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:

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 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.

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.


  1. Hello. I recently found you on Jodi Mockabee's instagram account. I've read through several of your blog posts, and you've been so encouraging to me. Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences with others. I know it takes a lot of energy and effort.

    I have a few questions. I am looking into different homeschooling methods, and Charlotte Mason's seems to be perfect, at least for my personality. I have two boys, just two years and newborn right now. Do you think this method would work well for boys? Why or why not? Also, how did you learn about and start schooling with this method? Was it easy in the beginning? I went to the website you mentioned, simplycharlottemason.com, and that seems to be very helpful. Are there any more resources you would recommend. Thank you!

    1. Hi! Thank you so much for your encouraging words. I love hearing that others find these posts helpful. I only have girls, obviously, but I know many people who effectively use the Charlotte Mason with boys as well! I have local friends who use it, but on Instagram @aolander is one of my good friends who uses the CM method with a boy and shares about it.
      I highly recommend starting with Susan Schaefer MacCaulay’s For the Children’s Sake. That was my first intro to Charlotte Mason, and it’s an easy read. From there, I really love the A Delectable Education podcast. I also, of course, learn a lot from reading Charlotte Mason’s own volumes that she wrote, but they are books you will want to read more slowly- and preferably with a group if you can find one!
      I believe boys can thrive in the CM method just as well as girls because the lessons are wide, varied, and short. I learned about CM when my eldest was 4, and formal lessons don’t start until 6, so I learned as much as I could in those years. A good way to start with young kids, besides educating yourself, is to start going outside often and read good books! I took it slow and found it to be easy, though there are always things I’m still learning and tweaking and doing imperfectly!

    2. Thanks for your reply! I will definitely look into all these.

      God has really given me a blessing that started a few years ago when I clipped an article from a Better Homes and Gardens magazine that I picked up at a junk sale somewhere for a dime. It was about Jodi Mockabee's home. I was inspired so I kept it. About a year later, I decided to find her online and through her found Wild and Free. And then for some reason (I'm not a member of any social media site and normally don't get sidetracked when reading specific posts), but for some reason I had the desire to see who was behind the Little Women Farmhouse. And then I discovered the Charlotte Mason method by reading your blog, which seems to be an answer to prayer. It is just so encouraging to see so many other families raising their children with similar values. Living where we do, I've often felt that we're the only family with our values, and have even worried, probably as many mothers do, about their kids finding spouses. God has shown me that he will take care of it! :-)

      Thanks again! (I may be back with more questions in other posts) God bless!

      Talitha W.