Life has been busier than usual around here. Due to a few family health issues we got side tracked and started current levels late this year, as I mentioned in my previous post. But now we are back on track. My boy is now in fourth grade, can’t believe how quickly the time is going. Each year we learn more about ourselves, our family and how each of the kids actually learn best. It took some time to finalize our curriculum for fourth grade but we did it. This year in Grade 4 we will be covering grammar, spelling, reading, writing, math, physics, history, art and music appreciation, Bible study, wood carving and art journaling.
We started this school year off with a free grammar and spelling workbook, a free writing workbook, and a recommended reading list – all fourth grade level. It was boring and didn’t cover any new material for my son. So we decided to try Learning Language Arts Through Literature – The Orange Book. This incorporates grammar, spelling, reading and writing into one lesson each day. We also purchased the books that go along with the set. We have been enjoying it so far. The actual reading materials are below his reading level but he is enjoying the subjects. I like how everything is incorporated and centers on literature. My son says he likes it because he can see how the grammar is being used “for real” rather than just a bunch of sentences.
We love Saxon Math. My daughter used it for some of her time in public school and understood the concepts easily. Our public school system changed the math curriculum by the time my son started school and we noticed it was more difficult for him to understand. It was also harder for my daughter with the new math curriculum too. So we have used Saxon Math since we started homeschooling. This year we are using Saxon Math Intermediate 5: Homeschool Package for fourth grade after completing Intermediate 3 and Intermediate 4 last year. Our math time continues to be fun and easy for all of us.
We (mostly) follow a classical strategy for learning, so this year for science we are studying physics. We will be using Christian Kids Explore Physics this year. The “Christian Kids Explore” science curriculum can be used for fourth grade through eighth grade, which works perfectly since we have a fourth grader and an eighth grader. Both kids like the physics lessons and are having fun while learning.
The classical strategy has a four year cycle for teaching history so my kids are learning the same time frame together each year. We are using “The Story of the World” series through middle school along with The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia. We are currently finishing up Story of the World – Volume 3: Early Modern Times. We will be starting Story of the World – Volume 4: The Modern Age in January. The kids like doing the activities and making notebooking pages to go in their history binders.
Art & Music Appreciation
The kids love art so we have decided to add art and music appreciation this year. My son is using Harmony Fine Arts: Grade 4, which incorporates six artists and six composers to be studied through the year. This program goes along with our history too, so we will be studying artists and composers from the modern age. My son has enjoyed studying about Monet and DeBussy so far.
I love being creative and it is even more fun when I get to share that joy with my kids. Both kids have decided that they wanted to try art journaling after watching me do it and teach it to others. We are using The Art Journal Workshop: Break Through, Explore, and Make it Your Own by Traci Bunkers as a guide this year. This has helped me to give the kids a good base of skills to work with and also prompts that have depth but are not beyond their understanding. Playing with paint, glue, photos, decorative papers, stamps and ink has been fun for all of us. The mess we make is well worth the pages and the memories.
The Rest of Our Studies
We are using a variety of publications for our Bible study. We consider our spiritual education an integral part of our day and usually start the day with our Bible. We start by reading a daily scripture and thinking about what it means to us and how we can apply it to our lives. We also study different books of the Bible and other publications based on our schedule for our weekly meetings. My son really wanted to learn how to carve wood like his dad and grandfather. I found the book “Carving For Kids – An Introduction to Woodcarving” and we will be starting this in May.
Thoughts So Far
It took some time to get into the groove this year but we are finally there. We did have to make some curriculum changes as we went to get the right fit. Now both my son and I are happy and satisfied with the progress we are making. Fourth grade is well under way and we are looking forward to keeping on track.