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:

Natural History
Physical Education
Music Appreciation
Art Appreciation

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. 

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.

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