Our First Grade / Second Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices

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Homeschool curriculum choies for a combined first and second grade year. Selections for math, spelling, grammar, copywork, science, geography, and history. Based on recommendations from The Well Trained Mind.

We are ready!  It has taken me a while to figure out all of our Homeschool Curriculum Choices for the year, but everything has been selected and ordered and is ready to go next week when we begin.  My daughter is 6, so officially she is having a first grade year.  If you look at our curriculum choices, though, you'll find quite a few second grade choices.  That's the beauty of homeschooling- we are able to work where she is!  Hopefully reading about our curriculum choices might help some of you make your own curriculum decisions, particularly for bright or gifted children.

Most of our choices are based on recommendations from The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Bauer.  We've made some modifications to suit our family, but are overall big fans of the program.

While you're at it, you can take a peek at our Kindergarten/First Grade Homeschool Curriculum and read a final End Of Year Review of those choices.  Also be sure to read about What My Four-Year-Old Does While We Homeschool.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Math

Saxon Math 2, part of homeschool math curriculum choices for first or second grade

We really like the Saxon math program, so we're sticking with it.  The lessons are straightforward for me to execute, and there is plenty of practice for students.  I especially like the focus on daily math fact drills, since learning those well is crucial for later math fluency.  This year we'll finish up Saxon Math 2 and begin working in Saxon Math 3 sometime during the year.

Homeschool curriculum choies for a combined first and second grade year. Selections for math, spelling, grammar, copywork, science, geography, and history. Based on recommendations from The Well Trained Mind.     Homeschool curriculum choies for a combined first and second grade year. Selections for math, spelling, grammar, copywork, science, geography, and history. Based on recommendations from The Well Trained Mind.

Lena really enjoys both of these books that we got to use as supplements over the summer, so we'll use them during the year as well.  The Complete Book Of Time And Money provides lots of money and time review (obviously).  I'm also a HUGE fan of logic puzzles and games, so Lollypop Logic by Bonnie Risby and Robert Risby fits the bill - there are 3 books for the K-2 grade levels.

Copywork / Handwriting


Homeschool curriculum choies for a combined first and second grade year. Selections for math, spelling, grammar, copywork, science, geography, and history. Based on recommendations from The Well Trained Mind.

Writing With Ease Level 2 by Susan Wise Bauer provides lots of handwriting practice, while also developing writing conventions such as punctuation and capitalization, proper sentence structure, and spacing.  What I love best about this curriculum is that it also works to teach students to listen and write their own clear and concise synthesis of what they have heard.  That's a really important skill!

Homeschool curriculum choies for a combined first and second grade year. Selections for math, spelling, grammar, copywork, science, geography, and history. Based on recommendations from The Well Trained Mind.

Lena has been begging to learn cursive, so I picked up this simple workbook, Ready-Set-Learn Cursive Writing Practice, for her.  She can't wait to get started!

Grammar

Homeschool curriculum choies for a combined first and second grade year. Selections for math, spelling, grammar, copywork, science, geography, and history. Based on recommendations from The Well Trained Mind.

The grammar program First Language Lessons For The Well Trained Mind: Level 2 by Jessie Wise teaches the basics of grammar.  I love that it also encourages listening and synthesizing information, and contains nice poems for students to memorize.

Spelling

Homeschool curriculum choies for a combined first and second grade year. Selections for math, spelling, grammar, copywork, science, geography, and history. Based on recommendations from The Well Trained Mind.

Lena is a good speller, and she often asks to do more spelling than I require of her.  This year we're on track to finish  Spelling Workout C and Spelling Workout D.  I like this spelling program because it is easy for me (no preparation!) and has little games and puzzles to help learn the words.  I'm not sure if it would provide enough practice for a child who struggled with spelling, but it feels like just the right amount of work for children to whom it comes naturally.

Reading

I'm not doing a formal reading curriculum with Lena this year.  She is (of course) allowed to make her own choices for free time reading.  For "school," though, I've collected some books that I think she'll enjoy and plan to have her read them aloud to me.  I'll monitor her fluency and ability to sound out new words, and we'll talk about them so that I can check her comprehension.

Here's what I've chosen:


Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
The Story Of Doctor Doolittle by Hugh Lofting
Little House In The Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
The Courage Of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh
The Cricket In Times Square by George Selden
The Family Under The Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson
Little Horse by Betsy Byers
The Borrowers by Mary Norton

Science

Homeschool curriculum choies for a combined first and second grade year. Selections for math, spelling, grammar, copywork, science, geography, and history. Based on recommendations from The Well Trained Mind.

I really dropped the ball on science last year.  This year, I'm determined to do better, and think that  The Curious Kid's Science Book by Asia Citro will be a good fit for us.  Lena has a simple science notebook and each week we'll pick and experiment or activity to complete and take some notes on.  I showed the book to her and she immediately chose some favorites that look "SO FUN!"

Geography

 Homeschool curriculum choies for a combined first and second grade year. Selections for math, spelling, grammar, copywork, science, geography, and history. Based on recommendations from The Well Trained Mind

We'll be doing some world geography this year using Expedition Earth from Confessions of a Homeschooler.  It works through 31 countries, with lessons, suggestions for hands-on activities, a student workbook, and book recommendations to extend learning.  We'll probably spend 2 years completing the curriculum.

History

Homeschool curriculum choies for a combined first and second grade year. Selections for math, spelling, grammar, copywork, science, geography, and history. Based on recommendations from The Well Trained Mind.

Last year we started The Story Of The World Vol. 1 by Susan Wise Bauer and did some work in the accompanying Activity Book.  We'll continue this year, with an emphasis on Greek and Roman culture.  

Homeschool curriculum choies for a combined first and second grade year. Selections for math, spelling, grammar, copywork, science, geography, and history. Based on recommendations from The Well Trained Mind.     Homeschool curriculum choies for a combined first and second grade year. Selections for math, spelling, grammar, copywork, science, geography, and history. Based on recommendations from The Well Trained Mind.

I'm really excited to introduce the girls to some classic Greek myths with D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths by Ingri D'Aulaire as well as the audio book, Greek Myths Audio Book read by Jim Weiss.  We may also use Tales From The Odyssey, Part 1 & Tales From The Odyssey, Part 2 by Mary Pope Osborne as a breakfast read aloud.

 Homeschool curriculum choies for a combined first and second grade year. Selections for math, spelling, grammar, copywork, science, geography, and history. Based on recommendations from The Well Trained Mind. Homeschool curriculum choies for a combined first and second grade year. Selections for math, spelling, grammar, copywork, science, geography, and history. Based on recommendations from The Well Trained Mind.

For some non-fiction choices, we have Where Is The Parthenon? by Roberta Edwards and Who Was Julius Caesar? by Nico Medina.

Art

We're outsourcing art this year to a co-op.  It'll be great, and will free up some of my arts/crafts capacity for activities to feature here on Cutting Tiny Bites.

Spanish

Mostly because of scheduling issues, Lena is also taking Spanish at our co-op.  She loves the idea of learning another language and Spanish seems like a good place to start!

Music

Lena still takes violin lessons, and we try to expose her to different musical styles. I hope to focus on one composer (or genre) each month as I make our dinnertime music selection!

Homeschool curriculum choies for a combined first and second grade year. Selections for math, spelling, grammar, copywork, science, geography, and history. Based on recommendations from The Well Trained Mind.

We also have The Story Of The Orchestra by Robert Levine and it looks like lots of fun.  It's not really "curriculum" but is something that we're using!

Record Keeping

While not curriculum, I'm excited to share this little gem with you.  I'm not really good at making detailed homeschool plans.  Mostly, I pull out our homeschool crate, take a look and see what the next lessons are.  And then depending on everyone's attitudes and work habits for the day we figure out how much school to do.  I'm also not very good about keeping track of what we've done, and really value all the "non-school" learning opportunities that come up in a typical day.  Which is why I love the Record of the Learning Lifestyle from Notgrass Publishing.  It provides a place to record the learning that your child has done in ALL areas, including the usual academic subjects, but also service to others, family relationships, health, and household chores and learning.  We used it in the spring, and will pick it up again with the school year! (Disclosure: My friend Charlene Notgrass provided me with a copy of the Record of the Learning Lifestyle as gift from a veteran homeschooler to a newbie!)

Whew!  When it's all written out like that it looks like a lot.  But based on what we accomplished last year, I think it's a reasonable amount of schoolwork for Lena.  We'll adjust as necessary!

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From Other Great Bloggers

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Homeschooling Gifted Learners from Raising Lifelong Learners

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Homeschool curriculum choies for a combined first and second grade year. Selections for math, spelling, grammar, copywork, science, geography, and history. Based on recommendations from The Well Trained Mind.

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Cutting Tiny Bites: Our First Grade / Second Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices
Our First Grade / Second Grade Homeschool Curriculum Choices
Homeschool curriculum choies for a combined first and second grade year. Selections for math, spelling, grammar, copywork, science, geography, and history. Based on recommendations from The Well Trained Mind.
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