Homeschooling: 2nd Grade Curriculum Choices

Can you believe it? We are two weeks away from our first day “back to school.” We’re trying a six-weeks-on/one-week-off schedule this school year, so that means our first six weeks will run from July 27th-September 4th. Personally, I’m excited to get the first chunk of learning out of the way during the hottest weeks of the year!

See our curriculum choices for our second grader over at Lone Star Signers!

Here are our curriuculum choices for 2nd grade (2015-2016):

After a lot of consideration and conversation, we have decided to skip the community day aspect of Classical Conversations this year. This is Kate’s last year in preschool, and I want to be sure that we use this special time focusing on all the things that really matter to our family culture right now: spending time together outside, reading books aloud, visiting special places, etc. I want to continue savoring the simple things into the fall–and that means that we’ll be starting out each week at home rather than at CC.

Please note that Lone Star Signers does use affiliate links, but we only recommend items that our family has used and loved. Thank you for supporting our small business.

In planning our lessons for all the fun “extras,” I have pulled some ideas and resources from our Classical Conversations Foundations guide. We will continue to learn about artists and musicians, practice our timeline song, and complete science and art activities that go along with everything that we’re learning. I also utilized our Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills and the terrific book What Your Second Grader Needs to Know to build a great year full of science, history, geography, and fine arts! (Read more about my planning process here.)

See our curriculum choices for our second grader over at Lone Star Signers!For math, we will be continuing on with Saxon Math 2 (link). It works for our family, and I love how much Kate picks up just from playing nearby while we do our lessons. I’ve written more about our reasons here: Why Saxon Math Works for Us!

For language arts, we’re continuing with First Language Lessons (link), Spelling You See (link), and our eclectic mish-mash of reading library books and writing/illustrating our own books for fun. We’re also hoping to put together a Young Author’s club for the fall.

I’m looking forward to this school year–what curriculum choices have you made?

Like this post? Read about our 1st grade curriculum choices here!

This post has been linked up at iHomeschoolNetwork’s 7th Annual “Not” Back-to-School Blog Hop.

Homeschooling: Planning for Second Grade Science & Social Studies Using Evernote

Public schools all over San Antonio let out for the summer last week. My Instagram feed is suddenly full of pool pictures and summer bucket lists.

Meanwhile, here at Casa Droegemueller, I’m hard at work getting Addie’s second grade curriculum organized for the year! We’ve decided to do a six week ON, one week OFF rotation, which means that our first day of school will fall on July 27th. Here’s our schedule for the first semester:

1st six weeks: July 27th-September 4th
OFF: September 7th-11th
2nd six weeks: September 14th-October 23rd
OFF: October 26th-30th
3rd six weeks: November 2nd-20th
OFF: November 23rd-27th (Thanksgiving)
(continued) November 30th-December 18th
OFF: December 21st-January 1st

In an effort to build more margin into our homeschooing routine, we have decided not to participate in our Classical Conversations community this coming year. It was challenging to have an all-day commitment on Mondays, followed by a morning at church on Tuesdays–we seemed to struggle with momentum every week. I feel like we have plenty of opportunities for socialization throughout the week, so we’re taking Mondays back as an at-home school day for second grade.

Now that we’ll have a little more time in our week, I’m looking forward to new opportunities for fun with science and social studies! Addie is a strong reader, so I know we’ll be borrowing a lot of books from the library and following her interests.

Using Evernote to Plan Science & Social-Studies | Lone Star Signers

I also wanted to flesh out a scope and sequence for the year, in case we end up returning to CC (or entering school) for third grade. I downloaded Evernote on both our computer and iPad to get organized! (If you haven’t tried Evernote, oh my goodness–don’t delay! This is a great series to help you get started.)

I set up a 2015-2016 Planning Notebook and created individual notes for each subject I wanted to start planning: art, music, memory work, science, social studies, and geography. At the beginning of the planning process, the note is a “drop box” to catch all my ideas (no more random pieces of paper to track down!)–I can type in text (or paste from another source), add a picture of something I want to remember, or save a screenshot.

Just a reminder that Lone Star Signers uses affiliate links for book recommendations. I only suggest books that we have used and enjoy as a family.

Once I set up my notes in Evernote, I pulled out all my planning resources for science and social studies: our state’s second grade standards (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills or TEKS), What Your Second Grader Needs to Know, science books by Janice VanCleave, and our Classical Conversations Foundations guide. I listed a year’s worth of topics from both of my main resources, then added in the corresponding CC memory work and science experiements.

Homeschooling: Planning for Second Grade Science & Social Studies Using Evernote (Lone Star Signers)

A sneak peek at our History/Social Studies topic list for second grade!

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be dividing the topics into our six-week sessions so I have a general plan for the year. I know some concepts may capture our interest and take more time, but I don’t want to run out of time at the end of the year, either!

Have you tried Evernote? Can you think of ways it can help your family get organized?

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Using Evernote to Plan Science & Social-Studies | Lone Star Signers

Our Favorite Apps–August 2014

We won an iPad mini in a giveaway a little more than a year ago, and it’s been a wonderful thing for our entire family. I love that we can read books, listen to our favorite music, watch Signing Time videos, play games, and more– especially since *gasp* my husband and I are still living in a pre-smart phone existence.

Our girls get a few minutes of iPad time each day. (Addie actually earns hers during memory work review.) We have a few educational games that we especially love, so I thought I’d share them with you!

(This is not a sponsored post. Affiliate links are used for your convenience. Several of these apps are currently free, be sure to check prices before downloading.)

Our favorite educational apps for our 1st grader and preschooler from Lone Star Signers | August 2014

Addie just turned six. She is a strong reader (2nd grade level), so she often plays her games independently. (I do preview them before I add them to her own folder, and she knows that any apps in there are okay to open.)

* FAVORITE: Stack the States (geography)

Favorite Apps from Lone Star Signers * Stack the StatesThis is an incredible app that is both fun and educational. Players answer questions about states (capitals, flags, landmarks, and more), then “stack” the states in a Tetris-like game. My husband and I both enjoy playing, too–and are quietly racing each other to beat the game first. There is a free version, but we upgraded quickly. Addie can now identify all fifty states by shape and correctly identify them on a map. Pretty impressive!

* Also good:
Splash Math * grade 1 (free version)
Memory Train

Our favorite educational apps for our 1st grader and preschooler from Lone Star Signers | August 2014

Kate is just one month shy of three years old. She jumps from game to game in her folder and is always excited when something new shows up!

* FAVORITE: Monkey Preschool Lunchbox

Favorite Apps from Lone Star Signers * Monkey Preschool Lunchbox

Kate has been playing this game for nearly a year. At first she really struggled with finger strength to drag and drop the puzzle pieces, but now she has completely mastered every element of this game. She’s doing well with counting, colors, matching fruits, and more! It’s probably time to say good-bye to our little monkey friend and find something a little more challenging for her. (HIGHLY recommended for young preschoolers!)

* Also good:
ABC Alphabet Phonics (I have no idea why this is labeled as a “phonics” game–it is letter recognition, but I like the simplicity of the game and how it becomes more challenging as your child finds success.)
Animal Pre-K Learning Games (We have tried other games by this developer and really enjoyed them. I have a feeling this will be our new go-to game for Kate!)

What educational apps would YOU recommend?

Summer Learning Plans: July

Our first “official” day of 1st grade was Monday. We ended up taking most of June off, but both Addie and I were ready to get back into some of our school routines!

July Learning Goals:

* Memory Work:

We have been inconsistent with our memory work time, and it shows. We need to get back into the habit of playing our review game several times a week to reduce frustration.

(Addie participates in Classical Conversations, which has a three-year memory work cycle. The math and timeline memory work repeat each year, so we’re practicing those two subjects during July and getting a head start on our geography work.)

* Geography: States & Capitals!

I found a few U.S. Geography resources in the Dollar Spot at Target last year and tucked them aside in my school supply stash. They are the perfect introduction to the names of the states, their capitals, and fun trivia facts.We’re doing one state each day, which MAY get us through all of them before our first Community Day. (I won’t feel bad if it doesn’t work out that way, though.) We’re learning the ASL signs for each state as well.

* American history: Liberty’s Kids DVDs and library books

Somebody recommended the Liberty’s Kids series to us, and thankfully our library has them. Addie has been VERY interested in learning more about colonial history and this is the perfect tie-in with the 4th of July! We’ve been also been reading library books for a little bit of extra learning fun.

Summer Learning Goals: July | Lone Star Signers* Sensory play & painting

We’ve been enjoying our patriotic rice bucket. I’m hoping to find some more fun (& easy) ideas for the rest of the month! And we’re hoping to paint at least once a week, too.

* Read-aloud time!

We didn’t read aloud as much as I hoped. We’ll be working our way through All-of-a-Kind Family, which was one of my favorites when I was younger! {affiliate link}

* Journal

Addie loves to write and draw all the time on any paper she can find, but I wanted to take a few minutes each day to draw a picture and write a related sentence together. I’m hoping it will be a positive experience for us both!

* Swimming!

We’re looking forward to spending a lot more time in the pool this month! Addie made a lot of progress in June, and we’re hoping to keep the momentum going.

Do you have plans for summer learning?