Homeschool Curriculum > Best Curriculum By Grade > First Grade Curriculum Goals & Top Choices for 1st Graders

First Grade Curriculum Goals & Top Choices for 1st Graders


What are 1st graders expected to learn this year? Understand the basic objectives for first grade before developing or choosing an effective homeschool curriculum and see our top favorites.

You probably decided to homeschool your children because you wanted more control over what they learn. This is understandable, but you will still have to understand the basic objectives to be covered in each grade. Once you know what is required learning for first graders, you can come up with your own lesson plans and even enhance the knowledge you want your children to learn.

Make sure to look up the guidelines and rules specific to your state, since every state has their own guidelines on learning objectives. Some are far more strict than others, but you will always have the option of adding to the list. Following is a quick guide to what first graders typically learn no matter where they live.

Reading/Language Arts Objectives:

  • Identify vowels and consonants
  • Identify words with similar sounds for beginning reading skills
  • Begin sounding out words and assigning letters to those sounds
  • Use pictures to understand simple stories
  • Trace fingers over words while someone else reads
  • Begin writing basic sentences and paragraphs (misspelled words are to be expected)

Mathematics Objectives:

  • Count at least to 100
  • Skip count to 100 by 2s, 5s and 10s
  • Addition and subtraction with single digit numbers
  • Money value for dollars and coins
  • Understand basic measurement units (inches, kilometers)
  • Telling time on a clock
  • Identify basic geometric shapes (triangle, square, etc.)

Science Objectives:

  • Understand basic law of gravity (dropping, pushing, lifting things)
  • Understand seasons and basics of weather
  • Identify parts of the human body
  • Explore elements of the natural world
  • Explore animal groups and life of different animals

Social Studies Objectives:

  • Understand the dynamics of family
  • Introduce concepts of community and society at large
  • Understand basic differences between the past and present

Basic Tips for Teaching First Grade:

  • Not every child will come out of first grade reading on their own. Many will be reading simple children’s books by the end of the grade, while others are reading more advanced chapter books and still others are not reading independently at all. What is important at this grade level is for children to start taking words apart, hearing the letter sounds, and identifying words with common sounds. Those not reading independently after first grade will take that next step in early second grade.
  • Make use of real money, blocks, dry macaroni, and other things that children can group and count. Children at this age learn better with a hands-on visual approach to math.
  • Science and social studies are great areas to enhance your child’s learning objectives and create fun field trips to fit their personality and interests. For instance, a child who shows great interest in animals may want to write a small report about an animal and visit animals at the local zoo.
  • Many of the learning objectives for first grade are intended to introduce concepts that will be understood better in second grade. Basic grasping of the concepts is often enough at this grade level.
  • Flash cards help children absorb basic addition facts. Make your own or buy them.

Complete Curriculum Favorites for First Grade:

Alpha Omega Life Pacs –This program has a lot of fun learning activities and great projects for 1st graders that really help them master the skills that they need to learn this year.
Sonlight Curriculum — This is a great year to try the Sonligh curriculum. It is a lot of reading for both parents and kids but is a favorite among many who use it.

Top Phonics and Reading Curriculum Options:

Hooked on Phonics — This is one of the best programs ever created to teach a child to read. Even if you decide to use it with another program, it is a good investment.
Horizons Phonics and Reading — This curriculum is an excellent way to introduce children to a love of reading. Their spelling program is also a great complement to this option.

1st Grade Science Curriculum Favorites:

Apologia Science — Want your child to LOVE Science? Apologia is great for all elementary ages.
LifePac Science — With a number of fun hands-on activities, your child will love this introduction to many scientific concepts.

Top Math Choices:

Horizons Math — This curriculum may be more advanced than others for 1st grade, but kids love it and its spiral learning method is excellent for gifted students or ones who rise to a challenge.
LifePac Math — Utilizing the mastery learning method, this curriculum is ideal for kids who do their best when they are required to master a skill before moving on.
MathUSee — This program used manipulatives to help kids understand and “see” how math concepts work.

Great Penmanship Resource:

Horizons Penmanship — One of the best handwriting curriculum choices for 1st graders, this program will really help to teach them to write neatly and is fun, too!

What first grade curriculum works best in your homeschool? Share it here.