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2nd graders: What went really well this year?


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I'll get to teach second grade for the fifth time this fall. I love this age! DD/7yo has worked her way to mostly second grade level stuff throughout first grade.

 

Staying:

Horizons math

Rod and Staff spelling

homegrown literature (Veritas Press are our favorites though)

reading real books for science, nonfiction, "living," etc

homegrown/vintage composition

 

Changing:

First Language Lessons 1/2 will swap for Rod and Staff English 3

geography for first grade: American Girl based American history for second grade

 

Differences from Older Siblings:

Most of them used Rod and Staff math, which I still like, but Horizons is a better fit for DD/7yo. DC #6 will probably use more Rod and Staff.

actual science curricula

VP history (which is all dutifully waiting in the homeschool closet for DD/7yo to probably use in the future)

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WWE just uses bits and pieces of good books.  We've liked AAS and AAR for second grade.  We've also really enjoyed all the rabbit trails we've explored with Story of the World ancients as our spine.  I wish I could bottle up and repeat this year. ;)

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Not ByGrace, but no, you don't read an entire book each week, only two short excerpts.

 

What we enjoyed for grade 2:

 

Writing With Ease

CLE Math 200's

CLE Language Arts 200's

CLE Reading 200's

Prima Latina (we only did half the book this year, and will finish next year. Just because this puts us finishing 4th Form at the end of 8th grade)

Real Science 4 Kids Chemistry

 

Haven't found anything I really love for history yet. Haven't loved SOTW, Tapestry of Grace, Mystery of History (only because it was too much for 2nd), or Usborne.

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CLE language arts has been beautifully simple and effective around here. We've also loved the Ambleside year 2 readings (especially Little Pilgrim's Progress, Understood Betsy and Robin Hood), and Stories of America from Simply Charlotte Mason for history. 

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AAS has been very helpful, although we started late so are only on level 2.  We love the WWE/FLL combination, together with my hybrid writing program of Writing Strands, starters from Games for Writing and my own ideas to get DD writing.  I love ZB for handwriting, but am finding the cursive is not taking off as well as printing did with this program.  Reflex math has been great for memorizing addition and subtraction facts with no mommy involvement.  Now we are on to multiplication and division.

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Things that worked well for us:  Beast Academy as our primary math, using Xtra math for fact practice, Spelling plus/Dictation resource book for spelling (We've already done LoE, so we use those methods to study/analyze the words), adding to the schedule independent reading time and a daily chore, combining DS with older sister for science and history, starting Latin slowly with GSWL (doing half the book over the course of the year), starting our school day with read-aloud time (Bible, chapter books, and sometimes picture books too) with DS8 combined with DS6.  

 

Things that didn't work as well:  English Lessons thru Literature -- It did help me meet my goal of DS being more interested in longer read-alouds, but we dropped actually using it part way through the year once he was more into books other than the ones on the ELTL list.  Copywork -- he absolutely hates it from any source...but other than spelling dictation sentences, we didn't really find any other writing that worked for us.   Finding other independent work for DS -- he did a little bit of other independent work (other than reading time and his chores), but it was pretty much busywork, and he is not a fan. 

 

Overall, way more positives than negatives!

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Sammish, have you done RSO's Earth or Life? My daughter picked out Earth -- just wondering if you liked other of their offerings better.

 

I haven't - Chemistry is the first RSO we've done. It wasn't a bad program, it just didn't click with me (DS liked it fine, it was just me who was dreading science every week). 

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SOTW 1 (I really liked waiting a year to start this series.   I feel like my child got a lot more out of it.)

REAL Science Odyssey Earth and Space supplemented lots of great living "science" books.

Bible Study for All Ages (SO fun!)

Singapore Math

All About Reading used with the "I See Sam" readers

All About Spelling

Sonlight Core B Read Alouds ONLY

IEW Poetry Memorization

Joy of Handwriting Cursive (GREAT cheap program.)

Visualize World Geography (We use the book only)

Sentence Family (REALLY fun introduction to grammar.   We use this to make FLL more fun.) 

Write from History Ancients

 

Things that I felt "blah" about....

First Language Lessons--

Writing With Ease--

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Loved:  AAR, AAS, Horizons Math, CLE Language Arts, Morning Time :)

Liked: WWE, VP Self-paced history, Singapore, CLE Reading, MP guides with novels

OK: Reading a science textbook with note taking, vocabulary, and questions.

 

We'll be tweaking a little next year.  All our 'loves' will stay, along with WWE.  We'll start Beast Academy for our conceptual math, and use Mosdos Press instead of CLE Reading.  History and science will be more CM-y with some assigned readings.  

 

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Those of you who have used Beast Academy, and make it your main math curriculum, what is your long term goal? We've been using MUS, and we love MUS.  It's working for us. But BA looks interesting. It looks too expensive to be a supplement though. I don't know if I could drop MUS for it though. What would I do after 5th grade, if there are no more BA once we get to that level? Would I go back to MUS? It really looks cool though, and I think my daughter would like it.


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Keep- explode the code, Rod and Staff Spellimg, HWOT grade 2, draw write now, reading The Bible Story, Spanish, 20 minute silent reading, 1 hr daily quiet time

 

Ditch- Primary Language Lessons- we don't need to do any grammar yet, even gentle, and we do a lot of narration, so a bit over kill.

Our history core- I did mfw Adventures as our core and I added in way to much reading and extras. My k'er didn't tag along and honestly I would have preferred a core that met both their needs. I think we could have done a lit based core (like FIAR) and waited on the history cycle another year or two even.

 

Keep our school day to two hours.

 

Over-scheduling in general.

 

Taken a year off from extra curricular activities after baby was born. A full year! Yeah really.

 

Changed- started at 1b for Singapore math instead of 1a; 1a was all review. 1B was review first quarter. That'd been enough.

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IEW Poetry Memorization

 

 

Can you tell me a little about this?  We did a bunch of mommy-picked poems in our memory work, but this has looked interesting too. Andrew's talk on memorization was inspiring to me. :)

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Faith is completing our family's last time through 2nd grade. *sniff*

 

She has done very well with CLE math (2 pages per day, over the 12 month year).

Another favorite has been MFW Adventures and the MFW Language Lessons for Today.

 

For everything else, she has been tagging along on, so nothing specifically for 2nd graders.

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And I can't say Adventures being a bust was the companies fault but mine for trying to add in too much stuff and trying to do all of k and all of adventures verses following mfw advice guidelines. I should have made Adventures the core for both and had us only do k math & Lang.

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Things I would keep from this year (more methods than specific curriculum):

 

Not doing a formal grammar or writing program, but focusing on oral narrations and copywork.

 

Journaling/notebooking content subjects as the only output 

 

Pre-planned memory work

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I just finished my third time teaching 2nd grade. I didn't use exactly the same curriculum with all three.

 

The things I would (or did) keep:

- Rod & Staff English 2

- Rod & Staff penmanship/Pentime 2

- interest-led science reading (True Survival Stories were a hit here - my son read them on his own, though, because the pictures are too graphic for me to stomach)

- Rod & Staff spelling 2

- Story of the World for history

- Rod & Staff phonics 2

- Arttango.com art lessons and Developing Motor Skills in Art

- no formal writing lessons apart from those in R&S (the same thing actually applies for 3rd grade, as well)

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

We moved into 3rd grade materials midyear with DS7, but found a couple things that worked well for us in our journey through the last part of 2nd grade:

 

1) Making unit studies out of our science curriculums and ONLY doing Science on Wednesday, NO other materials. It cut down on a lot of prep stress and turned into a really fun day that felt like a mid-week break and I was able to really focus on each child's science curriculum in depth versus feeling like we were just skimming it.

 

2) We found Singapore math! We have been pushing through Rod & Staff but 2nd grade materials were just too heavy on review and I was loosing his interest fast. Once he moved to Singapore, he's been asking for at least 2 lessons a day and loving the pace/way everything is presented. This was a HUGE stress relief for both of us!

 

 

Ditching? I need to find an easier LA program. We used different curriculums for grammar, spelling, handwriting and reading and had zero vocab or writing curriculum. I have to simplify and am on the search. 

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We school January to December so are halfway through second grade now. 

 

Things that are working are: BFSU2, Singapore with LOF, WWE2 and a Language skills workbook, read alouds, SOTW3

 

Would like to work more on handwriting for the next 6 weeks as the more she writes the messier it seems to become and do some more grammar. At the same time I think we need more physical activity or place to let off steam during school time - my child shows more and more ADHD traits as she gets older so will firstly try more physical activity and earlier sleep patterns before looking at a stricter diet (she is already on a fairly strict one).

 

 

 

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Sammish, have you done RSO's Earth or Life? My daughter picked out Earth -- just wondering if you liked other of their offerings better.

 

Just a heads up that we did Earth & Space this year and it was... not impressive to me. (Examples: it has nothing about tectonic plates, volcanoes, or earthquakes; it's printed in Comic Sans; the information about the planets and their moons is out of date.)

 

At one point this winter, my hard drive crashed and I thought I'd lost my copy, and I realized that since I had the chapter topics already in my plan book, I really didn't need the book anyway--we were mostly relying on library books. I don't plan to use any more RSO products at least in the next few years.

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Worked Well:

CLE LA

CLE Math

CLE Reading

BJU Science Distance Learning DVDs

Classical Conversations for History (supplemented with Scholastic's Everything You Need to Know About American History Homework and various library books)

Classical Conversations for Art and Music Appreciation and public speaking opportunities

Song School Latin

 

Switched Out:

Prima Latina and GSWL for Song School Latin (My kids LOVE SSL!)

MFW Adventures for Living Books to supplement history sentences in Classical Conversations

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I have taught 2nd grade a few times and this year I felt I hit pretty good with curriculum for my 2nd grader.   Definite keepers are AAS, WWE, MUS, ETC, and NLS.

 

I don't particularly like GWG although I have used a few levels of the program.  We started with FLL and dd really didn't like it.   I don't think we'll do GWG 3 but need to decide on something else.  She also did VP self paced online for history which was easy for me but I didn't really love it.  We have read some of SOTW this year.  If I had more time I think I would have just done SOTW 2 with her.  She attended a classical charter school last year and did SOTW 1 there for 1st grade.     

 

We did some of AAR but dd doesn't really seem to need it.  She is a very strong reader.  I am having her go through the ETC books but they are all very easy for her but I think it is good practice.  

 

I think I will add some Beast Academy in next year as a supplement but continue with MUS.  She is almost done with Gamma and I don't want her getting to Pre-Algebra too quickly.   I like the problem solving in BA but when I use it for my son it seems to take a lot of teacher time.  MUS is pretty independent so it works for 5 kids using the program that are all on different levels.  

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Our clear winners were:

 

* Junior Analytical Grammar. Dd also started JAG Mechanics and will finish that in the beginning of third.

 

* The Paragraph Book series. She finished Book 1 and 2. We'll do Book 3 in the beginning of third grade, but then I'll need to find something else for writing since I want to wait to use Book 4 (or perhaps use something else entirely).

 

* Beast Academy

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I've just finished 2nd grade for the 3rd time.  For my 4th child, she will do:

 

 

Miquon & MEP Math  (20min a day.  No rush to get through, so we will see-saw within these 2 as desired.)

 

 

Happy Phonics (This will be started at age 3/4, and she'll only use it in 2nd if she still needs help remembering phonograms.)

 

Essentials in Spelling Grade 2

 

A Companion to Treadwell's 2nd Reader

 

The Sentence Family

 

 

Ambleside Online Year 2

 

 

 

 

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