Now that we're nearing the end of 4th grade and moving on to new stages of learning I've been taking a look back at the past few years. We've looked back at preschool & kindergarten and first grade. It's time to spend some time reminiscing about TJ's 2nd grade homeschool year.
This post contains affiliate links.
Here's a peek at our curriculum for the year:
Overview of the Year
Second grade was a memorable year - weekly history projects with friends, family trips, and just an all-around happy time. I learned a great deal about homeschooling and teaching and TJ learned a lot too!
I set some goals for the year and I've learned that for me at least, goal-setting is the most important part of planning for a new year. More than planning to finish a full program - I want to make sure I set realistic and attainable goals each year.
We settled into a basic daily routine - TJ did morning chores and some morning drill (devotions - reading The Beginners Bible, selected problems from a page of Horizons math, and daily recitation). Then we'd do a bit of school, break for lunch, finish up school and have quiet time.
TJ is a slow mover and I found myself spent a lot of time nagging her to speed up.But I'm learning that slowness is not a bad thing - it's just her natural movement. So we've had to come up with techniques to honor her nature but still accomplish things in a timely manner.
I started instituting a homework time - things that weren't finished in the time I allotted were set aside until late afternoon and, after quiet time, she had to finish whatever work hadn't been completed. This helped, for the most part, and was better than getting frustrated.
Highlights of the Year
Second grade was a year of reading transition for TJ. She moved from early leveled reader chapter books to "real" chapter books during the year.
For the most part, our curriculum choices were a good match for us. We found the programs that worked and just stuck with them!
We also listened to many great audio books and cuddled on the couch with some memorable read alouds. Here's our list of 2nd-grade favorites.
What was I thinking?
During TJ's 2nd grade homeschool year, we did have two big flops. Now, I'm adding a disclaimer here at the beginning - both of these programs are great, they just weren't right for us.
My first mistake was using A Child's Geography for 2nd grade. I really do love this program and plan to use it again in 6th grade. But it was just too much for 2nd grade (at least my 2nd grader!).
Second grade also seemed to be the year I got sucked into the curriculum shopping vortex. You know, when what you have is working perfectly well but you just need to try that new program that everyone is raving about. Yup, that hit me in TJ's 2nd-grade year.
We'd been using The Story of the World with our little homeschool group and just adding in more reading during the week but I thought it would be great to add in another history program to use during the week and Bigger Hearts for His Glory just looked so good. So I made reading lists and read aloud lists and bought all the books we needed. We made it through Unit 9 before realizing that was one big, expensive mistake.
There's nothing wrong with Bigger Hearts, it's a perfectly good program. But it wasn't right for me - I'm not a box-checker. So now when I get that urge to look at a fun new history program I remind myself of my expensive mistake and move on!
Things I'd do differently
I don't have any huge regrets about TJ's 2nd grade year. While trying to add Bigger Hearts was a mistake it was worth it in the end, to realize that I those types of pre-scheduled programs don't work for me.
And, instead of trying to make all these big extras fit I should have focused on the basics. The foundational skills of writing and math are more important than shiny new programs!
So if you're planning your child's 2nd grade homeschool year, make it your goal to focus on foundational skills like reading, writing, and math. Those are the areas that will be most important in the middle school years.