My girl, my homeschool guinea pig … she’s on to 3rd grade now!
Jemma was amazingly diligent in her studies this year. I think she knew that adding Max into our schooling mix was a new feat for me and she stepped in to help often while staying super focused on her own work. It’s just who she is. I’m blessed.
I learned a lot this year. On balance. On priorities. About curriculum options. I’m hoping to make even better decisions for Jemma’s studies next year. I hope she looks back on our homeschool days as a grand adventure that ebbed and flowed as we discovered new gems rather than a mishmash of “what’s mom going to think of next” … cross your fingers with me!
But now, what you’re here for – the video of my chatter about Jem’s 2nd grade curriculum. Here it is! What we loved, what I thought was unnecessary (for us at least), and a little chatter on homeschool “philosophy”.
We finally jumping into a computer-based math curriculum, Teaching Textbooks, and loved it! We will totally stick with this for the next while, it was a great fit for Jemma and I. She completed Teaching Textbooks 3 and it was definitely suitable for a 2nd grader. I love that this curriculum goes all the way up to Geometry, Algebra, and more.
When it comes to multiplication tables we utilized Times Tales. Jem thought this was a fantastic way to remember her facts. It’s something we’ll definitely continue through the summer.
As I mention in the video, we were super heavy in the Language Arts line up this year. I’ll be scaling that back for 3rd grade. It’s not that it wasn’t all good, it’s just that it was too much.
With that said, here’s what we used!
Daily Grams – Super awesome grammar practice. Great way to kick off the day with a quick little worksheet.
First Language Lessons For the Well-Trained Mind: Level 1 – This is great! We loved the poetry memorization, simple instructor/student Q&A, and it teaches the parts of speech very well. There is a level 2 and 3 as well.
The Complete Writer: Level 1 Writing With Ease – I go on and on about this in the video, that’s because I love when language skills and books intersect. Pretty much the 4-day/week set-up of copywork, narration, copywork, narration is easy and fun! We discovered some wonderful new books thanks to this text too. There is a level 2 and 3 with this too.
Wordly Wise 3000 Book 2 – I forgot to mention this in the video, probably because Jem finished it before Christmas! Wordly Wise is a vocabulary workbook and for Jem, it was busywork. Nothing wrong with it though, we just tended to explore vocabulary through her literature studies …
About those literature studies. Jemma read a great assortment of books and completed worksheet packets that our parent partnership program provided. I always battle with reading for enjoyment vs. reading for study because I don’t want to kill the delight of reading. But, I figure a book a month that we’re really dissecting is sufficient. I added a star next to the literature studies Jemma loved most :)
- Trumpet of the Swan
- Indian In the Cupboard*
- The Whipping Boy
- The Cricket In Times Square
- Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
- Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh*
- From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
Last but not least – read alouds! This year we shared these fun stories together.
Science and Social Studies
We used Studies Weekly for both Science and Social Studies this year. They were so so. Jem didn’t fuss at all and some topics led her to ask for library books to read more. But, I’ve learned that we really prefer to dig deeper into topics. These pamphlets were just too surface-y.
Our co-op runs terms based on unit study themes. They’re usually science or social studies based and my littles love going! And I love sharing the teaching responsibility. This year the fall term was national landmarks (Statue of Liberty, Grand Canyon, Peace Arch, Mesa Verde, etc.) and spring was all about the layers of the ocean.
We spent most of the year reading the book God’s Name. Definitely an amazing text; for kids and mamas! The kids memorized all of Psalm 23 and a handful of other verses too.
We have a number of devotionals we are dabbling in and enjoying too including The Ology: Ancient Truths, Ever New; Indescribable: 100 Devotions for Kids About God and Science; and Love Does For Kids.
Jemma hopped onto abcya.com during her freetime a few times each week. And Outschool was a BIG hit. Her favorite classes were Disney Artist Mary Blair Inspired Castles, Let’s Explore the World: Australia (and other continents), Dr. Seuss Inspired Art, Learning Through Film – Great Depression and “Kit Kittredge: An American Girl”, and Medicinal Herbs: An Introduction to Wildcrafting. Yes, Outschool is as amazing as it sounds. Such a great addition to our home learning!
The biggest change for Jemma next year will be simplifying her Language Arts studies. We had too much good stuff this year and I don’t want her to get burned out. I’m thinking of trying out Brave Writer. Have you heard of it?
Towards the end of this year we started a morning symposium on our home days. Just a short time to come together and pray, read, sing, and tidy up the play room. I hope to continue that through the summer and into next year and tie in some Charlotte Mason-inspired arts with a composer/musician, author/poet, and artist/illustrator study each time we gather.
I think that’s all! If you’ve got littles, take a peek at my video about Max’s kindergarten curriculum.