Saturday, September 5, 2015

Fourth Grade in Our Home: Fall 2015

Michelle, age 9.5, is 'officially' in fourth grade this year, although the longer I homeschool and observe my children the more I find traditional grade-levels just don't really fit them.  But, that's where she falls based on her age for any kind of official purposes where that kind of thing there you have it.   I say all this again as a disclaimer than my intentions with this series is to be DESCRIPTIVE of what is currently happening in my home with my particular students.  These lessons have been planned with their needs and abilities and our overall goals in mind.  I share to give you a peek inside of our home, just as I like to get a peek inside the homes of others from time to time. :)  

You can read other parts of this series here:
And get the big picture of our daily routine and how all these pieces fit together here:

Michelle is a strong reader and able to direct herself independently quite well. She works through a daily independent work checklist while I work with the younger two.  Sometimes, she finishes before I'm ready for her, in which case she has a bit of time all her own. Other times, she dawdles and has to come back and finish after lunch, although that has become more and more rare.  She values her free afternoons pretty highly. :)

We left off for the summer halfway through AmblesideOnline Year 3, so have continued on from there.  We are doing it more or less as written, with the exception of the exchange of Courage and Conviction (Withrow) in place of Trial and Triumph for a broader coverage of the Reformation.  We will move on to Year 4 after the Christmas holidays.  Because of her age and ability, we have already started some of the Year 4 additions such as written narration, grammar, dictation, and Latin while finishing up the Year 3 books.

Independent work checklist:
  • Math workbook page - covering the topic of the previous day's lesson from Singapore Math 3.  Sometimes she will do a drill sheet or work from the Singapore Challenging Word Problems book in addition to or instead of the regular workbook page.
  • Two readings from the AO Year 3 reading list (she may come to me to narrate as needed)
  • Copywork
  • Study memory work (Scripture and poetry) and Latin vocabulary
  • Typing - 3x per week she does a lesson, on Friday she is allowed to do a game from the game section.  We use Typing Instructor.
  • One of the following weekly items: map work (Marco Polo or USA), written narration, add 2-3 people or events from the week's reading to her timeline
Together we spend an hour or maybe a bit more working on the following together:
  • Check over independent checklist work (10 minutes)
  • Math Lesson - I introduce new material or review troublesome concepts and we work together through examples. (She completes the applicable workbook exercises when she does her checklist work the following day.) (15-20 minutes)
  • One reading from the AO Year 3 list, followed up by oral narration and applicable map work.  I still read aloud our main history spines This Country of Ours and Our Island Story so that we can pause for narrations more frequently since the chapters are quite long, especially in This Country of Ours.  She reads the rest on her own or I read them to the whole group during Morning Time. (15-20 minutes)
  • Dictation - we are doing 2 passages each week this year for a change.  On Monday we study the new passage together, identifying words she is not sure how to spell and analyzing them and talking a bit about punctuation and grammar issues.  On Tuesday, she writes it from dictation.  We skip Wednesday because it's our co-op day, and then repeat that cycle Thursday and Friday.  I am pulling dictation passages from The Dictation Treasury. (10 minutes)
  • Read poetry and recite current memory work selections (5-10 minutes)
  • Latin - new to us this year!  We are using Prima Latina from Memoria Press.  It is a gentle, grammar-focused introduction, and so far it is going really well for us.  We set aside French for the time being because it was a constant struggle, so I am pleased that she is enjoying this and looks forward to pulling it out each day.  Maybe because I don't know it either and we are learning together?  Maybe because there isn't so much pressure attached to being able to speak it well?  I have no idea why Latin is going over better than French ever did, but I'll sure take it. (15-20 minutes)

And that's it.  Unless she seriously drags her feet, we are finished up between 12 and 12:30, just in time for lunch, leaving the afternoon free for other pursuits.

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