Homeschooling

Second grade the second time around

Hi there! I’m here to chat a bit about plans for my second grader for this upcoming school year. This will be my second time teaching second grade. My son is 8 and he has a June birthday, so we actually did a bit of second grade work at the end of last year, because he seemed ready. I scuttled a bit of our first grade curriculum in favor of doing a block of animal legends, along with folding him into my older child’s spring botany block, which was about trees and conservation.

I used Lavender’s Blue Homeschool’s second grade curriculum for my oldest and plan to use it again. I have overall been very happy with Lavender’s Blue and appreciate how it has done the heavy lifting of selecting stories for me and breaking down the lessons into a four-day rhythm. The circle times are also really great! This year we’ll be doing blocks like place value, legends of the saints, clocks and calendars and Aesop’s Fables. I love the themes of second grade, especially examining the duality of striving for goodness (saints & heroes) and being swayed by our baser instincts (Aesop’s fables and trickster tales). These stories powerfully speak to the 8-year-old child and are the heart of what I love about incorporating Waldorf philosophies into our homeschool.

Where Lavender’s Blue / Waldorf falls short (for me) is in the skills arena and I’ve happily found lots of resources I love for bringing skills work to my middle child.

Last year I quickly realized he was going to need a different approach to math and we happened to have some first grade Primary Mathematics workbooks that a friend had passed along to me. This year I decided to go with Dimensions Math (both Primary and Dimensions are from Singapore Math and you can go down a major rabbit hole about which is better on YouTube – or don’t! Ha!). But anyway I landed on Dimensions for this year and after flipping through it I’m super happy with it. I just saw that Singapore released a new edition of Primary so I’ll be keeping an eye on the Instagrammers I follow who are planning on using it and see what they think. But I think you probably can’t go wrong with either. I also got him a couple of logic books to play around with.

I haven’t yet decided whether I’ll still be doing the Waldorf math blocks AND using Dimensions, or if I’ll just be using Lavender’s Blue for the story-based blocks and letting Dimensions be enough for math. We will see! I’m giving myself a lot of grace this year to not have it all figured out by the first day of school.

I will be using several things for language arts this year. We’ll continue using All About Reading for reading instruction. We made it about 2/3 of the way through Level 1 last year and I have Level 2 ready to go whenever we need it. I also have The Good and the Beautiful’s second grade language arts, though I don’t love that resource as much for this age because it’s already diving into stuff like grammar and spelling, which I like saving for after reading is solidly in place. My oldest has really enjoyed TGaTB’s handwriting books, and my son was getting interested in that, so I bought him the second grade book and he enjoyed using it at the end of last year and we’ll carry on with that.

For art, we’ll continue doing drawings for main lesson books. My son isn’t as enthusiastic about drawing as his older sister is and I have definitely had to be mindful about encouraging him to do his best work but also being open to what that looks like for him. It’s hard because the drawing is the last thing he does in the morning and he really wants to run off and play with his little sister! I also purchased the Waldorfish second grade painting course. Painting is something I struggle to bring to my kids and I’m hoping this will give us the support we need. My favorite thing about this course is that there are painting lessons for different animals (animals are a big theme in second grade) so I can just look at when we have a story coming up about a lion, for example, and incorporate the painting lesson.

The Lavender’s Blue second grade includes a block where you read the book The King of Ireland’s Son and I absolutely hated that book when I read it to my oldest. It meandered and the plot was completely confusing (I’m not sure there even was a plot…) So this year I’m planning on swapping out that book for either Robin Hood or King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table and doing it as a family block with my sixth grader, who will be studying the Middle Ages this year. I’m thinking we’ll do this in a winter month when it’s so nice for us to be cozy around the fireplace with a read-aloud. My sixth grader will have additional work to do in addition to the reading and my second grader will be doing form drawing that I’ll be borrowing from The King of Ireland’s Son block, which is written as a form drawing block. (If anyone has a vote on which book an 8-yr-old would enjoy more – please let me know!)

Phew! I thought I didn’t have much to report about second grade plans but it turns out I did. I’m excited to teach second grade again because I find that on the second round I am so much more relaxed and responsive to my child. I’m getting better and better at letting go of what things “should” look like and finding the freedom to customize each grade to my unique child.

See plans for sixth grade here.

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