you decide for yourself. In no wise is it legal advice. Check your state or country’s homeschool requirements.

Save it for later!

first grade curriculum books on a table

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