Henry’s Curriculum Choices for 2013-2014 (2nd Grade)
I’m looking at this stack of books and I’m beginning to feel sorry for both of us. I don’t think it’s going to be a lot when it comes down to it, but the books are big, so they seem daunting.
First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind by Jessie Wise – I’ve read so many people describe this book as bland and boring, but I think it’s a great way to teach the basics of grammar in short doses. The first thing your child learns is the definition of a noun. Four-year-old Rhys picked it up from hearing Henry learning it and was wandering around telling folks “A noun is a person, place, thing or idea.” And he’s retained it because I make him perform like a circus animal in an effort to impress people with my teaching prowess and my super genius kids who recite the definition of a noun as they simultaneously have their hands down their pants “BECAUSE IT’S ITCHY!”
We started the book in the middle of last year so we’re not ready to start Level 2 yet, but that’s fine. We’ll just work our way through and hopefully finish the book this school year. I have an older edition that contains both levels one and two in the same volume and I got it for about five dollars on half.com. Bargain!
The Complete Writer: Writing With Ease Level 2 by Susan Wise Bauer – We alllllmost finished level one last year because, same deal, we started halfway through the year. Level one was so easy though, Henry could do all four days of work in one day. I think Susan Wise Bauer wrote Writing With Ease in a four day formula just to accommodate Classical Conversations – or so I tell myself. We have both thoroughly enjoyed this book. It begins to tackle reading comprehension through copy work, dictation and narration and asking your child questions about brief passages from books which are used as the foundation for each four-day lesson.
It is broken down like this: day one is a narration exercise, day two is copy work, day three is dictation and day four is a narration and dictation exercise. Not only has Henry’s reading comprehension evolved and improved due to level one, but he has learned to form his answers in complete sentences and applies it in other situations. For example, when we’re doing our nightly devotions, there are a few questions and if he doesn’t answer in a complete sentence, he’ll stop himself and say “Wait! Let me try again, that wasn’t a complete sentence!” though his favorite is, “Rhys! That is not a complete sentence!”
We’ve also found several book series to read thanks to using Writing With Ease’s book excerpts. So far we’ve read the first three books in the Little House series (we had to take a break, I needed a change of pace), The Odyssey (kids’ version) and The Illiad (again, kids’ version). There might be more I’m forgetting…I got up at 4:30 this morning and I’m still not firing on all cylinders.
Spelling Power by Beverly L. Adams-Gordon – We’ve never used this book but it comes highly recommended by Susan Wise Bauer and Amazon reviewers. Apparently this is the book that the national spelling bee champions use. Go us. I have the third edition and I found it for sale on Amazon for about $4.00. I wasn’t going to pay $61 for a new edition when spelling words are spelling words. What could they possibly have added? Text speak? No thk u.
Adventures in Phonics Level C by Florence Lindstrom – We’re using this to review phonics. Some people drop phonics once their children can read and I tried that in this household, but he needed review because he’d not learned all the rules and he needed them in order to be a better reader. So we review and occasionally come across something new we didn’t learn in Saxon 2 Phonics since we dropped out before we finished the entire book. I chose to pick back up with Christian Liberty Press’s book because it’s just a simple workbook and he can do a couple of pages each day.
Story of the World – Despite the fact that CC is on a totally different schedule, we’re going to start working through Story of the World in the first volume, Ancient Times. The four volumes may take us four years to complete, but that’s fine. By the time we’re through with them I’d like to move on to a different curriculum called BiblioPlan. I’d actually like to do it now, but it’s very pricey and I’ve already spent a ton of money on homeschool stuff this year so…we’ll see.
Prescripts Cursive Lettering and Coloring, Medieval to Modern World History – This is new to Classical Conversations this year and I needed a cursive book for Henry so I bought this one since it will go with what we’re studying in CC. Here’s what they say about the book (from the CC web page): “Introduce children to the building blocks of cursive writing and drawing. Finger tracing, tracing with pencil, and copying build confidence and fine motor skills. Coloring pages include images from medieval and modern world history.”
Horizons Math 2 - I like this curriculum a lot, it’s bright and colorful and captures his attention. It starts with simple double-digit addition and ends with multiplication and triple/quadruple-digit addition and subtraction. It spirals. It seems like that’s the big thing now, I’ve heard that phrase tossed around a lot this year. I think this form of learning suits him, though Horizons spirals in a more engaging fashion for him than Saxon did. He’s done some of the book so far and has more-or-less enjoyed it (compared to Saxon, where we were both on the verge of burning the book daily) but as I posted before, if there’s one subject he loathes, it’s math. So any happiness derived from a book is a huge bonus in my eyes. (note: I linked book 1 but there are two books in this set. There is also a teacher’s guide available. I have ordered it but it hasn’t arrived yet).
Exploring Creation with Astronomy – We are studying astronomy as part of our science curriculum in Classical Conversations this coming cycle, so our science this year will focus on astronomy. This book has 14 lessons and experiments. I also bought the junior notebooks for both the boys for some supplementary experiments. I’m really excited about this book, it looks like a lot of fun with learning in disguise. Heh, gotcha!
Prima Latina by Leigh Lowe – This is a beginner book that will introduce Henry to Latin. He already gets exposed to it at CC and has memorized declensions and conjugations but this includes some Latin memory words with their English derivations and phrases, along with some traditional Latin prayers. This book is not high on my priority list so if it gets nudged to the side…eh. I would like him to work on it, though, because he will be taking Latin later on in CC.
Classical Conversations - The last piece of our homeschool puzzle, but ultimately the backbone that will guide us all 13 years of their educations. Each week he will learn small facts he will later apply as an upper elementary student, then broaden the scope of these pegs as they become research subjects in middle school and finally he will be able to debate and defend these subjects (or any subject of his choice) as a high school student. The “pegs” he’ll learn each week include: English grammar, a history sentence, math (either skip counting or a mathematical formula), Latin conjugations, declensions and various memory work, a science fact, art or music, geography, and seven timeline cards. Each year the CC student memorizes a timeline of history from creation to modern day using flash cards as an aid and they’re broken down into seven cards per week. Within these cards they also memorize all the Presidents of the USA. This year Henry will be working towards being a Memory Master which means he’ll be memorizing all the material and be quizzed first by us, then by his tutor and if he passes that stage, then the director. Hopefully he’ll make it all the way!
I have no additional advice for people with a second grader as I’ve never had one before. Speak softly and carry a big stick, maybe? Hah!
Posted on July 30, 2013, in Classical Conversations, Henry, Homeschooling and tagged Book, Classical Conversations, classical education, Cursive, First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind, homeschooling, Horizons math 2, Language arts, Prima Latina, second grade, Spelling Power, Susan Wise Bauer, The Complete Writer: Writing With Ease: Strong Fundamentals. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.