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Young minds are eager to learn about the world, and these Timberdoodle curriculum picks do not disappoint!
Ready to have your elementary student learn the history of the world and master beginning map work? Timberdoodle’s curriculum kits are specially designed to contain fun and interactive ways to explore the world and how it works.
A special thanks to Timberdoodle Co. for sponsoring this series by providing a complimentary 2nd-grade curriculum kit in exchange for our honest review. All opinions are our own!
In our custom 2nd Grade Timberdoodle Kit, we made a few changes in the History and Social Studies category. We swapped down a level in Story of the World, and didn’t include the hands-on extra materials. We kept Geography as it was.
Story of the World
Story of the World is a four-volume overview of history from ancient times to the modern age. It is secular in nature, though it mentions general Biblical references that can be expounded on. The 2nd grade kit typically comes with volume 2 (Middle Ages), but we chose to start with volume 1 (Ancient Times).
All four volumes follow the same setup. They have a reading text, audio CDs with the text read aloud, and a Student Activity Workbook that includes discussion questions, coloring pages, map work, and hands-on project ideas.
There are 42 chapters in the book, so you would need to schedule 3 chapters every 2 weeks to complete in a 36-week school year. We stretch our school year out a bit more and are doing one chapter a week instead.
We are also exclusively listening to the Audio CDs, which range in length from 5 to 10 minutes per lesson. While the CD plays, my daughter likes to color the coloring page that goes along with the lesson. Some families prefer to have a hands-on child work on GeoPuzzles while they listen, but so far my child hasn’t chosen to do that. The CDs are convenient enough to pop in during car rides or when mom needs to get something else done!
After listening to the lesson, I open the Activity book and ask the discussion questions. Then we go over the map work and usually, that ends our weekly session. There are very cool project activities suggested that range from writing to crafts to cooking, but they are enrichment, and we just haven’t had the time to do any of them yet. (I’ve faced the fact that if I have to dig up an activity from scratch it probably isn’t happening!).
Needless to say, I was a little nervous about trying Story of the World as I had heard people either loved it or hated it. I could see how families might get bogged down if they felt like they had to do everything each week (you absolutely don’t have to do it all!). We are choosing a minimal approach with the goal of overviewing history, knowing that she will dive deeper as she gets older.
Story of the World is also excellent for teaching multiple elementary/middle school grade levels at the same time and can be adapted to younger or older students. My daughter really enjoys listening to the stories and often wants to listen to more than one chapter at a time.
Skill Sharpeners Geography
Bright, colorful, and scattered with hands-on activities, Evan-Moor’s Skill Sharpeners workbooks have been staples in our homeschool for a few years. My daughter enjoys the variety and simple setup that makes for short lessons based on 1-2 main concepts. You read about it, talk about it, sometimes write it down to reinforce it, and then often have a little cut-and-paste project.
There are only 16 lessons in Geography 2, so we typically complete approximately 2-4 pages per week, though it varies since some pages are reading/instruction pages, and some are extra activity pages. Most lessons end up taking 2 weeks to complete, but the way the workbook is set up, the lessons sort of flow together so this isn’t a big issue.
Grade 2 has quite a few spaces where the student is asked to write letters, words, and sentences. If your child struggles with this as mine does, you can help them by asking them questions orally and/or writing them down for them. I usually have her do the simpler writing activities and assist with the longer ones.
Geography 2 covers concepts like globes, grids, state maps, weather maps, population maps, resource maps, and more. My daughter looks forward to geography day and as a kinesthetic learner, especially enjoys the activity pages!
GeoPuzzles features 6 puzzles with bright, colorful pieces that cover the world, USA/Canada, Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. We strive to work on one puzzle a week, but if it’s a busy day and we don’t get to it, I don’t stress it. With 6 different puzzles, she will be repeating them plenty of times throughout the year!
The pieces of each puzzle vary in size, greatly depending on how many countries/states are in that puzzle. We noticed for instance, that Europe has larger and easier pieces than the USA! Regardless, your little learner may need some help in putting these puzzles together in the middle, but as they get used to them, they should be able to do them more independently.
Over time, students are working on skills like hand-eye coordination, visual-spatial perception, and problem-solving. We always start each puzzle by putting together the straight-edged frame, and then filling in the smaller country/state pieces.
Each puzzle also has a full-color paper guide that they can follow to see where the pieces should go.
Final Thoughts on 2nd Grade History & Geography
History, social studies, and geography are important subjects for young children to begin learning, and it can be difficult to find curriculums that are age-appropriate and not overwhelming. We are thrilled with these picks from Timberdoodle this year and look forward to learning all about the world. Each of these materials is available separately or as part of a curriculum kit.