Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. – Catechism of the Catholic Church #2223
Primary Math 2A and 2B, Standards Edition. At a minimum, use the textbooks and workbooks. I recommend using the test books and extra practice books as well.
For more info on this program, see Lesson Plans that Simplify Singapore Math
Memorizing the math facts is important at this stage. An easy way to help your child do this is to have him practice on the Math Trainer for about 5-10 minutes each day. If your child gets a fact wrong, the trainer keeps presenting it until the fact is “mastered”. I use this mainly with multiplication. Feisty has to keep practicing them until all the blocks are blue or yellow.
You can print these out to provide extra practice and review: HWOT Gr. 2 practice paper.
If your child completed Printing Power last year and is printing with ease, you may want to begin cursive with Cursive Handwriting. My children taught themselves to write cursive with this series.
Handwriting 2 for Young Catholics is good alternative that provides plenty of practice. It introduces cursive mid-year. Like the first grade book, however, there is too much repetition on one page. You will probably notice that as your child works his way down the page, his handwriting will become increasingly sloppy. Instead, have him do one row of the A page, one row of the B page, and one row of the C page. The next day, have him write the same letters inbetween the ones he traced. Essentially, mix it up so he practices and reviews a variety of letters each day.
Devotional Stories for Little Folks and Devotional Stories for Little Folks, Too. These charming stories have beautiful moral lessons. If your child is struggling to read these, I would suggest reading them aloud to him first and discussing the moral of each story. It would be a shame to lose the value of the moral because decoding the words is too arduous.
Be sure to supplement with real books. See this post for level-appropriate books: Beyond the Readers.
It is also a good idea to keep a notebook with a list of all the words your child has trouble decoding. At the beginning of each reading lesson, have him review the words. When he can read the word easily, put a check beside it.
Spelling and Phonics
All About Spelling – If your child did not do level 1 last year, begin with that and move through the program at your child’s pace. This is an excellent program and well worth the time you will need to spend teaching your children the rules.
MCP Phonics B – I usually only use this only if my child is struggling with phonics or spelling and needs extra independant practice.
Each week my children copy and memorize a new verse. At the end of the week, they recite as much of the poem as they can. This is an excellent way to fill your child’s mind with beautiful language patterns and imagery as well as sharpen his memory.
The Harp and Laurel Wreath – This is a wonderful collection of poems presented by level.
Favorite Poems Old and New – This anthology has over 700 poems for children categorized by theme.
Gr. 2-3 Poems for Memorization and Copywork – Here is a little book I made for my son to help him memorize and copy out poems from Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses.
Even if your child is beginning to read on his own, continue to read aloud to him. According to this study, reading aloud is the best way to help children develop word mastery and grammatical understanding. Perhaps just as important, reading aloud to your child is a wonderful way to bond with him and to develop his moral compass. It’s our favorite part of school.
If you use our Gr. 1-2 History Lesson Plans, you will have a list of wonderful historical picture books to read aloud to your child.
In addition, here are three delightful anthologies of classic fairy tales and picture books: A Treasury of Children’s Literature, 20th Century Children’s Book Treasury, Make Way for McCloskey: A Robert McCloskey Treasury.
Also checkout the free Read-Aloud Revival Booklist.
See the 1000 Good Books list for more recommendations.
For history, check out our Gr. 1-2 History Lesson Plans.
If you want to add a little geography, you might want to consider the National Geographic Kids Beginner’s World Atlas. Each week, read and discuss a two-page spread. National Geographic offers free printable blank maps that your child can color.
Children Just Like Me is a book that features children from several countries around the world. It is a great way for your children to see how other kids live. Read a two page spread, and find the country in the beginner’s atlas or on a globe.
Alternatively, your child may like Beginning Geography. This is an easy-to-use workbook that is very useful if you want your child to learn some geography but you do not have much time for it. Many second graders will be able to do this independently.
If you want a more hands-on approach to science, I recommend Behold and See 2.
For a child who is really into science, give him some Let’s Read and Find Out About Science level 2 books. They are usually available at the public libraries.
Draw Write Now is a wonderful series that teaches your children how to draw step by step. I usually have my children draw the picture on one day, color it the following day, and copy the words on the third day. Books 2 and 3 complement the study of American history very nicely. The Draw Write Now Notebooks are a perfect place for your child’s drawings and copywork.
Child-Sized Masterpieces 2 and Child Sized Masterpieces 3 provide post card-sized prints of famous paintings for your child to sort by painter or style. They are a gentle and enjoyable way to introduce your child to art appreciation.
Classical Kids Collection Vol. 2 – This is a great way for your children listen to and learn about the music of Tchaikovsky, Handel, Tchaikovsky, and Mozart. The fourth CD, which features medieval and pre-baroque music, is an extra boon if your child is studying the Middle Ages.
Carnival of the Animals – In this marvelous set of pieces, composer Saint-Saens uses instruments to depict different animals. Your children will enjoy guessing which animals the music is portraying. The book gives excellent descriptions which guide your children so they know what to listen for.
Peter and the Wolf is a Russian fairy tale set to music by the famous Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev. Each character in the story is represented by a musical theme.
Being a pianist with a master’s in piano pedagogy, I must put in a plug for music lessons. If your child has not started already, second grade is a great time for your child to begin learning to play a musical instrument. There are several benefits to the study of music, as listed here. However, I would point to the joy of playing a beautiful piece of music and the ability to appreciate the artistry that goes into a musical performance as gifts that profoundly enrich a child’s life.