Second Grade Starts Now
Around ages 6-7, we start second grade. By now, my girls are used to our routines and know what to expect. While they aren’t completely independent yet, they are well on the way.
Second grade is all about cementing our routines and growing in independence. By now, literacy skills are well established, and my students have a good grasp on numbers and counting. So now we look to expand those skills. I want them to build on the foundation into making learning a passion.
Second Grade Goals
Second grade transitions between “little” and “big” kid school. Reading fluency is rarely an issue, so we practice comprehension skills. And penmanship also just needs practice now. The big focus is now on communication. I teach spelling from a vocabulary perspective, looking to increase their word usage. And I use copywork to expose them to more challenging forms of literature. I push grammar heavily in second grade, and introduce more original writing opportunities.
In second grade, my girls practice arithmetic, going from addition and subtraction to multiplication and division. We do beginning fractions, work on time and money skills, and learn the basics of geometry too. Problem solving skills are always a priority, so we still do our logic and critical thinking books as well.
Second grade has lots of exploring to do in the content subjects. I expect a lot more writing and less drawing in their answers in our lapbooks, though I don’t insist on full sentences yet. We start music lessons too, and cover a history of music course.
Second Grade Curriculum:
Second grade brings more comprehension practice. I use BJU Press’ Reading 2. The short reading selections are colorful and attractive. And the varied reading selections create interest and curiosity, and make comprehension that much easier. The workbook that goes with the readers also contains a wide variety of fun activities.
For writing in second grade, I introduce opportunities for original writing. I like a simple program, and I don’t want to overwhelm them with writing. So I use the sister program to our grammar curriculum, Winning with Writing. The format is similar and familiar, making the transition easier.
We still do copywork in second grade. I use sets I get on CurrClick (editor’s note: This site went defunct in 2019). And, of course, I create some of my own using a handwriting worksheet generator.
Second grade spelling brings new curriculum for my girls. Now I switch into Rod and Staff‘s Spelling 2. (They don’t offer a Spelling 1). I love this program because of its focus on how our words and spellings have come down to us over the generations. It’s more of an etymology and vocabulary study than straight spelling.
I don’t worry as much about spelling words correctly as using words correctly. With today’s technology (spell check, autocorrect, autocomplete, etc), spelling incorrectly should rarely happen. And frankly, in my opinion, traditional spellings are not only a waste of time, but a way to turn kids off learning in a hurry! When we study where words and their parts come from, we remember their spellings a lot more.
We continue our study of grammar in second grade. I stick with the same program, Growing with Grammar, doing level 2. Doing a similar program as last year builds continuity. That helps with growing their independence in learning. The short easy lessons mean that we learn lots without having to spend a ton of time in explanations. And my girls don’t get overwhelmed with too much practice. There’s just enough to ensure mastery, without boredom. (Unless you’re my 7 year old, and already too smart for this… oh well).
Second grade math continues our arithmetic studies. We use Math Mammoth, for elementary grade math. I love the digital printable format (meaning it can be reused for multiple students!) and the price. Since we’re Canadian, we use the international version. Second grade math covers more addition and subtraction, along with fractions, money and time, and geometry concepts.
Problem Solving Skills
I also like my second graders to continue developing their problem solving skills. So I use The Critical Thinking Co‘s Second Grade Thinking Skills & Key Concepts book to practice logic and problem solving.
We start doing science topics in Kindergarten, and we continue that in first grade. In second grade, I cover geology. We look at everything from the rock cycle to plate tectonics, earthquakes and volcanoes. Hands of A Child is my go-to source for lapbooks. For second grade, I get the project packs Rocks and Minerals, V is for Volcano, Tell me About the Earth and Earthquakes.
For second grade, we continue our Ancient World explorations. Now we move on to Ancient China and MesoAmerica (the Mayans, Aztecs and Incas).
The lapbooks we use from Hands of A Child are: Past Empires of the Mayans, and Aztecs & Incas.
We also use these lapbooks from A Journey Through Learning: Exploring Ancient China, Exploring MesoAmerica, and Aztec Civilization.
In second grade, we study the geography of the Americas, to go with our history studies. I use the Classroom Complete Press book The Americas BIG Book from CurrClick.
For art in second grade, I switch gears and move into music studies. I start them with piano lessons (taught at home, by me — I have Royal Conservatory training). To complement those lessons, we also use Music Appreciation for the Elementary Grades from ZeeZok Publishing. The book 1 collection lets us read cute stories about famous composers, learn a little bit about different genres of music, and practice music theory (reading sheet music).
Second grade also contains a Bible program and French lessons. I create my own curriculum for these subjects, as finding ones I like for this age level has, so far, proved impossible.
Big Girl School
Second grade is a development year. I work to develop not only their skills at learning, but their ability to manage their time. We work on self-organization and self-motivation. The goal is to gradually become more independent in their learning.
It takes us about 90 minutes to 2 hours to complete our daily work in second grade. The amount of time varies, as my girls learn how to work as much as learning in each subject. By the end of the year, they know exactly how to complete the work, so its a lot more fun to study. And that means they actually spend more time doing work, because they want to do extra. Funny how that works!
That’s the beauty of homeschooling though: flexibility. We don’t have to hold back or rush ahead. My girls can go at exactly the pace that suits them.
I love how you lay this all out! Do you think this kind of structure could work just jumping in after doing k and 1st grade in public school?
To be honest, I don’t. It may work fine, but in my experience, there is a period of adjustment needed when you’re coming from public school. I recommend reading my posts on deschooling here and here. Or grab my Getting Started with Homeschooling ebook!
Welcome to homeschooling!