It’s a new school year so it’s time to talk about our 3rd/4th grade curriculum picks. It’s homeschool so you know how it is, we don’t really stick to one traditional school grade. Stephen by traditional school by age should be in 3rd grade, but we’re doing curricula that spans from 3rd to 5th grade. At some point in the future I may consider him to have completely skipped a grade if we get ahead in every subject, but honestly it’s really just an arbitrary number given out to those who don’t really understand the homeschool mindset. That said, lets get to the picks!
So if you read my previous post about last year’s curricula, you know that I just felt that we needed to totally change most of our language arts. I needed something more engaging and would really put knowledge to the practical test. After doing some research and showing some videos to my son, he got excited over the idea of fixing mistakes when I showed him IEW’s Fix It Grammar. We also picked up IEW’s Structure and Style for Students to add in a writing component.
We have continued on with All About Spelling and are on level 5. The last two years we have done 2 levels per year of AAS, and I am hopeful we can do that again this year. We have also stuck with A Reason for Handwriting and are using book C for cursive writing. In addition I picked up another Reading Skills book. These books are easy stories with questions that cover things like main ideas and inference. The books are packed full of fun informative stories that my son really seems to enjoy. I also picked up a vocabulary book. My son’s vocabulary has always been excellent and far above his age, but I just thought we’d check this out to see if he knew most of the words or not.
Math & Science
We decided to go by the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” when it comes to math and science. So in math we are using Math U See level Gamma this year. We may actually get into a second level this year if last year is any indication. We finished early and since we were thinking about taking an extended break, we didn’t start the next level. This left my son with very little math practice for several months and we’re now combating a bit of summer slide getting back into the swing of things. So this year we will definitely not be taking a significant break and will just roll over into the next level if we finish way early again.
We are continuing on down Berean Builders science series with Science in the Scientific Revolution. We really love this science series as it shows how science has developed over the years. The experiments in the book are simple to do yet informative and the curriculum is engaging. My husband teaches science, but this year I am adding in some lapbook unit studies of famous inventors. It’s a pack I bought from Confessions of a Homeschooler a few years ago and just never got around to doing until now. My son loves to create and loves science so I think he will really get into learning about how different inventions came into being.
Bible & Character
This year we are trying out new curricula for bible and adding in a specific character curriculum. For bible we are using Apologia’s Who is God curricula. It gets great reviews and I really liked what I saw when I previewed it. I really want him to get to the heart of who God is and what he’s about on a deeper level. We also wanted to focus on character this year as we lead up to those pre-teen years so we picked up Beautiful Feet’s character curriculum. It is a lot of books that we do as read alouds and discussion questions and I think we will really enjoy that approach.
History & Geography
For history we are doing Story of the World Volume 3, Early Modern Times. We have really enjoyed Story of the World at these young ages. I like the story format that really helps bring the history to life for young minds. We had originally planned to do the four books over four years and then repeat as it is designed that way and to try to add more materials in the second time through, but I have to admit that I’m really wondering if my son will get a lot out of it the second time. He is easily bored with repetitiveness so I am thinking we will have to switch it up after next year, but I still have lots of time to figure out where to go from there.
For Geography we are finishing up Road Trip USA. We chose to do one state per week when we started this curricula last year, knowing that it would bleed into this school year before we were finished. I believe we will be done by the end of this calendar year and right now our plan is to then start Expedition Earth. We do have a lot on our plate this year regarding the amount of curricula we are trying to cover though and if things become to much, Expedition Earth will wait until next year.
All The Rest
We’re doing a health workbook that covers mental health as well has physical health. I thought this was a wonderful approach as so often health curricula are just focused on eating right and exercise and leave out this key component of health. We will continue doing a little Spanish from the workbooks and flash cards we purchased last year. I picked up a drawing book to use for art in addition to using an art book we already owned. We have a bunch of unit studies planned either focused on specific themes, like the inventors, or covering books or events. We started out covering September 11th in greater depth than I every have before as we felt he was old enough now to emotionally handle it and will be following that with an election unit study.
Stephen is very close to getting his first degree black belt in Taekwondo and we will be continuing down that path until that is achieved. We are probably going to take a break after that as it’s been over 2 and a half years of classes 2-3 times per week. It’s a lot and it’s been even harder with the pandemic and having to do classes via Zoom. A lot of work has fallen on me to help him really understand the moves as he’s more of a kinesthetic learner that merely a visual and he gets easily confused or frustrated when he can’t translate what he sees into his own actions. We would also like him to try out a team sport, but again with the pandemic, that’s not likely to happen for a while either.
We are continuing with learning piano through Hoffman Academy. We have really not focused on it as much as we should have over summer so I am sure we’ll be dealing with some summer slide there as well due to lack of practicing, but we want to continue on with it. I would eventually love to find an actual piano teacher to help him learn more hands on, but for now Hoffman Academy is a steal at less than $20 per month.
So there you have it, our 3rd/4th grade curriculum picks. It’s a lot, especially in the language arts arena, but that is also the area in which he typically excels. We will see how things go and if we have to drop some of the extra workbooks because of time and then pick them back up later in the year as curricula finishes up. This happens sometimes and I am starting to mull over the idea of semesters in our homeschool, especially since we take such little breaks. It might be easier to plow through some subjects in one semester rather than spacing them out all year long. Switching back and forth between so many subjects can actually waste a lot of time so we will see how this year goes and make adjustments if needed. We’re looking forward to a successful year and wish you the same!Thanks for reading!