Sunday, August 25, 2013

4th Grade Bible Curriculum

*This is the start of many posts to come on what we will be using for 4th grade.  I plan on doing an index of posts at the end, so you can easily find each subject.

We are going to continue using Memoria Press Christian Studies for our bible curriculum, along with the KJV bible.  I think that this curriculum is the best that I've come across for grades 3-7.  It is intended to use along with The Golden Children's Bible but since Katie finished reading all of that in 2nd grade, we use the KJV as our text now.  Katie is also memorizing all the books of the Bible and what category they fall under and she is learning the timeline of the bible as we go.  She also does maps of the Bible times and takes a test after every 5 lessons.  It really is increasing her knowledge of the Bible in a thorough way with the maps and memory work.

We will be finishing up Christian Studies 2 in 4th grade and also plan to start an in-depth study on the feasts and festivals of the bible using A Complete Guide to Celebrating Our Messiah in the Festivals by Susan Mortimer.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Thames & Kosmos Magnetic Science

We got Thames & Kosmos Magnetic Science experiment kit for when we start physics next year, but Katie just couldn't wait until then to explore magnets! 


I would recommend this kit because it is very good quality and definitely not like some that are cheap and fall apart and don't have good, thick magnets in them.  I can see this lasting for many years and for Zach when he is old enough to use them and any future children.  Katie spent about an hour exploring and reading through and doing some of the experiments and games in the book provided.  You do need some extra materials that aren't included in this kit for some of the experiments.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Finishing Up 3rd Grade Plans

We won't be starting 4th grade until January as I laid out in this post, Homeschooling With a January Start.  We are finishing up some 3rd grade materials and then going ahead into the next level before our "official" start because Katie is ahead in some things and other things she needs more practice.  One of these she needs more practice on is dictation, so thanks to advice from Susan Wise Bauer's curriculum advisors for Writing With Ease, Katie needed to go back through WWE 2.  They stated that if the child can not get the dictation after just 2 recitations - you need to stop and go back until they can.  I know several that just forge on ahead and they find themselves ignoring the rules and their child hits a wall around 5th grade.  Even Susan Wise Bauer's own son, Dan who was 13 at the time, had to go back to WWE 4 because he also struggled with dictation.  Katie also had some issues with spelling but is advancing with All About Spelling (AAS) and we really love this curriculum!  She also does Spelling Workout (SWO) on the side as extra practice but the meat of our spelling program is in AAS.

Katie is very strong in math and science, and we do hope to advance further ahead and eventually and even skip a level if need be to feed her love of math.  With science, I needed something more scheduled, so we recently switched over to Elemental Science's Chemistry and it is a good fit for us but we won't finish it until next summer most likely but that is OK because science (and history) are content areas.

Here is what we have left and what we plan on starting early for 4th grade and when we will complete what.  We have 15 weeks left of schooling until Thanksgiving and we don't plan on taking any weeks off, so that we can take off from Thanksgiving until January 6th.

Bible
Christian Studies 1 - finish September 20th
Christian Studies 2 - start September 23rd

Latin
Prima Latina - finish by Thanksgiving
Christiana I - start January 6th

Grammar
First Language Lessons 3 - finish by Thanksgiving
First Language Lessons 4 - start January 6th

Writing
Writing With Ease 2 - finish by Thanksgiving
Writing With Ease 3 - start January 6th

Math
Saxon Math 3 - finish October 18th
Saxon Math 5/4 - start October 21st

*At this rate we are moving through Math since it is Katie's strongest subject and if all goes according to plan, she will start Algebra 1 in 6th grade - finishing up high school math with Advanced Mathematics by 8th or 9th grade and able to go on to the higher maths for her high school years in Calculus, Physics & Trigonometry if she chooses, but I will probably hire a tutor lol.

Spelling
All About Spelling 3 - finish September 13th
All About Spelling 4 - start September 16 & finish January 24th
Spelling Workout D - start August 19th & finish January 24th

*You can see with spelling that we will finish AAS 3 & 4 mainly in "3rd grade" and then finish AAS 5 & 6 in "4th grade."  We will also finish SWO D in 3rd and E and F in 4th.  Giving us only SWO from 5th grade on because we will have completed all levels of AAS by the end of 4th grade.  So less time in spelling comes in 5th grade!

History & Science
*We aren't really concerned when we finish these because we like spending more time than just a year in Story of the World and we love doing science kits, etc..  However, for planning purposes, I went ahead and gave an estimated time of completion but we have a lot of detours due to interest in a certain topic or time period almost always!

Story of the World 3 - finish March 21st
Story of the World 4 - start March 24th
Elemental Science Chemistry - finish May 9th
Elemental Science Physics - start May 12th


There is my plan and how everything is flowing currently.  I like to do this every so often to gauge our progress in various areas.  I do plan on doing a 4th grade curriculum post to show you what we are using for the next levels in all subjects.

Homeschooling With a January Start

I was like most homeschoolers in the beginning and tried to mimic the public school schedule of a September start and a May/June finish.  However, this wasn't enjoyable for me or my daughter and we realized that for our family's schedule, a January start was a better fit.  This proved to be a great choice as it allowed us to take off a lot of time during the first few months of our newest addition, Zach!  Not feeling rushed to hurry up but rather enjoy the transition of having a baby around has brought peace to our lives.

Having a January start suits my personality better because I love having a "new" year and a "new" start in homeschool!  It also prevents that February slump that have derailed a lot of homeschoolers because they are burnt out trying to keep up with the government schedule.  There is also the issue of taking time off from Thanksgiving to New Year's that allows us to enjoy the holidays with no stress of school.  We also have a lot of time to take off throughout the year and even summer if we choose, because schooling year-round is so flexible and it works with life's little (and big) surprises!

We are still finishing up 3rd grade until Thanksgiving and then we will start 4th grade in January.  Although, if people ask my daughter, "what grade are you in?" she will say 4th because according to the state, she is 4th grade and our curriculum is advanced compared to the public school's.  We also work mainly in levels in a lot of our subjects and we move right along from one level to the next - so there really isn't a time we start all new curriculum at the same time because WHO is on the same level in all subjects?  If you do that to a child, then you are fighting against their strengths and weaknesses and it will catch up with you soon or in a few years.  Knowing your child and what they need extra work in or what they can move forward in, is something a lot of homeschool moms overlook.  Hurrying to finish up all curriculum by a certain time will prove that you are only concerned about how YOU feel and not focused on your children's needs!

Try it out - I know you will like it and the first year you switch, you get an added 5-6 months onto your grade.  As Susan Wise Bauer has stated in one of her lectures, "Homeschooling the Real Child," you don't have to do a 12-year school, you can do a 14 or a 15-year one and have your child finish when they are 20 because usually they aren't even mature enough until then anyway for what they want to do in life.  I'm considering that by adding on a year or two in high school, so my daughter can not only get more credits and college-level work, but she can have more time to learn, time for hobbies and score high on the ACT and SAT to earn a scholarship to pay for college.  Why rush and have your child be mediocre when you can homeschool and have them be in the top percentiles by adding on to their learning?  Why the rush?  Slow down and enjoy seeing your children ENJOY learning!!

Satan's Second Temptation


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Homeschool Room - August 2013

*I did a few more updates in May 2014 here: http://www.cambridgeshireacademy.com/2014/05/homeschool-room-re-do.html

We haven't updated much since our last homeschool room photos here.  I've been baby-proofing since Zach (my 8-month old) is crawling everywhere and had to empty the small shelf because it had a lot of things that could hurt him if he ever got a hold of them.  I have Katie's artwork hanging on yarn across the room and used mini clothes-pins to hang the art onto the yarn

We live in a double-wide manufactured home and use our dining room also as our homeschool room.  I'm standing in the kitchen for the first shot:


Here is another view from a different part of the kitchen:


This is our pantry, which divides the dining room and the living room and gives us lots of room to store food!  It has a radio/cassette built-in with an intercom system.  I put up charts that go along with whatever science we are studying at the time and then we have our bulletin board and a magnetic board for calendars, reading lists, etc.


Looking in from the hallway:


One bookshelf houses the games, puzzles and miscellaneous items and the other one has books on history, science, math and a few other topics.  It also has some new curriculum for the next grade, old curriculum and reference books, science kits galore, etc.  On top we have our microscope, skeleton model, abacus, rock collection and the tabernacle model.  The red basket on top is full of music instruments (tambourine, maracas, etc.)


We had to empty our smaller shelf to baby-proof for Zach, my 8 month old who is crawling now.  We had tacks, staples, tape, paper clips and all that sort of stuff there that we put into a cabinet on the side of the pantry.  I'm thinking of filling the small shelf with baby books for Zach to look through while we do school.



We have a dry erase board and a map of the world on the wall and then our All About Spelling magnetic board with tiles on the floor.  However, we have to move this somewhere because Zach keeps going for it and he could swallow the tiles, so it isn't safe to be on the floor.  I'm just not sure where we are going to put it.  I have thought of putting it somewhere else in the house and calling it our spelling corner.


We keep our dry erase markers, eraser, scissors and pens and pencils in these holders on the wall for easy access.  I also got some free wall art online and printed it and painted some old 1980's frames black that I got for free and used them to make the cute signs.


Then in our living room, we have a large desk with a piano and a space to either do work or hold ongoing projects.



Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Our Bible Curriculum Schedule

I wanted to lay out our Bible curriculum plan for the next several years that we plan to follow.  Katie reads the KJV Bible daily in personal devotion and then we do the following curriculum together below:

The Christian Studies series is from Memoria Press.

Completed:
K - The Beginner's Bible
1st & 2nd Grade - Golden Children's Bible

In progress & future:
3rd grade - Christian Studies 1
4th grade - Christian Studies 2 & Celebrating Our Messiah in the Festivals
5th grade - Christian Studies 3
6th grade - Christian Studies 4
7th grade - Remembering God's Awesome Acts
8th grade - Remembering God's Chosen People

Homeschool Block Scheduling

There are many ways to do block scheduling:

  • Day-long - this gives you hours to work on one subject and to finish the lessons for the entire week in that one day.  Math on Mondays, language arts on Tues/Wed, history on Thursdays and science on Fridays.
  • Week-long - Do math the first week of the month, language arts the second week, history the third, science the fourth, etc.
  • Month-long - Do math for entire month, then language arts for the next month, history for the 3rd month, science for the 4th month and repeat.
  • Semester-long - Do math and history half the year and then language arts and science the other half of the year.

Block scheduling tends to work better with middle and high school students, but some mature elementary students can have success with this type of scheduling.