Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rome Wasn't Built In A Day, and neither was our curriculum.

Today marks our very first day for the 2011-2012 school year. Our house is a construction zone, everything is a mess but none the less, today was Riley's first day of second grade. We began working on review material, going over long vowels, math and some other general reading and writing. Going over a lot of what we did last year will probably take at least a few weeks. In general the bulk of Elementary school work seems to be re-doing the same subjects over and over, adding a little bit of material each year. Getting back into the groove of things will probably take some time. There's a lack of patience, and once again resistance is lurking. Every day with Riley undoubtedly will be at least mildly difficult. I've never known anyone other than myself to be so stubborn and difficult. Knowing his personality well, I know that I can't expect a change over night. We're building one day at a time. I imagine it will take years before he is ready and able to just absorb what I'm saying, and even then I have no doubt he will still disagree for the sake of disagreeing. (not that I know anyone like that...) My goal is not to shake him into submission, I don't expect overnight success, but for this year I want to simply convince him that respecting the process will pay off. Eventually the voice of reason will speak to him and maybe, possibly he will embrace it. Until that day I remind myself "Rome was not built in a day." 
My curriculum was not built in a day either. Starting towards the end of last year I began putting stuff together. I returned our first grade material and picked up our second grade Math and English from the public school. I submitted our portfolio and then? I immediately started looking here and there for additional work books and reading material. We are fortunate enough to have a lot of things lingering here and there. I've accumulated a lot of books over the years even before we started homeschooling. I had a lot of material around from when I was a kid, friends have given us things, and I've purchased some hard to find items. Reading at home whether you home school or not is important. Only parents can build a proper foundation to  a child's character. They learn the most important things from you whether your shooting for that or not. (Like when my two year old swears, its not because he heard it somewhere else.) So with Riley in mind building our curriculum became combining practical with functional. Some work books are busy work, some are real heavy. I've found that with Riley if I give him new material, or overwhelming material all the time then he just goes AWOL. So this is it, year two begins. Wish us Luck! 
Following is what we are doing for Riley's Second grade school year. I have come up with a combination of material that we borrowed from the school as well as workbooks and materials we have purchased, printed or downloaded ourselves. We are not religiously affiliated or following any specific program. Our "curriculum" is a hodge podge of this and that, our reading list grows as we go. These are some of the products we are using this year.

Second Grade Curriculum
Scott Foresman- Reading
enVision- Math

Smart Alec- Reading Comprehension Grade 2 (purchased at Five Below)
Smart Alec- Math word Problems Grade 2 (purchased at Five Below)


  1. While my kid is only 4 months old, I'm already thinking about how I'll homeschool her. I don't think our public schools are any good, so I'm determined to do it myself. I'm really enjoying watching your process. Your honesty about the problems is refreshing. Most other homeschooling blogs are full of happy and not much else. I also appreciate that you are not following a religious curriculum. Everyone else seems to! It's crazy! Until you came along I was sure that only conservative christians homeschooled. It's nice to know that the homeschooling community just may have a place for me yet. Keep up the good work! Your children may not appreciate it now, but when they get older it will be as apparent to them as it is to me that you're throwing everything you have into this.

  2. Thanks for such kind words! I occasionally find people who gently touch the negatives of homeschooling. Its rare but around. Most people seem to have an angelic crew of kids however...I do not. My boys are pretty much the absolute definition of chaos. At the end of the day schools just don't have the respect I feel kids deserve. They need to be treated like individuals in order to think like individuals.

    Everyone has their own way and their own process. Homeschooling can work for anyone that wants it. For me I want to raise free-thinkers, sometimes I wish they would just listen to me but thats just not the case. It may not be easy but it IS worth it.

  3. If you'd like some science to back up your feelings, check this Scientific American article: http://bit.ly/rgi1Jy

  4. That is an absolutely amazing article. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Maybe one day I'll show that to my kids and they'll agree entirely. (one can only hope)

  5. Also, I just found this today, via a comment on The Pioneer Woman's homeschooling site: http://www.thebooksamaritan.com/

    While they're a Christian organization, they still might be a valuable resource for you.

    I'm the one that won the corn dishware giveaway, by the way. I'm about to start feeding the kid solids, and am very excited to start using it! Thanks again for that!

  6. I'll check that out. I'm struggling mostly with history. I'll probably just rely on the library again this year. It seems like that's the reasonable solution.

    I thought so but your profile didn't show the blog! My youngest son loves the bowls but he's on his third set of spoons and forks. He LOVES to break them. :(