Your questions regarding First sound like I could have written them! We have 8 units left and hope to do them fairly quickly, spending about 4 days per unit. So we are at about the same spot and have the same timetable for when we wrap up K!
I also am wondering about the speed of the reading program in First for my daughter... she still sounds out most CVC words but is gaining confidence. We have the Bob books that others are recommending, and they help. I know it is hard to have a real story using only CVC words, but still, they are a bit strange at times. We also have the Hooked On Phonics beginning readers which she enjoys much more than the Bob books, but I don't know if those are available apart from the program. A few times a week, I write her a short story using appropriate words, sometimes related to our unit. They also often relate to family experiences... exciting titles like "Gail Has Pups" or "Dad's Hat" or "Mom Got Mad At The Dog."
She enjoys these. I could take the time to make them into little books, but we started out writing them in a notebook and that is sort of our tradition now. I have sort of been waiting for reading to "click" with her, but it hasn't happened. The First grade reading looks intimidating to me, but it seems to have some good review before it dives in.
For the science, my little girl is also animal crazy. Actually, our whole family is and it shows with all our pets, frequent birding excursions and dozens upon dozens of books about animals. I even teach a class with fourteen 8-14 year olds at co-op about Tennessee Wildlife, complete with real skulls and hides and scat replicas and all that fun stuff I borrow from the wildlife office. And my "art class" for the dozen or so younger co-op students is slowly becoming "Learning About Animals With A Brief Follow-up Art Activity."
So Gail was deflated when she saw the lack of animals in science. It was the one problem she had with the materials. We are going to order Apologia's Zoology 1, Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day and go through it as we have time and energy, along with First's scheduled science. Can't get too much science around this household (we are all complete nerds).
I've looked through online samples of the Junior Notebooking Journal for Zoology 1 and I think Gail will like it, so we're getting it also. We are particularly birdy around here, with Gail knowing more species of wild birds than most adults... so it is a good fit.
I feel like I have sort of dropped the ball in K math. We do the activities and all, but I have not made it a priority and it shows. I have to admit that I don't enjoy math and I also didn't really know the direction I should take it in K. I'm glad I got the Complete Book of Math for her, as it will provide the direction I need and looks like it will cover things very... um, completely. Like you, I am glad it will offer concrete direction and I like that math is so scheduled.
Sometimes I wonder if I spent too much time in K learning all about the subject of each unit and not enough on the basics.... so that I have a child who can tell you all the differences between African and Asian Elephants, knows what a Thylacine is, or can name about 12 of the 17 species of penguins... but who has trouble with 2+3. &) Sometimes I get too detail oriented and miss the bigger picture.
I am looking forward to First, but like you, it is with nervousness mingled with the excitement. Glad to hear someone else feels that way!
See August update, below.]
... a forgiven child of God since 1994 (age 16)
... happily wed to William since 1996
... mother of our long-awaited Gail (3/15/2006)
... missing 6 little ones (4 miscarriages, 2 ectopics)
... starting Rome to the Reformation this fall!