Recap and Review 1st/2nd Grade Charlotte Mason Homeschool Plans, 2021-2022

Sylvia started the year as a very young 2nd-grader who just turned 7 (the age I turned 3 months into my 1st-grade year). If I could go back in time, I would have given her a second year of kindergarten before starting 1st grade. But we did start early and so she thinks she just finished 2nd grade, but I feel like she did 1st-grade material. 

So I'll call this year we just finished 1st/2nd and next year 2nd/3rd and just see where she is at when its time to decide if she needs to take our state-required standardized tests for 3rd-graders. This year her reading took off in a big way so she may "catch up" in another year or so. Homeschooling is flexible which allows for that. On to the recap:

Plans by Subject
I love to consult Ambleside Online, a Catholic Charlotte Mason curriculumA Gentle FeastWildwood Curriculum,  A Delectable EducationSabbath Mood Homeschool, and Heritage Mom for book ideas, but I put our plans together in my own way. I have tried to note in [ ] whether I'm using a free book or how much I paid for each of the resources we are using. I am committed to homeschooling with free or really cheap books as part of our journey to be debt-free while living on one income. I have also listed all of the subjects we do as a family here.

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Language Arts
I "splurged" on my first real reading curriculum 100 Gentle Lessons in Sight and Sound [$69.01 shipped] ever and I really loved it. But maybe it wasn't the right fit for Sylvia. We did do about a third of the program and then transitioned to these leveled Primary Phonics readers, other easy readers, and Fast Phonics from Reading Eggs (affiliate link). 

After a long period with very incremental reading progress, her reading ability exploded in the last 10 weeks of our homeschool year. She now reads Henry and Mudge and similar books independently. And she is trying to read all the notes, signs, titles, etc, (with much success) that cross her path. 

Other Read Alouds
We are a real aloud family and all the kids love to be read to. This year we read the following books aloud at lunch:

A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
More All of  Kind Family by Sidney Taylor
The Door in the Wall by Margarite de Angeli
Swallowdale by Arthur Ransome
Under the Lilacs by Louisa May Alcott
Men of Iron by Howard Pyle
The House of Sixty Fathers by Meindert DeJong
Naya Nuki: Shoshoni Girl Who Ran by Kenneth Thomasma
The Cottage at Bantry Bay by Hilda von Stockum (in progress)
The Children of the New Forest by Frederick Marryat (in progress)

Sylvia completed My Book of Writing Words [$5.75 from Rainbow Resource Center]. She is also wrote her own thank you notes and frequently wrote notes, picture captions, birthday cards, and a couple letters to friends. She then asked for and began work in Beginning Traditional Cursive, Grades 1-3

Sylvia prepared to recite three pieces per half-term of homeschooling (about 6 weeks) at our family poetry tea during break weeks. I choose a poem and passage (or another poem) and she chooses one poem.  I align my choices with the term's poet, Shakespeare play, or history as possible. She picked most of her poems from The Dragons Are Singing Tonight by Jack Prelutsky. This year I chose:

The Faery Forest by Sara Teasdale
Dusk in Autumn by Sara Teasdale
Fire and Ice by Robert Frost
A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement C. Moore
Nothing Gold Can Stay by Robert Frost
"They say Aslan is on the move." passage by C.S. Lewis
Tyger, Tyger by William Blake
The Kite by Harry Behn
The Sick Rose by William Blake

Social Studies: History and Geography
Sylvia listened to the following books about history and geography this year. Some were individually assigned to her, but most of them were read as part of our morning time:
Meet the North American Indians by Elizabeth Ann Payne [ ebook]
America Builds Homes: The Story of the First Colonies by Alice Dalgliesh [ ebook] to page 46 only
The New Americans: Colonial Times: 1620-1689 by Betsy Maestro and Giulio Maestro, to page 29 [$5.99 on Amazon with a multi-buy discount] to be continued next year
Turtle Island: The Story of North Americas First People, Chap 2 to page 92 [$11.99 from Target with book coupon] to be continued next year
Tapenum's Day: A Wampanoag Indian Boy in Pilgrim Times by Kate Waters [already owned - $1 book sale find!]
Eating the Plates: A Pilgrim Book of Food and Manners by Lucille Recht Penner [already owned - $1 book sale find!]
Minn of the Mississippi by Holling C. Holling [already owned - used book gifted by a friend]
Pyramid by David Macaulay [already owned - $1 book sale find!]
Mummies Made in Egypt by Aliki [library]
Mosque by David Macaulay [$6.59 from Thriftbooks
Encounter by Jane Yolen [Library]
1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving by Catherin O'Neill Grace and Margaret M. Bruchac
Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters by Patricia C. McKissack and Fredrick L. McKissack
The New Americans: Colonial Times: 1620-1689 by Betsy Maestro and Giulio Maestro, to page 29

We were also gifted a Little Passports subscription and used the state books to begin a tour around the US. While I had heard so much about Little Passports, I have to admit that I was very underwhelmed. The workbooks seemed like twaddle and my kids had no interest in the workbook pages. They were inspired by some of the activities and it did provide a format for learning about different states and where they are on a map.

Sylvia completed about half of 180 Days of Math for First Grade [$14.95 from Rainbox Resource Center]. We supplemented this book with regular sessions of Math Seeds by Reading Eggs [affiliate link]. We also played games and used math in everyday life. She is still mastering early math concepts so I try to get her lots of low stakes practice. 

Nature Lore
Sylvia and I read and she narrated:
African Critters by Robert Haas [already owned for $3.99 on Thriftbooks
North: The Amazing Story of Arctic Migration by Nick Dowson and Patrick Benson [already owned gifted book]

She also listened to the following nature and science books in morning time:
The Moon of the Mountain Lions by Jean Craighead George
Guess What Grasses Do by Barbara Rinkoff (free ebook)
The Moon of the Deer by Jean Craighead George
Discovering Cereals by Angela Lucas (free ebook)
Beaver Tales by Audrey Tournay and the Aspen Valley Beavers
The Snake Scientist by Sy Montgomery, Photographs by Nic Bishop
The Moon of the Chickarees by Jean Craighead George
Moon of the Bears by Jean Craighead George
The Tarantula in my Purse by Jean Craighead George
Sphinx: The Story of a Caterpillar by Robert M. McClung

Nature Journaling
For many years, we required and helped our kids ages 6 and up to record a daily entry in their nature journals. We decided to stop requiring it this year. It took a lot of energy to remember it and make it happen and we felt like it wasn't serving the purpose we wanted. 

However, Sylvia made many entries and drawings in her notebook on her own.  As I am feeling more energetic myself, I'm hoping to provide more inspiration and opportunity to foster this practice for her. Maybe the boys will join us, but so far their interests seem to lie outside of nature journaling!

Wild + Free
Sylvia was happy to attend our year-round all-weather nature group at a rural property. She loves climbing trees, catching tadpoles and salamanders in the pond, and whittling with her pocket knife. I count it as physical education and science on our schedule.

Art and Music
Artist study, music appreciation, and folk singing 

As planned, we used picture study aids from A Humble Place during morning time to study

Term 1: Waterhouse
Term 2: Michelangelo
Term 3: Brugel

We subscribed to SQUILT for July-August and November-February. The last few months we continued to listen to SQUILT calendars that we hadn't already completed. It was not focused on particular composers, but we listened to great music and learned a lot.

We learned a few new folk songs, including
The Golden Vanity 
Brown Girl in the Ring
King John And the Abbot of Canterbury 
The Happy Wanderer
Heath to the Company 

We also sang our old favorites in the car, on hikes, and whenever the mood struck us. 

I didn't plan as much in this area as I had in the past, but Sylvia is a born handicrafter so I spent the year trying to keep her in supplies. She literally creates something every day. I have ton a terrible job taking pictures of her many embroidery, paper-crafting, sewing, loom knitting, potholder loom, braclet-making, luceting, drawing, cooking, needle felting and painting projects. Here are just 5 of the MANY things she made this year. The best part is that she comes up with or tweaks or extends every project she does with her own style. I love that about her! 

Sylvia started piano around Christamas and quickly worked through most of unit 1. 

Physical Education
Sylvia participated in 
  • Swimming lessons (summer)
  • AYSO Soccer (Fall)
  • Daily hanging and pull ups on our doorway pullup bar
  • Hiking, biking, tree climbing and frequent walks around our town
Girl Scouting
Sylvia enjoyed some different experiences with her troup this year like touring our state capitol building, selling cookies, and doing a service project at the community garden. This summer she plans to go whitewater rafting and camping with her troop and attend a local girl scount day camp. 

Sylvia is a very sensitive child and I think that my being so low energy due to undiagnosed hypothryroidsim and struggling so much throughout 2021, especially winter 2021, affected her negatively. Most of our relationship and trust has been restored by now but not all of it and it has affected homeschooling in her frequent resistance to doing schoolwork. We learned to avoid or overcome her resistance to get things done but it was hard. She isn't resistant to learning, just schoolwork!

I am hoping that lots of quality time with parents plus a long break from school lessons plus a few months maturity is going to make a big difference next year.