Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Our Plan for Second Grade

Remember when I told you my big plans for First Grade? Well, I went back and wrote in updates on that post telling what we actually ended up doing, and how things went. You can read it here

Today I'm sharing what we'll be studying next year, because
Language Arts: 

This year we are using Presidential Penmanship for writing. It's a neat program because after purchasing ONE CD (a printable file), you've got handwriting/ copywork covered each year from K-12th grade. Pretty cool. I printed and bound the copy work book for 2nd grade. 

For phonics, spelling, and word-building, we're continuing with Victory Drill Book. Though it's simple and repetitive (boring for me), it's good for him. For beginning grammar instruction we're going to try First Language Lessons. I'm thinking we may get through levels 1 and 2 this year.  

My plan is to do handwriting each day, plus either Victory Drill OR Language Lessons each day but not both. 

Update: We still love Presidential Penmanship. Victory Drill was good... it was our second year to use it and we're both ready for a break from it. First Language Lessons got old and we lost steam after level 1. Actually I got to the point that I never wanted to read the definition of a noun again, and my son was sick of telling it to me over and over again. Was there any point to this? I'm thinking not. We discovered the Pathway Readers this year and loved them. He progressed to harder chapter books this year too.  


We are continuing with Right Start Math. It's a Japanese Math program that utilizes one-on-one teaching and hands-on activities to make math make SENSE. (Read more about it in my Right Start review!)

I'm using Life of Fred elementary books as a supplement. I wrote all about it in my previous post (here). It's a story-like book with Math exercises snuck in a play-like fashion. My son loves it, and can do it on its own so I think it'll be a nice filler on days I can't sit down and do math with him. Or days it would be nice to do math in the car as we travel. 

Update: Well, my second son had some serious health issues that required a lot of daily care from me. Between that and the fact that Right Start lessons were taking longer and longer to complete, it was no longer a good fit for us. We transitioned to Teaching Textbooks 3. He loved it but we needed to pause, learn the multiplication table, then go back to it. After that it was smooth sailing.  We did continue to supplement with Fred and he's still a hit. 

Social Studies (Bible, History, Geography) 

As you remember, last year I switched mid-year from Simply Charlotte Mason to Mystery of History. We're continuing with Mystery of History, and plan to finish Volume 1 this school year. I'm doing the hands-on-history projects for our co-op this year, so we'll be doing lots of fun activities for Ancient Greece and Rome. We'll also finish up our Stick Figuring Through the Bible, which has been a great resource for making a child's first timeline in a visual way that makes sense to them. 

Update: We still like Mystery of History. We tried the lap books and liked them but found them hard to keep up with. We switched from making them each lesson to making them ahead then going back and reading them as we come to them and adding any extra notes if we have them. I think I'm ready to break Bible from History now so we can go a different pace with it. 

For Geography this year, I think we'll take a break from Visualize (we like it, but I think we'll save it till Little Brother can join in and do it too). My current plan is to use Elementary Geography by Charlotte Mason, (which I downloaded for free here, printed and bound) along with Maps and Globes by Harriett Barton, and a couple simple projects to build map skills.

Update: Maps and Globes was a great picture book introduction, and for little siblings I think I'll use it in Kindergarten and first grade. Elementary Geography was an enjoyable, quaint introduction to geography. Minor text corrections were needed in references to future space travel and the author referring to her homeland of England. Both of these made for good discussion. We also used A Child's Introduction to the World from our library to study each continent and a little general world geography. It made for a good study but I won't use it for younger siblings. 


We are studying elementary Chemistry and Physics this year with our co-op, using Apologia's Exploring Creation with Chemistry and Physics. These elementary science books are ok for kids from K-6 but this is one of the more advanced ones so I'm not going to do extras with it (like lap booking). There are a L-O-T of hands-on activities and experiments in this book, which we'll be doing with our co-op. 

Update: This was awful. No go. We dropped it entirely. It was way too much info, way too many experiments, and it's not that relevant to a grade schooler. Admittedly I suspected much of this when previewing it but bought it anyway because that's what our co-op was using this year. All we'd have to do at home was read the chapters, and I thought that would be fine. Even that much was a no go. They did learn some stuff, but I just didn't find it as relatable as it should have, and felt that our time would be better used doing something else. Anything else. 
Instead, we began doing real nature study this year, the Charlotte Mason way. It was great. We all loved it. And it was relevant... they were learning about the world around them, right where we live. 


We're reading aloud classic children's literature together. I'm using the recommendations from Simply Charlotte Mason, Book Group 2 for Younger Students. Here are our books for the year:

Stuart Little by E.B. White
Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Five Children and It by E. Nesbit
The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Update: I'm still a fan of the SCM book lists. 


We'll be doing an art class through our co-op this year. I think the kids will learn the basics of drawing. 

Update: This was fun first semester. Our art co-op class ended first semester so second semester our art was a combination of nature journaling and the Art Hub for Kids site. 

This is like the icing on our school cake. We do it as we have time. For poetry study, we'll continue reading through "A Child's Garden of Verses" by Robert Louis Stevenson. For music study, I got the Music Study With the Masters: Bach from SCM. And we'll finish up our Van Gogh picture study (using this picture portfolio from SCM).

Update: My kids weren't really bonkers for the poetry. We did really thoroughly enjoy our Van Gogh picture study, and just began listening to the Bach. 

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