How to Teach Second Grade

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Second graders are full of energy, fun, and a great sense of humor. They’re ready to learn, and they need playful lessons full of activity and stories to keep them engaged.

In second grade it’s time to extend the academic lessons you began in first grade. The subjects are the same, but second graders are ready for more challenge and skill-building. 

At the same time, it’s important to keep the magic of joyful learning alive! Imaginative, lively lessons are key to a successful second grade year.

The principles we covered in the post on how to teach first grade still hold true. This year it’s still important to:

  • Let school be joyful

  • Begin your lessons with active learning

  • Teach with stories

  • Engage with head, heart, and hands

  • Keep lessons short and sweet (although you can go a bit longer in 2nd grade!)

  • Use rhythm as a teaching tool

  • Plan ahead, but don’t be a slave to your plan

(Need to review? Pop on over to the How to Teach First Grade post here!)

So how do you continue with a joyful, lively approach in second grade while bringing in more challenge? Let’s talk about it!

How to Teach Second Grade

In this post we’ll explore some key ideas on how to teach second grade. If you need more of an overview of what to teach, please see this back post on Second Grade Essentials.

Keep it Playful

Your second grader still loves to play, so plan for playful main lessons! Make puppets or dress up and act out your stories together. Jump rope and play hopscotch. Embrace the humor in animal fables, silly poetry, and tongue twisters. Play math games and word family games. Use math stones and letter tiles. Keep singing and moving together in circle time. Spend as much time moving your bodies as sitting at the table! Be sure to preserve plenty of time in your child’s day for free play and going outside.

Don’t Get Stuck in a Rut!

Lively lessons are important in second grade! There seems to be a myth among homeschoolers that second grade is a rather uninspiring year. My guess is it feels that way if teachers get in a rut with their lesson rhythm and don’t do much beyond telling a story and summarizing it in the main lesson book. Plan for variety in your lessons to keep you and your little one engaged and having fun this year! What are several different ways your child could recall the story with you? How many different active ways can you review and practice skills? For every subject and every lesson, are you engaging with head, heart, and hands?

Lavender’s Blue Second Grade is chock full of creative, lively lessons with detailed daily plans so you never feel stuck!

Start with Stories

Continue to build your lessons from stories. Storytelling is still the jumping-off point for lessons that capture your child’s interest in math, nature, form drawing, and the arts, as well as language arts! Tell fables, animal stories, trickster tales, and saint legends from around the world. Second grade stories often have an element of either humor and mischief or spiritual inspiration. For more on the essential story themes of second grade, don’t miss this back post.

Build Skills

In first grade, you gently introduced the world of letters and numbers. Now you can do more systematic work with building skills in language arts and math. This is the year for a thorough introduction to all the times tables and lots of practice with all four processes. Begin to gently introduce grammar and spelling rules, continue to practice reading and handwriting, and do lots of work with word families. 

Don’t worry about your child’s starting point or pace, just be consistent. Small amounts of daily practice will lead to big growth this year! And don’t forget, “practice” doesn’t need to mean “dull and boring.” Even your practice work can still be active and creative in second grade!

In Lavender’s Blue Second Grade, skill-building in math and language arts is approached systematically and creatively, with more guidance than you'll find anywhere else.

Keep the Joy of Math Alive

It’s especially important to teach math with creativity this year! Yes, it’s a year to build skills. But much more importantly, it’s a year to explore the beauty and magic of numbers. Start with stories to engage your child’s heart. Use movement, rhythm, games, and plenty of work with manipulatives to engage your child’s body. Be consistent and systematic in your math facts and times tables practice, and bring in some fun challenge problems in the four processes to engage your child’s head. When you work with the head, heart, and hands in your math lessons, you’re building your child’s sense of number and positive feelings towards math, both of which are important for a strong math foundation.

Lavender’s Blue Second Grade includes a uniquely strong math program, grounded in the best of Waldorf math theory and pedagogy, with imaginative stories that bring math to life. Math practice activities, games, and active math in circle time are all carefully planned out for you!

Focus on Beautiful Language

Your child will make progress in reading and writing this year, and that’s wonderful! You’ll want to spend some time each day on the mechanics of reading. Just be sure to teach skills in the context of holistic language arts lessons. Sometimes teachers “dumb down” the language in their lessons (to match the child’s reading and spelling level) without even realizing it. Instead, surround your child with beautiful language and rich vocabulary! Tell wonderful stories, read and recite poems, play with the sounds of tongue twisters. Keep moving and singing in circle. Read aloud to your child every day!

I wrote this in the Kindergarten post, but it bears repeating - if you want your child to be a good reader, writer, thinker, and an interesting person, read lots of wonderful books together! When I was planning second grade, I found one of the hardest parts was deciding which stories not to cover in main lesson. There is just such a wealth of second grade story material! The good news is that you can still read stories you don’t have time to cover in main lesson during your read aloud time.

Lavender’s Blue Second Grade includes a rich and holistic language arts program, with wonderful stories, engaging activities, and a super fun circle time! 

Plan Out Your Lessons

With so many details to manage, you’ll want to plan out your lessons in advance. Give yourself plenty of time so you can be creative and not get stuck in a rut!

Lavender’s Blue Second Grade is a solid curriculum full of creative, detailed lesson plans. It really does the heavy lifting for you! Of course I still recommend adjusting the plan to fit your unique child. As a homeschool parent, you have the needs of every member of your family and your home on your plate as well. 

Do you need help with planning?

Sign up here for the Lavender's Blue Planning Quick Start Guide (it's free!)

This giveaway is now closed. Here's what our winner Ashley had to say:

"I am using the autumn kindergarten curriculum now for my five year old and Love it! I’m so happy to have come across your curriculum. I will be getting more for the coming seasons and look forward to them as well. It’s been just the right fit for our family. Thank you!"