Sometimes I get really excited about my homeschool curriculum picks and just have to share them–even before we use them…This year I decided to write my curriculum picks reflectively… (And I procrastinated.) But now you can see what worked and what ended up being tweaked a bit as the year progressed! That’s the beauty of homeschooling–you can make changes and adjustments as you go! Here’s a look at our 2nd grade homeschool curriculum…the winners and the maybe not so much… 😉
*Side note…2nd grade is my jam. I truly love it. Once upon a time I was a 2nd grade classroom teacher…It holds a special place in my heart!
2nd Grade Homeschool Math:
Saxon Math has been my “no-brainer” consistent pick for 14+ years–meaning I don’t even think about what I’m going to use for teaching math anymore…
Saxon Math in the early elementary years (K-3) is set up very differently from Saxon Math in the later elementary years. I find that it’s very hands-on, gentle, and manipulative based. I do add a lot of my own manipulatives to the lessons–here’s a list of my favorites!
We finished up Saxon Math 2 (which we started in 1st grade) and started on Saxon Math 3.
Here are great links to their placement tests and the Saxon Math K-3 Scope & Sequence!
I have a very extensive review and explanation of Saxon Math HERE—it includes how I make adjustments so that the curriculum works for me!
Why I Love Saxon:
- Open & Go Lessons (Little to No Prep!)
- Lots of Built-In-Review
- Gentle Lessons
- Builds Strong Math Foundation
- Teaches Math Concepts in a Classical Way (meaning “old school” and no common core)
Cons to Saxon:
- Need to adjust lessons/assignments–can have too much warm-up or worksheet practice.
- Jumps around…This is what people love or hate about Saxon. One day it’s measurement and the next day it’s fractions and the next day it’s addition!
- Relies Heavily on Parent Teaching–though lessons are scripted (This may be a pro or con–depending on your preference!)
**This is my 17th year homeschooling–and Saxon is the only math curriculum I’ve used during the elementary years. I am considering branching out…I’m super intrigued by the new Teaching Textbook 4.0 Update that is rolling out soon (my teenage daughter uses them for high school math). And The Good and Beautiful Math looks…well really good and beautiful! 🙂
2nd Grade Homeschool Reading/Writing (Language Arts):
I started the year with some of my traditional favorites—Explode the Code and Handwriting Without Tears.
However I knew we needed some extra phonics help. I choose The Wand (which I bought through Brave Writer–it has since moved to the author’s new site: Rooted In Language.) It is a very good curriculum–the phonics teaching was excellent.
But…my son was really not progressing, and we were having difficulty finding early-readers that he could read independently. It felt like we were struggling with gaps and reading was just not coming as naturally as I would have liked!
I also felt like I wanted something just a little more user friendly–more open and go…
For years, I had heard people suggest All About Reading for struggling readers…So I decided to give it a go.
Honestly—I have never been so impressed with a reading curriculum. I was blown away by how well organized, how fun, and how easy the curriculum was to implement…And most importantly: the results! My struggling reader has blossomed using All About Reading…I cannot recommend it highly enough!
I wish it had been around when I was teaching 2nd grade–I would have loved using it in my classroom!
It’s not a curriculum just for struggling readers—All About Reading is just a very solid phonics curriculum that I recommend to anyone and everyone looking to teach phonics! I will keep using it with my son through its last level and plan to use it with my twins once they’re in 1st grade.
I don’t think formal spelling curriculum is necessary in 2nd grade–especially if you have a child who is struggling with phonics.
I did buy All About Spelling (from the makers of All About Reading)…However–COVID hit, and I really pared down our homeschool to the bare minimum. It was just such a traumatic time–we needed things to be as simple as possible. Suffice it to say–I did not start the spelling program…But it’s waiting for me as he enters 3rd grade, and I’m so excited to dive in this year!
Language Arts in Summary:
- All About Reading was a huge hit!!
- The Wand was very good–but harder to implement and left some frustrating gaps.
- Explode the Code–excellent, low-cost choice for phonics instruction…especially for kids who are catching on to reading easily. They are workbooks and easy to add into your day–zero prep. We did not continue with them once we started All About Reading.
- Handwriting Without Tears–simple, low-cost workbooks for handwriting practice!
History & Science:
For this second grade year–we studied history and science without following a formal homeschool curriculum!
And I loved it!
You can read exactly how we did it HERE!
And I’ve listed all our favorite resources for studying the Middle Ages (the time period we covered) HERE in My Amazon Storefront!
Like History and Science–we did not use a formal homeschool curriculum to study the Bible…
But I find these resources to be excellent:
- The Beginner’s Bible: Timeless Children’s Stories by Zondervan (A great book for many 2nd graders to read from for phonics or independent reading practice!)
- I am: 40 Reasons to Trust God by Diane Stortz
- The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Loyd-Jones
- Leading Little Ones to God by Marian M. Schoolland
I usually like to start the day reading aloud from one of these books and/or we will read from these while my kids are eating lunch.
Enjoy This Sweet Age
2nd graders are the sweetest…they love you (of course--they will always love you, but you’re still their most favorite person) and they love learning! Soak in this special age!
Remember to give yourself grace–and you’re not behind!
(If you need a little pep talk or practical help about homeschool expectations–you might love this post: 6 Things No One Tells You About Homeschooling.)
I’m cheering you on and praying for you daily–please reach out if you have questions!