Homeschooling Update: Looking Back at Second Grade

An overdue look at the highlights of G’s second-grade year. We mostly used Sonlight’s Level B, but did move into level C before the end of the year, pausing for the summer when I reached a good stopping point in the history schedule.

History & Read-Alouds

Charlotte's Web coverHistory is generally something he likes, although he did get tired of Ancient Greece. I think I added too many extra titles on Greece. ๐Ÿ™‚ He liked the Vikings, and I think that was his favorite part of the year.

I still do read-alouds with him, and his favorites for the year were: Charlotte’s Web, Henry Huggins, Around the World with Kate and Mack, and Maps & Globes.

He also does his own reading, and his favorite books were the Captain Underpants series (sigh). From his school books, his favorites were The Beginners Bible and Riding the Pony Express.

Language Arts

All About Spelling Level 4G made great reading progress this year. He’s a strong reader, although he still doesn’t like to read books where there is too much text on one page – he likes white space in the margins and some extra space between rows of text. No cramped text blocks for him!

If you ask, he’ll tell you he hates spelling, but then laugh, because he’s joking as it’s one of his favorite subjects. He’s an excellent speller and is proud of that fact. He’s halfway through All About Spelling Level 4, and he’s already asking when I’ll be getting Level 5, and can he finish it and Level 6 next year? I cannot tell you how much I love All About Spelling (although I’ve tried) – if only everything school-related worked so well and so easily.

Handwriting is still his least favorite subject, and there is much moaning about the fact that I make him work on it EVERY. DAY. Clearly, I am the most unreasonable teacher ever.

Math

Math Analogies coverHe’s a good math student and finished two levels of math during the year. He would have been ready to move into level 4 of Math Mammoth about a month before we broke for summer, but I decided to hold off on it and just have him review math facts and do other practice problems, rather than having an awkward break in the new program.

He especially loved the Math Analogies book I grabbed for him almost on a whim – he thought it was fun, and never seemed like school work to him.

Science

Zap! Wile E. Coyote Experiments with Energy coverAnother favorite subject was science – he had a hard time narrowing down his choices for favorite titles for the year (as seen in the long list in the next paragraph). I need to improve about doing experiments with him and hope to next year. M should be old enough by then to not be such a menace and threat to everything while we try.

His favorite science books for the year were See Inside Your Body, See How It’s Made, and the graphic science series including The Science of Baseball with Max Axiom, The World of Food Chains with Max Axiom, and Zap! Wile E. Coyote Experiments with Energy, Thud! Wile E. Coyote Experiments with Forces and Motion and Splat! Wile E. Coyote Experiments with States of Matter.

PE & Extra Activities

Kids Cook Real Food coverHe had a busy year with activities: Taekwondo (he’s a probationary black belt and beginning instructor), soccer, basketball, baseball, and Cub Scouts. Fortunately soccer, basketball, and baseball do not overlap so it’s not quite as crazy as that sounds. It’s busy enough as it is! He also was in Awana, although that usually involved lots of complaining before we left every week.

While he does generally join in when we have an art lesson, he’s not enthusiastic about it. However, he is eager for me to restart cooking lessons, which have been on hiatus for awhile. I just bought the lessons in a print format since one of the biggest challenges I had with it was it being all online or via pdf. I’m thinking the print will make it easier on me.

Overview

All in all, it was a very successful year with him. I do have some changes I want to make for next year, but that’ll be detailed in a future post. Overall, I feel like we had a good routine going, and I’m hoping next year runs as smoothly.


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Homeschool Update: Finished Sonlight’s Level B, moving on to C

Well, more or less moving on to C. We’re trying out the mostly equivalent Bookshark Level 2. There are a handful of differences between them, mostly that Bookshark is secular so it skips the Bible component and missionary stories, and it’s also a 4-day a week schedule.

bookshark-level-2In Sonlight’s level B, G covered the first half of world history – emphasizing Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, and Ancient Rome. It was a really fun year, which makes me that much more excited to move onto the second half of world history. Vikings! Knights and Castles! I love Medieval history and I can’t wait to try and get G to love it too. ๐Ÿ™‚

We’ll be doing Sonlight’s LA 3 (I already had it on hand), and I have the Bookshark Level 2 Advanced/Sonlight 4/5 Readers on hand if we need additional readers. So far I’ve used library books or a few I’ve bought for him as extra readers.

I do plan to continue adding on Story of the World Volume 2 (it worked very well adding Volume 1 to level B), and I’m also adding back in three books that were in C in previous years – Explorer’s News, Maps and Globes, and The Awesome Book of Bible Facts.

I was not planning on using Window on the World (that’s part of why I went with Bookshark – it doesn’t include it), but my son saw it online, and specifically asked for it. It’s hard to say no to a request for a book, so ok kid, I’ll add it back in.

This isn’t a full planning-for-third-grade post, just a quick look at the big changes going on with us for school. He’s now finished his first week with the new level, so at some point I’ll share my thoughts on the full comparison between Sonlight and Bookshark.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Homeschooling Update: Finished with Ancient Greece

ancient-greece-books-for-kids

We’ve more or less finished with Ancient Greece and will be getting into Ancient Rome. And then that is pretty much the end of B for us and we’ll move onto C. Crazy! Although that makes it sound like we’re closer than we are – there’s still 9 weeks of the schedule ahead of us.

It’s been a really nice stretch, as he’s liked Greece, and I like Ancient Greece much more than Ancient Egypt.

What Would I Recommend?

blast-back-ancient-greeceIf you’re looking to do ancient Greece on your own, I’d recommend Blast Back! Ancient Greece – it was really well done, and covered a good amount for lower elementary, without being overkill. The Greek Myths book is also quite nice if you want to cover them, and it was never too detailed to make it something I didn’t want to share with my young kids.

If you have a child who likes to color, I’d get one of the inexpensive Dover coloring books. I skipped this because G has never liked coloring very much, but I’m almost certainly going to get one when H studies this. Dover options include Life in Ancient Greece, Greek Gods and Goddesses, Sparta!, and Greek and Roman Fashion.

sticker-dressing-greek-mythsIf you’ve got a sticker fan in your house, Sticker Dressing Greek Myths is fun. My son loves using these books, so that’s what he gets in lieu of a coloring book.

For more general history not limited to Ancient Greece, I’m using and enjoying A Child’s History of the World, The Usborne Book of World History (great for visuals), and Story of the World Volume 1 & the accompanying activity book. It’s more than is needed, but I’m trying to stretch things out for us.

Have Older Students?

usborne-illustrated-stories-from-the-greek-mythsIf you’re looking to cover Ancient Greece with an older child (say, 10 and up), Usborne has an excellent title that would work well. The Greeks was overkill for my son right now, but if we need more I’ll use it for his next pass through this era. They also have several options for Greek Myths books more appropriate for older readers, and a general history encyclopedia that I love.

Still Want More?

adventures-in-ancient-greeceIf you’re also looking to stretch things out, I also used Greek News, Adventures in Ancient Greece and Top 10 Worst Things about Ancient Greece. I’d go for the first two if you want more books, but none of them are essential if you’ve read Blast Back! Adventures in Ancient Greece does add a fictional component to the topic, if you’re looking for that. Another fiction option is Hour of the Olympics, from the Magic Tree House series. My son read that to himself – love that easy reading level! He also read the nonfiction companion book, Ancient Greece and the Olympics.


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

Two years ago: Book Review: Ghost Ship by Brian Hicks
Three years ago: How to Find More Time to Read: Part 1

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Homeschooling Update: One Month In to the 2016 – 2017 Year

We’re roughly one month into the new school year, and that’s been enough time to give some evaluation to how things are going.

So far, overall I’m fairly pleased with things. I still need to finish adding in a few subjects (like spelling for G), and I want to give H some more focused time on reading instruction. We’ve started that for her, but she wants more than she’s gotten so far. She seems ready to begin All About Reading 1 so it’s time to pull that out!

Last week was almost entirely half days – there was a dentist’s visit and two other days with doctor’s appointments. Tuesday was the only day that we did a full school day. I guess that happens at “real” school too.

Kindergarten Book StackAlthough I have a schedule for H to follow, we haven’t been following it that much. Instead I’m just pulling together a stack of books each day and doing the next thing in each one.

G sticks with the Sonlight schedule more, but I still find that I’m completely off track as far as where we are with various components. Week 8 in Science, week 19 in History, and I don’t even know in Language Arts.

This week G also finished up his Mathematical Reasoning book. I haven’t gotten the next one in the series – as much as I (we) loved those books in the younger levels, I don’t think they’re as good at older grades. I’m going to try to use Beast Academy (which we already have the first book) as his secondary math now. He does really well having two to flip between, so I want to keep that option, at least for now. That’s also likely to change as he keeps moving along.

Beast Academy 3AH is also almost done with her Mathematical Reasoning book – she should finish it next week. That’ll be about 5 weeks to complete the Pre-K book, and then I have the Kindergarten book ready to go. I like starting the kids at the lower level first, because it ends up being really easy for them, and they have fun with it and feel super confident. Not a bad way to start their math journey!

Awana starts up this weekend, so both kids will be back in the habit of scripture memory. Neither of them have done it at all since it ended last May. I’m ok with that. ๐Ÿ™‚

7 Quick Takes: All About The Kids

Seven Quick Takes

— 1 —

School started earlier in August, and I wasn’t entirely sure how things would go, since this is my first year having two official students, plus the baby is much more … troublesome … than she was when she was an actual baby. ๐Ÿ˜‰

So far, I’d have to say that things are going fairly well. My biggest issue currently is that I wish I had a bigger bookcase on the porch where we do most of our schooling. Two students in literature-based curriculum = twice as many books. Turns out we’re overflowing with books and other materials.

Kindergarten Book StackPartial Kindergarten Book Stack

— 2 —

G had a Cub Scout introductory meeting last night. Since I’m writing the post Thursday afternoon he hasn’t had the meeting yet and I have no idea how it’s going to go, what they would do, if if he’ll end up joining. But by the time you read this we should know all of that. Ok, maybe we won’t have decided about joining yet, but we’ll at least have the info to make that decision! He’s really excited about finding out about it at least.

— 3 —

H wants to join scouts too, so I need to get moving on finding out about something for her. Cub Scouts made it easy with signs by the local elementary school. Girl Scouts hasn’t done that, but I have a couple of emails out asking for info. ๐Ÿ˜‰

— 4 —

As I figure out how best to do school with two students and three kids, I’m tweaking things from last year. This week I’ve been splitting up their work into two groups, and doing mini sessions with each. That way they both get a break in the middle, and can do their own thing for a bit while I work with the other one. M also gets her school time – she knows to ask for it (her school time consists of sitting on my lap and listening to me read her books).

Things aren’t as polished as I’d like; I’m hoping we can to get a little bit faster with everything. My preference would be to finish all of school and have lunch eaten and cleaned up before M goes down for a nap at 1:30. We’re making it now, but we also haven’t added in everything I want to do for the year.

It’ll also be a change once the weather isn’t as nice to allow outside playtime. That’s been helpful right now, and I know we’ll miss it this winter. All the more reason to take advantage of it while we can!

School OutsideTaking Advantage of a Beautiful Day to Do Math Outside

— 5 —

The two big kids had dentist appointments this week, and luckily for me R ended up taking the day off of work, so I was able to leave M with him and just take the patients with me. So much easier than keeping her contained and out of trouble during their appointments!

G is going back next week for sealant on his molars and I’ve got my fingers crossed that R can take a longer lunch and come home and watch both girls while I run G over to that appointment. Assuming no crisis pops up that morning he should be able to do that, but I’m trying not to totally be counting on it.

— 6 —

We’ve had a super rainy start to soccer – they actually played their first game without having had a practice because of all the rain-outs. This week they had practice and once again I find myself amazed at my good fortune. Both practices are at the exact same time and location, and they even practice on back-to-back fields. I was able to set my chair in between the fields and swivel my head to watch both of them. I’m going to enjoy that this season, because I don’t imagine I’ll ever get so lucky again with concurrent practices. Or if I do they’ll be at different locations and I’ll be scrambling to get them both where they need to be!

Post Rainy Soccer GameAfter Her First (Very Rainy) Soccer Game

— 7 —

We had roughly a month-long break with chapter book readalouds, and now we’re back into the routine of reading them daily. We’ve recently finished up The Year of the Dog (we all loved it), Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew #1 (H loved it), and Gone Fishing (G & I loved it, and I’ve already gushed about it on Instagram I thought so much of it.).

I am having to pay more attention to library holds lists and pickup times, because adding an extra person I’m trying to intentionally select readalouds for, timed to school topics, is still something I’m getting used to. It’s one thing when I’m getting books for her but it doesn’t matter when they arrive, and another when I want them at particular times, or to be sure I’m getting a balance of topics.

Gone Fishing

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t The Lyceum!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Book Review: Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster
Three years ago: Cooking the Book: Trader Joeโ€™s Vegetarian Cookbook

Planning Ahead for Second Grade

Sonlight Core B Readers 2As of yesterday (!) we’ve finished Sonlight Core A (what I’d planned for G’s first grade year), so it’s time to look ahead at what the plans are for second grade. Which yes, technically begins in August, but acknowledging that these are the plans for that year helps me keep things organized, both around the blog and in my brain. ๐Ÿ™‚

Using Core A for first grade worked really well – it would not have been as successful for his Kindergarten year, so I’m glad we held off on it. The last 9 weeks of the core went very fast, so we’ll be getting an earlier start on Core A than I originally expected. The same thing happened last year – I think we both see the new material waiting for us and can’t wait to dive into it!

The plan (as it stands now) is to move right into Core B, then breaking for summer in mid-June. We’ll pick back up with school work in mid-August, when the local schools go back. I’ll just stop the Core wherever we are, and begin again when we restart. If we’re in the middle of a chapter book I’ll probably finish it though!

This fall will mark the first year school is officially required for my son, but because of the laws in Indiana that won’t make much difference to what we do. I’ve already been tracking his attendance and keeping records for myself – more than what the state requires.

Core B will cover history and Bible. It’s the first half of World History, and I am *so* excited to really start diving into history with him – so far we’ve mostly just touched lightly on historical topics and the history nerd in me is anxious to go a little deeper into the past.

Sticker Dressing Greek MythsWhile there are many possibilities for extra books that will touch on the topics covered in this Core, I have two already on the shelf that will add a hands-on element which is usually a struggle for me. Ancient Egypt Sticker Book, and Sticker Dressing Greek Myths look like they’ll be hugely popular with G. And Look Inside Mummies & Pyramids is a lift-the-flap book so not really hands-on, but still interactive.

What I’m still considering adding is The Story of the World (and it’s Activity Book), as well as History Pockets: Ancient Civilizations and Famous Figures of Ancient Times. It all depends on just how much I want to try and stretch the Core, and how far my budget will stretch. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Language Arts

LA 2The main framework will once again be Sonlight, in this case LA 2, which will be really easy on the reading, but a better fit for everything else. G’s already finished all of the levels in All About Reading, so he doesn’t need any more reading instruction, just practice. Besides the readers from LA 2 I’ll add in extra books from the library and Usborne.

My First Story Writing BookLast year we did the Daily 6 Trait Writing I found thanks to Timberdoodle. He loved it, but it was so easy. I haven’t decided if I want to get it again. It’s very much written for a school setting, and I think it’s already covered through Sonlight’s LA so I’ll probably skip it. If he really misses it I can probably be persuaded to get it again though, but I may look at jumping him up a level. Or, what I’m *really* thinking about doing is using My First Story Writing Book, which we have and looks super fun.

Last year we also did Language Smarts B that was another discovery from Timberdoodle. I didn’t like the way it was organized (I’d have preferred it to spiral more, like Mathematical Reasoning books also published by the same company) but G loved it, and pleaded to get it again. So yeah, we’ll be doing Language Smarts C this year. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s mostly grammar, and it isn’t really necessary, but when he begs to do it, how can I resist?

I’m also adding in the Sonlight-recommended (and scheduled) resources Wordly Wise A and Explode the Code 4. Depending on how useful I think ETC 4 is, I may or may not add 5 & 6 which are also recommended and scheduled by Sonlight to go along with LA 2.

Not Your Everyday Illustrated ThesaurusAs a possible read-aloud or reference to go along with other LA materials, I’ve got Not-Your-Everyday Illustrated Thesaurus. It may not work as a read-aloud, but we’ll see. I like it a lot, but we’ll see what my son thinks of it. ๐Ÿ™‚

A final possibility is another readaloud: Word FunWord Fun by Michael Dahl and Nancy Loewen, illustrated by Sara Gray is a picture book about the eight parts of speech. It’s got fun illustrations and should be entertaining.

Handwriting continues with Getty-Dubay’s Italic Writing (he’ll be in book C) and copywork practice.

Spelling has also been going well, so it’ll just continue on – most of second grade will use All About Spelling, Level 3 (he’s currently on his final step in Level 2). Whenever he finishes that he’ll move on to Level 4.

Math

Homeschooling Math Early Second GradeI just posted a math update, so I’ll summarize that here. He’s currently in Math Mammoth (MM) 2B and Mathematical Reasoning C. I like how they complement each other well, but don’t know that I’ll continue using both after he finishes them. Probable plans are to go into MM 3A and then try out Beast Academy (BA) 3A once he finishes MM 2B. I am also considering having him finish MM 3A and 3B before starting BA 3A because it’s such a challenging program.

That’s a couple of months away though, so we’ll see what happens.

Times Tables Activity BookUntil then, because G loves activity books so much, I’m considering getting him Usborne’s Times Tables Activity Book. I think he’s already got their Lift-the-Flap Times Tables coming to him from Grandma, or else I’d probably be getting that as well.

I’m also just starting to look for an app or game for him to practice his multiplication facts. He will start learning that next month or so, and I want him to learn them really well, because I never did and know how helpful it would have been in later grades if I had.

Science

Science BWe’re about a month away from finishing up Sonlight’s Science A (we didn’t worry much about keeping it on the same schedule as the Core). Once that’s finished I’ll get their Science B, because I really liked their style of science for this level – it’s mostly good books. I also like how they’ve got videos for the experiments so even if I don’t get them done he can at least watch it.

I’m still considering finishing Apologia Exploring Creation with Astronomy, which we got halfway through during his Kindergarten year. I have the book, so it seems like of course we should, but I’m unmotivated to get back to it – I don’t love how it’s written or organized.

Other science-related readalouds we’ll get to this year will likely include the Wile E. Coyote Physical Science graphic novels, which were a Christmas gift for G this year. They remind me a lot of the Max Axiom graphic novels, which he loved.

100 Things to Know About ScienceLast year I ended up reading him the First Illustrated Science Dictionary, and it was a nice companion to the rest of Science A. This year I’ve already got 100 Things to Know About Science waiting – we’ll start it next week. I may not do well at getting experiments done, but I can read books to them!

Under consideration if I decide we need still more science: Science in the Beginning. Seems like it could be a fun one to go along with our history, but I’m not sure if I’ll like it more than the Apologia text; it’s still a textbook, even if I’m reading good things about it.

Extras

G is finishing up his 2nd year in AWANA’s Sparks program. We’re at a new location and overall I think it’s a better fit for us from a scheduling standpoint (Sunday night vs. Wednesday night). I do plan to have him continue with it next year. My big decision right now with it is whether or not to have H move into Sparks next year, or to hold her back for another year of Cubbies. She’s not ready for Sparks yet, but by August it may be obvious that she is. I’m reminding myself that in February of G’s final Cubbies year I was also doubting that he’d be ready for Sparks in the fall and he absolutely was.

G continues to advance in taekwondo. He’ll be testing for his blue belt tomorrow and H will be testing for her orange belt.

Step-by-Step DrawingWe’re very inconsistent about getting art or music appreciation done. I’m hoping to do better at that this year. My goal is to intentionally plan Fridays to be a light day, and then do some of that with the time. I still have Harmony Fine Arts to finish, and I also received a Step by Step Drawing book which looks like it will be really easy to add to our days.

Follow Along on Pinterest

I’ve set up a Pinterest board with all of these things, and am planning on adding the books I use to supplement. Sonlight does have a lot of books, but it’s still not enough for me. Especially since I want to stretch Core B!

I also set up a board with other ideas and possibilities. These are things I’m considering, and if I end up using them I’ll move them to the other board. Don’t worry that I’m going to overload my son by trying all of the things that may be on this board – these are my *possibilities* and I’m using the board as a way to remember those possibilities.