If you are just starting to plan first grade, welcome!
First grade is different than the Early Years, but yet as a homeschooling parent you are still building upon the seasonal year. This in some ways becomes the culmination of the rhythm of the Early Years, nursery and kindergarten ages, where by discovering by repetition over the years what makes the festivals, holidays and seasonal activities you made the season of the year, month and day your own.
Only YOU know your family’s culture, religion and spirituality and the geography and seasonal changes of where you live. So those notes you have taken about what you have done and noticed during the Early Years are particularly helpful in planning first grade. When does the first butterfly come out? When are the leaves really crunchy on the ground? What do we do every single year for this festival or that festival? What do these months and festivals really mean to me on an inner level? What festivals and holidays make you feel replenished and what festivals and holidays make you feel depleted and in need of a vacation afterwards? This is important work that you have done is the foundation for first grade, from both the perspective of the child and from the perspective of the balance needed for the homeschooling parent. However, now in first grade, you are embedding and layering blocks into the cycle of the year.
This can be important to think about. Where does your seasonal year best tie into your blocks? For example, the first time I did Form Drawing, our first block of first grade, I chose to do it through a story about beavers and pond life in our area in the autumn. To do this, I had to know what the animals in our area were doing that time of year and translate that into what I call “movement snippets” of forms.
Where will you put your nature blocks? What animals and plants will you focus on in the nature blocks, in painting and modeling? For this, you have to have been an observer of your area.
Making crafts and cooking for the festivals and holidays your family celebrates is still a huge part of first grade. This develops gross and fine motor skills, attention, balance and a general sense of life needed for more academic work.
The other piece of the rhythm of the year, month and day is BALANCE. Yes, you have to carve out time for lessons; but you also still have to care for and nourish your home and the people and animals and plants in your life as well. Time needed for first grade may not be extensive, but it is there and needs a set time, place and consistency to be there! The time for direct instruction and teaching has come!
Our next post will be about movement; in the meantime, for first grade inspiration please check out my First Grade Pinterest Board.