This week I offer you the Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers’ Top Picks for 1st and 2nd grade. In case you missed it, last week I offered my top picks for Kindergarten. You may notice a few favorites popping up again, but I’ve added several that weren’t on my Kindergarten list.
Math. Maybe I should stop right here and just say that Horizons is my top pick for math for K-6. You’ll see me making an additional side note beginning in 3rd and 4th, but we’ve used all K-6 levels of Horizons math. It’s a solid, slightly advanced program. My only gripe with Horizons is that my kids are constantly “behind” because each book has 160 lessons, plus tests every 10 lessons. So, if you’re not doing math every single day, you’re going to be behind.
However, as I mentioned last week, Horizons is advanced, so even if your child is finishing the 6th grade book in 7th or 8th grade, he’s still going to be in good shape for going into Pre-Algebra or Algebra.
Grammar. I love, love, love First Language Lessons for 1st/2nd grade grammar! The gentle approach, the memorization, and the short, mom-guided lessons make it a perfect introduction to grammar at this age. To make it even better, Jolanthe, at Homeschool Creations, has created free, beautifully illustrated printables of the poems your kids will memorize in First Language Lessons, Volume 1. I wish I’d had these when we went through FLL.
I am also a huge fan of all the Easy Grammar and Daily Grams products. It didn’t take us the full two years to complete First Language Lessons, Volume 1 and I found Easy Grammar 2 to be the perfect follow-up to First Language Lessons. It’s a daily guided review, so it’s intended for the parent to do with the child. We did our Easy Grammar lessons on the dry erase board each day. I feel that Easy Grammar 2 did a great job of reinforcing what the kids had learned in FLL and in introducing new topics in an easy-to-understand way.
Reading. My picks for reading for 1st and 2nd grade are the same as K — Scaredy Cat Reading System (Level 2) and Rocket Phonics. I am also a fan of the Explode the Code books. I love these books because, for the most part, my kids can do them independently. Explode the Code is great for reinforcing phonics-based reading instruction and I have often been amazed at how well the books mesh with — and reinforce — my pick for spelling.
Spelling. Hands-down, All About Spelling is my pick for 1st/2nd grade and up! We received it to review this year and I can’t tell you how much I wish I’d had this program years ago. They have just released Level 6. Additionally, they’ve just released two new books in their line of readers that correlate with the spelling program: What Am I? and Queen Bee.
All About Spelling is a multi-sensory, mastery-based program based on the Orton-Gillingham principals. For those who may not know, the Orton-Gillingham principals are highly regarded for helping dyslexic kids learn to read and spell. Having one dyslexic child and another one who probably is, I was ecstatic to find All About Spelling and I’ve been impressed with how well it works.
History. We love Story of the World. I love that it reads like a story book and makes history interesting and easy for kids to understand. I’ve often had people ask me if the Activity Guide is necessary. In my opinion, yes. The activity guide offers hands-on activities, comprehension and narration question, supplemental reading suggestions (both fiction and non-fiction), maps, and more. It takes the planning out of teaching history.
Science. For first and second grade, I’m still a big fan of fun, interest-led science. We love using The Magic School Bus books as a jumping off point. Some of The Magic Tree House books are suitable for science too (or make a fun supplement to history) and I love their non-fiction research guides.
Handwriting. Even my kids will admit they enjoyed the A Reason for Handwriting series. In this series, kids practice a Bible verse all week. For the first three days, they’re practicing key words from the verse. On Day 4, they practice the verse in its entirety. Finally, they write the verse in their best handwriting on lined paper that has a picture to color. They can then give the completed verse and picture to a friend or relative. Grandparents love getting these, but it also makes a great way to share Jesus with those in our circle of influence.
What are some of your favorite choices for first and second grade?
This post contains affiliate links and I will receive a commission on any sales purchased using said links. Please see my disclosure policy for details.