Saturday, November 1, 2014

Our Curriculum: 2014-2015 (2nd Grade)

Many of you are probably wondering if I am still homeschooling.   The answer is YES!   Homeschooling is going wonderfully!   The kids are thriving academically, socially, and emotionally.    And I can honestly say that I love being apart of their education. 

Homeschooling does make for busy days---which is why this blog has gone neglected.   However, I thought I would sneak away for a bit and talk about our curricula choices for the school year.

Marcus is 7 and in 2nd grade.   Sophie is 6 and technically in first grade....but she insist on keeping up with her older brother.  Here is a look at the materials we are using.   To see what all of this looks like in practice, make sure and check out my "Day in the Life" post. 


We started out the year using All About Reading level 2.    We had used AAR Pre-level 1 (which I love) and Level 1 in past years.   However, after REALLY giving the program a chance, I decided that it wasn't the right reading program for me.   (I hope to write a review of WHY this program didn't work for us in the future.  It seems no one hears from people who tried AAR and didn't like it.)

We ended up switching to the I See Sam readers on a whim---and I am SO glad I did.   The program has been incredibly effectual for my children.   It has raised their reading by two grade levels in a short 6 month period!!  Plus, it has made learning to read fun again.    I highly recommend those books.  

Our plan right now is to finish up the first 6 sets of the I See Sam books.  (We are almost done with set 5 now.)   Then, we are going to continue on with the Sonlight Grade 2 readers to help build fluency and increase their self confidence in reading.

By that time, the grade 2 readers will probably feel easy for Marcus and Sophie.  But that is OK!   I approach reading the same way I do training for an athletic event.    Sometimes we push ourselves and read books that are very challenging.  Other times, we want an easier read so they can learn that reading can be fun and relaxing too.   My ultimate goal is to raise children who LOVE to read. 


We used All About Spelling 1 last year, and this year are continuing on with All About Spelling 2. 


We finished up level 1 of this series in first grade, and are continuing on with level 2.   These books are pure genius in that they manage to teach some very challenging grammar concepts in a very gentle and systematic way.  


Another continuation we have from last year is the Writing With Ease program.    We finished WWE level 1 last year, and have started WWE 2 this year.

I can't say that I LOVE this program because there are some things about it that annoy me.  However, I haven't currently found anything I like as well for these early elementary years.   Plus, I do love how the writing instruction is broken into very small incremental chunks.  And I feel strongly that any child who completes WWE will have a strong foundation for later writing instruction.   For those reasons, we keep plugging away with this program.

My current long term plan is to continue on with WWE until we finish level 3 in third grade.   At that point, we are going to do a year of IEW to practice some stylistic techniques and outlining.   After IEW, we will probably start to use a writing program based on the progymnasta.   (There are so many great options that I haven't picked one.)

UPDATE:   I decided to take a break from WWE for awhile and have started using Write from History.   It contains many of the stories that I *want* to read to my children about history anyways.   We still continue the basic narration, copywork, and dictation model of teaching writing at this age.   



Cursive using Joy of Handwriting

This is a great, budget friendly handwriting program that I highly recommend.   Marcus has always had some fine motor delays, but is picking up beautiful cursive handwriting thanks to this program.   So it really works well!

Next year we will continue doing basic cursive copywork (for practice) and learn to type.



One change we made from last year is our math curricula.   Last year we used Math Mammoth 1A & 1B.  The kids thrived in that program, and I highly recommend it.   (Both tested in the 97th and 98th percentile in math compared to peers across the USA.)  So we didn't switch from Math Mammoth because we didn't like it.   HOWEVER, I believe that Singapore math is just slighly more academically rigorous than even Math Mammoth.   It is just a really, really strong math program.

My kids LOVE math--and the Singapore method challenges them so they don't become bored.   So this is a switch I am glad we made.  

History:  (2 times per week)

Ancient History using Story of the World Volume 1 with Activity Book and Audio Book


(2 times per week + 1 day for labs)
Supplemented with LOTS of Science books


Another change from last year is our history curriculum.   Last year we used Sonlight, but this year we are using Story of the World.   We love studying history with this book. 

Read Alouds

One thing that we loved about our Sonlight days were their read aloud choices.   Reading good quality literature aloud is still a HUGE part of our day.   However, this year I made my own read aloud list.   AND....what can I say?   I love my picks!   ;)   I hope to be able to share my schedule in a future blog post. 

Nature Study

Fine Arts


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