K12 First Grade continues in the same vein as the Kindergarten year, with more great classic literature study, featuring interesting stories and a nicely laid out workbook format that goes along with the online lessons. The workbooks are excellent (see our comments above regarding the math), colorful, and easy to work with. One of my favorite aspects of the curriculum was the art history focus. Included in the program were beautiful art prints, and two wonderful early art introduction books Come Look With Me: World of Play and Come Look With Me: Exploring Landscape Art with Children. These two books are colorful, lovely, and detail great works of art by famous artists. I really appreciate the art history focus of K12 and am excited to use these with the children.
K12 also continues the next step in their phonics program in first grade by giving you the advanced tray of phonics tiles. With these tiles your children can see and feel words come together right in front of them. To go along with the tiles are their phonics readers that the children really get excited about, and the online phonics lessons that cement the concepts. I am pretty impressed with the music CDs that come with the K12 program! You will be amazed at all of the beautiful music K12 has chosen to include classical, jazz, etc. Just having one of these CDs playing throughout the day in the home, makes one feel "cultured" and "smart." To go with the music is a fun action video that my children really enjoyed, and has a very animated woman going through a series of finger plays and body moves that increase coordination and are just plain fun for them!
You want math manipulatives? Look no further, because K12 knows just what to include! Personally, I was stunned at the amount included, and my children immediately started digging through them with excitement. My favorite was a curious bin of wooden geometrical shapes (not small), which my husband wanted to immediately look at. He pulled them out and began a lesson with the children - their first real geometry lesson! Along with the manipulatives for math, K12 sends a large amount of science experiments and includes all the fun and needed elements to make them work. Our kit included everything from plastic goggles to seeds to feathers to a magnet and metal shillings to see it work!
K12 is a thorough program that would appeal to someone who really wants to cover all the basics plus some, and for a family that is highly motivated to accomplish scholastic achievement. I feel that it goes beyond when you factor in all of the cultural enlightenment with the beautiful, famous music, art history prints and books, poetry and famous literature. This is not just a "basic 3 R's" program. I was also impressed to see that K12 has contracted with Jim Weiss of Greathall Productions, winner of TOS EE Award, 2001. K12 knows where to find the best, and they scored big when they decided to include audio literature from Master Storyteller, Jim Weiss, on CD. I got all excited to see that!
Lastly, remember that the computer is a integral part of the program and is an indispensable aspect of it. If you are not a computer person, then this is not for you. K12 believes in embracing the technology that is out there and implementing it into a child's education so that they will have ready life skills in the 21st century. This is by far the most complete curriculum for a homeschooler I have seen to date. Add Bible, prayer, and devotion time with your children, and you'll need nothing else for the year. You have it all! Highly recommended for missionary families as well. Well done, K12!