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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Tis the Season

Christmas is my favorite time of year! The songs, the decorations, the joy and happiness that are on so many little faces…it’s all wonderful to me.  When I was younger, it was my favorite time of year because of the anticipation of Santa and the gifts he would bring.  Now that I’m a parent, I find myself enjoying the giving of the gifts far more than I ever enjoyed the receiving of them.

That is a something that I didn’t really get until I was an adult. I wouldn’t say that I was unusually selfish as a child, but I definitely had more “MeMeMe!” moments than I am proud of. That lesson of “giving instead of getting” is something that I want to teach my children while they are children, rather than waiting for them to be adults to understand.

This year the boys are doing Toys for Tots again. We did it last year with a smaller amount of money, but this year they have saved and we are giving them a little extra to buy things with. They are already talking about what they are going to buy. I’m so proud of them for spending their money on, and putting so much effort into, making sure other kids have the best Christmas they can!

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Halloween is one of those celebrations that’s fairly debated and controversial. Some families do not participate because of conflicting spiritual beliefs. Some families don’t participate because of health concerns (kids can trick or treat but they can’t eat the candy so what’s the point kinda thing).

We don’t celebrate Halloween, but we do participate. To me, that’s not the same thing. We don’t say it’s a “holiday” or anything. It’s dress up and get candy day. That’s it. Others may find a deep historical meaning to the day, but we don’t.

Having said all of that, I respect everyone’s right to celebrate or not celebrate how they see fit. Part of that whole independence and freedom thing we cherish as Americans. :)

What about you and your family? Do you participate in Halloween festivities?

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Math Games

Where my oldest struggles with math, my youngest enjoys it. He hates to write (but is more than willing to type, lol), is a late reader and could honestly care less about spelling. But he enjoys math. While I wish he had more enthusiasm for other subjects, I’m very grateful for that fact. Math is one of those subjects where so many people have a hard time with it, or just hate it.

Since he is only seven, there is only so much we can do to hold his attention. He does well with his homeschool curriculum, but when we need to work on something a little longer he have to change tactics. This is where playing math games comes in.

Even though is still learning, he’s playing. So he fidgets less and doesn’t get as distracted.  I’m sure there are tons of math games that aren’t on the internet/computer, but since we prefer everything on the computer, we of course play online games. It’s nice to be able to reinforce certain concepts in such a way that he doesn’t resist me at every turn!

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Trying to Teach Abbreviations

There are so many things I find hard to teach, with one of my hardest being sight words. Why do I find them so hard to teach? Because I have a second grader who has to have a reasonable, valid explanation for everything. He needs to know why “night” is spelled with a “gh.” Then he needs to know why “knight” is spelled with a “k;” after all there are other words that are spelled the same but have different meanings.

Next for most difficult is teaching word abbreviations. Yes, these fall under the same concept of sight words; meaning he is just supposed to know them when he sees them. But again with the explanations! Why does “Mrs.” have an “r” in it? Why is “Avenue” abbreviated “Ave.” when “Road,” “Drive” and “Street” are only two letter abbreviations? I have said “because that’s JUST THE WAY IT IS” more times than I should. I dislike that explanation, but end up throwing my hands up in frustration.

I am glad that he doesn’t just take everything at face value, and that he really wants to know what he is asking, but it can be hard to keep our groove going when we end up so off track sometimes, lol.

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Second Grade is SO Much Different from First Grade!

That’s what my youngest son said to me when he started second grade. I had to explain to him that that’s generally what happens every time you go up a grade…things get a little harder each year. He then promptly told me that he would be just fine hanging out in first grade thank you very much, lol.

When my oldest thought back to when started second grade, he said he felt older.  When I asked him what he meant, he said he felt like he went from “little kid” to “bigger kid.” I thought that was a pretty good description. So I tried to use that with my youngest. He said he didn’t feel older, he just felt like it was more work. Out of the mouths of babes, huh? :)

I have known for a while that even thought my sons have so many similarities, they are also very different. I think this year is really going to prove that further. I’m looking forward to seeing what the year holds!

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These Are a Few of My Favorite Things…

What is my favorite thing about August, besides the fact that both of my boys were born in August?

The back to school sales!

Yep, I’m nuts about them. I love stocking up (my husband calls it hoarding, I call it being prepared, lol) on all those fun school supplies. I can go pretty crazy over a lot of the things that are on sale, but there are a few items that I think you just can’t have too many of.

Spiral notebooks are wonderful. When they are $.10 each, I generally buy 10 for each boy. They can use them to doodle in, journal in, whatever.

Disposable mechanical pencils are an absolute. Yes, normal pencils are cheaper, but my time is more important to me than the difference in the cost between regular or mechanical pencils. Spend two hours in one day sharpening pencils and you’ll understand where I’m coming from.

Glue sticks are my most favorite. I will start my school year off with 50 glue sticks and by the time next year’s sale starts I will be down to zero.

What school supplies do you stock up on each summer?

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Are Your Kids Still Learning Cursive?

As an adult, I can safely say that the only time I ever use cursive handwriting is when I sign my name. I don’t use it for note taking, I don’t use it for general purposes; I just don’t use it. I look at how much time was spent teaching cursive to us when we were in school and I cringe at how much time I feel was wasted.

I know that there are many people who will disagree with me, but it’s becoming more and more apparent that there are also many people who feel the same way. I know public school children who don’t even know how to sign their name, much less do anything else in cursive. In my local homeschool group, several parents said they just want their children to be able to write legibly and creatively and they don’t feel that learning cursive is as important as it was once thought.

For my own children, it’s never been brought up. My oldest is in 7th grade and he came up with his own way of signing his name; kinda a mix between printed and cursive. And I’m ok with that. My youngest is in 2nd grade and it’s all I can do to get him to pick up a pencil (he would rather type everything, lol), so cursive isn’t on my mind there either.

Are your kids still learning cursive, either in school or by your instruction?

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Going to the Movies

We love watching movies as a family. Action movies, comedies, animated movies, whatever. We like piling up on the couch together and having movie marathons. We also like to go to the theater and see new movies. Some people think it’s a big waste of money, but it’s actually a part of our monthly budget!

We always go to matinees. Always. We have a local Carmike theater, and they even have a bargain matinee that’s cheaper than the already cheaper matinee prices, if you go between 4pm and 5pm. We don’t generally buy a lot of refreshments, as that more often than not adds up to more than the movie tickets.

One of our favorite things to do in the summer is catch the summer kids movie series. Several national chains run these summer movies. They are usually last summer’s big family friendly blockbusters. But the admission is either free or VERY discounted (like $1). It’s a good time to catch the movies you missed last year, or to see the ones that you didn’t really want to pay for to begin with.  :)

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Summer, Summer, Summertime…

When I was in school, June couldn’t get here fast enough. I was always so ready for school to be done and had so many plans for how I was going to spend my summer. Then June would run into July, and July would run into August. It was great, but every summer by the time August rolled around, I was bored out of my mind and I was just itching for school to start back up.

Trying to plan out our summers now, I always keep that in mind. I want the boys to have a good summer, but I don’t want them to get bored at any point. I try to spread out any trips and big events. That way, even if we have down time for most of a week, there is still something to look forward to every week.

How do you handle making your summer plans?

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