Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Homeschool: Grade 2, Term 2 (2018-2019)

The second term always feels the longest because we have Thanksgiving and Christmas pushing their heads in the middle of it, and sometimes with all the busyness of those holidays in there, I wonder if we actually did school at all. Exams come, and I'm like, shoot, did we learn anything? But, thankfully, when I look back on the term, I realize it was full and good, we learned and grew, and Sophie's exams (all done orally) always satisfy me that term two was not, in fact, a wash.



As mentioned in this post, these are the subjects we cover in a term:

Bible
Poetry
Math 
Reading
Copywork
History
Geography
Natural History
Literature
Physical Education
Music Appreciation
Art Appreciation
Spanish
Singing
Recitation
Drawing
Handicrafts/work

We use the scheduling cards from A Delectable Education to schedule each of these subjects into our week, some being just once a week, and some being every day, some being 10 minutes, and some being 20.



Here is what we feasted on in Term 2:
(If you click on any of the books and nearly have a heart-attack at the price - be assured that my library is my saving grace. Sadly, some of the best books are no longer in print- check out your library!)

Bible: We read from the actual Bible text, and we are reading through Exodus and Mark in Grade 2 (Form 1A). We covered Exodus 18-36 and Mark 9-13. We read roughly 10-20 verses a day, seeking to cover one whole "episode" but not (typically) an entire chapter in a day. We alternate days between Exodus and Mark. We skipped parts of tabernacle readings in Exodus (though we did read some). We also read the Christmas story from different gospel books during the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Poetry: We choose one poet to focus on each term, and for term one, we focused on Emily Dickinson. We read Poetry for Young People: Emily Dickinson. Brielle also always sits with us for poetry now, and both she and Sophie loved the poetry riddles in this book (and asks for them many times, even though they knew the answers after the first time ;). We read poetry every day, so we read poems by Emily Dickinson 3 times a week, and on the other days, we read from A Child’s Book of Poems by Gyo Fujikawa or nursery rhymes from The Real Mother Goose. We also love the Christmas poems from Favorite Poems Old and New (this is just a great poetry book in general!).

Math: The next book in the math curriculum we use is available! I can't express my excitement enough! Here she is... what.a.beauty: Charlotte Mason Elementary Arithmetic Book 2. This book can easily be used for 2nd and 3rd grade, though it's always most important to go at a child's pace and be where they actually are at in understanding. There are plans for the rest of this series to come out in the next couple years. Because this book wasn't out for this past term, I reviewed Charlotte Mason's math strategy in the bundlewhich is more like a teacher’s guide and includes the entire scope & sequence for 1-12 grade, and we continued doing addition and subtraction tables using manipulatives such as pennies and beans. We covered the 3s and 4s tables. We also did addition and subtraction with numbers in the 100s and continued review of problems up to 100, both orally and by writing in her math notebook. I also taught Sophie about measuring cups and spoons, and we used the ruler quite a bit, so she is improving her knowledge and skills in those areas!

Reading: We just use this time for Sophie to get more practice with reading – 10 minutes a day. She read Arnold Lobel's Mouse Soup and Mouse Tales (she loves them!) and is reading through Free and Treadwell's Second Reader. She picks up books more often just to read for fun. She still feels most confident with picture books. Because she is a perfectionist, I think she feels overwhelmed by chapter books, though I think she would be able to read some of them by now. She reads to her sisters, which I appreciate so much!

Copywork: For copywork, Sophie typically copies a line or two of poetry. Occasionally we do a verse instead or a line from a hymn. The goal is to visualize each word before writing it so that she can write the whole word from memory. This helps her learn to not only be a good writer but also a good speller!

History: This year, we are covering American history from 1600-1700. We spent a lot of time with the pilgrims in our first term of second grade! I am using both Land of the Free by Meadowcroft and America Builds Homes by Alice Dalgliesh as our spines for the year. Certainly, both aren't necessary- we love history though and had access to both so are using both for now. For biography supplements, we used the following books:
The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh
- Squanto's Journey by Joseph Bruchac
The Thirteen Colonies by Dennis Fradin
Tattered Sails by Dan Andreasen
Wooden Shoes in America by Lois Maloy and Alice Dalgliesh
We also took time to study the map of the original 13 colonies. 

Geography: We have two days that we do geography. One day is more for learning about physical geography and the general workings of the world (this is like "pre-map" work, because a child needs to understand these things before grasping a map or globe). The other day we have begun learning about specific areas of geography. We focused on learning about different areas of the United States this term.
Day 1 BookElementary Geography by Charlotte Mason (Lessons 24-29). We learned about the sun setting and rising, latitude and longitude, and the compass.
Day 2 Books: - This is America by Miroslav Sasek. We love Sasek books! My girls really loved this book. After we would study a place, we would look at it on Google maps. My girls were fascinated with the fact that you can actually go inside the White House on Google maps!

Natural History: For Natural History, I choose two books that we will spend the whole term using, and then we have a special studies topic for the term (and sometimes two special studies), and I choose several books to cover that topic.
Book 1: Trees and Shrubs by Arabella Buckley
Book 2: Squirrels and Other Fur-Bearers by John Burroughs
Special Studies Books: 
Our special study was fruit trees, and specifically apple trees (probably winter isn't the best time to study this, in hindsight, but we did study the buds on our apple tree).The Apple and Other Fruits by Millicent Selsam
- Tree Flowers by Millicent Selsam

Literature: We sure do love literature! We have two days of literature.
Day 1: We are reading Pilgrim's Progress (which will spread out over two years) (We read from pages 40-78 this term.)
Day 2: Mythology (currently reading A Wonder Book by Nathaniel Hawthorne)... We absolutely love this book. In this book, we read The Paradise of Children (Pandora's Box) and The Three Golden Apples this term.

Physical Education (Drill/Dance/Play): This time should be used twice a week for actual free play. No rules, just let the child play. Other possibilities for the way we use this time (on the other days) are to learn jumping rope, fun dances together, and Swedish Drill. I taught the girls a few fun songs, like "Faire Rosie," too.
My two favorite resources for Charlotte Mason dance and drill: Swedish Drill and Dance/Moving to Songs

Music Appreciation: We studied George Handel this term. We read Handel at the Court of Kings by Opal Wheeler. What a fun, spontaneous boy and man he was! For any of you enneagram lovers out there like myself, he was for sure a 7! I love connecting to the composers as people (as does Sophie), and this always helps us to connect to their music. We listened to his compositions as they were mentioned in the book. We listened to MinuetGavotteGigueVivaceWater MusicThe Harmonious Blacksmith, and The Hallelujah Chorus from The Messiah.

Art Appreciation: We studied Giotto di. We read Giotto Tended the Sheep by Sybil Deucher and opal Wheeler, and this immensely helped us in connecting with Giotto! We again used the artist packets from Simply Charlotte Mason... they are great! The picture quality is incredible, and I love that they come with information on the artist and each picture. We studied Lamentation (the Mourning of Christ), Madonna Enthroned, Crucifixion, Raising of Lazarus, Ascension of John the Evangelist, his Wife Helena Fourment, and their son Peter Paul, The Adoration of the Magi, Noli me tangere, Pentecost, The Death of Mary. Sophie studies each picture for a couple minutes and then narrates to me what she saw (Brielle is joining in on this now as well).

Spanish: We use Cherrydale Press's Spanish Book (volume 1) as our spine for this subject. We use it 1-2 times a week. It is based on Francois Gouin's research that showed it is easier to learn a language when you learn the action verbs (rather than just a noun). So, we learn a set of activities in English (acting them out); then once we have the English memorized, we learn the same set of activities in Spanish. We did Cherrydale lessons 12-13 this term. We also had flash cards and learned new words from those, and we used real objects, such as objects in a room, to learn new words. Sometimes we played a game where I would call out items in the room, and Sophie would have to repeat and run to them.

Singing: We learned and sang the following songs over the term:
- Patriot Song: "Yankee Doodle"
- Hymn: "O Come All Ye Faithful"
- Folksongs: (we learned a lot because we went with our homeschool group to a nursing home and sang them) "Oh Susanna," "Lavender's Blue," "Billy Boy," "Oh Sally My Dear," "She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain," "When You Wore a Yellow Tulip," and "Froggie Went A-Courtin'"
- Spanish Songs: We learned "La Araña Pequeñita" - also "Noche de Paz" and "Feliz Navidad" in December
- Solfa: We use Miss Mason's Music website for these lessons, as I am not comfortable teaching it on my own and her lessons are excellent. Membership is $15/year which is totally worth it to have access to all her materials and videos on her website. We used her term 3 lessons for sofa beginners.

Recitation: We do recitation three times a week. The first day, we recite a hymn (rather than sing). The second day we recite a Bible verse. The third day we recite a poem. In a term, for the second grade year, the preference is to learn two hymns, two-three verses, and two poems. The purpose of recitation is not memorization (though, that often happens over the term!); the purpose is to be able to read something beautifully. We usually begin by Sophie repeating the lines after me, but then she reads them on her own after a while, and sometimes we say them together. This term, we did the following:
- Hymns: Bill and Gloria Gaither's "There's Something about that Name" and "Because He Lives"
- Verses: Psalm 46, Mark 11:20-25 (she also learns verses for church)
- Poems: Emily Dickinson's "Bee, I'm Expecting You" and "Who Has Seen a Moor"

Drawing: We used this time to do drawings from nature (we bring the object inside and she brush draws it – with a paint brush), from her imagination of stories we have read, and from her memory of animals she has seen. 
She did drawings this term of apple tree limbs, Hercules' and the golden apples, leaves, and the Mayflower

Handicrafts/Work: Before Christmas, we spent time making gifts. Sophie hand-sewed a few gifts. Then I was burnt out from crafting the whole month of January, and finally we did a few paper modeling projects, using this book by M. Swannell. She made a cart, a box, a basket, and a barn from the book.


Reflections
While these posts always look impressive, there are always so many areas where I'd like to improve after a term! I do a great job at spreading the feast, but some parts of the feast are weak. 
Natural History was a struggle this term. It felt like we spent way too much time studying trees, and I didn't pick great books that we connected with. I want to be more intentional this term with really connecting with our topics and books.I want to be more diligent with drawing this term as well (oops, I said that last term too!)
I'd (again) like to spend more time next term on teaching Swedish Drill and dancing songs. It's easy to skip these because they're not "necessary," but Sophie always loves learning these!
In geography, I was to do more mapping this next term.
I was more intentional about recitation this term, and I really saw an improvement in Sophie with speaking in front of me and others! She recently just did a recitation at the nursing home, and I was proud of her confidence and improvement!
I'd also like to do more with Spanish so we can be more conversational.


Saturday, February 16, 2019

Making Things: Homemade Gifts


I still have a goal of making at least one gift for the girls for their birthdays and Christmas. It's a goal I started four years ago when I realized I actually did have a crafty side, and it's something I really enjoy doing! I wish I had so much more time to "make" than I do, as there are many things I'd love to learn to do or perfect doing, and there are many people I'd love to make things for. My time these days is limited, though, and my favorite people to make things for are the four little girls who carry my DNA, so that's mostly who I "make" for these days.

For Christmas, I decided to make the girls each a bonnet. They love Little House on the Prairie, and they play imagine the prairie life sometimes, so it was only fitting for them to each have a bonnet. I always am so intimidated about trying something new, especially with my sewing machine as I feel like I'm still a newbie at it, but once I got going with the bonnets, they were quite easy! I also am getting better at trouble shooting issues with my sewing machine. I used this simplicity pattern for the bonnets (maybe some day I'll make the dresses to go along...).


My sister hinted at my that she liked the buses I had made for two of my nephews, so I gladly made one for her son as well! Since there are currently ten grandkids on this side of the family, each one of the little peg people is painted after a kid (hence, a thousand blondes haha!). I love making things for my nieces and nephews when I have time!


I wasn't sure what to give my other nephew for Christmas, but I loved this fighter jet, so I painted and stained it for him. I buy my wooden toys from the ClickityClack etsy shop, which I highly recommend and am obsessed with! They all come unfinished, and I finish them.



I painted this picture for my sister-in-law.


My little maker, Brielle, made this for her baby sister Violet. Sophie helped her. It makes me so happy to watch the girls make things, especially when they are making them for others! How sweet is this little rabbit?!


I was itching to get some hand sewing in, which is probably my favorite handcraft, so I decided to do one for Brielle's birthday which was the end of January. I made this sweet little unicorn. Her pattern is from Gingermelon's etsy shop, which I adore, and I have made a number of her patterns in the past. I learned how to hand sew from one of her patterns a few years back!


I also painted a few more ClickityClack items for Brielle's birthday... a car with a family of peg people and a unicorn and her warrior rider!



As always with these posts, I like to remind people that I never learned to do ANYTHING crafty (sewing, hand sewing, painting, embroidery) until four years ago, when I was 26. It's never too late to learn!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Homeschool: Grade 2, Term 1 (2018-2019)

We just complete Term 1 of Sophie's second grade year! I'm incredible grateful for the ability to teach her, and I love sharing what we are using and loving.

As mentioned in this post, these are the subjects we cover in a term:

Bible
Poetry
Math 
Reading
Copywork
History
Geography
Natural History
Literature
Physical Education
Music Appreciation
Art Appreciation
Spanish
Singing
Recitation
Drawing
Handicrafts/work

We use the scheduling cards from A Delectable Education to schedule each of these subjects into our week, some being just once a week, and some being every day, some being 10 minutes, and some being 20.



Here is what we feasted on in Term 1:

Bible: We read from the actual Bible text, and we are reading through Exodus and Mark in Grade 2 (Form 1A). We covered Exodus 1-17 and Mark 1-8. We read roughly 10-20 verses a day, seeking to cover one whole "episode" but not (typically) an entire chapter in a day. We alternate days between Exodus and Mark. Sophie especially loves our Old Testament readings and nearly always begs for more (I occasionally oblige ;)). Brielle (age 5) now sits with us for Bible time.

Poetry: We choose one poet to focus on each term, and for term one, we focused on Christina Rossetti. We used Sing-Song: A Nursery Rhyme Book, which is a sweet little book full of Rossetti's poems. We were already familiar with some of her poems, and Sophie's first poem she every memorized was The Caterpillar, so it was wonderful to focus on her since we already loved her! We read poetry every day, so we read poems by Christina Rossetti 3 times a week, and on the other days, we read from A Child’s Book of Poems by Gyo Fujikawa or nursery rhymes from The Real Mother Goose.

Math: We covered some of the last chapters in Charlotte Mason Elementary Arithmetic, covering numbers 90-100. This is a new math book that will be part of a series with plans for the rest to come out in the next couple years. I was hoping the second book in this math series would be out by the beginning of this school year, but it is not yet (but should be any day now!). So, I reviewed Charlotte Mason's math strategy in the bundle, which is more like a teacher’s guide and includes the entire scope & sequence for 1-12 grade, and we began doing addition and subtraction tables using manipulatives such as pennies and beans. We have covered the 1's tables and 2's tables thus far and will continue on next term.       

Reading: We just use this time for Sophie to get more practice with reading – 10 minutes a day. She read half of The Boxcar Children, as well as a number of picture books and some poems. She is a great reader, but she is still slow, so she doesn't love reading chapter books yet. She will read to her sisters when I need to get things done, though - hallelujah!

Copywork: For copywork, Sophie typically copies a line or two of poetry. Occasionally we do a verse instead or a line from a hymn. The goal is to visualize each word before writing it so that she can write the whole word from memory. This helps her learn to not only be a good writer but also a good speller!

History: This year, we are covering American history from 1600-1700. We spent a lot of time with the pilgrims in our first term of second grade! I am using both Land of the Free by Meadowcroft and America Builds Homes by Alice Dalgliesh as our spines for the year. Certainly, both aren't necessary- we love history though and had access to both so are using both for now. For biography supplements, we used the following books:
- Pocahontas by the D'aulaires
- The House on Stink Alley by Quakenbush
- On the Mayflower by Kate Waters
- Meet the Pilgrim Fathers by Elizabeth Payne

Geography: We have two days that we do geography. One day is more for learning about physical geography and the general workings of the world (this is like "pre-map" work, because a child needs to understand these things before grasping a map or globe). The other day we have begun learning about specific areas of geography. We began by learning about oceans and rivers. I intended to go from there to studying the geography of the United States, but somehow we started with Canada instead! Here is what we used:
Day 1 BookElementary Geography by Charlotte Mason (Lessons 18-23)
Day 2 Books: - Charlotte Mason's Second Geographical Reader (to cover seas and Canada. Warning- this book was written over 100 years ago, so the geography in it is sometimes out of date and hilarious- like that people in Canada takes sleighs to get places, haha! I do not read all of it... though, we did read the part about sleighs and talked about olden times, and my daughter was fascinated.)
- The Big Rivers: The Missouri, The Mississippi, and the Ohio 

Natural History: For Natural History, I choose two books that we will spend the whole term using, and then we have a special studies topic for the term (and sometimes two special studies), and I choose several books to cover that topic.
Book 1: Birds of the Air by Arabella Buckley
Book 2: A Bunch of Wildflowers for the Children by Ida Whitcomb (We didn't connect deeply with this book, but a lot of the difficulty is that I don't know a lot about wildflowers. Sophie did have a few take-aways, though, and I remind myself that that's all it takes- a few things that really stick with you after a book!)

Literature: Oh literature, how we love thee! We have two days of literature.
Day 1: We are reading Pilgrim's Progress (which will spread out over two years)
Day 2: Mythology (currently reading A Wonder Book by Nathaniel Hawthorne)... Sophie looooooves this book (as do I).

Physical Education (Drill/Dance/Play): This time should be used twice a week for actual free play. No rules, just let the child play. Other possibilities for the way we use this time (on the other days) are to learn jumping rope, fun dances together, and Swedish Drill. I taught the girls a few fun songs, like "Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush," but overall, I did poorly at using this slot as anything other than free play for this term! 
My two favorite resources for Charlotte Mason dance and drill: Swedish Drill and Dance/Moving to Songs

Music Appreciation: We studied Franz Schubert this term. We read Franz Schubert and his Merry Friends by Opal Wheeler. We listened to his compositions as they were mentioned in the book. This is the first time I did it this way (before, I have just chose songs of the composer by random and listened to a different one each week... I felt like the way we did it this term really helped the flow of the book and our connection with the composer). We listened to Rondo, Waltz, German Dance, Erlking (our favorite!), Hedge Roses, Moment Musicale, Hark! Hark! The Lark, and The Unfinished Symphony.

Art Appreciation: We studied Peter Paul Rubens. We again used the artist packets from Simply Charlotte Mason... they are great! The picture quality is incredible, and I love that they come with information on the artist and each picture. We studied Daniel of the Lions' Den, St. George and the Dragon, The Descent from the Cross, Night Scene, The Artist, his Wife Helena Fourment, and their son Peter Paul, The Adoration of the Magi, A View of Het Steen in the Early Morning, The Raising of the Cross. I read a little biography on him, but mostly, we just studied the pictures, and Sophie narrated what she saw.

Spanish: We use Cherrydale Press's Spanish Book (volume 1) as our spine for this subject. We use it 1-2 times a week. It is based on Francois Gouin's research that showed it is easier to learn a language when you learn the action verbs (rather than just a noun). So, we learn a set of activities in English (acting them out); then once we have the English memorized, we learn the same set of activities in Spanish. We did Cherrydale lessons 12-13 this term. We also had flash cards and learned new words from those, and we used real objects, such as objects in a room, to learn new words. Sometimes we played a game where I would call out items in the room, and Sophie would have to repeat and run to them.

Singing: We learned and sang the following songs over the term:
- Patriot Song: "Star-Spangled Banner"
- Hymn: "I Need Thee Every Hour"
- Spanish Songs: We learned "Dios, Bueno Es" and also Jose-Luis Orozco's "Los Pollitos"
- Solfa: We use Miss Mason's Music website for these lessons, as I am not comfortable teaching it on my own and her lessons are excellent. Membership is $15/year which is totally worth it to have access to all her materials and videos on her website. We used her term 3 lessons for sofa beginners.

Recitation: We do recitation three times a week. The first day, we recite a hymn (rather than sing). The second day we recite a Bible verse. The third day we recite a poem. In a term, for the second grade year, the preference is to learn two hymns, two-three verses, and two poems. The purpose of recitation is not memorization (though, that often happens over the term!); the purpose is to be able to read something beautifully. We usually begin by Sophie repeating the lines after me, but then she reads them on her own after a while, and sometimes we say them together. This term, we did the following:
- Hymns: Charles Wesley's "And Can it be that I Should Gain" and "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus"
- Verses: Exodus 2:2-7, Mark 40:30-32 (she also learns verses for church)
- Poems: Christina Rossetti's "Color" and "Who Has Seen the Wind"

Drawing: We used this time to do drawings from nature (we bring the object inside and she brush draws it – with a paint brush), from her imagination of stories we have read, and from her memory of animals she has seen. 
She did drawings this term of acorns, pumpkins, trees, goats, Pocahontas, etc.


Handicrafts/Work: We learned embroidery this term as well as learning how to braid. We did a few paper modeling projects, using this book by M. Swannell. 


Reflections
While these posts always look impressive, there are always so many areas where I'd like to improve after a term! I do a great job at spreading the feast, but some parts of the feast are weak. I'd like to spend some time being more prepared for math for this next term- because I choose to not just use an open-and-go textbook, I have to put more time in for math, but I always find it's worth it. 
I also did a poor job with handcrafts this term, and it is Sophie's favorite subject. I'd like to do more paper modeling projects, and I want to be diligent to help her with her Christmas gifts. After Christmas, I think I will teach her finger knitting.
Drawing is always an area I need to improve in.
I'd like to spend more time next term on teaching Swedish Drill and dancing songs. It's easy to skip these because they're not "necessary," but Sophie always loves learning these!
I want to do better on nature journaling for myself and the girls.
I also realized after our term exams that I need to work more with Sophie on recitation. She stares at the paper the whole time while reading the recitation work, so I want to work with her on learning to look up more as she reads, and also to read with more expression.