CVSD: Day 70 (Second Grade Highlights)

Of all our years homeschooling (this is year three), second grade has been my favorite so far. There are a couple of reasons for this. One, we have found our groove and both Jack and I know what the expectations are. Two, we joined a Classical Conversations co-op this year, which meant we had a guaranteed weekly meetup with friends. And three, we were studying the Middle Ages, which is just plain fun. Fun for me because I love history, and fun for Jack because knights and castles and dragons.

As I said, our co-op was studying the Middle Ages. We actually combined Classical Conversations with Ambleside Online Year Two (a Charlotte Mason approach), and the two curriculums lined up perfectly. Both Jack and Isaac learned the timeline of the world (from ancient civilizations to the 2000s) and also memorized 24 history sentences.

I can't tell you how exciting it has been for me to see them connect discussions or stories we are reading to the history they learned. For instance, we were talking about Gutenberg one evening over supper. Daniel (who was out of context for the conversation) asked what Gutenberg was. And Jack immediately said something to the effect, "Don't you know? He invented the printing press!" Isaac goes around singing about the Absolute Monarchs and Ghengis Khan and all sorts of random things. I absolutely love it!

In addition to the strong history emphasis, Classical Conversations has also given my boys a good grasp of the geography of the world. As they get older they will begin drawing maps of countries of the world, but for now they are getting great familiarity with geography, and can easily find countries on a map.

As part of our Charlotte Mason approach to our year, we read an amazing array of books that related to the Middle Ages. Each week we read through 5-8 picture books related to history, science, and other subjects we were learning about.

In addition to those books, we also read 19 novels aloud. I adore that my boys are developing a love for good stories (Jack read an additional 12 chapter books on his own). Here are the books we read aloud or listened to over the course of this school year:
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Hidden Gallery (Book 2)
Nevoremoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Book 1)
The Wild Robot Escapes (Book 2)
The Door in the Wall
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow (Book 2)
Where do you think you're going, Christopher Columbus?
The Bronze Bow
The Green Ember (Book 1)
Little House on the Prairie: Farmer Boy (Book 2) 
Ember Falls (Book 2)
Ember Rising (Book 3)
Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician's Nephew (Book 1)
Henry Huggins (Book 1)
Stuck in the Stone Age
The Story of Dr. Dolittle 
The Voyages of Dr. Dolittle
The Call of the Wild
Ember's End (Book 4)

In addition to all of this classroom learning, we always take advantage of as many outings and field trips as possible. We visited the LST-325 when it was docked in Chattanooga, as well as the Nina and Pinta. We visited farms, went on hayrides, rode horses, and learned how maple syrup was made. We made time for regular hikes (weekly when possible).

We camped and the boys learned how to fish. Jack participated in Cub Scouts and flag football. We heard Abraham Lincoln give an amazing speech. We visited parks and saw three plays at the Children's Theater (including The Lion King Jr., Mary Poppins, and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe).

We tried to do science experiences as often as possible throughout the year. We failed at making rock candy, but our family all had surviving eggs in an egg drop challenge. We made rockets with baking soda and vinegar, and used a lemon to power a battery, and we can't forget that Daniel taught Jack how to weld!

The last two months of school were vastly different from our normal, but we carried on with weekly Zoom co-op meetups, and were grateful to have a large collection of books already checked out from the library to keep us going.

Since the isolation started our boys have become really adept at riding their bikes, they learned how to rappel in our back yard, and they built a platform treehouse with materials we had on hand.

Today we celebrated the end of the school year by driving to Dunkin Donuts and Sonic. It was the first time for the kids to ride in a car in some time. Jack observed that his head felt funny and it seemed like we were going too fast in the car.

We have no idea what summer holds for us. I am hoping to start doing regular hikes as the trails open up. There will be bike rides to take and creeks to explore, hopefully with friends at an approved social distance. In the fall we will pick up where we left off, beginning third grade (hopefully our co-op will be able to meet).

Isaac will be joining our homeschool this fall for kindergarten (thankfully he already has a sense of our rhythm and how we learn). While the isolation of the pandemic has been hard, I am so grateful that how we do school was not affected drastically.

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