Books for the Journey: Second Grade Currciulum

Many of you have sent messages after seeing our family master schedule, and that we began our new school year over a month ago, saying “Gee…. That looks nice and all… But just exactly how do you do Science? And what about History…. and Latin….and Math…..?”

So after the little tease of a glimpse into our home, I’m here to help make things slightly clearer. Please remember that this is what works in our home, for our family, for second grade. So view this with the mindset that this is all paint that is being thrown up on the wall— you may like the color, decide you want it in your home, throw it up on the wall, live with it for a couple of days and then realize the color is awful! That’s okay! (And actually to be expected!) Just throw on a different coat of paint and carry on!

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After morning prayer and intentions, our days begin with a collection of books cradled together, that sit nestled atop the lesson cabinet in the morning basket. The books are taken out one by one each morning. The Pledge of Allegiance, along with chosen prayers and poems from The Harp and Laurel Wreath, are recited aloud daily, until recall is no longer needed to be prompted before another is begun.

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The lives of the saints are shared on the morning of their feast day through picture books and appropriate crafts, serving as both faith enrichment and a living history study. Baltimore Catechism lessons are read and recited until they are mastered, instilling the fundamentals of our faith.
Just to make sure that those lessons stick, there are readings from the Faith and Life series. And lastly, our days are marked off of the calendar and the daily countdown of school days is changed. All in all, averaging about an hour. If nothing else is accomplished in the day, we at least begin with this rich dose of lessons.

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Then we move on to mental gymnastics. The training of the hand and attention to detail are instilled through cursive handwriting practice, copy work, and journal writing.  Copy work often consists of snips of poetry or poems being learned, or quotes of works from the Saints, or perhaps History or Science dates or other important information needing to be remembered. The point is to practice and learn the mechanics of writing, grammar and spelling, through copying the written model of others. Journal writing serves as an open creative writing exercise. There are a collection of prompts for each month that help to jump the starting of a piece, but often journaling occurs from the daily goings on in our own home, serving as a collective memory for our family.
Grammar and Spelling are further studied through the use of lessons in Rod and Staff and All About Spelling to ensure that what is learned in copy work has an explanation to further cement their purposes.

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The mental gymnastics continue with the study of Latin/Greek and Mathematics. At first glance, the study of dead languages may not seem fruitful. However, since most English words are derived from either Latin or Greek,  and scientists across the world utilize them so as to not pose complications and competition among other languages, the basic understanding of word definitions help to prepare the student for excellence. For now, English from the Roots Up
suits us nicely.

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As for Math, after a brief walk with Math U See,Saxon has proved it’s place. With it’s daily review of mastered concepts,  gentle introduction and spiraling approach, it has suited us well these past few years.

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After tummies are filled and wiggles are aired outside, History, Science and Fine Arts take center stage.  Last year we made our way through the entire first volume of The Story of the World in part to participating in a bi-weekly co-op gathering to share in the mess and fun from the accompanying Activity Book . We are taking part again this year and will finish volume two around mid-May. The co-op and book are utilized along with a Book of Time to help lay out and organize important dates, people and places in time.

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Science is introduced through the Apologia Exploring Creation series of books. This year’s focus is on Botany. The text accompanied with Jean Fulbright’s offering of note booking pages has made for a great jump into the world of plants. We are also fortunate that our local 4-H office offers a Junior Master Gardener program for homeschoolers which serves as a great hands-on accompaniment to our studies.

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Both Art and Music are explored weekly. Artistic Pursuits follows the same chronological order as Story of the World, helping to tie in nicely the arts explored within it’s pages.–As we study frescos and mosaics in History, we also try our hand at creating our own!
Music is delved into through the use of The Story of the Orchestra as a springboard. Additional listening exercises are completed once introduced to the different musical eras and composers.

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And if all of those books do not satisfy, there is also a large basket full of fun and entertaining reads pertaining to the current history chapters and science topics from the library sitting next to a large, comfy reading chair. This basket is frequented often, with a book or two snagged for snuggle time under a favorited blanket in the afternoons, and books finding their way into bedrooms for night time reading. Housed here also, as well as on the various bookshelves of our home, are books full of great literature filled with examples of good grammar and great vocabulary for leisure reading.

Of course, all of these books serve to be the vehicle into which new topics are explored. We do not hold to studying only what is contained between the bindings! Rabbit rails and happy adventures are always welcome in our homeschool, and quite frequently take center stage!

So, what books are on the agenda for your little students? Please share! It is never too early for me to start planning for next year!

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2 responses to “Books for the Journey: Second Grade Currciulum

  1. I love Story of the Orchestra. There is a fabulous lapbook available from Homeschool in the Woods that goes perfectly with that book.

  2. Looks great! We are doing alot of the same things! should be a great year. I am starting to put together some Catholic resources to supplement Story of the World. It is just so interesting and entertaining for the kids, I don’t want to change. History is their favorite subject!
    thanks for sharing.

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