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I usually share our curriculum choices in the fall, just after our school year has begun. But this time I thought I’d share them with you now, as I’m finalizing the vision I have for the year ahead. I usually make the majority of my curriculum decisions in the spring, then spend the summer gathering materials and designing the general structure of the homeschool year to come.
I’m really excited to share my second grade curriculum choices with you! If you prefer a video format, or would like a more in-depth look at our resources for the year, you can watch the video below:
Watch the Video
Alright, let’s dive right in!
Second Grade Language Arts
Since we are a book-addicted, literature-loving, Charlotte Mason-inspired homeschooling family, we usually build the framework of our year around language arts and literature. For second grade, we will be using Blossom and Root: Fantastic Journeys and Perilous Quests. This hands-on, creative curriculum includes journal prompts, narration, copywork with some introductory grammar, reading, geography, art projects, craft projects, poetry, and so many wonderful literature selections! We’ll be reading The Hobbit, The Wind in the Willows, The Wizard of Oz, trickster tales, and many more fantastic stories of adventure.
I am beyond excited about this year’s language arts. I think Blake is going to love the books we read, and there are so many creative projects and fun activities to really bring the stories to life. Best of all, I designed it to be incredibly flexible–we can take our time when we want, zoom ahead when we need to, and really dig in to the books we like the best.
In addition to our Blossom and Root curriculum, we will continue using Jot it Down (now going into our fourth year with this wonderful resource) and implementing elements of the Bravewriter Lifestyle. We will continue having our regular poetry teatimes and movie nights, and I want to begin doing Friday Freewrites each week. This past year, Blake chose one Jot it Down project to spend half the year on–she decided to research and write a book about horses. I helped her gather and read books, we watched documentaries on Curiosity Stream, and I typed while she told me what she wanted each page to say. We’re wrapping up her book right now and it’s been such a wonderful experience. I’m thinking I’ll let her choose another project for next year to linger over.
We’ll be sprinkling in some fun Harry Potter resources this year, too! Blake’s already started working through this awesome Harry Potter cursive book I found on Amazon, and I was so excited to find Waldock’s Wizards and Wands. We absolutely love the writing prompts in the “incantations” portion of the curriculum, so Blake will work through those (casually) to start her morning while I am working with my kindergartener. I’m also going to order the books for the “magical creatures” part of the program so she can work through that at her leisure as well.
Finally, we’ll add in regular gameschooling and daily reading. Blake’s been reading through the Billy and Blaze series over the past few months and has been doing very well. We’ll continue to have her read out loud to me for about ten to fifteen minutes per day next year. I ordered the “secret” reader series by Shelley Davidow, so we’ll start those once Blake finishes the Billy and Blaze series. I also have a pretty nice stockpile of Frog and Toad, Little Bear, and other readers saved up. She also has most of the Magic Treehouse books in her room, which will be right in her breadbasket around mid-year.
Second Grade Math
In first grade, we used Singapore (standards edition) as our spine, and supplemented with Wild Math (first grade level.) This year, I’m going to flip that around a bit. We’ll be using Wild Math (grades 2/3 level) as our spine and I’ll be using Singapore for supplemental work. I’ve decided not to use the Singapore textbook or workbook this year. I’ll use the home instructors manual to design more creative, hands-on units for each major concept, and Blake will record her learning in a main lesson book. I also ordered the book Math in the Garden to add to our outdoor math adventures, and Beast Academy 2a to experiment with as a supplement.
While I really like Singapore and find it to be incredibly thorough and effective for Blake’s learning style, it is very tedious for us. In the second half of Blake’s first grade year, I started experimenting with taking the Singapore concepts and designing a more creative and hands-on approach to them and this worked very well for Blake. She retained the information much better, and stopped groaning every day when it was time to do math. For example, I read about the Singapore approach to geometry in first grade in the home instructors guide, then I designed a two-week unit to cover it using fun activities like making prisms out of sticks and play-dough, making circles vs. spheres out of modeling beeswax, and doing shape scavenger hunts around the city. Instead of the workbook, Blake recorded everything in her main lesson book, which gave her a bit more creative freedom. We had so much fun, and the information really stuck with her.
- First, I’ll choose the concept area I want to focus on in Wild Math (place value, geometry, etc.) and I’ll note all of the activities I’d like to use from it.
- Next, I’ll jump into the Singapore Home Instructors guide and read up on the Singapore approach to teaching that concept. This will help me introduce the concepts to Blake following the Singapore approach. The guide often suggests hands-on ways to explore each concept, so I’ll use those to inspire more activities to round out the unit.
- The next step will be to pull related resources from our math games and books. I’ve collected a ton of great math-inspired books over the past year and I’m excited to incorporate them!
- Finally, I’ll draft a loose plan for the unit: which activities / books I want to use to introduce the concept, which activities / games we’ll use to practice it, and what I’d like her to record in the main lesson book. Blake likes to use dry-erase markers on our windows, so I’ll probably have some daily math on the window for her each morning to do while I work with my kindergartener, just to give her a little extra practice. We’ll pepper in some Beast Academy and Math in the Garden from time to time as well.
I’m really excited for our approach to math in the coming year, and think it’ll be a much better fit for us.
Second Grade Science and Nature Study
For science and nature study, we’ll be using Blossom and Root: Wonders of the Plant and Fungi Kingdoms as well as Blossom and Root Book Seeds. This year’s science focus is all on botany so my plant-nerd heart is just too excited. The curriculum covers everything from the evolution of plant life on Earth to pollination to plant anatomy, and even goes into farming and foraging. There’s a unit on healing herbs, a unit on carnivorous plants, and plenty of exploration of different kinds of plants (like succulents, grasses and sedges, and aquatic plants.)
I’ve loaded up on tons of books and games for our year, but some favorite selections include Botanicum, the botanical illustration cards from the New York Botanic Gardens, and the game Wild Craft.
Like our first grade science curriculum, Wonders of the Earth and Sky, this curriculum gives families that like a lot of freedom (that’s us!) room to roam. There are weekly options for a minimalist approach, families that like to do their science outside, families who prefer kitchen table science, and crafty families. There are recommended book lists for library lovers and lots of video links for visual learners. I’m also pretty sure I’m going to get us a membership to our local botanic gardens to enjoy over the following year.
Blossom and Root Book Seeds will come into play on and off throughout the year. We’ll be using the new Pond Collection over the summer to explore ponds and pond wildlife. In the fall, we’ll use the Harvest Collection and the Nocturnal Animals Collection (both arriving in August) over fall break. Book Seeds are a really fun way to shake things up during off-weeks or breaks, or to stretch your legs with something different during the “lag” months of late winter.
Finally, we’ll also be using the corresponding nature study for Wonders of the Plants and Fungi Kingdoms each week. This curriculum contains prompts for both long-term projects (like making a botanical calendar) and short term prompts that cover everything from growing succulents from cuttings to wax-dipping leaves and designing flower crowns.
Second Grade Art
Blake will be doing two art programs this year. She’ll be doing one picture study and art project per week from Blossom and Root: Exploring the Art in Math (year 2) and one picture study and art project per week from Blossom and Root Kindergarten. Exploring the Art in Math is a math-inspired art curriculum that we offer for elementary grades. Each year, children explore various math concepts (like line, shape, symmetry, etc.) through various paintings, sculptures, installation art, and architecture. After observing the work of art and discussing the related math concept, they get their hands dirty with a fun (and super simple) inspired art project.
Blossom and Root Kindergarten’s art curriculum dedicates nine weeks each to four different artists. For example, during the first nine weeks, the child will observe works of art by Monet. They’ll learn about the artist and get to know their style and subject matter. Each week, there is an inspired art project that corresponds with the work of art.
Blake never wants to miss out on an art project, so I’m sure she’ll be jumping in with her little sister for all of the kindergarten projects. 🙂
Second Grade Music
This past year, music kind of took a back seat for much of the year. We did a little bit of SQUILT’s Baroque Era curriculum (which we loved), the girls had a ton of fun experimenting with Kids Learn Piano Live (you can read a review here), and Blake did choir with her enrichment program. But we never really dug in deep to music as a subject.
This year, I wanted music to be a much more prominent subject, and I’m really excited about the resources we will be using! Both girls will be doing the Primer Level (Foundations of Music) from Legends of the Staff of Musique. I was so excited when I found out about this program! It is exactly what I wanted for the girls, and didn’t even know it existed until Crystal, the creator of this beautiful program, reached out to me and offered to let me review the curriculum for all of you. I almost said no right away–I’m trying to keep reviews to an absolute minimum since I’m building so much out this year. But I’m so glad I didn’t! The moment I opened my dashboard on her website, I was in love. This is a very Waldorf-inspired music program with lots of hands-on activities, beautiful music to share with my girls, and more. I’m so excited to get started, we might not even wait until fall.
We also plan on sprinkling in SQUILT’s Meet the Instruments materials. We went to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix performed by the Colorado Symphony this past winter and now the girls want to know everything about it. I think that program will be a really fun way for them to learn to recognize all of the various instruments, and we’ll definitely schedule more symphony dates in the year ahead to test our knowledge. 🙂
Second Grade History
We’ll be approaching history as we did this past year with lots of literature, field trips, videos, and some hands-on activities. (You can click here to see a video on my approach to history in the elementary years.) We cover American history during half of the year (this year that’ll be mostly the Revolutionary War) and world history during half of the year (this year that’ll be Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, and the Middle Ages.)
Good news! We will be releasing our first history units in our store this August! Keep an eye on our website and social channels for announcements!
Geography and Culture
Blossom and Root’s language arts program for second grade includes a lot of geography, so that will be our go-to for a lot of what we learn this year. I’m also going to continue the same plan we used last year for geography and culture (see a video about it here.) This year, we will focus on Asia. We were going to spend half of last year on Africa, and half on Asia, but we ended up just diving really deep and spent the full year on Africa. I really love taking our time when exploring other continents and am working on a good stack of books for this coming year.
We also integrate a lot of geography and culture into our daily morning boards. I share these on our Instagram page–they even have their own highlight button. Every morning, I choose a children’s book to read to my girls while they eat breakfast. We then work through a whiteboard I set up before they wake up, which includes short math and reading activities, and investigations into the themes of the story. I try to choose a rich variety of books, and many are focused on other cultures and lifestyles.
Extracurriculars and Enrichment
Blake will continue attending her homeschool enrichment program once a week–she loves it so much! We don’t have our schedule yet for next year, but she signed up for a ton of theatre and science classes.
She’ll continue her horse-back riding lessons and has joined a local Girl Scout troop. We also go swimming together at least once a week, and do yoga most days.
I am beyond excited for the second grade year! I can’t wait to share our journey with you in our “week in review” series! What curriculum resources are you excited about in the year ahead?
Let’s break it down one more time:
- Language Arts: Blossom and Root Second Grade (also includes geography)
- Language Arts: Brave Writer Jot it Down
- Language Arts: Waldock’s Wizards and Wands
- Language Arts: lots of gameschooling and reading practice
- Math: Wild Math Level 2/3
- Math: Math in the Garden
- Math: Singapore Math Standards Edition 2A and 2B Home Educators Guide
- Math: Beast Academy 2a (possibly more if we like it)
- Math: lots of gameschooling and math-inspired literature
- Science and Nature Study: Botany with Blossom and Root Second Grade
- Science and Nature Study: Blossom and Root Book Seeds
- Art: Blossom and Root Second Grade
- Art: Blossom and Root Kindergarten
- Music: Primer Level–Foundations of Music from Legends of the Staff of Musique
- Music: Meet the Instruments from SQUILT
- Music: Kids Learn Piano Live
- American History: Revolutionary War (using Blossom and Root)
- World History: Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, and the Middle Ages (using Blossom and Root)
In writing, it looks like a lot but we take a very relaxed approach to our homeschooling. Almost every day, we finish formal lessons well before lunch time and the afternoon is open for lots of outside time, free play, and fun!
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