Sunday, October 26, 2014

My Picks for Best Elementary Curriculum

I can't believe we have finished the grammar stage!  It went really fast and there was a lot of needless worry as elementary was really easy and nothing to stress over.  I can say that LOOKING BACK but during it, I didn't always have the proper picture in my mind.

I decided to list the best curriculum, my favorites and also ones I disliked.  I plan on using mostly the same curriculum with my son because they work and they produced what I was hoping for and even more than that with my daughter.  I feel she is well-prepared for the logic stage curriculum.

Best Elementary Curriculum
  1. Story of the World - hands down this is the BEST history curriculum!  We used it along with the activity guide and used the reading lists for each week for read-alouds.  We took so much time with these books that we still have the last book to do.  I can't wait to do this history with my son!  We also have the audio for each book and listen to them on long road-trips.  
  2. Saxon Math - it has a gentle introduction and builds the foundation very well with constant review, so the child doesn't forget concepts.  Katie loved this up until the 5/4 book where it got difficult but she is very good at math regardless.  We plan on staying with Saxon until Calculus and most Saxon users get high SAT scores in math, so it is a winner!
  3. First Language Lessons - this is probably the BEST curriculum of all that we used in elementary.  This grammar program has 4 books and uses a gentle introduction and constant review that really cements grammar into the child.  We are almost done with the last book and my daughter can diagram a sentence fast!
  4. All About Spelling - this curriculum works but is very teacher-intensive.  My daughter loves it and we are completing the 6th level by the end of January hopefully.  She had issues with spelling and once we began this program, she had immediate results.
  5. Prima Latina - awesome introduction to Latin!  My daughter loved this and is using the next book (Latina Christiana I) and loving that as well.  We used the DVD teacher.
  6. Golden Children's Bible - not a curriculum but what we used for 1st and 2nd grade.  I started reading to my daughter but she ended up finishing the book by 2nd grade on her own.  Good overview of the bible and aligns with the KJV.
  7. Memoria Press' Christian Studies - best bible curriculum that is thorough and doesn't jump around but rather follows a mostly chronological sequence.  I would wait until 3rd grade before starting the first book.  This will continue on into middle school or the logic stage.

My Favorites
  1. First Language Lessons - love, love, love this grammar!!
  2. Story of the World - can't say enough about this history, the best and something we can refer back to in years to come.
  3. Golden Children's Bible - best children's bible in my opinion as it is the only one I could find aligned with the KJV.  (We used Zondervan's The Beginner's Bible for Kindergarten)

They Worked but I Disliked Teaching Them
  • Writing With Ease - I did not like this curriculum at all BUT I have to say it did work.  My daughter was able to do narration very well using this program and learned proper sentence structure.  It is the one curriculum that made us BOTH cry many, many times!  I'm not entirely sure I will use it with my son as we didn't even finish the 3rd book because we could not take the long dictation anymore.
  • All About Spelling - my daughter loved this program but I hated it because it was so teacher intensive!  Definitely works but made me cringe every time we had to do it.  I would have quit this program had my daughter not loved it so much and did so well with it.
  • Saxon Math - again, daughter loved it and it works perfectly but I hated teaching it.  However, with the 5/4 book, we used the Saxon Teacher CD and this made me love it as I didn't have to teach it!  I would have hated ANY math program though because I just despise math.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Our Family Chunk Clock

I listened to a wonderful seminar from The Homeschool Coach, Mary Ann Johnson, on Hecoa's free Not-Back-to-School Summit about the family chunk clock.  It was so amazing, I watched it again and took a LOT of notes and then also listened to the audio and printed out the handouts to make ours.  My daughter Katie has voiced to me before that she feels like she doesn't know what is next each day.  I knew that this would not only benefit me, but especially her!

How it works is, you divide your day up into chunks of things you do.  If there are days where things come up, someone gets sick, etc. (and they will!) this chunk clock helps you see a visual of what is important to finish that day, what you can skip and to help you refocus when you get off track.  You can listen to the audio on her website, just google the homeschool coach and family chunk clock.

We wanted a catchy funny name for our clock instead of the generic -- Family Chunk Clock, so we came up with "Got Chunks?" LOL!



You may be wondering what is up with the weird names on each chunk.  Well, my daughter created each of those names to add some FUN to our chunk clock!  Here are the why's of each chunk:

  • Snore No More - because we are not morning people and we must stop snoozing
  • Moddy Time - She took Mo from Mom and ddy from Buddy (my son’s nickname) to show it was for me and Buddy (Zach) to have time together.
  • Hope Lu - She took Ho from homeschool, pe from P.E. and Lu from lunch!
  • Kazm Time - Ka from Katie, Z from Zach and M from Mom - since this is our time to do individualized things
  • Chep Hour - usually 5-6pm, so an hour and she got Ch from chores and ep from prep (dinner).
  • Foing Up - Fo from food (dinner) and ing from Washing (dishes)
  • Chee - Ch from church and ee from Free(time)
  • Spied - Spi from spiritual and ed from bed

I didn't put every detail in our clock (showers, time with husband, etc.) because I wanted to keep it simple and this is our guide to show us our natural flow and/or routine.

This has already helped Katie KNOW what is next and have a visual of how our day will go.  This also is helping me in the same regards and also to have my priorities highlighted, so I don't lose sight of what is important - God, School and Family!  It will also make a great conversation piece when friends visit!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

5th Grade Writing

I shared our 5th Grade curriculum choices in this post and you may have noticed that we do not have a writing curriculum.  We were going to do Writing With Ease 4 but after Susan Wise Bauer's updated recommendations, we decided to forego WWE 4.  We were almost done with Writing With Ease 3 and both of us were really done with the dictations but we kept pressing on through the pain of them.  I ended up giving Katie the evaluation in the back and she passed with flying colors, so I knew that she was ready to move on.  I also didn't see a need to do the next level because it was just more of the dictation but in paragraph lengths and that made us both cringe!  However, Katie loves reading the little snippets of stories out of WWE 3, so we may still do those.

So, I knew I wasn't going to do the WWE 4 book but what would I do now for writing for 5th grade?  As I was re-reading the Logic Stage section of The Well Trained Mind, that is when I saw it:

"If you choose to use Rod & Staff, the composition exercises provided can fulfill the middle-grade student's need for a writing program."

I think I heard a choir singing the Hallelujah chorus (in my head of course) - little did I know that we already had our writing covered with our grammar book: Rod & Staff English!  I quickly got it out and saw that it taught outlining, paragraph formation and all that good stuff - awesome!  Then, I also realized that Katie gets dictation in spelling right now anyway and she will be writing narrations from books she reads and in history and science.  Enough - I have to tell myself that IS enough, she doesn't need a fancy, shiny new writing curriculum - we got the bases covered throughout the curriculum we are using.

I do eventually want to use the Institute for Excellence in Writing's program but for 5th grade we got it covered!

What's Going On With Us Lately

It has been a while since I've done an update on what we are doing.  Katie is transitioning into 5th grade and we will be finishing up several curriculums by her 11th birthday next month:

Finishing up by Katie's 11th birthday in October:
First Language Lessons 4
All About Spelling 5
Elemental Science Chemistry
Story of the World 3

New curriculum starting at the end of October:
Rod & Staff English 5
All About Spelling 6
Elemental Science Physics
Story of the World 4

Finishing up by Christmas break:
All About Spelling 6
Latina Christiana I
Saxon Math 5/4
Story of the World 4

New curriculum starting on January 5th, 2015:
Spelling Workout D (only half of the book left)
Latina Christiana II
Spanish I
Saxon Math 6/5
Notgrass American History
Logic I

You can see that we start new things at different times of the year and finish up certain subjects ahead of others.  Our grade doesn't ever really start or end, we are constantly homeschooling and then allowing for life to take place.  I am really excited to finish up some of these curriculum because the new ones will not require my time any longer - so that means more time to do other tasks and spend with my toddler.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Our Current Schedule

I haven't done one of these posts in a long time, here is the last time I did before my son was born and my life looks a lot different than that now!  

10:00 a.m. - Wake up; Make breakfast

10:30 a.m. - Breakfast

11:00 a.m. - Homeschool starts - Bible, writing, grammar

12:00 p.m. - Snack for my son & Recess; P.E.

1:00 p.m. - Lunch

1:45 p.m. - Pick up time

2:00 p.m. - Son's nap for 3 hours and this is when we homeschool spelling, history or science, math and reading

3:10 p.m. - My part in homeschool is done, daughter works independently until dinner; This begins my time to do whatever is on my to-do list for the day

3:30 p.m. - Snack

4:30 - 5:00 p.m. - Start dinner prep

5:00 p.m. - Son wakes up from nap

5:30 p.m. - Dinner

6:00 p.m. - Kitchen clean up

7:00 - 9:00 p.m. - Evening activities (different each night)

9:00 p.m. - Son's bedtime cereal and milk; we usually eat a snack

9:30 p.m. - Son's bedtime

Family Freetime

11:00 p.m. - Daughter's bedtime

1:00 - 2:00 a.m. - Bedtime for me

Homeschool time is 11-12 in the morning and then from 2-5 in the afternoon.  My daughter also has evening reading that she works in sometime before bed.  Total homeschooling for the summer is about 4 hours.  Once we get to fall, we will not have such a large break from 12 - 2 - that will be the time my daughter does Latin, Spanish and Logic (new subjects she will start in 5th grade), putting her at 6 hours of schooling.  My time spent homeschooling goes from about 2 hours down to less than one in the new school year!

Sometimes I wake up before my kids and I try to be as quiet as possible, doing something like reading the news on my Kindle.  However I've learned, whenever I get up, my son always seems to hear and gets up and doesn't get enough sleep and then he will be cranky all day - so I've tweaked my own schedule to try and sleep till he wakes up.  I would like to get back to going to sleep by midnight and waking at 8, but that would mean putting my son to bed at 8 and that won't work for our family.

My son gets 12 hours of sleep at night, my 10-year old daughter gets 10 hours and I try and get at least 8 hours.  All of these are for good health and the recommended times for the age/stage.  I recently watched a documentary study on obesity and there is substantial evidence that babies and toddlers that do not get AT LEAST 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night, are at risk for obesity, diabetes and heart disease later on in life.  I was surprised by this but I knew that 12 hours was good as my daughter slept for 12 hours until she was around age 5 and now sleeps 10 hours.  Sleep really does make a difference in children's behaviors and ours!

Monday, June 16, 2014

New Email Subscriber Program with FeedPress

I've successfully transitioned my feed over to FeedPress and my email subscribers.  If you are a subscriber by email you should have gotten this email update from FeedPress.  If you would like to subscribe to my blog through email, you can do so through the box on my sidebar by entering your email and then following the prompts.

If you would like FeedPress for your blog, it is free it is no longer free but they offer plans for $3 a month and you can sign up through my affiliate link: https://feedpress.it/?affid=6849

Friday, June 13, 2014

What I've Learned in 6 Years of Homeschooling

I've been homeschooling my daughter from preschool through to 4th grade and as we finish up the grammar stage of classical education, I can tell that you I've learned a LOT and wanted to share.  Maybe you are just beginning homeschooling or have a year or so under your belt, here is what I would tell you:

  1. God should always be FIRST!  - your homeschool won't work to the glory of God if you get caught up in academics and exclude Him.  Reading the Bible daily for you and your children is far more important than anything else they will learn.  If you find yourself having trouble homeschooling, look and see the place that you put God in - if He isn't first, then you need to reorganize!
  2. Reading is the most important - Teach your child to read and read well EARLY on!  My daughter was reading fluently at a 4th grade level in 1st grade following The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching ReadingIf you don't get them reading on their own, you will find you will be doing a lot of teaching and get burnt out and quit.  Most children should be reading at LEAST 1 1/2 hours a day - it doesn't just stop with phonics, your child has to read books a lot to master it.  You will also find that their English, writing and spelling improves the more they read.  I find a lot of people that have problems homeschooling, haven't taught their child to read on their own - or if they have, they didn't make their child read books everyday - you are shooting yourself in the foot here.....get them to READ!!
  3. After Bible and reading, math is next - If you can just teach 3 things, teach these.  Even if you don't get around to grammar, writing or spelling - it will be taken care of in reading.  Math is so important and one subject you should never get behind in.  Definitely don't take more than 2 weeks off from math because concepts will be lost in the early grades.  
  4. Child should be independent by 3rd grade - if you do the above 3 and are following the classical method, most children should be able to do most of their schoolwork independently.  There may still be a few things you have to teach, like writing (which only takes 10 minutes) but for the most part, you shouldn't be doing much at all.  How so?  Well, you got your child to read on their own!  You also spent 1st and 2nd grade doing narration, which means they learned how to read to understand (comprehension).  If you have problems by this grade, check to make sure God is first and your child can read on their own and does read books from 1-2 hours every day.  Even with slower children, by 4th grade if you don't see independence in most subjects - examine what is going on.
  5. Classical Education is superior - I've looked at a lot of different methods, compared with my public and private school education as well and come to the conclusion that classical education is far superior to any other.  Why?  Well, it teaches to the mind of the child.  In the grammar stages, your child is a sponge soaking up everything.  In the logic stages, they start to ask why and to find out the answers - in other words, they learn to THINK!  By the rhetoric stage, they take all the information they've absorbed and the thinking skills are able to defend their viewpoints and back up their beliefs.  They don't teach this in other methods and they sure don't teach it in public schools!
  6. Include secular beliefs and books - Don't be a Christian hermit and shelter your child from anything that doesn't have a scripture in it or reference to God.  Your children need to know what evolution is and why it is wrong!  They need to see both sides, so that they will not be tricked later on in life.  They should learn mythology, so they can understand references to it in history and the great books.  They need to understand the world with a Christian worldview - not just live in a sheltered educational box for they will not be truly educated to reach the world.
  7. Relax!!!!  - I just learned this a few years ago but I see so many others not relaxing and being burdened down by Satan's lies about homeschooling.  It isn't hard!  They just need to learn to read, write and do math and everything else is gathered really from reading!  You can go through and never do one experiment or project and learn what you need to know by just reading a book on it.  RELAX!!  There are only 4 parts of science and they repeat it every 4 years - so if you miss something the first go round, relax!  Same with history.  Don't sweat the small stuff, they will eventually get it - trust me!
  8. Love Teaching Your Child - if you don't do everything as unto God, you will hate homeschooling and your child will pick that up!  Don't let Satan have an advantage in your home - do homeschooling as you are doing it for the Lord.  Your bad attitudes will be absorbed by your child and they will lose confidence in themselves.  Change your attitude and amazingly - everything starts working again!  Praise your children more than you point out their mistakes!!
  9. Pray constantly about your homeschool - whenever you have a problem in homeschooling - stop and pray!  If your child is struggling with something - have them stop and pray!  Prayer changes things!  You either have faith when you pray or you don't.  If you don't pray for your homeschool before you begin each day, don't be surprised if you have a hard time.  You have not because you didn't ask!

5th Grade Curriculum for Logic Stage

I finally finished planning out our 5th grade year and this is the year we start the logic stage of classical education.  There are few new subjects - Logic and Spanish, so I decided to use DVD programs for this to ease into the extra work.  I will do a more detailed post of each subject when we get the materials!

The only subject I'm teaching is Bible!  I will be helping her with history and science if she needs it but for the most part, she will be on her own this year.

Bible - Memoria Press Christian Studies III

Logic - Critical Thinking Company Building Thinking Skills 2 Software

Math - Saxon 6/5 with Saxon Teacher

Language Arts
     Reading - Well Trained Mind book list
     English - Rod and Staff English 5
     Spelling - Spelling Workout D, E and F

Foreign Language
     Latin - Latina Christiana II with DVD teacher
     Spanish - La Clase Divertida 1

History - Notgrass America the Beautiful & State History

Science - Elemental Science Physics
  
Extras
     Art - Home Art Studio DVDs; Artistic Pursuits
     Music - Story of the Orchestra; Composer Studies; Beethoven Who
     Home Economics - Pearables Home Economics


You may be wondering where writing is, well according to the recommendations in The Well Trained Mind, if you are doing Rod and Staff English, you don't need an additional writing curriculum as it teaches writing (outlining, paragraphs, etc.).  Katie will also be writing across the curriculum with her own narrations in literature, history and science.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Our Logic Stage History Schedule

I spent a lot of time researching and praying about what to do for logic stage history.  I wanted to remain true to the Well Trained Mind (WTM) recommendations but at the same time, I wanted to do a full year of American history.  We are still going through The Story of the World (SOTW) because I keep going off to supplement with extra things on American history.  I didn't want to feel this way for the logic stage and the rhetoric stage, so I came up with a plan to do it all! 

I really love Notgrass' America the Beautiful.  Not only is it written for Christians, it is easily adaptable to the WTM style using outlining, timelines and primary sources.  So I knew that I wanted to do the program but how to fit it in with also studying the 4-year Ancients to Modern, I had no idea!  Until.......I came across K12's Human Odyssey history program.  This program covers history in the chronological format and story form as The Story of The World did.  The best part?  It covers it all in just 3 years!  So, in case you haven't figured out my plan yet, here it is:

5th grade - Notgrass' America the Beautiful
6th grade - Human Odyssey Volume 1
7th grade - Human Odyssey Volume 2
8th grade - Human Odyssey Volume 3

This will put us on track to restart the cycle by 9th grade (if we choose to do so) and also let me get American history out of my system.  We will still cover American history throughout Human Odyssey but I probably won't feel like I need to supplement it as much as I did with SOTW. 

I'm adding in the recommended encyclopedias, atlas, globe, geography, etc. that the WTM suggests as we go through Human OdysseyHuman Odyssey will be our story and then Katie will also look up what we are studying that week in the encyclopedia and other sources.  She will find it on the atlas and globe, do an outline map, write it on the timeline, outline and put it in her notebook.  In essence, we are doing both the WTM rec's and my way - love it!  I don't have to add most of this in with Notgrass because it already weaves in the timeline, maps and writing.

*By the way, you don't need to pay $300 for the 3 years of Human Odyssey, I got all of mine for $50 total on Amazon by buying used!  They do have the teacher guides for the first 2 books and student workbooks but from what others have said, you don't need those and they include some things that are only accessed online that you won't be able to access unless you pay.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Homeschool Room Re-Do

I spent several hours going through books, games and other miscellaneous things yesterday in the homeschool/dining room.  It doesn't look like it but believe me, I cleared out a lot of things to sell or give away.  I also added in some Scholastic books that before had no home.  Then, I moved most of the educational games to the small bookshelf to make space on the large bookshelf for books.  We have a shelf full of history-related books, a shelf full of science-related books and a half-shelf with books on math, geography and other subjects.


I also left open shelves for our new curriculum that we will be ordering soon for 5th grade.  I moved a lot of curriculum and books around and dusted everything from top to bottom!!  I have yet to finish my file cabinet because my emergency surgeries came while I was in the midst of that.  However, I did get one drawers almost completed.

I also combined a lot of the card games and very small games into a bucket.  This helps my son not get to them and helps them be contained.  I took the math and science miscellaneous items that were small and put them in the black/white chevron bin.  I organized various small workbook-style books into the white file bins.  I still have odds and ends to do - like go through and file papers, grade papers, etc.

The white cabinet is in the hallway area between the living room and homeschool/dining room.  I also redid it, threw out some things, organized some more things and moved some things out of it onto the black shelves.  It contains mostly supplies - tacks, tape, glue, stapler, bookmarks, etc.  We have another white cabinet in a closet that contains more craft supplies like construction paper, foam, pompoms, etc. but it isn't pictured here because it is not part of this room.

On Common Core Math Homework

It is all over the news, so you have probably heard about how so many parents are upset about the Common Core math homework.  For one, it is stupid and doesn't make sense and the wrong answer is the right answer in some cases.  However, I'm not here to bash it - we all know Common Core is faulty.  I'm here to say something to the parents who are complaining:

If you won't teach your own children at home, then don't whine when you send them to total strangers and get a taxpayer-paid education for your children!  I mean seriously - if you don't like it, do what a friend of mine is doing and pull your child out and teach them yourself!!  If you don't trust the people you leave your child with 8 hours a day - then, don't you think it is time to stop taking the stupid pills?  The blame only lies on the parent(s) as you are the one ultimately responsible before God for the "way" you let your children be taught.

Also, though this isn't related to Common Core - so many parents talk about how their child can't read, they can't do this or that and they let them continue to go on through each grade like this.  What I want to know is this.........why can't you, as a parent, teach your child these things?  I mean, you could even do it AFTER school - there are many parents who "after-school" just Google it!  There is no excuse for a child being left behind in education, there is only the parents to blame in the end.  

This isn't the popular thing to say but it is truth and we all know how well truth is accepted these days.  However, think about it for a while and let it really sink in and you will see what so many others see - God holds the parent responsible.  I said, God holds the parent responsible - not the teacher, preacher or nanny - YOU!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Money + Power + Control = Common Core

I think everyone in America needs to see this 39-minute documentary on Common Core, whether or not you have children.  Why?  Because it details what Common Core will eventually cause - a dumbing-down of America, more than we even have now.  Common Core will squash the passions, creativity and talents of every child to make them robots of the system, which is based on what someone else thinks that is best for YOUR child(ren).  Think communism.  Money can always seem to sneak things like this in and erase any dissenters.  Money + Power + Control = Common Core

Here is the trailer:



Here is the full documentary:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Homeschooling Isn't Just for the Child

You would think that I would know that Africa was a continent, how to treat titles of certain works in writing and the order of history, since I was on the principal's honor roll and even took honors classes in high school, but I didn't.  I find that homeschooling just isn't for my child(ren), it is also for ME!  My husband finds it humorous that up until I taught the continents in Kindergarten, I didn't know that one of them was Africa because I thought Africa was a country.  Up until today, I didn't know the reason why some titles are italicized, whereas others are underlined and then even others are put in quotation marks.  I learned that today in my daughter's grammar curriculum, which has been a real eye-opener for this "smart" mom.

Learning history in public school is atrocious, as a slew of facts and events are thrown at you in no particular order.  It is no wonder why I didn't 'get' history as a whole until I started teaching history in chronological order.  It is amazing how much better you understand the world and society when you learn history from the beginning to the current.  WHY does the public school system teach history in a way that leaves us clueless and unable to learn from history?  That is another conspiratorial blog post waiting to happen.

This isn't something that I just realized, I actually realized that homeschooling was more for me the first week I started homeschooling.  I have so many gaps in my public and private school education that I think it was needful in my own life!  I can't tell you how incredible it feels to be in my 5th year of this journey and what it has done for my life, even my spiritual life as we have been able to connect history with the bible.

So moms, when you think it is just too hard or you would rather be shopping - realize that this isn't just for your children, it may just be what you need!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

4th Grade History and Literature Read-Aloud List

We are still in Story of the World 3, so our list of read-alouds will be from history and literature during that period, so in a way, this a continuation of our 3rd grade read-alouds list here.

*Not all of these are read-a-louds anymore, as Katie is now reading some of these independently.

  1. To Swim In Our Pond - Vietnamese proverbs
  2. South Korea - True books
  3. North Korea - True books
  4. Far Beyond the Garden Gate - Brown
  5. Beijing - Platt
  6. All the Way to Lhasa - Berger
  7. A Picture Book of Daniel Boone - Adler
  8. If You Grew Up With George Washington - Gross
  9. Betsy Ross and the Silver Thimble - Greene
  10. Can't You Make Them Behave King George - Fritz
  11. Boston Tea Party - Freedman
  12. And Then What Happened Paul Revere - Fritz
  13. Kids At Work - Freedman (just looked at pictures)
  14. Cotton Mill Town - Hershey
  15. The Story of an English Village - Goodall
  16. The Bobbin Girl - McCully
  17. Redoute: The Man Who Painted Flowers - Croll
  18. Life On a Plantation - Kalman
  19. Cotton Mill Town - Hershey
  20. How We Crossed the West: The Adventures of Lewis & Clark - Schanzer
  21. Swamp Angel - Isaacs
  22. The Lewis and Clark Expedition - A True Book - Perritano
  23. Working Cotton - Williams
  24. A Visit to William Blake's Inn - Willard
  25. Please, Malese!  A Trickster Tale from Haiti - MacDonald

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Plans for This New Year

I've posted that we did a January start this year for 4th grade mainly because I took a LOT of time off for my pregnancy and the new baby last year.  Looking over our new schedule of doing school 5-days a week (before we only did 3-4 days a week), it will have us finishing a lot of 4th grade subjects before summer, that is even with breaks!  So what I'm planning on doing this year is going ahead and diving right into the next curriculum in whatever subject it is that we finish.

That means that this year of 2014 will actually be our 4th grade and 5th grade year but 5th grade will continue over into next year as well.  So I'm starting the planning for 5th grade materials and will purchase them probably next month or so to have on hand because some subjects will be complete in April and we will need the next level.

Things like history and science, which are we are not on schedule with, will help us get back on schedule by the end of this year, starting in January the history and science for 5th grade.

However........there could be some very big changes for our family this year and we don't know when they could happen but if they do, that changes everything!  That is one reason why I've decided to redeem the time the next few months and school every weekday to really get a lot done in the case that we may need a month or so off to adjust to some new changes. 

Those are my plans for this uncertain year - forge ahead until the detour comes up!

What People Think About Homeschooling


Monday, December 30, 2013

4th Grade Evening "Fun" Book List

Katie will be reading for 1 hour every evening and there will be no narrations for these books.  These are called "fun" books because they are at or below her reading level.

*I haven't finished compiling this list yet, just putting ones on here that I know I want her to read.

  1. The Family Under the Bridge
  2. The Moffats
  3. Matilda
  4. Mr. Popper's Penquins
  5. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  6. Charlotte's Web
  7. Winnie the Pooh
  8. The Giving Tree

She will also choose her own from the library throughout the year.

*Possibly as a Family - The Chronicles of Narnia

Completed 3rd Grade Reading List

Here are the books that Katie read this past year for 3rd grade and also the read-alouds we read to her.

You will notice the fun book list is small this year because I lost track of what she was reading while taking care of my new baby and we also read a lot more read-alouds this year and that took some of her evening reading time.

Morning/Challenging book list
  1. Robinson Crusoe - Dover Children's Classics
  2. Gulliver's Travels - Stepping Stone
  3. Magic Tree House Research Guide: Pilgrims
  4. The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Stepping Stone
  5. Les Miserables - Stepping Stone
  6. The Three Musketeers - Stepping Stone  
  7. Pied Piper of Hamelin - Browning
  8. Grimm's Fairy Tales - Classic Starts
  9. Little Pilgrim's Progress - Taylor
  10. Great Expectations - Stepping Stone
  11. Oliver Twist - Stepping Stone series
  12. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - Stepping Stone
  13. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea - Stepping Stone
  14. A Christmas Carol - Dickens (abridged by French)
  15. Alice in Wonderland - Carroll - Classic Starts
  16. The Last of the Mohicans - Classic Starts
  17. Moby Dick - Classic Starts
  18. East of the Sun and West of the Moon (Norwegian Folk Tales) - Asbjørnsen
Evening/Fun Book List
  1. The Mouse and the Motorcycle
  2. Pocahontas - Rookie Biography
  3. Thanksgiving on Thursday - Magic Tree House
  4. Bunnicula
  5. Man in the Iron Mask
History/Literature Parent Read-Aloud Book List
  1. The Sad Night - Mathews
  2. Lost Treasure of the Inca - Lourie (just skimmed photos)
  3. Usborne Book of Treasure Hunting - pg. 60-61
  4. The Legend of El Dorado - Vidal/Laan
  5. Always Room for One More - Leodhas
  6. Katje the Windmill Cat - Woelfle
  7. Don Quixote and the Windmills - Kimmel
  8. The Flying Canoe; A Christmas Story - Kimmel
  9. Three Samurai Cats - Kimmel
  10. Japan ABCs - Heiman
  11. Our Colonial Year - Harness
  12. Colonial Crafts - Kalman
  13. An Early American Christmas - dePaola
  14. The First Thanksgiving - Whitehurst
  15. Sarah Morton's Day - Waters
  16. In the Time of Drums - Siegelson
  17. Little Mouse and Elephant - Yolen
  18. Turkey - O'Shea
  19. The Boy of the Three-Year Nap - Snyder
  20. Hokusai: The Man Who Painted a Mountain - Ray
  21. Liang and the Magic Paintbrush - Demi
  22. Rapunzel - Zelinsky
  23. Ancient China - DK
  24. The Hero of Bremen - Hodges
  25. The Paper Dragon - Davol
  26. Taj Mahal - Mann
  27. The Cat Who Walked Across France - Banks
  28. Look What Came From France - Harvey
  29. Crepes by Suzette - Wellington
  30. The King's Day : Louis XIV of France - Aliki
  31. Seven at One Blow: A Tale from the Brothers Grimm -  Kimmel
  32. The Wampanoags - True Book
  33. The Iroquois - True Book
  34. The Story of William Penn - Aliki
  35. Colonial Home - Kalman
  36. Isaac Newton and the Laws of Motion - Gianopoulos
  37. Galileo's Leaning Tower Experiment - Macdonald
  38. Farm: Eyewitness book
  39. A Farm Through Time - Wickes
  40. India - True book
  41. Welcome to Russia - Schemenauer
  42. Russia: Eyewitness book
  43. The Language of Birds - Martin
  44. Lives of the Pirates - Krull (only read story on Barbarossa Brothers)
  45. A Weave of Words: An Armenian Tale - San Souci
  46. The Fool of the World and The Flying Ship: A Russian Tale - Ransome
  47. The Contest - Hogrogian

4th Grade Subjects Schedule & School Times

The Well Trained Mind gives an average time of 5 hours and 45 minutes for 4th grade.  So I decided to do an estimated time that it will take to do each subject and then a total time of schooling everyday - this includes reading, which for 4th grade is 105 minutes (1 hour and 45 minutes)With reading it is a total of 6 hours and 5 minutes and without counting reading time, it is 4 hours and 20 minutes.  I'm not counting art, music and home economics because we only will be doing those once a week, maybe even on the weekend.  So we are pretty much on target!

*I'm trying out doing history AND science every day this year to "catch" up and be on track for 5th grade with the WTM recommendations.

Estimated Times per Subject per day
Bible - 15m
Reading - 45m morning/60m evening = 105m
Spelling - 60m
Grammar - 20m
Writing - 15m
Latin - 30m
Math - 40m
History - 40m
Science - 40m
Weekly
Art - 60m
Music study - 60m
Home Economics - 60m
Schedule
Here is my schedule as it is right now, it will probably change as we start and get adjusted and find out what works best for us.
 We are doing school 5 days a week and doing all subjects every day with the exclusion of art, music and home economics, which are done once a week.  Spelling is going to be a tricky one because we are trying to stay on track with Spelling Workout but also aim to finish all of the All About Spelling levels this year.  I'm not sure yet if I will alternate days or books.

  • Bible - together for 15 minutes
  • Reading - Katie reads independently for 45 minutes while I feed the baby, make breakfast, chores, etc.
  • *If it is NOT Zach's naptime - Katie does 40 minutes of math independently with the video teacher
  • *If it IS Zach's naptime - We do language arts for about 1 1/2 hours (spelling, grammar and writing)
  • Latin - Katie does Latin independently for 30 minutes
  • *During Zach's afternoon 2-hour nap - history and science
  • Katie reads for 1 hour in the evening after dinner

4th Grade Curriculum Index of Posts

Here is an index of what we are using for 4th grade.  I haven't added in a new science post because we are still fairly at the beginning of this past year's chemistry since we changed curriculum in the middle.  We may finish it by summer and then I will update a new post with what we will be using for physics.

4th Grade Math

Math is Katie's strongest and favorite subject and we love Saxon!  However, she wanted more math, so we started adding in some more with Life of Fred books and they are fulfilling her desire.  This year we are using Saxon Teacher video lessons.

Saxon 5/4



Life of Fred Elementary

4th Grade History and Geography

We are finishing up Story of the World 3 and continuing on with book 4 towards the end of the year.  We will also be doing state history this year for about 3 weeks.  In addition to memory work for history, Katie will be memorizing the 50 states and their capitals. 

We also purchased several games to go along with our studies this year!



Games


4th Grade Art, Music and Home Economics

Art is sorely neglected but I want to actually do the curriculum this year.  Katie does do art, she does do coloring, painting and crafts but we don't do art study and learn new things, so this is the year to add that back in.

Art - Artistic Pursuits Book 1 and 2


Music - Story of the Orchestra, Great Composers Book 1 and Beethoven Who



Home Economics - Pearables Home Economics