2GRD Do-Aheads

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  1. Are you new? The knee-hugger grades aren’t as fleshed out in math and language arts as most newbie parents expect. If you have never taught this grade before, be sure to see my newbie notes HERE.
  2. Make wise book-buying decisions.  You do NOT need to buy the fiction books if you have any kind of decent public library.  Save your pennies for used copies of the liturgical and saints books! Check out the resource section of your syllabi to figure out which religion books you will actually use.  Do you read to the kids in July?  I don’t.  Are you reading to them on Spring Break this year?  I don’t.  Forget the stack of St. Patrick books.  See?  Same for New Year’s. Buy the ones you will FOR SURE use before the rest. If you want, you can email me for this year’s liturgical planner (ivorysoap76 at gmail dot com) that already has this assigned by this year’s calendar.  Then you can really see what you need.
  3. Construct a realistic schedule. In the Writing Manual and Language Arts Overview, sold by the school, there are instructions for building a child’s read-alone time stamina.  I highly recommend it.  Also, it mentions in the online syllabus that he should still be having family read aloud time in the evenings.  The Manual explains how all of that happened in the Berquist home. Get it.  Also, the history supplemental reading isn’t included in the “minutes per day” schedule in the syllabus.
  4. Bundle the memory work resources. Try to do it in one sitting. Print out my Master Memory Book. You’ll need Catechism and K-2 poetry.
  5. Copy/tear out your worksheets. Music Worksheets, Math, SLT all that. File them by week.
  6. Order your blank books. See the bottom of THIS post to figure out how many books you need and what sizes.

Fine Arts

  1. Go ahead and cut out your art cards. I have an attractive, cheap way to store them HERE.
  2. Get a crochet kit. The syllabus says that any crochet instruction will do. We use the DVD Art of Crochet: 4 Kids, starring cute little boy, Ryan Anderson as the teacher. You will also need a ball of yarn and a needle (J size works for us.)
  3. The recommended book for the recorder is out of print; we use Nine-Note Recorder Method.
  4. The Klutz tissue paper flower craft is out of print. Alex Toys has a kit for giant tissue flowers that will last you through several kids. It makes 36 flowers.
  5. For the Music Masters Series, there are exactly 8 that are not used in other years, and conveniently, that’s the exact number you need for this year. They are: Beethoven, Chopin, Dvorak, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Schubert, Schumann and Grieg, and Wagner. Order the whole set (Adoremus Books $58) and you’re covered.
  6. Check out my coloring pages for Music Masters here.

Language Arts

  1. Read Aloud schedules, if you want a schedule for the all the fiction reading for the year, I made a couple.  If you have a mix of kids, try this one.   But if you are the type to beat yourself over the head with a schedule, run away!  Also, if this is one of multiple kids needing read aloud minutes, see the Writing Manual mentioned above.
  2. Somewhere on your Mom notebook, write “Copy, copy, copy” That’s the language arts focus this year.  We’d like to build up to 5 minutes of copying by the end of the year.
  3. Decide about handwriting.  There are three choices, and if you count the WRTR handwriting next year, there are four! Sound Beginnings has manuscript instructions.  The Writing Can Help series MoDG recommends in older syllabi divides the year into manuscript and cursive.  I haven’t used the Writing Our Catholic Faith one for 2 grade, and next year, WRTR has a super-cool “learn cursive by writing on top of your manuscript” option.  Here’s what I’ve done several times now:  Use the 2GRD handwriting book, skip doing the handwriting lessons in Sound Beginnings, and in 3GRD+ use the WRTR scripts to review cursive when needed.


  1. Buy Math-It USED. It’s too expensive new, for what it is. For some of us, this is the first of the two “regret” purchases of the K-7 curriculum. (The other is a calligraphy book in 6th.)We have been using  Reflex Math through homeschool buyers co-op for years. Even at retail price, two years of it is less than Math it.
  2. Put it in the schedule MORE OFTEN.  The old syllabi only have you use it weekly, (haven’t seen the new ones) but you need to do it or another math facts drill multiple times each week.  Those Abeka worksheet gets hard fast if you don’t know what they think is already memorized!  Here’s a list of that material. 


  1. Know the layout of your home and town. Can you rattle off a drawing of your neighborhood or route to church?  You’ll need to do that this year.
  2. Find out the birth years of your family members up to great-grandparents; get a gauge on what time period they are so you can describe what daily life was like.
  3. Look over the history books and pacing in the assignments.  These have yet to be read-alone for us. They start after Week 20 (or they used to; haven’t done this grade in a few years.)
  4. Check out these cards for states and capitals.  We love them.


  1. Print the poems out again, if you don’t want to write them. If you did the memory book printing above, you already have them once. Print them out again and paste them in the notebook (or write them by hand yourself). That way, he can just put in the drawings as he finishes them.  Some syllabi say to have the child copy it in.  Almost none of us do that.


  1. Schedule Reading Practice.  It’s in the online syllabi.  Ignore the reading plans in Sound Beginnings.  You will be SO BEHIND if you wait until then.  MoDG assumes that this point that the child is already snowballing and needs no further instruction.  Some of us need to drill sight words for that to happen.  Daily 30 min reading practice.  And I’ve found that the read alone books are still too hard ,  I go down my own Learning to Read Alone List this year.  


  1. Set up your liturgical reading for the year. THIS IS THE BIG HASSLE OF THE YEAR. You can email me for a syllabi-based Liturgical Planner (links shows last year, buty 2016-2017 is done.) All your resources, planned for this calendar year.  But regardless, here are a few Tables of Contents by Date.


  1. Gather the “get ahead” supplies on my science supply lists. Also, see where the experiments fall in your seasons.  Some of them might be off.
  2. Put it in a dedicated box; be a nazi about it.  I seriously had a “hands off” roll of foil.  Science only!  It’s the only way to make sure you have the right supplies on the day.  TOPS supplies are commonly found in the home, but they are also commonly USED UP in the home.


  1. Make sure you understand how Sound Beginnings works. Pretend to teach the first four to six weeks in your head and see if you know what you’d be doing. If not, email me and we can talk. Also, since it’s built on a five day schedule, but MoDG only does 4 days a week, the assignments don’t feel consistent. And, the spelling dictation is supposed to go across two or more days, but they’re often back to back. If you HATE that and want to use my personal Sound Beginnings Rework. Feel free. Enter at your own risk.
  2. Get a primary lined book or white board. There’s a lot of writing!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kim February 17, 2016

Could you please email me the read aloud schedule for 1st and 2nd grade? Thanks!!


2 admin February 18, 2016

1st grade is on the “printables” page. To do second grade I need to know you are enrolled or have bought the syllabus with the fiction list in the back. Sorry.


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