We eased into second grade the Summer of 2011. Officially Satori is “first grade” according to her age, but one advantage of homeschooling is we can go at our own pace. During the school year (September through May), Satori attends the Colorado OPTIONS program one day a week. We love it because she gets to meet new friends, attend classes hard to do at home, and I get a day off. We can also get free homeschooling curriculum programs – like Rosetta Stone, Singapore Math, and much more. But we are pretty ecstatic that we are homeschooling, and coming back from a full day of “public” school makes Satori and I so very grateful that we have the opportunity to learn at home.

We’ll be bumping up our daily time a bit, making it 3-3.5 hours a day, four (and a half) days a week for second grade. (I add a half day as we do a full day at OPTIONS and then do a few lessons that evening.) We are already happily doing about three hours a day already this summer, but have a few vacation weeks off for fun. I use Homeschool Skedtrack to plan everything out, I love that it’s online and very flexible.



Math will be our priority this year and most likely going forward for the rest of our homeschool years. We finally found a program that clicked for both of us that we enjoy doing every day of the week – Singapore Primary Mathematics. I was so happy that she seems to be excelling with the program – it teaches amazingly well and yet challenges her with some of the extra parts.

  • Singapore Math 2A/B – We will be using the following Singapore Primary Math books, using the Standards Edition whenever possible: Home Instructor’s Guide, Textbook, Workbook, and Tests. The Intensive Practice and Challenging Word Problems provide further thinking opportunities, which we stagger behind half a level or so and do when if we have time after our main lesson. I also have Extra Practice to use when needed. 5x a week.
  • EPGY Math – Stanford’s Open Enrollment math for elementary level. We do a 20-minute session as we find time.
  • Math Fun ExtrasPrimary Grade Challenge Math by Edward Zaccaro – Includes chapters on: Sequences, Problem-solving, Money, Percents, Algebraic Thinking, Negative Numbers, Logic, Ratios, Probability, Measurements, Fractions, Division. Life of Fred Elementary Books – this new series will be available the end of July 2011, but they look super cool, so I plan on working through the series.



We’re an unusual homeschool household as we love grammar so much that we use multiple programs.

  • Growing With Grammar – We started Level 3 and will probably hit Level 4 this year. This is great independent work and written practice and the student text makes a useful reference guide. 3x/week.
  • First Language Lessons – Level 3. FLL is an excellent and thorough scripted program that we discuss together and recite/memorize definitions. Even though we call it our “oral grammar”, this level introduces more written work, with a required Student Workbook. 2x/week.
  • MCT Grammar Island/Practice Island – Our first time dabbling in this series, Grammar Island is the first book, but additional books incorporate vocabulary, poetry, grammar practice and writing. In this program we explore the beauty of language in unique and appealing methods. 2x/week, maybe moving up to 4x/week by fall.



Satori seems to be quite a good speller, so we’ll continue with AAS which we’ve used from almost the very start of our homeschooling two years ago.

  • All About Spelling – We will be finishing Level 4 by August 2011, and will move on to Level 5. There are only two more levels in AAS, so I hope to take the last few levels more slowly. I think I say this every year though, and we still get through each lesson step in two days. 3x/week.



Transitioning to a new handwriting program!

  • Getty-Dubay Italics Book C/D – I’m still not sure what I think about transitioning to GDI from Handwriting Without Tears. The books started off with bigger lines than Satori is now used to, and her handwriting is quite neat to begin with. I am even using the adult book to improve my own handwriting! I hope that it catches on and we both start writing modern italics and cursive italics. This program has a book for ages K to adult. Eventually we’ll learn their calligraphy as well. 3-4x/week.
  • StartWrite 6 Handwriting Worksheet Wizard – Version 6 was recently released this summer of 2011. We love that it offers all kinds of fonts – including Handwriting Without Tears and Getty-Dubay. We use this for copywork.



We’re going to try to merge the two programs (SOTW and HO) this year. We’ll schedule history 3x/week.



We’ve never really stuck to an official writing program week after week, but this year we’re on a roll with a few different programs, combining the best of classical education and traditional, more public school writing.

  • Winning With Writing – This is a brand new program, just released this spring 2011. So far it’s been super easy to implement and just takes a few minutes a day. I plan to blog about it for the first time very soon. We started with Level 3 in the hopes to get some practice with paragraph writing. Level 4 requires multiple paragraph writing, which we will probably hit later this school year. 5x/week.
  • Writing With Ease Level 2 – We are hoping to zoom through the next few levels in order to be able to start Writing With Skill (not yet released) by late-2012 or 2013. Having tried WWE1 in the past, both Satori and I didn’t enjoy it, as she’s already a great writer. But it does teach valuable skills in narration and dictation, so we’ll try once again in a very accelerated manner. Being able to view samples of the next level of the program, Writing With Skill (for grade 5) has motivated both of us to get on the WWE bandwagon. So far we are really enjoying ourselves this time around! We only use the Student Workbook for our lessons. The textbook is helpful to read once a year to keep grounded. 5x/week.
  • Write Source Grade 2 – We use the Student textbook only for guidance and appropriate examples. I can see using this very easily along with Winning with Writing.



I’d love to bump science up a bit on our priority ladder this year, we enjoy learning science so much.

  • R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey – Earth and Space – We had a great time with RSO Life, so we look forward to continuing the series. 2x/week.
  • Singapore My Pals Are Here Science – this program caught my eye since we love Singapore Math, so we’ll be trying it out late Summer 2011 for grade 2. Like the math, there’s a lot of parts! We’ll be using the Textbook and Activity Book P3/4 for Diversity, Cycles, Systems, Energy, and Interactions. The Teacher’s Guide better come in super handy because it was quite costly. The Homework and Tests will help evaluate, while the Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) will extend our learning. 2x/week.



  • MCT Literature Program – This is a brand new program released 4th of July weekend when I ordered it at a discount. The first available trilogy includes Alice in Wonderland, Wind in the Willows, and Peter Pan. I don’t even have it yet, hopefully I’ll get it within the next few days. I’ll just include a few quotes from the website itself. The program’s focus is “is to immerse children in great books so that they experience literature as literature and not as a drudgery of tedious school activities” and “avoiding all traditional worksheet activities in favor of rich discussion and thoughtful reading. Busywork has been eliminated.”  The next trilogy will be ready soon and consists of: The Time Machine by H.G Wells, A Connecticut Yankee in the Court of King Arthur by Mark Twain and A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. I look forward to using this!
  • Read-alouds/Independent reading – I’ll be choosing quality literature for read-alouds and offer books for Satori to read independently. Currently I am reading The Trumpet of the Swan (during the day) and The Secret Garden (at bedtime) concurrently. Satori has read abridged versions of Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea and has now moved to Mrs. Frisby and the Secret of Nimh. I’ll try to update our read-aloud page, I’ve neglected it for quite some time.



Along with being grammar junkies, we also love expanding our vocabulary.

  • Wordly Wise 3000 Book 3 – We’ve used this program since kindergarten and just started book 3 in July. Starting with book 2, we have added an online portion to introduce the words and play vocabulary games for review. 3x/week.
  • MCT Building Language – This is a vocabulary book that goes along with the main MCT language arts program I mentioned up in Grammar. It shouldn’t take too long to finish.



Two programs to ramp up our Spanish skills.

  • REAL Homeschool Spanish – This is yet another newly released program for 2011, and we are one of the first to try it out. The emphasis is to get speaking Spanish on a conversational basis.
  • Elementary Spanish – We’ll be continuing with these online video lessons that are 20 minutes that we get through the Discovery Education Streaming subscription. It’s nice to have some programs be independent, as I have a Spanish degree myself, but by using REAL Homeschool Spanish as well, I can easily keep up to speed speaking Spanish with Satori.



On to the next level of Latin after finishing Song School Latin the end of first grade.



Geography is covered pretty thoroughly in our homeschool.


Critical Thinking

We love logic puzzles, workbooks, and games! Here’s our lineup of logic workbooks for grade 2 – we especially like the Prufrock Press logic and reasoning books. I noticed that some of these now offer a PDF version on the Prufrock Press website. It looks like we’ll be moving to the next level this year – grade 3-4 level books. I schedule these workbooks twice a week.



Although we may not get to art every week, I’d love to try better this year.

  • Meet the Masters – Meet the Masters is our art appreciation program that we fell in love with last year. It’s really made us so excited about famous artists! We’ve finished the first Track A and will be continuing on with Track B, Year 2. 1x/week.
  • Artistic Pursuits – We use this for more creative art exploration. This series offers art projects for PreK-12. We are currently on Book 1 – An Introduction to the Visual Arts. My goal is to hit Book 2 this fall. 1x/week.


 Other Favorite Resources

This is not a comprehensive list, but just some of our favorites we might use every day or at least every week or so.

  • The Well-Trained Mind forums -  I linked to the K-8 Curriculum board which I peruse non-stop. This is a classical education homeschooling forum, but people of all homeschooling styles hang out here. Such a great diversity of perspectives and advice. Highly recommend it!
  • SecularHomeschool.com – my second favorite homeschooling forum
  • Amazon – for books, games, puzzles, educational toys and more!
  • Rainbow Resource – jaw-dropping homeschooling store
  • Homeschool SkedTrack – free, flexible online lesson planner, scheduler, and tracking system. I don’t know what I’d do without it.
  • Homeschool Buyers Co-op – What a wonderful service for homeschoolers!
  • Discovery Education Streaming – purchased through Homeschool Buyers Co-op
  • BrainPop – We have the subscription to both BrainPop and BrainPop Jr.
  • Sheppard Software – we love their geography section
  • Anki – free, friendly, intelligent flashcards. I’ve set it up so all our computers and iPad/iPhone synch up. If I’m not on a computer with this software yet, we can still use Anki Online.
  • Wordsmyth – Cool educational dictionary website, includes super-fun quiz makers, interactive glossary maker and more. I can’t wait for their new WILD – Wordsmyth Illustrated Learner’s Dictionary website to launch! Looks absolutely amazing.
  • Wordly Wise 3000 Vocabulary – online vocabulary games/quizzes
  • CartoCraze – online geography community and maps