Monday, August 19, 2013

Second Grade in Our Home - An Overview



I think it's time for me to share our second grade plans--we're already halfway through our first term here!  We all really enjoyed the summer break, but I'm happy to be back on a schoolish routine with my two older kids, who are now in second grade.  I also have two "preschoolers" (4 and 3) and two "babies" (almost-2 and almost-1) this school year.

Once again, we're relying heavily on Ambleside Online's schedule--we'll be doing their Year 2 this year.  I switched out a couple books, scheduled a few extras, and then added plans for art, music, foreign language, math, religion, and so on.

Here's what our year looks like at a glance.  My own changes/additions in blue; the rest is straight off the AO site!  (And these are posted with permission from AmblesideOnline.)


BibleOld Testament - Benson's Old Testament Rhymes (25 rhymes - one per week)
New Testament - Knecht's Child's Bible History (39 chapters - about one per week)
Weekly reading of the Gospel from their own missals
ReligionSaints' Lives - Heroes of God's Church (25 chapters - about one per week with longer tales split in two)
Stories - Catholic Tales for Boys and Girls (12 chapters - Term 1), First Communion Tales (12 chapters - Term 2), More Catholic Tales for Boys and Girls (12 chapters - Term 3) *not narrated
Mass - Come to Mass by Fr. Francis (31 pages - about one per week)
Catechism - Mother Loyola's First Communion (one half chapter a week) and monthly review of the New St. Joseph's FHC Catechism
History

World - Our Island Story and A Child's History of the World
National - This Country of Ours
Catholic -  Chapter 1 (St. Brendan) and Chapter 2 (The Discovery of the Americas) from The Catholic Faith Comes to the Americas
Stories - Yonge's Little Duke (Terms 1 and 2), Stanley's Joan of Arc (Term 3)
Natural HistoryThe Burgess Book of Animals (1-2 stories per week)
Holling's Tree in the Trail (Term 1 and 2) and Seabird (Term 2 and 3)
GeographyThe Kirbys' The World at Home (2 chapters per week)
Highroads of Geography (1 chapter per week) *not narrated

Henty's Brighty of the Grand Canyon (scheduled rather than free read, 36 chapters - 1 per week) *not narrated
Map drills - Santa Fe trail, US states, countries of Western Europe
Weekly mapwork
LiteratureLambs' Tales from Shakespeare (two plays per term)
Understood Betsy (Term 1), The Wind in the Willows (Term 2), Robin Hood (Term 3)
Pilgrim's Progress (using the 72-week schedule)
Tanglewood Tales and The Wonderbook (10 pages per week) *not narrated
PoetryWalter de la Mare (Term 1), Eugene Field Whitcomb (Term 2), Christina Rossetti (Term 3)
Music StudyThe First Book of the Orchestra (one section per week)
Haydn (Term 1), Mozart (Term 2), Beethoven (Term 3) - using Classics for Kids, two lessons per month
Art StudyManet (Term 1), Monet (Term 2), TBD (Term 3)
ArtWeekly drawing lesson using Mona Brooks' Drawing with Children
Weekly art project
MusicWeekly piano lesson, daily practice (we actually won't start lessons until spring)
Nature StudyWeekly nature study outing
Weekly nature journal entry
Natural Science Through the Seasons: 100 Teaching Units (weekly activity with nature study group)
ItalianDaily work, one unit every other week, including lesson, songs, games, rhymes and review
HandicraftsGianna - Sewing, beading
Vincent - Woodworking, leather stamping
CopyworkPrinting and starting cursive (five minutes per day)
Memory WorkDaily memorization of one hymn, one folk song, one poem, one psalm/parable
Daily review of prior selections
MathRightStart Level D/E for Gianna (four lessons per week)
RightStart Level E for Vincent (four lessons per week)

A few notes:

:: Scheduling. I'm using my weekly list format from last year--it's still working wonderfully.  My goal is four days of daily work (which means math, memory work, italian, copywork, read aloud) in addition to our weekly assignments.  At this point, my children are reading everything on their own except Our Island Story, This Country of Ours, Shakespeare, Pilgrim's Progress, and Mother Loyola's First Communion.  I may hand over the history readings soon; they definitely could read those independently, but I enjoy working through them together.  I plan to keep the other three as read alouds since we discuss them as we go.

:: Geography.  I wanted to add a little extra to this subject, so I included a few books for us to work through.  The children get a "letter" each week in our family mailbox from Highlands of Geography, and we're reading The World at Home together.  And I thought Brighty of the Grand Canyon would be a good companion to Tree in the Trail as we do mapwork on the US states this year, so I made it a scheduled-but-not-narrated reading (since it's technically a free read, I'm not requiring narrations).  Geography is one of my kids' favorite subjects.  (You can read my thoughts on geography from a CM approach as well as other geography resources here.)

:: Slowing down. Hawthorne's Tanglewood Tales and The Wonder Book are on the free reading list for this year, but I thought they would be fun to go through slowly together to get us ready for Kingsley's Heroes Bulfinch's Age of Fable in the years soon to come.  So we'll be reading them over the course of the year, about ten pages (in our versions) per week, read aloud by me (and again, not narrated).  This is one of our very favorite readings so far this year!  My kids beg for more and it is a delight to read aloud.

:: Free reading.  I haven't included it here, but we have tons of free reading on our lists for this year that I have pulled from a variety of sources.  My daughter in particular just sails through all her free reading books--in fact, they have both finished almost all of AO's suggestions already in just a couple weeks.  So I always like to have a nice long list of other options ready to go.  I'll be sharing from that list as we go through the year.

:: Math.  Over the summer, I decided to split up my two for math, and I am so glad I did!  Even though they're the same age and working at pretty much the same level, they are such different learners that it makes more sense for me to work with them one-on-one.

:: Copywork. My kids were clamoring to do cursive--in fact, they were starting to teach themselves just from my old lists and notes!  So I decided we would slowly begin some cursive practice.  I'm not entirely convinced that they're ready (in terms of their fine motor skills), but I'd rather have them learn properly from me than teach themselves improperly.  So we'll see how that goes.  We will continue copywork in printing as well.

:: Pilgrim's Progress.  I went back and forth over using this very-Protestant text in our homeschool.  Ultimately, I decided it was worth going through since it's a cultural touchstone. So we'll be doing this together.  I'm only planning for us to do the first book, though, so we'll be using the 72-week cycle over on Ambleside Online.  It's really just a few minutes of reading each week.

:: Religion.  We read through the Old Testament in Child's Bible History and Knecht's Bible History last year.  This year, we're tackling the New Testament, which the kids are obviously quite familiar with but haven't studied in any systematic way.  We're also going through Msgr. Benson's Old Testament Rhymes, which is a fun way to recap last year's stories.  We also have readings for "fun" (the Tales section), for our ongoing study of the Traditional Latin Mass, and for catechism: Mother Mary Loyola's First Communion.  My two oldest actually made their First Communion last spring, but this book is too much of a treasure for them to miss it.  So we're doing it "late" but all getting a lot out of it anyway!

:: Italian.  I explained our plan for Italian lessons a couple weeks ago.  It's still going wonderfully--I'm really pleased with our progress!

:: Nature Study.  Once again, we'll be doing nature study with friends this year.  Angela and I are planning to pull ideas from Partridge's Natural Science Through the Seasons to give a little structure to our outings.

:: Art.  We're continuing our lessons using Drawing with Children from last year, melding that text with some other resources and the daily drills from Donna Young's site.  Once we get through the first term's assignments, I'll try to remember to post more about how we're using this text.

:: Art and music.  Once again, I'm going on my own instead of following the Ambleside Online rotation for these subjects.  We'll have a chance to listen to Haydn live this year, so I definitely wanted to hit him first.  I pulled the others from those available on the Classics for Kids website--they're subject to change if another live performance opportunity pops up.  Same with artists--I really plan one term at a time.  After two terms on Impressionists, I will probably add something with religious subject matter in Term 3.  Or maybe we'll switch out Monet for someone else?  We'll see.

So that's our second grade plans!  Please let me know if any other details would be helpful to you--I'm happy to share.

10 comments:

  1. Thanks!! This is a big help as I'm prepping to start Year 2 in a couple weeks. I'm going to look up some of the extra books you mentioned, as well as follow your plan for Tanglewood Tales and

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  2. I am currently using your Amy Steedman replacements for _Trial and Triumph_ in AO yr 1 with my daughter (and loving them!). So I came looking for your year 2 replacements for it. Could you please clarify: you used _Heroes of God's Church_ and the first three chapters of The Catholic Faith Comes to the Americas_?

    Let me say how blessed I am by your blog and the work you have done. You are the second place I come to look for things (after AO's site)! So thank you!!!

    PS I like the idea of using _Brighty_ as a geography scheduled, rather than a free read. I hadn't thought of that. Seems like a good plan! How did it work out for you?

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  3. http://www.amazon.com/History-Young-Catholics-Catholic-Americas/dp/B005JY7PSC/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1453640047&sr=1-2&keywords=the+catholic+faith+comes+to+the+americas

    Is it this one by Seton Press?

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    1. Hi Antonella!

      My copy of The Catholic Faith Comes to the Americas looks different but I think it's the same. (Mine is my Seton Press too.) If you don't already have it, I'm not sure I would buy it, especially for full price. (I found it used for a few dollars, so I already had it on my shelves when planning our year.) It's a nice overview of what's "left out" of the saints of the Americas, but I think you could get the same effect using some well-placed Vision biographies.

      Heroes of God's Church is a lovely compilation of saints' lives and my kids really enjoyed it (and still do!).

      I'm glad I scheduled Brighty. We didn't do all that much *with* it--mostly just read it. But my grandparents live in Arizona and I've been there (including the Grand Canyon) lots of times, so I thought it would be a fun addition. It corresponds well with Tree in the Trail to give a comprehensive "flavor" of the Southwest--canyons, caverns, the animals and plants of the region.

      Hope that helps! And thanks for your kind comments. :)

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  4. What is the difference between Map drills and Mapwork?

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    1. Hi Vanessa! Mapwork refers to mapping places and journeys that come up in our readings, like marking on a map of the East Coast the Thirteen Colonies as they are founded in This Country of Ours, or charting Marco Polo's voyage across the Middle East and Asia. It is like an additional form of narration in that way. Map drills refers to learning names of countries, states, rivers, mountains, oceans, or another feature. My kids do that through studying a map and then filling one out as best they can until they know it by memory (either in writing or orally, depending on age and skill level). Ideally, I choose maps for our map drills that are related to our readings as well. Hope that makes sense!

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  5. Thank you so much for the answer. It does make sense and it helps a lot.
    I second Antonella, your blog has been a blessing! Thank you for all the helpful info you share here.

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  6. HI! I am wondering if you can talk about your grade 2 history curriculum....I have a few ideas for textbooks, biographies, etc but can't seem to decide on what I'd like best for 2nd grade I really think that this age is too young for English history (mostly because of the catholic persecution during Elizabethan England. I have some materials I'd like to wait on for 3rd or even 4th grade and have materials I have already used for Kindergarten and grade 1...Decisions, decisions... Also, at this age what did your history "routine"/schedule look like? How much did they read to themselves? How often did you work on history? How did you use Our Island Story? How much of the text was anti-Christian?
    JMJ

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    1. Hi there! I'm not sure I can help all that much because I think English history works pretty well for Year 2 if you're moving chronologically through time. :) The Elizabethan era is actually Year 3 with AO, which seemed about the right age for me to talk about bias, and we read some great saints biographies to round out our year so my kids got a fuller view of the era than a Protestant book might provide. Year 2 hits the Middle Ages mostly, so before the persecutions.

      We use AO Year 2 for second grade, so yes, Our Island Story is our primary text (alongside Hillyer's Child's History of the World). OIS is a Christian text, written from an Anglican perspective, so there are a few anti-Catholic moments that can be skipped or managed with the parents' help. It's a lively, fascinating book -- I am on my third read through it now and still enjoying it very much (and learning a lot!). Our history studies basically involve reading, narrating orally, keeping a timeline, and referencing maps as needed. Very simple but very effective. I suggest you take a look at the AO page for Year 2 if you are interested: https://www.amblesideonline.org/02.shtml

      Hope that helps!

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