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2nd Grade Year in Review

July 13, 2023

Did you know back when I was in the classroom 2nd grade is where I spent most of my career? I call it the best kept secret in elementary school. It is absolutely the sweetest age to teach! Now, having been home with my crew teaching them all the way through so far I have to admit I adore every grade, but I’m biased because I have the sweetest students ever. ๐Ÿ™‚

Second grade with Sadie was a treasure! We had so much fun exploring, learning and growing. Here’s a look into what we used, what we loved, and a BIG, sort of brave change we’re making.ย 


Math this year was….interesting. We began the year using Masterbooks Math Lessons for a Living Education 2. She did great for the most part. The lessons were gentle and simple. That was the whole reason we went with the program. She finished several weeks before the end of the school year. While she did complete the program, it was very obvious that she was still struggling with numeracy concepts, place value, and problem solving. I wasn’t confident that this was the best curriculum for her. At the same time I’ve been working with Rutledge using the Math U See curriculum and seeing him take leaps and bounds in the area of understanding math conceptually vs. practical equation solving. Among the many benefits of homeschooling, is the ability to tailor our children’s education to their exact needs. Sadie needed something different.ย 

Technically, there would be nothing wrong with continuing her current curriculum. It’s a good curriculum and it works GREAT for so many families. But I know my Sadie, I know what she’s capable of and the areas she needs support in. Would it be crazy to take my rising 3rd grader and drop her back in Alpha level Math U See? The more I thought about it, prayed about it, and had conversations with my husband about it the clearer it became that were were going to do just that- start 3rd grade in Alpha MUS.ย 

Here’s my reasoning. If she truly doesn’t understand numeracy and place value, she will continue to be handicapped in her math skills as she gets pushed forward in her current math curriculum. Math builds on itself and small struggles in the foundations of math snowball into much larger issues down the road. So it’s 3rd grade now, but we have time, she can catch up and I’d rather give her a solid foundation now so that when she does catch up she will walk in stride with her problem solving peers with confidence. We began Alpha at the end of the school year and have continued it over the Summer so technically she won’t be starting the year at the beginning and my expectation and hope is that she’ll do both Alpha and Beta this year closing that gap a good bit. However, I’m unconcerned about the gap. I know with time it will close. I’m more concerned with her mathematical thinking and establishing the needed foundation for further problem solving down the road.ย 


This year we began using All About Reading and I can not say enough GOOD THINGS about the program. It’s absolutely wonderful. It’s just the right amount of challenging while also keeping it fun and engaging with cute activities and games. I saw so much good growth in her this year and can’t wait to use it again next year! She completed Level 1 several weeks before the finish of the school year. Rather than beginning the next level, I had her use Explode the Code to practice blending, segmenting, and encoding words.ย 


This year for writing we did a combination of IEW and daily journaling. Some days she wrote in her composition notebook but most days she wrote in the mini journals I created. These gentle journals are great for beginning or reluctant writers. Most entries require finishing a sentence and possibly adding a second sentence. It doesn’t sound like a lot and that’s because it wasn’t. However I was sure to include several other discreet opportunities for writing, such as thank you notes, pen pal letter, AHG troop projects, etc. Forcing writing never ends well. I kept it light and didn’t pressure her and I’ve been pleased to see her growth and interest in writing pick up over the year.ย 

Something we used to help with both encoding (writing/spelling) and decoding (reading) is a little YouTube video with “hunks and chunks” of words. This little chant video was a staple in her day. Every day she would would watch it, sing along, and sometimes dance with it too. It’s cute and something I’ll definitely be adding into everyone’s day next year (including my 5th grader.)

Science/ History/ Geography

These subjects were some of her favorites. We did these all together as a family but I would adapt the lessons to individualize the ideas for each of the children. We did Discover + PLAY Science lessons and labs and a lot of interest based explorations. Sadie found the little microscope I had stowed away in a closet and asked to play with it. I couldn’t think of a reason to say no and so I told her yes. She had the best time and even made herself a little lab coat to wear as she added specimens to her microscope. If you ask her I think the highlight of science this year might be learning about tardigrades and that wasn’t a planned lesson at all. We checked out a library book called My Tiny Pet and it inspired her to explore our yard for moss and look at it under the microscope. I just LOVE when learning happens organically.ย 

For history we began the year reading a missionary biography and tied both history and geography together using my To All the World Mini Unit on George Mueller. We learned about life in England in the 1800s and used maps to study the geography of Europe. In the Spring semester we began to study US History using Our Star Spangled Story by Not Grass History. Of my crew she might have loved the history curriculum the most because of the many art projects it included. (My MJ loved it a lot for the reason too.)ย 

Bible Study

Our family attends a weekly Bible study that includes an in depth study for school aged children. Sadie was able to study Joshua, Job, and Colossians. Each of these books were a challenge to her but they were also tools that sparked great conversations. I’m so grateful to be a part of our local Community Bible Study group. If you’re interested in something similar be sure to check out the CBS website and see if there’s a group meeting close to you!ย 

Field Trips & Extra Curricular Programs

Sadie had a blast participating in a variety of extra curricular programs. In the Fall she participated gymnastics and loved stretching, flipping, and showing everyone the ease with which she did a split. In the spring we switched to soccer. This was primarily for character development, you know, learning to be on a team, listen to a coach, try something new. It wasn’t her favorite but we were so proud of her as she tried her best each week and was a great team mate to others. It’s good to be stretched every now and then. ๐Ÿ™‚

Additionally we took several field trips to the zoo, local museums, a marionette theater, and even got a personal, behind the scenes tour of the state house. We also did special projects at home together like sewing and baking.ย 

All in all, it was a really sweet year. As I feel every year, I’m just so grateful to spend my days with Sadie. Getting to have a front row seat to her education is a delight. The way she sees the world and adds a bit of sparkle to everything she does is pure joy. There are days when she pushes back and that sparkle is a little harder to see but every single day she comes around and gets her work done. I’m super proud of the little lady she’s becoming and can’t wait for the adventures ahead with her.ย 

If you enjoyed this post, you may be interested to read about the curriculum choices we used with our kindergartener and fourth graders. You can find those blog posts here!ย 

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