Children entering their eighth year still carry with them much of the imaginative consciousness of early childhood, yet they are beginning to be more aware of themselves and others. They start to recognize that they have their own personalities and emotions, some of which are positive and some that are negative. The Main Lesson reflects this changing awareness through the telling of fables and the stories of the saints. The animals in the fables have little control over these qualities that they represent: the lion must be fierce, the wolf greedy, the fox cunning.
The picture of the saints provided the children with an example of what the human being can achieve when he or she dedicates him- or herself to a higher purpose. The children in second grade begin to see that there are choices to be made in life. They can follow their own desires, for which they see the consequences experienced by the animals in the fables; or, they can align themselves with a higher purpose, and gain control over their "animal" nature, just as Saint Francis was able to tame the fierce wolf.
During the second grade much attention is given to the development of writing skills. The children's first reading experience comes through reading what they themselves have written in their main lesson books. This may be a short verse that helps them review a letter sound, or perhaps a simple retelling of one of the fables they have heard. In this way the children experience the way written language actually developed over, the course of human history. The learning of arithmetic concepts and skills continues through stories and games. The children practice using the four arithmetical processes and explore the nature of place value. Rhythmical counting by ones, twos, threes, and so on provides the basis for learning the times tables.