Friday, August 30, 2013

Second Grade: Weeks Two and Three

I don't know what happened, but this year feels dramatically different than last year. Not that he protested and sobbed his eyes out last year, but there was a certain resistance at times. This year, he is plugged in 100%, super comfortable, taking the time to think ideas through instead of just asking for the right answer, and seems much more confident.

I don't know if it's because this is our second year (despite hs'ing through preschool), the new math curriculum, or what.


We are continuing our work with Saxon, and he continues to love it. I find it a little repetitive, but the constant review is helping him master math facts. Each morning, we check the weather and fill in a weather graph.

We look at a birthday graph and ask each other questions about it, count forwards and backwards on the numbers chart, practice telling time, announce the day of the week and the month and write the date, practice doubles facts, and play with pattern shapes.

He breezes through the lesson and often lingers at the table during break and plays with pattern blocks or dominoes.


Aidyn's plowing through Sadlier Phonics and was able to handle the assigned pages on days I was at school and he worked independently. I've also noticed that he's picked up many sight words (about, could, opposite, what, your, etc.) that we haven't formally learned. Although his reading is getting better, he still prefers to read his easy-peasy phonics books rather than library books. But he's the sort of guy that wants to feel mastery over the subject and will purposefully do things that are easy for him.

We're still satisfying my ever-loving grammar soul working on grammar and have learned more about punctuation, capitalization rules, suffixes, and sentence-combining.

He still writes like Dr. Aidyn, but we're working on his handwriting still.

And of course, we played Nerf Gun Target Practice  to help him review some vocabulary words.

This 'n' That:

  • We're putting higher expectations on his reading speed. Our goal is 50 wpm on each page (with the end of 2nd grade goal of 55wpm). He's done page 1 and 2, repeating each twice, but yesterday just before the 3rd round of reading, he declared, "I can't make 50." We talked a bit about thinking positively, saying that you can do something and then doing your best. On the 3rd round, he read 51 wpm.
  • His oral vocabulary and the cadence with which he speaks surprises me sometimes. In conversations, he used the words "amount," "filthy," "nomads," and "worry-wort" among others.


We are still reading from The Usbourne First Encyclopedia of Our World and have learned about the composition of the moon (which we didn't get much into because the second half of the year will focus on astronomy), day and night cycles, and total eclipses.


We're enjoying Story of the World and learning about nomads becoming the first farmers. Yesterday, we attempted to build two shadufs, as illustrated in our book. A shaduf is an early irrigation farming tool used to bring water from the canals to the land above it. It seemed like such a simple machine that we could certainly build a replica. It was most certainly a learn-as-you-go experience.

(excuse the clothing; he was ninja that day)

Stabilizing it was a challenge. Next time we're using play dough!

We attached another pole to the frame with pipe cleaners and attached a bottle cap to the end of the pole.

I put out two bowls (one with water and the other with flour) to simulate both the water source and the land. I told him that he could not touch the water with his hands, but once he delivered the bucket to land, he could empty it, the goal being to irrigate the land.

It worked! I never had a shaduf of a doubt.

In other history fun, we've been reading the mammoth novel The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan. 

Although it's a beast to read, the story is pretty epic. There's all kinds of crazy things going on--treasure-hunting, magic, transformations, crazy guys in trench coats, hieroglyphics, Osiris appearing (and disappearing), crazy guys turning into serpents, etc., and we're not even halfway through it!

We haven't reached the Egyptian section of SOTW just yet, but it's around the corner! Aidyn also watched "Kids Animated History with Pipo: Ancient Egypt" for free on Hulu. (link will take you to Hulu)

Memory work:

Last week, we worked on memorizing the order of the planets, and Aidyn had 'em down on day 2. Nevertheless, we practiced every day, drew pictures of their position to the sun, and did copywork of the planet names. On that Friday, he "performed" it for everyone.

This week, we have worked on counting from 1-10 in Latin. I'm trying to throw in some Latin words and phrases here and there because the plan is to teach Latin as a foreign language in 3rd grade. Recently Aidyn has been requesting to learn French, but I told him that learning Latin will make learning French (and Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Sicilian, among many others) a million times easier.

As far as counting, he has trouble remembering to start with "unus" and still pronounces "novem" and "decem" like the months, but we're working on it. He can perform it if practice is fresh but cannot after some time, so we are going to continue with this piece for next week.

In Other Thoughts:

I don't know about Aidyn, but I'm getting tired of the 3Rs from the books. I feel like a fun unit study would be good right about now. I've been brainstorming ideas for an Ancient Egypt unit study, complete with pyramid buidlin', Egyptian mythology readin', and documentaries galore. Check back soon to see what we do!


  1. Wowza! You are a genius homeschooling mama! Delicious education for him.

  2. I'm very happy to hear that school is going so well for Aidyn - I love the nerf gun target practice and that Aidyn can be a ninja for school. How is it being both a student and a teacher this year?

    1. Crazy! I'm already counting down the days. But, for some reason, the extra work load makes me want to add even more to the plate--or, at least, more fun stuff to the plate. And my occasional absence is helping Aidyn become more independent with his work, so I'd say there are much more positives than negatives. :)