2nd Grade Charlotte Mason Homeschool Plans, 2021-2022

Sylvia is the only girl in a house full of boys. She is so creative and is always sewing or finger knitting or folding paper or making something! The house is full of her creations. She also loves animals and will sometimes list all the animals she is going to own someday. Recently, she really has her heart set on getting rabbits to care for herself, but I'm not open to that for at least another year!

She loves being out in nature, although long hikes are still not her favorite. She caught and kept crickets again this summer and we got to observe all kinds of cricket behavior. She has a big heart and sometimes nature's way can be very overwhelming to her. We both cried yesterday to find that two large robin nestlings we had been observing since their hatching had died . . . maybe from the remnants of Ida?

Sylvia is a very young 2nd-grader who just turned 7 (the age I turned 3 months into my 1st-grade year). If I could go back in time, I would have given her a second year of kindergarten last year, but there was a recent change in PA education law and I wasn't sure how to interpret it at the time. 

So, last year was 1st grade and this year 2nd grade. But I have determined that she still needs a very gentle year. We are continuing to work on big feelings and fears and perfectionism that interfere with learning on some days. I have faith that if we continue forward with consistency, she will "catch up" to her numerical grade in another year or two (just as her older brother has almost "caught up" with peers in reading). 

Here is the very simple year I have planned for newly 7-year-old Sylvia. 

Our Schedule
Sylvia and I meet around 8:30am while my husband can run interference with 3-year-old Harry and 1-year-old George for about 30 minutes and sometimes longer. Yes, I am very spoiled that my husband has a 5-minute commute plus a flexible schedule! It takes her about 45-60 minutes to finish up our simple seatwork (reading, math, recitation, copywork, and either a nature or history reading). 

I probably would have cringed to read plans like this five years ago. 45 minutes of school for a 2nd grader? But I know all the rich educational happenings that occur outside that "seatwork" time including our hour of morning time, our 2 fiction books we read during lunch, our 90 minutes of afternoon occupations, our time spent outdoors, and, of course, our many opportunities for practical learning and (ahem) conflict resolution practice.

I have always described a Charlotte Mason education as similar to 2 hours of tutoring and the rest unschooling. And that is one of the reasons why I love it so much.

Plans by Subject
I love to consult Ambleside Online, a Catholic Charlotte Mason curriculumA Gentle FeastWildwood Curriculum,  A Delectable EducationSabbath Mood Homeschool, and Heritage Mom for book ideas, but I put our plans together in my own way. I have tried to note in [ ] whether I'm using a free book or how much I paid for each of the resources we are using. I am committed to homeschooling with free or really cheap books as part of our journey to be debt-free while living on one income. I have also listed all of the subjects we do as a family here.

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Language Arts
I "splurged" on my first real reading curriculum ever and I really love it. 100 Gentle Lessons in Sight and Sound [$69.01 shipped] is everything I wanted and attempted to do for John when he was learning to read, except I'm actually able to accomplish everything because I'm not making it on the fly (as I tried to do for John). I got the printed version which comes with a digital copy for printing consumable parts, so I may get to use it again. 

Sylvia can read many words . . . sometimes . . . but I felt like she definitely needed to start too easy rather than start too hard because reading hasn't clicked in a big way yet. We usually do 1 lesson per day although sometimes we will repeat a lesson or stretch a lesson over two days. 

Sylvia is working on her writing by working through My Book of Writing Words [$5.75 from Rainbow Resource Center]. She does about 1 page per day. She is also writing her own thank you notes and frequently writes me love letters (Sylvia lovs mom) especially after we've had a difficult morning ;-) 

Sylvia will work to recite beautifully three pieces per half-term of homeschooling (about 6 weeks). She will get a chance to recite them for all of us at our family poetry tea during break weeks. I choose a poem and passage (or another poem) and she chooses one poem.  I align my choices with the term's poet, Shakespeare play, or history as possible. We read or listen to each poem twice per morning. This year I chose:

The Faery Forest by Sara Teasdale
Dusk in Autumn by Sara Teasdale
Fire and Ice by Robert Frost
A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement C. Moore
Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost
"They say Aslan is on the move." passage by C.S. Lewis
Tyger, Tyger by William Blake
The Kite by Harry Behn
The Sick Rose by William Blake

Social Studies: History & Geography
I describe all of the history plans here.

I have ALWAYS scheduled geography as an individual subject for my kids . . . until this year!!! I was concerned that by scheduling two more 15-20 minutes blocks for John and Sylvia per week where I would need to read to them and look at a map with them, I would not allow enough margin to our days. 

I fully expect to schedule this subject an individual subject again when I only have one child that needs me to read it to them. And hopefully, that will be next year. For this year, however, we will be including Geography in our morning time, and our readings will not be narrated. 

For this subject, I plan to read Walk the Worlds Rim by Betty Baker [already owned - $5.44 used on Amazon, bought with promo credit] and Minn of the Mississippi by Holling C. Holling [already owned - used book gifted by a friend]. We will read only a small portion at a time and follow the action of the stories on a map. 

I really like math to be lighthearted and playful for as long as possible. Sylvia needs some practice with basic operations and counting and she likes knowing exactly what to expect so I picked up this inexpensive workbook. It is keeping her moving forward on her math skills and practicing the basics that she will need. She does 1-2 pages per day from 180 Days of Math for First Grade [$14.95 from Rainbox Resource Center]

Nature Lore
Sylvia and I are going to read a small portion of a nature book about twice a week. We are going to work through the following list:
African Critters by Robert Haas [already owned for $3.99 on Thriftbooks
North: The Amazing Story of Arctic Migration by Nick Dowson and Patrick Benson [already owned gifted book]
Eyes and No Eyes, picking up where we left off last year (ebook and/or Librivox)
Books from the 13 Moons Series that Sylvia's siblings have heard but she hasn't [$1-$6 used each]

Special Studies
I will include books in our morning time on these topics and other nature topics as needed.

Term 1: Weeds, Water Plants and Grass, Small Mammals

Term 2: Fruit Trees and Bees

Term 3: Wildflowers and Weather

Nature Journaling
Sylvia will continue her practice of dictating daily entries of nature observations in his notebook. Once a week, afternoon occupations will include time to paint something from nature in the notebook.

Wild + Free
We will continue to participate in our weekly year-round all-weather nature group at a rural property. Last year we found baby raccoons, snakes, turtles, a skink, countless newts, tadpoles, insects, bones, and the kids caught fish in the pond. Sometimes the parents plan a science or nature lesson, but often mother nature does all the teaching required. I count it as physical education and science on our schedule. 

Art and Music
Artist study, music appreciation, and folk singing will be included as part of morning time, and handicrafts, drawing, and art will be included in afternoon occupations as described here.

Sylvia is not interested in learning the piano right now and I am 100% in the camp that it is better to start an instrument late, than early, so we will continue to revisit this question over the coming year.

Physical Education
Honestly, this is an area that every member of the family could use to work on! Some items on the agenda this year for Sylvia:
  • Swimming lessons (summer)
  • AYSO Soccer (Fall and Spring)
  • Presidential Fitness Challenge @ Home - We are all going to be learning the exercises and setting some personal goals towards completing this challenge.
  • Ice skating (Winter)
  • Hiking, biking, and frequent walks around our town
Girl Scouting
Sylvia and I joined the girl scouts last summer so this will be our first full year of participation with our troop.

So far, our homeschool feels full in a good way. By the time I got around to posting this, we are already five weeks into these plans and I can see that every member of the family is benefiting from more margin in our days. It shows in a more peaceful, creative, and relaxed homeschool for all.