Early Elementary Homeschooling for 2e kiddos - Our Curriculum Choices for 1st Grade

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Are you homeshooling a young one who is twice exceptional, or who has ADHD, ADD, or similar challenges?

A few years ago, I began helping with a 6 year old with ADHD. He had recently been diagnosed, and his mom decided to homeschool him. He was a wonderful, fun loving boy, who was very active and easily distractible and who figeted a lot when given instructions. He was also very eager to learn.

I helped his mom choose his curriculum and am sharing today what we used for his first grade homeschooling year.



Days Go By (Pathway Reading Series, 2)

For reading, we focused on Pathway Primers, grade 1, which was full of sweet, character building stories and at the early reading level.  We used them as read alouds, and encouraged my first grader to follow along with the words.  The book shown above is one of the three offered together by Amazon.  We loved them all.

After we read a story together, my student wanted to "read" it to himself again.  So when he did that, or when we got audio books from the library, I set him up in a special reading corner, with a shelf that blocked out distractions.  


We chose Explode the Code (ETC), starting with the Primers. We usually do these together at the table. Tim quickly learned the routine of the ETC lessons, as each lesson followed the same pattern.  Doing it semi-independently,  really helps to develop his self esteem.  This program is ideal for early reading learning.


Tim is struggling with handwriting. He does better with a thick pencil.  We chose a Handwriting Without Tears book, but put it aside at first, to focus on his small muscle coordination instead.  

We included making letters in finger paint, cutting, play dough play, etc. also. This fall he has begun to use more "mature" grasp of his pencil, called the "pincer grasp".(see Handwriting Helps above)  He isn't ready to use a regular sized pencil yet.  But there is no hurry!  We will keep him on the thick one as long as needed.  What does it really matter, as long as he is progressing!

Please see my review of Handwriting Helps for more fun ideas!
After we did some of the fun activities in that post, he was more than ready for to start learning to write with the program mentioned above.


We decided to use Saxon Math First Grade this year, but first our emphasis is on using manipulatives, math play, and making patterns.  We did lot of his math work and play on the floor.

For more information on manipulative math play, please go to my review of Numbers and Patterns on The Curriculum Choice.

How we set it up:

My first grader (Tim) does better with short learning periods, such as 15 or 20 minutes at a time, with minimal distractions. I give him a break in between each session, where he plays, watches an educational show on tv, etc....  But when he is on a roll, then, of course, we continue.  

Tim also liked to earn stickers, which he and his mom chose each week or two from the book store.  Earning stickers gives Tim a concrete reward for doing his work.  We always go over his sticker chart at the end of the week, to give him extra attention.   And he likes to show it to his mom and dad at dinner!

Help with Direction Following:  

When ever there are directions to be given, Tim plays with a small toy that I give him.  This helped to lessen his anxiety and his concentration tends to improve.

For more information on homeschooling kids with special needs, check out this group post that I enjoyed hosting at The Curriculum Choice - Special Needs Homeschooling.

To reach all the other curriculum posts from the Back to Homeschool Blog Hop, please click here.

Thanks for stopping by,


Betsy is mom to her now college senior, whom she homeschooled from day one.  She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early yearshigh school & college and wrote the book - Homeschooling High School with College in Mind.   She offers free homeschool help through messages at BJ's Consulting

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