Second Grade Language Arts

The teaching of 2nd grade language arts is about as much fun as anything. There are far less bodily fluids (which is good) but students still cry a lot. More importantly, many fot he students are not really reading books which is incredibly fun and satisfying.

Second graders are a fun group who are still really curious and not yet the least bit tired of learning. Many will now start to have real interests so you can learn from them which is a total hoot.

But, second grade parents can be a bit of a pill. More on that later. (Did i mention that I suggested to one parent that if her child was really that much of a snowflake, maybe she should homeschool her? No, I didn’t really say that but I did think about it as she droned on one day about the things that I had to understand about her child….LOL, teacher humor….)

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Weather Curriculum

It’s March!

Of course you know about the basketball March Madness that goes on this month, but did you know that students get their own sort of March Madness?

Let me give you some of the symptoms…

Fidgeting at the desk…
Inability to concentrate…
Starring out the window…
Longing glances, heavy sighs…

Recognize any of those symptoms? It’s spring fever, of course!

Maybe now would be a good time to step away from the regularly scheduled homeschool and delve into a weather curriculum for a week or so. In most places March is a really variable month, still cold on some days, yet only days later it is beautiful, warm, and breezy.

Let your child play weather related games, step outside when the warm breezes beg for flying a kite, enjoy the tulips and daffodils that are blooming. And most of all let your students recharge their batteries so that they are ready for the push to finish school in April and May.

Happy Spring!

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Living and Nonliving

It’s February! Happy Valentine’s Day!

It is amazing to watch children learn!

Here is an example of what I am talking about…Living and nonliving things.

How do you know whether it is living or not? Of course, there are criteria to determine if something is living or nonliving. We know that. And how do you explain the distinction between nonliving and dead? Isn’t dead the opposite of living?

I watched a mom try to explain to her son that the rock was not alive. He wanted to know if it was dead. She told him no, that it was not dead, that it had never been living. He wanted to know if it had been alive when it was a baby rock.

I listened as she went around and around with him, trying to explain living and nonliving (as opposed to dead) and that nonliving things didn’t start as babies and grow bigger.

I’m amazed every day to watch the wheels in my daughter’s head turn, and to watch learning occur. Enjoy the learning journey!!

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Welcome new homeschoolers!

It’s January!

I celebrate an anniversary of sorts in January. January is the month that we began homeschooling.

Many families begin their homeschooling journey at this time of year. Sometimes it is because of a move but often it is because the traditional classroom setting is not working for their child any longer.

I fought with my daughter to go to school every morning, and about what happened in school (or didn’t) every afternoon.

I fought with the teacher about treatment of my daughter in class and with the principal about the teacher and my daughter.

Basically, I got tired of the fighting. Our home was in total chaos. No one was happy, and no learning was happening. Something had to change!

We started homeschooling mid-year, and as each January rolls around I remember why we chose homeschooling, and why it works for us. I am also reminded that some other family might have just taken a frightening leap into homeschooling.

Regardless of whether you are a Christian homeschooler, or sought a secular curriculum online, if you are new to homeschooling this month I just want to welcome you to the adventure!

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Christmas Penmanship

It’s December!

Sometimes I get a note or card written by one of my sister’s children. It always has faint pencil lines drawn so that the child can practice letter formation and placement as they also practice the formalities such as greetings, salutations, and the etiquette of letter writing. I admire my sister for teaching this to her children and I think it is important.

That being said, my child has terrible penmanship, couldn’t address an envelope, or format a letter correctly. Part of the reason for this is my daughter is a reluctant writer, both creatively and physically. It is just not worth the agony!

You might be wondering what this has to do with the season at hand…

I was just going to suggest that your might get your child some useful handwriting practice by letting the handwriting practice actually mean something not only to the child, but to the recipient of the cards and letters. Have your children send Christmas cards to friends, relatives, and Santa (if that is your belief).

The child gets practice, get in the mood for the season, the recipient’s enjoy getting the mail, and the excitement builds!

Merry Christmas!

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Try a Curriculum Pick Me Up!

It’s November!

I love this time of the year and the school year. The weather is improving (in my opinion!) and there is so much going on! With the holidays approaching there are so many learning opportunities to consider.

Here are a few learning activities to consider this month.

In science:
Changing of the seasons.
• Talk about what causes the seasons to change.
• Talk about how the wild animals prepare during the fall for the cold winter ahead.
• Talk about why the leaves change colors and fall from the trees.

In social studies:
Go ahead and explain the “holiday season”.
• You probably have already had a discussion with your child about whether or not you participate in Halloween and why.
• Continue the holiday theme with a historical account of Thanksgiving.
• Talk about how other places prepare, view, and celebrate the coming holidays.

There are a couple of ways to enrich science and social studies during this time of year because there is a lot of this season wrapped up in food! So measurements for baking are science, trying the new food from a different culture or celebration is social studies.

Don’t forget to include online science and social studies games to pack down all the great ideas you share with your kids!

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Math Anxiety

It’s October!

Does your child have math anxiety? Well, before you answer yes you might want to know what math anxiety is. One source says that math anxiety is sort of like stage fright. They went on to explain that it a fear or anxiety associated with math that makes it uncomfortable for students.

I understand math anxiety. My math anxiety is the reason I did not follow a science degree in college. I feel safe in saying my adult life would have been different if I hadn’t have been so darned afraid of math!

I have to try really hard not to put my math anxiety onto my daughter. If she has her own fears regarding math that is ok and we will deal with it, but I do not want to show her my own anxiety.

To that end, I always look at the math assignments ahead of time; make sure I can work the problems. If I don’t understand the assignments then I make the effort to learn so that I can explain it to my daughter. Truth be known, I am getting better at math as we work our way through my daughter’s homeschool curriculum. 

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Spelling Word Lists

It’s September!

Are you and your kids getting back into the swing of school? September is a great month for school. In a lot of the country fall is beginning and the newness of the school year has not turned into “when will school be over”. We are not quite close enough to the holidays to distract our students yet.

So what are we looking at school-wise? Well, two of the things we are focusing on around this time of year are math facts and language arts. One of the things I really hate to do is come up with spelling word lists that why I was overjoyed when I found a place online that offered spelling lists per grade.

It is one less thing I have to plan, one less thing I have to worry about. I think schooling should be easy and interesting and so I love to find online resources that help me get done what we need to get done.

Do you have an online resource you want to share with us?

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Not Back to School!

It’s August!

Time for “Not back to school” which is what a lot of homeschoolers call the beginning of the new school year!
You know what I love about this time of year? I love new school supplies. Even if you use an online homeschool curriculum your child is still probably going to need an amazing number of pencils, notebooks, pencil sharpeners, erasers, and scissors (especially if you have a child in the lower elementary grades!)

Take advantage of the sales during this time to stock up. A notebook that might only cost you twenty or thirty cents during the back to school sales might cost you a dollar or more in November. Also take advantage of the tax free weekends. Many states have these and don’t charge sales tax on school supplies, up to and including computers and laptops. Oh, and by the way, homeschoolers do when it comes to these sales and tax holidays so make sure those who are new to homeschooling know this.

I think getting bright, shiny, new school supplies is a great way to build excitement about school and starting a new school year!

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Online Education Games

It’s July!

We are getting ready to take our short summer break since we homeschool year round. It will be a glorious three week break, yippy!

For some of you the month of July is the middle of the summer and sometimes that means that your kiddos are getting a little bored. And for some of you it is miserably hot about now. This means your kids might be hanging out in the house looking for something to do.

I think a great way to occupy kids during the summer, give them a break from the heat, and to keep their brains from the summer brain drain is to let them play some educational games. Maybe you could let them play online hangman (hang mouse?), or some of the online keyboarding games. There are many online math games where students get to practice their math skills.

Consider a little online educational game time to get past the summer doldrums 

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