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Friday, September 14, 2007

Grade 2 - The Reality

Changing plans on the fly is a necessity around here. How well have I stuck to my intended plan, the one submitted to the education department?

There have been a few modifications...

My downloaded version of Aesop's Fables (Illustrated by Milo Winter) in conjunction with Classical Writing -- Aesop will be put back into use soon after its long hiatus. Elle has produced some very good rewritings, though not quite the book-load of stories I thought she'd have completed by now. We'll keep on with this through the end of the year as she enjoys Aesop's fables, but I'm going to change gears a little, using a Commonplace Book to allow for a little more informal, personal writing next year. Rather than an actual bound volume, we'll start out with the lined paper that has the drawing space above and keep it in a binder.

The Children's Illustrated Bible was a bust. Be careful when ordering this book. Pay very close attention to the dimensions. I had seen the large hardcover in bookstores and was excited by all the little bits and pieces DK likes to add to its texts. When I ordered a hardcover version I assumed I would get the same edition in the bookstore. Ours was indeed a hardcover edition, but not much larger than my hand. Reading and enjoying the sidebars and other supplemental information was nearly impossible due to the teeny type. Postage to return it was more than the book cost so it moulders away on my shelf. In the meantime a well-meaning friend gave us a Bible Stories for Children book, but it veered away ever so slightly from the basic stories into a little proselytizing, and it too sits and moulders on the shelf. We have a version I am comfortable with back in Florida. I will have to wait to get my hands on it as Elle should have a cultural familiarity with the stories. Then again, if I make it back to Florida, I will probably end up in a Barnes & Noble at some point buying the big DK version anyway.

A Child's Garden of Verses? Well, I've got it downloaded, which is a start, right? Elle was memorizing poems as part of First Language Lessons and I have encouraged her to pick one out from Favorite Poems Old and New, but maybe we'll start here first.

Mother Goose hasn't been officially read yet either. I'd prefer a hard copy to read. I'm really picky like that. I'd like to get the one we already own in our Florida house because the illustrations are fun without overpowering the verses. Maybe if we go back for the holidays...

Tanglewood Tales and A Wonderbook for Boys and Girls were meant to be done as read-alouds during our study of ancient Greece, but we were enjoying The Secret Garden at the time and still have a load of other books we are eager to read aloud before we get to those. It's also not so comfy to snuggle up in bed with a laptop. Hard copies of these would also be preferable.

Andrew Lang's variously hued fairy books (Blue, Red, Green, and Yellow), have been opened once or twice since I had Jorge bring our hard copies back on his last trip, but again, we have a great stack of books to get through and these are not quite at the top of the heap. Our next read-alouds, Mr. Popper's Penguins and Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy will keep us busy and then we can get back to the fairy tales.

We were biding our time with First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind until we received Classical Writing -- Aesop. The constant review in FLL seemed to be going well for her, but today when asked for the definition of a particular part of speech, she blanked. In the meantime we watch and sing along with the grammar songs from Schoolhouse Rock and she's been working in an old McGraw Hill Language Arts workbook given to us by a teacher friend when her school switched curricula, that we'd brought with us in our original trunkful o' books. It's probably only a first grade level book, but it's very complete. She's busy reviewing and building her confidence because "it's so easy!" We haven't been working on memorizing rules so much, like for using "is" versus "are", making singular nouns plural, or changing present tense verbs to past tenses, as she has a natural ear for it and just gets it. The Language Arts book also prepares her for the inevitable standardized testing she will one day encounter -- if I can help it, not until she applies for her driver's license -- providing many fun opportunities to fill in bubbles. We skip the writing portions. If she wants to keep doing this one for fun she's welcome to it.

She loves Prima Latina. We're about two-thirds through the book and as soon as she's finished we'll begin Latina Christiana I.

Elle completed her Silver Burdett Ginn Mathematics (Grade 1)
book. My plan was to skip the Queensland Maths 2 and go right into 3 since it was not appreciably harder and slightly less chaotic looking, but she wanted to work on the same book her class would be doing. However, after observing what a confusing jumble these books are, we dropped them. The books are totally weak on basic facts practice so I've been printing off sheets from The Math Work Sheet Site. In addition to picking her own pages to work on, she gets a timed fact drill, the same sheet every time, similar to a Saxon Math warm-up to increase her speed and accuracy. We'll begin Saxon 5/4 next year.

Handbook of Nature Studies sounded nice, and it is a terrific reference, but we haven't used it as much as our bush tucker and bird identification books.

Story of the World Volume 1: Ancient Times was a hit. The stories held her attention and I found the Story of the World Volume 1: Ancient Times Activity Guide useful for the comprehension questions and map work, though I could easily skip it and do it on my own next time (but I probably won't.) See the indecision? See how things can change so rapidly around here? The coloring pages got to be a nuisance for her toward the end but she finished them. We looked up additional material in the Usborne Book of World History but it wasn't terribly enriching. We will probably continue on with the series moving into Story of the World Volume 2, not supplementing a tremendous amount other than maybe using the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia (I like the photos better than Usborne's illustrations.) Unless something really strikes our fancy when we get back to Florida -- I have some super materials for this time period -- we'll keep the study of history chronological but not make it the main focus of all our studies. Unless she wants to. Indecision again. Child-led indecision.

My focus next year, by the way it's shaping up, will be on read-alouds and having her write at least once a day in her Commonplace Book. We will make enjoying quality literature our priority. I may introduce Harvey's Elementary Grammar lessons orally and then simply back them up with an example from whatever we are currently reading. History will be just another read-aloud. Math and Latin are pretty straightforward. Anything else, science, art, music, etc., will be interest led.

1 comment:

Stephanie not in TX said...

I think this sounds *fantastic*!