This week is the first week of our new school year so here is a brief 2nd grade round up for last year. Check out our curriulum pics and this mid year update to see what all we chose. Last year we tried some new things and stuck with some old things I now realize we should have gotten rid of because they were just leading to conflict. Around here, stubbornness seems to be a family trait….we’re all headstrong type A people. For me that means often wanting to finish curriculum we start even if it’s not working. It also means I’m a bit resistant to change for change’s sake. If I think something *should* work, then it’s hard to accept that it’s not.
One of those items last year that I finally recognized was not working was First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind. All sorts of people sing the praises of this simple language arts program that is geared towards memorization. There are all sorts of things where memorization works and is necessary. Math facts are a perfect example of the necessity of memorization. In my mind with my way of learning, this should have been a pretty easy program for my son to start learning the parts of speech.
What I found though was that at first he complained it was boring. By the third or fourth time he had to recite the definition of a noun, he was already checking out. He is bored easily and this program just hit all of his triggers. The repetitiveness of the program was boring him to tears. So last year I was still determined to do it, but I thought I will bring in something more exciting to pair with it and bought Grammar Galaxy after watching videos of it on Youtube.
What I discovered with Grammar Galaxy was that although my son loved the stories, the meat the program was lacking. There was not enough to the student workbook to really help him learn new concepts. Grammar Galaxy is a mastery program but to me it felt more like a spiral amount of student work. I still think it’s a great idea, and much better than other story based curriculum that we have used before, but there just wasn’t enough practice with the new concepts for me to say he mastered it.
Furthermore, it was painfully obvious how little things were sticking when I realized he could recite the definitions of the parts of speech, but when putting it into practice by picking out words in a sentence those definitions were not able to be translated into practicality. First Language Lessons taught him definitions through memorization, but that doesn’t mean he really knew what those definitions meant. I considered this a failure of both curricula and decided this school year we would start from scratch with a new language arts curriculum.
On the other hand I thought I needed to add something more challenging to my son’s math curriculum because Math U See seemed to also be the other area where he lost interest. So we tried out Beast Academy to go with Math U See as Math U See was still working, again he was just bored.
However in this case Beast Academy showed me that although my son was bored, he also has a very low frustration tolerance and once we got to more challenging lessons he would have a meltdown if he didn’t understand it right away. Make no mistake, he could do the work once he understood it….but because the teaching is so different he would get frustrated easily at first and I just decided the extra conflict was not worth it and dropped the Beast Academy workbook. Thankfully I had only bought one semester of those books so I don’t feel I lost a lot of money giving it a try.
All The Rest
Most of everything else we did worked well for us, even Math U See Beta which we finished early. We went through two levels of All About Spelling. We transitioned into cursive with A Reason for Handwriting. In addition we had a great year in both history (Story of the World Volume 2) and geography (Road Trip USA), did lots of science experiments (Berean Builders Science in the Ancient World), learned about Healthy Habits, made some art, finished up The Picture Smart Bible and The Action Bible, and even learned a bit about the orchestra. Oh and we started piano lessons! Most of the rest of the curriculum was a breeze.
Thankfully, we wrapped most of it up so early so we chose to take an extended break for summer of two months. We did drop a few extras that proved to be just too much, primarily Spanish. It was my son’s request, but after a while we chose to postpone it a bit. We learned a little, but put the full curriculum on hold.
So that was my 2nd grade round up from last school year. How was your homeschool year last year? How did it wrap up? For us we were definitely grateful that we already homeschooled when the pandemic hit. I know so many families struggled and are still struggling with their children’s schooling during these unprecedented times. We were able to offer our son some stability in the midst of chaos and I will forever be thankful. Yes our Taekwondo moved to Zoom. And yes we stopped being able to go play at the park and do things like that. But we kept the same schedule we always had and his world was not turned upside down. It was an unexpected blessing of homeschool life.Thanks for reading!