November 2, 2014

Fourth Grade, First Term 2014-15

Fourth grade!  I still can't believe its here, and we are 11 weeks into the curriculum (using Ambleside Online's Year 3.5) and 15 weeks into our official school days, due to finishing up year 3 over the summer and into August.  I am enjoying the book selections, especially catching up on the free reads (no narration required; we do these at bedtime) we missed from years 2 and 3.  Below are many of the books we are using this year.  The ones you can't see are e-books and audiobooks.

Fourth Grade Terms 1-2 books/AO 3.5
We are using MEP for math, which we started around March of this year.  It is a free program for K-12, and you can download everything you need and just print out the practice book and lesson plans (or keep those on your tablet to save paper!)  If this interests you, there are several fantastic posts on getting started with MEP on Jeanne's blog, Peaceful Day.

For copywork, I am using a 3rd grade penmanship book (orange one in above pic) to reinforce his cursive letters and word formation.  He does print with his occupational therapist, and she works with him on speed.  I work with him on fewer carefully done letters and words.  He is now to the point in the workbook where he gets back to copywork, which is copying poems and such word by word.

artwork learned from Draw Write Now book 2
We have backed off of spelling since summer, and he is now realizing how useful spelling actually is, especially when you want to tell your Minecraft friends something and can't type it. (Hey, whatever provides motivation!)  My intention was to use Seeing Stars: Symbol Imagery for Phonological and Orthographic Processing in Reading and Spelling, which I borrowed from the library and took notes on, to implement myself.  I ended up pushing too hard early this term, so quit on it, and will add it back in this week.  Seeing Stars helps with visualizing the letters and words in your mind, phonics and more.  (Keep in mind that for most kids, doing copywork then dictation the CM way will work!  My son has some vision challenges, so needed extra help.)

For Spanish, I've backed off of Rosetta Stone (one day a week) and have added Duolingo once or twice a week.  I'm looking into ULAT now, going over the teaching videos and figuring out how it would work for us.  Its free online and looks very complete, from what I've seen so far.

For picture study, music (classical, folk and hymns), Shakespeare, and now Plutarch's Lives, we are following the rotations at Ambleside Online.  These 'riches' really bring life into our homeschool, along with handicrafts, nature study and poetry.  He has now added 'painter' to his list of possible occupations, along with builder and weatherman. :)

Lookout, future painter at work!
AO Year 4 adds a jump in difficulty due to additional subjects and longer readings.  We are using a couple terms of year 3.5 to transition to those extra subjects more gradually, while the main readings are easier (also allowing him to build confidence in his own reading).  We added grammar in January during year 3, going through Simply Grammar very slowly.  We added 'real' Shakespeare this term, and just last week started Publicola by Plutarch.  I'm still debating adding Latin in Term 2...

We are almost done with What Would Jesus Do? (buddy reading), which along with memory work, has been our Bible time.  I'll go back to the list of stories we used in year 1 and 2 and finish it off for next term's Bible.  I'm doing poetry selections from some nice picture books I found at Half-Price Book Outlet (love that place!).  For history, science, literature, etc., we are following the AO schedule exactly.

All in all, term 1 of fourth grade has been a success, despite various health issues, new kittens, frequent babysitting and other life things trying to throw us off.


  1. I have fond memories of Year 4. That's where we started our journey. :) Thanks for reading my blog, I'm going to troll your forum for ideas.

  2. Troll as in the method of fishing, not being an internet troll.


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