It’s hard to believe this little girl is now in second grade! I feel like it was just yesterday that we started this journey with her. And now she’s almost completely independent in her homeschooling. It’s time to reveal our 2020 Second Grade Curriculum choices.
My second youngest child is 7 years old this spring, and she starts second grade in September 2020. After so many years of homeschooling, I’ve settled into the programs I like to use. I’ve chosen the tools that I think give us a good balance of core skills, practice, and challenge, without being overwhelmed or requiring a lot of hands-on intervention.
So for our 2020 Second Grade Curriculum, here’s what we’re using:
As faith-based homeschoolers, we do incorporate teaching the stories and principles of our faith. Over the last five years or so, I’ve really grown to like Rod & Staff for its simplicity and its attempt to faithfully explore Bible stories at face value, leaving room for parents to teach theology. There are only a few places where I’ve had to change things to better fit our beliefs.
So for second grade, we’re finishing up the books from first grade that we didn’t finish. We’ll begin Rod & Staff Bible & Nurture Grade 2 series.
One of the interesting things about this curriculum is that it’s actually meant to be the Reading curriculum for Rod & Staff. We use it solely for Bible stories and basic faith principles. But there is vocabulary, syllable and sight-word reading included as well. The readers are retellings of the more common stories. And every year, students go through the stories in chronological order again, with a little more detail.
For second grade language arts, the core skills I want to focus on are phonics, reading fluency, story exploration and narration, and letter, word and sentence formation. I also introduce basic spelling practices, once reading fluency has been firmly established.
My second grader isn’t quite a fluent reader yet, so we’ll probably start spelling later in the year.
For phonics, we’re using Rod & Staff phonics, finishing up the books from last year and going through the Grade 2 books. We’ll also use the matching penmanship books, as well as copywork later in the year. I create my own copywork, as well as buying copywork poetry or quotation packs from various Charlotte Mason bloggers.
For extra phonics practice, we’ll also be using Pathway Readers and workbooks. This year, she’ll be doing the “Days Go By” reader and accompanying workbook. These workbooks focus heavily on sight reading and phonics, with lots of repetition in the stories themselves, making them excellent choices for a struggling reader.
For reading itself, I like using BJU. We’re starting with Reading 1 (rather than 2) because my 2nd grader is not a strong reader yet, and a little extra practice with basics is good for her. The reader has a great stories that are meant to be in a reader rather than on a shelf. So analyzing these selections won’t ruin favorite stories.
BJU introduces the elements of storytelling early, rather than working the the technical side of reading. There is some syllable and word family work, but more often, it’s about word choices, descriptions, and using the story to answer questions.
For writing, we’re using the Just Write curriculum, moving on to the 2nd grade level book “Write About My World.” This uses a student’s own experiences and common situations to help them write sentences. There’s a lot of picture drawing too, to help students develop their ideas before putting them into words.
For math, we’re using Math Mammoth 1. Math Mammoth is very advanced, so level 1 moves quickly. Yet it feels very gradual, so the student learns easily, in our experience. We start with basic counting. Then move right into geometry and measurement. And by the time we’re done, we’ll have addition and subtraction facts to 20 memorized (or almost!)
It’s divided into A and B worktexts, and the curriculum is largely self-teaching. Lessons consist of short examples, followed by 1-2 pages of practice. Problems build in difficulty in each lesson, breaking down math into bite sized steps. There’s just enough practice to master a skill, with just enough variation to keep my kids interested.
For first grade, we used Considering God’s Creation, and we’ll finish up the last of it this year before moving into our unit study. We really struggled with reading last year, so we’ll continue with our space themed study.
Because my second grader isn’t quite independent, I put off starting our history unit studies series. So we’re going to continue doing some social studies learning instead.
For this year’s second grade curriculum, we’re doing some geography studies with “Me in My Community”, a Canadian curriculum similar to “Write About my World”. And we’re doing some Canadian studies, with our unit study, coloring and copywork pages. We’re also looking at various holidays around the world.
And just for fun, I’ve added a Show & Tell online class through Outschool. (If you use my referral link to sign up for a class, you and I will both get a $20 credit for classes!!)
Art & Music
My girl begged for art projects this year, so we got her a paper-craft book from Abeka. These books are great for finding those cute crafts that you can never seem to think of on your own. All the instructions and pattern pieces are in here, and you just need to provide the scissors, glue and “extras” — ie paint, craft sticks, etc. A full supply list is given at the beginning of the book, so we just hit the dollar store before we start to get everything we need.
Students even learn a few bits and pieces about art, like color theory and drawing techniques.
Since Canada is a bilingual country, we teach French. We’re working on basic vocabulary, so I picked up a few workbooks from our local education supply store for practice. I speak enough French to feel comfortable covering the basics, and in later years, I’ll outsource this.
That’s our 2020 Second Grade Curriculum
So that’s it! 2020-2021 curriculum in a nutshell. Since second grade is really about cementing in those foundational skills of learning, we don’t do a lot of content, but focus on skills. And lots and lots of practice for those skills!