Monday, September 5, 2016

Our 4th Grade Curriculum Plans: 2016-2017

It's hard to believe that Jude is in the 4th grade! This is his 5th year homeschooling, and I think we might finally be starting to get a handle on things. We actually began our 4th-grade year back in June - we've decided to work "year-round" so that we can take extra time for the holidays, or even "just because we want a day off to have fun." I'm also really excited because this is the first year he's begun the year reading at an appropriate grade level!  While he has a lot of foundational gaps that need filling, by the end of last year he was finally getting the confidence to begin working independently! While there's still a lot of things we will need to do together, it's good for him to be able to do things a little on his own and not be constantly looking for affirmation that he's right.  This year, one of the biggest skills we are working on is being able to commit to an answer, and not assuming he's wrong if I don't immediately affirm it as correct.  

One area we are probably going to go very lightly in is Social Studies and Science.  In our state, 4th graders usually do one semester of each - a total of about 65 hours each.  After earning 34 National Park Junior Ranger badges this summer, he's learned enough history and science for me to comfortably say, "We can focus on other areas and just have fun with those."  I think for Science we'll do some hands-on experiments, and for Social Studies we'll do on map/geography skills for a "formal" program.  He's currently working his way through the Magic Tree House series and has the "Who am I?" series on deck, so I think that will be enough for that.  I also plan to sneak in a few more Junior Ranger programs!

His planner is shaping up like this:

Bible Study:

Veritas Bible 
Judges through Kings - we began this around this past Easter, so we only have a few lessons left
The Gospels

Grapevine Studies
Christmas and Easter units


Math U See
Delta -  we're partly through it so this will probably last until Christmas or so.
Epsilon - Winter/Spring 2017

Language Arts 

Spelling You See Americana 

Alice in Wonderland 
The Brothers Grimm
Peter Pan
Winnie the Pooh

After trying a several different companies' literature studies, I've settled on Veritas Press for the bulk of our study guides.   Jude decided on these books since he knew most of the story basics already.  At first, I thought maybe it would be better to choose completely new books, but then I decided that choosing familiar stories might be a good idea.  This way, he can work on expanding his reading skills and vocabulary rather than also struggling with keeping a plot straight.  This list should keep us occupied until Christmas or so, and then we'll figure out from there. 

Penmanship -

George Washington's Rules of Civility
Legendary Quotes of Benjamin Franklin
Jude is not a fan of copy work.  If he never had to do it again, that would be fine by him.  However, he doesn't have a whole lot of writing practice in his day, so I think it's important for him to have a particular program for penmanship.  He wasn't excited to begin with until I explained that this particular book is the same one that a young George Washington copied from as a boy.  Suddenly, if it was good enough for his hero George, it was good enough for him.  Whatever works, right?   We'll also discuss "What do you think this mean?" For example, the rule "Affect not to speak louder than ordinary," translates in modern English to "Inside voices, please."   Since that won't take us all year to copy, we'll continue on to the wise sayings of his other favorite Founding Father, Ben Franklin.


Growing with Grammar - we're beginning with Level I, but doing several pages each day with the intention to skip over what he doesn't need a lot of work with, and slow down where he's not already able to just say "Oh, that's what that is called."  Before now, we've focused on reading rather than grammar. It didn't seem to make sense to focus on "What word in this sentence is a noun?" when he couldn't tell you what the word was to start with!


180 Days of Writing - Grade 4
Eventually, we're going to use IEW's SWI program, once I get through learning how to use it.

Daily Projects 

These will generally be a week's worth of worksheets in a single day - we've found that it's a better use of our time to do all of the questions on a single day, rather than trying to do only one or two each day.  We'll rotate them so that there's always something "new" to look forward to.
  • Evan-Moor Geography - Grade 4 
  • Shell Education 180 Days of Language - beginning with mid-grade 2 and moving up as warranted)
  • Shell Education Understanding Elections - Grades 3-5
  • A lapbooking/notebooking project 1-2 days each week 

Music  - Jude enjoyed this review from a few years ago, but we took a break because reaching the keys was difficult for him.  Now that his hands are a little bigger and he can reach across properly, he is ready to try again.

We'll also have some review things as well.  We may substitute things in during review periods, depending on the subject, or they may pre-empt the lapbooking projects, depending on the topic.

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