Now That We've Finished Preschool, What Do We Do?


You've finished preschool (YAY! Congratulations!) and now you need a path for kindergarten, first grade, and beyond. You're not alone! I received the following question recently, and her question just might be yours:

I was reading your post about Here's What's Worked for Us: Toys, Tools, and Curriculum That Have Held Up in Our Home and I would like to ask you if you have any preference for the 1st grade to 3rd grade curriculum? I know you mentioned Rod and Staff for preschool or kinder but what did you or will use for your little ones after that?

I will happily tell you what we have done or are doing for 1st-3rd grades, but it might be helpful if you have some sort of a goal in mind. Why are you homeschooling your child? What are you using as your guide? Are you following your state's Scope and Sequence, using a "canned" curriculum like K12, or following a theory such as the Classical Method or a Charlotte Mason approach? There is no one right way for everyone, but it would be extremely helpful to have a goal and a plan.

With that in mind, you should know that we have used a Classical approach with a whole lot of eclecticism thrown in for good measure. One size does not fit all, and the ability to use a variety of approaches suited to our various students is one of the reasons we continue to homeschool.

After kindergarten, our first graders use pretty nearly all the same resources:

Math- Rod and Staff Grade One. From my Marvelous Monday post: "We really, really like Rod and Staff math in the elementary years.  For one thing, the books are rigorous and very straightforward.  I have a personal aversion to curriculum designed to look "cool", and these Mennonite published books are- how shall I put it?- decidedly not cool.

Rod and Staff is also very thorough in scope.  Measurement, money, life skills, math facts, and all elementary level math skills are covered and covered and covered again.

Lastly, and this may sound pathetically trite, Rod and Staff is extremely affordable.  In fact, even when the books become hard-cover texts beginning in 4th grade, we just let the kids write right in them.  The price of the hard-cover books is less than most math curricula's consumable texts."


Reading/Phonics- TATRAS and Rod and Staff Phonics Grade One. We use TATRAS to learn to read, which typically begins to happen in kindergarten. Once we've completed TATRAS (whenever that might be for each student- some have been well into 1st grade), we move on to the solid phonics study of Rod and Staff. Some of it might be overlapping TATRAS and if that's the case, we just do the letters and/or phongrams we've already covered in TATRAS.






Handwriting- We have used many different things over the years, but I'm mostly camped on Handwriting Without Tears. It seems to be the most straight-forward, unintimidating handwriting series for us.  Plus, we all now sing the little ditty, "Where do you start your letters?  At the top!"  Handwriting Without Tears is straight-forward and laid out in a manner that is extremely homeschool-mom-friendly.  The consumable workbooks can be handed right to the child and with a sentence or two of instruction, they are on their way.




History and Science (nature study, really) are done as a group. Be sure to click through the links and read about our favorite elementary history and science curricula.

What else? Beyond the basics, you have an unlimited array of choices: music, art, Latin (yes, Latin. My girls thought this was so fun!), sports, dance, Bible, etc.



Don't forget Circle Time! There are so many resources here for a group teaching time that you should be able to put something together that works for your family, even if it means your Circle Time lasts 5 minutes (it's a start!)





Lastly, read aloud!