Homemade Lemonade

As part of our Natural Health and Wellness course, Kyri and I have been reading and discussing healthy drinks. While we usually only have water and almond milk in our fridge, on occasion we have some juice or a sweetened drink like lemonade. Kyri prepared (with a little help from Mom) a pitcher of lemonade that we all enjoyed!







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Second Grade Curriculum

While we homeschool year round, we typically shift gears a bit in summer and take a lighter approach to our studies. We then kick it into high gear for the start of the traditional school year in August.

Here is a complete list of all the curriculum content we are using this school year. This post contains affiliate links.




We are continuing with double digit addition and subtraction, 2D and 3D geometric shapes, time, money, measurement, place value, and starting simple multiplication.

Kumon Grade 2 Addition

Kumon Grade 2 Subtraction

Kumon Geometry & Measurement Grade 2

Kumon Word Problems Grade 2

Kumon My Book of Simple Multiplication


Language Arts

We are covering grammar, poetry memorization and recitation, spelling and vocabulary, reading comprehension, and print handwriting. Kyri is also very excited to start learning cursive!

First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind: Level 1

First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind: Level 2

Kumon Grade 2 Reading

Evan-Moor Building Spelling Skills, Grade 2

Evan-Moor Building Spelling Skills: Grade 3

Flash Kids Reading Skills: Grade 2

Print Writing: A Creepy-Crawly Alphabet

Flash Kids Cursive Writing Practice Book



Following the classical schedule, we will be learning about Earth Science and Astronomy this year.

Elemental Science: Earth Science and Astronomy for Grammar Stage



We will be learning about exploration and colonization of the “New World” through the Gold Rush of the 1840s.

The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 3: Early Modern Times

The Story of the World Activity Book Three: Early Modern Times


Literature/Unit Studies

We are continuing with the literature selections of FIAR Volume 2. We will spend 2-3 weeks on each selection, and will be putting together a lap book for each row.

Five in a Row Volume 2


Foreign Language

We will continue working on basic Spanish – phrases, alphabet, vocabulary. We are also adding in Beginner Hebrew, which should be quite exciting!

Sarah And David Interactive Hebrew System

Brighter Child Spanish Grade 2

Brighter Child Spanish Grade 3


Nature Studies

Nature journaling using The Outdoor Hour as inspiration, and participating in monthly Growing Up Wild co-op will round out our Nature Studies. We are also using Herb Fairies, along with other resources, to learn about herbalism and natural health.

Growing Up Wild

Handbook of Nature Studies: Outdoor Hour

Herb Fairies


Art and Music Appreciation

We have really enjoyed Harmony Fine Arts. We will be completing Grade 1 this year and starting the Grade 2 material.

Harmony Fine Arts Grammar Stage Grade 1

Harmony Fine Arts Grammar Stage Grade 2


Critical Thinking

Kyri loves the various activities contained in Lollipop Logic. We will also play various games that strengthen critical thinking skills. I previously detailed our critical thinking lesson approach here.

Lollipop Logic Book 2



We will be participating in AWANA again this year – Kyri returns as a Spark. This is  a weekly club at a local church that teaches basic Christian principles through Bible verse memorization, games and activities.



Be sure to check out what what other homeschoolers have planned for this school year. Head over to the Not Back-to-School Hop at iHomeschool Network!



Critical Thinking for Kids

I think Critical Thinking is a skill that needs to be fostered as we develop. Too often in our attempt to make life easy for our children, we take away opportunities for them to problem solve and strengthen their critical thinking skills. Our schools unfortunately do much of the same – teaching kids what they need to know rather than how to find the information and what to do with it.


Kids need to learn through different experiences how to take in all the information available, process it, and come up with whatever “answer” is required. In many situations there is no one correct answer, but it is the process of working through the information that is important.

There are many different ways to “teach” critical thinking skills to children – basically we are providing various situations and scenarios for our children to work through. The methods we use to present these scenarios can vary.


I think I am lucky in that Kyri loves to do fun worksheets. One resource we have used this school year is Lollipop Logic. These workbooks cover a variety of exercises: sequences, relationships, analogies, deductive reasoning, pattern decoding, inference and critical analysis.



We have some really fun games we enjoy around here. These are not your typical Monopoly-type games. I have tried to build up our collection of logic games so that we can play and have fun, but still have an educational experience. These games from FoxMind are awesome – they are challenging and a lot of fun. Even for the tougher levels, you can work with your kids and help a little, but still have them do the bulk of the problem solving. Metaforms is a logic game where you follow a set of sequential instructions to fill in a 3X3 grid with colored geometric shapes. Tanagramino is a tanagram game where you are given a list of pieces to use and a final shape to build. Equilibrio is essentially a 3D tanagram game much like Tanagramino.


Computer Games and Apps

National Geographic Kids – lots of games here. Kyri LOVES the Dung Beetle Derby, where you have to make paths for the dung beetle to roll… you guessed it… dung!

Minecraft – We just put this on the iPad (the Pocket edition) and Kyri really loves it. She build houses and fences and has fun tormenting zombies. There is a lot of thinking and planning that is required playing in Survival mode.

National Geographic GeoDash – This game involves jumping and maneuvering around to collect animal traits, and collecting animal cards along the way. We just downloaded the second Habitat, which has twenty additional levels to explore. She loves this game, and as an added bonus, she is learning about animals and their habitats at the same time.

Flow Free – This is a really cool app where you connect colored dots in a minimum number of moves, and without crossing paths. The puzzles increase in difficulty as you go up in level.

CDC Solve the Outbreak – This is definitely a lot tougher for Kyri’s age and experience. This app puts you in the role of disease detective. You are tasked with solving a disease outbreak, and as you read details about the case you have to decide what to ask (from a short list of choices) and how to proceed in the investigation. You ultimately determine what caused the outbreak. It is a lot of fun, and it is one that we work on together. I do a lot of the heavier reading (it is designed for slightly older kids) and we talk about the options we are presented with. Even if it is still a little advanced for her, she really enjoys it!


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First Grade Math Curriculum

One of the great things about homeschooling is having the ability to change things up when needed. This is our second year homeschooling. I have written previously of our struggle to find an approach to Math that Kyri responds to. Last spring, we put our workbooks aside when it seemed Kyri was getting tired of them. We spent a couple of months focusing on manipulatives, and I made place value cards that she has enjoyed using. This year we made a clock manipulative to use as we work on our Telling Time skills.

Kyri has since gotten over her dislike of workbooks and actually loves to use them now. We have used one or two First Grade Math workbooks (Spectrum and Flashkids) since last Summer, and I think these have worked well, but I have been pleasantly surprised at how well Kyri has enjoyed the Kumon workbook series.

I originally picked out the Grade 1 Addition as a method of drill and review for her. The Kumon approach is straightforward. Each two page exercise is repetitive in nature, and each subsequent exercise gets progressively more advanced. Initially I had picked out both the Addition and Subtraction workbooks to be used on our “drill” days.

We recently finished up the Addition workbook and started into the 1st Grade Subtraction. The first several exercises in the Subtraction workbook are Addition review, and then the Subtraction exercises start, following the same style of progression as in the Addition workbook.

This fall, I started to work on word problem skills with Kyri, and got the 1st grade Word Problems book from Kumon. The earliest exercises, which Kyri is currently working on, uses simple sentences and visual aids to help the student get used to extracting information from the sentence and putting together the number sentence. By the end of the workbook, short paragraphs are introduced.

Over the Christmas break, Kyri told me she wanted to get all the first grade workbooks (they were listed on the back of the ones she currently uses) so we picked up the Geometry and Measurement 1st Grade, the only one in the Grade 1 series we had not yet tried. This one covers a lot of material. The earlier exercises are focusing on fact families. This has been something we have been giving a lot of attention to in our new Math Journal (more on this to come…). Later exercises deal with measurement, temperature, time and money, and geometric shapes.

We will also be starting the Dollars and Cents and Telling Time workbooks in the Kumon series. These books aren’t part of the Grade 1 series, but rather the series that is listed for the age range 6-8.  We have been using a couple different resources, but since she has responded so positively to the Kumon workbook style, I will be switching her over for all of her math topics.

I have been pleasantly surprised with Kyri’s response to this workbook style. I’m definitely going to run with her enthusiasm on this and stick with what is working. If she continues to prefer this style of workbook, I’ll plan to continue with the entire 2nd grade book series.

I know not everyone is into workbooks, but Kyri loves them. I also know that some kids prefer flashy colorful workbooks – Kyri loves these too but I think they can be distracting to her. Kumon workbooks aren’t super colorful and are definitely more content than cartoon. Some might consider them “dry” for this reason but we think they are great.

And as an added bonus, they don’t have perforated pages. We recently went through a phase where Kyri wanted to choose her own school work – not a bad thing, mind you. But she went through our workbooks and started tearing out random pages she thought looked nice and interesting (one risk of cartoony workbooks…) and really ended up making a mess of our classroom and organizing system. We dealt with this issue by setting apart the workbooks she could choose from (extras that we weren’t using as our main content along with plenty of extra workbooks from the Target Dollarstop – these are great!) from the ones we needed to keep in order for our everyday work. The only drawback to not having perforated pages is not being able to hole punch pages and keep in our binder – can you tell I am a type A?