Thursday, February 18, 2016

Our 4th grade curriculum

I've put off talking about Alec's curriculum choices the longest because I really hesitated to call it a 4th grade curriculum.  He has always been very advanced in all school subjects and now that we've been at this whole homeschooling thing for a few years I'm just really beginning to understand and appreciate just how wide spread his skills are.

But that said he would technically be in 4th grade so this is the curriculum he's using for fourth grade.   


Math:  

Alec and I worked together to find him something new and "fun" for math.  Knowing he was working out of both a 4th and 5th grade book this year I was hoping to find something that would allow him to finish up the fifth grade work and still give him something to work with for the rest of the year.  We finally found The Complete Book of Math Grades 5-6.  He was thrilled that along with Roman Numerals they also taught Egyptian Numerals (a subject he was deep into studying at the time).  It has been wonderful for him! I thought perhaps it would last us two years since it was rather thick and covered 5th and 6th grade, but we're just about finished with this and it has been both easy and challenging at times.  He really seemed to like it a lot.


We've also supplemented this workbook with a few other math workbooks: Are You a Math Genius?, Thinking Tree Multiplication Games, and Quilt Math.  He even occasionally asks for a "fun" Mystery Picture Math page; of course I oblige!  





For Reading:
Alec is free to pick and choose what he'd like to read.  He reads A LOT and we have a hard time keeping him supplied with books. He tends to prefer book series and loves fantasy, books about animals, and will read just about anything.  He often chooses to read just because he wants to and always has a huge stack of books on his nightstand.  He can read up to 5 different chapter books at once plus keep track of all our read aloud books and the book on CD we're always listening to.  

For Writing:
This is one area that Alec actually claims to struggle with.  I say claim because if I can get him past the whiny "I don't know what to write" stage he will write pages and pages.  He prefers made up stories about far away places; usually involving Pokemon, magic, dragons, or animals.  He has great ideas and writes with lots of expression and description.  He still needs to work a bit on punctuation and verb/ tense agreement but usually his stories are quite well written.  He gets extra practice with punctuation through copywork and our Draw Write Now books (which he loves because he gets to draw and learn about animals).

Spelling:
Alec is actually a pretty good speller; he can usually sound out just about any word and seems to instinctively know how words are spelled.  That said he does have difficulty when words can not be sounded out and often gets basic sight words spelled wrong.  We use a variety of materials for spelling too.  We've just recently switched over to the Thinking Tree Spelling Time and Fun Schooling Spelling Journal; both of which focus on teaching spelling through art.  



Cursive:
Alec actually asked us to start teaching him cursive when he was in Kindergarten.  Once he learned to write his name he soon lost interest in it.  However, I do believe that he needs to know how to read cursive and that the more he learns about cursive the easier it will be to read it and write in cursive.  We found a series that teaches cursive through art called Pictures in Cursive.  We have yet to move beyond book A but at least he's willing to work in them and he does have fun looking at all the pictures. 

History and Geography:
Alec plays a lot of map games and knows where many countries are located.  He loves playing The Scrambled States of America, GeoBingo, and GeoDice.  We have wall maps up in the toy room and Alec will often look to see where each of his books settings are taking place.  When learning about the Roman Gods he studied Rome.  When learning about Greek Gods he studied Greece, when learning about Pokemon he studied Japan.  When learning about giant pandas he studied China.  He has started memorizing all the U.S. state capitals just for fun.  He enjoys watching travel videos and learning about other countries.  Currently he is learning about France for a local geography fair.  We cover history and geography as the kids are interested in a topic and we're in the middle of studying about the French Revolution.  Alec was intrigued about the idea after watching Peabody and Sherman and learning about Marie Antoinette saying "Let them Eat Cake."  So we have been reading books together, watching videos about life inside Versailles Palace, and immersing ourselves in French culture.  We also use Draw and Write Through History workbooks to learn more about certain time periods.  We go on field trips to historical places to learn about history in real life settings; making the learning more personal and interesting. We have fun with it and revisit historical times as often as they'd like.  

Science: 
Alec loves science.  He will devour any book written about any animal.  He loves to watch nature videos and stumps the zookeepers with his questions at the zoos we visit.  He enjoys watching shows like Wild Kratts, The Magic School Bus and Mythbusters to learn more about science.  We use many kits like snap circuits, build your own volcano, and Magic Science to bring science to life.  He has been teaching himself about the Periodic Table of Elements and enjoys playing with chemistry apps on his Kindle.  We check out books on all sorts of science topics from our library as well as books on fun science experiments.  We visit science museums, go on nature walks, and even took a few oceanography classes.  We have a microscope and enjoy looking at all sorts of wonderful objects under it.  We've attended many planetarium and 3-D science shows and always look for ways to include more science in our days since it's a subject that all three of my boys enjoy tremendously.  

Wild Kratts: Wildest Animal Adventures


Art:
Alec has always  been my little artist.  His only stipulation in begining to homeschool was that he needed to have art everyday.  While I still offer art everyday he usually is content to pursue art at his own leisure.  He prefers arts and crafts kits like Aquarelle, Stained Glass Made Easy, and just about any other crafting kit they make!  He enjoys painting and we often search "paint night ideas" on Pinterest to find easy to replicate paintings.  He owns a bunch of how to draw books and enjoys following the illustrations.  We've studied artists in the past, reading books about their lives, looking at their paintings and trying to recreate them.  We've recently started using Spot the Difference books to further our study of old masters.  It's a really fun way to learn about famous paintings while getting us to stop and really LOOK at each painting.




Linking up with: Hearts for Home,  Frugal Mommas Friday, 


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6 comments :

  1. I love your choices! I am looking into the spelling books you mentioned. I haven't heard of them before, but think my middle son would LOVE that he can be creative in something that is all about rules. Maybe he might actually end up liking spelling. Thanks! :)

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    1. I have to admit I was quite skeptical of them at first; while my kids did LOVE them I thought it was mostly coloring and "fluff" but after a few weeks of using them I gave them a mini quiz and realized that just by coloring, repeating and using the words often they were picking up on them. I was so totally surprised since they look nothing like any other spelling workbook I've ever seen!

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  2. I've used the language arts version of those math books! Very colorful and not intimidating for struggling learners. My son has been using Khan on-line. Something different then "book work". Draw Write Now was a hit with my daughter, but my youngest son (5th grade) has fine motor development delays and did NOT like it. Isn't it awesome that we as homeschoolers have so many choices for curriculum?? Fine tuned learning!

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    1. We use Khan academy on occasion too but my boys didn't end up liking it as much as I thought they would. I always find it a bit mind boggling as to how many different choices their are out there but I love that we have so many options!

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  3. It's always so interesting to see what other families are using! I have a 3rd grader this year, so I checked out this post to see if there was anything I wanted to incorporate for her for next year.

    We have that Draw and Write thru History book, and I recently won the Spot The Difference art books. :)

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