It’s one of my favorite times of year! The months of planning where I get to view, research, and decide on all the fun things we are going to learn about in our next school year. I have finally made my decisions, purchased our curriculum, and am going to share with you everything we will use for 2nd grade and Kindergarten! (And share a little about preschool at the end.)
Morning Time/Bible: We always start everyday with our Morning time while we have breakfast together. It is a great way to ease into school for the day and puts everyone in a better mood to start the day with Jesus.
-Calendars: Treehouse Schoolhouse Morning Time Bundle Great calendars and weather charts we use everyday. We put them in THESE menus that pair perfectly with dry erase markers. Use code LITTLESCHOOLOFSMITHS10 for 10% off!
-Devotional: The One Year Book of Devotions for Preschoolers is my favorite that we used last year (we will use it again when my little ones are in preschool.) This year we are using The Ology and the Adventure Bible Book of Devotions.
-Bible Lesson: This year we are adding in The Good Gospel from The Peaceful Press and I’m so excited! This curriculum goes through each letter of the alphabet with verses, Bible stories, crafts, declarations, and a picture art study. Each week we will focus on a new letter of the alphabet and connect it with a Bible verse, declaration, and a picture to paint/color.
**This next year my daughter will also be doing her First Reconciliation and First Communion. We are using the Blessed program from Dynamic Catholic. The teachers guide, workbooks, DVD’s, everything is FREE (you just pay for shipping.) The videos and worksheets can also be found on their website. The kids love the videos and it is simple and beautiful to follow.
Core Subjects: We call these our core subjects because they are the ones we make sure to cover every day.
- The Good and the Beautiful Level 2 (for my 2nd grader)
- The Good and the Beautiful Level K (for my Kindergartner.)
We have used The Good and the Beautiful Language Arts program since preschool and absolutely love it. My daughter is an amazing reader and my son is catching on quickly, so we are continuing to use this curriculum. It has open & go lessons and covers phonics, spelling, reading, writing, and more. Some areas are a little lacking such as writing and spelling, but we add in fun things to compensate. Have your child take the assessment test HERE to determine what level to start at (the levels do not correlate with grade numbers.)
-Explode the Code:
We love these phonics books! If you are using TGATB Language Arts you don’t necessarily need to use this. However, we love them for some extra practice. I think they have helped my daughter a lot in her decoding of words and spelling. (Check out my Explode the Code highlight on my Instagram for a closer look inside each book and how to choose what level book to start.) We also don’t use these everyday. We usually do these in replace of LA for extra practice one or two days during the week.
The Good and The Beautiful has completely redone their entire math program and is releasing it this summer, so we don’t have Level 2 yet. I purchased the old Level K version during their discontinuation sale for my son because we already have all the manipulative pieces, etc. from my daughter. We have tried other math curriculums, but my kids say this is by far their favorite! It is open & go, and incorporates lot of hands on learning and games. It has also taught me a thing or two on how to do math quicker. 😂
- The Good and The Beautiful Level 2
- The Good and The Beautiful Level K
- Weekly Character Building Sentences (Copy Work Print) from The Five Girl Schoolhouse -using for 2nd grade
- Weekly Character Building Sentences (Manuscript Tracing) -using for Kindergarten
- Draw Write Now
We will be using a combination of a few different things this year for handwriting. TGATB handwriting books are not very long and if done everyday are completed within half the school year, so this year I’m going to only do them 2-3 times per week and add in some other handwriting activities.
For 2nd grade I want to focus more on copy work so we are also using the Weekly Character Building Sentences Set from The Five Girl Schoolhouse. These are great for daily copy work or tracing using important character traits, manners, or positive affirmation.
Draw Write Now books are also a fun way we will be adding copy work into our history lessons this year with these two books. Each page teaches you how to draw a picture and has you copy fun facts about it. We will use THESE composition books to do these in. I know my kids will love these!
This subject is only for my 2nd grader. Last year we started Building Writers from Learning Without Tears. We took it very slow only doing a page or 2 per week since writing was not her favorite. So this year we will continue and complete this book.
We are also starting a daily journal that I am so excited about! She is super excited too! Each day while I’m pulling all our books and lessons together my daughter will start by answering a fun question in her own journal as a warmup. Questions such as: Why do you think the sky is blue? Why does a squirrel have a bushy tail instead of a skinny one like a mouse? What would the world be like if children were in charge of their parents? I will not correct her spelling or grammar, but will just let her have the freedom to write. It will be so fun to read her answers as well as lead to some fun discussions.
-Reading: Both of the Language Arts curriculums have personal and/or shared readers that come with them. However, my favorite early reader books to add are Dash Into Learning. These books are so precious and the ones my kids love the most. They have both started learning to read with these. They also have super fun activity packs that go with each set for more practice and games. Use code SMITH20 for 20% off your order!
-Spelling: I also only have my 2nd grader do spelling. I don’t require my kids to start spelling practice/tests/etc. unil first grade. Spelling is a part of our LA curriculum, however it only touches on it briefly. So for spelling I will continue doing what we did this past year. I take all the words they provide in my daughters curriculum and use these fun hands on games and ideas from THIS blog post to master them.
Extra Subjects: These subjects we do here and there throughout the week (no set day.) These subjects are what I base our unit studies around. (Check out THIS blog post on how to plan a unit study.)
This year I am keeping it simple and would like to do more Charlotte Mason style of narration and notebooking for our extra subjects of science and history. Check out Jodie Mockabee’s great Notebooking Manual on everything you need to know about notebooking.
This year we are using Exploring Nature with Children from Raising Little Shoots as our main science curriculum. This is a year long complete curriculum that guides you through the different seasons and nature study. It includes themed nature walks, book lists, activities, poems, art, and more. I will be taking each weeks theme and making it a simple unit study. My goal this year is to get out exploring and learning more about nature, so this curriculum will help a ton! All of my kids will join in these activities.
- American Girl U.S. History
- CM Simple Studies America Unit
We are doing US History with the American Girl series this year and we are SO excited! This will also be part science as well. We will be learning about the first 8 Historical American Girls (one per month) using the guides from Fieldsofdaisies.com. For each girl we will be reading about the time period they lived in with these “Welcome To” books as well as reading their story books, hand crafts, recipes, field trips, and more. We will focus on 2 major historical events or people during each time period, as well as 2 science subjects such as an animal or new invention. My younger ones might join in with some of the activities, but this is mostly for my 2nd grader (I don’t use a history curriculum for Kindergarten.)
Since we are learning about US History we are also adding in the CM Simple Studies: America Unit. This unit has lessons covering patriotic songs and poetry, art, maps, and simple history lessons that go with The Children’s Book of America by William J. Bennett. This also has an AMAZING picture book list for each lesson! This will be fun to add into our American Girl history as we go through it.
-Social Studies: Me On the Map Unit (COMING SOON!) 🎉
This is only for my Kindergartner as I already put together and did this unit with my daughter when she was in Kinder. It was my favorite! We learned about her home, street, her city, state, country, continent, and planet with hands on learning, field trips, and more.
So surprise news….I am putting all my ideas and printables together for this unit that you will be able to print and use as well! I hope to have it complete and ready by the end of summer, or hopefully sooner! Stay tuned!!
My youngest will be 3 this summer and always wants his own “schoolwork” too, so he will be starting early preschool this fall with my Letter A Week style curriculum. We focus on one letter per week and I will have him do some simple letter activities while I do lessons with the bigger kids to keep him busy and make him feel like he has his own work. I’m sure he will also join in our nature/science studies too.
I also put together this fun Early Learning Toolbox: On the Farm from The Five Girl Schoolhouse to give him something else to do while we work on lessons. Each page is laminated and has Velcro dots so he can peel & stick the activities as many times as he likes. (I keep all the small pieces in THIS pencil pouch in the front of his binder.)
Magnatiles Number and Alphabet Puzzle Pages How fun are these alphabet and number cards to help build and learn with your Magnatiles! I know my son will love these!
That’s everything! My goals this coming year are to keep it simple, get into nature more, and continue to have fun with interest led learning. It seems like a lot, but we don’t do everything every day and many of these subjects intertwine with one another. We also do a lot of reading together, whether it be picture books or read alouds. Be sure to follow me over on Instagram as I share us using everything throughout the year and how we schedule everything into our days.
I don’t share all of this to overwhelm you, but in hopes to help introduce you to some new curriculum choices or give you confidence on deciding what is best for your family. If you are starting to plan out your next school year, here is a free Curriculum Planning Page you can use also. If you need help on how to choose homeschool curriculum that works best for your family check out THIS blog post for tips, quizzes, and more. 😊
Recap of our curriculum for quick reference:
- Language Arts: The Good and the Beautiful Level 2
- Math: The Good and the Beautiful Level 2
- Explode the Code Book 4
- Writing: Building Writers, Daily journal
- Handwriting: The Good and the Beautiful Level 2, Draw Write Now, Weekly Character Building Sentences
- Science: Exploring Nature with Children
- History: American Girl History, CM Simple Studies: America Unit
- Language Arts: The Good and The Beautiful Level K
- Math: The Good and The Beautiful Level K
- Explode the Code Book 1
- Dash Into Learning Readers
- Handwriting: The Good and The Beautiful Level K, Draw Write Now, Weekly Character Building Sentences Set
- Science: Exploring Nature with Children
- Social Studies: Me On the Map (Coming Soon!)