Intro to 2GRD

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This is a general subject-by-subject overview.  After taking the Primary Stage course from the school (highly recommended) I have added in my personal understanding of the “goals” for each subject in italics and parentheses.  Laura is best at the methodology explanations, but what I tripped over in the early years is CONTENT.  So, I will talk about that mostly.

For actionable Do-Aheads for 2GRD, CLICK HERE.

ART:  LOTS of crafts.  Crochet, tissue paper flowers, 1st Communion stuff.  LOTS.  It’s fine motor central!   (Doing something with ordered instructions is the goal. Replace crafts at will, as long as there are ordered instructions.)  Also, there are more “Child Sized Masterpieces” this year. The point is for the child to really concentrate on the pictures and examine them at length.   Our curriculum calls it “close observation.”  Charlotte Mason calls it “really looking.” Whatever you call it, the names of the artists are much less important than the ability and facility with close observation.  That, and we want beauty to “do its work” on the child’s heart.

“We cannot measure the influence that one or another artist has upon the child’s sense of beauty, upon his power of seeing, as in a picture, the common sights of life; he is enriched more than we know in having really looked at even a single picture” (Mason, Vol. 1, p. 309).

GEOGRAPHY/HISTORY:  This year he does maps of your home and town.  Also, he will do a family tree.  You cover all of the states and capitals and read about each state.  Finally, later in the year, there are chapter books assigned that should more or less be near the same time period (depending on how many generations you can get back.)  If you can find  DYOCC recommends the book at the top of this post.  We LOVE it.  The maps and family tree seemed kind of SILLY to me the first couple of times, but now we really EMBRACE them.  I (not the kids) learned the key dates for our family generations and use it as a measuring stick for history.  Anytime I read a story, I say, “This happened ten years after Thomas Caswell came to America.”  And the maps, if you point out the landmarks on the way to church and home, the kids really like it.  “Remember your map?  This is the third stop light you drew.  Oh, I never noticed the flower shop.  We should put that in.”

LANGUAGE ARTS:  Sound Beginnings is used as a SPELLING text, not “learning to read.”  If you need 2GRD reading instruction, this is not it.  We found a stack of sight words and team reading to be the best help in that department. We will be doing phonics all the way to 6GRD.  Learning sight words now isn’t going to cripple their spelling or word-attack skills later.  Also, there are TWO penmanship curricula this year.  Sound Beginnings has its own manuscript.  You have a stand-alone handwriting text.  I ignore the writing instruction in Sound Beginnings and keep with the same path as last year.  As usual, there are plenty of oral compositions and copying.  This year the focus is COPYING.  An important note, however, five minutes a day is ENOUGH.  If the passage or poem is really long, just shoot for five minutes of good, solid work.  If you want something to be in their own handwriting for a blank book or something,  break up the copying over days.

LATIN: Music is where you find the Latin this year. (Vocal training is especially helpful in teaching order and sequence of mind.  Also, this music is some of our greatest hymns in English and Latin.) That lady’s voice is not my children’s definition of “beautiful” so maybe pull some from the suggested latin music sites. Also, the “music” in the suggested schedule is not this 30 second daily hymn practice.  Just put this in the same session as your poetry stanza.

EVENING MUSIC: There is no specifically assigned classical music, though it seems from Teaching Tips (and many other resources) that it was playing before bedtime.  That’s why “music” is in your suggested schedule in the evening.  It’s not the one minute hymn. (Music moves the heart.  When you’re upset, it can calm you.  Affection for truly beautiful, emotion ordering music is important.  A child that doesn’t love helpful music will inevitably love only ugly music.)

MATH: Abeka 2.  This is the year of the add/subtract math facts!  If you can get it under control now, you will be so glad.  This book is advanced.  We sometimes take it half-pace after a certain point. The teacher’s manual is a big help for pacing your oral review!  If you don’t use it, you will STILL need to be flashcarding the kids for his math facts.  Once a week on Math It! is not enough.  It’s clear in Teaching Tips that the difference between Saxon and Abeka was not the amount of review, but that the Saxon work included lots of manipulatives that slowed down the lessons, if your child didn’t need them.

MUSIC:  This year we do the recorder and start cute little Hayes music worksheets. The Hayes series continues up to 4GRD.  Then we switch to a different music reading course 5GRD and up.  There are more Music Masters.  Enjoying beautiful music is more important than learning the composer’s names.  But the way the biographies are read, they are still great stories of virtue and worth hearing a few times.  FYI, some of the composer’s lives are NOT child friendly from other sources.  MM does us the favor of leaving out things not worth our attention.

POETRY:  Poetry this year is fun!  If you’re tired of Robert Louis Stevenson, this is the year for you.  He only has one.  We love these poems.  All of these poems are reviewed in future years.  (Again this exercises his memory, but more importantly, like music, poetry moves the heart. “Bed in Summer” is much more moving than the statement.  “Going to bed when it’s light out side is really hard.”)

READING:  Read Aloud again has it’s own lists in the syllabus. See KGRD intro for more comments.   There are suggestions made for the child’s read alone time.  Reading ALONE minutes are DAILY, this year.  This is the reading instruction: practice, practice, practice.  Again, let me recommend either Teaching Tips or the Writing Manual.  They have identical long articles about Language Arts, read alone, read aloud, and how to slowly build reading stamina.  There are unique grade level reading lists provided for fiction through 3GRD and religion through 2GRD, but it is clear from the resources mentioned that the Berquist parents just divided the kids into “bigs and littles” for bedtime reading, and didn’t rigidly stratify by year. (Filling the child’s mind with stories of heroic virtue.  If you want a really good quick and dirty explanation of the how and why of virtue literacy, read the intro to Book of Virtues, and read the intro to each section in the Book of Virtues, and the paragraphs just preceding each selection.  It’s a QUICK classical worldview orientation. Plenty of Aristotle.)

RELIGION:  This is Part I:Creed of the No. 1 catechism. These questions are an extension of many of the simple questions you learned last year.  We will do that again in 5GRD-6GRD with this material.  All questions from this section come back year after year after year.  See this post for the overview.  Also, we do some saints.  About one every three weeks.  This is a light year for blank book entries.

SCIENCE:  This year is so cute!  The Seasons and Living Things worksheets are always a big hit in my home.  I don’t know why.  Also, we do Science with Plants.  I remember it mentioned somewhere that we’re supposed to do a science/nature notebook this year, but it’s not emphasized enough to stick in my mind.  Since the blank book work is so light, it’s probably important.



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