Here are my suggestions for essential resources for Grade Two. Investigate for yourself and take what resonates with you!
- Again, just like Grade One, if you are not a do-it-yourselfer, you will need a curriculum! I like Christopherus for a full everything ( handwork, music, everything!) -included except the need for a form drawing book- curriculum (although you can buy the Second Grade Math, Saints and Heroes and Animal Tales books separately). Everything is very detailed and step-by-step, and you can tailor it to what your family needs. Live Ed! is also a possibility; I am not sure what extra resources one would need with Live Ed! though regarding such things as handwork,etc or how much extra work it is to create your own rhythm out of it……My recommendation with choosing any curriculum is just to make sure you know how much work it will take to put together if that is a concern for you and what other resources you will need outside of that curriculum to flesh it out! Those two, plus the guide for second grade by Melisa Nielsen and the blocks by Marsha Johnson, are the only ones I that I can suggest to you in knowing that the authors work off of an anthroposophic basis that understands and respects the seven-year cycles and the three-and-four fold human being. On the whole other hand, I honestly don’t think second grade is that hard to piece together yourself because there are quite a few resources for these kinds of stories.
- Also be sure to check out the free blocks in the FILES section under Second Grade on Marsha Johnson’s Yahoo!Group email@example.com. There are at least two math blocks there that are free and also a Russian Fairy Tale block that could be useful for this grade.
- If you are going to put second grade together yourself, you may consider checking out Melisa Nielsen’s “A Journey Through Waldorf Homeschooling Grade Two” which has some lovely articles in it to set the stage for second grade, ideas for how to approach the saints, verses and a paragraph of explanation for many of the Saints, many of the Aesop’s fables in their entirety and a sample order of possible Main Lesson blocks for the year with an idea or two for each day of the week using a four-day week, and some forms for second grade form drawing. The extra resources you would need are listed within this guide.
- Samples of work at this stage can be important; there can be wide variation in the skills and abilities of second graders. Check out the Grade Two Main Lesson Book pictures available to download for a fee at the Millennial Child website by Eugene Schwartz here: http://www.millennialchild.com/and also the second grade work on display at Christopherus: http://www.christopherushomeschool.org/resources-for-waldorf-homeschooling-and-conscious-parenting/gallery-of-student-work/2nd-grade.html
- Check and see if you will need a form drawing resource or a traditional drawing resource for yourself. Drawing, whilst still about color and gesture and filling up the page, is becoming more formed and with more variety (how will you draw the animals for those fables?!) and if you need help in this area, now is the time to get cracking and practice!
- Yarn, knitting materials, a needle for sewing and ideas for projects. I feel strongly about leaving purling until Third Grade and the nine-year-old change because purling is a gesture toward the body, a gesture of inwardness. This is an area you will have to search your heart and decide what is best for your family!
- The heart of this year is fables, folktales, American tall tales fit well, and also things like Russian fairy tales, trickster tales, more African tales from Betty Staley’s “Hear the Voice of the Griot!” What Native American tribes were or are in your area? Some families bring Native American tales here and in third grade as well; some families wait until fourth grade and do these Native American tales along with local geography. Follow your heart, and do have a plan for this year that meshes with the coming years. Themes run through the year, and everything builds upon everything else.
- For music curriculum, pentatonic flute/recorder is traditional. My friend Jodie over at homemusicmaking.blogspot.com is hard at work on curriculum; there are also resources available through David Darcy and Prometheus Press.
- Movement is a big part of second grade between active, imaginative ways to bring the subtraction and addition facts and the multiplication tables and also doing movement in blocks as found on the Movement for Childhood website.
- Wet-on-wet painting is important, and so is modeling. I like “Painting in Waldorf Education” by Bruin and Lichthart and of course Arthur Auer’s “Learning About the World Through Modeling.” Excellent!
- One thing I have found a lot of fun is to bring in some Eurythmy-inspired lessons; verses and songs and poems with gestures. I love “Come Unto These Yellow Sands” for that. If you are not a trained eurythmist you cannot bring the speech eurythmy gestures and do them justice, but you can bring movement and fun to your homeschool with this wonderful book that covers Kindergarten through all twelve grades with great ideas! There is also an article on copper rods on the Movement for Childhood website available here: http://www.movementforchildhood.com/copperrods.pdf
- Some people have asked me if they should get Donna Simmons’ “Saints and Heroes” book versus “Stories of the Saints” – the traditional Waldorf resource. They cover different saints; please look for an upcoming blog post on this since it is a common question!
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have a second grader who is “advanced” you can keep moving ahead on academic skills, but please, please, please do NOT bring the Third Grade Curriculum until your child is NINE or pretty darn close to nine. The Third Grade Curriculum is really a year of DOING, a year that speaks directly and eloquently to the nine-year-old change. If you bring it in too early two things will happen: 1. The stories and activities of the Third Grade just will not speak to your child’s soul, they become a rather empty gesture because they are being offered prematurely and 2. You will be causing an avalanche effect for the coming years because the Grade Four Norse Myths are VERY dark! (ie, everyone dies!) I think a child really should be close to ten to deal directly with the content in the Norse myths; the themes are mature. When we do academic work, we have to be sure to enliven it with lots of DOING, lots of music, art, painting, sculpting, modeling, gardening, doing, doing, doing. Otherwise the academic work just sits there, dead and useless. The teaching through art is the vehicle, the stories and the art and the movement and the doing are the way for the development of the soul. If you need further clarification on this, I so highly suggest Steiner’s “Practical Advice to Teachers”. Even just reading the forward will explain this so well!
Just a few thoughts for second grade!