Every year I have shared my homeschool curriculum twice. Usually I write a post at the beginning of the year with my goals for that year, and at the end of the year, I give you a review or a “what actually happened” post. This is the first time I haven’t done that. The only excuse I have for not sharing anything about my youngest’s 4th grade year is that I have been tending to higher priorities. (That’s better than saying “I’ve been too busy,” right?) 🙂
(For 7th grade and higher, I have decided to create PDFs and sell them for a small fee because this is a lot of work. I hope you’ll check out my store.)
But now I can share a brief review of “what actually happened” this year for my 4th grader. That is, here is the main curriculum that he completed this year. I hope this helps you as you prepare a curriculum for your own child. Please don’t hesitate to ask me questions, if you have them. There’s a lot of great curriculums and ways to homeschool out there. This is just one example!
I always maintain that my first priority in teaching the language arts is letting my boys develop a love of reading. I don’t push a lot of grammar or writing until that happens. Finally this year my son has fallen in love with reading! By my calculations, he has read 68 books to himself and counting. (32 graphic novels; 36 YA novels) In addition, I read four novels out loud to him as well, including Giant Pumpkin Suite by Melanie Heuiser Hill, The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz, and The Hunt for the Mad Wolf’s Daughter by Diane Magras. (Those last two we are still reading.)
For poetry, I have been reading from Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. This was one of my favorite books when I was a kid.
For grammar, he worked in the Michael Clay Thompson Language Arts Program. I had him re-read some of these books to himself, and I read out loud from some of them too. Then he worked through all the exercises and worksheets associated with these books:
- Grammar Island
- Sentence Island
- Grammar Town
- Practice Island
I have also used Language Smarts Level E from the Critical Thinking Co. This is a huge workbook, and it’s helpful, but it wasn’t my main priority for him this year. We’ll probably dip in and out of it next year too.
Nothing new here. He completed the same math curriculum that his older brother completed in the 4th grade:
- Life of Fred: Honey
- Life of Fred: Ice Cream
- He practiced multiplication tables with flashcards
- He practiced long division problems using some worksheets I gave him. He’ll continue doing one problem a day throughout the summer.
We did a lot of science this year, which was a priority I had made for him.
He has a special interest in birds, so in addition to all the things we’ve done over the years to help him with this, we did the following this year:
- We continued our “Life Lists.” He’s learning record-keeping and gaining writing and spelling skills with this activity.
- He took the class “Tree of Life: Birds” taught by Benjamin Corey, MAT on Outschool.
- He completed two online courses on the Cornell Lab Ornithology website:
- On June 15, 2020, he began Extraordinary Birds, taught by Marc Cuda on Outschool. This is an ongoing, weekly class.
This year I used Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding to teach some basic science lessons. We started with volume 1 because these books build on each other. Since he’s a little older, though, I was able to go more in depth on our lessons, which was fun. However, while I love this curriculum, it requires a lot of reading/prep work on my part, so I’m not sure we’ll keep using it. If you are a science buff, and you just need a guide as to what to teach with some kid activities, then you’ll probably love this curriculum.
We also subscribed to the Tappity App on the iPad, and my ten-year-old loves it.
Social Studies (includes History)
This year we did not make history a part of our one-on-one lessons, but my 4th grader did a lot of reading on his own for this subject.* He has been reading bothThe Usborne Encyclopedia of World History and Story of the World volume 1 by Susan Wise Bauer.
We also watched the following documentaries this year:
- The Story of China (Michael Woods)
- Genius of the Ancient World (Bettany Hughes)
*Note: I’ve written a lot about how I pick different priorities for each year because it’s very difficult to dig deep into every subject every year, which, for me, is a big part of why we homeschool. I prefer to dig deep instead of spreading ourselves thin over several subjects. Over time, we shift our priorities (or not) as necessary.
Both boys decided last year that they wanted to focus only on Mandarin Chinese for their foreign language, and I finally realized that if we were going to make this a priority, we needed to get a tutor. After looking in vain for local tutors, I found a great tutor on Wyzant.com who does weekly half hour one-on-one lessons with each boy, and she goes at their individual pace. I couldn’t be more happy with this. I’m also trying to learn as much as I can too — I follow along with my 4th grader because we’re going at the same pace. This summer I’ve been making some Chinese games to help make studying more fun!
We have continued to use Drawing for Older Children and Teens: A Creative Method for Adult Beginners, Too by Mona Brookes when time permits, and occasionally we draw in our sketchbooks together.
In August, my 4th grader will be celebrating three full years of weekly cello lessons with an excellent teacher that we love. I’m so proud of him. I don’t know how I managed to birth two talented musicians, but it’s been a joy to watch the progress!
That’s 4th grade (the second time around) in a nutshell! What grade is your child (or children) in? What were the highlights of your year?
Thanks so much for reading. If you find my posts helpful, I would really appreciate a share on your social networks. Thank you!