Thursday, September 10, 2015

Two More Weeks of Fourth Grade

We are just about to finish our fourth week of fourth grade and I can't believe it has gone that fast! Two weeks ago I wrote about the start of our school year. We are doing much the same as we were then, but we've added in a few new things.

The big thing is that I bought an annual family membership to the Orlando Science Center. They have a mega-screen Cinedome theater that is several stories high, and we've already watched the movie on humpback whales, which was fascinating and inspiring. We visited several of the exhibits.

In the weather area, she stepped into a hurricane tube and hosted a mock TV weather report. We are meeting my oldest daughter and her three young sons there tomorrow.

My daughter loves activities and getting out of the house. One of her other adult sisters took her to the beach one afternoon as a belated birthday present. I guess that counts for both nature study and P.E.!

We also switched up our morning schedule a little. She loves to start the day with an informal spelling activity. I've had the book You can Teach Your Child Successfully Grades 4-8 (affiliate link to CBD) by Dr. Ruth Beechick forever. She includes common word spelling lists, grouped phonetically, for grades 4-6 and 7-8. We are working our way through section by section. I read the word to her, and she spells it orally and gives me a sample sentence to go with it. If the word can mean more than one thing (such as band), she does one for each. If the word has a homophone (such as weight and wait) she spells both and gives sample sentences. If the word is a root, we try adding prefixes or suffixes to it. This is casual and interactive, and we have a lot of fun with it.

For math, I found the Guinness World Records Math 4th Grade (affiliate link for CBD) workbook for $4 on clearance at Staples. Each page spread has information and pictures about a world record, which is often science related, so it is cross-curricular. Then the student figures out several word problems using the data in the article. In the first lesson, we did multi-digit subtraction with regrouping, multiplying by 10, rounding, and creating a table, all based on animal eyesight records. This is a practical application supplement to our regular math workbook.

On the computer, we enjoy the YouTube channel Full Time Kid with Mya. She shows how to do all sorts of fun and educational stuff like making brownies in a mug (our home ec class this morning) and multiplying by 9 using your fingers. This is something my daughter can watch when I can't work with her for a while.

We've started our history unit study on Ancient Egypt a few days ago. So far we've read a long section from the Ancient World text, as well as several pages from an Usborne book and several pages from a book about pyramids. I was going to say that we'll rev it up a bit more next week, but then again, it's quite likely that my fifth grandchild (first granddaughter!) will be born sometime in the next several days. I'm prepared to relax our academic schedule next week so we can join in the celebration and new mommy assistance!

How is school going for you so far?

Virginia Knowles

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