It is that time of the year again when I start thinking about what we want to cover in our upcoming academic year. I don’t do detailed planning (ie I do not create a plan that states on day 1 cover pages x to y – it just does not work for us). But I do like to think about some broad goals for each child for the upcoming year. Eg what do we want to cover in Maths and what resources will I use. It helps me to know where we are going and it also helps me to have some ideas for themes / topics that we can cover. As part of my broad planning I like reading the Core Knowledge books for the relevant academic year for each of my 2 kids. I have been using these books for a few years now and I like the way they are set out, I like the resource recommendations that they give and I have found some of the ideas and explanations in the Maths, English and Science sections extremely helpful.
As my youngest would be going into the UK year 2 I have been going back through the book reminding myself of a few things (I used this book with my daughter so I have already read it) and I thought it might be helpful to give a breakdown of what is covered in this book – What Your Year 2 Child Needs to Know: Fundamentals of a Good Year 2 Education (Core Knowledge UK)
The Year 2 book sticks to the same format as the other books.
- Language and Literature
- History and Geography
- Visual Arts
Language and Literature.
What I love about this section is the all the recommended poetry and books that they suggest. They have pages of poems that you can read with kids and extracts from a number of stories. It really is a vast selection and gives you a good idea of what literature you could include. And yes they include extracts from the stories that you can read to the kids but no they do not include any ideas on how to extend the learning. So there are no suggested activities for each book. You would need to search for these yourself.
It also includes a small section about familiar sayings.
At the end of the chapter they do include a good list of recommended books for beginning readers.
History and Geography
I actually like they group these two together as I find they are so interlinked. While we are doing a history topic with the kids we always end up naturally covering geography of that area. They cover the Ancient Egyptians, different religions, a section on British and European Geography, British History (Romans in Britain, post-Roman Britain, the Vikings in Britain and Normans in Britain).
The British History section is about 20 pages long.
In this section they include some Egyptian arts which tie in nicely with the Ancient Egyptian section in the previous chapter. Also Primary and secondary colours and shapes in Art.
And a quick look at portraits. What I really like is at the end of the visual art chapter they include a list of where all the works of art discussed in the chapter are stored/ displayed.
Starts off with breaking different musical instruments down into their families eg what is included in the String family or the Brass family of instruments. A quick bit about Mozart and then a section about how music can tell a story. And lastly a number of words of some favourite songs for children to learn.
This is the chapter that I tend to use the most. I find the suggested activities and explanations very helpful. It includes the basic concept of place value, even and odd numbers, greater than and less than, using graphs, addition and subtraction, introducing two digit addition and two digit subtraction, money, flat and solid shapes, calendar time, introducing multiplication and practicing multiplication, introducing division and practicing it, word problems.
It covers a lot in roughly 50 pages. I find these 50 pages invaluable for ideas and also ways of explaining the concepts to the kids.
It starts with animals – their habitats, the food chain, oceans and then moves onto the human body.
It also includes Solid, liquid or gas, units of measurement and an introduction to electricity. And then ends with a bit about the solar system.
I find these books very useful as I get lots of ideas and the recommended resource pages have been invaluable to me. But for me that the strength of the books is that they make suggestions/recommendations and it is up to you to decide if these suggestions are suitable for your kids and the current stage of learning that they are at.
(sorry some of the text is a bit wonky in the photographs – combination of it being an older used book that I was trying to photography and just the way the pages lie)