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:

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 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.


  1. Great post! Thank you for sharing this. Which edition/publisher is your Children's Bible?

  2. Love your posts Alisha! ❤️