It’s helpful to know what others have done, loved, and not loved when it comes to homeschooling a specific age or grade, so I thought I would do this little recap of our second grade year! I know what it’s like to be neck deep in research, scouring the internet for 2nd grade homeschool curriculum reviews. My oldest son just finished second grade, and I can’t believe we will be starting third this year! I say this every year, but he’s just growing way too fast.
My school age boys are registered in a specific grade level for record keeping and registration purposes. And although most of the time they are doing work on that level, that’s not always the case! Usually there is some kind of variation in level for different subjects. I say this because I don’t think anyone should be worried about their child not being on a certain level just because they’re “in second grade.” I know used to worry about that. But as my kids have grown, I’ve learned that each of them develops at a different pace for different things. And that’s totally okay.
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An overview of our homeschool year
Since my kids are still pretty young, we keep our home school super simple. When my oldest started school, I felt like we needed to have some kind of book for every subject, including science and history. Looking back I realize a couple of things. First, it just isn’t necessary! Second, nearly every kid learns way more when they’re engaging with the world around them than they do when reading from a textbook.
Whew, I went on a bit of a tangent there. The purpose was to explain that we really didn’t use a LOT of curriculum in second grade. However, we did use some! And although I am a big proponent of simply living a lifestyle of learning, I also know that having structured time set aside to focus on the 3 R’s (reading, writing, & arithmetic) is important. That is why we do still use textbooks, especially for those subjects.
Homeschool Language Arts curriculum for 2nd grade
This is the second year in a row that we used the Language Arts curriculum from The Good & The Beautiful. I am an open & go type person and I don’t like having to work with a lot of manipulatives. I like this language arts curriculum for that reason. Sometimes I’ll need to pull out a few extra supplies, but it’s pretty much always things we have around the house anyway.
The curriculum is simple yet beautiful at the same time. The “checklist style” lessons give my son a feeling of accomplishment as he works. I also love that it encompasses not just the subjects of reading and writing, but spelling, poetry, art appreciation, and more.
My son actually finished Level 1 before we took winter break. We started Level 2 this past January, so he’s only about halfway through the book now. From what I have heard and experienced, the levels are paced slightly ahead of what the grade level would actually be. My second grader is a phenomenal reader so that aspect was easy for him. The writing and grammar concepts were more challenging. For us, it evens out being able to breeze through most of the reading practice, but spend more time discussing and digesting grammar and writing.
The biggest difference I’ve noticed between Levels 1 and 2 is the amount of independent practice in each lesson. Some days it is mostly writing, while some days it is mostly reading. But there is a full page of independent practice for the child to complete in almost every lesson. There have been a few times it has felt tedious. Because of that, there are exercises I have let him skip here and there if I know he has already mastered the concept.
Homeschool Math curriculum for 2nd grade
For 2nd grade math, we decided to use Math Lessons for a Living Education by Masterbooks. This curriculum is also mostly open & go. It incorporates the Charlotte Mason style of learning, which involves reading “living stories” and not just dry facts. The whole textbook is broken up into weekly lessons, and there is a continuing story to read at the beginning of each one. Then there is a page or two of exercises to complete each day. My son enjoyed the story aspect of it and I think it helped keep him engaged.
We got through the entire book and I feel like he learned a lot. He now knows how to carry and borrow which he had never done before the beginning of this year. He is also much stronger in counting money, telling time, and interpreting graphs.
I skipped several exercises that required manipulatives I just didn’t have time to collect or make. But there are quite a few manipulatives/resources provided in the back of the book. If you are going to use those (we used some, but not all), I highly recommend having a laminator.
I would say the biggest pro to this math curriculum is that the daily exercises are short and easy to complete, helping with the child’s confidence. There is a lot of repetition and review. It is definitely a mastery-based curriculum, which I do appreciate.
The biggest con for us was the amount of busywork. It may not be necessary if your child catches on fairly quickly. There was also quite a bit of copywork which I don’t feel like is always super helpful with solidifying math concepts.
Other books and curriculum we used for 2nd grade
These are the only 2 curriculums we used every single school day, but I want to include a few other things we used in this collection of 2nd grade homeschool curriculum reviews. When it comes to other subjects, we are very relaxed and tend to just read books about whatever we’re interested in. We did read from the devotional Indescribable most days which I highly recommend! Our kids learned so many fun scientific facts in a way that instilled awe and wonder of their amazing Creator. We read and discuss the Bible regularly so I didn’t see the need in an additional Bible curriculum, at least not this year.
During our first semester we did additional handwriting practice (Level 1 from The Good & The Beautiful) because I didn’t feel like there was as much writing in the Level 1 Language Arts. We also did some social studies most days from this workbook. But spring was so busy for us that I decided to drop that. My son does a lot of independent reading and learns a ton on his own. He is specifically into non-fiction “fact” books so I don’t feel like we need a full curriculum for subjects like science and history at his age.
I do have to encourage him to read “living” books. This year I had him read Black Beauty and Winnie the Pooh. I feel like it’s good for his imagination and a helpful discipline for him to read through a whole chapter book.
The last thing I really want to share here is Reading Eggs! We have been using Reading Eggs for years and it has been invaluable to teaching my kids phonics and reading. Now that it’s summer, I let them take turns on the tablet for about 20 minutes each and work on their lessons.
Were these 2nd grade homeschool curriculum reviews not enough? Check out my other post on how to choose homeschool curriculum!
Want some suggestions on educational activities you can do with your 2nd grader this summer? Read my Summer Activity Roundup!