Are you looking for 2nd grade homeschool curriculum? Look no further! After twenty years of homeschool experience, these are the resources I’ve grown to love for every subject.
Second graders are amazing! They are beginning to really understand the academic world and it’s like the door is being swung open to a world of incredible opportunities. They are a little more mature now, but still pretty laid back enough not to be worried about much.
If you’ve got a second grader, seize the day! It won’t be long before lots of other opportunities begin to beg for their attention. Capitalize on this age and set a foundation that will help them grow to do whatever God has in store for them!
Before I give you my opinion on the rest of this, please note that not everyone agrees with me! There are many differing views on what should be taught and when it should be taught. I’m not seeking to refute anyone or call names. I’m sharing only what has worked well for our homeschool after combining my experience in the classroom with teaching at home. Remember, that’s your job, too. Seek out what works best for your family and don’t worry about what everyone else says!
What Should My Child Be Learning in Second Grade?
Second graders are so much fun to work with. I like to call this the golden year because if you are willing, this is the year where your child will begin to take on responsibility. I highly recommend that you make responsibility your focus in second grade because kids this age are ripe. They are old enough to handle it and still young enough to not have too many bad habits. If you wait, it WILL be harder.
Second graders are eager to take an assignment and go off by themselves to complete it. Most of the time, they’ve gained enough reading skills to do so. (If your child hasn’t, don’t fret. It will come!) If you don’t know where to start, this post will give you 5 simple steps to teaching responsibility.
How many hours do you homeschool a day?
I know you are wondering about this because everyone does. It typically takes 1-2 hours to complete a 2nd grade homeschool curriculum. Isn’t that wonderful? In the classroom setting, kids are expected to focus and pay attention for much of the day, but at home, you don’t have to do that. There’s no need to stand in line, sharpen 28 pencils, or participate in that fire drill one more time.
At home, your second grader gets undivided attention on his/her level, so it really only takes 1-2 hours to get everything done. If it’s taking longer than that, chances are you are frustrating your child.
Of course, this doesn’t mean your child is finished learning in 1-2 hours a day and will waste the rest of the day vegging into the land of no knowledge. If you encourage enriching activities (and limit screen time), your child will literally NEVER stop learning. Kids at this age are like sponges. They can’t help but learn!
Typical Second Grade Homeschool Subjects
- Language Arts (specifically reading)
- Social Studies
- Physical Education
- Life Skills
The most important subjects in second grade remain the same as they were in all the grades up to this point: reading and math. Until you’ve conquered these, keep making them your focus. Don’t worry. Your child isn’t behind. If you press ahead, they won’t get the necessary foundation to build upon.
In the next section, we will take a look at each subject’s recommended curriculum, as well as when and why you should teach it.
But first, we need to make sure you are legal. It’s very important that you consult with your state requirements. The most reputable place to find these laws is the HSLDA website. Note that I didn’t say to ask your friend who has been homeschooling for many years (that’s a big mistake- look them up yourself).
Most states are pretty light on requirements for elementary school. Some have general guidelines for core subjects. Occasionally, you’ll find a strict state that requires specific hours to be completed. Again, the only way to know what rules you have to follow is to check the site yourself.
One thing to note is that even if you are required to teach science, for example, it doesn’t typically say that you must use a textbook that covers 180 days’ worth. As homeschoolers, we have the freedom to teach the way our kids need us to teach them!
2nd Grade Language Arts Curriculum
For all children under 5th grade, we use Reading Eggs. It’s a systematic method for teaching reading using a computer program. It’s not free, but it’s great fun. The kids don’t always realize they are learning and Mom can focus on the others during this time, too. That’s always an added blessing for little ones who aren’t independent learners just yet.
How to Teach 2nd Grade Reading
All About Spelling
I start all of my kids in All About Spelling. This is how I teach them to read! Yes, I know it says “spelling,” but this is the strategy that works best for actually teaching reading (not the coloring and cutting out of worksheets). Plus it’s a hands-on program that takes 10-15 minutes a day- perfect for the 2nd grade attention span.
We typically do level 3 in first grade, but if you haven’t done levels 1-2, just start there. You’re not behind. The levels don’t even have to take one year anyway. You’ll catch up just fine!
Keep your “instruction” time focused and purposeful so you can focus on fostering a love of reading with exciting read-alouds that you share together and their own personal book box. We spend 15-20 minutes in our book boxes at first and then gradually work up to at least 30-45 minutes by the end of first grade. A second grader can do up to an hour. If you are just starting though, stick with 15 minutes and work your way up.
You’d be amazed at how much they will read if they can have some control over what they get to read! Of course, the more you practice reading, the better. You can even have a morning book box time and an afternoon book box time.
If your child is still learning to read, check out this post on 1st grade homeschool curriculum. Don’t feel guilty or think you are behind. Every child blossoms at their own pace. Just don’t rush them ahead because you are worried. I promise it will be fine.
In 2nd grade, our reading goal is practice… LOTS of practice! This is crucial for building fluency and comprehension, so don’t put those “easy” books aside. Many parents want to rush ahead to chapter books. Resist the urge. There’s plenty of time for that!
Once children begin to have a general understanding of phonics and comprehension, I like to let them choose their own books and utilize a reading journal to track comprehension and thinking skills.
This is a great way to foster a love for reading because your kids get to CHOOSE what they read. We use this instead of a traditional reading curriculum that might box kids in or frustrate them. Read more about creating your own DIY Reading Curriculum Journal here.
Here are some of our favorite books for kids:
- Good Horse Books for Kids
- 11 Wholesome Chapter Book Series Your Kids Will Love
- Free Printable Homeschool Booklist For Every Age Level
Under 3rd grade, we don’t use a spelling curriculum per se. As mentioned above, I use All About Spelling to teach reading, which essentially teaches reading through systematic spelling. Once they reach the 3rd grade, we move on to IEW’s Phonetic Zoo.
This is the one subject that often tips parents over the edge, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Grammar is simply learning to understand how sentences are put together to convey a clear thought. When your kids are first learning to read, grammar is somewhat irrelevant to them. That’s understandable. However, it quickly can become a natural part of the conversation.
For little ones, focus on subject-verb agreement. At this stage, learning to say “The dogs ARE in the backyard” is important. It also helps them learn to recognize the linking verbs which are largely sight words (don’t follow traditional phonics rules). You don’t need a curriculum for this. Just do it naturally as it comes up.
Next is the discussion of nouns and verbs. Teach these two simply and help your child see that every sentence must have both parts. This way they can answer questions in a complete sentence and learn to write (more about that below).
Before 4th grade, writing should be informal and fun. Let your kids keep a journal to record fun events and information they learn, or to respond to a great book they read. Don’t fret about spelling and grammar. This isn’t the time. Of course, you can help them if they ask though.
When my children first learn to read, I give them a spelling dictionary. A few times a week, they have writing time. I give them a journal with blank pages and they draw. After they draw something, I ask them to write a sentence about what they drew. If they ask me how to spell a word, I look it up in their spelling dictionary and circle it for them. Otherwise, I never correct for spelling…I simply let them write. Sometimes I suggest a topic, but most of the time I do not.
I don’t like to do any type of curriculum before 4th grade. This is a great time to focus on handwriting, which is just the formation of letters. You might also take a little time to teach the make-up of a complete sentence as described above.
In handwriting, practice makes perfect. Generally at this age, parents have their children practice- a lot. We call this copywork. Copywork is simply when a child copies written text onto paper.
Copywork is an essential skill that has pretty much been phased out of the public school experience. However, it provides crucial tracking skills, and spelling and language practice, that aid in the development of WRITERS. Not handwriters, but actual writers….those people who can successfully craft a 5-paragraph essay without a tirade.
How? Copying excellent quality language cements the patterns into your brain. So, when you select copywork, select something excellent. In our home, we often use the Bible or lines from excellent pieces of literature. (Idea: have your kids copy one verse from Proverbs each day.) I also absolutely love the Write Through the Bible Curriculum for this!
WHEN DO YOU TEACH CURSIVE?
Some teachers advocate teaching cursive before you teach your kids to print. Personally, I stick with the traditional way and teach my kids to print first. That’s up to you.
You might wonder when cursive should be added. There is no right answer, of course, but most children have a natural desire to learn it around 3rd grade. Why not take advantage of that?
My 3rd grader learned it toward the end of 2nd grade per her request, but prefers manuscript (print). So, I let her use print one day and cursive the next. Why? I am keenly aware that handwriting is not going to be nearly as crucial in her life as other things and I don’t want to die on this hill. Which reminds me… don’t forget to teach keyboarding skills!
2nd Grade Homeschool Math Curriculum
There are probably 100 great math curriculum options out there. But if you skip to that, you’ll miss the point. Math is a subject systematically built on tiny blocks of information. If you miss the foundation, the top will crumble. Period. Sadly, this is why so many kids struggle in math.
MATH MASTERY IS ABOUT BASICS.
Take the time to lay the foundation and be sure you get a 2nd grade homeschool math curriculum that makes this the focus of elementary school. The two skills we focus on are skip counting and basic addition/subtraction facts.
We start skip counting as early as possible with fun jingles and songs. My personal favorite is the skip counting songs written by Classical Conversations. You can get them in this app. It’s not free, but it’s no more expensive than a CD and you can still play it in the car.
My older kids were vigilant with learning skip counting and as a result, learning multiplication was easy. My son wasn’t as vigilant (ok, Mom wasn’t on the ball) and we quickly realized multiplication was a much bigger struggle until we went back and did it right. Laying the foundation here is key!
For addition/subtraction math facts, daily practice is required. Be careful, because most math curriculums do not cover this in-depth enough. They move on to other topics and kids are lost. Don’t let that happen. Focus here EVEN if nothing else gets done. Remember, math is a cycle and the same concepts are taught year after year. They just go a bit more in-depth as kids get older. If you focus on getting the basic facts very strong, the other stuff will be simple to pick up on.
We use Xtramath for daily fact practice. I’ve used so many different things, but this one wins every time because each child has a log-in and is able to practice the exact facts he/she is struggling with. The website is smart, remembering what you’ve learned and challenging you on what you haven’t, making mastery much easier. Oh, and it’s totally FREE!
We have loved using CLE for math in the early years (pictured above). It’s great at building a strong foundation and helping kids with math facts. It’s also inexpensive, which is a plus. The lessons are laid out to teach in an independent format, which is also high on my list of priorities.
It’s not colorful and “fun” according to some, but I’ll be honest, my kids have never once noticed or complained about that. Color in math doesn’t seem to make it any better or worse. (Haha)
CLE comes in little booklets for the child to use throughout the year. The entire goal is to help kids gain independence! And it’s strong in math facts which is very important. They are the foundation to math success (adding, subtracting, etc.).
We also love the Math Reference Chart from CLE. It’s kind of like a “cheat sheet” and gives kids a point of reference. If you’d like to try something more colorful, check Masterbooks, but bear in mind it’s not as independent.
2nd Grade Homeschool Science Curriculum
When the kids are little, reading should be your focus, which means your science curriculum should be super laid back. In fact, I recommend a Charlotte Mason approach where “science” class is literally digging into a pile of amazing books while cuddled on the couch. Each week select nonfiction books sharing all about fish, elephants, or really, anything interesting. You can pick some, but let the kids choose, too.
Some of our favorite homeschool science books have been from Answers in Genesis and Masterbooks. Both are trustworthy sources for science information with the correct biblical worldview.
We’ve also really enjoyed homeschool science videos. Kids gravitate toward the screen, so why not use it for good stuff, like learning? We have so many great ones like these…
We also have a subscription to Pureflix where we can watch hundreds of educational titles.
2nd Grade Science Notebook
We keep a notebook where we will note some of the things we have learned from our reading and exploring in a science journal (think composition notebook with blank pages). Don’t get too overzealous about this. It can be a killjoy. Just allow your kids to draw or write something that interests them.
Sometimes I have them narrate facts to me and other times I don’t. Let it be natural and fun!
I know this method is a little non-traditional, but remember, there is a reason we didn’t go with the traditional school option anyway, right?
Don’t forget to take advantage of the science all around you. We take lots of walks and spend time outside exploring nature. And we go on a million field trips. (Not really. Haha! But you get the point.) We’ve even done family trips–complete with notebooks on visiting the Grand Canyon or The Florida Aquarium. The kids explored, colored, drew pictures and I narrated for them some, too.
2nd Grade Homeschool History Curriculum
This is the age to lay a great foundation that cultivates interest and excitement for the history of God’s world. But again, be careful about buying too much curriculum. It’s easy to weave these topics into your day using great read-alouds or short simple studies. I would also recommend the use of audiobooks.
This is a great time to talk about missions, different cultures, and people in our community (like the role of firefighters and other jobs in the community).
Have each child keep a notebook and draw or write about what you read or where your family visits. Again, make sure you take lots of field trips! Visiting the local library, police station, or a local ethnic grocery store definitely counts.
Another favorite is the timeline song from Classical Conversations. We love to sing this song! I don’t make my kids memorize it, but the names and dates in the song are helpful for them to remember as they get older.
Introducing kids to these missionary books kids love is truly my favorite way to foster a love for social studies. Learning about the lives of these heroes of the faith teaches us about geography, culture, events, and faith. There is so much good stuff in there it’s hard not to love them!
GREAT LIVING BOOKS FOR TEACHING HOMESCHOOL HISTORY
We love reading real stories about history. This can be a great way to learn and can actually be all the curriculum you need, if you’d like to do it that way. Here are some of our favorites.
Bible Curriculum for 2nd Graders
Our Bible studies teach on a wide variety of topics including sibling relationships, the power of our words, contentment, guarding our hearts, and more!
Our goal is to get kids into God’s Word in an effective yet fun way. We hope to equip kids with the tools they need for a lifetime of engagement with the Bible.
We’ve designed our Bible studies for all age levels! Your 2nd grader can dive into God’s Word in a simple yet powerful way.
No matter how young they may be, kids can learn important truths about God and how He instructs His children.
2nd Grade Homeschool Curriculum for Electives
Elementary electives are generally disguised as “extra-curricular activities.” Families often do music lessons, sports, or similar opportunities. This is GREAT! Just be sure you keep your purpose in focus. At this age, it’s less about perfecting a skill and more about dabbling in things your children might want to pursue when they get older.
Try to expose them to all of the fine arts (music, art, drama) through homeschool classes, museums, and shows. You never know how God has gifted them! Exposing elementary kids to sports tends to be easier, as there are so many teams to choose from.
Just remember to keep your purpose in focus. I always remind myself that Michael Jordan didn’t even start playing basketball until he was in junior high. Forcing a four-year-old to play soccer against his desires won’t create a prodigy.
Use the elementary years to dabble and explore. Take field trips. Participate in one-day classes. Work hard on life skills. You’ll be thankful you took this approach.
Here are some courses I recommend:
Fine Arts Electives
The Story of the Orchestra
When my kids were very young, we used The Story of the Orchestra as our music appreciation curriculum for one whole school year. Lots of good discussions!
One of my favorite resources for classical music with young children is Maestro Classics. These award-winning CDs are full of child-friendly classics. Plus, each CD shares a wealth of instruction. The best part is, your kids don’t even realize they are learning because they are so fun to listen to.
- Piano Lessons (we take local lessons, but this online option is interesting)
- Artistic Pursuits is a really great hands-on art curriculum.
- The YMCA offers homeschool PE classes for the whole family, but don’t forget about things like Karate and organized sports.
More Christian Homeschool Curriculum
Click the image below to find more homeschool elementary curriculum and to learn how to choose the best Christian homeschool curriculum.
Through practical tools & Bible-based resources, Kim Sorgius is dedicated to helping your family GROW in faith so you can be Not Consumed by life’s struggles. Author of popular kid’s devotional Bible studies and practical homeschooling tools, Kim has a master’s degree in education and curriculum design coupled with over 2 decades of experience working with kids and teens. Above all, her most treasured job is mother and homeschool teacher of four amazing kiddos.