Hey guys! Today I’m sharing our top 2nd grade homeschool curriculum picks with you! As I’ve said before, every family is different, so what works for us may not be the best fit for your family. But hopefully you can use these as a general guide to get started!
I hope these posts are helping you all plan your homeschool year. If you have any suggestions for helpful planning posts let me know and I’ll see what I can do!
Here are the basic subjects that I suggest you cover for 2nd grade. Of course you’ll want to make sure to check with your state requirements to make sure you’re including anything specifically required by your district. The * indicates subjects that are optional.
- Social Studies/History
- **US History (If you live in the United States most states require that you do a certain amount of US History each year, so you’ll want to check with your state to see what is required.)
Here are our top picks for 2nd grade:
- Daily Learning Notebook (Elementary level manuscript version. or Elementary cursive version) – My Daily Learning Notebooks come in a variety of styles. They all include several hands-on practice sheets for essential skill-building and make practicing fun! They include counting, money, weather, time, days, months, letters, shapes (preschool version), and more! If you have already done the elementary notebook and want something new try out the cursive version, or the German, French, or Spanish! It’s just a fun way to cover a variety of skills each day. I have an elementary-specific one I like to use for ages 6-11. It’s just a fun way to cover a variety of skills each day. The notebook includes things like:
- What day is it?
- What was yesterday?
- What will it be tomorrow be?
- Writing the date
- Color in the day number
- Is today’s number ODD or EVEN?
- Write today’s number in word form
- Write the number that comes before and after today’s number
- Handwriting Practice
- Alphabet review
- 0-100 Number practice
- Handwriting Practice
- Tally marks
- World’s Greatest Artists Vol. 1 or 2: My artist studies are a great way to learn about some of the world’s greatest artists as well as learn about different artistic styles, techniques, and mediums. You will learn a ton about the work of each artist and become well familiar with their style, methods, and images. Students will also learn to discuss artwork in a critical fashion as well as gain an appreciation for art in general. You will also create several of your own unique masterpieces emulating the styles and techniques of the artists as you learn. Each study includes: Lesson plans for each week , a lapbook, artist note booking pages for older kids, puzzles, artist fact flashcards, and art projects to correlate with each artist.
- I love the Home Art Studio DVDs they have really fun art projects. They are sold by grade level, which might not work as well if you have multiple-grades represented in your home. But I’ve found that for the most part, if you pick a DVD between the upper grades in your home, you can have everyone do a project from one DVD and it seems to be okay. There have been a few times where it was more difficult for my youngest, but I don’t expect her work to be the same level as her older sister. So we just go with it and they’ve done fine. The DVDs may cost a bit more, but they also take the pressure off of you to teach a lesson. If you’re not comfortable teaching art, you can simply gather the required materials and let the DVD do the teaching for you.
- Another one of my favorite all time resources for art is the Deep Space Sparkle website, she has tons of free art ideas for kids also sorted by grade level! And it looks like she’s also created a curriculum you can purchase as well. I haven’t tried it out myself, but I love her website overall!
- Grapevine Units: These are great for all ages. Since I have 4 different grades in our homeschool, I purchase the multiple-level teacher’s manual, along with a combination of the traceable student workbooks (for my younger kids) and the blank ones (for my older kids) and we all do the same lesson at the same time. It’s worked out great for teaching multiple levels at the same time! That said, they also have grade specific levels if you don’t need to teach more than one grade together.
- Friends & Heroes Bible Curriculum: The Friends & Heroes Bible Curriculum comes with a video series along with accompanying worksheet lessons. My kids love anything that is DVD related, and I they have enjoyed the lessons as well. The lessons include a 10 minute devotional, memory verses, games and activities, and printable pdf files that you can use with students as well. This is a great option for anyone who prefers to have a bit of variety to their lessons!
- Character Studies: I have a series of FREE character studies available for download on my website. They’re great for teaching basic character skills to your kids while having a fun and engaging Bible study at the same time. You can find them all here on my Bible printables page, I hope you enjoy them!
- Word of Life Challenger Quiet Time devotions. These are great for starting to teach independent Bible study for kids. They come by grade levels so you can get one that is appropriate for your child. We do one per day, and they only take about 5-10 minutes each.
- Kay Arthur Discover 4 yourself: These are great for kids who are good readers and ready for something a little more in depth. They have a reading assignment each day along with some specific Bible markings to help them remember the text and think about what it means in a more critical manner. I usually start these books somewhere between 2nd and 3rd grade depending on the child.
- BJU Handwriting 2: I like the BJU Press handwriting workbooks. They have a variety of activities students do each day to practice handwriting skills. There are some references to their other curriculum, but we haven’t ever had an issue with using them.
- A Reason For Handwriting: These sold by grade level and include fun and short daily handwriting worksheets. Students practice copying and re-writing Bible verses which is nice for memorization as well. I did find that they’re too repetitive, so after doing these for 1 year we moved onto BJU Handwriting just for a change.
- Abeka Handwriting: The Abeka handwriting worksheets provide basic practice on a daily worksheet. The only issue I found with these, and they may have updated them by now, but the letter tracing lines are black along with the paper guide lines and so it can be difficult for students to tell how to form the letters properly. I prefer it when the lines are blue/red, and the tracing fonts are a light gray so it’s easier to distinguish between the two.
- Note: I usually stick with manuscript until 2nd or 3rd grade depending on my student’s readiness. I find that their fine motor skills are more developed and cursive is easier to learn around 3rd grade. But you’ll want to do whatever works best for your child.
- Spelling You See C: This is a relatively new program, and we received it free for review. I have to say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised by this curriculum. It’s quickly becoming one of my favorites. Not only does it take some of the teaching time off of me, but it seems to be fun for my kids and it is working well. This curriculum is not your standard memorization of words and rules. There is a reading passage each day and students mark particular items in the passage. Then they copy the passage down on the following page. The repetition of seeing the words along with writing them has really helped quite a bit in my children’s spelling. I also love that in the books they learn a variety of information in the passages. Each grade level has a different theme so students learn the information as they’re copying the passages. We used level C for our 2nd grader and I love it.
- All About Spelling Level 2: I love AAS for phonics rules memorization. I think they do a great job really drilling the phonics, as well as teaching sight words, and giving spelling words to work on each week. One thing that you should note with this curriculum is that it’s teacher led, and we spent about 15-20 minutes each day working on our lessons. The books come with about 26-30 lessons for each level, and so I split the lessons into two parts. We do the new teaching one day, then the word writing and practice the following day. they use letter tiles to help students spell words which helps with really seeing and sounding out each sound, popular vowel teams, and consonant teams. Another thing we did to make this curriculum more fun was to use our iPad chalkboard app to write words, we also stamp the words, and I created a “Word Jail” bulletin board on our wall where we added all of the phonics rule breakers (sight words). We reviewed these often and it was really easy to do since they were all in one place!
- Abeka Letters & Sounds 2 and Language 2 is probably my favorite. It covers both phonics practice as well as beginning grammar. I do have the teacher’s manual for the workbooks, but I think for 2nd grade you could probably get away without them and just teach off of the worksheets. I use the Abeka Basic Phonics Flashcards in conjunction with the workbooks to teach and review their phonics blends.
- Abeka 2 readers. I suggest looking for the readers on eBay or Homeschool Classifieds, you can often find them at a great price used! We do have the reading curriculum TM which includes comprehension questions for older grades. The younger grades have the questions right in their books so you don’t really need a TM for them. You can just have your student read at their own pace through the books. These books do correlate directly to the phonics lessons in grade 2, so that is why we use them together.
- All About Reading Level 2: This is a great hands-on curriculum for younger readers. Not only does it cover daily phonics lessons for second grade, but the readers are super cute and my kids have all loved them. They also include a student activity book with hands-on games and worksheets for your lessons as well.
- NOTE: I get a LOT of questions about which one we use and why. Honestly I love both of these options for reading. I have typically stuck with Abeka simply because we had all of the readers and I’ve taught it so many times that I’m well familiar with it, so it’s just an easier option for me. I do however pull out the AAR readers during reading time as well because my kiddos prefer the AAR stories to the Abeka ones.
- Math U See Beta: We have used Math U See for all of our kiddos for years. We have tried a couple of other math programs, but ended up going back to MUS because it’s just a much better fit for us. I like that it comes with DVD lessons, so I don’t have to teach them. I simply facilitate their work during the week, and help out when they have questions. Even though the skills are taught in a different order than traditional math where kids do a little bit of everything each day, I find that the MUS philosophy of mastering one skill before moving on to the next has worked well for our kids.
- Optional: While we use MUS I also like to add in some math drill worksheets randomly just to help with memorization of math facts. MUS has printable worksheets that you can use and there are a ton of free online worksheet generators, I like math-aids.com, you can print customizable worksheets to work on your students weak areas. This is totally optional and I only do it maybe twice a week or so just for extra practice.
- Road Trip USA: Road Trip is a year long USA Geography/History curriculum. It is geared towards elementary students around grades 1-6. From the signing of the Declaration of Independence, to the wild west, you’ll uncover all the secrets this Nation has to offer! Within this curriculum you’ll discover the sights and sounds of all 50 states, including state symbols, U.S. Presidents, famous people, landmarks, historical events, and much more! Students will also learn about animals from each state, their habitats, and other interesting facts. We did use this as our science for the year as well.
- Abeka History:This is more of a read and discuss type curriculum. There aren’t many hands-on activities included. However they are easy and short daily lessons and can be purchased by grade level. One thing I like about this curriculum is that the reading assignments are really appropriate for each grade level and so I didn’t feel like I was teaching above my students understanding. Since I have 4 children, the youngest didn’t participate with us, but the older three did. I chose grade 4 to use with my 2nd, 4th, and 5th grader and it worked well. I did not make my 2nd grader take the tests, but she was capable of listening and discussing things with us.
- Time Traveler Units: I used these units as a fun supplement to go along with our Abeka history. They include hands-on projects, and lapbooking type activities that helped to make the Abeka more engaging. Although they’re listed as a full curriculum, and we enjoyed it, I did find that it wasn’t quite as thorough as I would have liked. There is a 1-2 page reading passage for each lesson followed by several activities. I love the activities included, but did find that some of them were a bit confusing or difficult for my children to complete after reading just a small piece of information. If we use these again, we will definitely add them in with Abeka or something a little more thorough.
- Evan-Moor History Pockets: These are a great way to include some more hands on activities with your students. They aren’t really a full stand-alone curriculum. However, they were an excellent addition to our Abeka unit as well. The books come in a variety of topics and have one short lesson followed by a lapbooking type activity for each reading passage. I felt that they were a nice addition to our curriculum. And they weren’t very time consuming. The only preparation work required for you is to make copies for your kiddos.
- Classical Literature Units: I love including some classical literature in our day. These units are great for younger readers and encourage them to start reading longer chapter books that are both fun as well as educational. If you have multiple grades you’re teaching you can do these as a group read-a-loud, then have students complete the lapbook and comprehension questions individually. If your student is ready to read them independently you can have them do them on their own. Each unit includes vocabulary words, comprehension questions, activities where appropriate, and a lapbook project.
- World’s Greatest Composers Vo.l 1 OR World’s Greatest Composers Vol. 2: These units are a great way to learn about some of our world’s most famous musicians. You will learn a ton about the work of each musician and become well familiar with their style and works. Students will also learn to discuss the music in a critical fashion as well as gain an appreciation for the art in general. they will complete listening studies each day that include an accompanying project. Each study includes: Lesson plans for each week , a lapbook, note booking pages for older kids, puzzles, musician fact cards, and listening assignments that correlate with each artist.
- Expedition Earth Geography/Science Curriculum: We are going through this curriculum again for our 2nd time and it’s still so much fun! Its definitely my kids favorite part of our week. The lessons are engaging, informative, and hands-on. It’s also great for use with multiple grades together. It includes quizzes, reports, and tests for older kids along. We’ll walk along on the Great Wall of China, wander through the Amazon Rainforest, and climb the Egyptian Pyramids! Within this curriculum you’ll discover the sights and sounds of 31 countries across the globe. You’ll get hands-on with fun activities, crafts, recipes and more! So grab your passports, and get ready to go!
- World’s Greatest Scientists: These are super fun units where students can learn all about 7 of our world’s greatest scientists. Each study includes fun hands-on activities to go along with the unit to help students remember what they’ve learned, and also provide them with a fun reference too to review and recall each person they’ve learned about. The lessons also include book reports, vocabulary, character traits of these important figures, and critical thinking skills.
- Abeka Science 2: Abeka science is also a good option if you’re looking for easy short lessons with not much fuss on your part. There are a few experiments included, though the curriculum as a whole is not that hands on. Lessons are short and to the point, and you really don’t need much prep work. It does cover an overview of a variety of topics in one year which is nice, and like I said it’s fairly easy with little prep work for you.
- ROBOTICS: LEGO Education I recommend starting with the Simple Mechanisms set. We did this as a co-op with some other families, but you could also do it at home. Each set is intended for 2 students to share. There are activity lesson plans you can purchase and then the students use the kits to learn all about a variety of robotics related topics. They build various models, test them, then modify their creations to get a variety of desired results. While this was an optional subject, I really wanted to list it here because I think the lessons were really cool, fun, and valuable in encouraging critical and logical thinking skills, as well as creativity and teamwork.
- Family Time Fitness: This is a great program if you are looking for more structure for PE at home. It includes daily lessons along with video tutorials for any activities you’re unfamiliar with. There are no special products required to complete the lessons most can be done inside or out depending on your whether with little props.
- If you don’t want something formal, I would just plan in some outdoor free play time into your daily homeschool schedule. Go for a walk, head to the park, take a bike ride, play ball or Frisbee, etc. Just make it fun, and be diligent to get your kiddos out and active each day!
- Teach Yourself Piano: We have used this for a few years now, and my students have gotten to the point where they’ll need private lessons if they want to go much further. I will say that it’s a fun and easy way to begin though and I don’t regret getting it. The lessons are short, and students learn songs right away which is a nice motivator. They do label your keyboard with number stickers then later on letters which help students learn.
- Typing Web (free online typing program): We’ve been using Typing Web for a few years now and I find that it’s a great way to improve typing skills. One thing I’ve found that helps is doing typing on a daily basis. So we’ve scheduled it for 10 minutes per day 5 days per week. The best part is that the lessons are free. You just sign up as a parent account and then add your students under your account. NOTE: I usually require my kids to start typing in 3rd grade, but I wanted to include it in this list just in case you were looking to start earlier.
- Vocabulary Workshop Grade 2: I usually recommend starting some type of vocabulary work in 2nd grade, and we’ve found vocabulary workshop to be decent. It’s basically a workbook with a reading selection, word lists, and then worksheets using the vocabulary presented in the reading portion. It’s not very exciting, but seems to work well.
- Wordbuild Online: This is a new online program that we recently tried out. My son loved that it was computer based, as he really doesn’t love to have to do worksheets. I found it a little on the easy side, but overall I liked it. The lessons are fairly short so they only take about 10-15 minutes per day. You can go back and check their scores on each section, but I haven’t found out how to repeat a lesson if they needed to.
Final Advice for second grade:
When preparing your curriculum for second grade I think the best advice I can give you is to keep it fun and engaging. Since 2nd grade can start to get worksheet heavy I like to choose elective curriculum that is more hands-on and engaging. They will have a heavier work load and I think incorporating hands-on activities can help keep school more fun.
Continue teaching them how to work diligently and more independently where appropriate. I like using the workbox system to help my students learn to complete tasks more independently. Here’s a video on our workboxes and how we use them in our school!
I hope this has helped you in planning your homeschool curriculum for first grade! Make sure to check out our other top homeschool curriculum picks here! Also, stop by the COAH Community to see what others use for 2nd grade too! Have questions? Start your own discussion 🙂
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which means I get a small percentage if you purchase through my link. That said, please know that I do NOT recommend anything unless we like and use it!!
These all sound amazing and I am thankful for your opinions on so many levels. We are preparing to begin our homeschooling adventure for the 2016-17 school year with a first and second grader and have three more children that will join as they reach age!
My question is this – are you buying all of these curriculum packages or being sent them to test/review? I anticipated the cost of homeschooling to be, obviously, greater than a public education but I can’t imagine how people could afford to purchase, even USED, all of these workbooks, manuals, dvds, etc for the age range needed to homeschool multiple kids! It just doesn’t seem feasible to have such a vast collection of materials as much as I would like to give my children all of them.
I am surprised too, but I have been able to keep my cost to right around $200 for a 2nd and 1st grader. The price does not count printing and paper costs at home or supplies I will get around back to school time. I did a lot of searching online for good, used curriculum. I also do not do all the subjects individually as she does.
For 1st and 2nd grade I will probably end up doing Language Arts (reading, spelling, phonics, writing, etc.), Math, Science, Geography (using Expedition Earth), Bible, PE (rec sports and playing for us), and I think that’s it unless I add anything else in. A lot of the stuff I kind of cobble together from free resources online, and don’t follow a curriculum for some of it. Plus, I follow my children’s interests quite a bit. If they are interested in planets, we check out books from the library on planets. If they want to learn french, we found an app on the iPhone to learn.
I do have one more child and she is 3, so we will just do the fun learning numbers, letters, colors, shapes, etc.
Hope you have a happy school year!
Hi Erika! Thank you for this! it was great to read all about the different picks. I started Homeschooling for my first time this 2015-2016 year. My daughter is is in 2nd grade. I mostly stuck with Abeka because i like how its all laid out for me. My daughter will be moving into 3rd grade this fall and i think im looking to keep most of the Abeka but i do agree that i find the science and history to be boring.. My daughter loves those Subjects too so i would like to make it more fun and hands on. So i was interested in your Expedition Earth and or Road Trip USA. My Question is would i need both or would one cover both History and science for the year? i saw you said you used Road trip to the USA as both science and history.. what does it have that is science based? and do you think this would be enough where i would not need to get the Abeka science and history?
Thank you so much for sharing! I have a questions on the Reading/Spelling/English curriculum you listed above, do you find them overlapping somehow, for example, you mentioned they all covered phonics? I’m just starting to gather my package now and trying to see if All about Reading will give it all or do I really need to have separate materials for reading/spelling/english? Thank you!
Hi Erica! Thank you putting this together. Wow! That is an extensive list of subjects and curriculum. How long does your 2nd grader usually do schoolwork? My daughter is going into 4th grade and we barely get in a couple hours a day. Mind you, we can do a lot in those 2 hours since it’s pretty one-on-one. I’m also curious how much you spend on average on curriculum? This list looks pretty expensive in the long haul. Do you have a lot already? Thank you again. I will be checking out a few of these and seeing some of your other posts. I’m just getting started here. 🙂
How in the name of day baby Jesus do you fit all of this in? How is it possible? What does your schedule look like?
I admire your ability to homeschool four children and ccome up with a successful blog. How long is an average school day for your 2nd grander? We have been doing 2 hours/day Monday through Friday and it has been a struggle to even get that time solidly followed.
In our state we are required to do 4 hours per day for 172 days per year.
Do you do any writing composition for 2nd? If not when and what do you use.
I don’t do anything formal for writing in 2nd grade. Since I usually use Abeka Language it has a little writing in there, but nothing too structured. I start IEW Level A in 3rd grade.
How is art and music optional but not Bible? …
Art, music and Bible aren’t optional for us as I think they are important, but most school districts list them as optional.
Do you do the phonics/language tests that come with Abeka, since you use a different spelling program? We love Abeka phonics, but I”m thinking about switching to spelling u see, but I’m not quite sure how to work that with Abeka since they integrate spelling.
I used the Abeka flashcards for our reading/phonics portion of our curriculum. Spelling You See is more for spelling, while reading/learning phonics is another subject somewhat. So using both together seemed to work well for us.
Did you use all of these or are these recommendations for 2nd grade? It just seems like a lot for one grade. Forgive me, I am new to homeschooling.
These are just my top picks for 2nd grade. I only use one of the choices per subject 🙂 I just wanted to give you several options to choose from since all families are different.