Mid-spring, I started using Wild Math (check out our original review of the program as a whole here! and a review of fourth grade Wild Math here) for my kindergartener and first grader. We weren’t homeschoolers (well, we weren’t before the pandemic) and it became clear that sitting at the table begging my sons to do a virtual math worksheet wasn’t a style that was going to work for our family so we started looking into Wild Math Second Grade.
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At the time, it was just going to be a fun summer supplement to catch up before life went back to normal in the fall (oh, the plans that we make!) Now that we are going to be homeschooling this fall as well, we are excited to keep using it. This summer, I was given the second grade curriculum to review.
So what is Wild Math for Second Grade?
Wild Math is a hands-on way to learn grade level standard math concepts while out and about in nature, or playing in your backyard. This style of math focuses heavily on manipulatives, and worksheets are nowhere to be found. While all the activities can be done outside, many are also doable inside.
Can you give me an example of Wild Math Second Grade?
One of the core features of Wild Math is using a ten frame, and a hundred chart. My sons used these concepts at their public school as well. We made a ten frame out of my husband’s old jeans, and I throw it in my backpack whenever I think I might be able to squeeze in a quick math lesson.
I’ll have the kids add six pinecones and three rocks for example. Using the manipulatives helps them visualize and fully understand, rather than just learning to repeat the math sentence.
Here, we are using apples that fell off our apple tree and our 100 chart to talk about even and odds. We threw apples at the chart, then they told me if it landed on an even or odd number.
Afterwards, we lined up our apples in pairs to see if we had thrown an even or odd number of apples.
What is in the Wild Math Second Grade curriculum?
The second grade curriculum covers:
- Addition and subtraction fact fluency
- Multi-digit addition and subtraction
- Place values up to 10,000
- Skip counting by 2s, 5s, 10s, 25s, and 100s
- Rounding to nearest 10s, 100s, 1000s
- Beginning multiplication using arrays
- Fractions (halves, thirds, fourths)
- Measurement and data (comparing lengths, making graphs
- Geometric shapes (triangles, quadrilaterals, pentagons, hexagons, squares trapezoids, and rhombuses) and 3D shapes
- Identifying coins and dollars, exchanging between dollars and coins, and money word problems
- Telling time to the nearest five minutes.
Having moved from the first grade curriculum, the biggest jump in second grade seems to be more place values to learn and how to add larger numbers. With a first and a second grader this year, I expect to still be able to do a lot of our math activities together, even if my younger one isn’t able to add or subtract larger numbers yet.
Why Wild Math for Second Grade?
If you follow along on Instagram, you’ll see that Wild Math makes for lovely posts – lots of sweet children counting dandelions. To be honest, that’s not why we like Wild Math. I mean, I would love it if my children sweetly counted dandelions, but they don’t.
What they DO love to do is move their bodies. My boys are in first and second grade, and sitting down is not their strong suit. They love throwing footballs and targets and doubling the number of points written on those targets. They love tossing a couple of dice, adding the sum, and doing that many jumping jacks. And my kids don’t completely mind me stopping our hike to count paces between rocks, or measure the size of a tree with our hands.
If we weren’t already spending a lot of time outside, it might seem odd to take our math lessons outside. But for us, it’s a lot harder to take them inside to do math than it is to find ways to incororporate it into our adventures.
I also appreciate Wild Math incorporates books and games into its curriculum. While we haven’t been able to find all the books at our local library, we’ve really enjoyed some of the suggestions. Games are also a great way to practice patterns and even math facts (knowing the answer to a problem like 2+2 without having to actively calculate). The first grade curriculum does have more in the way of book and game recommendations than second grade.
As a parent, what should I know about Wild Math Second Grade?
As a new homeschooler, I really appreciate that this curriculum explains grade-level concepts. I know every child learns at different paces and grade levels aren’t the end-all-be-all, but it’s nice to have the sequence of learning mapped and explained.
I also appreciate that Wild Math second grade focuses on many of the “new” ways of learning math skills that we weren’t necessarily taught. When I was in elementary school, we had to carry the one no matter what. Now kids can learn different strategies, like breaking numbers down into “easy” numbers or making tens.
You will make some of your own manipulatives and materials. This is a great way to save money, but you can use store bought if you’re pressed for time. We made our own stick bundles of ten, and use number blocks we had on hand.
If your family is digital learning, Wild Math is a great way to supplement and reinforce the lessons your child is learning in a fun, hands on way. If your child is struggling with virtual math, I highly recommend this as a supplement. There’s nothing wrong with worksheets, but if your child doesn’t enjoy that method, Wild Math is different enough to pique their interest.
Another facet I love about Wild Math Second Grade – it shows children that math is not a school subject, it is part of our lives. As adults, we use math all the time (but rarely in the form of a worksheet). I love that incorporating telling temperature, measuring distances, weighing ingredients is part of this curriculum. It helps answer the “why do I have to learn this?”
What if I have multiple kids using Wild Math?
I have a first and second grader, and have been picking from both curriculums. At that age, the math isn’t terribly different. Second graders basically have a few more digits to work with. The activities are really easy to scale up or down.
For example, I’ll have my younger child add some pinecones and rocks, then I’ll have my older child add in a third set. A lot of the book recommendations are the same between first and second.
If you’re using it as a supplement, buying one grade level is perfectly fine. I would probably choose the younger grade so you don’t end up confusing your child with concepts they haven’t learned yet, and there’s nothing wrong with going back and reinforcing math skills.
If you’re using it as your main curriculum, it’s worth having both (even though many of the ideas are repeated) to make sure you are checking all the boxes.
What are the drawbacks of Wild Math?
In some ways, Wild Math is a long list of activities. And don’t get me wrong, they are great activities and there is lots of additional material included as well. The one thing it doesn’t include, that I would find very helpful, is a little lesson plan for me to read to the kids. I find that when I’m trying to explain a new concept to them – like adding double digits or why four quarters equal a dollar – I end up talking far too much and confusing them more.
That being said, if you plan to use it as a supplement, it is perfect – you can simply look at what concept you’re working on and pick a corresponding activity. The activities are also super adjustable and will definitely get your own creative juices flowing.
Wild Math Second Grade: Bottom line
As a supplement to digital learning or another homeschool program, or as a stand-alone curriculum, Wild Math second grade is definitely worth the cost. If you’re using it as your stand-alone curriculum you’re going to have to do a little more work to plan out your lessons than you might with another curriculum.
Wild Math Second Grade (and all the grades!) is great for kids who love nature, for families who want to incorporate lessons during their outside time, and kids who prefer moving to worksheets.
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