I never got into the habit of posting often to my blog and during the last few months I’ve been especially bad about it. It’s been a busy time and this is one thing that has dropped off my to-do list. I unexpectedly realized last week that we hit week 19 in our Bookshark and Sonlight curricula. That means we’re about half way done with 2nd grade!
We’ve been really slacking off since Thanksgiving because of all the starts and stops that come with the holidays. I thought we’d get back into the groove of school work in January but it ended up being more like February. Leading up to Thanksgiving we were in a really great groove with getting everything done in a timely manner and with a great attitude. WIN! Obviously, not every day was perfect but we were having fun and Storyteller was moving along at a strong and steady pace with her work. Then came the holidays. All the starting and stopping was really frustrating. We are just now starting to get that groove back.
So, where are we now? We have finally made it out of Egypt in Bookshark Reading with History level 1. The girls were happy about that. Some of the readings from the books were a bit repetitive. I liked that the info was presented in different ways but sometimes the girls were confused about why we were going over it again.
I was planning on using the Evan Moor Ancient Civilizations Pockets ebook. I had everything printed, cut out and organized for both girls but we’ve used very little of it. I was planning on incorporating it into our history notebooks but it didn’t go over well at all. They saw it as busy work and not an enjoyable hands on project. They prefer to do a regular notebooking page. They draw a picture about something we read and I write out their narration. We do this once or twice a week and they are far more engaged in it. I also added map work using MapTrek. I love the printable maps and they’re good for such a wide age range. I can see using these for many many years.
For most of the last 19 weeks we’ve been reading about animals around the world in Sonlight Science B. The experiments have focused on magnets. Once we finished with those topics, the girls were definitely ready to move on. We also touched on the water cycle in a Magic School Bus book. Currently, we’re reading about the human body. The science comes with worksheets but I have them do a notebooking page once or twice a week as well as a page for each experiment. The notebooking pages are really for Storyteller but Comedian sometimes chooses to do them as well. She’s just about 5 years old now but she follows along with all the history and science readings. I’m often surprised about how much she understands and even remembers. It makes be wonder just how or if I should continue to combine them for these subjects. I wasn’t planning on it but it may be a possibility.
These history and science programs are the only ones we use that have a schedule. We don’t follow it exactly. We just do what is next. Sometimes we do Thursday’s work on a Monday. But the weeks are numbered and so I can see we’re about half way done with the programs. We have also been using All About Reading and All about Spelling. Storyteller is moving much faster through those programs than I expected. She is almost done with level 3 of reading which I thought would last the whole year. I expect she’ll start level 4 in March. That’s the last level. She’s been doing so well with reading that I’ve wondered if we really need to do the next level but she enjoys it and so we’ll keep going. Something clicked this year and she loves reading now.
Spelling has been interesting this year. Storyteller just finished level 2 and we’ll be starting 3 next week. We may be coming to a crossroads though. I’ve been so pleased with AAR and AAS (and still am) but we’ve also been tackling spelling with Brave Writer’s Quiver of Arrows. I feel bad having Storyteller do double duty for spelling but she hasn’t noticed. They are two very different programs. I like the phonics and rules based approach of AAS. Brave Writer teaches spelling while using copywork and dictation taken from read aloud books. We’ve finished 4 books (each spanning four weeks). Each week the spelling words are taken from the copywork and then used in the French style dictation at the end of the week. So, we’ve done 16 weeks worth of spelling with this program now and I’m just starting to feel comfortable with it. Most of the time there doesn’t seem to be much connection between the words like there is with AAS. It takes more work on my part to figure out how to teach each word. But I can see how this (copywork and dictation from read aloud books) is a more natural way of learning many aspects of language arts. At the beginning of the year, I was overwhelmed but how many read alouds we’d do throughout the year. Bookshark always has a read aloud going and we do a Brave Writer one each month. It’s been a lot but not overwhelming at all. We are starting our fifth Quiver title this week which is wonderful considering how crazy the holidays were for us. We’ve made more progress with Quiver than I expected.
Math…sigh. I always seem to be on the verge of trying something new. Sometimes Storyteller does really well and sometimes it’s incredibly frustrating for both of us. I love Singapore’s Primary Math. She’s chugging along with 2A now. There is an suggested schedule and it usually takes us 2 days to do 1 day’s worth of work. It is going better then when we did Horizon’s for kinder though. We also attend a monthly math club with our homeschool group and she loves it. It’s currently her favorite group activity that we do and I’m trying to incorporate more games into our formal math lessons. Fingers crossed!
Aside from the curriculum we use, we’ve also been busy with our homeschool friends at LEGO club, math club, nature hikes, field trips, parties and park days. And then there’s also choir, dance and swimming. It’s been a busy but fun year so far. So, when are we home to do school? I’m not sure but looking back it appears that we have made some great progress!
It’s hard to believe that the school year is half way over. At this rate, I’ll be happy to be done with reading, spelling and Brave Writer where ever we end up when we finish history and science. Math? Well, it’s probably going to be something that we continue into the summer since progress has been so slow. That’s the only thing about our homeschool year that has been a struggle so it’s all good. We’ll just keep taking it one day at a time.