2015-2016 Curriculum Choices (Looking Forward)

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop This is post that I have honestly been scared to write as I dread the judgement. Okay, so seriously I don’t have a large commenting base on my blog, but I know from numbers and interactions along down the line that people are seeing what I write. It’s here, in email, and feeds through social networks and what-not. But even though I’m sure you’ll probably read this and go on with your day, I still fear the judgement and the “crazy woman” thoughts you’re most likely sending my way.

Alas. Yesterday I talked about looking back at our year and what we did. For a large part of things, they worked for us. We’re cancelling out the idea of continuing with Seton Home Study School, but we love everything about Memoria Press Classical Core Curricula that you’ll have to pull the lesson manual from my cold hands… okay, yes yes I know. Crazy woman again. And that’s not even the enthusiastic part I was referencing pre-paragraph. Today I was to talk about the plan, the idea of looking forward at what is planned to come.

As what I planned for last year was suppose to take AppleBlossom two years, if that happens this year instead, I’m totally cool with that. I’m not sure how cool our new Diploma program is cool with that, but as they say, they’ll work with us. Plus, dude. My kid is six, in second grade. I mean, hello? I might need a little slack here. This post is mostly about AppleBlossom (age 6). I’ll talk about OrangeBlossom (age 4) later on.

Now for the basics… Nah, first the overall.


  • Memoria Press Second Grade Classical Core Curriculum – yes! yes! yes! I love Memoria Press. Their Enrichment Guide is the butter to my teaching. I oohed and ahhed a bit about our experience with the First Grade yesterday and a couple weeks ago, but you can also hear me expand on my opinions in my Kindergarten post as well. We are not doing Spelling Workout since MP made that change, nor Core Skills Phonics. We are sticking with Christian Liberty Press Adventures in Phonics to finish out the series (hopefully they’ll republish Level C soon!) and for now we’ve newly fallen in love with Alpha Omega Publications Horizons Spelling & Vocabulary for 2nd Grade.
  • VPSA_Crest_2

    Veritas Press Scholars Academy

    Veritas Press Second Grade – Veritas Press Scholars Academy Diploma Program Standard Student – I know! I know! What am I thinking? One classical curricula, two classical curricula? Really, my kid is already a year ahead, why not just throw two full amazing programs at her and see what happens! What happens? She thrives?! Bizarre! Actually it’s a bit like me in college. The semester I took only four classes, I did poorly and was bored all. the. time. The semester I took 21 credits? Straight As! Victory! Sorry… a little excited here.

  • Wayfarers Ancients

    Barefoot Ragamuffins Wayfarers Ancients – hmm… so this has not gone over to our main bit. Why? Because I’m obsessed with Memoria Press and because we’re enrolled with the VPSA Diploma program. Why? Because long story short, we need accreditation and VPSA’s got it and I refuse to give up Memoria Press, *snort*. Is Wayfarers less of a program for the Classical sort? Nah! It’s amazing! (I truly need to review it I suppose…) We love ELTL, RLTL, Pathways and the Literature read aloud list and schedule. We love the geography, history, and science book lists. The rest, we just kinda skim past.

Now for the basics…


We’re continuing our interaction with the Golden Children’s Bible as it comes up with the Copybook/Memory period. We’ve also added in something new as in the Worldview series from Apologia, after having the opportunity to review What We Believe #4 last year, I bought the first in the series and we’re now working through Who is God?. I’m reading the text while the girls color, and then AppleBlossom also has the Junior Notebooking Journal to go a bit further. We love it. But oh wait, let’s not stop there! While I also want to include GrapeVine Studies, we haven’t done it yet. Sorry, desire and distraction. What we are doing is VPSA Online Self-Paced Genesis to Joshua (sorry theme song running through my head now)… do da do do da ta ta da ta… oh sorry! Right focus. My girls love Veritas Press Bible. While we’re not quite doing VeritasBible.com as it didn’t work with our computer systems, it was cute and there is hope for the future. We are using the version through the VPSA dash board. I have not written a review, nor was this a review product. It was a purchase through an expo discount and worth every penny. OrangeBlossom is learning the song and watching bits and pieces of the videos and games as her attention span holds. AppleBlossom is begging for more, more, more and more on 7-daily basis. Rascal is dancing to the music. I’m humming in my head, learning things I didn’t know, integrating it in with extra reading from Wayfarers Ancients, Story of the World, Mystery of History and soon A Child’s History of the World. (I seem to be tangenting to history…)

Memoria Press Second Grade Literature (2015)

Memoria Press Second Grade Literature (2015)


Can one ever get enough reading? I cannot tell you how many reading lists I have collected over the years. Plus, I’m a book blogger and consistently gaining access to new releases of worthwhile merit! Other than, whatever suits her fancy. AppleBlossom is going to be working through the selection of 2nd Grade Literature Comprehension Guides from Veritas Press. We are also working through the new (2015) selection of 2nd Grade Literature Comprehension Guides from Memoria Press. If we need more time, so be it, if we just cannot do it all, so be it. The two different companies guides are completely not comparable, but I’ll do that for you; later, in a review for Memoria Press Guides.

  1. The Boxcar Children
  2. Animal Folk Tales of America
  3. Beatrix Potter stories
  4. Owls in the Family
  5. Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook
  6. Courage of Sarah Noble
  7. Baby Island
  8. The Railway Children
  9. Encyclopedia Brown
  10. Little House in the Big Woods*
  11. Little House on the Prairie
  12. Prairie School by Avi
  13. Pinnochio
  14. The Velveteen Rabbit
  15. Winnie-the-Pooh
  16. A Child’s Garden of Verse

We will also continue working through English Lessons Through Literature as I mentioned yesterday, those titles include:

  1. Beatrix Potter Stories* (already complete)
  2. Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling (reading through now)
  3. Five Children and It by Edith Nesbit
  4. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
  5. Pinocchio* by C. Collodi
  6. The Orange Fairy Book by Andrew Lang (seven stories)
  7. The Velveteen Rabbit* by Margery Williams
  8. Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney

I’m enthusiastic. I’m thrilled. I’m eager for this year and AppleBlossom is too. We have some great choices lined up for “snuggle school” and I have hopes of the others listening in. We’re also planning to continue our Read Alouds with the Memoria Press Lists both in Literature choices as well as Science & Social Studies Enrichment and our own random read alouds and those suggested in Wayfarers Ancients. We plan to finish the Uncle Wiggly Story Book; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; as well as others from the Chronicles of Narnia. We might even pick up Harry Potter. Other Geography and History read alouds are on our lists from Wayfarers Ancients as well as VPSA History! Lots and lots of reading planned here.

Memoria Press Second Grade Literature - Read Aloud Selections

Memoria Press Second Grade Literature – Read Aloud Selections


This is where the fun part is. Hmm… That might have been sarcasm. AppleBlossom is completely capable of writing, and writing cursive, but she is a perfectionist and becomes frustrated easily and would rather give up than try again. So as for penmanship, she can do it, it’s just a matter of truly getting it done. We’ve a plethora of books here to let her choose from and keep busy with one thing or another as long as it’s something from Brookdale House Handwriting Through the Bible, Veritas Press Classically CursiveNew American Cursive 2, Copybook Cursive, Prima Latina Copybook, and some printed Handwriting Lessons Through Literature  workbooks. No she doesn’t have to do it all, she just has to do something.

When we made our plans for this year, in considering her young age we decided to go ahead with the planned Shurley English Level 2, but to hold off on the mandatory Institute of Excellence Teaching Writing Structure & Style until she’s ready. So I’ve got it (review coming) and we’ll proceed as I see her being ready, but before we truly leap in through the recommendation of Memoria Press we’re also going to look at IEW Themed Writing: Bible Heroes for this year with the plan of All Things Fun & Fascinating for next year.

Back to grammar. We’re a week and a couple days into Shurley English 2. I bought a damaged copy off ChristianBook.com for a deep discount, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to afford it. So far it’s a big hit! Interestingly, we’re also going to be covering basic U.S. States details within this study as well. For now, I definitely plan to continue with ELTL and FLL and the grammar they provide, but I think with the removal of our workbook from Seton English 1 that the activities within Shurley will be well received as well as the jingles. It seems to be a jingles year. We also have Book Report sheets for literature in addition to the guides. So they’ll be plenty of writing here, there, and yonder.


This year I think we’re leaving off the Math Mammoth as the interest has just waned and I think we’re covered in other ways thus far. Through MP the recommendation is Working Arithmetic and while I told AppleBlossom she didn’t have to do it, she has insisted. So we just started that today actually and she’s already singing it’s praises. I have to admit I love it to. We also thrive with IXL, CTC, and Xtramath. New to us this year is Saxon Math 3. While we have been working in a bit of Saxon Math 2, part 2 in preparation so far that was all seemingly review until you get to multiplication. This last week we got our hands on a blessing hand-me-down of Saxon Math 3 materials and while it ended up being school materials and not homeschool materials, I think in the end it is working out to what we need. (I have tons of materials to pass on if someone needs the worksheets/meeting pages/etc!) We have Life of Fred: Apples and I’m going to let her read through it and if she asks for more, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. I was not overtly impressed with it myself.

Interestingly I always said I wasn’t going to touch the primary grades of Saxon Math, being that it is a different author and thus a different program. But it’s required for the VPSA Diploma Standard and I’m willing to make it work, thus we’re here.

Beyond the basics…

We are starting our day with Memoria Press Second Grade Recitation. Then we launch into math (see previous paragraphs). After math, we are working on geography. After that is Grammar, then Latin, then Linguistics, History, Literature, and Bible.


This is our first year with the VPSA Diploma Program and thus we are playing a little catch up. Not only are we completing our just-for-fun in Evan More’s Beginning Geography, but we are also quickly running through Legends & Leagues From Here to There. This year along and along we are focusing on Legends & Leagues South which includes the storybook of Peter [Pan] and the Box. We’re also picking up a bit of U.S. States study as well. I’m bringing in resources from Barefoot Ragamuffin’s 50 States and Where to Find Them as well as Confessions of a Homeschooler’s Expedition Earth and Road Trip: USA as need be.

Prima Latina Set

Prima Latina Set


Song School Latin Level 1

This is going to be a fun year of contrasting reviews as we’re working through both Song School Latin 1 & 2 as well as Prima Latina. Fun fun fun! The girls are loving both so far!

Horizons Spelling and Vocabulary 2nd

Horizons Spelling and Vocabulary 2nd


This is a split one for me. Through Memoria Press’ new recommendation it would be Spelling Workout, but I’m not interested. I was interested in Rod & Staff Spelling, however, with the VPSA Diploma Program they insist upon the rather expensive IEW Phonetic Zoo. So for right now, I’m fingers crossed and praying that I might be able to acquire it through financially feasible means, because that’s a pretty penny I just don’t have. Right now thanks to an incredible blessing of a review we are working through Alpha Omega Publications Horizons Spelling & Vocabulary for 2nd Grade and thus far it is very simple and doable. AppleBlossom seems to enjoy it. Last year we got a start into using Reading Lessons Through Literature for spelling, but as it’s on the iPad which we don’t always have available for schooling it got to the wayside a bit. However, it seemed to be working pretty well for her. So… time will tell with this subject.


Yesterday you might have caught me waxing on about the Enrichment in the Memoria Press curricula and I do love that. I love that this year there is an added element and classic reader in the Stories of Great Americans for Young Americans book. I also love the lesson plans of Wayfarers Ancients and the book lists. But our main deal, thanks to an incredible promotion sale this late spring is the Veritas Press Online Self-Paced Old Testament and Ancient Egypt (also have the Teacher’s Guide CD). This is an incredible hit with all of us right now. As I started to mention earlier, here we have book lists, jingles, interaction and more. We are also thickening out our studies with hands-on materials from Homeschool in the Woods Project Passport World history Study: Ancient Egypt, which is amazing. Here is where I get a little too enthusiastic with our added on materials from Story of the World Ancients, Mystery of History from Creation to…, A Child’s History of the World, Guideposts Victor’s Journey Through the Bible, Archeaological Study Bible, Chronological Study Bible, Kingfisher Illustrated History of the World, Kingfisher History Encyclopedia, Kingfisher Atlas of World History, Usborne Atlas of World History, Classical Facts & History Cards: Ancient Civilizations and so on. It’s fun (and leads to snuggle school)!


Memoria Press Second Grade Enrichment Guide

Art, Music, & Poetry

This is where Memoria Press Enrichment Guides shine! I’m so pleased to continue to add to our repertoire of classical music, composers, art work, sculptors, painters, and other artists. I love the Art Cards from MP, but something I’m eager to see soon this year is the brand new Veritas Press History of Art Flashcards that are soon to be released!



Memoria Press Second Grade Art Cards


This year something new added to the MP package is the addition of Patterns of Nature, the 2nd Grade Rod & Staff Sciences book. I don’t know much about this one so honestly I’m going off of Memoria Press’ recommendation. We also have been collecting Young Explorers Apologia Exploring Creations books here and there as well as Berean Builders Science in the Beginning and I’m totally enthusiastic about the readers (public domain) recommended in Wayfarers Ancients. So for us, science is going to be a lot of reading choices. Reading, reading, reading. Gotta love it!



Shurley English Grammar Jingles
States & Capitals Songs
Geography Songs
Addition Songs
Subtraction Songs
Multiplication Songs
VPSA Genesis to Joshua song
VPSA Ten Commandments song
Song School Latin songs
Memoria Press Recitation
Memoria Press Second Grade Music Enrichment Spotify Playlist


What do you see in looking forward?

You can find an entire listing of other blogs participating on my landing page, or the Crew blog. But here is a handful you might want to visit today! But head back, as we will be sharing all week long. The Schoolhouse Review Crew will be joining forces with Homeschool Blogging Connection to bring you a week full of back to school encouragement. I recommend you to grab a cup of tea and take some moments to explore and get a gander at what our fellow bloggers are sharing this week in the 2015 Back to Homeschool Blog Hop

Heather @ Only Passionate Curiosity

Clarissa @ Counting Our Blessings

Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool

Monique @ Living Life and Learning

Rebecca @ Raventhreads

Karen @ Tots and Me…Growing Up Together

Rebekah @ There Will Be A $5 Charge For Whining

April @ ElCloud Homeschool

Brenda @ Counting Pinecones

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About CherryBlossomMJ

The Creative Madness Mama also known as Margaret is a Christian Stay-at-home Mama, married to the Enginerd, Quilter, avid reader and book-a-holic. A book blogger for bunches of different publicists. She loves to share the latest and greatest about books coming out as well as her quilt and other crafty projects with some pictures of her eight-year-old AppleBlossom, three-year-old Almond Blossom (the Rascal boy!), six-year-old OrangeBlossom (the Princess), and newborn Mermaid Warrior in between. Plotting to be a homeschooler, she's a cloth diapering, breastfeeding, babywearing, list making mama full of a little creative and a lot of madness.