The youngest is a 4th grader this year. I can’t believe the baby is now moving toward the end of her elementary years. Luckily she isn’t too cool to have fun with mom yet and hasn’t hit the tween angst years yet. This year we decided to keep what was working for her and only add a few new programs to her 4th grade curriculum.
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4th Grade Curriculum: Language Arts
Last year we started our elementary book club so A- could have a book club like her older sister. It began with about 8 students and this year has grown to over 30! The kids love the party school atmosphere and are devouring the reading each month. Book club truly is one of the best things we have added to our homeschool. It and Poetry Teatime with our friends at the library add that bit of pixie dust that brings joy to the day.
Since our book club is based on the Brave Writer Arrows, we use the guides for our grammar and spelling. Each Monday A- copies the selected passage and we go over the grammar while noting any significant spelling challenges. The passage sits on the school table the rest of the week and on Thursday, we do French dictation. To round out her spelling, she also is enjoying the delight-directed fun-schooling book, Spelling Time.
For writing, we are continuing to work through the projects in Brave Writer’s Partnership Writing. The projects are fun and engaging and the girls rarely realize that they are actually writing assignments!
This year we are adding Latina Christiana to our language arts. Last year we got a taste of Latin and were excited to jump in fully this year. A- and I work through this program together, so I am learning Latin as well!
Grammar Galaxy has been a favorite of A-s for the last two years. When the new book came out, she eagerly opened the box and looked through the pages. It is one subject she never complains about working on every day and often requests it.
4th Grade Curriculum: History & Geography
We are continuing our American History studies. Since her older sister has moved on to a more advanced history program, we’ve added some of A-‘s favorite things to our history curriculum. This year we expanded our history to include the American Girls books in our curriculum. As Charlotte Mason homeschoolers, we enjoy adding historical fiction to our history curriculum to set the stage for the rest of our history. We are still using Simply Charlotte Mason’s Stories of America as our history spine.
As a family, we are using Notgrass’ Exploring Tennessee to learn a little more about our state. We use any excuse to fieldschool. This curriculum has so many great ideas for Tennessee field trips – some I’ve never even heard about. We have also learned about quite a few chocolate products produced in Tennessee!
I LOVE teaching ancient history. This year we decided to jump into the medieval era. We are adding this to our family morning meetup. I’m excited to add Time Capsule Medieval Times by Homeschool Your Boys. This unit study has so many great hands-on projects. These will be great in the winter months when we are struggling to focus on school and need some fun (yet educational) distractions.
A- loves her subscription to Little Passports, so we will be continuing this program as well.
4th Grade Curriculum: Science
One subscription box that has survived the recent subscription box purge is Tinker Crate. This crate is so much fun and brings out A-‘s creative side. She is my least hands-on child, but she loves this crate. I love Tinker Crate because it requires minimal effort on my part!
We were so excited to see the solar eclipse in totality this year that it has spurred an entire unit study on astronomy. We will be using Experience Astronomy as a family study. Because most of the field guide activities are late at night, this is a subject that Dad will get to teach.
We will again be using Exploring Nature with Children in our nature study. I am a notorious slacker when it comes to nature study, but this book has helped me focus and made nature study easier for a mom who isn’t so fond of nature.
4th Grade Curriculum: Math
Last year we tried something new and it didn’t work. When A- asked me to go back to Math U See, I realized I had tried to fix something that wasn’t broken. She likes the way Math U See is designed and she likes her worksheets. So, this year she is using Math U See Gamma.
She also requested that we take a break from Life of Fred. I’m not sure if she just needed a change or she was finding it too challenging, but we are supplementing with Discovery Learning workbooks for a while. She only works on this once a week, but it gives her the spiral concept to balance out Math U See’s mastery approach.
A- is in her 5th year of Ballet Lessons. This year she was cast in the Nutcracker. With all the extra rehearsals, we are definitely getting in plenty of fine arts this semester. She will also continue her Skype piano lessons with Team Piano Music Lessons. These lessons have saved me from another trip out of the house for extracurriculars and that makes me very happy.
Last year we discovered Chalk Pastel Art. Since then we have had a blast painting along with Nana and the kids. This fall we are using Chalk Pastel’s Art in Space Video Tutorials. We have been creating planets and solar eclipse paintings. I may be enjoying it more than the girls! I find it so relaxing. Next spring we will be using the Medieval History Video Art Tutorial.
P.E. is my nemesis. My husband loves to work out and spends time every day at the gym. I like chocolate and avoiding sweating. As you can imagine, trying to fit PE into our day has not been my number one priority. So when I recently discovered Fitivities, I was hoping it would make physical fitness a part of our day. And, it did. In fact, the girls LOVE playing the game and ask me if they can take a fitness break. And, because, it works better with multiple players, I’m getting exercise, too!
We’ve been stick-figuring our way through the Bible for the last few years and so far A- has not grown tired of her Grapevine Bible course. And, since I’ve learned my lesson on trying to change-up things that are working, I plan to stick with Grapevine a while longer.
So far this year is working out well. We’ve had a bit of adjustment to the new schedule without her older sister and I think we’ve worked out most of the kinks. But, if this year is anything like our others, we may find some things just don’t work in our homeschool. In that case, we’ll throw it out and look for something that does.
Make sure to check out other curricula from iHomeschool bloggers and our Middle School Curriculum choices.