Our 2nd-Grade Curriculum Picks

2nd-grade curriculum picks

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Our 2019/2020 2nd-Grade Curriculum Picks

2nd-Grade Curriculum Picks
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How did we end up with our 2nd-grade curriculum picks? After using boxed curriculums with my eldest child, I soon realized one for all wasn’t for us. Like most firstborns, my eldest child paved the way for his younger brother’s current handpicked curriculum. Yes, for the past 2 years now, I’ve been piecing together my own curriculums to match my children’s learning styles.

My soon to be 2nd-grader learning style and the reality of homeschooling 3 elementary aged kids are the driving forces behind our own 2nd-grade curriculum picks.

Let’s now take a look at What we choseWhy we chose it, and Where you can find it.

Language Arts

1. Abeka – Phonics & Language 2.

Let me give you a little back story of why we will be using this book. A couple of years ago when my first born was in 2nd-grade, I stopped all phonics review. Why? In K & 1st-grade we used full-on Abeka curriculum and at the end of those 2 years, my son had learned how to read. Once 2nd-grade came around I realized everything Abeka wasn’t a good match for his learning style so we moved on to use a custom Timberdoodle curriculum. As a rookie homeschool mom, I didn’t think my son needed any phonics review and this turned out to be a big, big mistake. (You can find out more in my post “From struggling to avid Reader”).

Now that I’ve learned from my mistakes, for my middle child we will be using Abeka’s “Phonics & Language 2” workbook. It’s an easy workbook for kids to work through and I personally didn’t find the teacher’s manual necessary. The first half of this workbook covers all phonics kids learned in the previous 2 years with a bit of language (basic grammar) infused in it. In the second half of the workbook, the focus shifts a bit more on basic grammar.

Because my son finished his 1st-grade curriculum early, he immediately started using “Phonics & Language 2” and it’s been a great review and refresher of everything he has learned so far. We’ll continue using it throughout the summer as a summer workbook book doing 1 page (front and back) a day, this way by the time our 2nd-grade year begins he will probably be at the “meatier” part of the book. No matter How you choose to use it, by doing 1 page x day (front & back), you should be able to finish this book within a 36 week school year.

2. Essentials in Writing 2 with its Assessment/Resource Booklet.

👉(Click on the link to read my full review of EIW) LINK→Essentials in Writing a Gift for Reluctant Writers.

This is a complete Writing curriculum with Video lessons that is split into 2 parts. The first half of this program covers basic Grammar and sentences, and the second half teaches basic Composition.

In our creative writing experience, if you push too hard to soon your child will resist and dread learning how to write for years to come, having a long hard journey ahead of you both. I made this mistake and my advice is to use caution when choosing a writing curriculum for these early elementary years. After using a boxed curriculum with my eldest child in 1st-grade with less than stellar writing results, we moved on to using Essentials in writing (EIW) beginning in 2nd-grade. We’ve been using EIW for the last 2 years with two of my school-aged children and they are both blossoming into great young writers.

Essentials in Writing is a writing curriculum that uses a gentle and easy approach when teaching writing. The instruction videos are short (3-5 minutes) and each lesson is explained Step-by-Step by the teacher and founder of the program Matthew Stephens. EIW prides itself on only presenting small chunks of information at a time, making it also a great writing curriculum choice for kids who struggle with dyslexia. Many students after using Essentials in Writing go on to do wonderfully in college. There are many testimonials on their website of college-bound kids who have aced their English Class after using this curriculum and I have provided a link for your convenience. Link→ (Essentials in Writing Parents Reviews)

By the end of our 3rd-grade year, our son is thriving using this curriculum and so is his younger brother after finishing level 1. There is no other writing curriculum I’d use, at least during the elementary years.

    3. All About Spelling levels 3

👉(Click on the link to read my full review) LINK→ All About Spelling vs. Spelling You See.

“All About Spelling” teaches great unique little tricks that truly make learning spelling a breeze, without relying solely on memorization.

All About Spelling (AAS) has been a complete game changer for us, making spelling easy to learn using its multisensory approach. After using All About Spelling for only a few months, my sons’ improvement was undeniable. We now use this program with all our school-aged children and it has been a lifesaver particularly with my eldest. My son finally feels like his spelling light bulb went on and says this program has taken the confusion and guessing out of spelling. I highly recommend AAS as it can be easily adapted to many learning styles.

NOTE: When you begin using AAS you’ll have to backtrack and start from level 1 no matter what grade or age your children are. We started using AAS at the beginning of the 2018/2019 school year with my 3rd-grader and 1st-grader and begun from level 1 with both of them. My 3rd-grader was able to complete 3 levels within the school year, where my 1st-grader completed level 1-2. Both my school-aged children are doing phenomenal and AAS has truly helped them blossom into great young spellers. We foresee completing AAS 3 in 2nd-grade.

622783: All About Spelling Level 3 (Teacher"s Manual & Student Packet) All About Spelling Level 3 (Teacher’s Manual & Student Packet)

4. All About Homophones

All About Homophones is a one time purchase that will cover the teaching of all homophones for grades 1-8. This book is truly Open and Go, offering many different ways to teach, learn and practice homophones. 

The main part of this book provides Homophone worksheets where the student will need to choose the right homophone to complete each of the 10 pre-printed sentences. Yes, as easy as that! All Homophone worksheets are listed by grade at the beginning of the book so parents know exactly what needs to be covered in each grade. Also, provided are a few graphic organizers (charts and diagrams) students fill in with a homophone definition and drawing.

Another part of the All About Homophones book offers 14 crossword puzzles and each of these puzzles will cover many homophones taught throughout the book. Parents can copy these graphic organizers and/or Crossword Puzzles for their children to use as additional practice as they see fit. Finally, at the back end of this book, parents will find additional enrichment tools such as Card Games “Pig, Go Fish, Old Maid, Homophone Memory Game, Snap, Homophone Pile-Up”, and many homophone Tongue Twisters and Riddles. Everything comes with instructions and suggestions on how to play/use as extra enrichment activities. You can do one worksheet a week, one a day, or as many or as little activities you want. No matter how you choose to use this book, your child is bound to easily learn their homophones with little effort but LOTS of fun!🤗

5. Abeka 2nd-grade Readers –  Set of 9 (with Reading 2 Answer key).

Abeka has recently updated its 2nd-grade curriculum making its reading program more appealing (aka less boring 😉). In my experience, we find using their readers together with the “Reading Answer key” makes our life much easier. Having already the work laid out for us, knowing what question to ask making sure my child is understanding what he is reading, make this an easy curriculum choice. In addition, all Abeka Readers are Christian faith-based instilling great values in our children’s minds while young.😇

290483: Reading 2 Answer Key with Literary Development and Enrichment Activities Reading 2 Answer Key with Literary Development and Enrichment Activities

6. Reading Comprehension Sheets 2 – Abeka.

We will be using Abeka Reading Comprehension Sheets as a reinforcement for my child’s reading comprehension. These reading Comprehension sheets are short and sweet, only requiring to be completed once a week. Each sheet includes a short reading text followed by comprehension questions, crosswords, and word problems. By completing 1 sheet x week (30 sheets total for the year), students will sharpen their reading comprehension and thinking skills. Easy Peasy!🤓 I Recommend also buying the teacher’s edition in order to take full advantage of all teachings these reading sheets have to offer.

497097: Abeka Reading Comprehnsion 2 (Bound Edition) Abeka Reading Comprehnsion 2 (Bound Edition)
505359: Reading Comprehension 2 Teacher"s Edition Reading Comprehension 2 Teacher’s Edition

Math

     1. Math-U-See – levels Beta followed by Gamma

👉(click on the link to read my full review) LINK→Math-U-See review of levels Primer and up.

MUS is a mastery-based program which means it focuses on one concept at a time for each level. The beta level corresponds to 2nd-grade, which solely focuses on additions & Subtractions (single & multi-digits).

We have switched to using MUS with my eldest child in 2nd grade and after going through 4 levels between 2 kids, I can confidently say we will never use anything else. Many parents are thrown off by the sequence of this program and believe their kids are “behind” compared to what kids in public school are learning. First of all, have you heard the insanity of public school’s common core elementary math? For that alone I couldn’t be more grateful we are homeschooling. With weekly video lessons, MUS takes the stress of teaching math off the parents leaving it into Mr. Demme’s capable hands. There is no better math teacher out there I would rather my kids to learn math from!

Scheduling M-U-S

You can move through each level as fast or as slow as your child needs to, we happen to do math year round and my son will be moving into Gamma level (multiplications) in the middle of his 2nd-grade year.

503270: Math-U-See Beta Universal Set Math-U-See Beta Universal Set

TIP: If it’s your first time using MUS you will need to buy the “Universal Set”. If you already have the blocks but it’s your first time using the Beta level you’ll need to buy the “Level up Set”. If You’ve already used the Beta level with another child and already have the Beta DVD and Teacher’s Manual then you’ll need to just buy the “Student Packet”.

Thinking Skills

     1. Building Thinking Skills – book 1

 Published by The Critical Thinking Co. “Building Thinking Skills Book 1“ is a great book to use for teaching kids logical reasoning skills.

This book helps young students practice different skills in various developmental areas such as: Logical thinking, Spatial thinking, Descriptive writing, Vocabulary, Patterns, Classifying and Identifying similarities/ differences, Verbal sequences – classifications and analogies. Worksheet assignments are very straight forward making it possible for students to complete independently.

Scheduling

Some parents might get overwhelmed by the size of this book but keep in mind most pages flow easily and fast for most kids. We completed this book with my eldest child when in 2nd-grade by doing 3-4 pages a day in a 36 week school year and plan to do the same with his younger brother. I’m a big supporter of including at least one Critical Thinking piece into our school year. I find this book to be a great addition, offering many mind-benders that truly help kids think outside the box.

1441492: Building Thinking Skills Level 1 Building Thinking Skills Level 1

2. Gravity Maze – Thinking Game

Gravity Maze is a game where kids absolutely lose their “marbles”😉 for how much they love it! This is a Marble Run Game that pretty much works like a 3D puzzle where kids while using their visual and orientation skills, build a path for the marble to make it from point A to point B as each challenge card asks them to do. Although this is a single player game, families could take turns solving one of the 60 challenge cards that gradually get harder as players progress thru the levels Beginner to Expert. I find Gravity Maze to be a great Game to help teach kids Cause and Effect and also practice their Solving and Spacial Imagination skills. Click “How to Play” to watch a quick demonstration video by ThinkFun.

 Link to “Gravity Maze” Game.

History & Geography 

1. The Good and The Beautiful History – Year 1

After 3 years of using Abeka History, this will be our first year using a different curriculum. TGTB History Year 1 covers from Ancient history through Modern history and it is divided into 4 units.

  • Ancient History
  • The Middle Ages & The Renaissance
  • The French & Indian War through the Revolutionary War
  • The Victorian Era, The History of Flight & The Cold War

The History Course Book is really Open and Go and each lesson is already planned out for parents, giving all instructions of when to use the included History Big Book (story & visual book) and History Key Game. Yes, this history curriculum includes a great little board game that helps kids solidify some important and interesting historical facts covered throughout this course. Also included with TGTB History Year 1 is the PDF Student Explorers. The course book will indicate when to use the Student Explorers (worksheets) and you will use the Student Explorer that corresponds to your child’s grade (1-3, 4-6, 7-9, 10-12).

Scheduling

One of the reasons we chose TGTB History 1 is due to its friendly scheduling and how its lessons are easily adaptable to families with different age range children like ours. If covering the whole course in 1 year is desired, then all you’ll need is to cover 2 history lessons a week. Each lesson shouldn’t take any longer than 30-40 minutes unless you choose to do any suggested read aloud books or dig deeper into any part of the lessons. I know some families in the lower elementary grades prefer splitting this course over 2 years. If that is the case, then only 1 lesson per week should suffice. No matter how often you chose to do TGTB History I hope you’ll enjoy as much as we do! Here is a link to TGTB History 1 webpage to help you decide if this is a good fit for you.

 LINK→ TGTB History 1 Webpage.←

2. Daily Geography Lessons 2 

👉(click on the link to read my full review) LINK→ Daily Geography Lessons vs. Geography Skill Sharpeners | Review

Daily Geography uses an easy and simple way to teach young students maps, and it’s also a great introduction to geography. Kids learn things like “how a map is a drawing of a place from above” and “how they can use a map to find places”, understanding what a map key is, and how to use it. Maps presented in this book are visually appealing to youngsters, easy to read but without being too silly. You can read my full review of this book complete with picture and sample pages by using the link I’ve provided above.

Science

    1. Marine Biology & Metereology – by The Good and The Beautiful (TGTB)

TGTB offers so many beautifully illustrated Open and Go science units (and many more to be released in the near future), our biggest problem is choosing which one to do first! Some units are shorter than others but in general, families could easily do 2-3 per year. By only covering 2 units per school year you’ll have plenty of time to expand each unit by reading related books (you’ll find many title suggestions at the beginning of each curriculum). If adding readers to each science unit is not of your interest, it is absolutely fine since they already do a wonderful job beautifully covering each subject.

TGTB science lessons are not dry and boring but very engaging for all ages. These units are meant to be done together as a family with suggested activities grouped by age range throughout the lessons in each unit. If you do 2 lessons per week you’ll be covering all units currently available in about 3.5 years. I believe by following this schedule you’ll be covering 3-4 units per school year. Because we are not in a rush I’ve only added 2 units to our 4th-grade schedule, however, I did buy 4 more so if we finish early we’ll have plenty of choices to pick from. Below is a link to TGTB science webpage for you to browse their units and also watch their short video explaining more about how to teach their science units (Super Easy).

⇒LINK→The Good and The Beautiful K-8 Science Units webpage.←

    2. Dr. Bonyfide 2

Dr. Bonyfide is a cute kid-friendly series of 4 books, that teaches kids in a super fun way about the human skeleton, the different names, and functions of our bones. 

After completing book 1 in 1st-grade, this year we’ll be using “book 2” where Dr. Bonyfide with the aide of X-Ray glasses and fun activities, teaches students all about the Bones of the Foot, Leg, and Pelvis. My kids highly enjoyed Dr. Bonyfide-book 1 to the point they don’t even consider it to be part of their school work. SCORE!😄

    3. Health, Nutrition, P.E. (grades 1-2)

This is a small book divided into 3 units: 1)Health, 2) Nutrition, 3)P.E. and each of these units briefly touch on many concepts. Please keep in mind if you’re looking for a health curriculum that covers concepts into detail, this is not the book for you. I personally found this book to be perfect for our children’s age range as it gives just enough information without boring them and losing their attention. For the most part, one page (front & back) is dedicated to cover one concept with a total of 87 pages (the other pages are Content, Introduction, Answering keys, etc.). Each page presents the information in short articles followed by review questions, or other short assignments. In all, we plan to cover one concept per week, making this a once a week worksheet assignment subject.

Stem

    1. Ozobot Evo

This year instead of buying a new STEM item, I decided to take a breath and allow my children to truly use, enjoy, understand and explore more all they have so far (God knows they have more than enough). The truth is sometimes us parents get so caught up in this rat race of getting the latest educational toy, robot and so on, we don’t even give our children the chance to stop and let them use what they have. We buy, sell and repeat, but what about all the wonderful things we just purchased maybe last year? Is one school year truly enough time for our children to explore and truly learn all those items have to offer? So this year I hit the pause button and I’m not buying or selling…for a change, I’m using what we already have.

Ozobot Evo is a small but powerful robot that teaches kids the basics of coding.

We have owned this robot for almost a year now and I honestly didn’t have the time to look into this tiny mystery robot as much as I would have liked to and discover more of its many functions. My 9-year-old son can spend endless hours playing with his Ozobot and drew his very own path for it by using big white poster cardboards and enjoys watching all of his plans come to life. Since our sons enjoy playing with Ozobot and there is so much more left to discover and learn about it, our goal for next school year is going on the Ozobot website and learn how to code in Blockly language into it. This step teaches kids how to program their own Ozobot by writing the code, then holding the robot up to the computer screen to get it transferred over to it. Cool right?!

For younger siblings, it is a good idea for each to get their own Ozobot so they can together race and maybe compete on who wrote the best Program. 😉 We bought the black Ozobot Evo model for our 2nd-grader and our youngest (kindergartener) has the one with the Iron Man’s skin. The super Hero skins are pretty interesting and add a cool feature for kids as they talk differently. We foresee buying all the other superhero skins so so our children’s Ozobots can all communicate with each other. Definitely a robot worth buying and pretty great to play in a group as well.

Art

When our eldest child was in 2nd-grade, for Art we used the Step-By-Step Drawing Bookby Usbourne. Since this book teaches very basic and simple drawing skills, I found it to be a great startup for our son who at the time, wasn’t so artsy and pretty much didn’t know how to draw anything. Once finished (he went through it quickly), we then transitioned on using “Draw-Write-Now books” which my children also all love (See links below↓).

Since this is my second time around teaching 2nd-grade, I still have these books and many other art projects that naturally occur throughout the year so I won’t be buying any additional Art curriculum.

←”Step-By-Step Drawing Book” by Usbourne

“Draw-Write-Now books”


Juno’s Final Note

Dear reader and/or first-time homeschooler,

While looking at our 2nd-grade curriculum choices above, please do not feel overwhelmed. Keep in mind, this is my second time teaching 2nd-grade and I’ll be going into my 5th year of homeschooling, where I’m starting to feel a bit more comfortable. You might also notice how I include a “meatier” History and Science and that’s because I’m combining teaching my 2nd and 4th grader for these subjects. You could easily skip teaching these subjects this early on and begin to cover them starting in 3rd-grade instead.

I’m never one to feel like I’ve got it all figured out, I’m always looking for ways to improve all I do and how I do it. If you were to compare our 2nd-grade curriculum from year 2017/2018 I’ve used with my eldest son with this one, you’ll see I’ve added many pieces and might have changed a few. Does it mean our previous 2nd-grade curriculum was not a success? Absolutely not, it was actually one of our best school years to date with my eldest child. So why change anything you might ask? For beginners, every child is different and what works for one doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for the other (no, not even siblings). On the other hand, I’ve also learned from my previous mistakes and tweaked a few things here and there hoping to make things better and have a smoother transition to 3rd-grade once we are finished.

No matter what you choose to use remember, your child is learning how to learn this early on in school. If you are a first-time homeschool parent my best advice would be to focus on your core subjects (Reading, Math, Spelling, maybe beginning of writing). Next year as you get more comfortable and begin to find your rhythm (it takes about 3 years), then start to add on some more subjects. No matter what… your main focus is to help your child love to learn. What they’ll miss today, there will always be tomorrow.

God Bless,

Juno. 🌊⛵

Psalm 127:3

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.

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2 replies to “Our 2nd-Grade Curriculum Picks”

  1. Kim says:

    If you used Abeka with your oldest, how well did the new Phonics and Language book line up with the old lesson plans that used the separate “Letters and Sounds” and “Phonics” books?

    1. Juno says:Author

      Hi Kim,
      I’m Sorry unfortunately I don’t think Id be of any help answering your question about using old and new Abeka editions together. When I started homeschooling my eldest child Abeka had already released the new editions for K and 1st grade and that’s all we used.
      Feel free to reach out if you need anything further.
      Juno.

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