This post contains the curriculum and teaching methods I am using this year with my “2nd grader” (age 7).
To be honest, sometimes I amazed when I look back and think about how much has changed in the way we do our school in just three short years. This past year has brought just as many changes.
Over the spring and summer I have reanalyzed and changed a great deal of things in how we do school on a daily basis. Our current organizational system of homeschooling involves 5 things:
1. Learning on the computer
2. Worksheets from school binder (an alternative to the workbox system)
3. Learning on the tablet
4. Selection of learning activities and projects to choose in free time
5. Lessons with mom
These all don’t necessarily take place every day. Sometimes he does a few of these things and sometimes he does all of these things.
The first item is “Learning on the computer“. Currently we are using Time 4 Learning as our “core” curriculum. This contains all of the basics so that I can be sure that he is mastering the criteria from each grade level. You can see my review of the program here.
He also uses the computer to blog, which I describe more under the “Language Arts” section of this post. In his free time he uses the computer to look up science questions and videos and sometimes plays games (educational or otherwise) or uses the paint program.
The second item is his “School Binder”. His school binder is an organizational system I came up with after outgrowing the workbox system. His binder contains a pencil/supply pouch, an assignment chart, a big list of facts he is currently memorizing, reference charts, his reading log (he simply writes down each book he finished, he doesn’t keep track of minutes or chapters), and then two weeks worth of “daily tabs”.
The daily tabs are simply tabs labeled Monday-Friday (see picture below). Behind each day I will put that day’s work: Penmanship sheet, writing prompt and lined paper on which to write, and worksheets or paper projects for math, geography, foreign languages, grammar, and sometimes science/history/music/scripture. I will also put in art assignments and a piece of sketchbook paper or worksheet. He does not do all these subjects daily. He generally does well with worksheets and so this works well for his learning style right now. I will write a separate post about this system later.
The third item is doing learning apps on my tablet. I have found quite a few different things to practice math, music, and foreign languages. He also has some flash card apps. This is new to us and I am looking for more (android) apps so suggestions are welcome.
The fourth is learning activities and projects he can choose in his free time. We have a lot of educational and constructive games, activities, and projects around the house, so when I can I will ideally put together a list (or set things out) of ideas and suggestions of things for him to do in his free time.
Lastly is lessons with mom. He does not do most of his school with me nowadays although I am usually always there to help him or offer him advice. Ideally at least once a day but sometimes not so often, I have lessons and projects planned to do with him – art and music lessons, science experiments, and so on. Life has been pretty hectic lately so these have not been happening that often.
Hunter’s Curriculum (Age 7)
Hunter is in “2nd grade” this year, however most of his work is on the 4th-5th grade level, some higher than that, a few lower. I don’t go by grade level but rather by ability and interest. We school year-round, so this “school year” actually started in June for us.
This list contains some of the things we are using, however we by no means use all of these things every day and we don’t even do every subject every day.
We are also going to be vacationing / traveling for quite a few weeks during this school year, so a lot of our school will be done on the road.
“By regularly reading classical literature to a child, using selections beyond his own reading ability, a parent will stimulate his enjoyment, imagination, and understanding of the vast and beautiful language of his culture.” - Glenn Doman
Literature - Read alouds together, from children’s to high school / adult level classic literature.
Reading - Hunter reads mostly upper elementary and middle school level books now. I “assign” him a certain amount of reading every day and he also reads a lot in his free time as he still enjoys it a lot.
General (Reading Comprehension, Grammar) – Time 4 Learning language arts lessons, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade. We will likely only be using this as a supplement since I feel he is very strong in this area and doesn’t need to go through all that they offer (Time 4 Learning has a lot of Language Arts activities).
Writing – Hunter now has a blog that where he writes about things that are interesting to him (I haven’t decided if/when I want to publicly share it yet). He writes a lot about history, science, projects, lots of different things. Sometimes he narrates to me and I type, and sometimes he types it himself. It has been a great learning experience and he is learning a lot about good writing (main ideas, beginning, middle, ending, staying on topic, etc). It is also turning into a fantastic portfolio and record of his progress. Besides his blog, he occasionally writes letters and stories on paper with illustrations.
Penmanship – Daily copywork in cursive and manuscript from Bogart Family Resources
Vocabulary – Dictionary.com Word of the Day
Worksheets – Miscellaneous worksheets I have around the house, including but not limited to: Math Practice at Home Grade 4; Math Basics Grade 4, Grade 5, and Grade 6; The Complete Book of Algebra and Geometry (Grade 5-6)
Logic / Thinking Skills: Building Thinking Skills, Mathematical Reasoning through Verbal Analysis Book 1
Other: Projects, experiments, manipulatives
Biology – We started biology in kindergarten but never finished it and last year we were using the K12 program. So we are going to reintroduce Exploring Creation With Biology. By now I think he is old enough that I do not have to adapt it much, even though it is a high school level text the writing is very clear and easy to understand I think he will be grasp most of it by just reading though the text with me. We will also be doing some experiments and projects / crafts
General – Time 4 Learning has lots of general science lessons that I would like for him to work through at his leisure to ensure the elementary school basics are covered.
Our Father’s World – I purchased Our Father’s World, Creation to the Greeks, and am not sure if I am going to use it or not. We will at least start out with this and will probably also do other resources to learn about ancient history.
Social Studies – Time 4 Learning elementary lessons.
Facts – I would like to reintroduce the 196 nations of the world including: their names, locations, flags, capitals, and shapes. I would also like him to learn all 50 capitals (he is partway there) and the location of all 50 USA states. He already can name the 50 states in order. Map tracing / puzzles will be part of this.
Art & Music
Piano – Hunter has been doing Alfred’s Basic Piano Library but as we will be on the road a lot I am not sure how our piano lessons are going to work out during that time. I am looking for more apps for my (android) tablet. Suggestions welcome.
Art – Drawing lessons by me, art projects from Pinterest.
Classical Music – Song of the week, loaded to mp3 player
American Sign Language – Up in the air, may learn some more with Damien (age 1)
Mealtime Reading – We listen to 3-5 chapters per meal (ideally) on my tablet
Independent Reading – One to three chapters per day from the King James Version
Entrepreneurship – Hunter has found multiple ways of earning money, including selling things and collecting cans / glass to turn into the recycling center. Going to continue to encourage this and help him organize his efforts.
Finances – With the money he has earned, we are going to talk about long term saving, short term saving, giving, investing, and spending.
Responsibilities – Hunter continues to help around the house in more substantial ways as he gets older. We are always reevaluating his skills and teaching him new things about how to manage a household (one day), see the purpose of working hard even when he doesn’t feel like it, develop character qualities in doing so, and so on. Him being home with his family every day gives us a lot of opportunities to impart many skills as we go about our day.
Running – About 1-2 miles per day, when we can
Exercises – Sometimes he participates in resistance training such as pushups, small weights, flexibility training, balance activities. I am working on making a daily exercise checklist part of his school routine.
My curriculum posts always feel incomplete. I always have a lot of ideas, a lot of plans, a lot of resources, and a lot of aspirations, and it is hard for me to put that all down on paper and say “this is everything we are going to do”. In reality we always end up changing at least some things, adding others. Some things get neglected and I never get to them. We never get everything done every day. But the longer I am in this homeschooling journey, the more “ok” with that I am learning to be.
You can see what I’m doing with my one year old this year at this post.
Wishing everyone a great school year!
“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.”
I am linking up this post to iHomeschool’s “Not” Back-to-School” link up
Hunter is currently 7 years, 4 months old and in the “2nd” grade