I've been pondering what we'll be doing for language arts in our second grade homeschool this year. (By the way, we've officially named ourselves Lamplight Academy now, so if you hear me refer to Lamplight in the future, you'll know I mean our home learning!)
By language arts, I mean all the things that, combined, make up our language studies. For right now, that includes reading, handwriting/penmanship, grammar, and basic narration skills.
Under reading, our time is divided (quite unevenly at this point) between read-aloud time, which we do a lot, and independent reading, which I try to encourage the sweet girl to do for at least a few minutes per day.
Our read-aloud time goes across the disciplines. We read history, science and art books together as well as what I simply term "literary read-alouds" (stories). We work on narration skills (where I ask questions and prompt S. to "tell back" what she's heard) in all those areas. We hit it hardest in history and science, though we also do some fun "re-telling" with literature, mostly in the form of story disks.
Handwriting and penmanship time has been mostly focused on copywork. We've used the Handwriting Without Tears materials and they've been marvelous. We've also done general copywork. I've come up with some of the exercises and we've used some of the Draw Write Now materials (volume 1). I'm still exploring what resources I'll be using as I increase copywork time this year.
For grammar (and further time on narration/oral usage) we've been using Jessie Wise's First Language Lessons. We plan to use that again this year, though I plan to step up the pace a bit.
What I'm trying to decide at this point is what sort of approach I want to take to copywork/writing time. She needs more confidence in penmanship, but I also want to use our copywork time more fruitfully to help her think about sentence structure and other basic writing skills. We need to build more of this time into our schedule consistently and I need to find ways to make it more enjoyable for her. Even after all the time we spent last year (and I thought it was going so well...live and learn!) the sweet girl is still balking about writing lower case letters. All summer long, whenever it was time to write anything: a thank you note, a birthday card, etc., she would beg to write it in capitals. I asked her why, and she got all flustered and told me she wasn't as good at writing lower-case letters. When I gently encouraged her and tried to explain to her the importance of continuing to practice, she got very anxious and moved into "I don't want to! I'll just write everything in capitals my whole life."
So...any fleeting thoughts I might have had about moving onto cursive in second grade were quickly shoved aside. We need more printing practice. I decided to go on and purchase the Handwriting Without Tears Printing Power workbook for 2nd grade (she really enjoys their workbooks) and also the teacher's guide, hoping the materials will inspire us.
I'll continue to use FLL, as I mentioned above, though stepping up the pace. I very much want to use Susan Wise Bauer's Writing With Ease materials (text and workbook one) but simply can't afford them. They're on the absolute top of my wish-list of materials this year.
Since I can't use WWE, I am looking at the materials I have on hand. Since we've been blessed to be the recipients of many homeschooling resources from friends, I've got some things to choose from: I have at least some materials I could use this year from various programs: Writing Strands, Learning Language Through Literature, and IEW materials. If anyone out there has used any of these in conjunction with FLL, I'd love to hear about that. I personally think that LLATL looks like it would be an excellent complement to FLL, and am learning toward using their 2nd grade book this year.
I should mention that, as we go into our third year of schooling, I am feeling both stretched and blessed. This is the first time we're going into a new school year with what feels like the bare minimum of resources. In the past, I've used my review-writing income to purchase our yearly books, but our ongoing financial struggles mean we're always just an unexpected bill away from having to spend such income on necessities. That happened this year. Almost everything I earned from reviews went to car repairs, dentist bills, and/or food. I would honestly be in a bit of a panic if it wasn't for incredible homeschooling friends who have rallied by handing off resources to me that they either no longer need or don't need this coming year. Teacher's guides for our math program, history resources galore, even a Scripture-memorization CD (which I can't imagine schooling without...we've used CDs from this particular set for the past two years and it's colored our days so beautifully). Despite the fact that there are several things I still wish I had on my shelves, I am completely thankful for the loans and gifts from dear friends.
Even without some things I think I "need," the school year is coming. And I am so looking forward to new learning and teaching opportunities!