Friday, January 5, 2018

Second Grade, Second Semester

When I shared my plans for Pip's second grade year, I noted that I would re-evaluate as we went. Now that the holiday season--and the purchase and preparation of a house, a move, illness, etc--is behind us and we're finding our daily groove again, I'd like to share what I've found and what changes we've made.

The majority of the materials I chose last summer remain on our school shelf and in our rotation. Here's what we started with then:

And here's what was working and what was not.

- What we study in music is directed by her music teacher; in addition to daily practice, we also enjoy the weekly podcast Classics For Kids and listen to plenty of classical music because we like it.

- We took a light approach to American history for the first half of the year, mainly reading about specific events and people as we found books that interested us (from Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: One Dead Spy by Nathan Hale to I am Sacajawea by Brad Meltzer illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulus), but in the second semester we're diving straight into the Liberty's Kids DVDs and the materials that accompany them.

- I supplement Learning Language Arts Through Literature with loads of independent reading, because that's one of her favorite things to do. She reads everything from picture books to middle readers. And we're reading Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery together right now.

- Our art study is all over the place. Pip's class at co-op covers one artist and his/her style per week, and we create something nearly every day at home. We make a point to visit art museums at least twice per semester.

- Singapore Math is serving us well. I intend for her to complete Primary Mathematics books 2A and 2B this semester.

- Science didn't go as I expected. I knew even when I borrowed that book that Pip might be young for it. I found us really floundering about mid-semester, and then a friend recommended the Sonlight Science B book she was enjoying with her son. I looked at it, and the topics it covered--animals, astronomy, and physics--and figured it would capture Pip's attention and mine. It utilizes many books from Usborne, of which I'm already a huge fan, as well as a treasure trove of online resources, all collected in one place. I initially balked at the cost, but I found that I could order the "Extra Activity Pages" for under $20 and then borrow the necessary books from the library or from friends, or find them at the (brick and mortar or online) used bookstore as I needed them. In conjunction with trips to the zoo and the science center, this book is coming to life. This was a good change.

- Although we're already a family that likes games, we've added more into our weekly rotation. Scrabble, The Scrambled States of America, and Time Bingo are three that Pip is really enjoying right now.

Being flexible and able to change course when needed is one of my favorite things about homeschooling.

Do you have any tips for keeping your homeschool engaging?

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