Last year, I decided to jump back into classical education. As much as my oldest liked crafty things, I despise them. But we all like books (hello Charlotte Mason) and I wanted my oldest to start Latin. So we started with Memoria Press & tweaked. Go here to see our original choices for K4 Curriculum and second grade curriculum.
In previous years, I shared a few that we especially loved & a few that we especially disliked. This year, I’m taking a slightly different approach and going subject by subject.
Our original plan was to use Bible Study for All Ages & Selections from Mater Amabilis. We did use BS4AA (1 book) and MA for the first semester. Frankly, it was just too much. Or it was in the wrong time slot. I still love BS4AA. Maybe when everyone can use the same level? As for the MA selections, we had a loop of about 9 selections and tried to do 2-3/day. It was insanity.
We finished the year with Children’s Daily Prayer. It touches on saints/liturgical year, bible readings, prayer, and even some unintentional memorization. In 5 minutes! We also sing a hymn (one verse) and say a few prayers together in Latin. Bonus: even the 2 year old can say grace in Latin. Takes 1/2 the time & is more enjoyable & a better use of our time, IMHO.
Memoria Press K Core
We planned on using Art appreciation, poetry, and the literature/history/science selections. I also bought the enrichment & craft guides and never touched either. Art appreciation lasted about a semester as did poetry. I decided that the size of the art cards at morning time was too small (they are usually playing quietly while we are reading/singing/reciting) and we get plenty of poetry. Both change too frequently to keep track of, also. So those didn’t work.
But the literature/history/science. That was awesome!!! In fact, that’s all I’m buying for Miss Lady 5 next year. All 3 kids (8, 5, and 2) listened to all the books. And many times asked us to repeat them until they went back to the library. The vast majority were in the library system. The few I needed to buy were easy to find. And they were all wonderful. Some are repeated multiple times and some were so good, we chose to buy them anyway. Overall, LOVE!
Memoria Press 2nd
The plan was to use the literature books, poetry selections, the read-aloud’s for stories & science, as well as the Little Stories of Great American’s for Little Americans and the science workbook. I bought the enrichment book for discussion but never opened it.
There was a lot of overlap in resources still for science & poetry so that was easy, but I still decided to eliminate the poetry selections. Changing weekly was irritating. I also decided to junk the literature selections and their accompanying busy workbooks. We did Patterns of Nature all year. It was never enjoyed. I am ambivalent about it. It was not done weekly so, whatever.
The Read-alouds, science, and history read-alouds were enjoyed by all. The stories in Great American’s were liked, too. Totally worth repeating in two years. Like K, they were almost all in the library, they were easy to find, and they overlapped with younger grades regularly enough.
I planned to start Miss Lady 5 in January to see how it went and it’s been going pretty well. We are nearly finished with book A and she can read and spell basic words. She has a totally different temperament and learning style from big sister and it works great for her. LOVE!
Writing With Ease 2
We used this for Miss BookWorm 8 in the first semester. She was starting to get pretty good at the narrating & dictation and I loved it for that. I set it aside to start…
Essentials A (2nd edition)
We got emailed to review and we REALLY needed to get on spelling. I knew from past experience and the preview that it would require a huge time commitment so I stopped WWE2. And I don’t regret it for a minute. (You can read my whole review here and watch my video detailing the changes of Essentials from the first edition to the second). Her spelling is greatly improving and it’s worth every minute we do and worth buffing other subjects to free time for this.
Critical Thinking Company
We had planned to do the Memoria Press workbooks and completely threw them out (figuratively–they are still cluttering my house). Instead I pulled 2-3 Critical Thinking Company workbooks I bought for her sister & never used. We have been working through Mathmatical Reasoning Level A primarily, as well as Hands-On Thinking Skills and Visual Perceptual Skill Building. She has totally loved them and the hands on is limited, making both of us happy. Her happy to do use them, and both of us happy that the mess is limited.
Math Mammoth Light Blue
The plan was to use the Math Mammoth Light Blue series (grade level) and we pretty much have. They work well and she has actually chosen to use these again next year instead of the CTC computer based math she did last year. I’d call that working for us!
Song School Spanish
The Principal really wanted foreign language. BESIDES Latin. Blah blah blah :).
So I added Song School Spanish and all 3 of them love it. They sing the songs, do a little workbook (K & 2), and we even try to remember to use it at home. Again, this one is working so well, it’s on next year’s list.
This was part of the Memoria Press core, but I thought it deserved its own spot. We both really liked this. I liked that the DVD taught it so she can do it independently. Yay! It’s also a gentle intro so there isn’t a bunch of conjugation or other stuff. It’s mostly vocabulary & exposure. The workbook pages DO require a lot of writing so if your little one hates the physical act of writing, make sure you have an alternate review for those sections or limit writing in other subjects :). We also used the optional Latin copywork workbook and she has greatly improved.
Classical Catholic Memory – Beta Year
I’ve been eyeing Classical Catholic Memory for years but never figured we would use it. I’m not quite sure what prompted me to take the plunge last year, but I did and we used it for almost the whole year. It fell off the wagon for a month or two, but was put back in January. I started out trying it all, but we quickly eliminated religion (catechism recitation is Boring) and timeline (too hard).
They ADORE poetry recitation & geography. Miss BookWorm 8 loves the history. I’m excited about them nailing down math tables. It’s going so well, next year’s is already on deck for October (we still have a bit of material to finish due to falling off the wagon).
Miss BookWorm8 used Mickey’s Typing Adventure for 5 minutes a day and by Christmas had pretty much passed touch typing at the easiest level. Frankly, her speed will increase as she uses it; I just want her to know what fingers to use for what keys. I’ll call that success, too.
Story of the World
Lastly, I’m not sure if using Story of the World 2 made it into the plan, but we bought the audio book (read by Jim Weiss, swoon!) and they love listening. And I don’t have to scream read over the noise. Ahem.
As Catholics, we skip the chapters with an obvious anti-Catholic bias for elementary. If you are starting ancient history and are Catholic, I have an even better option–Check out my review of The Story of Civilization by TAN Books.
We never got to this. Next year? Maybe.
So that is what worked for us this year and what didn’t. Overall, we did pretty good. I have a good idea of what works for me as a teacher and my kids as students. I didn’t buy too much that we didn’t use. It was a pretty peaceful year.
Have you loved something we didn’t? Or hated something we liked? I’d love to hear about it!
You can find previous years curriculum summaries here:
Second Grade Curriculum
First Grade Curriculum
Changes – what did NOT work and what did
Original – 2014
Changes – 2014
Original – 2012
Changes – 2012 revised and what didn’t work