We are wrapping up first grade (ugh, the end of the school year is so bitter sweet) and starting to look ahead to plan out next year. In the fall we will have TWO school aged kids in our home… which is just pure craziness! I’m a little nervous about making time to invest in both our boys, while having our sweet (yet crazy) girl running wild, but I’m sure we will make it work.
The good news is we are starting to get a vision for what works for our family curriculum and schedule wise. Year one we just were poking around in the dark, trying to find our way through this new world. This year a few things seemed to solidify as far as what sort of activities and curriculum really work for us. This has made prepping for next year so much easier than these past 2 years!
Here are our 2nd grade curriculum/chosen activities for next year:
This past year we did Saxon Math level 1 and I had some mixed feelings about the program. It’s very simple, no fluff curriculum. I was worried that the repetitive and basic nature of the work/worksheets would get dull for my oldest.
Strangely, the repetition was what he likes most about it. I love that we know exactly what to expect each math lesson and this has led to him already being able to do a lot of his work independently (win!). The curriculum spirals, which to me makes it feel slow and I have a math minded kid. I thought he would be frustrated to go back and review his facts so many times… Yet, somehow the opposite was true! The repetition and review gave him confidence in his skills and removed a lot of possible anxiety from math time.
I feel like he has a good foundation of basic math skills because numbers and facts were reviewed so thoroughly. We’ve decided to stick with it (Isaac said he liked it and didn’t want to switch). I have decided to skip up a level to level 3. We went through the entire level 1 curriculum without my son making a single error. I think we can move forward an extra level and it’ll add a little more of a challenge for him in 2nd grade.
I also like that the curriculum is affordable. I know there are more flashy kits available but I think Saxon is a good value.
We used the Good and Beautiful level one this year for first grade and enjoyed the format of this curriculum. It has several components to the daily language arts lesson: spelling, sight words, phonics, poetry memorization, reader and the lesson. We enjoyed how organized and pretty this curriculum workbook is. I love that it includes art appreciation.
The lessons took a lot longer than I anticipated and we are doubling up and skipping some to get through level 1 by the end of this year. We’ve easily finished up all the other learning components for Language Arts but the lessons have taken some extra time. This curriculum is, in my opinion, is a bit advanced. The good news is that it offers a lot of rigor. I checked the first grade Language Arts SOL’s for Virginia and level one went way beyond what is required. Doing level K for first grade I think would be completely okay!
I am glad we stuck with it though, even though the work was a little harder. I really think it pushed us forward a little faster than we would have if we had a less challenging curriculum.
ANOTHER, huge benefit of this curriculum is that it’s SO affordable for really good quality (if you can’t tell already, we like affordable things). I already ordered Level 2 and we are excited to dive into it in the fall!
My oldest wanted to learn cursive this year, so we did and he enjoys the more fancy nature of cursive over print. I decided to merge some of our Classical Conversations review with cursive handwriting practice for next year and bought their prescripts workbook.
Pretty much all of the other content we cover is through being apart of a Classical Conversations co-op. I love that we can be apart of a community of homeschoolers and my kids get to be apart of a class one day a week and get to learn so much content that I would struggle to cover on my own. During their time at the co-op they learn history, science, fine arts, math, latin, geography and english.
We review during the week at home (some… I hope to do more at home review in 2nd grade). They review and learn new content each week when they go to their classes.
We are huge fans of CC… not long ago my six year old grabbed my phone and was looking on google maps and found the Mediterranean Sea (on his own) as well as several other lakes and countries in Africa and the Middle East he had learned how to find on a map this year. I’ll be honest, I couldn’t find those things on a map without labels on my own… so I’m happy my kids are getting more than I have to give by being apart of this group!
For my Richmond Homeschool friends, there a few other great homeschool things we have got connected with that add so much to our time together!
First, is Community Bible Study at Third Church in Richmond. This location has an AMAZING homeschool program that goes all they way up! This is ALL of our favorite activity of the week. The kids love their sweet teachers that are teaching them about the bible in truly amazing ways. I get some me time in core group and at the lecture. It is the thing that fill all of our cups. Join and soon because the spots for the kids fill up so fast!
Next, we do Chesterfield Homeschool Sports the older my crew gets the more amazing this activity feels for our family. It’s a really low key and inexpensive way for our kids to play soccer and t-ball. Even though the league is not ultra competitive, it’s a lot of fun and gets us outside in the afternoons! My boys love it.
We also try to attend all the Pocahontas State Park Homeschool Happenings. The rangers offer a monthly class for homeschoolers that is only $3 a student! The lessons are always science or nature focused and are very hands on. It’s a great way to supplement all the other things and get out of the house!
Hope these reviews/suggestions help you as you find your way through this homeschool stuff! I’ve found that all the decisions you have to make for your kids can feel heavy but prayer, getting advice from those a little ahead of you and talking it over with your spouse go a long way in making it all feel just a bit easier.
Look out for my Kindergarten picks (coming soon) because my second starts this fall (all the tears) and we are taking a different approach for his Kindergarten than we did with our oldest.