Is My Son Ready for 1St Grade? Help!!

Updated on July 14, 2010
T.L. asks from Corpus Christi, TX
14 answers

I home schooled my 6 year old this past school year because of a minor medical problem that would have kept him home a lot during his kindergarten year. I purchased many kindergarten and 1st grade materials. He flew through the kindergarten workbooks and didn't really seem troubled by the 1st grade materials either. To me, the first grade workbooks didn't seem all that difficult or different from the kinder books so now I am really worried that he won't be ready because of the inferior materials I introduced.
Can someone please tell me what to expect in 1st grade? Do the kids really still practice their letters, only add and subtract numbers 1-20, etc.?
Some of the materials we have used are the Spectrum series of workbooks (k and 1st), as well as Comprehensive Curriculum workbooks from American Education Publishing, Schoolhouse Collection workbooks (k and 1st), Disney workbooks from the Dollar Store, and the Step into Reading books (steps 1 and 2).
I am a certified teacher and I would continue home schooling my son if I wasn't receiving such grief from family members about keeping my son at home and denying him the public school experience. I have two younger kiddos at home as well and am expecting my fourth this December, so I can't say my son has my undivided attention, but we do what we can as the little ones follow along. It has been hard, but daddy helps with lessons or watches the babies when he gets home.
Also, what are 1st graders in to? My son is still playing with his trains and plays well with his younger brothers. He just started showing interest in Transformers and Iron Man so I feel he may be a little behind the times. I don't want my son getting picked on because he isn't up to date on the latest trend.
Thanks Moms! Any help is greatly appreciated!

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answers from Brownsville on

I am a kinder teacher and by the end of the year my students knew how to read small books, small sentences, able to write small sentences as well, count past 100, count by 2's, 3's 5's 10's, able to add and subtract one and two digit numbers, learned about communities and community helpers, learned about life cycles among other simple science lessons. But it depends on the school he will be attending, I suggest you go to the school and speak to his 1st grade teacher to see where he would stand. As far as what they like its basically what you said cars, trains, pokemon, spiderman, batman, basically little boy stuff!! good luck : )

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answers from Green Bay on

My son is also 6 and just finished kindergarten. It is truly amazing how much he has learned this year. I don't think you need to worry at all about your son being behind the others. They learn so quickly at this age. At the beginning of the school year, he knew how to write his letters and knew all the letter sounds. Now, he is reading level 1 readers all by himself. At one of the conferences with his teacher, she told us that in kindergarten all of the kids are at different levels. Some are still learning letters, some are reading. She said that they all seem to catch up and be at about the same level in 3rd grade. As far as numbers and math, he learned how to write all his numbers and just basic addition and subtraction, and also counting money. They also learned a lot about patterns and sequences.

As far as home schooling goes, I think you need to do what you think is best for you and your children. It doesn't matter what others think. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages. If you do decide to home school, I'm sure you know that there are home schooling communities that you can join so that your kids get the social experience of school also.

When it comes to toys, my son is into a wide range of things also. He has a 3yo. little brother so he plays trains, guys, cars, blocks, and they even play house together! In my opinion, anything that requires imagination is great. To me, kids at this age seem to be very accepting of others and I haven't noticed much "peer pressure" yet.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Salinas on

I bet your son will do just fine in first grade. It seemed to me that kids entered 1st on a really wide spectrum of academic abilities but by the end of the year they all had covered a huge amount of material. It seemed more like 3rd-4th when I was a kid and reading these responses I'm probably right. I'd really decide if your going to homeschool right now as missing kinder doesn't seem like a big deal but entering later on past 1st may be a little rough. I wouldn't worry much about what the kids are into. Honestly I am saddened by a lot of what other kids do with their time. Our family has never bought into the popular trends and both my girls are well adjusted, popular, excellent students and most importantly happy. Saw another post about silly bands, we do not have a single one and neither kid has ever mentioned them. My younger daughter still plays with dolls sometimes and is entering 3rd grade. Honestly I love the fact that they do not buy into the latest trend and it has never effected them negatively, in fact in some ways I think they are stronger socially then some of the kids that get totally wrapped up in Justine Beiber or Twilight. It's more important that your son be able to interact well socially. It seems that the kids that are slower to mature socially or don't communicate well have the problems. At our school it isn't really about what their playing with as much as how they play with eachother. I would use the rest of the summer to reading to him and having him read to you. That is the single most important thing you can do to prepare him for the rest of his education. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Killeen on

My daughter will be entering 1st grade this fall. She is reading simple books (Dr. Suess, etc.); can add and subtract simple numbers; count to 100 by 1s, 2s, 5s, and 10s; has covered basic science (parts of a plant, effects of force, basic solar system, etc.); basic computer skills; knows months and days of the week and seasons. That's basically it. At the end of last year she was just starting to write more (very short stories, 2-3 sentence answers to questions, etc.).
As far as what 1st graders are "into", I let my daughter choose her interests and I try to encourage her to play and I don't allow her to watch any movies except PG rated ones or cartoons. As far as what cartoons she likes, she still watches Dora, Blue's Clues, Max and Ruby, Franklin, etc. I think kids are growing up way too fast now and we should encourage them to just be KIDS. I also give my daughter the confidence to have her own interests, even if they aren't "popular".

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Atlanta on

Why don't you schedule a meeting with the public school in question and bring your materials so that a teacher can help you asses whether your son would meet the expectations for first grade?

If not, then send him to Kindergarten. My son has a fall birthday so he is the oldest in his class but if I had a son with a spring or summer birthday I would hold him back anyway because boys mature more slowly than girls.

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answers from Chicago on

I think your son will probably be as ready as many kids are for first grade. IME, first graders are a combination of some 'bigger kid' stuff but still really love their 'little kid' toys, etc. I think there is a big enough range of interest that your son would not get picked on. Speaking as someone who never let my son watch the Disney Channel or Nick at that age- believe me, he will pick it up fast anyway!

I would say start him and give the teacher a couple of months to assess how he is doing and if he is at or above grade level, etc. I do think that a LOT of first grade is about socialization- not just getting used to rules and how to behave with other kids, but also getting used to having a schedule, different teachers, being exposed to music, art, gym.

See how your son adjusts both emotionally and educationally and then you can reassess how you feel about it after grades come out and you have a conference with the teacher later in the fall. I would also plan to meet with the teacher and principal ahead of time and let them know that your son was being homeschooled and any details you think might be helpful for them to keep in mind as he adjusts. They will be better able to help him out and recognize if some process is unfamiliar to him if they know his background.

Good luck- it sounds like you've put a lot of thought into this already and I'm sure he will adjust just fine!

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answers from Detroit on

My daughter just finished 1st grade. As far as letters... They were learning how to sound them out in a word. Learning how to write short sentences. Simple math... Adding, subtracting. Started using coins to count in 5's and 10's. Learning how many of a specific coin makes up a dollar. Some spelling. Basic "connector words" like, and, but, the... etc. A few little basic science experiments with colored water and carnations. They did a journal page everyday by writing a sentence (the best they could) and drew a picture showing what it was they were trying to say.

And for being into trains and playing well with the younger ones... That shows patience and tolerance. There's nothing wrong with that! Also, Transformers and Iron Man are very normal for this age. He's not behind.

Oh... And as far as your family giving you flack for homeschooling... Poo on them! I'd love to be able to do that!

If you want more info on what they're teaching in your public school district, there should be a number to call or a curriculum guide on a website.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Your son sounds right on track academically for starting 1st grade. And socially, you will have kids with all different experiences, if they have older siblings they may have been exposed to more advanced movies and TV and if they are the oldest or onlies, they may be around the experience level of your son (but all this depends on the parents).

As to whether to continue home-schooling or not, that choice is yours not your family's (not that I know any families without major opinions on the subject). If you chose to homeschool, you would have to see what requirements there are in Texas because every state is different. Kindergarten is not a "mandatory" grade (at least it wasn't, I don't think it is), but from 1st grade on most states require you follow some sort of program. I'm sure you could give him a brilliant education even with his brothers around. What you have to decide is what you feel is best for him and what you feel he would be "missing out on", and whether that is good or bad. You can always sign him up for little league or boy scouts or some other activity where he can socialize with kids his age. There are advantages and disadvantages to both public school and homeschooling.

Good luck!

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answers from New York on

my kids are entering first grade. this is what they know:
numbers 1-1000
add/subtract to 100
read level 3 books
start/shut of computer, put and be able to start a game on their own.
count by 1s, 2s, 5s and 10s to 1000
write short journals (they started this in february), topic is chosen for them, they write 2- 3 sentences. they're supposed to get comfortable writing on their own.
one of my 6 year olds (just turned 6) can write very well with little to no errors.
the other 6 year old is less skilled in writing words on her own. she can write the sight words but not more complex words. we're working on this.
they can tell time.



answers from Seattle on

Totally depends on the school district. We pulled our son out after K for academic reasons... He would have had to have been "skipped" to 3rd or 4th in order for the school's curricula to meet what he had learned in preschool. In our 3rd year of HS'ing there's no way he could go back and not just be bored out of his mind. They're JUST introducing simple addition and subtraction, and we're into algebra.

In our district, by the END of K (so entering first) kids need to know colors, how to count to 20 (verbally, our district has "nixed" math until the 3rd grade), most of their alphabet, and a handful of 2-3 letter words. Also how to write their name. The district my neice and nephew are in the kids ENTERING k have to know 100 sight words, how to do simple addition & subtraction, etc. But (at least looking at CAT tests, our district is more "normal", except for the bizarre "qualatative math" thing they're doing)

It's not that what you've bough it substandard... it's that the standard is substandard. I have my grandparents grade 1-5 "primers". My son isn't even at the LOWEST level yet, and he ranges from grade 3- grade 7 depending on the subject. The vocabulary alone *I* have to look up at least once a chapter (BEAUTIFUL phrasing), and I scored 790 on the verbal part of the SATs.

Go in and talk with the 1st grade teacher. She/He will be able to give you the best idea of what's expected.

As far as what boys that age are "into"... totally depends. Most of our friends are away-schoolers, and it's really varied as to what they love.



answers from Austin on

I just read your question and something that you wrote caught my eye: "daddy helps with lessons or watches the babies when he gets home." What does your husband think about all this? We've been homeschooling for 10 years and our oldest is finishing up 9th grade (we've traded in traditional school calendars for extra time outside playing in the fall and spring when its beautiful in Texas and do some hard work in the air conditioned summers) Home schooling when dad is so supportive is wonderful, and really helps to stand up against nay sayers.
The best thing you've done by using the materials you chose, is given him a pattern of completing work and the time to play. With your loving home he has a solid base and that is more than so many children have when going off to school.
Though its hard to home school with little ones under foot, it is not impossible. Before you totally give up home schooling, since you sound like you'd like to continue, you might check out Texas Home School Coalition . They have the laws for the state of Texas (thank God for the freedoms we enjoy!) and information on a convention coming up the last week in July, that gives amazing encouragement (especially for Dad's) It is really family centered, and has wonderful curriculum examples from a variety of vendors (be careful not to buy the first you see, it is tempting!) Bless you on whatever you decide. (Hope I caught the mistaken website before you tried it! It is for certain!)



answers from Pittsburgh on

First of all, you need to decide whether to home school your kid(s) for your own reasons, not b/c of what friends and family members think! Personally, I am not a huge fan of home schooling and we live in a great district and have great schools so public school is our choice.

My son is going into second grade and last year they did a lot of writing, writing sentences, reading comprehension tests, spelling words every week (about 10 per week), in math they did some basic algebra, fractions, estimating, addition, subtraction, simple multiplication and a little division. They did not only add and subtract from 1-20, but I'd say it was the main focus for the better part of the year.
As far as the "learning" of letters--no. But they do write them for handwriting practice.
They had timed math tests every week. They did science daily, experiments, and my son participated in the science fair (optional). They worked through about 4 reading textbooks, 2 math textbooks. They had a social studies period. They also had a "power period" where kids are broken out with kids of like abilities for further challenge (in my son's case-math) or extra help, if needed.
They also had art, music, gym and library and computer labs.
I was AMAZED at the amount of material covered in first grade.
I'm not familiar with the cirriculum and materials you mentioned but I can tell you I had about two stuffed under the bed bins of completed worksheets by the end of the year! And that was not everything.
They do a lot in first grade. I doubt he'll be bored and I'm sure he'll be challenged.

***ADDED*** As far as what first grade boys are "into": My son collects coins, loves baseball, hockey and football, Nascar, Super Mario anything, Wii, etc. Some of his friends like Legos, Star Wars, Iron Man. I've gotta say, he's pout the trains behind him for the most part. (But he doesn't have younger siblings so he might still play with them if they were around (7 bins in my attic!). Kids that age are big AND small and my son still sleeps with his age-old stuffed lovey, Bug.


answers from Beaumont on

The other people are telling it mainly as it is. I am a first grade teacher and the truth is that you get a mix of kids. You get some that learned everything from Kinder and some who didn't and you take the whole mix and try to work with them where ever they fall. You child will mainly have some social issues from not being away from you and it is a long day away for the first six weeks until they adjust.
I personally would not go talk to the teacher now, for one thing you couldn't find one, we do not sit at our school all summer and what good is it going to do at this point.
You should be reading to your child so that they enjoy books and talking about the sounds the letters make etc., you should be letting him count out the silverware to set the table and counting other things. Writing some each day in your "substandard" workbooks is fine.
It is better that he missed K and not 1st. First grade you will be amazed at what all is covered and how much growth he has at the end.
Do not be insecure. He will pick up on that and be insecure himself.
Tell him he will do great and you will help him learn anything he needs to learn and that he will make friends cause he is a great kid.
Good luck.



answers from Provo on

My son is going into first grade in the fall. I think the biggest thing for kindergarteners is reading. If your son can read then everything else will probably fall into place. My daughter's kindergarten teacher told me that a child that reads usually does not have problems with other things. Getting the social experience is usually a bigger part in the younger grades. I think that once he goes to school and gets around the other boys he will get right into the best things. Oh, you will hear all about the cool stuff. He may have a few struggles for a few days but everything will work out.

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