Friday, August 28, 2015

First Two Weeks of Fourth Grade Home School

Wow! It's been exactly six months since I've posted on this blog. My youngest daughter is now two weeks into home school fourth grade. I've been home schooling for 25 years with up to 7 of my 10 kids at a time. She is the only one home with me this year, as she was last year, which makes my job things much less complicated. We were involved in co-ops for many years, but in this crazy season of life, I prefer to be at home with her every day and do what I have planned instead of what a class is doing. 

This year we're working on basic skills - especially math and writing - as well as a heavy concentration on world history. She also has plenty of science, literature, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and art to work on. Added to that, we have speech therapy twice a week.

Our history and geography unit studies this year include Early Civilizations (including Old Testament), Ancient Egypt, Asia, Ancient Greece, Winter Holidays Around the World, Africa,  Ancient Rome, New Testament Stories, Dark & Middle Ages, and Latin America. Next year we'll pick up with the Renaissance & Reformation era up through modern times, as well as the continents of Europe, Australia, and Antarctica. 

I did a huge book purge a few days before school started. Our dining room used to be lined with several bookcases of home school materials, but we're down to this small one with her books for this semester. It's right next to her desk. The others have all been moved to another room. You can see our dining room transformation here. (I am so proud of it! Yay me!)

Here are just some of the materials we've used so far.

Math and language skills:

Multi-subject workbook -
we are only doing math and
language arts sections now

One set with answers marked
and one set with just the problems -
as recommended by our evaluators

Poster for her bedroom -
I like the format better than
the typical multiplication grid.
This is easy for her to recite
by fact group.

She uses this CD-ROM for both
math and language arts -
all sorts of fun lesson!
We also use a phone app called
 Math Fact Master

We didn't finish it last year
and it's about the same as the
4th grade workbook,
so it's good enough for now.

Articulation Station app
recommended by her speech therapist

World history and geography:

Excellent core text for ancient history
which I bought at our local used book store.
It's a little advanced (probably
middle school level?), so I read it with her.

Art appreciation with Bible!

Her daddy had oral surgery,
so while we waited to pick him up, we went to
the Ten Thousand Villages fair trade store
to see handcrafts from around the world.
She listened to international music, too.

This has reading comprehension
activities for several science units.
We are working on the
human body unit right now.

This is Internet linked, so you can
see videos and other cool stuff
at the web sites listed on the pages.

This is one of the web pages -
with a video of a bug being caught
by a venus flytrap.

Art projects and home ec:

Our first day of school,
we made three tie dye t-shirts
for her in the afternoon!
You can see all of the photos at
my blog post Tie Dye Radiance.

We made healthy snack balls with
oatmeal, peanut butter,
honey, flax, crushed almonds,
coconut, cocoa powder, chia seeds,
and dried cranberries -
then used them for multiplication practice
(How many snack balls? 3x5 = 15
How many cranberries? 15 x 3 = 45)

This is the daily schedule we've started...

Daily School Schedule
9:00 math drill 
9:30 math work books 
10:00 world history and geography unit study 
10:30 literature 
11:00 language work books 
11:30 writing skills & prompt
12:00 lunch 
12:30 speech therapy appointment on two days, practice on other days
1:00 drive time from speech therapy OR interpersonal communication, health, home skills
1:30 science workbook or textbooks
2:00 finish work or do project
2:30 as necessary: finish work or do project

She is starting to work more independently, which is a very good thing for both of us, but she still wants and needs a lot of personal input from me. She generally gets started with her math drill on her own, though I try to stay near by in case she has a question. Her desk is in the dining room, so I can putter in the kitchen or use my laptop at the table. I work with her on the rest of math, all of world history, some of the language arts skills and literature, and some of the science. When she writes, we come up with a creative topic and she writes up to a few paragraphs. Then we make basic corrections to her work. I sometimes write on the same topic and we share and compare.

We generally follow the daily schedule, but there is some flexibility if we have interruptions or one of us isn't feeling well. I had an extended neurologist's appointment yesterday, so I told her that it was "student's choice day." She could do anything while I was gone as long as it was at least somewhat educational. I think she used her time well with workbooks, web sites, reading, and videos.

We have a lot of old educational VHS videos, but did not have a working VCR anymore. I found a small TV with a built-in VCR at a thrift store for $20, which is now in her bedroom so she can watch the NEST Bible and history videos and some assorted science videos. These are great for times when I can't work with her.

She says she can't wait to start our next unit on Ancient Egypt, because she wants to learn about pyramids and mummies. We already have a whole bunch of books waiting on her shelf, and I know we'll grab a lot more at the library.

That's about it for now, but here are some related posts from earlier school years:
I'd love to hear what you are doing for school this year!

Virginia Knowles

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