February 10, 2018

2nd Grade Plans - 2017-2018

This was my first full year attempting to follow a Charlotte Mason style curriculum for my son who is 7-years-old and in the 2nd grade. To plan out each subject, first I determined how much time I would spend on it each week and then I chose books and resources to fill the time available.

I drew from several sources in devising my plans, especially Ambleside Online, Mater AmabilisTM, Wildwood Curriculum, and information and resources mentioned on A Delectible Education Podcast. I spent a lot of time reflecting on what materials would work best for my son while following the 20 Principles Charlotte Mason lays out in A Philosophy of Education.

Some of my choices are "conventional" choices in the Charlotte Mason community and others are purely my own. But as we are already in the last week of our second 12-week term, I can say that this year has gone better than I could have hoped and I will not be changing very much for next year.

Although my son is in the 2nd grade, I chose the best books I could find for him (and not a hypothetical child of his age). He was a very early reader and as such, he has been able to read all of these books himself without any assistance, except for a few sessions each week where he would read aloud to me and I could help with unfamiliar words.

Also, he has been passionate about math since age 3 and our math choices also reflect that. For example, although he is in Form I for every other subject, I treated him as Form II for math by starting 10 minutes of geometry a week as well as requiring written math narrations (which he dictated for me to record).

I'm so thankful that I found the Charlotte Mason method and that I'm able to homeschool him because I can create an education that is always at his level where he can take what he needs from the feast of ideas.

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Language Arts: Reading/Literature, Spelling, Copywork/Handwriting, Recitation, Latin & Greek Roots

Reading/Literature (3x20min/week , oral narration after each reading)

Understood Betsy, Dorothy Canfield Fisher (free online)
Tanglewood Tales, Nathanial Hawthorne (free online)
A Wonder Book for Girls and Boys, Nathanial Hawthorne (free online)
Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, Margaret Sidney (free online)
Otto of the Silver Hand, Howard Pyle (free online)
The King of the Golden River, John Ruskin (free online)
The Peterkin Papers by Lucretia Hale (free online)

All are in the public domain and are free via Project Gutenberg, or available at most public libraries.

Spelling (3x10min/week)

All About Spelling Level 2
All About Spelling Level 3 (begin, but will not finish)

I know this is not how Charlotte Mason would have taught spelling, but I like giving my son an exposure to phonics through this program. I don't think spelling is a necessary subject at this age but it really working for us right now and it allows me to do dictation with him in an intentional way without any more planning on my part.

Copywork/Handwriting (4x10min/week)

Beginning Traditional Cursive, Grades 1-3, 3-4 lines of a worksheet daily
Printing a few lines in a primary notebook from a current poem or song we are learning, daily.

It is a small amount of writing daily, but it must be his best work.

Recitation (3x10min/week)

Each 6-week half term he works on reciting beautifully (often memorizing) 2 poems and 1 passage. I pick 1 poem and the passage and he picks the other poem with my approval.

Here are the pieces we chose to recite this year.

Poetry (Listen to the same poem read aloud every day for a week at morning time)

Focus on a different poet each term:
William Shakespeare
William Blake
William Wordsworth

Latin & Greek Roots (daily at morning time)

English from the Roots Up Flashcards
We review a card every day working through the roots meaning and definitions of english words that contain that root.

I do not want to include a conversational foreign language in our homeschool at this time for several reasons. One of those reasons is that I really do not want to put my energy into it. But, I do hope to study Latin alongside my children as they get older and these flashcards are a great option for young children.

Social Studies: History and Geography

History (3x30min/week, oral narration after each reading, plus related mapwork that I keyed to the readings)

Viking Tales, Jennie Hall (completing last few chapters remaining from last year) (free online)
Walk the Worlds Rim, Betty Baker
This Country of Ours, H.E. Marshall, pages 44-273 (free online)
Sir Walter Raleigh, Adele Deleeux
The Story of Pocahontas, Brian Doherty
Squanto, Friend of the Pilgrims, Clyde Robert Bulla
The Landing of the Pilgrims, James Daugherty
Colonial Living (selections), Edwin Tunis
William Penn, Kieran Doherty
Famous Discoverers and Explores of America (Chapters on Marquette and La Salle) by Charles H. L. Johnston
The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh 

Geography (3x10min/week, oral narration after each reading, plus related mapwork that I keyed to the readings)

Seabird, Holling C. Holling
Minn of the Mississippi, Holling C. Holling
Tree in the Trail, Holling C. Holling

I have really loved sharing these books with my son, but in retrospect, Minn was a bit much for him at this age, although the others were perfect.

Mathematics: Math, Number, Geometry

Math (4x30min/week, dictated narration after each lesson which I record in our math notebook (we use one of these)

Beast Academy 3D (finish from last year)

I consider this a living curriculum because it is told in a narrative format by authors who clearly delight in the fun and excitement of playing with numbers. It is a deep and broad program that explores multiple strands of mathematical understanding as discussed in Adding It Up (an interesting book about how children learn math, available as free PDF download). It is challenging choice for my son who has already completed Life of Fred and Khan Academy through 4th grade for "fun."

Number (1x25min/week, dictated narration after each lesson which I record in a math notebook)

For lack of a better term, I call this "number," but it consists of working through Gattegno's Mathematics Textbook 1 using Cuisenaire rods.

Geometry (1x10min/week, dictated narration after each lesson which I record in a math notebook)

I don't love Khan Academy for geometry. However, our regular math curriculum does a great job at covering geometry as well, and Khan Academy is free and easy to implement, so it works for now!

Science: Natural History, Special Studies, Nature Notebooking

Natural History (3x10min/week, oral narration after each reading)

Eyes No Eyes,  by Arabella Buckley (1 chapter/week)
Burgess Bird Book (2 chapters/week) finish from last year, then
Burgess Animal Book (2 chapters/week)

All are in the public domain and available online, so he reads them using my small android tablet. If you want the illustrations from the Bird Book, you can find a free color PDF copy of them available at My Soul Doth Delight.

Special Studies (1x20min/week, oral narration after each reading)

This is an evolving area for me! I chose the following topics for the year:

Term 1: Wildflowers & Seeds / Birds & Reptiles
Term 2: Deciduous Trees / Birds & Animals in Winter
Term 3: Wildflowers & Trees / Birds Nesting

I used the rotation found on Sabbath Mood Homeschool to come up with this list.  During this year, I read this post about special studies and listened to the Delectable Education podcast on the topic.

Right now, our special study for each term involves a weekly time devoted to reading about the topic through books I've selected. I also choose additional books on the topic to read during our morning time.

When the weather is warmer, I try very hard to think ahead about something we can observe about our special study while out in nature. I read up on the topic in The Handbook of Nature Study and spend just a few minutes focusing on it while we are out together. I also try to attend local events on our special study, like a wildflower walk at a nature preserve or a guided hike about animals in winter.

Finally, I encourage my son to focus on the special study when he is making daily nature notebook entries. I also set aside one day a week where I expect him to find time to make what we call a weekly nature notebook entry. Usually, he draws something about the topic he has been reading about in his special study and then dictates something about the topic which I record. The rest of the page we fill with random "I wonder . . . " and "I noticed . . ." statements that show me a little of what is on his mind.

Nature Notebooking (daily entries, weekly entries, nature watercolor drawings)

My son is responsible for noticing something from nature and dictating a line or two to my husband or me to write into his nature notebook daily. We still miss a few days a month and that is perfectly fine for us. We do this all year round, 7 days a week.

During weeks where we have lessons, he makes a weekly page including some kind of drawing and writing about his current special study. Later in the week, he adds color to his drawing using watercolors.

Morning Time

I select many living science and natural history books as part of our morning time. These titles are not narrated.

I haven't finished our list of morning time books read this year, but for example, here are the titles we read at morning time in 2016-2017.

Art & Music: Watercolor, Handicrafts, Singing, Artist Study, Composer Study, Music

Watercolor drawing (2x20min/week)

Once a week we use watercolors to draw a specimen that I choose. I try to pick things that the kids are interested in recently or relate to our special studies. Once a week we illustrate something in our nature notebooks or paint a picture based on some of our history or reading books. 

We have all improved over the course of the year with weekly practice! That being said, I would like to work more artistic creations into our weekly schedule for next year. This is definitely my weakest area as I have never had a "real" art class in my life and have never preferred this kind of creative expression.

Handicrafts (2x30min/week)

Once a week, we do handicrafts during our morning lesson time. At this time, I am 100% available for instruction and help. On another day of the week, I have designated a handicraft work session where he is expected to work on his current project or practice the skill he has already been working on with less help from me. He is always able to work on these in his free time as well. 

This year we chose to do:

Term 1: Sloyd using Paper Sloyd: A Handbook for Primary Grades by Ednah Anne Rich
Term 2: Finished up Sloyd gifts for Christmas, then embroidering using this kit.
Term 3: Sewing using Sewing School: 21 Sewing Projects Kids Will Love to Make by Andria Lisle

Both of my boys (ages 7 and 5/6) have loved sloyd! I am very happy with all of these books and materials for this year and I will likely repeat sloyd and sewing again next year as there will still be lots to learn using the same books.

Singing (2x10min/week)

I choose folk songs and hymns. I consult Ambleside Online for suggestions and links, but I don't follow their rotation per se. We work on them and review previously learned ones each week. Once we know the new one by heart, we start learning another one. This year I chose the following:

The Outlandish Knight
A Nice Field of Turnips
Michael Row the Boat Ashore
Take Me Out to the Ball Game
America the Beautiful
In the Bleak Midwinter
Lord Randall
Oh Susanna
The Riddle Song
Camptown Races
Billy Barlow
Acre of Land
Simple Gifts

Artist Study (1xweek at morning time)

So far we have used the Picture Study Portfolios from Simply Charlotte Mason. Each term we read about the life of the artist and study 6 pictures by the artist. My son is expected to observe the picture, narrate about it from memory, then we do a picture talk about it as described in the portfolios. For the rest of the term, I display the print in our family room.

This year we are studying:

Leonardo da Vinci

Composer Study (1xweek at morning time)

We read a biography of the composer, which my son narrates. If applicable, I make a Spotify playlist keyed to the story that we will play when we reach each piece. Once a week, I reserve time in our afternoon schedule to play a few noteworthy pieces. After we finish the composer biography, we listen to the short podcasts on the composer from Classics for Kids. We may also read other picture books or watch short movies as a supplement, which are not narrated.

This year our composers/materials are:

Schubert, Franz Schubert and His Merry Friends by Opal Wheeler

Music (7x15min/week)

My son began Hoffman Acadamy in the summer and he watches a lesson and/or practices at least 15 minutes a day. I have been thrilled with this program as a beginner piano program and it is very affordable. Best of all, it includes piano theory, sight reading, and solfege, and my son loves it. The songs are timeless classics that I don't mind hearing over and over and the younger children delight in singing them as well. Mr. Hoffman also has a "method" and you can read more about it here

Physical Education

AYSO Soccer (Fall and Spring)
Ice Skating Lessons (Winter)
Swimming Lessons (Summer)
Hikes, bike rides, and walks around town often, especially in spring, summer, and fall

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