Monday, August 13, 2018

Homeschool Plan: Second Grade Charlotte Mason (2018-2019)

When Sophie, my oldest, was four years old, I became acquainted with the Charlotte Mason method. I hadn't planned to homeschool, but when I found this method, I knew it was for me... for us. Last year was our first year of fully implementing the method, as formal lessons start at age six, and it was so perfect for us. The school days weren't always perfect, but the method always felt right, and I never wavered in my certainty that this was the way I was to be educating my girls.

Last year, Sophie was in Form 1b which is the equivalent of first grade. Second and third grade are form 1a, so we will do Form 1a this year. The purpose of the forms is basically to provide fluidity and overlap so that subjects can be combined for children. When my second daughter, Brielle, enters Form 1b next year, Sophie will still be in Form 1a, and therefore, they can share quite a few subjects (which will be wonderful). We break our school year into terms, so we will have three terms that are 12 weeks each.

These are the subjects Sophie will study this year:
Natural History
Physical Education
Music Appreciation
Art Appreciation

These subjects are spread out throughout the week, some being every day and others being just once a week. Our days are, at longest, two and a half hours. We always finish subjects by lunch time.

The Schedule:
We use these $5 scheduling cards to schedule our days: Schedule Cards. (They are amazing!). We have 11-12 subjects a day. I switched my schedule up some this year but kept much of it the same. I'm going to try doing math earlier in the day and hope to have success with that, and I'm putting more literature and reading toward the end of the day as Sophie always loves to sit and listen to books.

Here is a breakdown of the books and materials I plan to use this school year:

Bible: We will study through Exodus and Mark this year. We simply read straight from the Bible text (the other books pictured are just commentaries for me to read before doing the lesson). We mostly read from ESV, though I do occasionally read from KJV for our Old Testament readings.

Poetry: We study one poet a term and read a lot of her works as well as using this poet for some of our recitation pieces. We will study Christina Rossetti during first term. We will also read from our favorite poetry anthologies some days.

Copywork: This subject is really simple. I give Sophie a few lines from poetry or a Bible verse (or she chooses), and she copies them down. The ideal is for her to picture the words in her head before writing them, so that she learns proper spelling and grammar through the use of picturing and copying.

Math: I absolutely love the Charlotte Mason math program we use. It's very gentle and appropriate for young kids. The Mathematics book is somewhat like a teacher's guide for K-12 with a full scope and sequence and examples for teaching math with this approach. Richele Baburina (who is now a personal friend and one of the most brilliant and sweetest people I have ever met) is working on creating a curriculum. The first book is out already, and we used it last year with Sophie for 1st grade. We will do some review in that to start our year. The second book is at the publisher but may not be ready for us when we need it, so I will just use the Mathematics book (and accompanying DVD) to help me do lessons with Sophie. Last year I learned to take it easy in math with Sophie and to find ways to help her enjoy it, while also challenging her.

Art Appreciation: We study one artist a term, studying a different picture each week (up to 8, typically) and reading a short biography on the artist as well. This year, I plan for us to study Rubens, Whistler, and Giotto. I order our Picture Study Portfolios from Simply Charlotte Mason, and they are well worth the cost! They include information on the artist and on each print, and the prints are high quality.

Music Appreciation: In similar fashion to Art Appreciation, we study one composer a term and listen to a different song each week as well as read a book about the composer. We will study Franz Schubert during first term. I'd also like to study Handel this year (probably during second term), and I haven't decided yet on a third. I knew nothing about composers, and it was really fun last year to start becoming familiar with composers with Sophie and to be able to recognize their music.

Spanish: We do a mixture of things for Spanish. I forgot to include a picture of our main text, which is Cherrydale Press's Volume 1. We began using the book last year, and it will probably take us through next year before we finish it. The book is excellent, though I always wish I was fluent in Spanish (I just studied it in high school). We also read poems in Spanish and read children's books, and do flash cards and TPR (total physical response) activities. 

Singing: For singing class, we have a rotation of songs that we learn each term. We learn a patriotic song, a hymn, folksongs, and Spanish songs. This year we will also begin Solfa lessons through Miss Mason's Music. For first term, I plan for us to learn The Star-Spangled Banner (patriotic), I Need Thee Every Hour (hymn), Do You Know the Muffin Man (folksong), Hugh A Bye Baby (folksong), Los Pollitos (Spanish), Dios Bueno Es (Spanish), and Chocolate (Spanish). (We love Jose Luis Orozco for Spanish songs.) I print everything off and put it in a folder in protector sheets, and we just grab the folder during singing class.

Recitation: For recitation, we also have a rotation of works that we go through. We have hymns (that we recite rather than sing), Bible verses, and poems. This term, we will recite two Charles Wesley hymns, a verse from Exodus and from Mark (these are the books we will be reading through), and two Christina Rossetti poems (our term poet). The purpose of recitation is not memorization, though this does often happen. The purpose is to be able to read the work beautifully. We do each piece once a week, and by the end of the twelve weeks, the works have each become a part of our hearts.

Play/Drill/P.E.: This is a class in the middle of our school day. Sometimes it is simply free play. Sometimes it is Swedish Drill (Sophie loves this, and we use Dawn Duran's videos for this). Sometimes it is singing games or dancing. And this year I intend to add jump rope.

Literature: I'm so excited for our literature class! We will begin reading through Pilgrim's Progress (I highly recommend this Yesterday's Classic version) by John Bunyan and A Wonder Book by Nathaniel Hawthorne. 

Geography: We will continue reading through Elementary Geography by Charlotte Mason, which gives a great amount of knowledge about things like weather, the shape of the earth, the equator, direction, and mapping out a room. We will also begin using Charlotte Mason's Geographical Readers. These books were written for students born and living in England, but there are many parts applicable to my own American students, so we will start with the first chapter on the oceans and then move to the chapters on North and South America. I also plan to use The Big Rivers book (pictured) to learn about the rivers surrounding our midwest location and to learn about rivers. 

History: Last year, for first grade (Form 1b), we studied early American history, the explorer age up until Jamestown. This year, we will begin with Jamestown and basically study 1600-1700 American history. We loved history last year, and I'm excited for another year of continuing our studies. Honestly, I'm not 100% prepared for this subject. I plan to use Land of the Free by Meadowcroft (this book is out of print, but I'm borrowing from the library) as our spine. And then I will use quite a few biographies, like d'Aulaire's Pocahontas. (Buffalo Bill is pictured below, but we won't study him yet this year as he comes at a later timeframe.)

Drawing: Sophie enjoys drawing class, although it wasn't my strong point last year, so I'm so excited for this new resource to help me this year: Brush Drawing by Richele Baburina (the same lady that wrote our math program- I told you she was brilliant and amazing!) Throughout a term, Sophie draws objects from nature (that are placed in front of her), animals from memory, and characters in her imagination from stories we have read. 

Natural History: We have three days of Natural History class. On the first day, we will read through Arabella Buckley's Eyes and No Eyes (we will read Birds of the Air chapters this term). For the second day, we will read A Bunch of Wild Flowers for the Children by Ida Prentice Whitcomb. And for our final day, we will read books based on our special studies topics. We will be studying reptiles and wildflowers, so I plan to read Strange Lizards (by Earle), Frogs and Toads (by Zim), Amazing Dandelion (by Selsam), and First Look at Snakes, Lizards, and Other Reptiles (by Selsam).

Handicrafts: Sophie (and I!) began learning to embroider this summer, so my plan is to continue learning and working on this craft this term. Although, Sophie's been bugging me to work with clay. That may be our term two handicraft. I'd also like for us to learn knitting this year. We also will spend some days doing paper modeling, which is one of Sophie's favorite things. And some days we will do baking, cooking, or household work. 

Reading: Sophie will practice her reading still as she is still learning confidence in this area. Brielle (age 5) is anxious and asking to learn to read, so I am going to begin gently teaching her, using Discover Reading! as my guide. This will be new for me as I used Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons with Sophie. I wanted something different this time though. We will see how it goes! I love the approach, but it is more teacher intensive. 


  1. Hi Alisha :) My son is in the 2nd grade and this is our second year using Charlotte Mason. It feels like I am doing a lot of reading to him which he enjoys but even though I am breaking up the readings with him doing mental work like math somedays it feels like that's all we do. So while looking online to see what everyone else is doing I came across your blog. I was wondering if you would post a weekly schedule/daily schedule so we can see how your subjects low from day to day. Thanks!

    1. Hi Kelly! I use A Delectable Education's scheduling cards (linked above in my post), so because they are copyrighted by them, I can't reveal our exact schedule. I will say, they are only $5 and totally worth purchasing! They gave me the boost I needed to plan my own curriculum for my children. Anyways, I do find that we do a good bit of reading during our day... but there are a good amount of subjects where we don't, and I try to put them throughout the day: math, drawing, copywork, singing, recitation, handcrafts, Spanish, "physical education," art appreciation (picture study), and music appreciation (composer study... though we do usually read a biography for this bc we love to!). The last two are just once a week and drawing is just twice a week, but all the rest are at least 3 times a week. I hope this helps, and please let me know if you have further questions!