1GRD Do-Aheads


There are plenty of things you can do to get a jump on next year. This will be especially helpful if you have multiple kids.


  1. Print out my lists.
    • my 1GRD Supply List
    • I don’t have a supplementary book list yet.
    • I don’t have a Science list yet for the new book; I’ll try to get one soon.
    • If you own the syllabi with the liturgical calendars in the back, email me for a current, combined version.  ivorysoap76 at gmail dot com.
  2. Make wise book-buying goals. 
    • Check your library for the fiction books before you buy. Since we don’t have a required order, you don’t have to own them. Save your pennies for used copies of the liturgical and saints books!
    • Check the liturgical calendar against your school year. Do you read to the kids in July?  I don’t.  Same for Thanksgiving and Christmas break.
    • Buy the books that land on actual school weeks first.
  3. Order your blank books.
    • I prefer THESE. They’re small enough for kids’ hands. For Aesop’s we do a retelling on one page and the illustration facing. You will fill the 28 pager. For saints, we do the same thing. You may have one extra page left over. For poetry, we usually put the poem on one page and illustrate the facing page. Get this one and it will last you through 3rd grade.
    • If you want to plan super long-range or use the BIG books, see THIS post.

Fine Arts

  1. Go ahead and cut out your art cards. (Only if you aren’t using the 1GRD Art Book)
    • I have an attractive, cheap way to store them HERE.
    • I think the pdf that now comes to enrolled folks says to toss out Miro and Chagall. I can’t remember if anything else is ugly.
    • If you find that ugly/beautiful distinction confusing, watch this video.
  2. Check out my K-2 GRD Hymn Links or upload your CD to itunes and play it from there. Scrambling for that CD all year is a pain. Also, my kids don’t love the singer’s voice.  The links are more beautiful. If you can carry a tune AT ALL, you’ll quickly ditch the CD and just sing through it with the book each day.
  3. Check out my coloring pages for Composers here. Peter and the Wolf is engaging enough without coloring.  Carnival of the Animals is too, but some editions have mistakes in the track numbers.  See this review about the issue.  The Celenza picture books are all “read me first” and then you “listen to the music” separate.  So, Bach, Gershwin, Haydn may need coloring pages.

Language Arts

  1. Breathe and get realistic. I don’t know whose started it, but so many curricula suck the FUN out of literature.
    • Ramming the kids through a specific list of books, strictly stratified by grade level is legalistic and unnecessarily anxiety-provoking, especially if you have more than one student. MoDG is 100% AGAINST this mentality. Breathe.
    • Plan to read 30 minutes from any MoDG literature list. It’s all good. Even the same good book over and over is fine. Quality, not quantity.
  2. If you want an example schedule for the all the fiction reading, here you go…
    • 1GRD Read-Aloud-Schedule and the Bennet Supplement 1GRD
    • These are EXAMPLE schedules.  If  you beat yourself over the head with them, you have to go to time out. MODG is about falling in love with literature and goodness. If the book is checked out, pick something else. The order is unimportant.  This ain’t Ambleside.
  3. Somewhere on your Mom notebook, write “Beginning, Middle, and End” That’s the language arts focus this year.
    • Another Very Hungry Caterpillar made up example would be this: “The egg hatches and the caterpillar is really, really hungry. All week, he eats foods that aren’t for caterpillars. He feels sick. Then he eats a nice, green leaf. He feels better. Then he becomes a butterfly.” Compare it to last year’s example I gave to see the difference (as I currently understand it) between Sequencing and B,M,E retellings.


  1. Consider getting the manual OR using my summaries below. It will make next year so much easier. The syllabus leaves out drill until 2GRD. It doesn’t mean you don’t do it. If you neglect drill, the 15 minute 2GRD-3GRD worksheets will take an hour. Abeka assumes a lot is memorized already. The “speed drills” are for building speed on ALREADY MEMORIZED facts.
    • Print THIS to get the big picture of what Abeka thinks you’re doing.
    • Here’s a detailed drill summary of the manual. I DON’T DO ALL THIS, but I like to know what Abeka *thinks* I’m doing so there are no surprised down the road.

Reading & Writing

  1. Memorize these words: TEAM READING.
    • 100EZ is genius at teaching blending and sound isolation and other hard-to-teach skills, but not phonograms.
    • At a certain point, the lesson plans tell you to have them read an easy reader. He can’t do it independently! There’s no short E until Lesson 52. You have to TEAM READ.
    • To gather more phonograms and put sight words (advanced phonogram and rule words he can’t possibly navigate) in his visual memory, I highly recommend TEAM READING Little Angel Readers, since they tell mom which new sounds are coming and give practice time.


  1. Set up your liturgical reading on a calendar.
    • You can email me for a syllabi-based liturgical planner if you already own the syllabi or are enrolled. Here’s an example of what it looks like: 2016 Planner.
    • But regardless, here are a few Tables of Contents by Date.


  1. On your weekly assignment list, put “Enjoy something nature-y together.” OR Just use the new book.
    • Nature walks and close observation of nature are assumed
    • They aren’t in the weekly assignments,
    • See Teaching Tips, sold by the school, for examples.