Math Instruction in the First Grade


If your child is entering the first grade, you might be wondering just what needs to be covered in math this year. Math skills studied each year build on those acquired the previous year, so it’s important to establish a good foundation early on. By the end of the first grade year, your child should be able to:

• Count out loud from 0-100
• Recognize the numbers from 0-100, even if they are out of order
• Write the numbers from 0-100 in or out of order
• Identify even and odd numbers from 0-100
• Understand the place value of tens and ones
• Identify the ordinal position of an object from first through tenth
• Put three or more numbers in order from least to the greatest or greatest to the least
• Divide a picture of an object into halves
• Add numbers to 20 using manipulatives
• Subtract numbers from 20 using manipulatives
• Add one- or two-digit numbers without regrouping
• Subtract one- and two-digit numbers without regrouping
• Solve word problems by adding or subtracting one- and two-digit numbers without regrouping
• Count by 2s, 5s, and 10s
• Understand and continue a pattern on a first-grade level
• Recognize and draw a circle, square, triangle, and rectangle
• Compare the measurable differences between two objects, such as weight, length, or height
• Tell time to the hour
• Recite the days of the week and the months of the year in order

Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t be. Many companies publish homeschooling curriculum to help get your child off to a good start in math. The problem then becomes not where to find resources but what resources to use. As with reading, some students respond better to one type of curriculum while others find it easier to learn with another. While your friend’s child might enjoy workbooks and number lines, your child might make more progress with manipulatives. If the curriculum you’re using isn’t working, try another until you find the best fit. Some curricula you may want to consider include:

BJU Math 1

Bob Jones University Press publishes a worktext that includes two pages of practice problems after each lesson. Manipulatives are used first before moving on to the abstract. Previous math skills are reviewed each time.
Horizons First Grade – The Horizons First Grade Math Set by Alpha Omega Publications includes two colorful workbooks and a two-part teacher’s guide. All of these books can also be purchased individually.

Lifepac First Grade Math

Lifepac First Grade Math, also from Alpha Omega Publications, consists of ten colorful worktexts to practice concepts such as number order, place value, addition and subtraction, time, and fractions.

Math Made Easy

Math Made Easy First Grade Workbook by Dorling Kindersley Publishing is an inexpensive book that emphasizes addition and subtraction concepts. This book also reviews Kindergarten math concepts.

Math U See Alpha

Math U See Alpha is a manipulative-based curriculum for first graders. Students beginning Math U See Alpha should have completed the Primer book or be able to write and count from 0 to 9. The Alpha book covers concepts such as place value, counting to 100, addition and subtraction facts, skip counting, shapes, and more.

Miquon Math

Miquon Math by Key Curriculum Press offers the Orange Book workbook for first graders. This math curriculum introduces all four arithmetic operations as well as fractions in the first year.

Mathematics Level A

Modern Curriculum Press Mathematics Level A is an affordable text designed to be used in one year. Bright graphics make this workbook fun for students as well.

The Saxon Math 1

The Saxon Math 1 set for homeschoolers includes the student meeting book, a teacher’s manual, and two student workbooks with fact cards. The 130 lessons feature step-by-step instructions and scripts for the teacher.

Shiller Math

Shiller Math, a Montessori-based curriculum, features Kit I for Kindergarten through third grade. This kit includes lesson books, student workbooks, Scope and Sequence books, tests, manipulatives, and a song CD.

Math Primary Mathematics 1

The Singapore Math Primary Mathematics 1 for homeschoolers includes a 2 textbooks and 2 workbooks. Each book can be purchased separately.

No matter which curriculum you choose, be sure to supplement it with a lot of hands-on activities. One of the most powerful tools you have in teaching math skills is repetition, and you can implement repetition in a variety of ways. Create a “store” by putting prices (in cents) on familiar objects and have your child “purchase” them. Show him how to use a ruler, then measure and record the lengths of various things around the house. Cut different shapes out of construction paper and see what pictures he can make from them. Take out a calendar and mark the special occasions together, then mark off the days as they pass. Though the possibilities are endless, you’ll find your child has some favorites that he’ll want to do over and over again.

Guest Blogger: Samantha Bell

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