Thursday, August 27, 2015

World Religions

Just because we're secular homeschoolers doesn't mean we don't talk about religion. Our child asks questions about life and death, just like any child. And so when the topic came up last year, it seemed like a great time to talk about some of the different things people around the world believe.

We were able to get this book through interlibrary loan from the public library:

I liked that it covered a lot of religions and didn't just focus on Western religions. We read this over a few weeks, and found stories from different religions at the library to read along with it. It was interesting to learn about different origin stories, and how different religions view death. Conspicuously absent, however, were the Christian views on the afterlife. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Continents Unit Study

We're using a file folder unit study approach to kick-off geography this year. There is one folder for each continent.

We get a lot of use from file folders. I  buy them in bulk to save money, and the colorful ones are just more fun. The finished units and folder games don't take up much space -- since it all fits in a folder -- which is really nice.

Here are 4 pages we made to build our folders (free for your personal homeschool use!). For the cover, the continents were traced from Geography For Fun Projects (Continent Puzzle p29), but any atlas would work. There is plenty of room left in the folder to add anything you might want to include. We'll print off some coloring sheet maps for ours.

Resources we used to complete the unit folders are listed below. Library books, atlases, and the internet would all work to find this information too.

Continents (New True Books: Continents (Paperback))
Geography For Fun Projects (Continent Puzzle p29)
Illustrated World Atlas Set; 3 titles (Atlas of Continents, World, Oceans) (Atlas of Continents)

Websites :
Facts, biomes, countries, coloring sheets, fun facts
animals (by continent) coloring pages
online coloring pages (also printable)

These links weren't necessary for completing the unit folders, but they are fun supplements.

Introductory info:
Encyclopedia Brittanica video
7 Continents, 5 Oceans - size, populations, and video

Fun quizzes:
Earth's continents and oceans, tutorial and quizzes

Dynamic Earth (plate techtonics) - interactive images, great to read with an adult
Continental Drift - perfectly age appropriate with links to related topics

Supplemental information can be found here:
Animal photos grouped by continent
Outline maps printable for classroom use
Worldometers world and country population counters

If you're looking for a manipulative or craft, this would be fun:
Montessori Continents Map and Quiet Book

Thursday, August 20, 2015

2nd grade - starting out

Our school year began in July using these resources:
The core of our curriculum comes from following the Home Education Curriculum: Grade 2 as our guide.

Here's why this book is my favorite of all the curriculum I've considered using:
  • It provides a 36 week lesson plan that allows for a structured format. But it's easily adapted for families that want to skip around and do different subjects at different times (which is what works best for us).
  • It covers a wide variety of subjects: reading, grammar, writing, spelling, social studies, math, and science.
  • It was easy to find used for a reasonable price.
  • Some of the subjects and formats look really fun!

We used some of the READING 2002 PRACTICE BOOK GRADE 2.2 Workbook edition by Scott Foresman (2001) Paperback last year, and it worked really well. We continued it for this year, but for some reason it isn't working well for us anymore. There are plenty of other ways to incorporate reading, writing, spelling, and reading comprehension (such as the Home Education Curriculum: Grade 2 book) so we'll be dropping this resource from our lineup. Also, this resource was only $0.75 from a thrift store, so I definitely feel like we've gotten our money's worth out of it already.

There is overlap with some subjects (such as math and money) and for those we will use the materials we like the most for learning and review.

Aren't doing 2nd grade? The Home Education Curriculum by Jean Wolff is available in 6 grade levels.