Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Homeschool: Grade 2, Term 3 (2018-2019)

Our third term truly feels like it flew by. I'm ready for a break (especially one that includes SUMMER!), but I'm also sad that second grade it already over! It goes so fast. Honestly, I'm also always bummed at what we don't get to - but I have to trust that it's always enough! My sweet girls are learning so much every day, and they have the rest of their lives to keep learning. Anything we don't get to is just something to look forward to in the years to come.


In the Charlotte Mason world, I call the "grade" Sophie is in "Form 1A." But in trusty American talk, she is in grade 2, or second grade.

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 3:
(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 37-40 and Mark 14-16. 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 finished both books with a few weeks left in our term, so we also selected a few Psalms and read through Esther. Because Esther is always exciting for a house full of girls- a real, live (well, now dead) Queen!

Poetry: We choose one poet to focus on each term, and for term three, we focused on Walt Whitman. We read Poetry for Kids: Walt Whitman. I chose him because his "O Captain, My Captain" is so well known, and this book has lovely illustrations. I'll be honest though- Walt Whitman is hard even for me to read and grasp! He wasn't the girls' favorite, but they did enjoy listening to the poems, and Sophie even really liked "O Captain, My Captain" which she also had as a recitation piece. We read poetry every day, so we read poems by Walt Whitman 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 poems from Favorite Poems Old and New.

Math: We continue to use and love 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. We finished our addition and subtraction tables (doing numbers 5-10). We also worked on adding numbers in the hundreds, including carrying. Sophie really enjoyed doing addition with bigger numbers! We are a little over half-way through this math book, and will continue it into next year where we will work on subtraction with larger numbers and multiplication. I really see a love for numbers and math growing in Sophie, which is my deepest desire- but also a firm understanding of how they work in the world, which is of second importance to me.

Reading: We just use this time for Sophie to get more practice with reading – 10 minutes a day. She read through Billy and Blaze books this term, and she loved them so much! She also really loves My Father's Dragon and read some of it as well. She reads to her sisters sometimes, and I find her reading to herself more often. She also loves to listen to audiobooks, but that's not during school hours :)

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. I used America Builds Homes by Alice Dalgliesh as our spine for the year. For biography supplements, we used the following books- we read some in the afternoons and we only read portions of some (we stopped if a book continued into the 1700s):
Tapenum's Day: A Wampanoag Indian Boy in Pilgrim Times by Kate Waters and Russ Kendall
The New Americans by Betsy Maestro
- Molly Bannaky by Chris K. Soentpiet and Alice McGill
Skippack School by Marguerite De Angeli
- Thunder from the Clear Sky by Marcia Sewall

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, and we also learned about a few places afar.
Day 1 BookElementary Geography by Charlotte Mason (Lessons 30-31). We learned about maps and scales on maps. We made our own map of the living room, using a scale to show true size.
Day 2 Books: - Cross Country by Paul Hanna (we read this book, and looked at the map to follow the family's journey.
- Miroslav Sasek books to briefly learn about other countries

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: Christian Liberty Nature Reader book 3 by Michael McHugh (We were pleasantly surprised with how wonderful this book was! We covered ants, flies, and beetles.)
Book 2: A Walk in the Prairie by Rebecca Johnson (We plan to continue using the other books in this series to cover biomes in future terms.)
Special Studies Books: 
Our special study was bees and water birds.We used these books:
- Here Come the Bees by Alice Goudey
- Bees: A Honeyed History by Piotr Socha 
- Watching Water Birds by Jim Arnosky

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 79-117 this term.)
Day 2: Mythology (currently reading A Wonder Book by Nathaniel Hawthorne)... We absolutely love this book. In this book, we read The Miraculous Pitcher (Baucis and Philemon) and The Chimaera 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 "Wallflowers," too.
My two favorite resources for Charlotte Mason dance and drill: Swedish Drill and Dance/Moving to Songs

Music Appreciation: We studied Paganini this term. We read Paganini: Master of Strings by Opal Wheeler. I love connecting to the composers as people (as does Sophie), and this always helps us to connect to their music. We listened to La Campanella, Caprice 24, Sonata No. 1, Sonata Napoleone, Moses Fantasy, and Cantabile

Art Appreciation: We studied James Whistler. 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 Arrangement in Grey and White, No. 1 (Portrait of the Artist's Mother), Symphony in White, No. 1 (The White Girl), Symphony in White, No. 2, Nocturne in Blue and Gold (Old Battersea Bridge), Nocturne in Black and Gold (The Falling Rocket), Caprice in Purple and Gold (The Golden Screen), Arrangement in Grey (Portrait of the Painter), and At the Piano. Sophie (and Brielle) study each picture for a couple minutes and then narrates to me what they see. Sophie's favorite painting was Symphony in White, No. 1. 

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 18, 25, and 29 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. 

Singing: We learned and sang the following songs over the term:
- Patriotic Song: "God Bless America"
- Hymn: "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands"
- Spanish Songs: We learned "Tu Eres Mi Sol"
- 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. Sometimes we each read a line and share the recitation, and sometimes Sophie does it all on her own. This term, we did the following:
- Hymns: Kurt Kaiser's "Pass it On" and "As for Me and My House"
- Verses: Exodus 40:34-38, Mark 12:28-31
- Poems: Walt Whitman's "O Captain, My Captain" and "I Hear America Singing"

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 a lilac, a lemon, a bird, bees, Native Americans, Hercules, and Christian from Pilgrim's Progress.

Handicrafts/Work: This term, we learned how to knit- both of us! It was fun! We used this DVD: Handicrafts Made Simple. We did a few paper modeling projects, using this book by M. Swannell. She learned to make a rabbit hutch and a box with a lid.


Reflections: I love homeschooling, I feel completely confident in the Charlotte Mason method and feel that I have really become comfortable and even good at doing this. However, that doesn't mean that there aren't always areas that I want or need to improve. I have learned to rest in what we do get done but to continue to learn and grow and work at implementing more and knowing more.
One thing I've learned about myself is that I do best with planning everything before the term. I love that this year I took a week break between terms- this planning time was truly precious and so good for us. I want to really take this summer to plan a large majority of next year- and then to also take advantage of those week breaks. 
Areas I'd like to really study and spend time preparing for for next year: Brush drawing, Solfa, geography, Piano (I'd like to look into both Curwen and Hoffman online piano lessons), Spanish, and phys. ed. I feel that we were weak in most of these areas this year, and I'd like to be better prepared with them for next year.




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 two, 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 Bondone. 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 14-17 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.