Thursday, August 5, 2010

Curriculum for Our First Year

Technically, we began our school year back in June, and our "official" start date was July 8, but this summer has been sort of a trial run for us.  We've been easing into our life as homeschoolers and finding out what works for us, where we'll need more structured curriculum choices, and how to prioritize.  This list is by no means concrete, and you'll see that in some areas I'm still not certain what we'll be doing for the year.  But it's a start.  That's all I can do right now.  Start.  If you want to know more about the thought process behind these choices, you can read how we make our curriculum decisions or our schooling philospohy.

Not Back to School Blog Hop

2010-2011 Curriculum 
(2nd grade)

Math - Singapore Primary Math 1B - 2A and Two Plus Two is Not Five

Reading - Fiction and nonfiction independent reading to coincide with history studies as much as possible; oral narration; classics read by me or in audiobook form

Grammar - I'm planning very little formal work here, mostly grammar in action through editing written assignments.  Mad Libs are lots of fun.  Other than that, I think at this age there is a lot to be said for grammar through osmosis.  Fine, if I have to I like these and these.

Writing - Mostly copywork, plus projects and possibly some journaling.  She has expressed an interest in learning cursive, so we'll probably incorporate some cursive handwriting practice as well.  I make most of our copywork and handwriting practice pages on Zaner-Bloser FontsOnline.

Spelling - In addition to copywork and editing her writing, we like Spelling City for creating our own lists, and Ella loves the games.  I like their monthly holiday and seasonal lists, and I do like that they have all of the Sequential Spelling lists preloaded.  She needs a stress break from spelling, but when she's ready I think we may give that a shot. I've also used Super Teacher spelling lists in the past and liked those.

History - Mom-made unit studies.  We began the summer with creation theories and prehistory, and we'll continue chronologically using books from the library, Mr. Donn's site, and anything else of use I find on the internet.

Science - I follow Ella's lead most of the time, with a little nudge here or there.  We watch a lot of science shows on cable, and our library bag is always stuffed with books on animals or space.  We'll try to round things out by incorporating a little more study of physical science during the year with a little help from Dad.

French - I'm still struggling with this one.  We're trying out a lot of different things, but I haven't found a great fit yet.  My goal is to at least retain the French she's learned over the past two years.  We're currently working through French for Beginners (Passport's Language Guides) and I would like to give her more regular conversation practice with my grandparents.

Music - Piano lessons (with me) using Alfred's Basic Piano Library ;  exposure to a wide variety of musical styles

Art - projects tied to history or literature studies, as well as learning to use a variety of media 

P.E. - Taekwondo classes about 3 times a week and family yoga sessions

(I suppose I should state for the record that we don't do all subjects every day.  I'm pretty strict about Math & Reading daily; history, science, and French get priority next; everything else gets done as often as we can and still remain sane.)


  1. That looks great, Michelle. Don't worry - you don't have to like grammar. I have been reading about it recently, and there are some very compelling arguments to be made for avoiding formal grammar until jr. high-ish. For example, that is takes the joy and freedom out of writing when they are too worried it's all going to be torn apart on technicalities. I'm kind of thinking of putting it off, myself.

    Not trying to be a bossy-pants here, but if Sequential Spelling doesn't work out, I CANNOT say enough good things about All About Spelling.

  2. Thanks, Deb! As a former English teacher, I'm having to deprogram myself. The more I read the more I really like the Charlotte Mason approach and holding off on formal grammar lessons. It's also why I don't want to push spelling, but she's loves writing and gets frustrated by not being able to spell words correctly (even if I don't point out any mis-spellings, she knows they're there).

    I hear great things about All About Spelling, and it looks like a great program. I think my hesitation is with how hands-on it is, and I'm kind of taking the same approach as the rammar for now. If it turns out she needs more than our quick spelling lists and lesons, I'm pretty certain AAS is my backup plan.

  3. Hello! I found your blog through the blog hop not back to school! it looks very nice! we begin our first year as you, with my daughter almost 4 years! then the program is still a bit fuzzy!
    Hope to read you!

  4. We are also starting 2nd grade this year. May you have a fabulous new school year.

  5. Are you concerned with your child not being able to practice social skills with other children her age on a daily basis? I have thought about homeschooling, but I am fearful that my child will grow up without the skills he needs to interact with others when he becomes an adult. I am afraid other kids will think he's "weird" or that he will feel awkward around others his age. I also don't want him to miss so many activities that I remember so fondly from childhood such as dodgeball, science fairs, talent shows, school dances (ie. prom) etc. Any advice or resources to suggest?

  6. Hi Michelle, I also like Charlotte Mason's approach to Grammar and general language studies.
    Just a thought for spelling-I don't really like formal learning of spelling at an early age-will try and explain in a post one day! But as my daughter likes to write her own stories and invents her own spelling I'm trying to avoid her overuse of phonics and therefore creating her own ways of spelling. So I have a school dictionary which has lists of regularly used words and space for me to write words. This way when she is writing her own stories and she asks me how to write a word we create a record which she can always refer to in the future and she doesn't form incorrect habits.
    Now if I could just get her to write stories when I'm awake! She loves to write when she gets up in the morning :-)

  7. Good luck to everyone starting this year as well!

    Natalie, my child already felt "weird" and awkward in school. Now she has the opportunity to hang out with kids with similar interests and those she feels comfortable around, regardless of their age or whether or not they are in the same class. And homeschool communities are growing rapidly, so there are plenty of group academic and social activities available now.

    I'd suggest reading Homeschooling: Take a Deep Breath-You can Do This! or The Well Adjusted Child (both are in my sidebar under recommended reading or in the sidebar). They both address a lot of those practical questions.

  8. Nikki, that's a great idea! My daughter is exactly the same. I would wake up to get her ready for school and she'd already have some little book put together. I'd love to see how yours is put together.

  9. You have a wonderful combination of curricula and natural learning. And the mom designed unit studies sound terrific.

  10. Hi Michelle! I enjoy reading your site, I have visited a few times leaving comments and today I finally hit the follow button!

    Love what you chose for 2nd grade, if you are interested in our choices we are also doing the not back to school blog hop.

    Take Care!

  11. Thanks Stephanie and Amy!
    Thanks for commenting. :)

  12. Hi! I have a 5th and 3rd grader and this is our second year of homeschooling. We used Two Plus Two for math fact practice last year and we liked it a lot. We also really like Sequential Spelling.

    I enjoyed reading your blog--have a great year of homeschooling!


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