I wrote a post some time ago, in 2010, about first grade resources. That was seven years ago! I did first grade for the third time last year, and have a few updated notes to add.
First of all, I suggest you take all questions regarding, “What curriculum should I use?” to the Waldorf Homeschool Curriculum Discussion Facebook group. There are so very many back posts comparing all the major curriculums and what resonated with people (or what didn’t). Curriculum, to me, is very , very tricky. What appeals to one person will not at all appeal to another. My advice, as always, is to look at curriculums in person if that is at all possible, and look to further your own knowledge of Waldorf Education through in-person workshops and trainings. My very simple three requirements for Waldorf curriculum can be found here.
But today I would like to mention a few very helpful resources that are often over-looked for first grade (I am not in any way shape or form affiliated with these products; I just like them):
- “Waldorf Teachers’ Companion to Poems and Speech Exercises for Grades I and II” by John Cyril Miles of Promethean Press. I have the fourth edition, and it is 141 pages of lovely speech exercises, tongue twisters, and then poems divided by categories: morning, evening, the seasons (Michaelmas, Fall, Halloween and Martinmas, Advent and Winter Solstice, Spring and Summer), animals and plants, nursery rhymes, fable poems, elementals, people, number poems, miscellany, prayers, story poems. The last two sections are finger exercises and riddles. My only wish would be that it included jump roping rhymes and clapping games, but overall a really thorough resource to carry you through two grades. You can look at it here , along with other selections.
- “Spelling By Hand” by Jeremy Harrmann. I hope to write a complete review of this book. It is new to the market, and I think quite good for its 55 paged-size. There are sections in this book about alliteration in grade one, the spelling of regular words in grades one and two, rhyming and hand spelling in order to make gestures part of the spelling of words, CVC words, finger spelling, the use of writing in grades one and two. There are also learning objectives for grade one (essentially, such this as the children are able to rhyme and alliterate, they are able to properly spell CVC words, during independent writing they try to break words down phonetically even if they don’t spell them correclty, and that when the children encounter unknown words when reading they try to sound them out phonetically). I would say these goals could easily extend into grade two for some children (two out of my three have been/are in this category going into section grade where these skills are still emerging), but there are also goals listed for second grade as well. There are many ideas for spelling word games, and there are spelling word lists of rhyming fun, regular words (CVC or consonant-vowel-consonant words in English), consonant blend words, and then moving into CCVC, CCVCC,silent E words (words ending in long e, a-e words, e-e words, i-e words, o-e words, u-e words), consonant blend words, common vowel pattern words, tenses, common error words, and then “sophisticated errors”, ending with common prefixes and suffixes. It is a very reasonable price, and I suggest it be on your shelf to help you grasp not only the sequencing of spelling from grades 1-8, but how to bring this is in an experiential way that makes it “Waldorf”. From Waldorf Publications here
- The resources available through Lemon Tree Press by Waldorf Master Teacher Howard Schrager. This includes a variety of wonderful math stories that don’t involve gnomes; the book LMNOP and more. For a full discussion of these materials, head to the Waldorf Homeschool Curriculum Discussion page.
- For those of you with first and second graders mixed with having early year children in the house, I recommend Celebrate the Rhythm of Life by Master Early Years Teacher Lisa Boisvert MacKenzie, who is on the Board of Directors for Lifeways of North America, is on the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America task board for birth through three, is a Simplicity Parenting Coach, and more. Her monthly e-program is a reasonable cost, and will help you with rhythm and festivals.
Please share your favorite off-the-beaten path resources for first grade!