Computer use in 2nd grade

By this age, most kids are very familiar with computers.  Is there a kid out there somewhere who doesn’t have computer games at home, or a Wii game system, Nintendo DS, etc?  Kids these days are very tech-savvy, and often more so than their parents.   There are plenty of ways to exploit this love of technology to expand their education too.

Some homeschool curricula are computer based, whether on CD-ROMs or online.  There’s lots to choose from, and setting up “school” on the computer teaches kids some independence they generally welcome.  There are also books and programs available to teach word processing skills, typing, and many other computer-relevant topics.  Kids enjoy bright graphics, sound, and video in their lessons, and this is especially beneficial for certain types of visual learners.

It’s important to teach internet safety as well, like telling your kids not to talk to strangers online, just like they wouldn’t talk to strangers out on the street somewhere.   There are numerous parental controls and online chaperone programs you can install on your PC to keep the kids in child-friendly areas, and it’s a small price to pay to have your children learn from the wide array of educational options on the computer.

making Valentine’s Day educational

Valentine’s Day happens in the middle of winter, when kids are antsy with cabin fever and moms find it difficult to keep them focused on school work.  So why not make Valentine’s Day educational and have some fun?

A great use for all that valentine candy is to organize and sort it.   Younger siblings can help with this, and your 2nd grader is old enough now to learn about tables and graphs of all those snacks.  Make a chart  listing each color of M&Ms, for example, probably red, pink, and white, and then count how many of each you have.  Once that is complete, your student can graph the data.  You can explore different types of graphs, like pie graphs, bar graphs, and line graphs, and see which words best.  Conversation hearts candies work well for this activity also.

Making valentines can be a great way to practice handwriting, especially the cursive handwriting that 2nd graders are often learning.   You could also teach some basic things about poetry and let kids include a poem or two on some homemade valentines.  Now that’s a great gift!  Second graders will enjoy letting their creative juices flow, and not even realize they’re doing homeschooling work at the same time.