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Our first year doing 2nd grade was also our first year branching out from exclusively using an Abeka curriculum and trying something new. After extensively researching several curriculums, Timberdoodle was the curriculum that had what my son and I needed to turn around our previously failed attempts at happiness and help us “Making Homeschool Great Again”.😉
If I had to summarise our experience homeschooling 2nd-grade using our Custom Basic Timberdoodle curriculum, I would say it was an overall “YAY” with some “NAYs”.
I’d like to say I found 2nd-grade to be a nice and easy year. Sure I made some mistakes, but that’s all part of the process of knowing exactly how to get our second attempt with younger bothers just perfect, and hopefully yours too. Oh, the firstborn who paves the way for their younger siblings…😔💕mine always tells me “It’s ok mamma, it makes me stronger”.😍 Now let’s take a look to see what our 2nd-grade curriculum looked like, and tackle the NAYs we came across before listing and reviewing all the beautiful YAYs that came with it!
Luca’s 2nd-grade curriculum list
- Abeka 2nd-grade Readers
- Spelling you See – Lev C – Wild Tales
- Essentials in Writing 2
- Math-you-see (Beta & some Gamma)
History & Social Studies
- Daily Geography 2
- Our America 2 (Abeka)
- Health, Safety & Manners (Abeka)
- Apologia (Astronomy) with Jr. Notebook and Audiobook.
- Building Thinking Skills Book 1
- Step by Step Drawing book (Usborne)
The biggest mistake I made teaching 2nd grade was to stop all Phonics teaching and review.
When using the Abeka Phonics program, kids learn all their special sounds and how to read by the end of 1st-grade. With that in mind, as we moved on to Timberdoodle in 2nd grade, I stopped reviewing all phonics rules thinking that by just having my child read aloud it would serve as enough review. Well, that was a MISTAKE, BIG MISTAKE! By the end of 2nd-grade, my son’s reading fluency had hit rock bottom and together with it, his confidence to read.
What also didn’t help, is I had lined up for him ten 2nd-grade Abeka readers that he absolutely loathed and by the end of the year he had only read four.
Just like that, he had lost both his confidence and willingness to read. Reading had become hard work and too boring, and who wants that?! Reading wasn’t the highlight of our 2nd-grade curriculum, however, we did have a magnificent turn around the following year and in my “From Struggling…To Avid Reader” post, I explain all it took to help my son turn into a complete bookwork. 📚🐛
For spelling, I decided to use Timberdoodle’s pick of “Spelling-You-See – Level C – Wild Tales “. Although my child absolutely loved it to the point of being his favorite subject of the year, it did not work for him at all. I can honestly say I gave it a fair try by completing the whole program and continued to use it in 3rd grade for the first six weeks of the next level. At this point, I could no longer ignore my son’s spelling was not only not improving, but it had also gotten worse. I decided to throw in the towel before it was too late and switch to a different Spelling curriculum.
For how much I can appreciate how clear and easy it is to use the Spelling-You-See program, I cannot say it did us any good.
This program focuses on using daily repetition to help kids recalling how words are spelled relying on their photographic memory. What I take from it, is that my son must not be a visual learner since this method was disastrous for him. After over a year of use, he was left with complete confusion in his brain and widely guessing how to spell words but still loving it, if that makes any sense.🤔 Here is a link to my full review of “Spelling You See vs. All About Spelling“.
Daily 6-Traits Writing 2 might have the idea of being simple, fast and easy, however, in my opinion, it is not user-friendly. I found the directions in it confusing, and the whole book to be poorly laid out, which made it not suitable for our 2nd-grade year. How can I possibly teach something that I find confusing myself? After a few lessons and a whole lot of frustration that came with it, I’m proud to have donated it and moved on to something else.
Through our years’ homeschooling, I realized it’s not worth to stick with a poor curriculum match only because we invested our money in it.
Of course, I’d love to make the most out of the money spent, but if it’s not working I’ll gladly take the loss to move on to something that brings joy and peace into our learning experience.
…And now onto the “YAYs” !😍🎉
Writing (Our customized pick) 👍
Essentials in Writing 2 is a DVD based writing curriculum that also includes grammar lessons in the 1st half of the book.
The teacher, Matthew Stephens, presents each lesson in a Straight to the point, Easy and Short way, which completely takes the struggle away from learning and teaching formal writing and grammar. This curriculum turned out to be a match made in Heaven for my son and me.
As someone who has not learned English as their first language, I find EIW video lessons to alleviate the burden of teaching something I feel I’m not good at (but here I am writing a blog, makes complete sense I know 🤷♀️).
For this level, each instructional video is about 3 minutes long and it takes the student about 10-15 minutes to complete each lesson from start to finish. My child who is now in 3rd-grade is already able to follow and complete each lesson independently. 🙌 Here is a link to my review of “Essentials in Writing lev 1-3“.
Spelling (Our customized pick) 👍
“All About Spelling“ curriculum, teaches the rules of spelling using all 3 learning pathways instead of relying only on the visual method by doing repetitive copy work.
Learning the rules and practicing them on his tablet using the AAS “Tiles App” has been a great pairing, giving him the help he needed to correctly spell words in our wonderful phonetically irregular English language.😵
Math (Timberdoodle kit)👍
Although I wish I would have used this curriculum from Kindergarten, I couldn’t be happier to have switched over to “Math-U-See“ in 2nd-grade. If you are looking for a curriculum that follows the same sequence public schools does then this program is not for you.
If you are looking for a math curriculum to focus on one concept at a time, giving the student a chance to fully master each and every concept before bombarding the brain with more and more, then look no further, you have found your home with Math-U-See!
When using Math-U-See, kids learn “to SEE” each and every step of math, learning to think logically, strategically and sometimes unconventionally, preparing the child for upper-level math critical and creative thinking from the early years.
I could not imagine teaching upper-level math if I wasn’t using this program, and I can honestly say I am confident MUS will not only do that for us but also make our kids excel in math.
History & Social Studies (1/2 Abeka – 1/2 Timberdoodle) 👍
Timberdoodle’s history pick is “The Story of the World-Vol 2”. This history curriculum has a very large fan base out there who absolutely love it, and then some others who find it to be too much, too soon perhaps.
After doing my own research I realized my kids and I would probably do better following a more traditional history course.
I find Abeka’s History “Our America 2“ to be Short and Simple but still full of all the appropriate info kids this age can afford to assimilate and follow easily.
For this reason, I’m a big fan of Abeka’s early elementary (grades 1-3) History course and our boys enjoy it without feeling bored or overwhelmed by it.
←Link to Abeka’s “Our America 2”
For Geography, we followed Timberdoodle’s lead and used “Daily Geography 2” and it was a success! Some people find this book to be a little boring and dry due to the lack of color in it but in our case, it was a wonderful 2nd-grade geography curriculum.
I can truly say doing one lesson of “Daily Geography 2“ a week (which took no longer than 15-20 min), gave my child a great amount of info and most definitely enriched his geography background.
Timberdoodle no longer includes this book in their curriculum kits, however, after trying their current pick I decided I’ll be going back on using “Daily Geography 2” for my next 2nd grade round with younger brother.
←Link to “Daily Geography Practice”.
**Abeka’s “Health, Safety & Manners 2“, is a very light but engaging reader that teaches kids about Healthy habits, Staying Safe, and using good Manners. Once a week while sitting on the couch, my husband would read it to them and it is so engaging kids don’t even feel is part of school time!☺
←Link to Abeka’s “Healthy, Safety & Manners 2”.
**This year to help keep our days from dragging on trying to tackle too many subjects at once, I split History and Health into 2 separate semesters. Our 1st semester was History and 2nd-semester Health. This method worked wonderfully using these Abeka readers.
Science (Past Timberdoodle Kit)👍
Apologia curriculums used to be included in Timberdoodle’s 2nd-grade kits up to the 2017/18 school year and we absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT! 😍
Apologia Science “Astronomy“ is a Full Immersion, Christian Based Science curriculum and teaches kids Creation from God’s perspective, not the Evolution theory, although it does briefly explain it and how it differs from Christian Beliefs.
We also added the Audiobook to this course and it was money well spent. The audiobook is read in a very engaging way and easy for kids to follow along in the book. We listen to one lesson a week and the following week, kids do the mini-books and crossword puzzle from the Astronomy Jr. Notebook.
I highly recommend pairing their book with the Jr. Notebook, as its activities help kids remember what was read to them even if you choose to only to do a few as we did.
←Link to Textbook, Jr Notebook, Audiobook.
Thinking Skills (Timberdoodle Kit) 👍
“Building Thinking Skills Book 1“, is a book from -The Critical Thinking Co- and it’s another wonderful addition to the 2nd grade Timberdoodle kits.
We completed this book in a 36 week school year doing 3-4 pages a day and although this might sound like a lot, most pages flow easily and fast for most kids.
Few pages do require kids having basic writing skills so if kids are still struggling with writing, you can have them tell you the answer and write it in for them. I truly encourage all parents who homeschool to give this book a fair try because it is a wonderful curriculum full of mind benders that help kids think outside the box.
Art (Timberdoodle kit) 👍
“Step-By-Step Drawing Book“ by Usbourne is a great book to teach kids the beginning of how to draw different things.
We found this book to be a great startup for our not so artsy boys who had no idea how to draw pretty much anything, however, if your kids have already been drawing they might find this book very basic. Another great option we have been using is the Draw-Write-Now books. See links below↓
STEM (Our customized Pick)👍
Good old “LEGOs“ (and lots of them) has been our own STEM selection for this grade and I don’t regret it a bit! In plain English, without using any fancy scientific explanation I will say,
LEGOs help kids’ brain grow.
The money, time and all of the Lego mess are well worth the wonderful results they produce.
My 2nd-grade builds many LEGO sets of his choice, (sets help kids learn the importance of following directions), but he also uses LEGO Classic Creative Box together with “LEGO Awesome Ideas” book. The reason for it is to encourage using his own creative imagination to build things he would see in the book.
My now 3rd grader can build anything he imagines by trial and error, without having to follow any instructions and this is a skill that will serve him in many other areas as well.
←Links to Lego book & Lego Classic box.
Always check with your State and Local school district homeschool requirements and then based upon it pick the curriculum/subjects and things that will make your 2nd grade a memorable, fun and Blessed school year!
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit”.