I created this minimalist math curriculum because I want my own kids to have a positive attitude toward math. I feel like all the repetition that kids experience using a more traditional curriculum is unnecessary in the elementary years. If kids develop a distaste for math because they are overwhelmed by the amount of work they have to do, then it is actually counterproductive. This first-grade minimalist math curriculum I created exposes kids to all the same types of problems with the same range of difficulty that they would find in a traditional curriculum, just without all the repetition.
You can learn more about my methodology and my reasons for creating this curriculum here. Basically, I have created 36 worksheets for my children to complete during the school year. Each worksheet consists of 10 different types of problems. As the year goes on, the problems progress in difficulty. Rather than doing math daily, my kids do one 10 problem worksheet each week.
Kids will likely need help completing this 10 problem worksheet. I recommend sitting next to them and taking the time to explain the concepts. My kids look forward to doing math with me because they know they will have my full attention for those 20 minutes.
If kids can master these 360 problems during the year, I believe they will be as good at math as if they had done a full, traditional curriculum. So far, my kids all test at or above grade level in math despite spending much less time on the subject.
This first-grade minimalist math curriculum covers the following 10 topics. Each week a child does one problem from each of these categories.
- Understanding Numbers
- Word Problems
- Spatial Sense
- Patterns & Sequences
- Units & Measurement
- Telling Time
- Graphs, Charts, and Tables
One weakness of this curriculum is that they will be slower at basic math operations such as addition and subtraction, because they are not practicing these memorization facts regularly. For my oldest, I just let him be a little slower and did not try to remedy the speed issue until he was in fourth grade. He might have been a little slower than other kids while testing, but since he understood the concepts of addition and subtraction I do not think it affected his accuracy.
However, if you are concerned about their fluency with basic math facts, you can check out some of my free addition and subtraction resources. My kids also like the games in Kate Snow’s Addition Facts that Stick. In addition to fun games for you and your child to play together, it also includes practice worksheets to help your kids master their basic addition facts. The game Clumsy Thief in the Candy Shop is another fun way to build fluency in counting to 20.
Another fun way to explore or practice the exact same problems as this First Grade Minimalist Math curriculum is by using my math cards included in my Patreon membership community. Patrons can also download a mastery checklist to can keep track of which problems in the curriculum are tripping their students up. You can pull out specific cards to review later or to practice with through fun strategies such as Game Show Math or Treasure Hunt Math.
Whether you are planning to use this free set of worksheets as your full curriculum or just as a supplement to check for gaps, I hope it is helpful to you!
Recommended Age Range: First Grade
Time Required: about 20 minutes per week
Difficulty: starts off fairly easy and gets harder as the weeks progress
Cost: Free printable
Print out the curriculum and help your child complete one worksheet each week for each of the 36 weeks of school.
Mimimalist Math – First Grade Curriculum
Click here for all the Minimalist Math curricula available for different grade levels.