While we are mere weeks from beginning grade three, I realized I hadn't shared what grade two with my oldest looked like. I find it helpful to write it all out for referencing with my next child, as well as a look back on the year for nostalgic reasons. And so...
Forrest has been an easy learner...he continued to soak up information and work with little prodding from me. His eight year old self was still enchanted by fairy tales, but he was ready for the work of grade two. In Waldorf pedagogy, it is believed that the eight year old is inspired and guided by the moral and good behaviour of saints and heroes, while also relating to the cunning and mischief of the animals from Aesop's Fables. This duality was very apparent in Forrest's behaviours, too...there certainly were moments of striving for saintliness only to be waylaid by the temptations of trickery. As a teacher, I am continually surprised by the insight into the child's natural development and how the Waldorf curriculum appeals to guiding this behaviour.
With this in mind, we interwove several stories of saints and heroes throughout the year, coinciding with their calendar day according to the Catholic church. Altogether, the saints we studied included Sts. Michael, Martin, Nicholas, Lucia, Brigit, and Kevin. We also read about Hiawatha, Johnny Appleseed and Robin Hood. We deviated from our purchased curriculum by including a block each on Robin Hood and on King Arthur, both heroes to my boy. He loved each of these blocks and we had a lot of fun with them ~ highlights of his year! Finally, we also did a block on Animal Fables which were largely based on Aesop's Fables that delighted both of us.
Forrest worked a little on some basic sight words, learning how to spell "the", "it", "from", etc. We didn't work on this too much but it surely helped when we began using some simple readers (Shelley Davidow's readers that I purchased from here). I also encouraged Forrest's writing skills with a journal that we began in the winter. I would give him a start, such as "When it is cold, I like to..." and he would copy the sentence and then finish it. I really encouraged him to be creative and not get hung up on spelling so much as trying to sound out words. This journal turned out to be one of my favourite keepsakes from the year.
As always, one of Forrest's favourite acitivites is to curl up beside me and have a story read. This year, we read : Dragon Boy, Book 1 by Donald Samson, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, the Classic Starts editions of both Robin Hood and King Arthur, the rest of Laura Ingalls Wilder books (volumes 3 through 7), Charlotte's Web by E.B. White, The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, and Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo. We just began Peter Pan and he is so thrilled, he fairly vibrates as I read to him. Soon, we will also read the Narnia series. If only there was more time to read!
Like last year, Forrest made a kid's calendar that was specifically for only children's activities. He and his five year old sister shared in the illustrations and truly it is a treasure.
This year, Forrest continued to enjoy his math work. We began with the conitnuation of the four operation's gnomes from Grade 1. With great ease, we dove into double digit addition and subtraction which inevitably led into four digits involving carrying and borrowing.
Forrest became quite proficient with these operations, though we left off the work of most times tables until next year. We played card games to reinforce place value, and I think we worked on math a little bit most days of the week.
Again, Forrest kept a Season's Book which included a title page, a poem, and several observances of the season.
In addition, Forrest and his five year old sister collaborated on a Field Guide book. Forrest watched for the return of birds in late winter while his sister recorded the flowers.
Forrest's bird page in the Field Guide
Sunshine's flower page in the Field Guide
This year, we crafted together for seasonal celebrations, and Forrest managed to complete his Sky Scarf and work on a knitted lion for his younger brother. He also loved to draw and most every day included a few hours of drawing or doodling in quiet contemplation, when the mood struck him.
Again, Forrest thrived in Herb Club on Wednesday mornings, and also participated in guitar lessons, soccer league, and downhill ski lessons. It was a busy, full year.
Perhaps the biggest change for Forrest's second grade year was that we enrolled with a homeschool program that ran out of the main floor of a public school, once a week, in a nearby town, 45 minutes away. This was by far the highlight of Forrest's school year! With 42 children participating, there were four different age groups and the children had three main activities each session. Some activities included shelter building, Native American medicine wheel, herb studies, capoeira, hula hooping and the big finale was a group play performed for the community. Would you believe that the play selected was Robin Hood?!!! And this was days after we finished reading the story. Oh, how thrilling for Forrest!
He played the part of a villager, as well as an archer in the contest. Forrest's sister, Sunshine, was also a villager in the play as all six of the younger children participated, too. It was fantastic!
Grade 2 was a wonderful year for Forrest as he became more grounded in his body and in his work. It was also easier with his two younger siblings growing up more, too. I am so very very grateful to be sharing this journey with my son as he grows and nurtures his own interests.