Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Homeschool Curriculum for 2015/2016 School Year
It's that time of year again, homeschool curriculum choices!! I've been researching, planning and preparing LOTS of things as this year I will be teaching both of my girls together and with more intense work. My oldest goes to the second grade and my youngest will be starting official pre-kindergarden work! Here's a summary of what I have chosen for each girl. I hope this gives you some ideas and helps you plan your year out too!
The main curriclum I have chosen for both girls is My Father's World Exploring Countries and Cultures. This is a Charlotte Mason style learning with lots of room to add or subtract what each individual student needs during their year. It also allows us to learn about the chapter of Matthew, famous world missionaries, and the cultures of each country we study together. This will allow us a jumping off point for working together on some things and challenging each of my girls with their individual needs. If you are also using this curriculum, I have created a Pinterest Board here to help you locate other ideas for Totschool, Preschool and even challenge your second or third grader with completing lapbooks on each subject as you study them.
Second Grade Choices:
Language Arts, Reading, and Writing:
Last year we completed Hooked on Phonics for my oldest. We actually completed all five levels which is supposed to line up with second grade phonics. So this year, we will do a review but also ensure she has been exposed to all types of phonic sounds and sight word (rule breakers as we like to call them.) We will be doing this through Scholastic's At-Home Phonics Reading Program. I actually bought this last year, but it was to difficult for her to begin at the time. There are books included, a review of letter sounds, phonic sounds and even includes vocabulary and reading comp. If you buy the whole series, it comes with other booklets for spelling review, writing review and a dictionary. I bought mine off Amazon for around $100 used. Although, mine was still in plastic wrap and had never been opened. You can also find some of the "box" kits one by one on Ebay or through used homeschool sales.
We will also be using Abeka Spelling. I found this for $1 at a local homeschool sale!
We are also using Language Smarts, Level C from the Critical Thinking Company. This has worksheets on everything from parts of speech, grammar and simple writing exercises. Along with this I also did purchase Daily Guided Teaching and Review for Second and Third Grade. This is an older version of Easy Grammar student edition. This is something that takes only ten minutes a day once the child learns most of the grammar rules.
For better reading comprehension, I have found several books that we will pull things from when we need. One is the suggested Complete Book of Animals, from the My Father's World curriculum. (I again found mine used.) We will also use Vocabulary Connections Level B by Steck-Vaughn. (no longer in print, so I found one at a yard sale and the other on Ebay to put up for my youngest.)
This year, I want my second grader to learn to write well (for her age) and so I wanted to include a review of phonics, spelling, grammar, reading comprehension and English composition. This may seem like a lot...but if a child reads for 15 minutes a day on their own and completes one English/reading lesson a day, this adds up to teaching quite a bit on the subject. While some may think worksheets are Twaddle, I do believe in the early years that they have their place to practice the concept. Charlotte Mason had a chalk board and we have pre-printed chalk boards to have our students to practice on. Now I promise, I will try not to bore her by doing EVERY one. If she understands a concept, we will skip that and go to what she does need to learn or review. I go along with her learning style and rate of learning because after all, this is one advantage of one on one teaching.
When I purchased My Father's World Curriculum, they suggested using Singapore Math - Primary Mathematics level 2A and 2B. However, after doing some research, I soon found out that the curriculum was actually for third grade! So I decided to go with an older math book that was sitting on my shelf. (McGraw-Hill Mathematics in Action) The math book is more like a consumable workbook, so it's not only out of print, but hard to find with no marks inside. It was published in the early 90's! It starts off revewing addition and ends with three digit adding and subtracting. Primary Mathematics level 2A picks up at reviewing the concept of 100, so I will be holding onto these for next year.
For fun, I have also purchased some brain teasers, tangrams, flash cards, manipulatives and family games that teach. This way we can have fun playing games and review or understand concepts without really thinking about them! I may try to find other things to add to our game pile. I usually head over to a local thrift store and purchase these used for only a few dollars OR I'll pick them up at yard sales. (Try to ensure all the pieces are there....but if not, sometimes the game is still playable or pieces can be used from another game you already own.)
Science was included in the My Father's World Curriculum. We will be studying about Properties of Ecosystems and using several "living books" to go along with this. I have added to this, an Animals of the World Atlas and several books on Animals of the World, several Magic School Bus books, some Dover coloring pages and some other books I found at the library that will help us learn more about each countries habitats and animals/plants. On my pinterest board, there are also several ideas for lapbooks from habitats, individual animals and ecosystems. To show evidence of learning, we will probably use some of them. We will also be conducting science experiments and constructing some models to aid with learning.
Social Studies, Geography and Cultures:
Our main curriculum is to learn about each country and culture as we travel around the globe. On my Pinterest board, I have found several lapbooks through several sources to add to the information provided in the curriculum. I have also gathered paper dolls, cookbooks, handicraft ideas, art ideas, videos to watch and several other things that are nice to include when learning about a country. These will generally be things BOTH of my daughters can do together side by side and learn at the same time. And yes, since I have girls, dress up is fair game to learn about a country! LOL. I may also include a special study around Christmas on how kids around the world celebrate this holiday.
Geography is included in the curriculum, but to break it down more towards a second grader, I have put together some pins on my board and I purchased a few Scholastic books among other things to help with learning about maps. I am also keeping around a "blow up" Globe ball, several wall maps, a "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiago" Puzzle map, other puzzles and several hands on activities/games to learn more about geography.
Another key part of this Curriculum is to teach about world missions. We will be reading about several missionaries from Hero Tales and Window on the World books that were included as part of My Father's World. To add to these teachings, I will be borrowing several biography books on missionaries from our church library to read aloud. I am also gathering information from our church on world missionaries that we support today and we will probably write to them or send some things to them depending on their mission field. This not only helps us learn about missions through reading about them but by adding in current missions, I can teach my children about today's missionaries and why we give to missions. (On a side note: maybe this will help them be more thankful for the blessings we have!) And of course, who can forget participation in Operation Christmas Child as part of this?
On a side note, Bible is also part of the World Mission study. I will be expanding on this study using the Chapters of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Rod and Staff Publishing has a bible study here for second grade. This is also a "reader" type study with a workbook to compliment each textbook. We will only be using Unit 5 this year as it tells the stories of the Gospel from Mark's perspective. There are only 30 stories in this Unit allowing us to complete one lesson a week.
Bible lessons will also include Word of Life devotionals to follow along with our church's kids program. My daughter made Gold level last year and so I'm sure she will be anxious to make Gold this year too!
When purchasing My Father's World, one of the advantages is that it brings in "elective" type activities to help study the main subjects. It has a music study, an art study and projects to complete such as baking a John 3:16 world cake. I could just stop there and be done with electives for my daughters. But this momma has some other things I want to teach them. So here is a small summary of extras we will cover this year.
Even though my oldest is only 7 going on 8, I will be teaching her basic concepts to help her become more self sufficient and to help her grow into a well-rounded young lady. We will be learning hand stitching this year. My plan is to start with foam plates like this tutorial from "Make-it-Love-it" blog does. We will then move to a regular wooden hoop with cotton material and begin the same process using actual cloth. I am also considering teaching her simple cross stitching and complete some "little" projects that will help her practice. We may also move on to some felt hand sewing and begin making easy projects. (I may expand on these projects as we complete them.)
I did purchase a simple home-ec book published by the Pearables. This teaches basic concepts to first and second graders concerning Sewing, Cooking, Cleaning, and Baking. The book is very simple but on a perfect level for my daughter and I am going to see how my youngest completes these tasks as well. For example, week one is cutting a carrot on a tray. You allow the child to practice three times during the week on cutting up a carrot using a not so sharp knife. Another lesson is on cracking an egg. In baking, it introduces the oven as the first lesson. It's a very practical book to teach beginning skills and since the lessons are already put together, I don't have to think about what or how to teach this first year of Home Ec.
If it's one thing we all need to work on in our homes, it's character building with our children along with the formation of habits! We will be using character badges by the Modest Mom blog. I've printed out most of it and I can't wait to start using it with my kids. I love the lay out - which will be posted on the fridge - and the chart system. While we are learning about it the first couple of weeks, I plan on reading some Aesop's Fables (Abeka publishes one) as well as stories from a Children's Book of Virtues by William Bennett.
My daughter worked on learning Piano last year and this is something we will continue this year. My daughters were also members of our church children choir, which I hope they will be able to continue this year as long as our schedule works out where we can attend practices.
This year we did a lot of playing outdoors. However, we are considering some lessons for my oldest daughter. Since we live in Florida, swimming lessons are at the top of the list. The summer programs, however, are extremely full and kids don't get as much one-on-one time as they often need to really learn to swim well. We are considering fall or winter lessons at an indoor pool where the water is heated. We may also consider soccer as a choice as Dance is much more expensive. These may change as I get more ideas of schedules and cost, but for now I have them on the list.
While my children are involved in our church, there are not many girls their ages or ones that share common interests with them. So we are also considering American Heritage Girls to enjoy activities with other like minded families. This group is the "Christian Girl Scouts" so to speak. She will have chances to earn badges and go on camping trips just like Girl Scouts.
So while this is a rather long, extensive list, I wanted to be very descriptive about our choices. I do realize that as the year happens, things may change but I like to start out with a good comprehensive program that covers all the bases. My hope is that this will help you narrow down your choices for curriculum for 2nd grade and help you see that multiple choices are sometimes needed to help cover all the gaps. My child is very bright, so I feel she needs more to challenge her than a regular student at this age.
My next post will be about our curriculum choices for Pre-K 4. I have chosen some different choices as well as some similar choices to others. Sew Stay Tuned and come back Sew Hungry For More.
AKHannah **Photo design by Death to Stock Photos. Photo altered by me.**