Everything you need to know about First Grade Math with Confidence. Includes an overview of what your child will learn, a downloadable sample, answers to frequently asked questions, and buying information.
In this article, you’ll find all the information specific to First Grade Math with Confidence:
- How the program and lessons are organized
- What your child will learn
- What you’ll need
- Placement advice
- Where to buy the books
For information about the series as a whole (or information on other grade levels), please see this article: Overview of Math with Confidence Homeschool Math Curriculum.
Wishing you all the best in your teaching! Happy First Grade Math!
What’s the program’s format?
First Grade Math with Confidence is a complete first-grade math program with two volumes: an Instructor Guide and a Student Workbook.
- The Instructor Guide is the core of the program, with conversational and hands-on activities and games that teach the key skills and concepts.
- The Student Workbook provides 2 quick workbook pages each day. The front side provides practice with new materials. The back reviews previously-learned material.
First Grade Math with Confidence has 32 weeks of lessons, with 4 required core lessons and 1 optional enrichment lesson per week. This gives you the flexibility to take one day off per week for field trips or errands without worrying that you’re falling behind. (See below for more on the optional enrichment lessons.) And, you can take the occasional Grandma’s-visiting/broken-dishwasher/everyone-has-pinkeye week off, and you’ll still be able to finish the program in a typical academic year.
What’s a typical lesson look like?
The lessons are short and simple. Most of the pilot families said they take about 20 minutes from start to finish. You’ll spend about 10-15 minutes teaching the lesson, and then your child will take 5-10 minutes to complete the workbook pages.
Each lesson includes 3 parts:
- Warm-up: Counting, Memory Work, and Review. Each lesson begins with a short warm-up to practice counting, memory work, and key skills. Warming up like this also helps build your child’s confidence and starts the lesson on a positive note.
- Hands-on teaching. Next, you’ll teach your child a new concept or skill with hands-on, conversational activities. For example, you might play “Cookie Store” to practice grouping by 10s, play a math card game, or estimate and measure the length of objects around the house.
- Workbook. Last, your child will complete 2 short workbook pages. On the front side, he’ll practice the new concept that you taught him in the hands-on activity. On the back, he’ll review previously-learned skills.
What will my child learn?
First Grade Math with Confidence is a full-year, comprehensive curriculum that covers everything your child needs to learn in first grade. She’ll learn to:
- Read, write, and compare numbers to 100
- Understand place-value in numbers to 100
- Master addition subtraction facts to 20
- Solve addition and subtraction word problems with numbers to 20
- Use place-value strategies to mentally add and subtract one- and two-digit numbers
- Identify, describe, and categorize shapes
- Divide shapes into halves and fourths
- Create and interpret tally charts and bar graphs
- Estimate and measure length
- Tell time to the half hour
- Count combinations of paper bills or coins
What materials will I need?
I’ve kept the materials list as simple and budget-friendly as possible: counters, pattern blocks, coins, play money, index cards, playing cards, dice, a clock with hands, a ruler, paper and pencils. (The pilot testers also recommended a binder with plastic page protectors for storing blackline masters and game boards.) If you don’t already own pattern blocks, you can find them online for about $15. Besides these, you’ll also sometimes use household items like stuffed animals, small toys, or crayons.
How are picture books incorporated?
Each week includes an optional enrichment lesson with a picture book and real-life math application activity. These are completely optional, and you can include as many or as few as you want over the course of the year. Some families do these on the fifth day of the week, some incorporate them into their Morning Time or read-aloud time, and some families just skip them entirely.
Keep in mind you don’t have to drive yourself crazy tracking down every book. It’s perfectly fine to just grab a few math picture books from your library and read those instead if your library doesn’t have many of these titles.
Is my child ready to start First Grade Math with Confidence?
Most children are ready to start First Grade Math with Confidence when they are 6 years old. Your child is ready if she can:
- Count to at least 10 (preferably higher).
- Write the numbers from 1 to 10. (It’s fine if they’re crooked or she sometimes reverses them.)
- Identify basic shapes, such as circle, triangle, and square.
- Solve simple addition or subtraction word problems by acting them out with concrete objects.
If you have more questions about placement, check out this article for more advice and answers to frequently asked questions:
Can I download a sample?
You bet! You’ll find the full introduction, scope and sequence, and materials list, plus a variety of lessons from across the year so that you get a good sense of the program as a whole. Make sure to download both files so that you can see both the scripted Instructor Guide and full-color Student Workbook.
Will there be other grades? Is Math with Confidence a full series?
Yes! See this article for the release dates and more information on other grades.
Where can I buy First Grade Math with Confidence?
Digital copies (PDFs) are available only from Well-Trained Mind Press. For the Instructor Guide, the pdf version will work fine as long as you don’t mind reading off of a screen. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to print out some of the blackline masters in the Helpful Resources section at the back.
For the Student Workbook, I recommend the print version if at all possible. Color is an important part of the workbook—and color ink can be expensive!—so you’ll likely find it more cost-effective in in the long run.