1st grade curriculum programs
Aug 02 2021
Updated at: Jul 05 2024

10 Best 1st Grade Curriculum: A Complete Guide for Home & School

Positive Action Staff
Many teachers, parents, and instructors get lost while trying to find the ideal curriculum for their students or kids.

Since first grade is an important year during which students transition from kindergarten to elementary school, it’s crucial to find a curriculum that fits each student’s needs.

With that being said, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all curriculum, which is why we’ll introduce you to the best ones for different uses and approaches.

Top 10 First Grade Curriculum & Resources

1. Positive Action 1st Grade Kit

preschool kits

Positive Action is an excellent first-grade curriculum for character building and lesson learning. Its most significant advantage is that while it's made for school use, you can definitely adapt it for homeschooling your child.

As its name suggests, the Positive Action kit puts great emphasis on enforcing positive traits and behaviors, whether it’s through self-love or loving everyone else.

Unit 1 starts with the sadness of the negative self-image and teaches children how to turn it around into self-love and genuine confidence. Then, Unit 2 is all about taking care of the body the right way, while Unit 3 discusses positive and negative emotions and how one can manage them.

Following that, Unit 4 stresses that everyone should treat others with the same kindness they wish to be treated with, and Unit 5 highlights the importance of truth and that the only way to live right is to be truthful with oneself and others. Finally, Unit 6 reminds hopeful first graders that nothing is impossible and that they can achieve anything if they believe in themselves.

This cheerful curriculum comes with a detailed instruction manual, 32 activity sheets, 19 visual aids, 13 full-color posters, Positive Pat and Negative Ned puppets, 30 Certificates of Completion, and other products only for $400. For more goodness, check out the Grade 1 Refresher Kit for extra resources.

2. Oak Meadow Bookstore’s Grade 1 Package

preschool kits

If you're looking for the ideal first-grade homeschool curriculum, we recommend the Oak Meadow Grade 1 package. It guides your child to hone their math, literacy, and imagination skills through stories, traditional verses, and more.

With this curriculum, social studies turns history into classic tales that help students get a sense of time and place. Students also learn how to read and use a map and are even encouraged to draw their own neighborhoods. Speaking of neighborhoods, first graders learn to raise their multicultural awareness by understanding how communities work and the different cultures that make them up.

This curriculum doesn’t forget math skills, too. Your student child will learn how to study natural objects and turn them into a math learning quest. They’ll also learn patterns, sequences, counting (coins), and recognizing different geometric shapes.

Their science skills will also increase, thanks to the lively curriculum that teaches them to observe the natural world. Even better, their painting, crafting, and recorder playing skills will develop. And last but not least, the curriculum will teach them how to take care of their bodies.

3. Time4Learning’s 1st Grade Homeschool Curriculum

preschool kits

Many parents know that their children are glued to screens anyway, so they might as well use these devices for something, such as homeschooling.

Time4Learning is an online education service whose biggest advantage is that it’s relaxed and self-paced to alleviate the pressure of timed homeschooling. The first-grade curriculum includes math, language arts, and science.

The math curriculum targets the child’s counting abilities. It leaves them able to count to 100, count by fives and tens to 100, and count by twos to 40. Students also learn how to add and subtract two-digit numbers.

Plus, they're acquainted with recognizing, adding, subtracting, and understanding coins and money. First graders also learn two-dimensional shapes and dates, and time.

On another note, first graders' language skills improve dramatically, thanks to their learning of how to tell stories, understand composition, acquire phonics concepts, use correct capitalization and punctuation, and so much more.

In the science curriculum, students learn about the three states of matter, living and nonliving things, the weather and water cycle, different parts of plants, and different plants and their habitats.

4. Sonlight’s 1st Grade Curriculum

Many parents and instructors want to include Bible studies in their children’s curriculum so that they don’t have to get the resources from different places, which is why we recommend Sonlight, a provider of Christian homeschool curriculums that doesn’t need an introduction.

Sonlight offers a massive package that includes material for history and geography, Bible studies, read-alouds, readers, language arts, handwriting, spelling and phonics, science, math, and additional resources. Even better, the package comes with its own instructor's guides so that you always know what you’re doing.

The curriculum doesn’t just stand out by offering a lot of resources, but it’s the fact that they’re miles ahead of the traditional textbooks that bore children to tears. The quality of the books you use for homeschooling matters more than their quantity.

Additionally, you can get an integer block kit, a markable world map, a card game, and a blank timeline book from 5000 B.C. to the present.

5. Winter Promise

The Charlotte Mason method of teaching is quite popular in the world of homeschooling because it teaches the entire person, not just the mind or brain, and reinforces positive lifelong habits.

This method replaces dry textbooks and worksheets with living books. In addition to innovatively learning core subjects, students connect with nature and the outside world, practice journaling and notebooking, and are immersed in arts and music.

The Winter Promise program depends on face-to-face interactions between the parent and child and emphasizes hands-on learning instead of giving and receiving dry information.

Its curriculum is divided into themed programs for history, culture, geography, and science, language arts programs, science programs, notebooking resources, math resources, and additional resources, such as chess instructions and activity kits.

On top of that, it utilizes weekly planners, interactive journals, hands-on activities, experiments, timeline figures, and map collections.

6. BJU Press Homeschool’s Grade 1 Complete Kit

preschool kits

BJU Press has left its mark in the world of Christian homeschooling, offering online resources through video courses that take the teaching burden completely off your back. On the other hand, if you want to teach your child yourself, the offline resources, such as the complete kit, are more than enough. This flexibility in options is something that we definitely appreciate.

The complete kit includes teacher and student materials for core subjects and more, such as history, phonics and English, math, science, reading, spelling, and handwriting, all in light of biblical truth. The kit saves you a lot of money while offering a unified understanding of all subjects.

This curriculum also shows that children don't just need information but also need to know how to use it. So, it's important to equip these children with the skills they need. Furthermore, the curriculum offers visuals, manipulatives, and different activities to engage all senses in the learning experience.

7. The Playful Pioneers Version 2.0

Fans of the Charlotte Mason method will love The Peaceful Press homeschool curriculum. This living education curriculum centers creativity and engagement with nature above absorbing dry information.

More importantly, the curriculum is literature and project-based, so it comes in reading and picture books, as opposed to textbooks, to teach your child history, geography, science, art, poetry, copy work, narration, reading, Bible studies, and so much more.

It even has material that helps you spend quality time with your child by practicing practical skills together, such as cooking and baking. In addition, it comes with a parent guide, a weekly grid, and other additional resources that make it easier for you to navigate through this new world with your little one.

8. Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool Curriculum

Many parents are searching for homeschool materials for their first graders on a budget, which is challenging when most teaching resources are so expensive. Fortunately, the Easy Peasy All-in-One Christian homeschool is the free solution you’re looking for.

This one follows the Charlotte Mason method of teaching children how to learn and live their lives without feeling the rigidness of studying textbooks. While the online courses are entirely free, the company also sells offline books for interested people.

The free online courses will help your child in all core subjects, including language arts, reading, math, phonics, Bible studies, spelling, science, music, physical education, art, and so much more.

9. Abeka’s Grade 1 Complete Parent Kit

Are you looking for a comprehensive Christian homeschooling kit? Look no further than the Abeka Grade 1 Complete Kit. It has 26 items from the essential parent kit, plus extra teaching aids.

The kit includes books, flashcards, and CDs for core subjects, such as language, phonics, reading, math, science, history, and more from a biblical worldview.

This curriculum stands out in that it follows spiral reinforcement of learning, which ensures that your child never forgets the old material when they learn the new one. Your child’s learning progresses through the years in a spiral way that ties everything together.

In addition, cross-subject integration is also helpful in connecting different subjects, which is more enjoyable and productive than studying subjects entirely differently.

10.Horizons 1st Grade Complete Set

Alpha Omega Publications managed to develop one of the best resources for homeschooling first graders, which is why we had to include it on our list. It’s a favorite of parents and instructors who prefer more academic resources.

The Horizons 1st Grade Complete Set has everything you’ll need for your child when studying math, phonics and reading, health, spelling and vocabulary, penmanship, and health. The set itself is made up of engaging student workbooks, teacher’s guides, and supplementary readers.

Like other options on our list, the Horizons curriculum is a spiral-based one that reinforces everything your child learns so that they never forget it.

What Is Taught in 1st Grade - A Complete Guide

English Language Arts

First grade is the grade in which the students learn all the absolute basics of the English language.

At that age, students are expected to learn how to read most or all of the alphabet. Knowing core words makes a huge difference in the student’s language skills. In addition, they get to know how to tell a story with at least a beginning and an end.

In terms of grammar, first graders begin to learn how to form complete sentences. So, they’ll need to understand the basics of subject-verb agreement. Vocabulary is also important, especially words that children need to express their feelings.

Needless to say, first graders work a lot on their handwriting skills. The harder they work on it in first grade, the better it’ll be in the future. Correct spelling, punctuation, and capitalization are essential for every first-grader, so make sure you get them engraved in their minds through different activities and games.


Science in first grade is exciting for students because it widens their scope of seeing the world around them. Teach first graders the five senses so that they can be more in touch with the human body. Learning about humans, animals, and plants in detail, including their different types and parts, is usually a hook for them.

On that note, first graders should learn the difference between living and nonliving things, which they can get into in lab activities.

Students get a glimpse of how the earth works, how it connects with its biggest star and the moon, and how it fits in the solar system and space. But, more importantly, they learn about the three states of matter, an area where they can compare, observe, and experiment.


Ready to teach children how to count to one hundred? Gradual skip counting? Even and odd numbers? Understand calendars, dates, and analog clocks? Use tally marks?

This is the time to introduce students to snap cubes, Cuisenaire rods, rulers, scales, thermometers, and other tools that help them understand different measurements and quantities.

Games and activities turn math into something fun and enjoyable, which is what it should be, especially for kids at this age. Songs, in particular, are quick and effective because they’re repetitive and melodic.

First graders also learn how to add and subtract numbers up to 10 and the basics of solving mathematical problems. They should also learn different objects and be able to count their sides.

History and Social Studies

At the beginning of the year, students only know their family and friends. Finally, the time has come for these children to understand the concept of communities, neighborhoods, towns, cities, states, and countries. Social studies gives them an idea of how they all work together. Field trips help students have fun while gaining new information and perspectives.

First graders also learn about early American history in the form of stories that keep them entertained, engaged, and informed. It's also good to encourage students to play games in which they connect major figures, places, and incidents to their correct timelines.

Moreover, first graders learn about different communities within the United States and abroad. This helps them gain a new perspective and become more in touch with their community and neighbors.

Physical Education

Physical education is crucial to children at this age. They’re still developing their motor skills, and how you choose to guide them will help them along the way.

Put their high energy to good use by making them walk, run, jog, jump, leap, gallop, balance, slide, skip, dodge, and move in all directions. In addition, teach them how to jump rope, dance, do obstacle courses, play tag, do plate aerobics, swim, and more.

More importantly, you should teach them how to throw, catch, and kick balls and all the necessary and different techniques.

Since first graders are naturally energetic, they’ll be more responsive to the right instructor than older children and teens. Also, teamwork and building new friendships are quite exciting to them. So, this will definitely be a fun class.

Final Words

As you can see, there are a lot of options for your first grader, but which one deserves the attention if you have no time to pick and choose?

It comes as no surprise that the Positive Action kit comes out on top. It has everything a first-grade student does, whether they’re learning in school or at home.

The Positive Action kit for first graders encourages confidence, proper hygiene, managing emotions and accepting them, treating others with kindness, truth, and having faith in oneself. With a kit like this, you’ll have yourself a very kind and happy child.