We’re planning on starting 2nd grade this week and I’m sprinting to the finish line of organizing for the coming year. It seemed like a big jump from kinder to 1st grade in the amount of work and it feels like another big jump as we head into 2nd grade. We’re changing some things up this year which is exciting but nerve wracking as well. Here’s a peek at what we’ll be doing this year with Storyteller (age 7) with Comedian (age 4) tagging along.
Bookshark was a big hit last year so we are continuing on with them. We will be using their Reading with History Level 1 for 2nd grade. The recommended age range is 6-8 years old and I’m a fan of sticking to the middle or upper end of the range. Level 1 is year 1 of 2 of World History.
Bookshark is not only history and geography but the main package also comes with readers and read aloud books. These books also incorporate geography and history. Readers are incorporated even if you don’t use the rest of their Language Arts program. I look at their readers as just extra books for Storyteller to read. In later years, the readers tie in more with the history portion. We chose the 2nd grade readers for this year. Storyteller panicked when looking through these books once she realized that these are books that she will be reading. I have been so thrilled with the progress she has been making but she is terrified of reading chapter books. The small print and number of words per page is very intimidating. She can read the words just fine…it’s just the number of them that worries her. She’ll be fine with the easier ones to start. It’ll be exciting to see her confidence grow as she works towards the longer books.
Here are the read aloud books that came with the Bookshark Reading with History Level 1 package.
Last year we used Bookshark’s Science K program. My girls loved it so much that we are actually switching to Sonlight. Bookshark is only a 4 day program but their sister company offers a 5 day version. It made sense to opt for more since the girls really get excited about anything related to science. History and Science were their favorite subjects last year so we will be sticking with what they love.
For math, we are sticking with Singapore Primary Mathematics. We did level 1 last year and will be moving on to level 2A and 2B.
We are also staying with All About Reading. Storyteller will be doing level three this year. The last part of last year went well. She hit a transition where reading became fun and something she wanted to do. Through reading other books she has learned more sounds than what AAR 2 covered last year particularly with vowel combinations. She seems to be retaining it quite well. I expect level 3 will be easier than most of 2 was because she’s already learned some of what we’ll be covering.
Last year, she flew through All About Spelling 1 and finished it by Christmas. The company recommends starting their spelling program after completing the first level of their reading program. I think this really contributed to her easy start with spelling. She was spelling words that she had been reading for quite some time. We started level 2 in January and I really tried to slow down the pace to make sure that she was retaining the lessons. She was a bit bored when we went slower so we ended the year doing spelling only 3 days a week which seemed to work for her. We took a break from spelling around the end of April when she reached about 1/2 way through level 2. We’ll do some review and pick it back up where we left off. I expect we’ll be starting level 3 by the middle of the school year.
We are sticking with Peterson Directed Handwriting. We didn’t quite make it through the 1st grade materials last year. I found that Storyteller really preferred doing handwriting practice in the form of copywork. Her legibility is really fantastic and her speed is good as long as it’s copywork. Her speed really slows down if it’s just some meaningless sentence from a handwriting exercise. The Peterson program doesn’t really have a workbook like other programs. They have optional e-books that are somewhat similar but we didn’t use it much last year. This year she’ll start the journey to cursive.
For the rest of Language Arts, we are going to continue with Brave Writer’s Jot it Down program. We started it last year and the projects we did were a huge hit! Storyteller made a book about sloths and she has been showing it to everyone! She even brought it to Montana and Chicago this summer when we visited family. We will also be adding in Quiver of Arrows. These are study guides that go with books that are read aloud. They cover copywork, dictation, literary elements and short writing exercises to further explore the literary elements. Each book is supposed to take one month with each of those activities being covered each week. The Quiver is a set of 10 guides. Similar products for older kids, the Arrow and Boomerang, have new study guides published each year. Charlotte’s Web and Mr. Popper’s Penguins are in both our Bookshark read alouds and the Quiver. I was planning on also doing the other 8 books in the Quiver but it’s a bit intimidating to look at the stack of Bookshark books and think about adding in 8 more chapter books throughout the year. And of course, the girls will want to read books that they pick out from the library. We read a lot in our family but this makes me a bit nervous. So, we’ll see how many we actually do.
For the map activities, I bought Map Trek from Knowledge Quest. In the past, I have found free printable maps online but it always came with a lot of frustration. Even though they were free, I paid with my time in finding them and frustration in printing them since many of the free ones I found were badly sized. Knowledge Quest offers a few different options for Map Trek. I bought the hard cover book with the CD-ROM which has the all printable maps.
Almost two years ago I bought ARTistic Pursuits Book One for Grades K-3. I put off using it last year because we found a local homeschool art class at a really great price. Unfortunately, the class isn’t offered anymore so I needed to find something to use. We started this during the summer and it was a huge hit! My girls could easily spend all day doing these lessons and they are very easy to follow for those of us who are not artistically inclined.
Whew! I think that about covers the main elements that we’ll using this year for 2nd grade. It seems like a lot! I just keep reminding myself that each subject really doesn’t take that long at this age and some aren’t done every day. I’m excited to see where this year leads!