Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Second Grade Curriculum | 2016-2017 School Year

The new school year is upon us. In a few short weeks, my oldest will be starting second grade. Curriculum has been decided on and purchased. Boxes of books have arrived. The lesson planning is almost complete. Now, let's get started.

Language Arts

Language Arts is the backbone of our homeschool. Without being able to read and write, other subjects become too difficult to understand and complete.


My daughter has enjoyed the format of Spelling Workout Level A in first grade, so we are continuing on with Spelling Workout Level B.

Each lesson in the workbook introduces a list of words, first given in context. Then the child has the opportunity to practice identifying and spelling the words before they move on to fun puzzles and activities. At the very end, the child is expected to write a sentence or short paragraph using as many of the list words as possible. We like how it makes spelling fun and my daughter looks forward to completing the puzzles. At the end of the lesson (or two lessons), I give my daughter a spelling test. The format of the workbook helps her to learn and spell the words correctly on the test.


As a busy mother of three, I appreciate the format of First Language Lessons. Each level has 100 prepared lessons. By completing three lessons each week, we are able to finish the book before our summer term. I also like that poem memorization, and narrations are mixed in with the grammar lessons so that it does not feel like we are doing the same exact thing each day. I do not know if any young child truly enjoys grammar lessons, but my daughter's favorite lessons are the picture narrations. In these lessons, a picture is presented and the artist is briefly discussed while the child is asked to search for elements in the picture and make assumptions about what is happening in the picture. It is fun to see what my child's imagination comes up with. 


I am pleased to say that my daughter has passed the stage that we will need to use "readers". She has branched out to reading story books, although she does enjoy reading Dick and Jane books for fun. This year, we will be reading story books from our family library or what we bring home from the public library. Over the summer during our read-aloud stories, I have asked my daughter to read the first sentence or two in a chapter. With so many great works of literature coming up in our study of history this year, my goal is to have her read some, if not most of the children's versions of these books.  


Writing With Ease is another excellent program from The Well-Trained Mind. The workbook shown here includes the teacher's portion of the lesson and the second half of the book includes the perforated workbook pages. I tear these out and make copies because I have two more children that will be using this book in the future. This book has prepared four lessons per week. While Level 1 includes narrations and copywork, Writing With Ease Level 2 includes dictation. While I am somewhat nervous of my daughter's reaction to this addition (she has adjusted to the narration-copywork rotation from Level 1), I am also looking forward to it. 


This will be one of the biggest changes for second grade. My daughter will be switching from manuscript handwriting to.... cursive! I cannot believe she is old enough to begin learning cursive handwriting. I have shown her the book and at first she was hesitant and not too happy. Then we looked at it more closely and I wrote her something in cursive and she thought it was "pretty" and is excited to learn.


Math-U-See is another curriculum we are very happy with. Not only does it work, but it's also very affordable in comparison to other popular alternatives. This year, we are moving on to Math-U-See Beta


We love Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer. After completing Story of the World, Volume One: Ancient Times, which we are still working on over the summer, we will begin the new school year with Story of the World, Volume 2: The Middle Ages. I am so excited!!! I have the lessons all planned out with the help of the Activity Book and this year will be the first year that I will be giving the Tests


This subject is the newest addition to our homeschool. We have done the mapwork included in our Story of the World curriculum but I have felt that it does not serve well as a complete geography curriculum. I also wanted something that my daughter could enjoy, so I purchased all four volumes of A Child's Geography. We will be covering all four volumes in the next year to year and a half. The last three volumes (Explore the Holy Land, Explore the Classical World, and Explore Medieval Kingdoms) are excellent for accompanying our history curriculum but I have other plans for the first volume, which I'll explain below.

Along with the geography books mentioned above, I will be using maps from MapTrek, which I purchased last year. They are all from the same company, KnowledgeQuest. I was able to get all four volumes above and many bonus items during a special promotion I learned through their Facebook page.


First grade has proven two things for me: (1) My daughter loves science; and (2) Elemental Science is awesome! I don't think my daughter (or my 4-year-old son) would be as interested in science if I had gone with a different curriculum. I honestly believe that. Paige Hudson did an amazing job putting Biology for the Grammar Stage together that I had to stick with her and purchase Earth Science and Astronomy for the Grammar Stage. Our entire family is looking forward to science this year because I have a few field trips planned that go right along with our curriculum.

To accompany the science curriculum, Paige Hudson suggests additional books.

For experiments, she suggests these:

I am really looking forward to learning the constellations with the children (because it's a given that the boys are going to want to participate). 

We will also be using Volume One of A Child's Geography titled Explore His Earth, as it covers a lot of earth science-related topics. 

Fine Arts

I do not have a formal curriculum planned for art or music, but we do plan on studying works of art and composers when the time comes in our study of world history. I will purchase the necessary books (or find them at the library) when we need them. My children love music and over the last year I have had classical music playing while my daughter worked on independent school assignments and the boys played. No one complained so I will probably continue it this year.

If time permits, we will use a couple of books I purchased last year but was unable to fit in to our daily lessons. The first one is this book about instruments and the orchestra. The second book is a book about drawing. My daughter loves to draw, but she could use some help with proper techniques. I hope that we will have the time (and patience) to sit down and work on this book together.


A goal I have for my daughter is to work more on piano lessons with her. She is slowly reading music and wants to learn to play well, but we always run out of time (or the youngest is taking a nap). I shouldn't keep putting it off, as it is a skill I know we will all appreciate when she is older. 

We are looking forward to beginning a new year!

2016-2017 Curriculum Link-Up:


  1. I love that you're going to teach her cursive. I prefer writing in cursive because it's easier to write quickly.

    1. It is so much easier and quicker (and much more beautiful!). Can you believe that many schools no longer teach cursive?!

  2. A lovely line up for the upcoming school year. We've also used Elemental Science and really enjoyed our learning time. I'm still praying & pondering through my decisions, but I have shared them here:


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